ABBEY (Lat. abbatia; from Syr. abba, father), a monastery, or conventual establishment, under the government of an ABBOT or an ABBESS. A priory only differed from an abbey in that the superior bore the name of prior instead of abbot. This was the case in all the English conventual cathedrals, e.g. Canterbury, Ely, Norwich, &c., where the archbishop or bishop occupied the abbot’s place, the superior of the monastery being termed prior. Other priories were originally offshoots from the larger abbeys, to the abbots of which they continued subordinate; but in later times the actual distinction between abbeys and priories was lost.
The earliest Christian monastic communities with which we are acquainted consisted of groups of cells or huts collected about a common center, which was usually the abode of some anchorite celebrated for superior holiness or singular asceticism, but without any attempt at orderly arrangement. The formation of such communities in the East does not date from the introduction of Christianity. The example had been already set by the Essenes in Judea and the Therapeutae in Egypt.
In the earliest age of Christian monasticism the ascetics were accustomed to live singly, independent of one another, at no great distance from some village, supporting themselves by the labor of their own hands, and distributing the surplus after the supply of their own scanty wants to the poor. Increasing religious fervor, aided by persecution, drove them farther and farther away from the abodes of men into mountain solitudes or lonely deserts. The deserts of Egypt swarmed with the “cells” or huts of these anchorites. Anthony, who had retired to the Egyptian Thebaid during the persecution of Maximin, A.D. 312, was the most celebrated among them for his austerities, his sanctity, and his power as an exorcist. His fame collected round him a host of followers, emulous of his sanctity. The deeper he withdrew into the wilderness, the more numerous his disciples became. They refused to be separated from him, and built their ceils round that of their spiritual father. Thus arose the first monastic community, consisting of anchorites living each in his own little dwelling, united together under one superior. Anthony, as Neander remarks (Church History, vol. iii. p. 316, Clark’s trans.), “without any conscious design of his own, had become the founder of a new mode of living in common, Coenobitism.” By degrees order was introduced in the groups of huts. They were arranged in lines like the tents in an encampment, or the houses in a street. From this arrangement these lines of single cells came to be known as Laurae, Laurai, “streets” or “lanes.”
The real founder of coenobian (koinos, common, and bios, life) monasteries in the modern sense was Pachomius, an Egyptian of the beginning of the 4th century. The first community established by him was at Tabennae, an island of the Nile in Upper Egypt. Eight others were founded in his lifetime, numbering 3000 monks. Within fifty years from his death his societies could reckon 50,000 members. These coenobia resembled villages, peopled by a hard-working religious community, ail of one sex. The buildings were detached, small and of the humblest character. Each cell or hut, according to Sozomen (H.R. iii. 14), contained three monks. They took their chief meal in a common refectory at 3 P.M., up to which hour they usually fasted. They ate in silence, with hoods so drawn over their faces that they could see nothing but what was on the table before them. The monks spent all the time, not devoted to religious services or study, in manual labor. Palladius, who visited the Egyptian monasteries about the close of the 4th century, found among the 300 members of the coenobium of Panopolis, under the Pachomian rule, 15 tailors, 7 smiths, 4 carpenters, 12 camel-drivers and 15 tanners. Each separate community had its own oeconomus or steward, who was subject to a chief oeconomus stationed at the head establishment. All the produce of the monks’ labor was committed to him, and by him shipped to Alexandria. The money raised by the sale was expended in the purchase of stores for the support of the communities, and what was over was devoted to charity. Twice in the year the superiors of the several coenobia met at the chief monastery, under the presidency of an archimandrite (“the chief of the fold,” from miandra, a fold), and at the last meeting gave in reports of their administration for the year. The coenobia of Syria belonged to the Pachomian institution. We learn many details concerning those in the vicinity of Antioch from Chrysostom’s writings. The monks lived in separate huts, kalbbia, forming a religious hamlet on the mountain side. They were subject to an abbot, and observed a common rule. (They had no refectory, but ate their common meal, of bread and water only, when the day’s labor was over, reclining on strewn grass, sometimes out of doors,) Four times in the day they joined in prayers and psalms.
