Scottish Augustinians: a study of the regular canonical movement in the kingdom of Scotland, c. 1120-1215
Ratcliff, Garrett Bateman
The Augustinian canons have never enjoyed the level of scholarly attention afforded to the monastic and mendicant movements of the central middle ages. This disparity has been particularly acute in the British Isles, despite being its most prolific religious movement. Scholars working in England, Ireland, and Wales have begun to correct this historiographical lacuna. In Scotland, the regular canons have also received comparatively scant attention, and, indeed, have largely been understood on the basis of imported paradigms. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to address a deficiency in Scottish historiography and make a contribution to the growing scholarship on the regular canons in the British Isles. The regular canonical movement is examined within the kingdom of Scotland over the course of roughly a century. Eleven non-congregational houses of regular canons are considered, namely Scone, Holyrood, Jedburgh, St. Andrews, Cambuskenneth, and Inchcolm and the dependencies of Loch Tay, Loch Leven, Restenneth, Canonbie, and St. Mary’s Isle. The kingdom of Scotland provides both a common context, and a diverse milieu, in which to consider the foundation and development of these institutions and the movement as a whole. The chronological parameters have been determined by the foundation of the first house of regular canons in Scotland in c. 1120 and the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, which had the effect of artificially creating the Order of St Augustine. By examining individual houses separately, as well as in unison, this study seeks to present an integrated picture of the regular canonical movement in the kingdom of Scotland during the period of its organic development from c. 1120 to 1215. The fundamental question concerning the regular canons is the nature of their vocation and their societal function. It has increasingly been recognised that a spectrum of different interpretations of canonical life existed ranging from the active – pastoral, practical, and outward looking – to the contemplative – ascetic, quasi-eremitical, and inward looking – which were all part of the same decentralised religious movement. This thesis attempts to situate the Scottish Augustinians, as far as possible, within this spectrum. It argues that a unique manifestation of the regular canonical movement emerged in the kingdom of Scotland as the result of a range of factors – including shared patrons, leadership, and episcopal support – which had the effect of creating a group identity, and, thereby, a collective understanding of their vocation and role in society. The subject institutions have been particularly fortunate in terms of the quality and variety of the surviving source material. The evidence is comprised principally of charter material, but also includes chronicles and foundation narratives produced by Scottish Augustinians, and these provide an essential supplement. This thesis sheds light on an important group of religious houses in Scotland and on a complex religious movement that is only beginning to be fully understood, and, thus, it is hoped that this study will lay the groundwork for future research.