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After Oswald: cults and community among the Benedictine monasteries of eleventh-century Mercia

Burford, Zara (2018) After Oswald: cults and community among the Benedictine monasteries of eleventh-century Mercia. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Burford PhD June 2018 - After Oswald.pdf - Examined Thesis (PDF)
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This thesis considers the textual exchanges between four English Benedictine houses - the abbeys of Evesham, Ramsey and Winchcombe and the community at Worcester Cathedral priory - during the late tenth and eleventh centuries. The four communities had all fallen under the protection of Oswald (bishop of Worcester 961-992 and archbishop of York 971-992) during the period commonly known as the ‘English Benedictine Reform’. The thesis examines the liturgical and hagiographical texts associated with three saints’ cults: those of Bede, Ecgwine and Kenelm. All three cults were variously connected to the four monasteries that form the heart of this study. By examining sources for the veneration of the three saints across the communities (rather than focusing on the sites which possessed their remains), this thesis highlights the intertextuality of the liturgical and hagiographic literature surrounding the cults. Not only does this methodology offer fresh insights into the tenth- and eleventh-century development of the cults themselves, it also posits a new approach to exploring questions about monastic relationships. Thus this study also explores whether sharing an interest in the same saints’ cults can shed light on the communities’ perceptions of sharing in a common recent history and the implications this had for the monasteries’ relationships in the century following Oswald’s death. By examining whether a sense of shared history could nuance monastic exchanges, it explores the nature and range of relationships monastic institutions could foster. Consequently, the thesis offers original contributions that begin to bridge the gap between local studies focused upon individual monasteries and scholarship which examines formal monastic orders like the Cistercians. Finally, the thesis emphasises how engaged these local cults were with broader contemporary religious and social concerns and how intimately the communities were connected to major players in the politics of eleventh-century England.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: vitae kalendars
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Medieval Studies (York)
Depositing User: Dr Zara Burford
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 12:24
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2019 12:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23208

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