The Nun of Watton
The Nun of Watton (born in the 1140s) was the central protagonist of a drama at a Gilbertine abbey in Yorkshire, recorded by St. Ailred of Rievaulx in De Sanctimoniali de Wattun. According to the story, the nun in question was admitted to the holy life as a toddler. Unfortunately, as a young woman she proved unsuited to the enforced celibacy of the life of a nun.
According to Ailred the rebellious teenager made the acquaintance of a lay brother in the attached male community common to monasteries of that order, had sex, and became pregnant. After her sisters at the abbey discovered that their wayward fellow member was less than celibate, they proceeded to strip, whip and imprison her, but not before testing the guilt of the lay brother through sending out a monk dressed in her habit, whereupon the offending lay brother tried to consummate their prior relationship with him as well. After hatching a plan, the nuns debated what to do with their errant member.
Some of the younger nuns wanted her burnt, roasted, branded or skinned alive, but the older sisters decided differently. One version of the tale is that the imprisoned pregnant sister lured the miscreant lay brother into a trap, the other is that he was tracked down by other monks of the community. Either way, upon return to the abbey, he was castrated at the hands of his former lover. Repentant, the Nun of Watton was ‘miraculously’ deprived of her pregnancy and apparently resumed the life of a celibate nun in her monastery. The fate of the monk was left unstated.
[Image Source | Thanks to Vintage-Royalty]