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Synopsis

Monasteries are among the most intriguing and enduring symbols of Britain's medieval heritage. Simultaneously places of prayer and spirituality, power and charity, learning and invention, they survive today as haunting ruins, great houses and as some of our most important cathedrals and churches. This book examines the growth of monasticism and the different orders of monks; the architecture and administration of monasteries; the daily life of monks and nuns; the art of monasteries and their libraries; their role in caring for the poor and sick; their power and wealth; their decline and suppression; and their ruin and rescue. With beautiful photographs, it illustrates some of Britain's finest surviving monastic buildings such as the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral and the awe-inspiring ruins of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire.

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