the administrative unit of the English Province of the Templars,comprising a region, shire or group of villages


or laver,a washing place or basin in the cloister or infirmary supplied with piped water and distinguished architecturally due to its ritual significance


the spiritual and administrative head of an abbey of nuns, elected by the community or nominated by the founding family of the house

Ad succurrendum

nun or monk: a person who took the habit in old age or illness to be cared for at a monastery until death


person designated protector of a monastary

Alien priory

monastic cells owned by mother houses in France. In 1414 they were confiscated by the Crown, as enemy assets, pending a cessation of hostilities between England and France. After 1414 most were farmed out to individuals or to other monastic houses


monastic official who dispensed a monastery's almsgiving


hospitals of the 12th to 14th centuries founded in order to shelter the aged or infirm, or hospitals of the 15th to 16th centuries which acted as residential homes for the poor


freehold land


woman living as an enclosed hermitess


man living as an enclosed hermit; also used for a woman instead of anchoress


the semicircular termination of the chancel, aisle or transept


a series of arches supported on piers


monastic library


roughly an acre of land


the practice of self-denial as a way of religious life; from the Greek asketikos, meaning laborious


to form private farmland out of common land


recesses or cupboards used to hold sacred vessels


a unit of a building marked by vaulting or roof compartments


the resident poor of almshouses


unenclosed communities of religious women common in the Low Countries from the 13th century. Originally, they supported themselves and their charitable activities by working or begging for alms


a term meaning either a subordinate chamber or suite within a medieval building, or, as it was used by the Military Orders, to refer to specialized farms or holdings without a resident preceptor

Canons regular

ordained canons living in community under a Rule, such as the Augustinian, Gilbertine or Premonstratensian. Historians use the tem beguinage to describe any informal or spontaneously founded community of religious women; some historians make a distinction between the Beguines as an Order and lay-religious or semi-monastic women in general. Georgraphically the terms beguine and beguinage (as just defined) are associated with the Low Countires, northern France and the Rhine Valley. Related or synonymous terms for beguinage include: maison, maison dieu, couvent, hopital, Beguinenhaus and begignhuis, grand beguinage, beguinenhof and begijnhof (Delmaire 1989: 126). Related words for semi-religious women in other regions of Europe include: pinzochera, bizoke, mantellata, papallarda


a book of collected documents usually dealing with legal and economic transactions of a monastery


the ground-floor space of a two-storey structure, generally vaulted


monastic official who procured and oversaw a monastery's food supplies


a monastic vocation in which religious lived as part of an organized community; from the Greek koinobio~n, meaning community


annual rent on property paid by a landholder to a landowner


monastic official in charge of choral service and production of books


a mass for the dead, believed to hasten the passage of the soul through Purgatory

Chemin de ronde

a corbelled-out and crenellated passage below the top of a round tower


the upper storey of the nave above the aisle roof, pierced with windows to light the central body of the church


commandery: a monastery of the Military Orders; used particularly to refer to establishments of the Hospitallers


(passive) barring of nonmonastics from the house; (active) prohibition of monastics from exiting the house


an open space enclosed on two or more sides by buildings and serving as a central area


clay mixed with sand, straw or gravel


a community of secular clergy


periodic, formal accounting by a monastery's leaders


union of prayer and privileges between individuals and monasteries or between monasteries (also called societas)


a monastic community of men or women

Conversa (-ae)

lay sister


lay brother


lay people who paid, or were sponsored, to lodge in private accommodation within a monastic precinct. Often this arrangement was permanent and served as a form of pension


work days owed by a peasant to a lord or lordship

Cura monialium

overseeing of and clerical support for a nunnery by male clergy


a piece of ground within the limits or boundary of a property

Decana (-ae)

monastic official who served as vice abbess


Dedication refers to the saint or saints to which a community is dedicated. Often communties, especially the many dedicated to the Virgin Mary, were commonly referred to by other names. However, the dedication is noted in the foundation document and usually other official documents generated or addressed to the community. The holy person or persons to which a community is dedicated often plays a prominent role in the iconography of works of art produced for or by a community. (author: k gill)


land owned and administered directly by a monastery; in the case of a secular estate, the portion of land reserved for the lord's own use

Desert fathers

hermits of the 3rd and 4th century who withdrew to the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria


bishop of a diocese

Documents of practice

pragmatic legal, economic, and institutional records that reflect the world as it was

Documents of theory

prescriptive and hortatory records that show the world as the writer thought it should be

Donationes altaris

parishioners' offerings to priest who performed sacraments and officiated on feast days

