|Æblholt Monastery was from the beginning an Augustine monastery, which was moved from Eskildsø to Æbelholt in 1175. The abbot Wilhelm tried hard to get a functioning monasstery building and he was sainted in 1224.
The source material around the establishing and development of the monasteries the the Sound region is limited. But Äbelholt monastery is an exception. There is a thorough description of this monastery. In reality it is a biography of the abbot Wilhelm of Äbelholt. This source is biased in the sense that it is written with the purpose of canonizing Wilhelm, but the description can still provide interesting information on the activity in the monastery. The writers are probably archbishop Anders Sunesen from Lund, his nephew Peder Jacobson, who was the bishop in Roskilde and abbot Thomas from Herreva´s monastery.
From Eskilsö to Ebelholt
Æbelholt Monastery was founded on land, which was donated by the Hvide-family. A clearing in Grib Forest with a fertile islet in a small lake and with a stream close by. Not the best agricultural soil, but Absalon as well as his relation Peder Sunesen(1161-1214), who succeeds Absalon as the bishop in Roskilde in 1191 and becomes the king´s chancellor in 1201, supported the monastery continuously.
In abbot Wilhelm´s correspondence there are some letters addressed for the archbishop “the Lund gentleman”, who in this case must be Absalon. The letters testify to large problems with the running of the monasteries. The death of the patron Peder Sunesen is deplored and the misfortune, which have befallen the monastery as its barns have burnt down twice.
The Augustine Order
There was an Augustine order in Eskilsø in the Roskilde inlet, but the monastery was moved to Äbelholt in North Zealand in 1175. Absalon´s generosity made it possible for them to move to new buildings in Äbelholt. Here they had built a church and a house for the canons. In abbot Wilhelm´s letters to the archbishop ”the gentleman from Lund” is mentioned, which is probably Absalon. It appears that there are difficulties making the monastery function, but Wilhelm made a lot a changes and tightened up the monastery regulations.
Another letter to the abbot in Esrum describes problems with the water supplies. Absalon had donated lead pipes to the monastery´s water system, but it was difficult to make them function.
In 1183 there were 25 monastery monks and the monastery also functioned as a hostel for visitors. Sometimes more than a 100 persons were fed and the board and lodging was free.
It was thanks to the engagement of Wilhelm that the neglected monastery developed and he was canonized in 1224. After this Äbelholt became a popular resort.
In 1176 the began the building of a new stone church.