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Author: Martin Heale

This book offers a range of new perspectives on the character and reputation of English monasteries in the later middle ages. The later middle ages was an era of evolution in English monastic life in late medieval England. The book surveys the internal affairs of English monasteries, including recruitment, the monastic economy, and the standards of observance and learning. It looks at the relations between monasteries and the world, exploring the monastic contribution to late medieval religion and society and lay attitudes towards monks and nuns in the years leading up to the Dissolution. The book covers both male and female houses of all orders and sizes. The late medieval 'reforms' of the Benedictine Order included a relaxation of observances on diet, the common life and private property, and little of the Cistercians' primitive austerity can be found in late medieval houses of the order. Monastic spirituality can rarely be accessed through visitation evidence or administrative records, although an impression of the devotional climate within individual houses is occasionally provided by monastic chronicles. Looking beyond the statistics of foundation and dissolution alone, levels of support for the monastic ideal in late medieval England might also be assessed from the evidence of lay patronage of existing houses.

Abstract only
Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered by the sources in this book. The book surveys the internal affairs of English monasteries, including recruitment, the monastic economy, standards of observance and learning. It looks at the relations between monasteries and the world, exploring the monastic contribution to late medieval religion and society and lay attitudes towards monks and nuns in the years leading up to the Dissolution. In the preservation and dissemination of learning, the spread of Christianity throughout Europe, the periodic reform of the Church, the stimulation of the economy and much else, the monastic contribution to the medieval world needs no elaboration. The later middle ages was an era of evolution in English monastic life in late medieval England. In comparison to earlier centuries, the later middle ages witnessed few new monastic foundations and few major grants of property to existing religious houses.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

The documents in this section illustrate the realities of monastic recruitment and economy in the later middle ages. They shed light on the qualifications and commitment required from new recruits to male and female monasteries; they indicate some of the economic problems faced by religious houses in the changing conditions of the period; and they also provide a flavour of the responses adopted by monasteries in the face of these difficulties.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
The Benedictine Rule
Martin Heale

The documents in this section discuss monastic life under The Benedictine Rule. The Benedictines, Cistercians, Cluniacs and many nunneries followed the sixth-century Rule of St Benedict, and other monastic orders were heavily influenced by its teachings.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

The documents in this section illustrate the character of everyday monastic life in the later middle ages in the form of administrative records, most notably accounts and inventories.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

This section observes comment on and criticism of monastic life in late medieval and early Tudor England, and includes not only literature, but also the political and financial manifesto of the Lollards, and an unusual but suggestive episode from fourteenth-century Exeter.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

The documents in this section illustrate the social welfare responsibilities of late medieval monasteries. These social services took three main forms: hospitality, education and charity.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

This section illustrates the sometimes troubled relations between monasteries and neighbouring tenants, townsmen and parishioners.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

The documents in this section illustrate the nature of late medieval religious services, provided by a variety of houses, as well as the demand for them among the monasteries’ lay neighbours.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
Martin Heale

The documents in this section illustrate the relationship between monasteries and the Crown.

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535