The form of the monastery allows insight into early accumulation of land and power by clergy and state in the early Middle Ages. That the monastery lasted as an ideological and economic center of land ownership and production until the 16th century is indicative of the clergy's ability to adapt to the rise of the secular or diocesan clergy that became more predominant from the 11th century onward. The main form of the late medieval monastery as found in France and Ireland during this period included quarters for lay monks, those who were not required to become fully practicing spiritual monks, but who instead were expected to be agrarian based producers who worked the fields and manned the labor required for the monastic complex. See, the comparative discussion by Edwin C. Rae, "Architecture and Sculpture, 1169-1603," in Art Cosgrove, ed., A New History of Ireland: Medieval Ireland 1160-1534, Vol. 2, (Oxford, 2005) pp 737-777.
|Fig. 1 Knockmoy Abbey, Ireland 12th century|
|Fig. 2 Plan of Knockmoy Abbey 12th c. Ireland|
Notes on Fig. 2. William Cooper, Ground Plan of Knockmoy Abbey, (1784). This Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1190, during the Anglo-Norman period in County Galway. The Nave of the Church is shown to the North or on the left with the presbytery or altar area at the top. The cloister is in the center. Source National Library of Ireland.
Stalley, Roger A. (1987). The Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland: An Account of the History, Art and Architecture of the White Monks in Ireland from 1142-1540. Yale University Press.
The Cistercians in Yorkshire. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.