Tironensian Order

Last updated
Tiron Abbey, Thiron-Gardais Abbaye de Tiron.JPG
Tiron Abbey, Thiron-Gardais

The Tironensian Order or the Order of Tiron was a medieval monastic order named after the location of the mother abbey (Tiron Abbey, French : Abbaye de la Sainte-Trinité de Tiron, established in 1109) in the woods of Thiron-Gardais (sometimes Tiron) in Perche, some 35 miles west of Chartres in France). [lower-alpha 1] They were popularly called "Grey Monks" because of their grey robes, which their spiritual cousins, the monks of Savigny, also wore.



Tiron Tiron-Thiron.jpg


The order, or congregation, of Tiron was founded in about 1106 by the Benedictine Bernard de Ponthieu, also known as Bernard d'Abbeville (1046–1117), born in a small village near Abbeville, Ponthieu. [2]

Tonsured at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Cyprien in Poitiers around the year 1070, Bernard left the order in 1101 when his nomination as abbot of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe was disapproved by Cluny and Pope Paschal II. From then on Bernard lived first as a hermit on the island of Chausey [2] between Jersey and Saint-Malo.

Saint Adelelmus
Saint Alleaume.JPG
Statue of St. Adelelmus in the Monastery of Etival-en-Charnie
Born Flanders, Belgium
Venerated in Catholic Church
Feast 27 April

Adelelmus of Flanders was a hermit at Saint-Nicolas in Maine. He joined Bernard on Chausey and under his guidance founded the nunnery of Monastery of Etival-en-Charnie  [ fr ]. He then founded a monastery in honor of St. Nicholas for men. His relics are at Etival. [3]

Bernard next relocated to the woods of Craon, near Angers, with two other rigorist monks: Robert d'Arbrissel, future founder of the controversial Abbey of Fontevraud, and Vitalis de Mortain, later the founder of the Congregation of Savigny in 1113. Following the example of the Desert Fathers, all three men and their followers (men and women) lived detached from the world, in great poverty and strict penance.

Tiron Abbey

The foundation of Tiron Abbey by Bernard of Abbeville was part of wider movements of monastic reform in Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. [4] Bernard's intention was to restore the asceticism and strict observance of the Rule of St. Benedict in monastic life, insisting on manual labour.

In 1107 he and his friend Geoffrey (later Abbot of Tiron), build a small house in a solitary place near Fougeres. A community began to form there. Although the area provided grazing for livestock, it was not well-suited for growing grain or grapes. The monks built workrooms before they began clearing land for fields. [5] During the famine of 1109–1111 the abbey welcomed many displaced persons. It sheltered whole families, including skilled craftsmen. Bernard encourage them to produce goods for sale and the monastery community prospered.

The success of the community aroused the jealousy of the Cluniac monks of Saint-Denis of Nogent-le-Rotrou. He moved his monastery to land in Thiron-Gardais granted to him by Bishop Ivo of Chartres, [6] and placed it under the protection of the cathedral canons of Chartres, instead of a secular overlord. This assured that decisions affecting the abbey were made by a corporate religious body.

Tiron had a school; and after Bernard's death, built houses so that lay women could reside within its walls under the care and protection of the monks. [4] Roger de Port was buried here.

Tironensian Order

Tiron was the first of the new religious orders to spread internationally. [7] Within less than five years of its creation, the Order of Tiron owned 117 priories and abbeys in France, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

St Dogmaels Abbey St Dogmaels Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 309697.jpg
St Dogmaels Abbey

In 1113 Robert FitzMartin granted the Tironensians land and money to found the order's first house in Wales, St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire, which was established on the site of a clas (early Celtic church), which dated back to at least 600 AD. Closed during the Dissolution of the monasteries, much of the stone was quarried for other uses. [8]

Kelso Abbey Kelso Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 339257.jpg
Kelso Abbey

In Scotland, the Tironensians were the monks and master craftsmen who built and occupied (until the Reformation) the abbeys of Selkirk (later re-located to Kelso) (1128), Arbroath (1178), Kilwinning (1140+), and Lindores Abbey, and Newburgh. The first two abbots of Selkirk became, in turn, abbots at Tiron. During the tenure of William of Poitiers as abbot, Tiron established abbeys and priories along the north–south trade routes from Chartres to the navigable Seine and Loire rivers. Under him, the abbey owned at least one ship that traded in Scotland and Northumberland. [4] Tiron adopted a system of annual general chapters. In 1120, Abbot William decreed that abbots from overseas need only attend once in every three years. Arnold, Abbot of Kelso, founded the cathedral church at St Andrews. [9] In France, the order was integrated into the new Benedictine Congregation of St Maur in 1627.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Benedictines</span> Catholic monastic order

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 their religious habits. They were founded in 529 by Benedict of Nursia, a 6th-century monk who laid the foundations of Benedictine monasticism through the formulation of his Rule.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bec Abbey</span>

Bec Abbey, formally the Abbey of Our Lady of Bec, is a Benedictine monastic foundation in the Eure département, in the Bec valley midway between the cities of Rouen and Bernay. It is located in Le Bec Hellouin, Normandy, France, and was the most influential abbey of the 12th-century Anglo-Norman kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ivo of Chartres</span> Medieval French bishop

Ivo of Chartres, also known as Saint Ivo in the Roman Catholic Church, was the Bishop of Chartres, France from 1090 until his death, and an important canonist during the Investiture Crisis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Olivetans</span> Catholic monastic order

