Thame Local History
12th Century Period (1100 - 1199)
Alexander de Blois, known as Alexander the Magnificent,
was Bishop of Lincoln from 1123 to 1147.
During this time he was lord of the manor of Thame.
Alexander was a relative of Etienne de Blois, known in England as King Stephen, King of England from 1135 to 1154.
In 1128 the Bishop of Winchester founded the first Cistercian house in Britain at Waverley.
The Cistercian order was to enjoy phenomenal popularity across the whole of Europe in the decades to come.
A Cistercian foundation of 1138, at Oddington on Otmoor, failed due to the water logged nature of the land.
Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, had been planning to turn a large tract of uncultivated land bordering on his manor at Thame into a deer park.
In 1138 this land, known to us today as Thame Park, was given to the Cistercian monks of Otmoor by Bishop Alexander.
The monks moved in, and presumably an abbey was constructed, between 1139 and 1142. Cistercian churches were named after the Virgin Mary, and the new abbey was to become known as Sancta Maria de Parco Thame.
During the time of Bishop Alexander, Thame church became a prebend of the Cathedral of Lincoln, increasing its importance within the diocese.
The establishment of a prebendal community based around the new Prebendal House followed, giving Priestend its name.
A new town was built at Thame in the twelfth century, with its characteristic burgage plots and wide market place, typical of many new towns of the time.
It is thought Thame's new town, known as New Thame, may have been laid out during the time of Alexander the Magnificent of Lincoln, between 1123 and 1147.
The see of Lincoln fell vacant for a period in the late twelfth century, and the manor reverted to the King, Henry II (1154 - 1189).
Walter de Coutances, Bishop of Lincoln from 1183 to 1186, restored Thame to at least partial Episcopal control. He secured market charters for the town from Henry II and held regular Tuesday markets and a fair at Michaelmas.
In 1185 an earthquake at Lincoln all but destroyed the original Norman cathedral begun by Bishop Remigius.
The foundation of Thame Park
The Prebendal House