Page 3, 6th November 1959

6th November 1959
Page 3
Page 3, 6th November 1959 — Scholarly work on a Scottish priory

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Organisations: Catholic Church
People: Peter F. Anson
Locations: London


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Scholarly work on a Scottish priory


A MONASTERY IN MORAY. by Peter F. Anson (London: S.P.C.K., 30s.). NMANY of the. monographs of Ivireligious houses have been rendered "null and void" by "edification at the expense of historical truth. Mr. Peter Anson has not been guilty of this dishonesty, and the result is a first class scholarly work: a model to he followed, both here and on the continent. In the last few years I have read some hundred monographs of Cistercian houses in four languages, and few. if any. can equal "A Monastery in Moray" for thoroughness. lucidity. scholarship, and documentation. The chapter on the "Life and Observance of the Valliscaulian Monks" is especially valuable.


THE mother house of Plus1 carden, Val de a Choux. changed its name to Val-St.-Lieu after its union with the Cistercian abbey of Sept-Pons (not SeptFonds. p.I3) in 1760. "Valley of the Cabbages" was too frivolous sounding for 18th century "Abstinents". The change of allegiance. however, resuscitated the moribund house. Four "aged monks" in 1759 (p.13, n.1) had become in 1771 18 professed monks, 23 lay brothers. one choir novice, three novices in the brothers. six donnees, and several servants (Lamy, L'Ancien Sepi-Funs, chap. XVI, p.276). Two dates need to be advanced a year: the suppression of the religious houses in France was decreed on February 13. 1790, not 1789 p.13), and the severance of Eng. land from Catholic unity by the Act of Supremacy was in 1534. not 1533 (p.108).

The nettle

THE Catholic Church in Scotland in the centuries immediately preceding the so-called Reformation does not make "pretty" reading. but Mr. Anson is to be congratulated in so courageously "grasping the nettle". England was singularly fortunate in escaping the "leprosy of the monastic state". as Montalembert described abbeys in cominendam, although Cardinal Wolsey was for

a time commendatory abbot of St. Albans (I521-24). Scotland was certainly badly in need of a reformation. but that is

exactly what it never had. A body ix not reformed by cutting off its head and sundry other limbs: it is killed.

In conclusion. it may he added that the illustrations in the book are first rate.

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