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The Foundation Legend of Godstow Abbey: A Holy Woman’s Life in Anglo-Norman Verse

  • Emilie Amt
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Godstow Abbey was a Benedictine monastery for women, founded in the early twelfth century.1 Before the end of the twelfth century it had gained royal patronage, and in the 1530s it ranked about fifteenth in wealth among medieval English nunneries. Although Godstow’s status has probably been overstated in some modern accounts, it was certainly one of the more eminent female houses in England. Because of its relative wealth and prominence in the Middle Ages, its location near Oxford, and the burial of Henry Il’s mistress in the convent church, Godstow is quite well known even today, in a superficial way.2

Keywords

Twelfth Century Mystical Experience English Register Oxford Region Early Twelfth Century 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    William Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum: A History of the Abbies and Other Monasteries in England and Wales, 6 vols (1646, rpt London: James Bohn, 1846), 4:357–377; The Victoria History of the County of Oxford, vol. 2, ed. William Page (London: Archibald Constable & Company Limited, 1907), pp. 71–75Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Eileen Power, Medieval English Nunneries, c. 1275 to 1535 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922), 2, 456.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dugdale, Monasticon, 4:357–358; Victoria History of the County of Oxford, vol. 2, pp. 71–72; Sally Thompson, Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries after the Norman Conquest (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 167–168 (unusually, citing the Latin cartulary)Google Scholar
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  5. 3.
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    The Godstow text would be almost the only known verse history of an English monastic house; but see Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, “‘Outdoing the Daughters of Syon’: Edith of Wilton and the Representation of Female Community in Early Fifteenth-Century England,” in Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts in Late Medieval Britain, ed. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Rosalynn Voaden, Arlyn Diamond, Ann Hutchison, Carol Meale, and Lesley Johnson (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2000), pp. 393–409. In the 1467 translation from Godstow, the foundation legend has a rubric suggesting that the original source was historical: “The chronicle of the house and monastery of Godstow maketh mention of how that place was founded …” (English Register of Godstow Nunnery, ed. Clark, p. 25; emphasis added).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Charlotte Newman Goldy and Amy Livingstone 2012

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  • Emilie Amt

There are no affiliations available

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