Monasteries are among the most intriguing and enduring symbols of England's medieval heritage. Simultaneously places of prayer and spirituality, power and charity, learning and invention, illusion and superstition, they survive today as haunting ruins, great houses and as some of our most important cathedrals and churches.
This book examines the growth of monasticism and the different orders of monks; the architecture and administration of monasteries, the daily life of monks and nuns, the art of monasteries and their libraries, their role in caring for the poor and sick, their power and wealth, their decline and suppression, their ruin and rescue.
Many of Britain's greatest churches, including Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, Durham and Gloucester cathedrals were once monasteries. So too were some of Britain's most evocative and awe-inspiring ruins such as Fountain's Abbey in Yorkshire and Tintern Abbey in Wales. This book tells the story of devotion, work and prayer behind those magnificent edifices.
About the Author
Roger Rosewell is a former journalist, and News and Features Editor of Vidimus, the free online magazine about stained glass. He has studied medieval ecclesiastical art in detail and is the author of Medieval Wall Paintings.
Table of Contents
The Four Monastic Orders 8
Becoming a Monk 14
The Architecture of Monasteries 16
Managing a Monastery 22
Daily Life I Prayer, Study, Work 24
Daily Life II Personal Life 36
Daily Life III Domestic 40
Beyond the Cloister 56
The Other Orders 62
Further Reading and Websites 72
Places to Visit 74