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Syon Abbey Collection

Papers of Canon John Rory Fletcher (EUL MS 95)

Canon John Rory Fletcher (1861-1944) made it his life work to collect and describe all possible material concerning Syon Abbey and its community of Bridgettine nuns in medieval and Reformation times. His work on the history of Syon Abbey was not formally committed to paper until the 1930s and 1940s, when he sent each volume to the Abbey on completion for safekeeping. He published a popular history of the Abbey under the title 'The Story of the English Bridgettines of Syon Abbey' in 1933. As well as studying papers held in the archive of the Abbey in South Devon, he also consulted materials held in other archives and libraries across the UK and Europe. Canon Fletcher died in 1944 and was buried by special licence in the cemetery at Syon Abbey.

The collection consists of 35 bound manuscript volumes relating to the medieval and post-Reformation history of Syon Abbey and the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, also known as the Bridgettine Order. Manuscripts of particular interest are Canon Fletcher's four volumes of 'Syon's Who's Who', which contain biographical notes concerning brothers and sisters of Syon Abbey from the medieval to the modern period.

The collection provides an invaluable point of entry for any researcher with an interest in the history of the community, as it contains materials relating to the foundation of the Abbey at Isleworth, Middlesex. Also included are histories of the community whilst in exile on the Continent following the Dissolution in 1539, as well as are four volumes of 'Syon's Who's Who' (including a detailed index), catalogues of brothers and sisters, lists of manuscripts and book materials, and notes on other Bridgettine communities foundations situated elsewhere in Europe.

This collection is described here on our online archives catalogue under the reference number EUL MS 95 and each volume is briefly described at item level on the Library Catalogue under the classmark Syon Abbey FLE, as part of the Syon Abbey Library Collection. This collection can be consulted in the reading room by prior appointment. Please contact Special Collections at for more information.

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