Carrow nuns.

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Chaucers Closet
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Carrow nuns.

Post by Chaucers Closet »

Hi, I'm doing some research for my sister in law. Who'd like to portray a nun of the 14th C. Ideally from the Carrow Priory in Norwich.

Other than http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report ... mpid=38270 I'm coming up with very little information. does anyone have anything they could contribute to help with the portrayal of her character?

Many thanks
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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Carrow nuns.

Post by Brother Ranulf »

The definitive source for any monastic site in England is Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum (6 volumes in 8 parts and available to buy at several thousands of pounds - currently £5,405 second hand on Amazon - luckily it's also on the Interweb):
http://monasticmatrix.usc.edu/MatrixBoo ... row%29.pdf

Just like the monks and nuns of the time you will need a good grasp of Medieval Latin to understand the original charters reproduced in that section.

An additional snippet:

"Carrow Abbey was founded in 1146, by grant of the king to some Benedictine nuns, to the south of the (future) walled area, but on lands that had earlier served as townsmen's fields, thus setting the scene for future jurisdictional disputes. One such was the nunnery's claim to have the right to collect a toll on corn sold in the city during the time of the Carrow Fair; this too was relinquished in the settlement of 1290, with the city authorities promising in return not to obstruct the holding of the fair."

A major source for the lives of Medieval nuns in general is the "Ancren Riwle", a manuscript giving advice on how they should live and behave. It is also available online at
http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC1 ... &q&f=false

Finally, a Benedictine nun would follow the Rule of St Benedict, which should be your starting point for research. Nuns and monks heard a chapter of the Rule read out every day at the Chapter meeting (around 7 am) and would have known it by heart. It was written mainly for men (monks) and had to be adapted for use in nunneries:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/BENRULE.HTM
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Carrow nuns.

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Not my period, but I had previously been aware of this mortuary brass of Eleanor de Bohun of 1399 and I managed to find it again after some searching.

She was an aristocrat, the wife of a murdered nobleman and she retired to Barking Abbey (nunnery) for the remaining few years of her life - this was a Benedictine house and the brass shows the typical clothing of a Benedictine sister during the late 14th century: black woollen habit with a black scapular over it during work time (scrubbing tables, cooking, gardening etc.), a white linen wimple and a black woollen veil over that (a white veil for novices). The only indication of date is the fastening of her black wool cloak, which is an addition to the standard dress and no doubt a recognition of the English winter climate.

Benedictine nuns across the country (and across Europe) would have worn very much the same.
Bohun,Eleanor1399brass.gif
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Chaucers Closet
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Re: Carrow nuns.

Post by Chaucers Closet »

Many thanks Brother. Will pass on the info to sister in law.
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