Rushen Abbey, or St. Lua’s Abbey, is a Cistercian monastery found a few miles up the Silverburn from Castletown. It was founded in 1134 as a Savingian monastery, but converted to the Cistercian rule in 1147. Rushen Abbey is the youngest of the ecclesiastical organizations on Man.
Headed by Abbot Lawrence Martins this monastery is exceptionally wealthy, as they control passage over the Monk’s Bridge — the point where Great King Orrey’s Road crosses the Silverburn — and they charge a small toll to all travelers. Compounding this, Rushen Abbey gets a third of all church tithes paid on Man!
The Church is an important landowner on Man. Rushen Abbey owns around an eighth of all the treens on the island (this land is collectively known as the Abbeylands or Abbey Demesne).
Parish priests on Man are often referred to as Vicars of Thirds, as they receive only one-third of the church tithes paid from their parish. The remaining two thirds are divided equally between the Bishop and Rushen Abbey — and this uneven distribution is a source of not inconsiderable friction within the Manx Church.
The monks of St. Lua’s have recently completed the first version of their Chronicon Insulae Manniae, a history of Man and the Isles from the time of Godred Crovan (AD 1065) to the present, as a gift to Reginald the Sly.