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Monastic Wales.

Monastic Wales

The religious houses of medieval Wales have long been overshadowed by their more numerous, generally more prosperous, and normally better documented neighbours east of Offa's Dyke. Yet their history is inseparable from the religious, cultural, economic, political, literary and urban history of Wales during the period between the arrival of the Normans in the late eleventh century and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth.

The Monastic Wales project

In an attempt to identify more firmly Wales's place on the monastic map of Europe, this large-scale project seeks to establish a comprehensive monastic history of medieval Wales and to make those findings available to scholars and students, as well as the wider public, both electronically and in print. At present it comprises houses of monks, canons, religious women, and friars, which were active in Wales for some or all of the period from the late eleventh century until the Suppression of the religious houses in the sixteenth century. Future plans include extending the database to include early medieval monasteries in Wales.

The first phase of the project was the creation of a database and website which can be used as both a research and a teaching tool. The website was officially launched in 2009. It is regularly updated and expanded; the interactive element in the design enables external participation. It comprises a full bibliography of primary sources and secondary literature, links to relevant web-published material and research tools, and reports on related work in progress.

The Project seeks also to encourage new research into aspects of Welsh monastic history and to provide a platform for unpublished material and new work. Essays and articles will be available to users on the website. The directors of the project, Professor Janet Burton, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, and Dr Karen Stober, formerly of Aberystwyth University and now of University of Lleida (Catalunya), have published two books: an edited collection of essays, Monastic Wales: New Approaches (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2013), and Abbeys and Priories of Medieval Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2016), and numerous articles and papers relating to the project. They have lectured on Monastic Wales at international conferences, and Monastic Wales sponsors sessions each year at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds. You can follow our activites through our newsletters..

The main database currently contains:

  • details of 59 monastic sites
  • 391 photographs
  • 175 biographical records
  • 1403 bibliographic records of written sources
  • details of 140 archival sources
  • details of 876 events in the history of the monastic sites and houses