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The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England$
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Martin Heale

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702535

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702535.001.0001

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Abbots and Priors in their Community

Abbots and Priors in their Community

(p.57) 2 Abbots and Priors in their Community
The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England

Martin Heale

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the internal role of the late medieval superior. The abbot of the Benedictine Rule was to be the spiritual father of his monks, but by the later Middle Ages the interactions between heads and their communities had become more irregular and formalized. Abbots and priors might spend considerable time out of the precinct, transacting the monastery’s business, performing public functions, and dwelling in their manor houses. Yet the internal pastoral function of the superior was by no means obsolete in the later Middle Ages, and superiors continued to oversee the discipline, observance, liturgy, and education of their communities. Above all, the monastic superior was expected to be an example to his community, and his conduct remained a vital determinant of his monastery’s spiritual health.

Keywords:   travel, obedience, discipline, liturgy, learning, spirituality, example, quondam

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