Ranulph de Merlay, lord of Morpeth, and his wife, Juliana, daughter of Gospatric II, Earl of Lothian, founded the abbey in 1137 and Saint Robert of Newminster from the Cistercian Fountains Abbey was appointed as the first abbot; he governed from 1138 to 1159. The year after its foundation, the abbey was burned in an attack by Scottish raiders. It was rebuilt in 1180.
Although located near Morpeth, Northumberland, the abbey possessed lands extending to the Scottish border, and annually led sheep there to pasture during the summer months. After closure during the first wave of dissolution in 1537, the estate was leased by the Crown by the Grey family who used many of the stones for their own buildings.
The site is in private ownership and there is no public access or parking near it. However, the site can be viewed from the hill above it and from a public footpath that runs on the west side. Access to the footpath is best from Kirkhill where you can park a car.
- English Heritage:Images of England, Newminster Abbey
- Blackett-Ord Manuscripts Northumberland Record Office, (Newminster Abbey Estate, reference NRO324/M1)