Description: Leicester Abbey, the Abbey of Saint Mary de Pratis ("St Mary of the Meadows"), standing about a mile (2 km) north of the city of Leicester in the riverside meadows on the west bank of the River Soar, was built under the patronage of Robert le Bossu, Earl of Leicester. It was founded as a community of Augustinian Canons, the canons regular of the Order of Saint Augustine. Canons regular follow a similar, but perhaps less rigid rule than monks, following a rule set down by Saint Augustine in a letter to a convent in his diocese.
The abbey was one of the largest and most influential land owners in Leicestershire, thanks to contributions by important patrons such as the Earl of Winchester, Simon de Montfort, Alan la Zouche, Ernard de Bosco and, finally, the Crown. The abbey certainly held more manors than any lay lord.