Boxley Abbey

Cistercian monastery in Kent, England. Founded between 1143 and 1146 by William Ypres, Earl of Kent, and originally staffed by monks from Clairvaux Abbey in France. It was occupied until the dissolution of monasteries in 1538. The site is now in private hands, and only fragments of the structures remain.

The abbey was famous, and later infamous, for a relic known as the Rood of Grace, a wooden crucifix whose corpus was supposed to miraculously move and speak. In 1538 the famed relic was discovered to be a fake that “spoke” using levers and wires. Its exposure was used to discredit the monks and the monastic movement, it was exhibited several places, and then destroyed in London, England in a public demonstration.

There was also a statue of Saint Rumwold at Boxley which could only be moved by people who lived pure lives. Purity was apparently measured by the size of a gift to the abbey since if the donation was sufficient, one of the monks would operate a ratchet mechanism that helped move the statue.

See also