|dc.description.abstract||This thesis attempts to trace the history of
Barking Abbey from the Conquest to the Dissolution. In
some respects it has proved a disappointing study, for
though Barking was among the greatest and wealthiest
nunneries of mediaeval England, many of its records have
perished. There is no chronicle to tell its history,
nor cartulary to show how its lands were acquired.
Even the Valor Ecciesiasticus, which one takes for
granted in the study of English monasticism, is lost
for the county of Essex.
A considerable section of the thesis deals with
the estates of the house and their administration. My
chief source of evidence for this has been the court
rolls of ten Essex manors, covering, though with many
serious gaps, the years 1279 to 1539. These, together
with a thirteenth century Domesdaye of Ingatestone and
Bulphan, and a few compoti of the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, have been used to show the methods employed
by the abbess and her council to exploit the abbey
lands, in accordance with prevailing economic tendencies.
The revenues from the estates were allocated
to obedientiaries. By the sixteenth century, the main funds were administered by a treasury, from which four
defective account books have survived. The cellaress
and the office of pensions handled substantial revenues,
as their surviving account books show.
Like most mediaeval monasteries, Barking owned a
number of appropriated churches. It has been possible
to trace the careers of a few of their vicars, especially
when these owed their benefice to the king, for as a
royal foundation Barking experienced in this, as in
other demands, the effects of royal patronage. The
abbey's relations with the outside world, and its
franchisal rights have been discussed.
A fifteenth century ordinal throws considerable
light on the liturgical life of the house. While the
subject calls for treatment by a specialist, I could not
completely ignore it.
Finally, the surrender of the abbey and the
consequent dispersal of the nuns and of their estates
have been treated.||en_US