abbey - Abbey (late Lat. abbatia); abbey - Self-governed monastery of not fewer than 12 monks or nuns, ruled by an abbot or abbess respectively. In the West such religious houses date from S. Benedict (6th century), under whose rule they are generally formed, though in the East they are found far earlier. Of no particular style in architecture in the beginning, a common form came later into useâ€”a quadrangle, with open cloisters on each side, various buildings adjoining the cloisters, and a big church, either on the N. side to afford shelter from cold winds, or, in milder climates, on the S. side to give shade from the sun. Adjoining the cloisters of the larger abbeys were the oratory, the dormitory containing the cubicles of the monks, the refectory or dining-hall, the kitchen, workshops, infirmary, novice-house, chapter-house, and cellars for stores. A school for boys was held in the cloisters or, as at Durham, in a separate building.
As hospitality was an essential feature of the rule of S. Benedict, every abbey had at least one guest-house, situated within the enclosed grounds, though generally apart from the monastery proper. While the abbot was the absolute authority, in a large community of 100 or more monks his authority had to be delegated in many matters of daily routine, and the following were the chief officials at the important abbeys: the precentor, responsible for the singing in the church services, who was also choirmaster, librarian, and in some cases master of the boys' school; the sacrist, to whom was committed the care of the church fabric, with the sacred plate and vestments, and whose duty it was to see to the lighting throughout the entire abbey; the cellarer, who was responsible for the supply of food, drink, and fuel for the community; the kitchener, upon whom it fell to sec to the serving of meals and an adequate distribution of the food; the in-firmarian, who tended the sick; the almoner, who distributed alms and food to the poor; the chamberlain, whose duty it was to see to the clothing of the brethren; the no vice-master, responsible for the training of all who sought admission to the order; and the guest-master, upon whom devolved the care of the guest-house and the due maintenance of hospitality.
The abbey was a centre of industry, a place of learning and a self-supporting, self-contained community; and the abbots of all the larger abbeys were landlords on an extensive scale, with seats in Parliament. The cathedrals of Durham, Gloucester, Norwich, Chester, Worcester, and Canterbury, Westminster Abbey, the abbey churches of Bath and Tewkesbury, and the ruins of Kirkstall, Melrose, and Tintern reveal the architectural beauty of the British abbey of the Middle Ages. Of the modern English abbeys, Downside in Somerset, Ampleforth near York, and the Cistercian abbey of Buckfastleigh in Devon are among the more important. See Monasticisni. Consult English Monastic Life, F. A. Gasquet, 1904; English Monks and the Suppression of the Monasteries, G. Baskerville, 1937.
abbey - Abbey (edwin Austin (1852 1911)); abbey - American painter. Born in Philadelphia, April 8, 1852, he first attracted notice by his black-and-white drawings in Harper's Magazine and other periodicals. Settling in London in 1881, he was elected A.R.A. in 1896 and R.A. in 1S98. His chief oil paintings are Richard Duke of Gloucester and the Lady Anne, 1896, and the official picture of the Coronation of Edward VII, 1904. He died at Chelsea, Aug. 1, 1911. The exquisite technique of his work as an illustrator in black and white will probably longest preserve his memory.