was a collection of buildings centered around a church and inhabited by monastics. The community was, usually, either entirely male and governed by an abbot
, or entirely female and governed by an abbess
. The exception was the double monastery, which was often run by an abbess. Abbeys were usually founded by a specific monastic order and arranged according to that order's customs. Almost always completely self-sufficient, an abbey might owe legal, manorial or financial obligations to a secular leader or to superiors in the Catholic Church.
Also Known As: convent, friary, nunnery, monastery, or priory
Common Misspellings: abby
spent most of his life in one abbey