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Late Medieval Monasteries and their Patrons

Late Medieval Monasteries and their Patrons: England and Wales, c.1300-1540

Volume: 29
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Late Medieval Monasteries and their Patrons
    Book Description:

    Lay patronage of religious houses remained of considerable importance during the late medieval period; but this is the first full-length study dedicated to the subject. Based on a wide range of medieval documentary sources, including wills, monastic registers, inquisitions post mortem, cartularies and episcopal registers, this book traces the descent of these later patrons and assesses their activities, in particular their bequests and benefactions, their involvement in the affairs of their houses, and their burials in the conventual churches; and it argues that the ties which bound the two parties together, whether amicable, indifferent or abusive, continued right up until the Dissolution brought monastic life in England and Wales to an end. KAREN STÖBER is a Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Aberystwyth

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-562-8
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Karen Stöber
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    During the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, several hundred houses of monks, canons and nuns in England and Wales were in the patronage of lay folk. These patrons, men and women, ranged in status from the most powerful English magnates to the minor country gentry, just as the monasteries ranged from large, considerably prosperous abbeys to small, impoverished, obscure establishments. And just as varied as the patrons’ rank and status was the degree of their involvement with the religious houses under their patronage.

    Some fifty years ago Susan M. Wood suggested, in her authoritative study of the monastic patrons of...

  7. 1 Monasticism and Patronage in England and Wales: Continuity and Change
    (pp. 9-64)

    The houses of monks, canons and nuns which once were, and in many respects still are, such a characteristic feature of the European countryside, have generated a strong fascination and interest among laymen and laywomen ever since their first appearance in the fourth century. From their earliest beginnings, monastic communities were inevitably linked to the lay communities from which they sprang, and from which they were aiming so strongly to distance themselves in order to pursue a life dedicated as far as possible to a purely spiritual existence. From the start the lay community looked up to these groups of...

  8. 2 Manifestations of Monastic Patronage in the Later Middle Ages
    (pp. 65-111)

    During the two and a half centuries preceding the Dissolution, monastic patronage of all religious orders changed in character as well as in scale.¹ Only very few new religious houses came into existence after the year 1300, and the needs of existing, established communities of monks, canons and nuns differed in some respects from those of a new foundation. Consequently, the demands on lay patrons altered. Their function as protectors and supporters of their religious communities became increasingly important under the economic and political pressures of the late Middle Ages, at a time when many houses of monks and nuns...

  9. 3 The Burial Preferences of Monastic Patrons in the Later Middle Ages
    (pp. 112-146)

    The place of burial held particular significance for the medieval lay community; choosing one’s burial site was a serious consideration and not one to be taken lightly.¹ At the heart of choosing a burial place lay the concern of the laity for the welfare of their souls after their death, and they recognised that central to the salvation of their souls were the prayers of those whose lives were dedicated to this purpose. The founders and patrons of religious houses therefore had the great fortune of being able to avail themselves of perpetual intercessory services through their inherited right to...

  10. 4 The Monastic Patronage of Five Noble Families
    (pp. 147-189)

    Some families, like the de Veres and the Mortimers, and at a lower level the Askes and the Arthingtons, remained intimately involved with the religious houses of which they were patrons, right up until the Dissolution. In some instances these relationships, and the activities of successive members of a patronal family, are particularly well documented and grant an unusually personal insight into the interactions between a religious community and its lay patrons. This was the case with the five remarkable families who have been singled out here, all of whom held the patronage of more than one monastery: the Montagues,...

  11. 5 Patrons at the Dissolution
    (pp. 190-205)

    Whatever one’s ideological view of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, it can scarcely be denied that this episode represents a series of events which brought about profound and enduring changes that affected the religious, social, and economic landscape. The years 1536–40 saw the destruction and dismantling of some of the country’s finest and most imposing edifices. This ultimately contributed to the redistribution of the nation’s wealth and brought to an end a way of life, the legitimacy of which was increasingly debated.¹ Much work has been done on different aspects of the suppression of the English...

  12. Conclusions
    (pp. 206-208)

    When, in the year 1448, in his will, William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, addressed the religious community at ‘my Charterhouse at Hulle’, he was expressing a sentiment which he shared with some of the most influential and powerful aristocrats in the country.¹ With these few words, de la Pole testified to the continuation of a tradition that dated back as far as the great wave of monastic foundations by the laity in England and Wales during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Throughout those centuries, monastic patronage had become an increasingly clearly–defined concept, recognised and protected by canon...

  13. Appendix: Late Medieval English and Welsh Monasteries and their Patrons
    (pp. 209-250)
  14. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 251-270)
  15. Index
    (pp. 271-286)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 287-289)