Utstein Abbey is Norway’s best-preserved medieval monastery. Its located at a small island called Klosterøy (Abbey-island).
The abbey, dedicated to Saint Laurence, was founded in its present location during the reign of King Magnus VI of Norway (1263-1280). It was a house of Augustinian Canons. It appears however that this community was the one previously established as St. Olav’s Abbey, Stavanger, one of the earliest Augustinian monasteries in Norway if not the very earliest: the exact date of its foundation is unknown, but it was well established by 1160.
At its height, about 20–30 monks lived there, with twice as many lay people working on the building, the cooking and the farming. The abbey owned extensive lands, and could feed about 250 people a year. It was dissolved in 1537 during the Reformation.