Santa Laura, Mount Athos
The necessity for defense from hostile attacks, economy of space and convenience of access from one part of the community to another, by degrees dictated a more compact and orderly arrangement of the buildings of a monastic coenobium. Large piles of building were erected, with strong outside walls, capable of resisting the assaults of an enemy, within which all the necessary edifices were ranged round one or more open courts, usually surrounded with cloisters. The usual Eastern arrangement is exemplified in the plan of the convent of Santa Laura, Mount Athos (Laura, the designation of a monastery generally, being converted into a female saint).
St Laura is exceeded in magnitude by the convent of Vatopede also on Mount Athos. This enormous establishment covers at least 4 acres of ground, and contains so many separate buildings within its massive walls that it resembles a fortified town. It lodges above 300 monks, and the establishment of the hegumenos is described as resembling the court of a petty sovereign prince. The immense refectory, of the same cruciform shape as that of St Laura, will accommodate 500 guests at its 24 marble tables.
The annexed plan of a Coptic monastery, from Lenoir, shows a church of three aisles, with cellular apses, and two ranges of cells on either side of an oblong gallery.
Monasticism in the West owes its extension and development to Benedict of Nursia (born A.D. 480). His rule was diffused with miraculous rapidity from the parent foundation on Monte Cassino through the whole of western Europe, and every country witnessed the erection of monasteries far exceeding anything that had yet been seen in spaciousness and splendor. Few great towns in Italy were without their Benedictine convent, and they quickly rose in all the great centers of population in England, France and Spain. The number of these monasteries founded between A.D. 520 and 700 is amazing. Before the Council of Constance, A.D. 1415, no fewer than 15,070 abbeys had been established of this order alone. The buildings of a Benedictine abbey were uniformly arranged after one plan, modified where necessary (as at Durham and Worcester, where the monasteries stand close to the steep bank of a river) to accommodate the arrangement to local circumstances. We have no existing examples of the earlier monasteries of the Benedictine order. They have all yielded to the ravages of time and the violence of man. But we have fortunately preserved to us an elaborate plan of the great Swiss monastery of St Gall, erected about A.D. 820, which puts us in possession of the whole arrangements of a monastery of the first class towards the early part of the 9th century. This curious and interesting plan has been made the subject of a memoir both by Keller (Zurich, 1844) and by Professor Robert Willis (Arch. Journal, 1848, vol. v. pp. 86-117.
The general distribution of the buildings may be thus described:-The church, with its cloister to the south, occupies the centre of a quadrangular area, about 430 feet square. The buildings, as in all great monasteries, are distributed into groups. The church forms the nucleus, as the centre of the religious life of the community. In closest connection with the church is the group of buildings appropriated to the monastic line and its daily requirements—the refectory for eating, the dormitory for sleeping, the common room for social intercourse, the chapter-house for religious and disciplinary conference. These essential elements of monastic life are ranged about a cloister court, surrounded by a covered arcade, affording communication sheltered from the elements between the various buildings. The infirmary for sick monks, with the physician’s house and physic garden, lies to the east. In the same group with the infirmary is the school for the novices. The outer school, with its headmaster’s house against the opposite wall of the church, stands outside the convent enclosure, in close proximity to the abbot’s house, that he might have a constant eye over them. The buildings devoted to hospitality are divided into three groups,–one for the reception of distinguished guests, another for monks visiting the monastery, a third for poor travelers and pilgrims. The first and third are placed to the right and left of the common entrance of the monastery,—the hospitium for distinguished guests being placed on the north side of the church, not far from the abbot’s house; that for the poor on the south side next to the farm buildings. The monks are lodged in a guest-house built against the north wall of the church. The group of buildings connected with the material wants of the establishment is placed to the south and west of the church, and is distinctly separated from the monastic buildings. The kitchen, buttery and offices are reached by a passage from the west end of the refectory, and are connected with the bakehouse and brewhouse, which are placed still farther away. The whole of the southern and western sides is devoted to workshops, stables and farm-buildings. The buildings, with some exceptions, seem to have been of one story only, and all but the church were probably erected of wood. The whole includes thirty-three separate blocks.
A curious bird’s-eye view of Canterbury Cathedral and its annexed conventual buildings, taken about 1165, is preserved in the Great Psalter in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. As elucidated by Professor Willis,1 it exhibits the plan of a great Benedictine monastery in the 12th century, and enables us to compare it with that of the 9th as seen at St Gall. We see in both the same general principles of arrangement, which indeed belong to all Benedictine monasteries, enabling us to determine with precision the disposition of the various buildings, when little more than fragments of the walls exist. From some local reasons, however, the cloister and monastic buildings are placed on the north, instead, as is far more commonly the case, on the south of the church. There is also a separate chapter-house, which is wanting at St Gall.
