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An abbey is a Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 or convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

, under the authority of an Abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

 or an Abbess
Abbess
An abbess is the female superior, or mother superior, of a community of nuns, often an abbey....

, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.


The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey, in some cases for centuries (for example, see Westminster Abbey below).

Origins


The earliest known Christian monastic communities (see Monasticism
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

) consisted of groups of cells or huts collected about a common center, which was usually the house of some hermit or anchorite
Anchorite
Anchorite denotes someone who, for religious reasons, withdraws from secular society so as to be able to lead an intensely prayer-oriented, ascetic, and—circumstances permitting—Eucharist-focused life...

 famous for holiness or singular asceticism, but without any attempt at orderly arrangement. This arrangement probably followed the example set in part by the Essenes
Essenes
The Essenes were a Jewish sect that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests...

 in Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

.

In the earliest age of Christian monasticism
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

 the ascetics were accustomed to live singly, independent of one another, not far from some village church, supporting themselves by the labour of their own hands, and distributing the surplus after the supply of their own scanty wants to the poor. Increasing religious fervour, aided by persecution, drove them farther and farther away from the civilization into mountain solitudes or lonely deserts. The deserts of Egypt swarmed with the "cells" or huts of these anchorites. Anthony the Great
Anthony the Great
Anthony the Great or Antony the Great , , also known as Saint Anthony, Anthony the Abbot, Anthony of Egypt, Anthony of the Desert, Anthony the Anchorite, Abba Antonius , and Father of All Monks, was a Christian saint from Egypt, a prominent leader among the Desert Fathers...

, who had retired to the Egyptian Thebaid
Thebaid
The Thebaid or Thebais is the region of ancient Egypt containing the thirteen southernmost nomes of Upper Egypt, from Abydos to Aswan. It acquired its name from its proximity to the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes....

 during the persecution of Maximian
Maximian
Maximian was Roman Emperor from 286 to 305. He was Caesar from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier but spent...

, AD 312, was the most celebrated among them for his austerities, his sanctity, and his power as an exorcist. His fame collected round him a host of followers imitating his asceticism in an attempt to imitate his sanctity. The deeper he withdrew into the wilderness, the more numerous his disciples became. They refused to be separated from him, and built their cells round that of their spiritual father. Thus arose the first monastic community, consisting of anchorites living each in his own little dwelling, united together under one superior. Anthony, as Johann August Wilhelm Neander remarks, "without any conscious design of his own, had become the founder of a new mode of living in common, Coenobitism
Cenobitic
Cenobitic monasticism is a monastic tradition that stresses community life. Often in the West, the community belongs to a religious order and the life of the cenobitic monk is regulated by a religious rule, a collection of precepts...

." By degrees order was introduced in the groups of huts. They were arranged in lines like the tents in an encampment, or the houses in a street. From this arrangement these lines of single cells came to be known as Laurae, Laurai, "streets" or "lanes".

The real founder of cenobitic
Cenobitic
Cenobitic monasticism is a monastic tradition that stresses community life. Often in the West, the community belongs to a religious order and the life of the cenobitic monk is regulated by a religious rule, a collection of precepts...

 (koinos, common, and bios, life) monasteries in the modern sense was Pachomius
Pachomius
Saint Pakhom , also known as Pachome and Pakhomius , is generally recognized as the founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism. In the Coptic churches his feast day is celebrated on May 9...

, an Egyptian of the beginning of the 4th century. The first community established by him was at Tabennae, an island of the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 in Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur . The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt...

. Eight others were founded in the region during his lifetime, numbering 3,000 monks. Within fifty years from his death his societies could claim 50,000 members. These coenobia resembled villages, peopled by a hard-working religious community, all of one sex.

The buildings were detached, small and of the humblest character. Each cell or hut, according to Sozomen
Sozomen
Salminius Hermias Sozomenus was a historian of the Christian church.-Family and Home:He was born around 400 in Bethelia, a small town near Gaza, into a wealthy Christian family of Palestine....

, contained three monks. They took their chief meal in a common refectory
Refectory
A refectory is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools and academic institutions. One of the places the term is most often used today is in graduate seminaries...

 or dining hall at 3 P.M., up to which hour they usually fasted. They ate in silence, with hoods so drawn over their faces that they could see nothing but what was on the table before them. The monks spent the time not devoted to religious services or study in manual labour.

Palladius
Palladius
Palladius was the first Bishop of the Christians of Ireland, preceding Saint Patrick. The Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion consider Palladius a saint.-Armorica:...

