Abbeys and Priories of Medieval Wales by Janet Burton, Karen Stöber

By Janet Burton, Karen Stöber

This quantity is a entire, richly illustrated consultant to the non secular homes of Wales from the 12th throughout the 16th centuries. It deals an intensive advent to the background of monastic orders in Wales, together with the Benedictines, Cluniacs, Cistercians, and so forth furthermore, it presents certain money owed of just about sixty communes of spiritual women and men. Descriptions of the extant is still of the structures, in addition to maps, flooring plans, and traveller details make this not only a piece of scholarship, yet an essential advisor for pilgrims in addition.

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Nevertheless, while outwardly withdrawn from the world and its politics, members of the monastic order were often all too keenly aware of the bitter conflicts and wars that ravaged the land outside their monastery walls. In some cases, as we know from the documents that record them, they were just unable to remain passive and detached from the events outside – one imagines that a monk must have felt, just as keenly as any other man, anger at seeing his village, or his family home, destroyed by warring troops.

However in the reign of Henry II (1154–89) the then lord of Abergavenny, William de Braose, further increased the endowments of the monks so that full conventual life could be sustained there. His generosity to the monks meant that he and later patrons could expect a more substantial number of monks – usually thirteen – to carry out the round of liturgical services, rather than just being an economic unit. In 1195 Henry, prior of Abergavenny, was elected as bishop of Llandaff. Despite this distinction, the priory continued to be a dependency of Le Mans, and the Abergavenny monks were required to pay the mother abbey the yearly sum of £5 7s as a mark of their dependent status.

These sites are Beddgelert, buried deep in a valley of Snowdonia; Penmon, on the easternmost tip of the island of Anglesey; Puffin Island (Ynys Lannog) off the Anglesey coast opposite Penmon; Bardsey Island, off the southern tip of the Llŷn Peninsula, and St Tudwal’s Island to its east. All occupied sites resonant with past associations and were guardians of venerable and respected traditions. The canons were also equipped to meet the needs of the Welsh rulers, through their engagement with their strategies for political and cultural modernisation.

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