Among many buildings, it housed a chapel decorated with stained glass, a tall silver cross, and a reliquary containing a throat bone from Saint Boniface. Near the cloister, the monks also transcribed and illustrated scriptures. Though most of the monks there had come from Mercia, some were from Wessex and Northumbria.
In the late 9th century, the Danes raided the monastery, stealing all their silver, sacking their food storage, and killing the abbot and nearly all monks. Geirmund Hel-hide approached the monastery, wanting to buy provisions, but was turned away. Some time later, the anchorite Torthred left his cell at Ancarig and became the new abbot.
While escaping from Krok and his band, Geirmund and a few of his Hel-hides came upon the monastery. They were granted sanctuary in exchange for help in cultivating and defending Medeshamstede, which they agreed with. During their time there, which spanned over a month at least, the abbot taught Geirmund how to read. After Burgred of Mercia was expelled from his throne, an injured priest carrying message from Tamworth came to the abbey. Geirmund warned them that the wall they had built would not stop an army and advised the monks to leave. Torthred later talked to the monks, deciding they would join the abbot of Cerne in Wessex.
Before they left, however, they had to deal with Krok and his band, who had kidnapped Torthred's sister Tova as she fled from Tamworth to Medeshamstede. The Dane came and asked for silver, which the abbot agreed to, asking them to return the next day. After the band left, the monks began packing for Wessex, taking their books, relics, crosses, some furniture and enough food for them and some animals. The Hel-hides also packed for their departure. The next day, four Danes appeared to trade the woman for the silver, though they were killed and she was saved by the Hel-hides, who then left to draw Krok's attention away from the monastery and allow the monks a clean getaway.
During the 870s, the monastery was also raided by the Raven Clan led by Eivor Varinsdottir, who looted the buildings of raw materials and cargo in order to upgrade their settlement of Ravensthorpe in Ledecestrescire.