A History of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, 1257-1301

May 2015
9 colour, 8 black and white, 11 line illustrations
405 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion
ISBN: 9781783270262
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS015000, REL033000

A History of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, 1257-1301

Simon of Luton and John of Northwold

Antonia Gransden

Completes what will become the definitive history of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds in the thirteenth century.
St Edmund's Abbey was one of the most highly privileged and wealthiest religious houses in medieval England, one closely involved with the central government; its history is an integral part of English history. This book, the second of two volumes, offers a magisterial and comprehensive account of the Abbey during the latter part of the thirteenth century, based primarily on evidence in the abbey's records (over 40 registers survive). It begins with an account of the two abbots of this period, Simon of Luton and John of Northwold, who showed outstanding ability in steering the abbey through difficult times, including conflict with the Friars Minor in the town, straitened financial circumstances (partly caused by oppressive taxation from king and pope), and domestic issues. This is followed by consideration of such matters as the abbey's mint, its economy, religious, intellectual and cultural life, and the abbey's architecture -- especially the charnel chapel constructed by John, which survives to this day. The monks' dietary regime (with examples of actual recipes from the time) is examined in a detailed appendix.

Dr Antonia Gransden is former Reader at the University of Nottingham.

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Table of Contents

The Abbots, Simon of Luton and John of Northwold
Abbot Simon of Luton's Early Problems
Repercussions on the Abbey of the Barons' War
Record-Keeping and the Codification of Customs
Relations between Abbot Simon and the Convent
John of Northwold's Early Problems and Reforms
St Edmunds and the Crown - Introduction
St Edmunds' Mint
Interaction and Co-operation with the Crown
The Abbey and Edward I
The Abbey's Influential Friends
William of Hoo, Sacrist 1280-94
Debt and its Causes
Retrenchment and Reform
Loss and Recovery
Taxes and other Financial Impositions
The Town and Trade
Estate Management
Abbatial Vacancies: Problems and Solutions
Religious Life under Abbot Simon
Religious Life under Abbot John
The Monks' Intellectual and Cultural Life under Abbot Simon
The Monks as Chroniclers and Historians under Abbot John
Afterword - The Deaths of Abbots Simon and John
Appendix I: The identity of the abbot's justices, Henry of Guildford and Henry of Shenholt [in 1287]
Appendix II: The monks' dietary regime; their food and drink
Select List of the Registers and Customaries Cited
Select Bibliography


A fine new study. HISTORY

It should be read by anyone interested in the history of East Anglia in the Middle Ages, in the thirteenth-century society and economy...and a great Benedictine monastery. LOCAL HISTORIAN

Antonia Gransden concludes her two-part history of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in this rich, meticulously researched volume, which covers the turbulent decades of the second half of the thirteenth century. Taken together, these volumes represent one of the most substantial and welcome contributions to English monastic history in decades. However, the appeal of this book will extend beyond monastic historians. SPECULUM

A History of Bury St. Edmunds 1257-1301 is beautifully executed . . . [It] surely will become an invaluable source for thirteenth-century English monastic history. With this book, historians of monasticism find themselves owing yet another debt of gratitude to Antonia Gransden. COMITATUS

No-one has the same encyclopaedic knowledge of the medieval abbey as Gransden, as this her latest volume is full of brilliant nuggets of information on which one can completely rely. PROCEEDINGS OF THE SUFFOLK INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY

Antonia Gransden . . . has written a detailed and informative history of this Suffolk abbey which gives us a glimpse into monastic life in late thirteenth-century England. AMERICAN BENEDICTINE REVIEW

This book, the second in a two-volume series, is a thoroughly researched and deeply insightful work that reflects the breadth and depth of Dr. Gransden's decades-long study of the abbey. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

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