“Where the Choir Was, Now Grass Grows”: English Dissolution and Monastic Towns
“Where the Choir Was, Now Grass Grows”: English Dissolution and Monastic Towns
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The article deals with the fate of urban monastic precincts in England after the Dissolution of 1536—1540, as a part of English Reformation. The problem is studies on the material of monastic towns of the South-Eastern England that had monastic precincts within their townscapes. A number of these towns had struggled against the monastic lordship with a different level of persistency over a long period of time, so the liberation from it was supposed to encourage the better integration of a precinct (or rather its territory) into the urban landscape, open new perspectives for the inclusion of these territories into townscapes, and be conductive for an official recognition of urban communities. However, this did not happen. Monastic precincts were largely destroyed, as their buildings were demolished and used as a quarry for different building materials. It is possible to distinguish several functional possibilities for the subsequent use of monastic precincts: a royal residence, a private residence, or a place for urban administration. In addition, in some occasions a monastic church could be used as a parish one for the town. Usually former monastic precincts ended in the hands of royal courtiers and remained for the most part undeveloped and uninhabited. The towns under consideration, i.e. former monastic towns, only occasionally managed to come into possession of some parts of monastic buildings.
About authors
Anna Anisimova
Seignior Research Fellow of the Institute of World History. Associate Professor of the State University of the Humanities

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