Axminster is at the crossing of two ancient roads, adopted by Romans as the Fosse Way to Aquae Sulis (the modern Bath in Somerset ) and Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter) now the County Town of Devonshire.
Records show Saxon Christianity rooted here in the eighth century (786 AD) focused on a "Minster"-
The Norman de Mohun Family held huge tracts of land in the West Country. Newenham Abbey, built with resources provided by Reginald de Mohun in 1246, was one of many Cistercian monasteries dominating the area. Founded at Citeaux in France, Cistercians became the most successful of mediaeval monastic movements. Using the rule of Benedict and reformed by Bernard, they lived simply and had plain and unadorned churches.
A new Church was built here near the castle (more a fortified house) through the patronage of the de Mohun family -
Newenham Abbey stood for three hundred years until the dissolution of the monasteries; for some of that time Abbot and Bishop of Exeter disagreed about the appointment of the Priest at this Church ... possibly this was something to do with different styles of leadership and spirituality and the independence cherished by Benedictine orders.
At the Reformation there were wide changes. The closing of Newenham Abbey in the 16th Century brought to an end to the Abbacy of John Cabell (1525-