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A brief explanation of medieval monks in England

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English Heritage offers a collection of animated videos that illuminate practices of the Middle Ages.

While the social aspects of the internet can sometimes feel toxic, the web remains an invaluable tool for education and the exploration of history. The Youtube channel English Heritage, in particular, offers a collection of animated videos explaining everything from medieval construction methods and crown disputes to this brief guide to English religious communities in the Middle Ages.

There were several monastic movements in England during the medieval era that followed the Rule of St Benedict, a book of precepts written by Benedict of Nursia for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. The Rule of St. Benedict came to England in the 7th century and by the late Middle Ages there were hundreds of monasteries of monks and nuns active in Britain.

The above video follows the four major orders of the time: the Benedictines, Cluniacs, Carthusians and Cistercians. The folks at English Heritage highlight a few of the notable practices of each order, as well as showing the differences between them.

If you’re interested in more medieval English history, visit English Heritage’s collection of animated educational shorts and learn about how they built castles and monuments, like Stonehenge, or even the purpose behind Hadrian’s wall.

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