The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey

The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey

The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey

The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey


This outstanding collection of essays honor a distinguished scholar best known for her work on late medieval economy, demography, and estate management, and on the monastic community at Westminster. The uniting theme is the imprint of the church, especially the monastic church, upon society at large. Contributions range from the eighth to sixteenth centuries, with an emphasis on the later middle ages, looking at urban religion, monastic education, and the role of religious communities in stimulating economic growth. In a worthy tribute to a great medievalist, the contributors show us a world where the influence of the cloister reached into almost every aspect of daily life.


This collection of essays could not have been written without Barbara Harvey. It is offered to her as a tribute for her learning and generosity, and it reveals the influence which she has had on three generations of medievalists. All the contributors were either taught as undergraduates or as graduates by Barbara, or have profited from her knowledge and guidance on matters connected with medieval Westminster. Everyone who writes in this volume has cause to know that she is a great teacher.

More than any other historian of medieval England, Barbara has bridged the worlds of secular and monastic society, as is well demonstrated by articles such as Work and festa ferianda in medieval England and The population trend in England between 1300 and 1348, and her studies of Westminster Abbey, all of which continue to shape our perceptions of major aspects of the medieval economy and society. More recently, her published Ford Lectures, Living and Dying in England 1100-1540: The Monastic Experience, her most significant achievement so far, uses the rich Westminster monastic archive to illuminate not only the life of the Benedictines but also those who, like the thousands of poor who flocked to the monastery for relief, stood outside the abbey gate.

It is a common problem with Festschriften that the more catholic the research and teaching of their recipients, the more diffuse their contents. In aiming for a coherent volume, we have of necessity covered only some of Barbara's many interests. Several authors have dealt directly with Westminster, and all in their various ways have explored the interaction between lay and religious society which has been so central to Barbara's work. This volume might have become enormous, and we are well aware how many other scholars would gladly have contributed to it: we ask for their understanding and forbearance.

The consideration and efficiency of the contributors had lightened our editorial labours. Their chapters were submitted in 1993, and the editors and publishers apologize to them for the late appearance of this volume. We would also like to thank the staff of Oxford University Press, especially Tony Morris, Sophie McCallum, and Anna Illingworth.


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