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Title: Torre Abbey : locality, community, and society in medieval Devon
Author: Jenkins, John Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 6478
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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Torre Abbey was a rural Premonstratensian monastery in south-east Devon. Although in many ways atypical of its order, not least in the quality and quantity of its surviving source material, Torre provides an excellent case study of how a medium-sized medieval monastery interacted with the world around it, and how the abbey itself was affected by that interaction. Divided into three broad sections, this thesis first examines the role of local landowners and others as patrons of the house in the most obvious sense, that of the bestowal of lands or other assets upon the house. Torre was relatively successful in this regard, and an examination of the architectural and archaeological record indicates a continuation of that relationship after the thirteenth century. The second section notes areas of conflict with the laity. Disputes could and did arise over both temporal and spiritual affairs, as well as through the involvement of a number of lay figures in the administration and patronage of the house. In both respects, notable incidents in the mid-fourteenth century highlight the complexities of the canons’ relationships with the secular world. These are further explored in an analysis of the abbey’s role during the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of the Roses, two conflicts which greatly affected the locality, but required vastly differing approaches by the canons. Finally, the effect of society on the canons themselves is considered. It is possible to recover some picture of their origins, both social and geographic, as well as some idea of the size of the community in the fifteenth century, and discuss the repercussions for an understanding of monastic recruitment. Finally, the dynamic of the community over the entire history of the abbey is considered in terms of the scattered source material, utilising both architectural and documentary evidence.
Supervisor: Thompson, Benjamin ; Blair, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Late antiquity and the Middle Ages ; Economic and Social History ; Architecture ; History of art and visual culture ; Church history ; monasteries ; Premonstratensian Order ; Devon