This series of books is intended to provide a unique fully illustrated record of monastic houses in the British Isles, with gazetteer, description and photographs of the most interesting and elaborate architectural remains, and brief historic coverage of significant events. Coverage ranges from the most impressive survivals to a single fragment of wall languishing unheralded in town and country. Monasteries where nothing has survived are also included to ensure a comprehensive overview.
Few can fail to be fascinated by the medieval flowering and ultimate destruction of monasticism in Britain. While many consider Henry VIII’s despoiling and dismantling of the monastic establishments, driven as it was by the King’s break with Rome and the need to finance the strengthening of his defences against the French, vandalism on a breathtaking scale, it has to be acknowledged that the monastic Orders played a not inconsiderable part in their own downfall. By the fifteenth and sixteenth century, scores of the faithful of both sexes had increasingly succumbed to secular temptations and pleasures, which, together with the trappings of power and wealth for many, provided a heady cocktail that led to an alarming spiritual decline. Yet, for almost five hundred years, these monasteries were a key part of the social fabric of a then largely feudal society and contributed immensely to the development of agriculture and learning.
It is to be hoped that our books will kindle interest in an important aspect of our medieval history, encourage a visit when in the vicinity, or persuade the intrepid adventurer that a long journey into Britain’s fascinating monastic past would be time well spent.
About the Author
Graham Hobster is a graduate biologist, trained teacher and self-confessed technophile. His thirty five years at the chalk-face included four years each in Uganda and Dorset followed by twenty five years back in his native Derbyshire as Head of Science and one of the country's first Advanced Skills Teachers. He took his first photograph at the age of five and has maintained his enthusiasm throughout the next sixty-five years. His photographic darkroom has been replaced by digital files and he worked with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to produce the layout for this book. Having visited most of the sites, to photograph and document them, Graham now lives in Canada, working as a freelance book designer. His photographic skills now include aerial images from his drone.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Acknowledgements. Sources and further reading. The Spread of Monasticism. County-by-County Guide - Southern England Berkshire Cornwall Devon Dorset Hampshire Kent Somerset Surrey Sussex Wiltshire Timeline Medieval Popes 1066-1558 Medieval Archbishops of Canterbury 1066-1558 Glossary Index 272 Pages