A Case Study in Benedictine Practices: Barking Abbey
Ritual observance carries a dual purpose as the transmitter of the tradition of the church universal and of the traditions and practices of a specific locale. The church always enacts its general practices in specifically local ways. This mixture of local and universal rituals is one of the true strengths of the monastic tradition. A nun indeed joins all other professed nuns as the bride of Christ, but she does so in a particular abbey or priory. Her identity is both as Benedictine and as a Barking nun for example. Each identity contributes important parts to her development. From the Benedictines she inherits a regular regimen of worship, study and work, specific liturgical hours and patterns of prayer, and the great body of plainchant. From Barking she inherits tangible specific rituals that bind that particular community together, chants for the local saints, a sense of community history, and the sights and smells of that particular building. So while some consider that the “devil is in the details,” we can expect that perhaps the nuns discovered the divine in the details as well.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Bertram Colgrave and R.A.B. Mynors, eds., Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, book IV, chapter 6 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), pp. 354, 356.Google Scholar
- 4.Susan K. Pvankin, “The Mary Magdalene Scene in the ‘Visitatio Sepulchri’ Ceremonies,” in Early Music History I: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Music, ed. Iain Fenlon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 249.Google Scholar
- 6.David N. Bell, What Nuns Read: Books & Libraries in Medieval English Nunneries, Cistercian Studies Series 158 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1995), pp. 107–120.Google Scholar
- 11.J.B.L. Tolhurst, ed., The Ordinale and Customary of the Benedictine Nuns of Barking Abbey, Henry Bradshaw Society, vols. 65–66 (London: Harrison and Sons, 1927), p. 369.Google Scholar
- 16.Charles Trice Martin, ed., Registrum Epistolarum Fratris Johannis Peckham Archiepiscopi Cantuariensis (London: Longman, 1882), 1:82–83.Google Scholar
- 27.Alejandro Enrique Planchart, The Repertory of Tropes at Winchester, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 11:300.Google Scholar
- 30.See David Hiley, Western Plainchant: A Handbook (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), p. 155. Kyrie melodies are catalogued in Margaretha Landwehr– Melnicki, Das Einstimmige Kyrie des Lateinischen Mittelalters (Regensburg, Forschungsbeiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 1, 1955). See also David Hiley, “Ordinary of Mass Chants in English, North French, and Sicilian Manuscripts,” Journal of the Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Sodety 9(1986): 1–56, 57–128.Google Scholar
- 48.Inge B. MilfuU, The Hymns of the Anglo–Saxon Church: A Study and Edition of the “Durham Hymnal” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). This volume includes an edition and translation into English of the Latin hymns as well as the interlinear Anglo–Saxon gloss where appropriate.Google Scholar
- 49.Gemot R. Wieland, The Canterbury Hymnal: Edited from British Library MS. Additional 37517 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, c. 1982).Google Scholar