What were they?

  • Groups of men who lived in monasteries were called monks. Similar groups of women were called nuns.
  • A man in charge of a monastery was called an 'Abbot'. A woman in charge was called an 'Abbess'.
  • They all prayed a lot, but also had to work hard growing their own food and looking after farm animals.
  • They helped the local people too. They ran hospitals, guesthouses and schools.
  • Only children of very rich lords and kings went to school.
  • In return, kings and lords gave the monasteries money to pray for their souls.
  • This was used to look after relics, build beautiful churches (British & Saxon), make brilliant metalwork and needlework and keep libraries of decorated books. The books were all written by hand.
  • Activity Sheet available.


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