The buildings at Canterbury, as at St Gall, form separate groups. The church forms the nucleus. In immediate contact with this, on the north side, lie the cloister and the group of buildings devoted to the monastic life. Outside of these, to the west and east, are the “halls and chambers devoted to the exercise of hospitality, with which every monastery was provided, for the purpose of receiving as guests persons who visited it, whether clergy or laity, travelers, pilgrims or paupers.” To the north a large open court divides the monastic from the menial buildings, intentionally placed as remote as possible from the conventual buildings proper, the stables, granaries, barn, bakehouse, brewhouse, laundries, &c., inhabited by the lay servants of the establishment. At the greatest possible distance from the church, beyond the precinct of the convent, is the eleemosynary department. The almonry for the relief of the poor, with a great hall annexed, forms the paupers’ hospitium.
The most important group of buildings is naturally that devoted to monastic life. This includes two Cloisters, the great cloister surrounded by the buildings essentially connected with the daily life of the monks,—the church to the south, the refectory or frater-house here as always on the side opposite to the church, and farthest removed from it, that no sound or smell of eating might penetrate its sacred precincts, to the east the dormitory, raised on a vaulted undercroft, and the chapter-house adjacent, and the lodgings of the cellarer to the west. To this officer was committed the provision of the monks’ daily food, as well as that of the guests. He was, therefore, appropriately lodged in the immediate vicinity of the refectory and kitchen, and close to the guest-hall. A passage under the dormitory leads eastwards to the smaller or infirmary cloister, appropriated to the sick and infirm monks. Eastward of this cloister extend the hall and chapel of the infirmary, resembling in form and arrangement the nave and chancel of an aisled church. Beneath the dormitory, looking out into the green court or herbarium, lies the “pisalis” or “calefactory,” the common room of the monks. At its north-east corner access was given from the dormitory to the necessarium, a portentous edifice in the form of a Norman hall, 145 ft. long by 25 broad, containing fifty-five seats. It was, in common with all such offices in ancient monasteries, constructed with the most careful regard to cleanliness and health, a stream of water running through it from end to end. A second smaller dormitory runs from east to west for the accommodation of the conventual officers, who were bound to sleep in the dormitory. Close to the refectory, but outside the cloisters, are the domestic offices connected with it: to the north, the kitchen, 47 ft. square, surmounted by a lofty pyramidal roof, and the kitchen court; to the west, the butteries, pantries, &c. The infirmary had a small kitchen of its own. Opposite the refectory door in the cloister are two lavatories, an invariable adjunct to a monastic dining-hall, at which the monks washed before and after taking food.
The buildings devoted to hospitality were divided into three groups. The prior’s group “entered at the south-east angle of the green court, placed near the most sacred part of the cathedral, as befitting the distinguished ecclesiastics or nobility who were assigned to him.” The cellarer’s buildings were near the west end of the nave, in which ordinary visitors of the middle class were hospitably entertained. The inferior pilgrims and paupers were relegated to the north hall or almonry, just within the gate, as far as possible from the other two.
Westminster Abbey is another example of a great Benedictine abbey, identical in its general arrangements, so far as they can be traced, with those described above. The cloister and , monastic buildings lie to the south side of the church. Parallel to the nave, on the south side of the cloister, was the refectory, with its lavatory at the door. On the eastern side we find the remains of the dormitory, raised on a vaulted substructure and communicating with the south transept. The chapter-house opens out of the same alley of the cloister. The small cloister lies to the south-east of the larger cloister, and still farther to the east we have the remains of the infirmary with the table hall, the refectory of those who were able to leave their chambers. The abbot’s house formed a small courtyard at the west entrance, close to the inner gateway. Considerable portions of this remain, including the abbot’s parlor. celebrated as “the Jerusalem Chamber,” his hall, now used for the Westminster King’s Scholars, and the kitchen and butteries beyond.