, who visited the Egyptian monasteries about the close of the 4th century, found among the 300 members of the coenobium of Panopolis, under the Pachomian
Pachomius
Saint Pakhom , also known as Pachome and Pakhomius , is generally recognized as the founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism. In the Coptic churches his feast day is celebrated on May 9...

 rule, 15 tailors, 7 smiths, 4 carpenters, 12 cameldrivers and 15 tanners. Each separate community had its own oeconomus
Oeconomus
Oeconomus, œconomus or oikonomos was an Ancient Greek word meaning 'manager' or 'housekeeper'...

 or steward, who was subject to a chief steward stationed at the head establishment. All the produce of the monks' labour was committed to him, and by him shipped to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. The money raised by the sale was expended in the purchase of stores for the support of the communities, and what was over was devoted to charity. Twice in the year the superiors of the several coenobia met at the chief monastery, under the presidency of an archimandrite ("the chief of the fold," from miandra, a sheepfold), and at the last meeting gave in reports of their administration for the year. The coenobia of Syria belonged to the Pachomian institution. We learn many details concerning those in the vicinity of Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 from Chrysostom's writings. The monks lived in separate huts, kalbbia, forming a religious hamlet on the mountain side. They were subject to an abbot, and observed a common rule. (They had no refectory, but ate their common meal, of bread and water only, when the day's labour was over, reclining on strewn grass, sometimes out of doors.) Four times in the day they joined in prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

s and psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

.

Great Lavra, Mount Athos


The necessity for defence from attacks (for monastic houses tended to accumulate rich gifts), economy of space and convenience of access from one part of the community to another, by degrees dictated a more compact and orderly arrangement of the buildings of a monastic coenobium. Large piles of building were erected, with strong outside walls, capable of resisting the assaults of an enemy, within which all the necessary edifices were ranged round one or more open courts, usually surrounded with cloister
Cloister
A cloister is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth...

s. The usual Eastern arrangement is exemplified in the plan of the convent of the Great Lavra
Great Lavra
This is the monastery on Mount Athos. For the monastery associated with Saint Sabbas, see Mar Saba.The Monastery of Great Lavra is the first monastery built on Mount Athos. It is located on the southeastern foot of the Mount at an elevation of 160 metres...

, Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

.
Monastery of Santa Laura, Mount Athos (Lenoir)
A. Gateway
B. Chapels
C. Guesthouse
D. Church
E. Cloister
F. Fountain
G. Refectory
H. Kitchen
I. Monks' cells
K. Storehouses
L. Postern gate
M. Tower


This monastery, like the oriental monasteries generally, is surrounded by a strong and lofty blank stone wall, enclosing an area of between 3 and 4 acres (12,000 and 16,000 m²). The longer side extends to a length of about 500 feet (152.4 m). There is only one main entrance, on the north side (A), defended by three separate iron doors. Near the entrance is a large tower (M), a constant feature in the monasteries of the Levant. There is a small postern
Postern
A postern is a secondary door or gate, particularly in a fortification such as a city wall or castle curtain wall. Posterns were often located in a concealed location, allowing the occupants to come and go inconspicuously. In the event of a siege, a postern could act as a sally port, allowing...

 gate at L. The enceinte
Enceinte
Enceinte , is a French term used technically in fortification for the inner ring of fortifications surrounding a town or a concentric castle....

 comprises two large open courts, surrounded with buildings connected with cloister galleries of wood or stone. The outer court, which is much the larger, contains the granaries and storehouses (K), and the kitchen (H) and other offices connected with the refectory (G). Immediately adjacent to the gateway is a two-storied guest-house, opening from a cloister (C). The inner court is surrounded by a cloister (EE), from which open the monks' cells (II). In the centre of this court stands the catholicon
Catholicon
Catholicon may refer to:* Catholicon, the conventual church at the centre of an abbey* Katholikon, the primary church in an Orthodox or Eastern Catholic monastery* Catholicon , part of the Holy Liturgy of Mor Yakub of the Syriac Orthodox Church...

 or conventual church, a square building with an apse of the
cruciform domical Byzantine type, approached by a domed narthex
Narthex
The narthex of a church is the entrance or lobby area, located at the end of the nave, at the far end from the church's main altar. Traditionally the narthex was a part of the church building, but was not considered part of the church proper...

. In front of the church stands a marble fountain (F), covered by a dome supported on columns. Opening from the western side of the cloister, but actually standing in the outer court, is the refectory (G), a large cruciform building, about 100 feet (30.5 m) each way, decorated within with frescoes of saints. At the upper end is a semicircular recess, recalling the triclinium of the Lateran Palace at Rome, in which is placed the seat of the hegumenos or abbot. This apartment is chiefly used as a hall of meeting, the oriental monks usually taking their meals in their separate cells.

The annexed plan of a Coptic
Coptic Christianity
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the official name for the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East. The Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches, which has been a distinct church body since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, when it took a different...

 monastery, from Lenoir, shows a church of three aisles, with cellular apses, and two ranges of cells on either side of an oblong gallery.
Plan of Coptic Monastery
A. Narthex
B. Church
C. Corridor, with cells on each side
D. Staircase

Benedictine monasteries


Monasticism in the West owes its extension and development to Benedict of Nursia
Benedict of Nursia
Saint Benedict of Nursia is a Christian saint, honored by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of Europe and students.Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, about to the east of Rome, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. There is no...

