Westminster Abbey and its People c.1050-c.1216

Westminster Abbey and its People c.1050-c.1216

Emma Mason


Boydell Press



Detailed investigation into a transitional period of the Abbey's history, covering the whole community.
This book surveys the monastic community at Westminster from the time when Edward the Confessor (1042-1066) adopted it as his burial church down to the end of the reign of king John. Originating according to legend during the Roman occupation, the West Minster was converted from a little collegiate church into a Benedictine monastery around 970. However, the growth of its significance largely dates from its massive endowment by king Edward, who commissioned a lavish rebuilding of the abbey church, a focal point in his programme of monarchical propaganda.

Dr Mason covers every aspect of the abbey community in detail examining the careers of the abbots and priors, whilst ensuring that lesser figures are not neglected: monks; craftsmen; lay servants; the personnel of the royal court who were closely associated with the abbey. The author also considers the community's dealings with the growing ecclesiastical bureaucracy; the management of its properties, including its parochial churches; and its relationship with other religious houses.

Dr EMMA MASON teaches in the Department of History, Birkbeck College.


October 1996
2 line illustrations
408 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion
ISBN: 9780851153964
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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`It was near to the royal palace and, until the construction of a palace chapel in the mid-twelfth century, the king, when in residence, heard mass in the abbey. It was the site of coronation and ritual crown-wearing. Westminster is thus to be seen in the context of royal government and the court. To balance this aspect, it is also viewed in the context of the monastic world of Westminster's cells and houses with which it had entered into bonds of conytraternity... Highly readable.' HISTORY A notable addition to a growing body of knowledge about medieval Westminster... from the time when Edward the Confessor adopted the church as his burial place and handsomely endowed it, until the end of John's reign... a dense and learned study. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW Extremely helpful for anyone working with Westminster Abbey and its muniments, and an instructive model for those dealing with other bodies of monastic records. SPECULUM Highly readable. HISTORY Indispensable resource. CHURCH HISTORY (US)

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