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ABBEY, abbatia, is a society of religious persons, having an abbot or abbess to preside over them. Formerly some of the most considerable abbots and priors in England had seats and votes in the house of lords. The prior of St. John's of Jerusalem, was styled the first baron of England, in respect to the lay barons, but he was the last of the spiritual barons.

References in classic literature ?
But between these fires and the abbey extended the Tweed, unfolding its luminous scales beneath the thick shade of tall green oaks.
There is the Abbey of Jumiéges, there is the Cathedral of Reims, there is the Sainte-Croix of Orleans.
Yea," quoth Will Scarlet, laughing again, "but this Fountain Abbey is not so far away as the one of which thou speakest, uncle.
I will seek this same Friar of Fountain Abbey tomorrow day, and I warrant I will get upon the soft side of him, even if I have to drub one soft.
Every now and then, by an effort, he would throw off the impression, and talk as if the matter were clear, but then his doubts would settle down upon him again, and his knitted brows and abstracted eyes would show that his thoughts had gone back once more to the great dining-room of the Abbey Grange, in which this midnight tragedy had been enacted.
The famous Medmenham monks, or "Hell Fire Club," as they were commonly called, and of whom the notorious Wilkes was a member, were a fraternity whose motto was "Do as you please," and that invitation still stands over the ruined doorway of the abbey.
Read upon the same day at the Abbey of Beaulieu in the presence of the most reverend Abbot Berghersh and of the assembled order.
Abbey was a great friend of father's and he'd always banked with him.
It was a bright and sunny morning in the pleasant time of summer, when one of those black monks emerged from the abbey portal, and bent his steps towards the house of the fair sisters.
Milchester Abbey is a gray, quadrangular pile, deep-set in rich woody country, and twinkling with triple rows of quaint windows, every one of which seemed alight as we drove up just in time to dress for dinner.
Now, you mind, you Riderhood,' said Miss Abbey Potterson, with emphatic forefinger over the half-door, 'the Fellowship don't want you at all, and would rather by far have your room than your company; but if you were as welcome here as you are not, you shouldn't even then have another drop of drink here this night, after this present pint of beer.
Now, Gabriel had been looking forward to reaching the dark lane, because it was, generally speaking, a nice, gloomy, mournful place, into which the townspeople did not much care to go, except in broad daylight, and when the sun was shining; consequently, he was not a little indignant to hear a young urchin roaring out some jolly song about a merry Christmas, in this very sanctuary which had been called Coffin Lane ever since the days of the old abbey, and the time of the shaven-headed monks.