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It is part of the Greater Boston area. Wrentham was first settled in 1659, and officially incorporated on February 22, 1713. It was named after Wrentham Abbey in England (the name means "homestead where wrent grows"), which had been founded by King Henry I around 1125 as a Benedictine monastery for monks from Evesham Abbey; it became an abbey itself when King Stephen gave it to Abbot Serlo of St Albans in 1148. The town's original settlers were primarily farmers who grew corn and wheat but also developed a small industrial presence with mills powered by the many streams that flow through town into Lake Quannapowitt or its tributaries: Mill Brook, Little River (which flows into Lake Quannapowitt), Rice Brook and others. In 1881 there were four cotton mills employing about 300 people. By 1900 there were six cotton mills operating along Little River alone, including one at what is now called Old Mill Pond near Route 1A.