With the arrival of Lanfranc of Pavia, Bec became a principal center of 11th century intellectual life. Lanfranc, who was already famous for his lectures at Avranches, came to teach as prior and master of the monastic school, but left in 1062, to become abbot of Caen (and later Archbishop of Canterbury). He was followed as abbot by Anselm, also later an Archbishop of Canterbury. The fifth abbot, Theobald of Bec, also went on to Canterbury. The future Pope Alexander II and many bishops came from the school at Bec.
The followers of William the Conqueror sponsored Bec, enriching the abbey with extensive manors and other holdings in England. Bec also owned and managed St Neots Priory as well as a number of other British foundations, including Goldcliff Priory in Monmouthshire founded in 1113 by Robert de Chandos. The village, now suburb, of Tooting Bec in London is named because the abbey owned the land.
The founder, Herluin, later achieved sainthood. His life (Vita Herluini) was written by Abbot Gilbert Crispin. Archbishop Lanfranc also wrote a Chronicon Beccense of the life of Herluin, and of the first four abbots, which was published at Paris, 1648