North-eastern England has much to offer anyone interested in exploring medieval abbeys and priories, and this beautifully illustrated book—primarily written for the general public—provides a readable and informative introduction to the subject.The text begins by outlining the history of monasticism in the region during the Middle Ages, when several religious orders such as the Benedictines and Cistercians made their presence felt.
Among topics dealt with are the distribution and management of monastic estates and the harm that was caused by raids from north of the border during the Anglo-Scottish wars.The stimulating introductory chapter is followed by a description of the history and standing remains of over twenty former religious houses in the region. These include such celebrated monasteries as Durham Cathedral Priory and the romantic abbeys of Fountains and Rievaulx, to which thousands of visitors flock annually to explore the majestic buildings and marvel at the skill of the architects and masons responsible for their creation.Although less well known, some of the other sites featured, such as the abbeys of Easby and Jervaulx, are also fascinating and will certainly reward the visitor.
This is also true of Finchale Priory, which nestles beside the River Wear in a delightful location. Indeed, Finchale’s charm was such that monks from Durham spent their holidays at the site.The lively and reliable text concludes with a glossary of architectural terms and a select bibliography.About the authorGlen Lyndon Dodds lives in Sunderland, but was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia, (now Harare, Zimbabwe), where he spent most of his childhood.
In addition to contributing to historical journals, he has also written over 50 articles for magazines, most notably The Northumbrian. He is also the author of several books, including Battles in Britain 1066–1746 and The Zulus and Matabele–Warrior Nations.Of related interest by the same author,Historic Sites of Northumberland and Newcastle upon Tyne‘ … a well illustrated, and well informed, description of the major monuments in the region … . An ideal gift for visitors to the area.’Archaeologia Aeliana‘ … well-written and reliable … excellently produced with good photographs … a very good introduction to the major medieval sites.’Professor A.F.
Harding,Durham Archaeological JournalHistoric Sites of County Durham‘ … well-written and informative … . The section on each site follows a standard format comprising a brief history followed by a description of the visible remains, which gives the prospective visitor a good idea of what to expect at each site … a welcome addition to the County Durham bookshelf.’Professor Colin Haselgrove,Durham Archaeological Journal