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Perfectissimus: The Carthusians in England, c.1178-c.1220

GREEN, ROSALIND,CECILIA,GOLDIE (2017) Perfectissimus: The Carthusians in England, c.1178-c.1220. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis aims to demonstrate the significance of the charterhouse of Witham within the collective history of the Carthusian order in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The importance of this house has been underestimated in modern scholarship and what follows addresses this imbalance. Although removed from the Carthusian heartland of the French Alps, the charterhouse of Witham was not a backwater or irrelevent house. A diverse range of sources concern this charterhouse and the Carthusians in England which form a significant proportion of the avaliable evidence for the entire order in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Utilising such sources, this thesis places Witham and the Carthusians in England at the heart of any examination of the Carthusian order in this period. The rich evidential vein offered by them allows an integrated exploration of what it meant to be a Carthusian in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.

Moreover, this thesis considers reception and interpretation of the order by contemporaries, both those internal and external to the order. In so doing, it argues that there was a greater diversity of opinion towards the order in this period than often assumed in modern scholarship and demonstrates that Witham had an impact upon contemporaries that was disproportionate to the small size of the community. To achieve this, this thesis considers historical narratives surrounding the foundation of Witham (Chapter One), the representation of Carthusians by outsider observers (Chapter Two), Carthusian hagiography through the Magna Vita of Saint Hugh of Lincoln (Chapter Three), and Carthusian theology with the De quadripertito exercitio cellae of Adam of Dryburgh (Chapter Four).

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Carthusians; Monasticism; Medieval; Monks; Chartreuse; Guigo; Theology; History; Hagiography; Charterhouse
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 May 2017 12:45

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