Remembering and rewriting the processes of monastic foundation at Whitby, Selby, and St Mary’s York

Talbot, Daniel (2020) Remembering and rewriting the processes of monastic foundation at Whitby, Selby, and St Mary’s York. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In the wake of the Norman Conquest, three new, independent Benedictine monasteries were founded in Yorkshire: Selby, Whitby, and St Mary's York. Many more institutions followed in their wake, but it was the foundation of these monasteries that marked the return of formal monasticism to the region. Despite the lacuna, these monasteries stepped into a rich monastic past which had been passed down through the enduringly popular work of Bede. In this thesis, I consider how those new institutions wrote about and recorded their foundation, how they used their foundations to carve out their place in the world, and what the written sources that are left to us reveal about the communities' memory of the past. I suggest that the surviving evidence points towards a more complex pattern of memorialisation than previous studies have set out, and that the relationship between the abbey's memory of the past and the sources which survive from that abbey, is multifaceted and heterogeneous. Those sources are mere snapshots frozen in time, and whilst they could be representative of the abbey's memory of the past, that was not always the case. The thesis therefore argues for a more granular approach and considers the representations of the foundation process in a variety of different sources. Those sources highlight that in every single case these abbeys entertained numerous versions of the past, and that it is only through highlighting those differences that we can begin to grasp how medieval monastic communities thought about their past.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2022 14:48
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2022 14:48

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