The monastery was founded in 1160 at Viby, close to Sigtuna, but under the patronage of King Knut Eriksson, who donated land and a right to parts of the fishing at Älvkarleby, it was moved in 1180 to Säby by the lake Öljaren in Julita. The monastery was therefore also known as Säby, or Saba in Latin. It continued to receive rich donations from King Erik Knutsson (1210-1216), and later from other members of the aristocracy and royal circles. It was finally the owner of some 80 farms, mostly in Södermanland. At the time of the Protestant Reformation, King Gustavus Vasa appropriated the abbey and gave it in fief to Olof Arvidsson, a bailiff in Nyköping, in 1527. The secular estate thus created later had various possessors, including members of the Palbitzki and Lewenhaupt families.
In 1944, the Nordic Museum assumed the ownership of the estate in accordance with the will of the last private owner, Artur Bäckström. The manor is now a large open-air museum, incorporating a small part of the abbey in the basement of one of its wings, which is open to the public. Together with another small building originally located outside the cloisters, this is all that can be seen of the abbey today, though archaeological excavations have revealed the full extent of the main abbey buildings.
- Torvald Höjer and Wbg (signatures), "Julita", Nordisk familjebok, vol. 13 (1910), col. 268 f
- The history of Julita manor at the Nordic museum (linked 2008-08-19, in Swedish)
- Ralph Edenheim and Hans A. Lidén, Julita kloster. Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm, 1978. ISBN 91-7402-062-5. (Archaeological report, in Swedish with a summary in English)