The history of monasticism is one of alternate periods of decay and revival. With growth in popular esteem came increase in material wealth, leading to luxury and worldliness. The first religious ardor cooled, the strictness of the rule was relaxed, until by the 10th century the decay of discipline was so complete in France that the monks are said to have been frequently unacquainted with the rule of St Benedict, and even ignorant that they were bound by any rule at all. The reformation of abuses generally took the form of the establishment of new monastic orders, with new and more stringent rules, requiring a modification of the architectural arrangements. One of the earliest of these reformed orders was the Cluniac. This order took its name from the little village of Cluny, 12 miles N.W. of Macon, near which, about A.D. 909, a reformed Benedictine abbey was founded by William, duke of Aquitaine and count of Auvergne, under Berno, abbot of Beaume. He was succeeded by Odo, who is often regarded as the founder of the order. The fame of Cluny spread far and wide. Its rigid rule was adopted by a vast number of the old Benedictine abbeys, who placed themselves in affiliation to the mother society, while new foundations sprang up in large numbers, all owing allegiance to the “archabbot,” established at Cluny. By the end of the 12th century the number of monasteries affiliated to Cluny in the various countries of western Europe amounted to 2000. The monastic establishment of Cluny was one of the most extensive and magnificent in France. We may form some idea of its enormous dimensions from the fact recorded, that when, A.D. 1245, Pope Innocent IV., accompanied by twelve cardinals, a patriarch, three archbishops, the two generals of the Carthusians and Cistercians, the king (St Louis), and three of his sons, the queen mother, Baldwin, count of Flanders and emperor of Constantinople, the duke of Burgundy, and six lords, visited the abbey, the whole party, with their attendants, were lodged within the monastery without disarranging the monks, 400 in number. Nearly the whole of the abbey buildings, including the magnificent church, were swept away at the close of the 18th century. When the annexed ground-plan was taken, shortly before its destruction, nearly all the monastery, with the exception of the church, had been rebuilt.
The first English house of the Cluniac order was that of Lewes, founded by the earl of Warren, c. A.D. 1077. Of this only a few fragments of the domestic buildings exist. The best preserved Cluniac houses in England are Castle Acre, Norfolk, and Wenlock, Shropshire. Ground-plans of both are given in Britton’s Architectural Antiquities. They show several departures from the Benedictine arrangement. In each the prior’s house is remarkably perfect. All Cluniac houses in England were French colonies, governed by priors of that nation. They did not secure their independence nor become “abbeys” till the reign of Henry VI. The Cluniac revival, with all its brilliancy, was but short-lived. The celebrity of this, as of other orders, worked its moral ruin. With their growth in wealth and dignity the Cluniac foundations became as worldly in life and as relaxed in discipline as their predecessors, and a fresh reform was needed.
The next great monastic revival, the Cistercian, arising in the last years of the 11th century, had a wider diffusion, and a longer and more honorable existence. Owing its real origin, as a distinct foundation of reformed Benedictines, in the year 1098, to Stephen Harding (a native of Dorsetshire, educated in the monastery of Sherborne), and deriving its name from Citeaux (Cistercium), a desolate and almost inaccessible forest solitude, on the borders of Champagne and Burgundy, the rapid growth and wide celebrity of the order are undoubtedly to be attributed to the enthusiastic piety of St Bernard, abbot of the first of the monastic colonies, subsequently sent forth in such quick succession by the first Cistercian houses, the far-famed abbey of Clairvaux (de Clara Valle), A.D. 1116. The rigid self-abnegation, which was the ruling principle of this reformed congregation of the Benedictine order, extended itself to the churches and other buildings erected by them. The characteristic of the Cistercian abbeys was the extremest simplicity and a studied plainness. Only one tower—a central one—was permitted, and that was to be very low. Unnecessary pinnacles and turrets were prohibited. The triforium was omitted. The windows were to be plain and undivided, and it was forbidden to decorate them with stained glass. All needless ornament was proscribed. The crosses must be of wood; the candlesticks of iron. The renunciation of the world was to be evidenced in all that met the eye. The same spirit manifested itself in the choice of the sites of their monasteries. The more dismal, the more savage, the more hopeless a spot appeared, the more did it please their rigid mood. But they came not merely as ascetics, but as improvers. The Cistercian monasteries are, as a rule, found placed in deep well-watered valleys. They always stand on the border of a stream; not rarely, as at Fountains, the buildings extend over it. These valleys, now so rich and productive, wore a very different aspect when the brethren first chose them as the place of their retirement. Wide swamps, deep morasses, tangled thickets, wild impassable forests, were their prevailing features. The “bright valley,” Clara Vallis of St Bernard, was known as the “valley of Wormwood,” infamous as a den of robbers. “It was a savage dreary solitude, so utterly barren that at first Bernard and his companions were reduced to live on beech leaves.”-(Milman’s Lat. Christ. vol. iii. p. 335.)