 (born AD 480). His rule was diffused with miraculous rapidity from the parent foundation on Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

 through the whole of western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

, and every country witnessed the erection of monasteries far exceeding anything that had yet been seen in spaciousness and splendour. Few great towns in Italy were without their Benedictine convent, and they quickly rose in all the great centres of population in England, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. The number of these monasteries founded between AD 520 and 700 is amazing. Before the Council of Constance
Council of Constance
The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

, AD 1415, no fewer than 15,070 abbeys had been established of this order alone. The buildings of a Benedictine abbey were uniformly arranged after one plan, modified where necessary (as at Durham and Worcester, where the monasteries stand close to the steep bank of a river) to accommodate the arrangement to local circumstances.

We have no existing examples of the earlier monasteries of the Benedictine order. They have all yielded to the ravages of time and the violence of man. But we have preserved to us an elaborate plan of the great Swiss monastery of St Gall, erected about AD 820, which puts us in possession of the whole arrangements of a monastery of the first class towards the early part of the 9th century. This curious and interesting plan has been made the subject of a memoir both by Keller
Keller
Keller is the German word for cellar. It is a very rare first name but a somewhat common surname in several languages.-Place names:Keller is the name of several places in the United States of America:*Keller, Georgia*Keller, Texas*Keller, Virginia...

 (Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, 1844) and by Professor Robert Willis. To the latter we are indebted for the substance of the following description, as well as for the plan, reduced from his elucidated transcript of the original preserved in the archives of the convent. The general appearance of the convent is that of a town of isolated houses with streets running between them. It is evidently planned in compliance with the Benedictine rule, which enjoined that, if possible, the monastery should contain within itself every necessary of life, as well as the buildings more intimately connected with the religious and social life of its inmates. It should comprise a mill, a bakehouse, stable
Stable
A stable is a building in which livestock, especially horses, are kept. It most commonly means a building that is divided into separate stalls for individual animals...

s, and cow
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

-houses, together with accommodation for carrying on all necessary mechanical arts within the walls, so as to obviate the necessity of the monks going outside its limits.

The general distribution of the buildings may be thus described:-The church, with its cloister to the south, occupies the centre of a quadrangular area, about 430 feet (131.1 m) square. The buildings, as in all great monasteries, are distributed into groups. The church forms the nucleus, as the centre of the religious life of the community. In closest connection with the church is the group of buildings appropriated to the monastic line and its daily requirements---the refectory for eating, the dormitory for sleeping, the common room for social intercourse, the chapter-house for religious and disciplinary conference. These essential elements of monastic life are ranged about a cloister court, surrounded by a covered arcade, affording communication sheltered from the elements between the various buildings. The infirmary for sick monks, with the physician's house and physic garden, lies to the east. In the same group with the infirmary is the school for the novices. The outer school, with its headmaster's house against the opposite wall of the church, stands outside the convent enclosure, in close proximity to the abbot's house, that he might have a constant eye over them. The buildings devoted to hospitality are divided into three groups,--one for the reception of distinguished guests, another for monks visiting the monastery, a third for poor travellers and pilgrims. The first and third are placed to the right and left of the common entrance of the monastery,---the hospitium for distinguished guests being placed on the north side of the church, not far from the abbot's house; that for the poor on the south side next to the farm buildings. The monks are lodged in a guest-house built against the north wall of the church. The group of buildings connected with the material wants of the establishment is placed to the south and west of the church, and is distinctly separated from the monastic buildings. The kitchen, buttery and offices are reached by a passage from the west end of the refectory, and are connected with the bakehouse and brewhouse, which are placed still farther away. The whole of the southern and western sides is devoted to workshops, stables and farm-buildings. The buildings, with some exceptions, seem to have been of one story only, and all but the church were probably erected of wood. The whole includes thirty-three separate blocks. The church (D) is cruciform, with a nave of nine bays, and a semicircular apse at either extremity. That to the west is surrounded by a semicircular colonnade, leaving an open "paradise" (E) between it and the wall of the church. The whole area is divided by screens into various chapels. The high altar (A) stands immediately to the east of the transept, or ritual choir; the altar of Saint Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 (B) in the eastern, and that of St Peter (C) in the western apse. A cylindrical campanile stands detached from the church on either side of the western apse (FF).