The Olivetans, formally known as the Order of Our Lady of Mount Olivet, are a monastic order. They were founded in 1313 and recognised in 1344. They use the Rule of Saint Benedict and are a member of the Benedictine Confederation, where they are also known as the Olivetan Congregation, but are distinguished from the Benedictines in their white habit and centralized organisation. They use the post-nominals 'OSB Oliv'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cluny Abbey</span> Abbey in Saône-et-Loire, France

Cluny Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. It was dedicated to Saint Peter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abbey of St. Mary, St. Dogmaels</span>

The Abbey of St. Mary is Grade I listed ruined abbey in St Dogmaels in Pembrokeshire, Wales, on the banks of the River Teifi and close to Cardigan and Poppit Sands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ligugé Abbey</span>

Ligugé Abbey, formally called the Abbey of St. Martin of Ligugé, is a French Benedictine monastery in the Commune of Ligugé, located in the Department of Vienne. Dating to the 4th century, it is the site of one of the earliest monastic foundations in France. The original abbey having been destroyed during the French Revolution, the current monastic community dates from 1853, and belongs to the Solesmes Congregation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Solesmes Abbey</span> Abbey located in Sarthe, in France

Solesmes Abbey or St. Peter's Abbey, Solesmes is a Benedictine monastery in Solesmes, Sarthe, France, famous as the source of the restoration of Benedictine monastic life in the country under Dom Prosper Guéranger after the French Revolution. The current abbot is the Right Reverend Dom Abbot Geoffrey Kemlin, O.S.B., elected in 2022.

Gerald of Sales was a French monastic reformer from Salles, Lot-et-Garonne near Bergerac, Dordogne in the south-west of France. His feast day is on April 20.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scourmont Abbey</span>

Scourmont Abbey is a Trappist monastery on the Scourmont plateau, in the village of Forges which is part of Chimay in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. The abbey is famous for its spiritual life and for running the Chimay Brewery, one of the few producers of Trappist beer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Güigüe Abbey</span>

San José Abbey, Güigüe, Venezuela, is a Benedictine abbey of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Currently located to the south of Lago de Valencia, the monastic community was originally established as a mission procure in Caracas following World War I. Caracas' expansion restrained the development of the abbey, and in the late 1980s the monks relocated to Güigüe. The community's superior is Fr Abbot José María Martínez Barrera.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caldey Abbey</span> Church in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Caldey Abbey is an abbey of the Trappists situated on Caldey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, south of Tenby.

The Subiaco Cassinese Congregation is an international union of Benedictine houses within the Benedictine Confederation. It developed from the Subiaco Congregation, which was formed in 1867 through the initiative of Dom Pietro Casaretto, O.S.B., as a reform of the way of life of monasteries of the Cassinese Congregation, formed in 1408, toward a stricter contemplative observance, and received final approval in 1872 by Pope Pius IX. After discussions between the two congregations at the start of the 21st century, approval was given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 for the incorporation of the Cassinese Congregation into its offshoot, the Subiaco Congregation. The expanded congregation was given this new name.

Bernard of Thiron, also known as Bernard of Ponthieu and Bernard of Abbeville, was the founder of the Tiron Abbey and the Tironensian Order.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pill Priory</span>

Pill Priory is a Tironian house founded near Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales in the late 12th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Waegwan Abbey</span> Benedictine monastery in South Korea

Saint Maurus and Saint Placidus Abbey, Waegwan, Chilgok, North Gyeongsang, South Korea is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1952 by Korean monks who had survived the dissolution of the Territorial Abbey of Tokwon and Holy Cross Abbey in Yanji, the monastery is currently home to 131 monks. Fr Blasio Park is the current abbot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Congregation of the Annunciation</span> Belgian Benedictine Catholic congregation

The Congregation of the Annunciation, formerly known as the Belgian Congregation, is a congregation of monasteries within the Roman Catholic Benedictine Confederation. Founded in 1920, the Congregation includes fifteen independent male monasteries spread throughout ten countries. Additionally, two female monasteries are members of the Congregation, while a further ten are affiliated with the Congregation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clervaux Abbey</span>

The Abbey of St. Maurice and St. Maurus of Clervaux, founded in 1890, is a Benedictine monastery in Clervaux, Luxembourg. It is a member of the Solesmes Congregation in the Benedictine Confederation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caldey Priory</span> Church in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Caldey Priory is a Grade I-listed priory on Caldey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, some 300 metres (330 yd) south of the modern Caldey Abbey. The priory gardens are listed on the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales.



  1. Apparently from the Latin "thironium", a high hill [1]


  1. Guillemin (1999)
  2. 1 2 "Saint Bernard de Thiron", Nominis
  3. Holweck, Frederick George. A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints, B. Herder Book Company, 1924, p. 16
  4. 1 2 3 Geoffrey Grossus The Life of Blessed Bernard of Tiron, (Ruth Harwood Cline, trans.), The Catholic University of America Press, (2009)
  5. "Chapter 2. The Tironensian Identity". The Congregation of Tiron. 2019. pp. 15–32. doi:10.1515/9781641893596-007. ISBN   9781641893596. S2CID   243263488.
  6. "S. Bernard and his Foundation", The Benedictines of Caldey, The Abbey, Isle of Caldey, 1912, p. 122
  7. "Tironensian", Monastic Wales
  8. "St Dogmaels Abbey's influence remains after 900 years", BBC News south West Wales, March 31, 2013
  9. Barrow, G.W.S., The Kingdom of the Scots, Edinburgh University Press, 2003 ISBN   9780748618033


Further reading

48°18′43″N0°59′37″E / 48.31194°N 0.99361°E / 48.31194; 0.99361