A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or nuns (such as the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans, and Carmelites, for instance), or monasteries of monks or nuns (as with the Benedictines). Houses of canons regular and canonesses regular also use this term, the alternative being "canonry".
In pre-Reformation England, if an abbey church was raised to cathedral status, the abbey became a cathedral priory. The bishop, in effect, took the place of the abbot, and the monastery itself was headed by a prior.
Priories first came to existence as subsidiaries to the Abbey of Cluny. Many new houses were formed that were all subservient to the abbey of Cluny and called Priories. As such, the priory came to represent the Benedictine ideals espoused by the Cluniac reforms as smaller, lesser houses of Benedictines of Cluny. There were likewise many conventual priories in Germany and Italy during the Middle Ages, and in England all monasteries attached to cathedral churches were known as cathedral priories.
The Benedictines and their offshoots (Cistercians and Trappists among them), the Premonstratensians, and the military orders distinguish between conventual and simple or obedientiary priories.
Priory is also used to refer to the geographic headquarters of several commanderies of knights.
Abbot is an ecclesiastical title given to the male head of a monastery in various western religious traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is abbess.
An abbey is a complex of buildings, a type of monastery used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or abbess. It provides a place for religious activities, work, and housing of Christian monks and nuns.
The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict, are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of the members' religious habits.
A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school, and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, occasionally referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries, in England, Wales and Ireland, appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former personnel and functions. Although the policy was originally envisaged as increasing the regular income of the Crown, much former monastic property was sold off to fund Henry's military campaigns in the 1540s. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from Papal authority, and by the First Suppression Act (1535) and the Second Suppression Act (1539).
Alien priories were religious establishments in England, such as a monastery or convent, which were under the control of another religious house outside England. Usually the mother-house was in France.
Cluny Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. It was dedicated to St Peter.
The Cluniac Reforms were a series of changes within medieval monasticism of the Western Church focused on restoring the traditional monastic life, encouraging art, and caring for the poor. The movement began within the Benedictine order at Cluny Abbey, founded in 910 by William I, Duke of Aquitaine (875–918). The reforms were largely carried out by Saint Odo and spread throughout France, into England, and through much of Italy and Spain.
Arthington Priory was an English monastery which was home to a community of nuns in Arthington, West Yorkshire, founded in the mid-12th century. The priory land is occupied by a residence called "Arthington Hall", which was built around 1585, and little, if anything, remains of the priory. The site of the priory church is possibly now occupied by a farmhouse called The Nunnery. The community was the only one of nuns of the Cluniac congregation in Yorkshire and one of two in England. It was established through a grant by Peter de Arthington.
St. Anselm's Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey located at 4501 South Dakota Avenue, N.E., in Washington, D.C.. It operates the boys' middle and high school St. Anselm's Abbey School, which was ranked by the Washington Post as the most challenging in Washington, D.C., and as the most challenging private high school in the U.S.
Prior, derived from the Latin for "earlier, first", is an ecclesiastical title for a superior, usually lower in rank than an abbot or abbess. Its earlier generic usage referred to any monastic superior.
Saint Odilo of Cluny was the fifth Benedictine Abbot of Cluny, holding the post for around 54 years. During his tenure Cluny became the most important monastery in western Europe. Odilo actively worked to reform the monastic practices not only at Cluny, but at other Benedictine houses. He also promoted the Truce of God whereby military hostilities were temporarily suspended at certain times for ostensibly religious reasons. Odilo encouraged the formal practice of personal consecration to Mary. He established All Souls' Day in Cluny and its monasteries as the annual commemoration to pray for all the faithful departed. The practice was soon adopted throughout the whole Western church.
In the Middle Ages, from the 11th century, the Cluniac order established a number of religious houses in the kingdoms of England and Scotland.
Charlieu Abbey or St. Fortunatus' Abbey, Charlieu was a Benedictine abbey located at Charlieu, Loire, Burgundy, France. It was later a Cluniac priory.
By the 10th century, Christianity had spread throughout much of Europe and Asia. The Church in England was becoming well established, with its scholarly monasteries, and the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were continuing their separation, ultimately culminating in the Great Schism.
Montacute Priory was a Cluniac priory of the Benedictine order in Montacute, Somerset, England.
St. Mary Magdalen was a Benedictine priory in Lincoln, England. Along with Sandtoft Priory and Hanes Cell, it was a Lincolnshire cell of St Mary's Abbey in York, England. A surviving building, once owned by the priory, is Monks' Abbey, Lincoln.
Romainmôtier Priory is a former Cluniac priory in the municipality of Romainmôtier-Envy in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. The monastery was founded by Romanus of Condat, after whom it was named. It is entered on the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance.
A dependency, among monastic orders, denotes the relation of a monastic community with a newer community which it has founded elsewhere. The relationship is that of the founding abbey or conventual priory, termed the motherhouse, with a monastery composed of the monks or nuns of the new community, which is called the daughter house. In that situation, the abbot or abbess remains the ultimate authority for the affairs of the dependent priory, which is considered an extension of the founding house. This relationship will end at such time as the new community becomes fully autonomous in its own right.
St. James Priory, also known as Derby Cluniac Priory, was a Benedictine monastery, formerly located in what is now Derby City Centre. It existed until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.