The "cloister court", (G) on the south side of the nave of the
Ground plan of St. Gall


CHURCH.
A. High altar.
B. Altar of St Paul.
C. Altar of St Peter.
D. Nave.
E. Paradise.
FF. Towers.
MONASTIC BUILDINGS
G. Cloister.
H. Calefactory, with dormitory over.
I. Necessary.
J. Abbot's house.
K. Refectory.
L. Kitchen.
M. Bakehouse and brewhouse.
N. Cellar.
O. Parlour. (over.
P1. Scriptorium with library k,
P2. Sacristy and vestry.
Q. House of Novices--1.chapel;
2. refectory; 3. calefactory;
4. dormitory; 5. master's room
6. chambers.
R. Infirmary--1--6 as above in
the house of novices.
S. Doctor's house.
T. Physic garden.
U. House for blood-letting.
V. School.
W. Schoolmaster's lodgings.
X1X1. Guest-house for those of superior rank
X2X2. Guest-house for the poor.
Y. Guest-chamber for strange monks.

MENIAL DEPARTMENT.
Z. Factory.
a. Threshing-floor
b. Workshops.
c, c. Mills.
d. Kiln.
e. Stables.
f Cow-sheds.
g. Goat-sheds.
h. Pig-sties. i. Sheep-folds.
k, k. Servants' and workmen's sleeping-chambers.
l. Gardener's house
m,m. Hen and duck house.
n. Poultry-keeper's house.
o. Garden.
q. Bakehouse for sacramental

s, s, s. Kitchens.
t, t, t. Baths.


church has on its east side the "pisalis
Pisalis
A pisalis or calefactory is a heated chamber in part of an abbey used by Christian monks as a common sitting room. It is usually close to, and accessible from, the cloisters.-References:*...

" or "calefactory", (H), the common sitting-room of the brethren, warmed by flues beneath the floor. On this side in later monasteries we invariably find the chapter house
Chapter house
A chapter house or chapterhouse is a building or room attached to a cathedral or collegiate church in which meetings are held. They can also be found in medieval monasteries....

, the absence of which in this plan is somewhat surprising. It appears, however, from the inscriptions on the plan itself, that the north walk of the cloisters served for the purposes of a chapter-house, and was fitted up with benches on the long sides. Above the calefactory is the "dormitory
Dormitory
A dormitory, often shortened to dorm, in the United States is a residence hall consisting of sleeping quarters or entire buildings primarily providing sleeping and residential quarters for large numbers of people, often boarding school, college or university students...

" opening into the south transept of the church, to enable the monks to attend the nocturnal services with readiness. A passage at the other end leads to the "necessarium" (I), a portion of the monastic buildings always planned with extreme care. The southern side is occupied by the "refectory" (K), from the west end of which by a vestibule the kitchen (L) is reached. This is separated from the main buildings of the monastery, and is connected by a long passage with a building containing the bake house and brew house (M), and the sleeping-rooms of the servants. The upper story of the refectory is the "vestiarium," where the ordinary clothes of the brethren were kept. On the western side of the cloister is another two story building (N). The cellar is below, and the larder
Larder
A larder is a cool area for storing food prior to use.Larders were commonplace in houses before the widespread use of the refrigerator.Essential qualities of a larder are that it should be:*as cool as possible*close to food preparation areas...

 and store-room above. Between this building and the church, opening by one door into the cloisters, and by another to the outer part of the monastery area, is the "parlour" for interviews with visitors from the external world (O). On the eastern side of the north transept is the "scriptorium
Scriptorium
Scriptorium, literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the copying of manuscripts by monastic scribes...

" or writing-room (P1), with the library above.

To the east of the church stands a group of buildings comprising two miniature conventual establishments, each complete in itself. Each has a covered cloister surrounded by the usual buildings, i.e. refectory, dormitory, etc., and a church or chapel on one side, placed back to back. A detached building belonging to each contains a bath and a kitchen. One of these diminutive convents is appropriated to the "oblati" or novices (Q), the other to the sick monks as an "infirmary
Hospital
A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals often, but not always, provide for inpatient care or longer-term patient stays....

" (R).

The "residence of the physicians" (S) stands contiguous to the infirmary, and the physic garden (T) at the north-east corner of the monastery. Besides other rooms, it contains a drug store, and a chamber for those who are dangerously ill. The "house for bloodletting and purging" adjoins it on the west (U).

The "outer school," to the north of the convent area, contains a large schoolroom divided across the middle by a screen or partition, and surrounded by fourteen little rooms, termed the dwellings of the scholars. The head-master's house (W) is opposite, built against the side wall of the church. The two "hospitia" or guest-houses for the entertainment of strangers of different degrees (X1 X2) comprise a large common chamber or refectory in the centre, surrounded by sleeping-apartments. Each is provided with its own brewhouse and bakehouse, and that for travelers of a superior order has a kitchen and storeroom, with bedrooms for their servants and stables for their horses. There is also an "hospitium" for strange monks, abutting on the north wall of the church (Y).

