Book Series Medieval Monastic Studies, vol. 4

Monastic Europe

Medieval Communities, Landscapes, and Settlements

Malgorzata Krasnodebska-D'Aughton, Edel Bhreathnach, Keith Smith (eds)

  • Pages: xx + 553 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:70 b/w, 32 col., 6 tables b/w., 20 maps b/w, 18 maps color, 20 b&w maps, 18 colour maps
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2019

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56979-6
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57906-1
  • E-book
  • Available

An overview of medieval monasticism across a variety of European landscapes.


“This volume is far more than just a well-edited collection of reworked conference papers. (...) Monastic Europe gels into a coherent and stimulating exploration of lesser-known monastic cultures (…) Monastic Communities provides an insight into how the spiritual quest that animates the phenomenon of monasticism found expression in vastly different social, geographical and cultural milieux, and how monasteries managed to retain their orders’ distinctive identities as they engaged with the communities they came to serve.” (Robert Curry, in Parergon, 38/1, 2021, p. 186-187)

“(…) the book reflects a quality that must be appreciated: the lasting value of new research along well-established, but also permanently important directions. We have before us a meticulous research project of a kind that is continuously productive of good work, in empirical, conceptual, and interdisciplinary depth, and innovative in specific methods and resulting particulars. In that sense, the book promises and actually offers a panorama of the “state of the field” of one aspect of European monastic history.”(Piotr Górecki, in The Medieval Review, 22.04.10)


Monasticism became part of European culture from the early period of Christianity and developed into a powerful institution that had a profound effect on the greater Church, on wider society, and on the landscape. Monastic communities were as diverse as the societies in which they lived, following a variety of rules, building monasteries influenced by common ideals and yet diverse in their regionalism, while also contributing to the economic and spiritual well-being inside and outside their precincts.

This interdisciplinary volume presents the diversity of medieval European monasticism with a particular emphasis on its impact on the immediate environs. Geographically it extends from the far west in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, to the east in Romania and the Balkans, through the north of Scandinavia to the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Drawing on archaeological, art and architectural, textual and topographical evidence, the contributors explore how monastic communities were formed, how they created a landscape of monasticism, how they wove their identities with those around them, and how they interacted with all levels of society to leave a lasting imprint on European towns and rural landscapes.


List of Illustrations



Identifying the Familia Monastica

The Nature of Pre-‘Reform’ Irish Monasticism — EDEL BHREATHNACH

St Sunniva, the Seljumenn and St Alban: The Benedictines and the Sanctuary at Selja, Norway — ALF TORE HOMMEDAL

Monasticism, Lordship, and State-Building in Twelfth-Century Cumbria — RICHARD THOMASON

Tensions in a Border Abbey: Strata Marcella, Its Patrons, Friends, and Enemies — JANET BURTON

The Blackfriars Preachers, Trim, Co. Meath and the Legacy of Geoffrey de Geneville — FINOLA O’CARROLL

Tales of War and Pilgrimage: The Archive of Santa Maria de Vilabertran in Catalonia — KAREN STÖBER

The Cloister, Heart of Monastic Life — ELIZABETH VALDEZ DEL ÁLAMO

The Cistercians and the Laity in Thirteenth-Century Italy: The Familia Monastica — GUIDO CARIBONI

The Role of Monasticism In Shaping Landscapes and Settlement Patterns

City Building and Monastic Institutions in East-Central Europe: The Significance of the Religiones Novae during the Foundation Years of Prague’s Old Town (c. 1220s – 1250s) — FREDERIK FELSKAU

Rivals to Cathedrals: The Architecture of Benedictine Churches in Northern France, 1100-1500 — DANY SANDRON

Transforming Women Religious?: Church Reform and the Archaeology of Female Monasticism in Ireland — TRACY COLLINS

Monasticism in a Border Landscape: Religious Orders in Medieval Finland — VISA IMMONEN

At Blackfriars Priory: Dominican Priories within Urban Geography in Medieval Scandinavia — JOHNNY GRANDJEAN GØGSIG JAKOBSEN

Franciscan Geography in Medieval Portugal: Architecture, Landscape, and Spirituality — CATARINA ALMEIDA MARADO

Ordo Sancti Pauli Primi Eremitae: Monasteries and the Shaping of the Late Medieval Slavonian Landscape prior to the Battle of Mohács (1526) — TAJANA PLEŠE

Monastic Environments and Economies

New Light on Caesarius’ Abbey: Recent Excavations at the Cistercian Monastery of Heisterbach, Germany — CHRISTOPH KELLER

The Landholding and Landscape Exploitation of Coupar Angus Abbey: Granges and Glenisla — VICTORIA HODGSON

This Belongs To Us! Competition Between the Royal Burgh of Stirling and the Augustinian Abbey of Cambuskenneth over Salmon Fishing Rights on the River Forth, Scotland — RICHARD C. HOFFMANN AND ALASDAIR ROSS

Riverine Monasticism in the Kingdom of Hungary: Navigation on the Lower Mureş and the Benedictine Abbey of Bizere — OANA TODA

Convents And Basque Familial Networks Of Power — NERE JONE INTXAUSTEGI JAUREGI

Shadows Of Ghosts: Rediscovering the Special Places of Medieval Female Monasteries Through Experiential Approaches to Landscape — KIMM CURRAN