Monastic Habits in Medieval Worcester

The monastery was the focus of the local community in many medieval towns. Emma Mason describes the way of life of the monks and the young people in their care in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Information on the lives of eleventh-century monks can sometimes be gleaned from snippets in charters, but more illuminating are the Lives of bishops and abbots, usually written soon after their deaths. At this time, individuals were still proclaimed as saints by their local monastic communities. Works of hagiography were produced in order to spread the cult of such men. Priests used informal translations of these Latin Lives in homilies, or informal sermons, demonstrating to the laity the ways in which these people were examples of holy living. Although Lives followed a set pattern, each contained anecdotal material from which we can reconstruct something of the monastic environment of the eleventh century.

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