Life and Positions in the Abbey

Religion played a major role in life on the Borders in our period of interest.

There is a new page on the website under Border Life entitled Life in the Abbey. Here you will find information on the Abbey located on an island in North March. The article talks about life in a monastery or convent, both of which are included in the abbey. There is a discussion of roles, rank and hierarchy within the abbey and within the church.

Religious roles were not the only roles in the abbey. There were lay brothers and lay sisters, who wore a habit different from the nuns and monks who had taken vows. Lay brothers and sisters worked in the abbey, serving it and the people in the parish, without taking vows. They were free to leave the abbey at any time. Lay sisters were free to marry, but would leave the habit behind and would no longer be addressed as “Sister” after marriage. There were short term residents in the abbey, those seeking retreat to meditate and reflect for a period, pilgrims, travellers passing through, and refugees seeking sanctuary from arrest.

The church connected to the abbey would be visited by people from the area to worship, celebrate marriages, baptisms, and for funeral services. Christmas and Easter would be joyous and busy at the abbey.

If you are a fan of the TV series based on Ken Follet’s work (Pillars of the Earth and World Without End) you might be inspired to try role play life in our abbey.

Help wanted: Abbot or Abbess. A devout and gentle nature are desired, no matter what they might conceal beneath the surface. Must have an ability to lead a community, inspiring it or oppressing it as the occasion demands.


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