It was founded at Gilling in what is currently Yorkshire by Queen Eanflæd, the wife of King Oswiu of Northumbria, who persuaded her husband to found it at the site where Oswiu had killed a rival and kinsman, King Oswine of Deira. Oswine died around 651 or 652. Eanflæd forced her husband to found the monastery in order to atone for Oswine's death, as Eanflæd was related to Oswine also, and was Oswine's second cousin. Under the laws of the time, the only way that Eanflæd could take revenge was to kill her husband, unless she accepted a weregild. The abbey was located on the estate she received as weregild. Eanflæd also requested that the first abbot be a kinsman of Oswine's. By founding the monastery, Oswiu and Eanflæd avoided the creation of a feud. The date of foundation was shortly after Oswine's death.
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