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The Other Friars

The Other Friars: The Carmelite, Augustinian, Sack and Pied

Frances Andrews
Series: Monastic Orders
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Other Friars
    Book Description:

    In 1274 the Council of Lyons decreed the end of various 'new orders' of Mendicants which had emerged during the great push for evangelism and poverty in the thirteenth-century Latin Church. The Franciscans and Dominicans were explicitly excluded, while the Carmelites and Austin friars were allowed a stay of execution. These last two were eventually able to acquire approval, but other smaller groups, in particular the Friars of the Sack and Pied Friars, were forced to disband. This book outlines the history of those who were threatened by 1274, tracing the development of the two larger orders down to the Council of Trent, and following the fragmentary sources for the brief histories of the discontinued friaries. For the first time these orders are treated comparatively: the volume offers a total history, from their origins, spirituality and pastoral impact, to their music, buildings and runaways. FRANCES ANDREWS teaches at the University of St Andrews and is the author of The Early Humiliati (CUP 1999).

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-497-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-6)

    Walking west from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence along the River Arno, several churches come into view on the left bank, in the Oltrarno. The first, its cupola just visible behind more modern buildings, is the great Renaissance temple and convent of Santo Spirito, still occupied by the Augustinian (Austin) friars. Beyond it is the complex of Santa Maria del Carmine, its Brancacci chapel housing luminous frescoes of St Peter. Behind Santo Spirito and invisible from the river stands the now deconsecrated church of Santa Monaca, a convent of Augustinian nuns founded in 1443. These churches were built to house...

  6. Part One: The Carmelites

    • CHAPTER ONE Origins and Early History
      (pp. 9-21)

      The origins of the Carmelites, as with so many medieval religious movements, are now obscure. The first western hermits on Mount Carmel wrote nothing that has survived, and the earliest document to name them can be dated only to the early thirteenth century. This records the request for a rule of life from a group of hermits which marks an already advanced stage in the development of their community. How long they had been together on the mountain is impossible to say. Earlier sources do, however, allow us to gain some idea of the life of twelfth-century Frankish hermits in...

    • CHAPTER TWO The Geographical Dispersal of the Order
      (pp. 22-36)

      Like all organisations spread over a vast geographical area, the Carmelites quickly found it necessary to subdivide for administrative purposes. This process was encouraged by In singulis regnis, the constitution issued by the Fourth Lateran Council requiring that exempt abbeys hold chapters in each kingdom or province (ecclesiastical or political). The model for the Carmelites was once again that of the Franciscans and Dominicans. A provincial prior headed each province and the body binding these provinces together was the general chapter, attended by these priors. The general chapter enjoyed both legislative and administrative authority and as far as we can...

    • CHAPTER THREE Daily Life
      (pp. 37-48)

      The size of male Carmelite houses fluctuated substantially between communities and over time: individuals belonged to the order rather than to a particular friary and might move quite often to study or to fulfil the needs of their pastoral mission. In 1315, numbers in the London house varied from thirty-six to eighty over the course of just twelve months, though the average in the first quarter of the fourteenth century seems to have been somewhere around fifty – no small number. In most cases discontinuous records make generalisations difficult and unlikely to be helpful. Nonetheless a striking indication of the comparative...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Later History and the Development of a Historiographical Tradition
      (pp. 49-68)

      In an attempt to put an end to disputes with the secular clergy, in 1300 Boniface VIII defined limits for the pastoral activities of Franciscans and Dominicans which were later applied to the Carmelites. In Super cathedram (18 February 1300) he stated that the care of souls was fundamentally the duty of bishops and parish clergy.¹ The activities of the mendicant friars were therefore only supplementary to the work of seculars. The friars might preach in their own churches and public squares, but must avoid times when local churchmen were accustomed to preach. Friars were not to preach in parish...

  7. Part Two: The Augustinian or Austin Friars

    • CHAPTER ONE From Hermits to Mendicants
      (pp. 71-98)

      From the late tenth century there was a revival of interest across Europe in the reforming ideal of hermit life epitomised by the Desert Fathers of Egypt. The more perfect way of early Christians such as Paul, the first hermit, or Anthony, whose lives seemed closest to the model of the Scriptures, held powerful appeal. In Italy innumerable ad hoc settlements of men and (less often) women dedicated to withdrawal (anachoresis), asceticism and contemplation set out to recreate the life of the Egyptian Thebaid.¹ What drove them was a desire for salvation through rejection of the world and a penitential...

