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This paper draws on the preliminary findings of a wider study undertaken by the author into the estate-building and management practices of over thirty reformed Benedictine or Augustinian monasteries along an arc extending from south-eastern Ireland in the west, through north-western England, Scotland and southern Scandinavia, to Poland. Evidence for monastic economic development in these areas, and in particular records of programmes of land improvement or reclamation by monastic labour, is tested using the methodology developed by Constance Berman for Cistercian communities in southern France. This method permits a fresh consideration of the role of monks and canons in the economic development of the host societies into which they were implanted, stripped of the 'frontier' symbolism with which traditional narratives of especially reformed Benedictine colonisation are saturated.
Augustinian; Benedictine; Cistercian; Cluniac; Premonstratensian; Tironensian; Denmark; England; France; Ireland; Poland; Scotland; colonisation; drainage; granges; novalia; arable; pastoral; rents; teinds; tithes; conversi; lay-brothers; tenants; labour; propaganda; Europeanisation