Beyond the cloister, at the extreme verge of the convent area to the south, stands the "factory" (Z), containing workshops for shoemakers, saddlers (or shoemakers, sellarii), cutlers and grinders, trencher
Trencher (tableware)
A trencher is a type of tableware, commonly used in medieval cuisine. A trencher was originally a piece of stale bread, cut into a square shape by a carver, and used as a plate, upon which the food could be placed before being eaten. At the end of the meal, the trencher could be eaten with sauce,...

-makers, tanners, curriers, fullers, smiths
Smith (metalwork)
A metalsmith, often shortened to smith, is a person involved in making metal objects. In contemporary use a metalsmith is a person who uses metal as a material, uses traditional metalsmithing techniques , whose work thematically relates to the practice or history of the practice, or who engages in...

 and goldsmith
Goldsmith
A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Since ancient times the techniques of a goldsmith have evolved very little in order to produce items of jewelry of quality standards. In modern times actual goldsmiths are rare...

s, with their dwellings in the rear. On this side we also find the farm buildings, the large granary and threshing-floor (a), mills (c), malthouse (d). Facing the west are the stables (e), ox-sheds (f), goatstables (gl, piggeries (h), sheep-folds
(i), together with the servants' and labourers' quarters (k). At the south-east corner we find the hen and duck house, and poultry-yard (m), and the dwelling of the keeper (n). Hard by is the kitchen garden (o), the beds bearing the names of the vegetables growing in them, onions, garlic, celery, lettuces, poppy, carrots, cabbages, etc., eighteen in all. In the same way the physic garden presents the names of the medicinal herbs, and the cemetery (p) those of the trees, apple, pear, plum, quince, etc., planted there.

Cells


Every large monastery had depending upon it smaller foundations known as cells or priories. Sometimes these foundations were no more than a single building serving as residence and farm offices, while other examples were miniature monasteries for 5 or 10 monks. The outlying farming establishments belonging to the monastic foundations were known as villae or granges. They were usually staffed by lay-brothers, sometimes under the supervision of a single monk.

Westminster Abbey


Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 is another example of a great Benedictine abbey, identical in its general arrangements, so far as they can be traced, with those described above. The cloister and monastic buildings lie to the south side of the church. Parallel to the nave, on the south side of the cloister, was the refectory, with its lavatory at the door.

On the eastern side there are remains of the dormitory, raised on a vaulted substructure and communicating with the south transept. The chapter-house opens out of the same alley of the cloister. The small cloister lay to the south-east of the larger cloister, and still farther to the east we have the remains of the infirmary with the table hall, the refectory of those who were able to leave their chambers. The abbot's house formed a small courtyard at the west entrance, close to the inner gateway.

Considerable portions of this remain, including the abbot's parlour, celebrated as "the Jerusalem Chamber," his hall, now used for the Westminster King's Scholars, and the kitchen and butteries beyond.

York


St Mary's Abbey, York
St Mary's Abbey, York
The Abbey of St Mary in York, once the richest abbey in the north of England, is a ruined Benedictine abbey that lies in what are now the Yorkshire Museum Gardens, on a steeply sloping site to the west of York Minster. The original abbey on the site was founded in 1055 and dedicated to Saint Olave...

, of which the ground-plan is annexed, exhibits the usual Benedictine arrangements. The precincts are surrounded by a strong fortified wall on three sides, the river Ouse
River Ouse, Yorkshire
The River Ouse is a river in North Yorkshire, England. The river is formed from the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse, about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the River Swale with the River Ure...

 being sufficient protection on the fourth side. The entrance was by a strong gateway to the north. Close to the entrance was a chapel, where is now the church of St Olaf, in which the new-comers paid their devotions immediately on their arrival. Near the gate to the south was the guest-hall or hospitium. The buildings are completely ruined, but enough remains to enable us to identify the grand cruciform church, the cloister-court with the chapterhouse, the refecrefectory, the kitchen-court with its offices and the other principal apartments. The infirmary has perished completely.

Cluny


The history of monasticism is one of alternate periods of decay and revival. With growth in popular esteem came increase in material wealth, leading to luxury and worldliness. The first religious ardour cooled, the strictness of the rule was relaxed, until by the 10th century the decay of discipline was so complete in France that the monks are said to have been frequently unacquainted with the rule of St Benedict, and even ignorant that they were bound by any rule at all.

The reformation of abuses generally took the form of the establishment of new monastic orders, with new and more stringent rules, requiring a modification of the architectural arrangements. One of the earliest of these reformed orders was the Cluniac. This order took its name from,the little village of Cluny, 12 miles (19.3 km) N.W. of Macon, near which, about AD 909, a reformed Benedictine abbey was founded by William, duke of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 and count of Auvergne
Rulers of Auvergne
-History:In the 7th century Auvergne was disputed between the Franks and Aquitanians. It was later conquered by the Carolingians, and was integrated for a time into the kingdom of Aquitaine...

