A TRANSLATION AND STUDY OF THE "CHRONICON MONASTERII DE ABINGDON" (MONASTICISM, WOMEN, ENGLAND, JOSEPH STEVENSON)
JAMES, DARRYL DEAN
Doctor of Philosophy
The Chronicon Monasteril de Abingdon, edited by the Reverend Joseph Stevenson, was first published in 1858 as part of the Rolls Series. The chronicle narrates the history of one of England's most distinguished monastic foundations, the Benedictine house of Abingdon in Berkshire, from the late seventh century until the accession of Richard the Lion-Hearted in 1189. Though the history of its early years remains obscure, Abingdon from the late tenth century onwards became one of the most influential abbeys in England, due to its prominence in the tenth-century reformation of English monastic life. The chronicle consists mainly of legal documents, such as writs and charters, many of which have been translated, interspersed with narrative sections about the accession of monarchs, the deeds of abbots, or the various legal disputes in which the abbey was engaged throughout its history. The chronicle reveals that many and varied concerns of a wealthy and influential monastic foundation in a period of great social, economic and political changes--the late Anglo-Saxon period and the first century after the Norman Conquest. Among the mass of data which the chronicle yields is much information about the position of women in English society in this important period. This information contradicts the prevailing theory, propounded by Frank and Doris Stenton, that the status of English women, relatively high during the Anglo-Saxon period, underwent an immediate decline upon the Norman Conquest. An analysis of the evidence from the Abingdon chronicle concerning women is offered in Chapter Three, "The Stentons and Medieval English Women: A Reconsideration."