The Augustinian canons are very much the Cinderellas of medieval monastic history. In Britain, despite their prolific numbers, the not inconsiderable quantity and quality of their archives, and the fame and celebrity of much of their surviving architecture, the canons continue to stand in the shadow of the more familiar and generally better-researched monastic groups, most notably the Benedictines and the Cistercians.
Encouragingly, in recent years, a new generation of monastic historians has been working hard to redress this balance, but much remains to be done. In particular, the buildings of the Augustinian canons, their architecture, art, and the liturgy within, all remain woefully neglected areas of study. This is surprising, given the celebrity of English sites such as Bolton in Wharfedale, St Frideswide’s in Oxford (now the cathedral church), St Bartholomew’s in London, Hexham, Waltham and Walsingham; or Llanthony and Bardsey in Wales; or Jedburgh and St Andrews in Scotland.
This conference presents a major opportunity to consider the buildings at these and many other Augustinian sites across the country – more than 200 in all. It brings together an impressive body of historians, architectural and art historians, and archaeologists, whose principal focus will be the canons in Britain. However, the conference will also provide some contextual Continental background, and will further consider comparative material in Ireland.
It will be the first ever conference to consider the Augustinian canons in Britain from this perspective.