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A monastery or society of persons of either sex, secluded from the world and devoted to religion and celibacy; also, the monastic building or buildings. A community of monks or nuns, ruled by an abbot or abbess. The men are called monks, and governed by an abbot; the women are called nuns, and governed by an abbess. The church of a monastery usually founded by a monastic order. Abbeys normally owe some form of feudal obligation to a lord or higher organization. In London, the Abbey means Westminster Abbey, and in Scotland, the precincts of the Abbey of Holyrood. The name is also retained for a private residence on the site of an abbey; as, Newstead Abbey, the residence of Lord Byron. 


Syn. - Monastery; convent; nunnery; priory; cloister. See Cloister. Under religious practices, a monastery or nunnery for the association of religious parties. An abbot or an abbess presides over an abbey. A monastery, convent or a church that once belonged to an abbey (Westminster Abbey).


 - (Land) The real property held by an abbey in mortmain making it exempt from tithes.

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