Cistercian Abbey of St Mary Stratford Langthorne, Essex: Archaeological Excavations for the London Underground Limited Jubilee Line Extension Project: 14 (MoLAS Monograph) Paperback – 12 Dec 2004
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When Stratfords burials are correlated with the documentary evidence from the late Middle Ages, unexpected features of Cistercian life emerge. They include the monks practice of renting out parts of the precinct to laypeople, some of them married couples. Such material allows for the emergence of a clearer picture of monastic life in the often shrouded last two centuries of the orders existence.' --Speculum
The Cistercian monastery of St. Mary Stratford Langthorne once stood on land south of the new Jubilee Line station at Stratford. Excavations in 1973-94 recorded large parts of the monastic church, cemetery and related buildings. Topics include the precinct arrangement, architecture and decoration, and the way of life of the inhabitants. The expansion of the monastic church from a simple cruciform building in the mid-12th century into an aisled presbytery with ambulatory and eastern chapel in the 13th century is notable. The excavated burials (647) are the largest sample from a Cistercian site in Europe and provide evidence for burial customs, patterns of cemetery use and the physical characteristics of the population, including medical care.See all Product description
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The book is a formal study, with drawings/pictures/field notes/etc. of the exhumation, study and re-interment of 647 sets of remains. The MOL examined the remains, categorizing them by age/gender and cause of death where it could be determined. Detailed drawings of the St. Mary's burial ground are included along with background information on they why, when and how of the study. For a student of history - and especially for an individual with ties to the abbey - it's a fascinating (albeit fairly 'dry') read.
After the research and reading the MOL monograph I now know so much more about that period of history in England and of my ancestors' roles in that history. It's also fascinating, at least to me, to see how the entire study was conducted, read the field notes, see the sketches made of the original graves and to read of the analysis done on the remains. Fascinating reading, simply fascinating.
Having purchased this book I am now planning a trip to Mount St. Bernard Abbey in 2014 when I will be on the Normany beaches for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. I plan to meet with members of the local history group and actually visit the abbey to pay my respects. There's something about learning these things as one hits 'senior citizen status' ... it means a lot to me to have these facts and the MOL monograph is priceless as far as I'm concerned.
If you have any interest in that period and place or if you have any ancestors who were originally buried at St. Mary's Abbey in Stratford, Langthorne you need to purchase a copy of this book.