, under Berno, abbot of Beaume. He was succeeded by Odo, who is often regarded as the founder of the order. The fame of Cluny spread far and wide. Its rigid rule was adopted by a vast number of the old Benedictine abbeys, who placed themselves in affiliation to the mother society, while new foundations sprang up in large numbers, all owing allegiance to the "archabbot," established at Cluny.

By the end of the 12th century the number of monasteries affiliated to Cluny in the various countries of western Europe amounted to 2000. The monastic establishment of Cluny was one of the most extensive and magnificent in France. We may form some idea of its enormous dimensions from the fact recorded, that when, in AD 1245, Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

, accompanied by twelve cardinals, a patriarch, three archbishops, the two generals of the Carthusians and Cistercians, the king (St Louis
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

), and three of his sons, the queen mother, Baldwin, count of Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 and emperor of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, the duke of Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

, and six lords, visited the abbey, the whole party, with their attendants, were lodged within the monastery without disarranging the monks, 400 in number. Nearly the whole of the abbey buildings, including the magnificent church, were swept away at the close of the 18th century. When the annexed ground-plan was taken, shortly before its destruction, nearly all the monastery, with the exception of the church, had been rebuilt.

The church, the ground-plan of which bears a remarkable resemblance to that of Lincoln Cathedral, was of vast dimensions. It was 656 ft (199.9 m). high. The nave had double vaulted aisles on either side. Like Lincoln, it had an eastern as well as a western transept, each furnished with apsidal chapels to the east. The western transept was 213 ft (64.9 m). long, and the eastern 123 ft (37.5 m). The choir terminated in a semicircular apse, surrounded by five chapels, also semicircular. The western entrance was approached by an ante-church, or narthex, itself an aisled church of no mean dimensions, flanked by two towers, rising from a stately flight of steps bearing a large stone cross. To the south of the church lay the cloister-court, of immense size, placed much farther to the west than is usually the case. On the south side of the cloister stood the refectory, an immense building, 100 ft (30.5 m) long and 60 ft (18.3 m) wide, accommodating six longitudinal and three transverse rows of tables. It was adorned with the portraits of the chief benefactors of the abbey, and with Scriptural subjects. The end wall displayed the Last Judgment. We are unable to identify any other of the principal buildings. The abbot's residence, still partly standing, adjoined the entrance-gate. The guest-house was close by. The bakehouse, also remaining, is a detached building of immense size.

English Cluniac houses


The first English house of the Cluniac order was that of Lewes
Lewes
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, England and historically of all of Sussex. It is a civil parish and is the centre of the Lewes local government district. The settlement has a history as a bridging point and as a market town, and today as a communications hub and tourist-oriented town...

, founded by the earl of Warren, c. AD 1077. Of this only a few fragments of the domestic buildings exist. The best preserved Cluniac houses in England are Castle Acre, Norfolk, and Wenlock, Shropshire. Ground-plans of both are given in Britton's Architectural Antiquities. They show several departures from the Benedictine arrangement. In each the prior's house is remarkably perfect. All Cluniac houses in England were French colonies, governed by priors of that nation. They did not secure their independence nor become "abbeys" till the reign of Henry VI. The Cluniac revival, with all its brilliancy, was but short-lived. The celebrity of this, as of other orders, worked its moral ruin. With their growth in wealth and dignity the Cluniac foundations became as worldly in life and as relaxed in discipline as their predecessors, and a fresh reform was needed.

Cistercian abbeys


The next great monastic revival, that of the Cistercians, arose in the last years of the 11th century and had a wider diffusion as well as a longer and more honourable existence. Owing its real origin as a distinct foundation of reformed Benedictines to Stephen Harding
Stephen Harding
Saint Stephen Harding is a Christian saint and abbot, one of the founders of the Cistercian Order.-Life:Stephen Harding was born in Dorset, England. He was placed in Sherborne Abbey at a young age, but eventually put aside the cowl and became a travelling scholar. He eventually moved to Molesme...

 in the year 1098, it derives its name from Cîteaux (Cistercium), a desolate and almost inaccessible forest solitude on the border between Champagne
Champagne, France
Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 100 miles east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area...

 and Burgundy. The rapid growth and wide celebrity of the order are undoubtedly to be attributed to the enthusiastic piety of St Bernard
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val...

, abbot of the first of the monastic colonies, subsequently sent forth in such quick succession by the first Cistercian houses, the renowned abbey of Clairvaux
Clairvaux Abbey
Clairvaux Abbey is a Cistercian monastery in Ville-sous-la-Ferté, 15 km from Bar-sur-Aube, in the Aube département in northeastern France. The original building, founded in 1115 by St. Bernard, is now in ruins; a high-security prison, the Clairvaux Prison, now occupies the grounds...

 (de Clara Valle), AD 1116.

