The Convent and the Community in Late Medieval England: by Marilyn Oliva

By Marilyn Oliva

Convents have been a major a part of medieval monastic existence, yet basically now, with the upsurge of curiosity in women's heritage, are they commencing to obtain the eye they deserve. the present view has been that lady monasticism used to be bankrupt, spiritually and socially in addition to financially, yet Professor Oliva indicates the truth to were in a different way. In her research of the 11 lady monasteries within the diocese of Norwich among 1350-1540, the convents become necessary elements of the neighborhood social and non secular panorama, with nuns extra energetic within the area people than their male opposite numbers, and markedly extra well liked by parish gentry and yeoman farmers (as their wills prove). the vast majority of nuns are proven to were from those parish gentry households, no longer from the higher gentry or aristocracy as has been proposal, and the documents in their energetic lives, so rewardingly tested the following, show mobility in the nunnery too, the lifestyles of a `career ladder' permitting nuns to growth to extra vital and prestigious family places of work.

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Additional info for The Convent and the Community in Late Medieval England: Female Monasteries in the Diocese of Norwich, 1350-1540 (Studies in the History of Medieval Religion)

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21. 6 Major studies of English monasticism, published both before and after Power's book, include: Geoffrey Baskerville, English Monks and the Suppression of the Monasteries (New Haven, 1937); Giles Constable, Medieval Monasticism: A Select Bibliography (Toronto, 1976), covers European monasticism, but devotes only pp. 56-60 to religious women, (Footnote continued on next page) Page 3 nuns in their studies of English monasticism in the Middle Ages echoed Power's negative views and described nuns in ways which at once trivialized their functions and diminished their significance to other medieval women or to secular society.

Page 10 religious women practiced, and in the iconography of certainfemale saints. 30 The evidence presented here - on matters which vary from the steady number of recruits and the quality of their religious vocations, to the financial solvency of their convents and the able administration of limited resources, to the continuing patronage of both secular society and many priests and monks - suggests this more positive and nuanced view of English nuns and their communities in the later Middle Ages.

Page 10 religious women practiced, and in the iconography of certainfemale saints. 30 The evidence presented here - on matters which vary from the steady number of recruits and the quality of their religious vocations, to the financial solvency of their convents and the able administration of limited resources, to the continuing patronage of both secular society and many priests and monks - suggests this more positive and nuanced view of English nuns and their communities in the later Middle Ages.

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