Monastic Studies

Ref: C3673351

Definitions;- Monos - one, Abbot - father, Origins of monasticism in the near East. Byzantine monasticism in Syria Israel and Egypt. Monte Casino and the West. Celtic monasticism - Ireland and Iona. Saxon monasteries - Lindisfarne, Whitby, Jarrow etc. Viking raids and closure. Later Saxon monastic reform - Benedictines. Norman conquest and the new orders - Cluniacs, Cistercians, Augustinians, Gilbertines, Military orders, nuns. Medieval developments - the urban monks, black, white grey etc friars. Dissolution - land release, demolition and salvage.

Course aim

The course aims to introduce students to the concept of Christian Monasticism, its origins, development, spread, divisions, achievements and ultimate demise in Britain: Using archaeological and historical sources.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Designed to be for interested adults who wish to learn and enjoy new knowledge.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe the origins of western monasticism.
  • Show how a specific set of buildings were developed for monastic use.
  • List the principle orders into which the catholic core divided.
  • Explain the rise of the urban monasteries in the 13th century.
  • Demonstrate the achievements of the monastic orders in medieval Britain.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Please bring an enquiring mind.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You will be able to interpret monastic remains, understand what they represent and be able to fully understand what happened when they were standing buildings and used for the purpose for which they were designed. This applies to western Europe.

Download full course information sheet

Monastic Studies


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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