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.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Alban and his monastery; The abbot and the monastic community; The abbot and secular life; The abbot and the cells of St Albans; Education at St Albans in the 14th century; The provision of charity; Conclusions; Appendix A: Appropriated churches; Appendix B: Priors; Appendix C: Education at St Albans in the first half of the 14th century; Appendix D: The provision of charity; Select bibliography; Index.
'... a very clearly organized study... fortified with four appendices, an excellent bibliography and an adequate index.' American Benedictine Review '... provides a valuable contribution to the history of monastic life in medieval England.' Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique 'This book is a careful, comprehensive, and well written sudy of the subject with which it deals, drawing on a wide variety of sources in manuscript and print as well as in books and articles, most notably the three-volume Gesta Abbatum in the Rolls series'. Albion