The rigid self-abnegation, which was the ruling principle of this reformed congregation of the Benedictine order, extended itself to the churches and other buildings erected by them. The defining architectural characteristic of the Cistercian abbeys was the most extreme simplicity and a studied plainness. Only a single, central tower was permitted, and that was to be very low. Unnecessary pinnacles and turrets were prohibited. The triforium
Triforium
A triforium is a shallow arched gallery within the thickness of inner wall, which stands above the nave of a church or cathedral. It may occur at the level of the clerestory windows, or it may be located as a separate level below the clerestory. It may itself have an outer wall of glass rather than...

 was omitted. The windows were to be plain and undivided, and it was forbidden to decorate them with stained glass. All needless ornament was proscribed. The crosses must be of wood; the candlesticks of iron. The renunciation of the world was to be evidenced in all that met the eye.

The same spirit manifested itself in the choice of the sites of their monasteries. The more dismal, the more savage, the more hopeless a spot appeared, the more did it please their rigid mood. But they came not merely as ascetics, but as improvers. The Cistercian monasteries are, as a rule, found placed in deep, well-watered valleys. They always stand on the border of a stream; often with the buildings extending over it, as at Fountains Abbey
Fountains Abbey
Fountains Abbey is near to Aldfield, approximately two miles southwest of Ripon in North Yorkshire, England. It is a ruined Cistercian monastery, founded in 1132. Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian houses in England. It is a Grade I listed building and owned by the...

. These valleys, now so rich and productive, had a very different appearance when the brethren first chose them as their place of retreat. Wide swamps, deep morasses, tangled thickets, and wild, impassable forests were their prevailing features. The "bright valley," Clara Vallis of St Bernard, was known as the "Valley of Wormwood," infamous as a den of robbers. "It was a savage dreary solitude, so utterly barren that at first Bernard and his companions were reduced to live on beech leaves".

See also:
  • Clairvaux Abbey
    Clairvaux Abbey
    Clairvaux Abbey is a Cistercian monastery in Ville-sous-la-Ferté, 15 km from Bar-sur-Aube, in the Aube département in northeastern France. The original building, founded in 1115 by St. Bernard, is now in ruins; a high-security prison, the Clairvaux Prison, now occupies the grounds...

    .
  • Cîteaux Abbey
    Cîteaux Abbey
    Cîteaux Abbey is a Roman Catholic abbey located in Saint-Nicolas-lès-Cîteaux, south of Dijon, France. Today it belongs to the Trappists, or Cistercians of the Strict Observance . The Cistercian order takes its name from this mother house of Cîteaux, earlier Cisteaux, near Nuits-Saint-Georges...

    .
  • Kirkstall Abbey
    Kirkstall Abbey
    Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Kirkstall north-west of Leeds city centre in West Yorkshire. It is set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire. It was founded c.1152. It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of Henry...

    .
  • Fountains Abbey
    Fountains Abbey
    Fountains Abbey is near to Aldfield, approximately two miles southwest of Ripon in North Yorkshire, England. It is a ruined Cistercian monastery, founded in 1132. Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian houses in England. It is a Grade I listed building and owned by the...

    .
  • Loc-Dieu.
  • Rievaulx Abbey
    Rievaulx Abbey
    Rievaulx Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey headed by the Abbot of Rievaulx. It is located in Rievaulx , near Helmsley in North Yorkshire, England.It was one of the wealthiest abbeys in England and was dissolved by Henry VIII of England in 1538...

    .
  • Strata Florida.

Austin Canons


The buildings of the Austin canons
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

 or Black canons (so called from the colour of their habit) present few distinctive peculiarities. This order had its first seat in England at Colchester, where a house for Austin canons was founded about AD 1105, and it very soon spread widely. As an order of regular clergy
Regular clergy
Regular clergy, or just regulars, is applied in the Roman Catholic Church to clerics who follow a "rule" in their life. Strictly, it means those members of religious orders who have made solemn profession. It contrasts with secular clergy.-Terminology and history:The observance of the Rule of St...

, holding a middle position between monks and secular canons, almost resembling a community of parish priests living under rule, they adopted naves of great length to accommodate large congregations. The choir is usually long, and is sometimes, as at Llanthony and Christchurch (Twynham), shut off from the aisles, or, as at Bolton, Kirkham, etc., is destitute of aisles altogether. The nave in the northern houses, not infrequently, had only a north aisle, as at Bolton, Brinkburn and Lanercost
Lanercost Priory
Lanercost Priory was founded by Robert de Vaux between 1165 and 1174, the most likely date being 1169, to house Augustinian Canons. It is situated at the village of Lanercost, Cumbria, England, within sight of Naworth Castle, with which it long had close connections.It is now open to the public and...

. The arrangement of the monastic buildings followed the ordinary type. The prior's lodge was almost invariably attached to the S.W. angle of the nave.

