Medieval Monastery


A medieval monastery was an enclosed and sometimes remote community of monks led by an abbot who shunned worldly goods to live a simple life of prayer and devotion. Christian monasteries first developed in the 4th century in Egypt and Syria and by the 5th century the idea had spread to Western Europe.

More about: Medieval Monastery


  • c. 330 CE - c. 379 CE
    Life of Basil Great, one of the founding fathers of the Eastern Christian Church and Byzantine Monasteries.
  • 480 CE - 543 CE
    Life of Saint Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine order and European monasticism.
  • 635 CE
    Lindisfarne monastery in Northumbria is founded by the Irish missionary Aidan.
  • c. 700 CE - c. 715 CE
    Lindisfarne Gospels created in Britain.
  • 708 CE
    Traditional founding date of Mont-Saint-Michel, France.
  • c. 800 CE
    The Book of Kells is produced in Ireland.
  • 883 CE
    A decree by Byzantine emperor Basil I is the first recorded evidence of a monastery on Mount Athos.
  • 910 CE
    The Benedictine monastery of Cluny Abbey in Burgundy France is founded.
  • 963 CE
    The Great Lavra monastery on Mount Athos is founded by Saint Athanasios.
  • c. 1036 CE
    The Benedictine Vallombrosa Abbey near Florence is founded.
  • 1098 CE
    The Cistercian order is founded.
  • Oct 1164 CE - Dec 1170 CE
    Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, lives in exile in a monastery in France.
  • 1536 CE
    Henry VIII of England and Thomas Cromwell push a bill through Parliament which begins the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and Wales.
  • 1539 CE
    Parliament passes an act to close all monasteries in England and Wales regardless of size.
  • Mar 1540 CE
    Waltham Abbey in Essex is the last monastery to close in England.