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         Medieval Monastics                        
What are Monastics?
Monastics are monks and nuns, men and women, who devote themselves to a life of religious dedication and regulation (a monastic life) and live in monasteries and convents. 

Scroll Downyou'll find links to maps of medieval monasteries in England, monastery groundplans, images of traditional, historical costume for monks and nuns, and short 'what is?' and 'what are?' links to chapters and short articles for general information.  For more monastic and abbey info see my Abbey Pages or my bookmark pages.

Public Domain Texts and Images
Abbot Gasquet's English Monastic Life,
J. Charles Wall's Shrines of British Saints,
Rotha Mary Clay's The Hermits and Anchorites of England.
Rotha Mary Clay's Medieval Hospitals of England
Full Color Historical Public Domain Photographs:
For some amazing, full color photographs of old Abbeys, Shrines and Priories, see my Holy Sites Photochrom pages.  Links to castles and costumes on these pages, also.

A note about permissions:  Many of the images and much of the text on these pages are in the public domain and can be copied and used freely without my, or anyone else's, permission. (See my disclaimer at the bottom of this page.)  Please contact me and I can assist you in identifying that material.  Always respect the work of others: credit the original writer/artist for their work as well as your source for the images or information you use. 

  Maps & Indexes

Maps of England, including
cathedrals, cells, and monasteries
for the Cistercians, Benedictines,
White Friars, Black Friars, and Nunneries.

Ground Plans, see Repton, Watton, and Beaulieu and more. 

Or, take a tour of a medieval monastery, a "basics" guide to the parts of a church and living quarters
in a medieval abbey.

Or, click to see ground plans of Medieval Hospitals
English Monastic Houses:
List of approx. 2000 religious
houses (including priories, abbeys
& hospitals) from medieval England.

   Monastic Orders & Costume  

Benedictine Monk & Nun
Franciscan Friar and Minoress
Trinitarian Monk
Carmelite Friar 
Premonstratensian Canon
Gilbertine Canon and Nun
Cluniac Monk
Cistercian (White Monk)
Carthusian Monk
Augustine Canon
Friar of the Sack
Dominican Friar
Austin Friar
Knight Templar Knight
Knight Hospitaller Knight
All Orders

   Quick Links
to Chapters and Articles
What are Monastic Hospitals?  What do Medieval Hospitals, "lepers" and the poor, have to do with Medieval Monasteries, and monks and nuns?

What is an Anchorite?  A general 101 about hermits, anchorites, anchoresses...

What is a 'Fasting Girl'? Information about the fasting girls of the middle ages.

          Who is F.A.Gasquet?  Author of English Monastic Life and much more.

         What is a Refectory?  --  It's the dining room, also called the frater.  Find out
the parts and functions of a medieval monastery and abbey church. (Also see the Ground Plans, left.)

You got gloves with that? -- Information about daily housekeeping, farming, and making repairs.  It seems like with every big task, whether it was shearing, harvesting, or even serving as chaplain, built into your pay was a neato-new pair of gloves.

What is a 'Rule'?  --   A set of 'rules' by which a group of monks or nuns agree to
live.  All must follow the Rule, with the goal of creating physical and spiritual harmony.

What is a 'Lay brother' or 'Lay sister'? --  Lay Brothers were monks who lived in monasteries and lived the lifestyle of a monk but were not professed as full monks and so did not participate in the more important or the most sacred monastic tasks, such as religious studies or as clergy in the Divine Office. 

What is a White Monk?  --   A Cistercian.  Other Orders included Trinitarians,
                                             Gilbertines, and Knights Templar.

What is a 'Kitchener?'  --  Key monastic offices, such as treasurer and kitchener,
                                         were called 'Obedientiaries.'  

Fish-Cooks and Bell-Ringers -- The Paid Servants of the Monastery. 

What is a Habit? --  Habits were like uniforms for monks and nuns and were made up of overlayed garments and vestments. Vestments are particular clothes worn by priests or monastics. Basic guide to clothing and costume.  (soon)

St. Robert of Knaresborough, hermit, Robertine, farmer, miracle worker, and subject of a March blog.  Read an excerpt about him (above), or head straight to Cave Dwellers, chapter three from Mary Rotha Clay's Hermits and Anchorites of England.

General Glossary of Abbeys and English church.  More than glossaries, these are indepth dictionaries, I heartily recommend them: A Companion to the English Parish Church, & The Sutton Companion to Cathedrals and Abbeys, both by Stephen Friar.

Portrait of Mary by Charles Berg, 1910
Noquamur de Ordine nostro.  Now to the business of our House.
Non enim pro locis res, pro bonis rebus lora amanda sunt.  Don't judge a place for its location alone, but from what good comes of it.  St. Augustine.

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