Nunneries, Learning and Spirituality in Late Medieval English Society

November 2000
1 line illustrations
254 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781903153024
Format: Hardback
York Medieval Press

Nunneries, Learning and Spirituality in Late Medieval English Society

The Dominican Priory of Dartford

Paul Lee

Study of Dartford Priory reveals the Dominican contribution to late medieval English female monastic life and English vernacular spirituality.
Dartford Priory in Kent, founded by Edward III, was pre-Reformation England's only Dominican nunnery. Closely involved with the local community, its reputation for contemplative spirituality and learning ensured a constant flow of recruits right up to the Dissolution, as well as requests for spiritual services, and children sent there for education. Its dynamic spirituality continued to sustain the community after the Dissolution in 1539, until the English Dominican nuns eventually went into exile after the Act of Settlement in 1559, along with the Carthusian monks and Bridgettine nuns.
This study examines all available evidence relating to the English Dominican nuns' religious and intellectual activities, including contacts with continental and other English nunneries, and with devout literate laity. The important set of surviving literary, liturgical and devotional manuscripts from Dartford are examined together for the first time.
PAUL LEE undertook his post-graduate studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury.


A fine study... he finds Dartford a vibrant and spiritually vigorous house... Lee's findings add to the growing body of work that has reinvigorated the reputation of English nuns. ALBION