Double monestary

a monastery which consisted of separate communities of religious men and women, generally presided over by the abbess


for monastics,entry gift given monastery when a nun or monk joined an order


a monastic vocation in which individuals withdrew from the world to live as solitary religious; from the Greek eremos, meaning desert


freedom for a monastery from episcopal control and oversight


Group of people who answered to a monastery's orders and depended on it for their livelihood


the act of belonging to a particular monastic order, such as the Cistercian

Geometric tracery

dating to the second half of the l4th century, and consisting of simple symmetrical shapes such as circles and trefoils


hymn sung between the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel


farms or subsidiary residences of a monastery


writing of saints' lives


individuals following a religious vocation which involved isolation and the practice of asceticism

Hospes (-itis)

free peasant


a hospital established primarily in order to provide hospitality for travellers and pilgrims


remission of punishment granted a penitent for acts such as going on crusade or on pilgrimage


monastic official in charge of the infirmary


prayers made on behalf of the soul of another

Keel moulding

a carved moulding with a sharp edge, resembling the keel of a ship


the vertical member of an internal roof structure placed on the center of a tie-beam to carry the ridge

Lavra (recluse)

a community of hermits or recluses and their cells

Lectio divina

monastics' regular daily reading and meditation on sacred texts


a hospital dedicated to the care of lepers, where the administrators and caretakers live a semi-religious kind of life; the structure of the lepers' life in such an institution was also designed according to a semi-monastic plan or vision

Lus patronatus

right to name a priest to a benefice


ceremony of washing the feet of twelve people in memory of Christ's washing his apostles' feet


a unit of lordship in which land is divided between that of the lord (demesne) and that held by tenants, for which cash rents and labour services were owed to the lord


calendar of saints' feast days,to which were added the death dates of people to be remembered in monastics' daily prayers


from the Latin misericordia, meaning pity or mercy. The term is used to refer either to the meat-kitchen of the monastic infirmary, where a special diet was prepared for the infirm, or for the hinged seats in the stalls of the monastic choir, which were provided in order to support the nuns or monks in their long religious offices


Monastic Houses,a community or house of a religious order or congregation

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woman or man who has entered a monastery but has not yet taken final vows


small, dependent monastic community with fewer than eight monastics


the officers of a monastic house who held special responsibility for a particular area or function, such as the cellarer, sacristan, infirmarer and hosteller


religious services conducted on the anniversary of a death


offering oneself or a child to serve God as a nun or monk

Opus Dei

divine offices, or the hours; eight services of prayers and psalms celebrated throughout each day by nuns and monks


bishop with ordinary jurisdiction over a diocese


document containing a collection of related documents


a term referring to the church fathers or their writings


the religious expression of poverty and self-denial as repentance for sin


a passage way along the side of a building formed by a single-pitch roof supported on corbels


the letting or taking of blood, carried out in the belief that regular blood-letting was necessary to maintain good health


the vernacular Italian word for an uncloistered religious woman; see beguinage and beguine


a ritual basin set generally in the south wall of a church or chapel adjacent to an altar, in which communion vessels were washed and holy water was disposed


extra serving of food,money, or wine, received by each monastic to celebrate a festive occasion


the resident knight or sergeant in charge of a preceptory of the Military Orders. preceptory a monastery of the Military Orders; used particularly to refer to establishments of the Templars


the spiritual and administrative head of a priory of nuns, elected by the community or nominated by the founding family of the monastery


customary fee paid by a monastery to the official visitor


the stone or wooden screen that divided the west end of the monastic choir from the ritual nave

Regular clergy

ecclesiastics who follow a rule


a name sometimes given to the latrines attached to monastic houses

Rogation Days

three days before Ascension Day

Rotulus (-i)

monastic chain-letter scroll, circulated among religious institutions to announce the death of an abbess or abbot


monastic official with responsibility for care of altar and vestments and care and repair of church


a room attached to the church in which communion vessels, and altar furnishings and other valuables were stored

Secular clergy

ecclesiastics who take holy orders but do not follow a rule

Sedilia (sing. sedile)

a series of seats for the clergy placed on the south side of the chancel


measure of grain


an arbitrary seigneurial levy on serfs


tax assessment of one-tenth income due to local parish

Titulus (tituli)

the administrative unit of the English Province of the Hospitallers, based on a region with a preceptory at its centre


the site of a house and its outbuildings; from the Latin tofta


a band of arcading sometimes incorporating a wall passage, above the main arcade and below the clerestory of a church


cleric who makes periodic official visitations to secular and regular clergy in his diocese


a widow who took vows to live an unenclosed, celibate religious life