All Cistercian monasteries, unless the circumstances of the locality forbade it, were arranged according to one plan. The general arrangement and distribution of the various buildings, which went to make up one of these vast establishments, may be gathered from that of St Bernard’s own abbey of Clairvaux, which is here given. It will be observed that the abbey precincts are surrounded by a strong wall, furnished at intervals with watch-towers and other defensive works. The wall is nearly encircled by a stream of water, artificially diverted from the small rivulets which flow through the precincts, furnishing the establishment with an abundant supply in every part, for the litigation of the gardens and orchards, the sanitary requirements of the brotherhood and for the use of the offices and workshops.
The buildings of the Austin canons or Black canons (so called from the color of their habit) present few distinctive peculiarities. This order had its first seat in England at Colchester, where a house for Austin canons was founded about A.D. 1105, and it very soon spread widely. As an order of regular clergy, holding a middle position between monks and secular canons, almost resembling a community of parish priests living under rule, they adopted naves of great length to accommodate large congregations. The choir is usually long, and is sometimes, as at Llanthony and Christ Church (Twynham), shut off from the aisles, or, as at Bolton, Kirkham, &c., is destitute of aisles altogether. The nave in the northern houses, not infrequently, had only a north aisle, as at Bolton, Brinkburn and Lanercost. The arrangement of the monastic buildings followed the ordinary type. The prior’s lodge was almost invariably attached to the S.W. angle of the nave.
The annexed plan of the Abbey of St Augustine’s at Bristol, now the cathedral church of that city, shows the arrangement of the buildings, which departs very little from the ordinary Benedictine type. The Austin canons’ house at Thornton, in Lincolnshire, is remarkable for the size and magnificence of its gate-house, the upper floors of which formed the guest-house of the establishment, and for possessing an octagonal chapter-house of Decorated date.
The Premonstratensian regular canons, or White canons, had as many as 35 houses in England, of which the most perfect remaining are those of Easby. Yorkshire, and Bayham, Kent. The head house of the order in England was Welbeck. This order was a reformed branch of the Austin canons, founded, A.D. 1119, by Norbert (born at Xanten, on the Lower Rhine, c. 1080) at Premontre, a secluded marshy valley in the forest of Coucy in the diocese of Laon. The order spread widely. Even in the founder’s lifetime it possessed houses in Syria and Palestine. It long maintained its rigid austerity, till in the course of years wealth impaired its discipline, and its members sank into indolence and luxury. The Premonstratensians were brought to England shortly after A.D. 1140, and were first settled at Newhouse, in Lincolnshire, near the Humber. The ground-plan of Easby Abbey, owing to its situation on the edge of the steeply sloping banks of a river, is singularly irregular. The cloister is duly placed on the south side of the church, and the chief buildings occupy their usual positions round it. But the cloister garth, as at Chichester, is not rectangular, and all the surrounding buildings are thus made to sprawl in a very awkward fashion. The church follows the plan adopted by the Austin canons in their northern abbeys, and has only one aisle to the nave—that to the north; while the choir is long, narrow and aisleless. Each transept has an aisle to the east, forming three chapels.
The Carthusian order, on its establishment by St Bruno, about A.D. 1084, developed a greatly modified form and arrangement of a monastic institution. The principle of this order, which combined the coenobitic with the solitary life, demanded the erection of buildings on a novel plan. This plan, which was first adopted by St Bruno and his twelve companions at the original institution at Chartreux, near Grenoble, was maintained in all the Carthusian establishments throughout Europe, even after the ascetic severity of the order had been to some extent relaxed, and the primitive simplicity of their buildings had been exchanged for the magnificence of decoration which characterizes such foundations as the Certosas of Pavia and Florence. According to the rule of St Bruno, all the members of a Carthusian brotherhood lived in the most absolute solitude and silence. Each occupied a small detached cottage, standing by itself in a small garden surrounded by high walls and connected by a common corridor or cloister. In these cottages or cells a Carthusian monk passed his time in the strictest asceticism, only leaving his solitary dwelling to attend the services of the Church, except on certain days when the brotherhood assembled in the refectory. The peculiarity of the arrangements of a Carthusian monastery, or charter-house, as it was called in England, from a corruption of the French chartreux, is exhibited in the plan of that of Clermont, from Viollet-le-Duc.
