By Martin Heale

Even supposing thousands of based priories have been based throughout medieval Europe, they continue to be little studied and lots more and plenty misunderstood. this primary full-length research of the background of the one hundred forty or so daughter homes of English monasteries takes factor with the orthodox opinion that they have been essentially administrative in functionality. the writer starts by way of reading the explanations for the root of those monasteries (frequently at the initiative of neighborhood landowners, or to foster very important neighborhood cults centering on relics of images), and the family among established priories and their mom homes, bishops and consumers. He is going directly to examine daily life in cells, the priories' interplay with their neighbours, their position within the area people, and their monetary viability. the bizarre trend of dissolution of those homes can be printed. all through, Dr Heale argues that the established priories sheds loads of mild at the international of the small spiritual apartment, and means that those shadowy associations have been way more primary to medieval faith and society than has been liked.

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In many instances, therefore, it is possible to judge with some confidence who was primarily responsible for the priory, which is a vital first step in assessing the likely reasons for the foundation. Economic Reasons In the eyes of many historians, the daughter house was first and foremost an administrative tool. As we have seen, this was overwhelmingly the view of Professor Knowles, whose judgements remain highly influential today in writings on medieval monasticism. 34 All these writers couple together alien and English dependencies in their analyses without considering whether the two were necessarily alike.

This remarkable expansion proceeded in a haphazard manner and the Cluniac body remained relatively decentralised under St Hugh. A number of houses subject to Cluny retained the status of abbeys and in practice enjoyed considerable independence. Many others were essentially economic units, established to manage outlying estates, rather than priories. But although the Cluniacs had not by this time established a ‘highly organised, strictly centralised system’ by later monastic standards,17 the ties binding its many daughter houses to Cluny by the end of the eleventh century were far stronger than those linking the much looser confederations of houses that had come before.

320–1. The Register of St Benet Holme, 1020–1210, ed. J. R. West, 2 vols, Norfolk Record Society, ii–iii (1932), I, no. 159, pp. 89–90. There were twelve monks at ‘Wisseta’ in 1086 (Rumburgh lay in the parish of Wisset): Domesday Book, ed. A. Farley and H. Ellis, 4 vols (HMSO, 1783–1816), II, p. 293a. Knowles and Hadcock, pp. 58–9, 77–8. The ‘cell’ of Bury St Edmunds at Thetford, however, does not seem to have been occupied by monks of the abbey: Mon. , III, pp. 477–8, no. 1. Liber Eliensis, ed.

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