Early 14th Century nuns ... I have no idea.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Graham Ashford
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:44 pm
Location: Fareham, Hants
Contact:

Early 14th Century nuns ... I have no idea.

Postby Graham Ashford » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:44 am

Hello all

I am trying to find out about early, (1340 - 1360s) nuns. Not because I intend to start picking up the habit, it's worse, much worse :? . My mum wants to join the group and likes the idea of being a nun. It's not a thing I know much about, well anything really. Which is making it difficult to get started.

I ran across the Beguines and wondered if anything similar in England existed during the 1340-1360s. As I think the looser nature of their way of life would leave her plenty to be able to do and talk to people about and enjoy.

I guess what I am asking is, can anyone point me in the direction of a good starting point, online or books, that can help get us started?

Kindest regards

Graham



User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Re: Early 14th Century nuns ... I have no idea.

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:37 am

There were at least three species of nun in the medieval period, belonging to many different Orders:

First, the cloistered variety (Benedictine, Cistercian and so on) whose vows included "stability" - the promise to remain within their enclave for their entire lives.

Second were the nuns belonging to the mendicant Orders, the equivalent of friars - Franciscans, Carmelites, Dominicans and so on. They often spent more time ministering, tending the sick and providing for the poor out on the streets (although many lived cloistered lives like the first group). The Poor Clares are among the most well-known of this type.

Third were the Beguines and various others, who were not nuns in the sense that they took no religious vows and were simply communities of lay women living and praying together. They were limited to mainland Europe and became widely suspected of heresy. I believe they were suppressed in the 1300s because of this.

In England you probably need to think of lay sisters attached to the various cloistered and mendicant Orders, who again were not nuns but who acted as assistants, servants, laundresses and so on. Very little exists in the literature about these women - Julie Kerr only mentions them in passing in her "Life in the Medieval Cloister" in connection with the Gilbertine Order, where they included applicants for the novitiate who failed to become proficient in Latin. Such women were not subject to the same strict regime as nuns and might be expected to venture out of the enclave on errands, giving them more opportunity for "loose" living.

I have checked in various other books I have on my shelves and I can find nothing more that might help - even the hugely extensive "Monasteries and Monastic Orders" by Kristina Kruger only mentions them in passing.


Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Re: Early 14th Century nuns ... I have no idea.

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:12 am

A cup of coffee helped me concentrate a bit more and I should have said that lay sisters (like lay brothers in the monasteries) did not wear the habit like nuns, so this may not be what you are after. Among the Carmelites, for instance, there were associated lay people attached to friaries or nunneries, but again they probably did not wear the habit.

The idea of genuine nuns running around loose in England and misbehaving is probably more a post-reformation myth than medieval reality, which doesn't help you very much.


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Re: Early 14th Century nuns ... I have no idea.

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:59 pm

No Beguines or Begerds in England but they do still exist in Belgium where they are either seen as being hard working charitable do gooders or disgusting homosexuals out to con you. There seems to be no between.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Errent Knight
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:23 pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: Early 14th Century nuns ... I have no idea.

Postby Errent Knight » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:22 pm

Hi Graham,

one of our members has been portraying an early 14th C nun for years now. I'm sure if you asked her she'd help out with any questions you had. Here is the address of her blog.

http://stitchesoftime.wordpress.com/




Return to “1100-1500”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests