In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Benedictines After 1100

  • Introduction
  • Gazetteers of Religious Houses
  • Biographical Works
  • Other Reference Works
  • Bibliographies
  • Journals
  • Editions of Primary Sources in Translation: Monastic Chronicles
  • Editions of Primary Sources in Translation: Other Records
  • Collections of Primary Sources in Translation
  • Collections of Essays
  • General Europe-Wide Surveys
  • Regional Surveys: Britain and Ireland
  • Regional Surveys: Europe
  • Case Studies
  • The Challenge of the New Orders
  • Monastic Worship
  • Monastic Economy
  • Daughter Houses and Alien Priories
  • Learning and Scholarship
  • Art and Architecture
  • Relations with the Wider World
  • Late Medieval Congregations and Reforms
  • Dissolution

Medieval Studies Benedictines After 1100
Martin Heale
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 January 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0141


Although many of the greatest monasteries in Europe during the High Middle Ages and late medieval period were Benedictine, historians have often presented the black monks as in crisis or decline for much of the post-1100 period. New Benedictine foundations were relatively rare after this date, and much lay patronage was redirected to new expressions of the monastic life, such as the Cistercians or regular canons. The rhetoric of new monastic orders, which presented themselves as “reformed” versions of or necessary departures from traditional Benedictine monasticism, has also influenced historians’ interpretations of the black monks. Thus general surveys of medieval monasticism, such as Lawrence 2001 and Melville 2016 (both cited under General Europe-Wide Surveys), focus almost entirely on new monastic and mendicant orders after c. 1100. But as much recent historiography has shown, the Benedictines remained highly influential throughout the entire medieval period. In many parts of Europe, they retained the support of kings and aristocratic patrons into the 16th century. Collectively, they possessed very substantial estates and urban properties. They served the social and spiritual needs of their lay neighbors through (for example) their hospitality, almsgiving, and pilgrimage sites. And although no longer preeminent in intellectual and artistic life, they remained committed to intellectual studies and continued to be major patrons of art, architecture, and music. The later Middle Ages also saw projects for Benedictine renewal, particularly in the form of reformed congregations in continental Europe. This bibliography contains work on all these areas of research. It does not include the Cluniac branch of the black monks or Benedictine nuns, which are covered in separate Oxford Bibliographies articles.

Gazetteers of Religious Houses

A number of valuable reference works are available for those conducting research into monastic (and Benedictine) history. These include lists of monasteries, which generally contain some basic information about each house, such as Cottineau and Poras 1939–1970, and the Medieval Religious Houses volumes for the British Isles: Knowles and Hadcock 1971, Cowan and Easson 1976, and Gwynn and Hadcock 1988. Comparable repertories have been compiled for several European countries, including France (Besse, et al. 1909–) and Germany (Germania Benedictina, Faust 1970–2004).

  • Besse, Jean Martial, Jacques de Font-Réaulx, and Charles Beaunier, eds. Abbayes et prieurés de l’ancienne France: Recueil historique des archevêchés, évêchés, abbayes et prieurés de France. 18 vols. Paris: Veuve Poussielgue, 1909–.

    Repertory of French monasteries organized by region, with brief history and bibliography for each house.

  • Cottineau, Laurent Henri, and Grégoire Poras, eds. Répertoire topo-bibliographique des abbayes et des prieurés. 3 vols. Mâcon, France: Protat Frères, 1939–1970.

    Standard Europe-wide guide, listing monasteries of all orders and giving diocese, dates of foundation, and suppression of each house with bibliographical entries.

  • Cowan, Ian B., and David E. Easson, eds. Medieval Religious Houses, Scotland: With an Appendix on the Houses in the Isle of Man. 2d ed. London: Longman, 1976.

    Comparable guide to Knowles and Hadcock 1971 for Scottish monasteries. Entries include short but useful summaries of the history of individual Benedictine houses.

  • Faust, Ulrich, Franziskus Büll, Rhaban Haacke, et al., eds. Germania benedictina. 12 vols. Sankt Ottilien, Germany: EOS-Verlag, 1970–2004.

    Comparable repertory of German Benedictine monasteries, organized by region.

  • Gwynn, Aubrey, and R. Neville Hadcock, eds. Medieval Religious Houses: Ireland: With an Appendix to Early Sites. New ed. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Academic Press, 1988.

    Comparable guide to Knowles and Hadcock 1971 for the monasteries of medieval Ireland. Entries include short but useful summaries of the history of individual Benedictine houses.

  • Knowles, David, and R. Neville Hadcock, eds. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. 2d ed. London: Longman, 1971.

    Originally published in 1953. Indispensable guide to the religious houses of medieval England and Wales, providing lists of houses of all orders, dates of foundation and suppression, income, numbers of inmates, and maps.

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