Syon Abbey was a monastic house of the Order of Our Most Holy Saviour (also known as the Bridgettines), founded by Henry V in 1415. The community was renowned for its dedication to reading, meditation and contemplation. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, the community lived in exile, eventually finding a new home in Lisbon, Portugal in 1594. More than 250 years later, in 1861, the sisters returned to England. After several relocations, they finally settled in South Brent, Devon where, in 2011, Syon Abbey was closed. Syon Abbey remains the only English religious house to have survived the Reformation without interruption.
The Syon Abbey Archive, now in the care of the University of Exeter Special Collections, is an excellent resource for research, particularly into the lives of women religious and ecclesiastical history. It comprises material from the 16th to the early 21st century relating to worship; the community; daily life; formation; the management of land, property and finances; relations with other religious houses and ecclesiastical authorities; and much, much more.