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The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West$
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Susan Wood

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206972.001.0001

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Some non-Frankish patterns of family interest in monasteries

Some non-Frankish patterns of family interest in monasteries

(p.140) 6 Some non-Frankish patterns of family interest in monasteries
The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West

Susan Wood

Oxford University Press

A closer look at ‘family’ or ‘hereditary’ monasteries outside Francia will show that family interest took diverse forms, justifying the expression ‘family monasteries’ in various senses. However, as in Francia, it was generally abbots and sometimes abbesses, rather than founders' families, that came nearest to ‘owning’ monasteries in a juridical sense in the seventh and eighth centuries. It is in early Christian Ireland that the family-owned monastery might most hopefully be sought, since monasteries here were, by the seventh century, extraordinarily closely integrated into a society itself organized mainly by kinship. The Visigothic noble Fructuosus, who — both fleeing and leading numerous noble followers — founded a string of monasteries in Galicia, probably setting them under designated abbots or abbesses as he himself moved on, while perhaps continuing to rule them as a monk-bishop (eventually bishop of Braga). This chapter also looks at some patterns of family interest in monasteries in England, Bavaria, and Italy.

Keywords:   family monasteries, Ireland, England, Galicia, Italy, Bavaria, proprietary church, property

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