The above arrangements are found with scarcely any variation in all the charter-houses of western Europe. The Yorkshire Charter-house of Mount Grace, founded by Thomas Holland, the young duke of Surrey, nephew of Richard II. and marshal of England, during the revival of the popularity of the order, about A.D. 1397, is the most perfect and best preserved English example. It is characterized by all the simplicity of the order. The church is a modest building, long, narrow and aisleless. Within the wall of enclosure are two courts. The smaller of the two, the south, presents the usual arrangement of church, refectory, &c., opening out of a cloister. The buildings are plain and solid. The northern court contains the cells, 14 in number. It is surrounded by a double stone wall, the two walls being about 30 ft. or 40 ft. apart. Between these, each in its own garden, stand the cells; low-built two-storied cottages, of two or three rooms on the ground-floor, lighted by a larger and a smaller window to the side, and provided with a doorway to the court, and one at the back, opposite to one in the outer wall, through which the monk may have conveyed the sweepings of his cell and the refuse of his garden to the “eremus” beyond. By the side of the door to the court is a little hatch through which the daily pittance of food was supplied, so contrived by turning at an angle in the wall that no one could either look in or look out. A very perfect example of this hatch—an arrangement belonging to all Carthusian houses—exists at Miraflores, near Burgos, which remains nearly as it was completed in 1480.
There were only nine Carthusian houses in England. The earliest was that at Witham in Somersetshire, founded by Henry II., by whom the order was first brought into England. The wealthiest and most magnificent was that of Sheen or Richmond in Surrey, founded by Henry V. about A.D. 1414. The, dimensions of the buildings at Sheen are stated to have been remarkably large. The great court measured 300 ft. by 250 ft.; the cloisters were a square of 500 ft.; the hall was 110 ft. in length by 60 ft. in breadth. The most celebrated historically is the Charter house of London, founded by Sir Walter Manny A.D. 1371, the name of which is preserved by the famous public school established on the site by Thomas Sutton A.D. 1611, now removed to Godalming.
An article on monastic arrangements would be incomplete without some account of the convents of the Mendicant or Preaching Friars, including the Black Friars or Dominicans, the Grey or Franciscans, the White or Carmelites, the Eremite or Austin, Friars. These orders arose at the beginning of the 13th century, when the Benedictines, together with their various reformed branches, had terminated their active mission, and Christian Europe was ready for a new religious revival. Planting themselves, as a rule, in large towns, and by preference in the poorest and most densely populated districts, the Preaching Friars were obliged to adapt their buildings to the requirements of the site. Regularity of arrangement, therefore, was not possible, even if they had studied it. Their churches, built for the reception of large congregations of hearers rather than worshippers, form a class by themselves, totally unlike those of the elder orders in ground-plan and character. They were usually long parallelograms unbroken by transepts. The nave very usually consisted of two equal bodies, one containing the stalls of the brotherhood, the other left entirely free for the congregation. The constructional choir is often wanting, the whole church forming one uninterrupted structure, with a continuous range of windows. The east end was usually square, but the Friars Church at Winchelsea had a polygonal apse. We not infrequently find a single transept, sometimes of great size, rivaling or exceeding the nave. This arrangement is frequent in Ireland, where the numerous small friaries afford admirable exemplifications of these peculiarities of ground-plan. The friars’ churches were at first destitute of towers; but in the 14th and 15th centuries, tall, slender towers were commonly inserted between the nave and the choir. The Grey Friars at Lynn, where the tower is hexagonal, is a good example. The arrangement of the monastic buildings is equally peculiar and characteristic. We miss entirely the regularity of the buildings of the earlier orders. At the Jacobins at Paris, a cloister lay to the north of the long narrow church of two parallel aisles, while the refectory—a room of immense length, quite detached from the cloister—stretched across the area before the west front of the church. At Toulouse the nave also has two parallel aisles, but the choir is apsidal, with radiating chapel. The refectory stretches northwards at right angles to the cloister, which lies to the north of the church, having the chapter-house and sacristy on the east.
