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The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West$
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Susan Wood

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206972.001.0001

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Early monasteries: their founders and abbots

Early monasteries: their founders and abbots

(p.109) 5 Early monasteries: their founders and abbots
The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West

Susan Wood

Oxford University Press

Great basilicas or baptismal churches, staffed by clergy living collegiately, were called monasteria; a solitary and his acolyte might call their oratory a monasteriolum; small domestic churches in Italian towns were casually called monasteries, some of them founded in the hope that they would grow and live by a Rule. There were monasteries in the West, great and small, that were unmistakably monastic, their members (whether or not in orders) living by a more or less ascetic Rule; but there was a wide, blurred borderland where monks under mixed and various Rules overlapped with the clergy, or were distinguishable but lived in the same establishment. The larger monasteries of the West became landowning and power-wielding bodies, whose control was important to bishops and attractive to rulers and lay nobles. This chapter considers what such control could amount to, and on what it would be based.

Keywords:   monasteries, West, proprietary church, property, lands, bishops, Gaul, family monasteries, abbots

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