The foundations of Augustinian priories in England during the reign of Henry I, 1100-1135.
The development of the canons regular in England has generally been assumed, in part
due to J. C. Dickinson's Augustinian history, to be an aspect of the eleventh and twelfth
century papal reform movement's attempt to create a new priestly order, living a quasi-monastic
life under Rome's direction. The following study suggests that linking the
English development with the Augustinian continental emergence as a 'monastic' order
is incorrect. The more than sixty Augustinian houses established during Henry l's reign
(1100-11 35) were rather a result of a variety of factors.
This study examines the establishment and distribution of Augustinian houses
during Henry's reign noting how they form a communications network, are often placed
along the main roads and at river crossings, offer staging posts for travellers, and often
hospital or hostel accommodation, as well as, stimulate town growth. It discusses the
fact that a number of houses were founded where once had been Anglo-Saxon minsters
and explores their connection to numerous churches placed in the care of the
Augustinians. By reviving the minsters as 'mother' churches to a vast number of local
churches, the Augustinians provided a new framework for the operational and pastoral
function of the parish church.
It investigates the founders and patrons of these houses, many of whom were
members of the King's familia and suggests a range of motives for their founding work
and patronage. It analyzes the various foundation myths and assesses the place of
hermits in the establishment of new Augustinian houses.
Maps illustrate Augustinian foundations in relation to the Roman road system, the
expansion network of houses, and the proximity of churches beneficed to three typical
houses. Tables show houses as 'minor' and 'major' colonizers and as Augustinian
settlement groupings during four time periods. Figures depict bridges at four main
crossings in relation to exemplar priories. Appendices provide useful lists pertaining to