Bristol Cathedral




FIG. 11.--St Augustine's Abbey,
Bristol (Bristol
A. Church.
B. Great cloister.
C. Little cloister.
D. Chapter-house.
E. Calefactory.
F. Refectory.
G. Parlour.
H. Kitchen.
I. Kitchen court.
K. Cellars.
L. Abbot's hall.
P. Abbot's gateway.
R. Infirmary.
S. Friars' lodging.
T. King's hall.
V. Guest-house.
W. Abbey gateway.
X. Barns, stables, etc
Y. Lavatory.


The above plan of the Abbey of St Augustine's at Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, now the cathedral church of that city
Bristol Cathedral
The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is the Church of England cathedral in the city of Bristol, England, and is commonly known as Bristol Cathedral...

, shows the arrangement of the buildings, which departs very little from the ordinary Benedictine type. The Austin canons' house at Thornton, in Lincolnshire, is remarkable for the size and magnificence of its gate-house, the upper floors of which formed the guest-house of the establishment, and for possessing an octagonal chapter-house of Decorated date.

Premonstratensians



The Premonstratensian regular canons, or White canons, had as many as 35 houses in England, of which the most perfect remaining are those of Easby, Yorkshire
Easby Abbey
Easby Abbey or the Abbey of St Agatha is an abandoned Premonstratensian abbey on the eastern bank of the River Swale on the outskirts of Richmond in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire. The site is maintained by English Heritage and can be reached by a pleasant riverside walk from...

, and Bayham, Kent
Bayham Old Abbey
Bayham Old Abbey is an English Heritage property, located near Frant, East Sussex, England. Founded c. 1207 through a combination of the failing Premonstratensian monasteries of Otham and Brockley, Bayham functioned as an abbey until its dissolution in the 16th century...

. The head house of the order in England was Welbeck
Welbeck Abbey
Welbeck Abbey near Clumber Park in North Nottinghamshire was the principal abbey of the Premonstratensian order in England and later the principal residence of the Dukes of Portland.-Monastic period:...

. This order was a reformed branch of the Augustinian canons
Augustinians
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

, founded, AD 1119, by Norbert of Xanten
Norbert of Xanten
Saint Norbert of Xanten was a Christian saint and founder of the Norbertine or Premonstratensian order of canons regular.- Life and work :...

, on the Lower Rhine
Lower Rhine
The Lower Rhine flows from Bonn, Germany, to the North Sea at Hoek van Holland, Netherlands.Almost immediately after entering the Netherlands, the Rhine splits into many branches. The main branch is called the Waal which flows from Nijmegen to meet the river Meuse; after which it is called Merwede...

, c. 1080) at Prémontré, a secluded marshy valley in the forest of Coucy
Coucy
Coucy is the name or part of the name of several communes in France:* Coucy-la-Ville, in the Aisne département, very close to* Coucy-le-Château-Auffrique, in the Aisne département, location of:** Château de Coucy...

 in the diocese of Laon. The order spread widely. Even in the founder's lifetime it possessed houses in Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 and Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 where "The Premonstrntensian abbey of Saint Samuel was a daughter house of Prémontré itself. Its abbot had the status of a suffragan of the patriarch of Jerusalem, with the right to
a cross but not to a mitre nor a ring". It long maintained its rigid austerity, until in the course of years wealth impaired its discipline, and its members sank into indolence and luxury. The Premonstratensians were brought to England shortly after AD 1140, and were first settled at Newhouse, in Lincolnshire, near the Humber
Humber
The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal River Ouse and the tidal River Trent. From here to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank...

. The ground-plan of Easby Abbey, owing to its situation on the edge of the steeply sloping banks of a river, is singularly irregular. The cloister is duly placed on the south side of the church, and the chief buildings occupy their usual positions round it. But the cloister garth, as at Chichester, is not rectangular, and all the surrounding buildings are thus made to sprawl in a very awkward fashion. The church follows the plan adopted by the Austin canons in their northern abbeys, and has only one aisle to the nave—that to the north; while the choir is long, narrow and aisleless. Each transept has an aisle to the east, forming three chapels.

The church at Bayham was destitute of aisles either to nave or choir. The latter terminated in a three-sided apse. This church is remarkable for its exceeding narrowness in proportion to its length. Extending in longitudinal dimensions 257 ft (78.3 m)., it is not more than 25 ft (7.6 m). broad. Stern Premonstratensian canons wanted no congregations, and cared for no possessions; therefore they built their church like a long room.

The Premonstratension order still exists and a small group of these Chanones de Premontre now run the former Benedictine Abbey at Conques
Conques
Conques is a commune in the Aveyron department in southern France.-Geography:The village is located at the confluence of the Dourdou and Ouche rivers. It is built on a hillside and has classic narrow Medieval streets. As a result, large vehicles cannot enter the historic town centre but must...

 in southwest France, which has become well known as a refuge for pilgrims travelling the Way of Saint James, from Le Puy en Velay in Auvergne, to Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

in Galicia, Spain.

External links