Monastic Wales.

Source details: (Dissertation/Thesis)

The patronage and benefaction of Cistercian monasteries in the frontier zones of the March of Wales, 1130-c.1256

Daniel, Stephen

(Masters dissertation, 2013 )

The Cistercian plantation in Wales was initiated by the Norman invaders in the south, but within a few decades the Cistercian Order had been enthusiastically adopted by the Welsh princes and their subjects and a family of Welsh Cistercian monasteries established throughout the length and breadth of pura Wallia with Welsh personnel and distinctly Welsh political loyalties. This native Welsh filiation of Cistercian houses has traditionally been contrasted with the houses which remained loyal to the Normans and which established no daughter houses in Wales, but in reality the position was more complex. The charter evidence relating to three of the Norman abbeys, all located in frontier zones in which Anglo-Norman dominance remained contested until well into the thirteenth century, shows that they were endowed by the Welsh ruling dynasties vying with the Anglo-Normans for control of these zones and, in one case, that Welsh princes eventually supplanted Anglo-Norman barons as patrons. That relating to a fourth Cistercian abbey under Welsh patronage shows that it was able to to a limited extent to expand its patrimony in the opposite direction across the English border.Cistercian ideology gradually abandoned its original commitment to complete isolation from the outside world and came to encompass engagement with it, or at least with its lay and ecclesiastical leaders. The aim of this dissertation is to explore in detail the motivation for and pattern of endowments to the four Cistercian monasteries with a view to assessing the extent to which they constituted a third, hybrid, group alongside those traditionally identified as Anglo-Norman and Welsh, and to which the Cistercians themselves played a part in fostering the reciprocal relationships with both the Welsh and Anglo-Norman ruling élites that enabled them to expand their patrimonies and to prosper.

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