The monastic life was of central importance in the Middle Ages. In one sense, monasteries were cut off from the world; in another, they forged vital links with it. This is a study of the regional growth of monasticism between 1069 and 1215, in what was the largest county in England. It studies those who entered monastic communities, and the impact of the growth of monasticism on the aristocracy (who founded and patronized monasteries) and the local community, on the landscape and economy of the county, and on regional identity.
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