Cistercian Chronicles and Necrologies

David H. Williams

In the first section of this fascinating study, ‘Cistercian Chronicles and the Events of Nature’, David Williams reveals the wealth of information to be gleaned from medieval and later Cistercian chronicles on the effects felt from earthquakes, floods, drought, extreme temperatures, pestilence and plague, as well as the impact of eclipses and comets, on the monks themselves and on the wider population.

The second section of the book provides an invaluable survey of Cistercian Necrologies from monasteries across Europe, both those that survive and many that are now lost. The author then draws on these to demonstrate the huge range of evidence they provide for Cistercian life with their detail of founders, major patrons and benefactors; the rebuilding and embellishment of abbeys and their buildings; granges and monastic villages; music, vestments and sacred vessels; feast days, commemorations, shrines and subsidiary altars; burials and sepulchral monuments; libraries and books; the monks themselves,  individual abbots and abbesses, and other monastic office holders such as priors and cellarers; farming, fishing, food and drink and the payment of pittances; the challenge of war, of the Reformation and of later secular reforms and suppression.

David H. Williams, an Anglican priest, studied historical geography at Cambridge, where he was later awarded a doctorate for his work on monastic history. This volume marks the completion of nearly sixty years of research and publication on the history and life of the Cistercian Order. He served for four years as guest-master at Caldey Abbey, and has visited many past and present monasteries and nunneries of the Order throughout Europe and the Near East. His previous publications include The Cistercians in the Early Middle Ages, The Welsh Cistercians, and The Tudor Cistercians, as well as The Five Wounds of Jesus, all published by Gracewing.

978 0 85244 983 7

188 pages


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The Early Cistercian Nuns 1098- 1350
David H. Williams

The emergence of nuns as members or associates or followers of the Cistercian Order is shrouded in uncertainty. They are not mentioned in the earliest document of the White Monks, the Exordium Parvum, compiled by perhaps 1150, nor in the first codification of Cistercian statutes in 1202. Yet, by the year 1200, in France alone some one hundred nunneries claimed to be Cistercian. From the early to mid-thirteenth century there was to be a rapid growth in the number of convents, reminiscent of the speedy advance of the male houses of the Order in the previous century. By the time of the European Reformation the number of convents in Europe and the Near East claiming to be Cistercian has been variously estimated at between five and nine hundred.

In this study, David Williams charts the growth of these female houses  ̶  their foundation, the different physical locations of the convent sites, their buildings and possessions, the communities and their finances and their daily life  ̶  incorporating a wealth of fascinating detail about many of the nuns themselves and of their royal, aristocratic and clerical patrons. It is a significant contribution to an important aspect of women's history in the mediaeval period.

978 0 85244 955 0  

360 pages  


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The Cistercians in the Early Middle Ages

David H. Williams

The Cistercian in the Early Middle Ages seeks to portray the growth, conventual, cultural, spiritual and economic life, of a religious Order which was second to none in medieval Europe. This works concerns itself with the first 250 years of Cistercian history, sometimes called the ‘ Golden Age’ of the Order, brought to a close by the Black Death.  The detailed study endeavours to illustrate, with original maps and plans, much of the white monks’ activity, and that of the hundreds of Cistercian-affiliated nunneries which sought to emulate the male communities of the Order.

978 085244 350 7

480 pages + 16 pages of photographs

£60.00 special offer £30.00hb

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The Five Wounds of Jesus

David H. Williams

Devotion to the Five Wounds of Jesus has long been one of the most popular forms of Catholic spirituality. David Williams traces the roots of this devotion in Holy Scripture: the words of the prophets foretell the suffering Christ, while the New Testament witnesses to the victorious scars borne by the risen Lord. The Sacred Wounds of Jesus remained a persistent theme in the writings of the Desert Fathers and Doctors of the Church, a theme that was to be more fully developed in the devotional practice of the mediaeval period and on into modern times. Detailing the several forms devotion to the Five Wounds has taken (both mediaeval and modern) - in art, liturgy and poetry - David Williams recalls those holy people favoured by visions of the suffering Lord, as well as those who themselves came to bear the stigmata of Christ. He outlines the history of devotion to the specific wound in the Side - later seen as the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and describes the 'gift of tears' given to some from their reflection upon the Passion of their Master.

978 085244 620 1

94 pages


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