Stability or mobility? Movement between cistercian houses in late medieval England and wales

Date
2019
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Source Title
Citeaux: Commentarii Cistercienses
Print ISSN
0774-4919
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Publisher
Peeters
Volume
70
Issue
1
Pages
87 - 113
Language
English
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Abstract

The movement or “transfer” by members of monastic orders between religious houses has generally been discouraged by ecclesiastical authorities.1 In the case of monks, transfer to another monastery technically contravenes the vow of stability made at profession and thereby requires not only the formal permission of the current superior but also a second profession at the new house (“change of stability”). However, there survives abundant evidence that monks and regular canons in medieval England and Wales did indeed move between houses. This paper will examine the question of movement between Cistercian monasteries in late medieval England and Wales, based upon an ongoing prosopographical study of English and Welsh Cistercians between c. 1300 to c. 1540, and in particular the suggestion, made by a number of historians, that Cistercian monks who bore a surname (or, what will hereafter be termed monastic byname)2 that was also the name of another Cistercian abbey had some previous association with that other abbey. In addition, the paper will also consider the related topic of the promotion of monks as abbots of other monasteries.

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