As examples of English friaries, the Dominican house at Norwich, and those of the Dominicans and Franciscans at Gloucester, may be mentioned. The church of the Black Friars of Norwich departs from the original type in the nave (now St Andrew’s Hall), in having regular aisles. In this it resembles the earlier examples of the Grey Friars at Reading. The choir is long and aisleless; an hexagonal tower between the two, like that existing at Lynn, has perished. The cloister and monastic buildings remain tolerably perfect to the north. The Dominican convent at Gloucester still exhibits the cloister-court, on the north side of which is the desecrated church. The refectory is on the west side and on the south the dormitory of the 13th century. This is a remarkably good example. There were 18 cells or cubicles on each side, divided by partitions, the bases of which remain. On the east side was the prior’s house, a building of later date. At the Grey or Franciscan Friars, the church followed the ordinary type in having two equal bodies, each gabled, with a continuous range of windows. There was a slender tower between the nave and the choir.
Of the convents of the Carmelite or White Friars we have a good example in the Abbey of Hulne, near Alnwick, the first of the order in England, founded A.D. 1240. The church is a narrow oblong, destitute of aisles, 123 ft. long by only 26 ft. wide. The cloisters are to the south, with the chapter-house, &c., to the east, with the dormitory over. The prior’s lodge is placed to the west of the cloister. The guest-houses adjoin the entrance gateway, to which a chapel was annexed on the south side of the conventual area. The nave of the church of the Austin Friars or Eremites in London is still standing. It is of Decorated date, and has wide centre and side aisles, divided by a very light and graceful arcade. Some fragments of the south walk of the cloister of the Grey Friars remained among the buildings of Christ’s Hospital (the Blue-Coat School), while they were still standing. Of the Black Friars all has perished but the name. Taken as a whole, the remains of the establishments of the friars afford little warrant for the bitter invective of the Benedictine of St Alban’s, Matthew Paris:—“The friars who have been founded hardly 40 years have built residences as the palaces of kings. These are they who, enlarging day by day their sumptuous edifices, encircling them with lofty walls, lay up in them their incalculable treasures, imprudently transgressing the bounds of poverty and violating the very fundamental rules of their profession.” Allowance must here be made for jealousy of a rival order just rising in popularity.
Every large monastery had depending upon it one or more smaller establishments known as cells. These cells were monastic colonies, sent forth by the parent house, and planted on some outlying estate. As an example, we may refer to the small religious house of St Mary Magdalene’s, a cell of the great Benedictine house of St Mary’s, York, in the valley of the Witham, to the south-east of the city of Lincoln. This consists of one long narrow range of building, of which the eastern part formed the chapel and the western contained the apartments of the handful of monks of which it was the home. To the east may be traced the site of the abbey mill, with its dam and mill-lead. These cells, when belonging to a Cluniac house, were called Obedientiae. The plan given by Viollet-le-Duc of the Priory of St Jean des Bons Hommes, a Cluniac cell, situated between the town of Avallon and the village of Savigny, shows that these diminutive establishments comprised every essential feature of a monastery,—chapel, cloister, chapter-room, refectory, dormitory, all grouped according to the recognized arrangement. These Cluniac obedientiae differed from the ordinary Benedictine cells in being also places of punishment, to which monks who had been guilty of any grave infringement of the rules were relegated as to a kind of penitentiary. Here they were placed under the authority of a prior, and were condemned to severe manual labor, fulfilling the duties usually executed by the lay brothers, who acted as farm servants. The outlying farming establishments belonging to the monastic foundations were known as villae or granges. They gave employment to a body of conversi and laborers under the management of a monk, who bore the title of Brother Hospitaller —the granges, like their parent institutions, affording shelter and hospitality to belated travelers.
AUTHORITIES.—Dugdale, Monasticon; Lenoir, Architecture monastique (1852–1856); Veollet-le-Duc, Dictionnaire raisonnee de l’architecture francaise; Springer, Klosterleben und Klosterkunst (1886); Kraus, Geschichte der christlichen Kunst (1896).