CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A place where monks or nuns live, work, and worship. An abbey usually consisted of group of buildings housing a monastery or a convent and an abbey church or a cathedral. Monasticism originated in the Middle East during the second half of the 4th century and spread to Byzantium, France, Greece, and Italy and developed independently from that in Britain. Excavations have shown considerable variation in the layout of abbeys depending on the different monastic orders. They range from beehive cells and oratories of Early Celtic abbeys to the Cistercian plan with cloisters, domestic ranges, and a large church. Prior to the 10th century, monasteries were the principal artistic, economic, and educational centers of the Christian world. An abbey was the complex of buildings which served the needs of these self-contained religious communities. The first European abbey was Montecassino in Italy, founded in 529.
CATEGORY: language DEFINITION: One of the earliest illuminated manuscripts of Europe, a masterpiece of the ornate Hiberno-Saxonstyle. It was probably begun in the late 8th century at the Irish monastery on the Scottish island of Iona and that after a Viking raid the book was taken to the monastery of Kells in County Meath, where it may have been completed in the early 9th century. The monastery of Kells was founded by the monks of Iona when they fled the Vikings in 806. Its contents include gospels, prefaces, summaries, and concordances, as well as legal documents relating to the abbey. A facsimile of the manuscript was published in 1974.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Durovernum Cantiacorum CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site on the River Stour in southeast England occupied since pre-Roman times. Lying at the intersection of important land routes, Canterbury already had a sizable Belgic settlement before the arrival of the Romans in 43 AD. The town was refounded soon after the invasion as Durovernum, the tribal capital of the Cantiaci, around 49 AD. Traces have been found of a theater (c 210-220), a forum, houses, streets, and a stone wall with earth bank added as fortification c 270-290. There is some evidence of Christian occupation from the 4th century, but the settlement declined sharply after 400, probably following the withdrawal of Roman forces. Archaeological investigations in Canterbury have contributed to an understanding of the secular occupation in Roman towns after the imperial withdrawal from Britain. Excavations have also been carried out on a group of churches which may date to the late 6th or 7th century: St. Augustine's Abbey, St. Martins's, and St. Pancras. Canterbury was an important medieval town and from that time there is a medieval cathedral, an impressive circuit of town walls, a large 12th-century castle, and some of the best preserved timber-framed buildings in England.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chip carving CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A technique of decoration with the use of an ax, hatchet, mallet, and/or chisel, which probably originated in the Roman and Celtic world. The technique was adapted by Germanic wood-carvers to make animal ornaments and by metalsmiths of the Migration Period. This excised decoration was done by cutting from the surface triangular and rectilinear small chips. The end result was a pattern of combined V-shaped incisions, with a glittering faceted appearance. It is found in woodwork and pottery, when it has to be done before the clay is fired. False relief is a special version of this technique. Examples are the Tassilo Chalice (Kremsmünster Abbey, Austria) and the Lindau Gospels book cover (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City).
CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A lead-glazed English earthenware of the 15th-16th centuries. The earthenware is dark red with a black or brown metallic-appearing glaze and was called Cistercian because they were first excavated at Yorkshire Cistercian abbeys. The pottery forms were mainly drinking vessels, tall mugs, trumpet-shaped tygs (with 2, 4, or 8 handles), and tankards. The majority of the ware is undecorated, but some examples are distinguished by horizontal ribbing or by white slip ornamentation consisting of roundels or rosettes. Potteries producing these wares were at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire; Tickford, Derbyshire; and Wrotham, Kent.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A type of court or quadrangle surrounded by covered walkways, much like the atrium of a Roman house. They are usually attached to abbeys with one of the sides bounded by the church; also attached to cathedral churches or colleges. The walls were often adorned with frescoes and the court (cloister garth) containing a fountain and trees. The term is also used for the walkways or alleys themselves.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A lake village in Somerset, England, which has yielded more data than any other site about life in the British Iron Age. The village was built on a wooden platform keyed to the underlying peat and was enclosed by a timber palisade. Inside were more than 90 round huts with clay and plank floors. They had central hearths for the fires. Cobbled paths and alleyways ran between the huts. Preservation was so good that the excavators recovered baskets, iron objects (including currency bars and tools with their original hafts), dugout canoes, fragments of spoked wheels, lathe-turned bowls, basins and tubs decorated with La Tène art motifs, farming and fishing gear, basketry and wickerwork, and evidence of potting, weaving, and metalworking from the village. Occupation started from the 3rd/2nd to the 1st century AD, just before the Roman conquest. On the high ground nearby is an Iron Age earthwork, Roman pottery, and a Dark Age structure dated to the 6th century AD. Glastonbury, like Cadbury Castle, is linked in folklore with King Arthur. A rotary quern was invented here and eventually became universal. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary at Glastonbury was perhaps the oldest (c 166 AD) and certainly one of the richest in England.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Roman Glevum CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Roman colonia of Glevum in southwest England, founded by the emperor Nerva, 96-98 AD. The Abbey of St. Peter by King Osric of Northumbria was founded in 681 and it became the capital of the Anglo-Saxonkingdom of Mercia. It achieved reasonable prosperity and had a colonnaded forum, a basilica, and houses with mosaic floors.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An island of the Inner Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. In 563, it was granted by Connal of Dálriada to St. Columba for the founding of a monastery. It was the base from which the Celtic church, under Columba, Aidan, and their successors, converted northern Britain to Christianity. Lindisfarne was its most important daughter house. The remains of the monastery are earthworks that include a distinctive rectangular vallum or ditched enclosure surrounding the complex. The standing buildings belong to the later medieval Benedictine abbey. The island also has a fine collection of 8th-century standing crosses. In the early 9th century, the Vikings caused the Columban monks to abandon their monastery, and many returned to Ireland.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Holy Island CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Island off the coast of Northumberland, northeast England, where in 634, St. Aidan and other monks from Iona founded a monastery. It became a center for producing illuminated manuscripts (Lindisfarne Gospel, c 700) and works of art of the Northumbrian school. In 793, it was subjected to the first Viking (Danes) raid on England and the monastery only functioned intermittently afterwards. There are no traces of the earliest buildings; the church, cloister, ranges and walls visible today all date to the Norman Benedictine abbey. Lindisfarne's past is reflected in the manuscripts that have survived, St. Cuthbert's coffin, and some carved sculpture. It was connected to the coast of Northumberland only at low tide.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: St. Albans phase CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A British town was established on the west bank of the Ver in the 1st century BC, and subsequently the Romans built their town of Verulamium on the site. In 61 AD the town was sacked. Ruins of the town wall dating from the 2nd century AD exist. In c 304, a Roman named Alban, who had converted to Christianity, was taken from the town and killed on the east bank of the Ver. An abbey was later founded on the alleged site of his martyrdom, and the town of St. Albans grew up around the abbey.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Copper-gilt chalice of Kremsmünster Abbey, Austria, which survived from c 778-788 AD. It is an outstanding and original object, possibly made by Northumbrian craftsmen, decorated with a combination of Hiberno-Saxon ornament typical of the period. The chalice is cast in bronze overlaid with gilt and silver Niello engravings.