The Abbot and the Rule: Religious Life at St Albans, 1290–1349

1st Edition

Michelle Still

Published February 28, 2002
Reference - 360 Pages
ISBN 9780754605218 - CAT# Y284971
Series: Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West

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St Albans was one of the greatest Benedictine abbeys of medieval England, and the early 14th century was a period during which the concerns of the community and the role of the abbot emerge particularly clearly. Yet the history of the abbey during this period has received little attention since general surveys undertaken over eighty years ago, and the manorial history by Levett in 1938. Basing herself on the unique and relatively unexploited Gesta Abbatum Monasterii Sancti Albani, Michelle Still examines the position of St Albans in both the secular and monastic worlds, with a focus on the period 1290-1349. The study includes discussion of the role of the abbot as a feudal landlord, a provider of education (at the abbey's grammar school), and a dispenser of charity. In conclusion, she notes the pivotal importance of the personality and influence of the abbot of St Albans in ensuring the strict observance of the Rule of St Benedict in an age when traditional monasticism was increasingly challenged. Through the detailed study of this one abbey, this book makes an important contribution to the overall picture of monastic life in medieval England.

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