how monastaries changed in 12th century

how monastaries changed in 12th century - How was religious...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
How was religious life changed by the monastic movements in the 12th century? The religious life of the early Middle Ages was divided neatly in two, between the regular and secular forms of clergy. On the latter’s side were the whole of the clergy dealing with public spirituality - priests, archdeacons, bishops and archbishops. Their dealings washed over the monastic communities most of the time, just as the monastic communities strived not to involve themselves in society. Monks were literally cloistered away from the world, and consequently the changes in monastic practice which reached England in the first half of the twelfth century had only a thin effect directly on the general religious life of the country What makes it more difficult to judge the true impact of new monasticism in this period is that almost all the accounts of it were written by monks themselves, and of these monks, most chroniclers were Benedictines. Thus the accounts we have emphasis the importance of the cloister in society as a whole. The idea of monasticism was also not invented in the twelfth century, but was already recognised as forming a distinct part within the wider church structure. By the end of Henry I’s reign, successive policies of royal endowment had already created a great number of abbeys in England, many of whom had substantial land-holding. The rise of the new forms and orders of monasticism in the shape of the houses of Trion and Savigny, the Carthusians and most importantly the Cistercians, served to upset this existing and opulent structure. The black monasteries, who had by the twelfth century become huge land- owning corporations, seemed to have been interwoven into the more secular clergy - they also seemed integrated into the general feudal structure in that they provided knight-service for the king, received tithes and owned monopolies on mills etc. In contrast, the white monks’ emphasis on simplicity and purity of life injected added spirituality into the image of monasticism, and as such helped to increase still further the profile of monks as spiritual guides. Certainly, William of Malmesbury - a black monk - spoke of the Cistercians by saying ‘To sum up all the things which are or can be said of them, the Cistercians at the present day are models for all monks, a mirror for the diligent, a spur to the indolent.’ 1 Clearly these developments did make an impact on the world outside the cloister, such in the middle of the twelfth century there was an enormous increase in the numbers of people who became monks. Cistercian monasteries in particular sprouted at astonishing rates, an example being that of Fountains, which merely 18 years after her own foundation could count twelve
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 3

how monastaries changed in 12th century - How was religious...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online