    • CHAPTER TWO In the World
      (pp. 99-119)

      By the late 1250s there were four main provinces in the order: France, Germany, Spain and Italy, but the last of these was probably already subdivided. The home of the order always remained central and northern Italy, where the number of houses far outnumbered those established elsewhere. Its relative importance is clearly underlined by a list of provinces from the end of the century, ten of which were in the peninsula: Ancona, Fermo, Lombardy, Naples, Pisa, Romagna, Rome, Siena, Spoleto and Treviso. Those outside covered France, Germany, Hungary, Provence, Spain and England.¹ Rapid expansion continued in the 1300s, so that...

    • CHAPTER THREE The Community within the Walls
      (pp. 120-139)

      The first hermitages of the orders preceding the union of 1256 generally housed small numbers: in the Sienese countryside they seem never to have exceeded ten men, mostly recruited locally. The move into an urban context certainly involved expansion in numbers but records are frustratingly incomplete. One of the best indications of size is provided by contracts or other agreements listing the friars present, but these often name only representatives acting on behalf of a larger community. Calculating the size of that larger number is a hazardous business. Francis Roth and Keith Egan used royal pittances to estimate the size...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Beyond the Cloister
      (pp. 140-147)

      The communities described above had land and property in varying amounts, intended to support the friars or nuns, but they also always depended on gathering direct donations. Described as a limit, limitation or terminus, each priory had a territory within which limitors (questors) of the house were authorised to preach and beg for alms. This sometimes led to dispute, as between Clare and Orford in 1373 or between Clare and London ten years later. New foundations thus necessitated that borders be established between houses of the same order. In 1388, the provincial chapter held at Newcastle instructed the prior provincial...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Learning
      (pp. 148-162)

      Unlike the Carmelites, the superiors of the Augustinians understood the importance of study from the very beginning. Whereas the hermits had focused on contemplation and withdrawal with limited engagement in pastoral care, the new order would need learned brothers to act as preachers and teachers. In 1259 the prior general, Lanfranco da Settala, purchased a house in Paris for students and by 1260 it was already functioning. There also seems to have been a studium in Bologna by 1264. Within twenty-five years the Paris house was so successful that it was too small to accommodate all those attending and, although...

    • CHAPTER SIX Reform and the Observance
      (pp. 163-172)

      Throughout the history of the order some of the friars were concerned to encourage a purer observance of the rule and the ideals of poverty; in the fourteenth century some even supported the extreme position of the Franciscan Spirituals. The first extant register of a prior general, that of Gregorio da Rimini (1357–8), is less radical but opens with Ordinationes addressed to the provincial priors in which he exhorted them to reform the observance in their areas, insisting for example on the importance of attending the Office, eating together in the refectory, supervising young friars, and attending sermons preached...

  8. Part Three: The Orders Discontinued after Lyons, 1274

    • CHAPTER ONE The Friars of the Penitence of Jesus Christ, or Sack Friars
      (pp. 175-223)

      The Friars of the Penitence of Jesus Christ first appeared in Provence at some time in the 1240s.¹ The year 1248 is often given as a precise foundation date, on the grounds that the fullest narrative, provided by the Franciscan Salimbene of Parma, is in a section of his chronicle describing that year.² The phrasing, however, only specifies that in that year Salimbene himself was in Hyères visiting Hugh of Digne, a fellow Franciscan, and does not specify that the order was initiated at that point. Another Franciscan, Thomas of Eccleston (c. 1258), reports instead that the order was founded...

    • CHAPTER TWO The Friars of Blessed Mary of Areno, or Pied Friars
      (pp. 224-230)

      The last of the orders to be considered here is also the smallest and the least well documented. The Friars of Blessed Mary, or Pied Friars (fratres de pica), had their beginnings as a penitential fraternity at some point in mid-thirteenth-century Marseilles. There is no evidence for a particular founder or group of founders and exactly when the order took shape is now a matter of debate. Most recently, Walter Simons has argued that it was created at the point when they acquired a mendicant identity in 1257–8, as first documented in papal and episcopal letters from those years.¹...

  9. EPILOGUE. Success and Failure in the Late-Medieval Church
    (pp. 231-232)

    All four of the orders examined in this volume experienced the trauma of Lyons 1274. Two survived, two died. Parallels between the Sack experience and that of the much less well-documented Pied Friars demonstrate that closure was haphazard but inexorable. The letter of Otto, rector of the Friars of the Sack, shows just how devastating that end could be. Once Curia and council had decided, the friars were unable to reverse the decision. Filippo Benizi, the superior of the Florentine Servites, hurried to the Curia; the Williamites also secured a letter in their support from a cardinal, Jacopo Savelli, and...

    (pp. 233-246)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 247-262)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 263-263)