Medieval Memoria Online

6. Institutions from which the objects and texts originate


Summary

A good knowledge of the institutions in which the objects, text carriers and texts functioned can contribute to a better understanding of their use and functions. This is the reason why the MeMO database contains a database with information on these institutions. The database distinguishes six types of institution:

  • chapel
  • chapter (independent chapters as well as chapters that were founded in parish churches)
  • corporation (e.g. confraternity, guild)
  • hospital
  • monastery, convent or religious house
  • parish

Besides basic data about the institution such as name, patron saint(s), date of foundation, date of dissolution and some information about the building history, the description contains:

  • an overview with links to the objects and text carriers included in MeMO which certainly, probably or possibly functioned in that institution.
  • a global overview of other text sources and objects from this institution that have survived but which have not been included in this database, with mention of their current location. These can be
    • sources that had no memorial function, and
    • sources that (may have) functioned in the commemoration of the dead, but that are outside the types of sources that have been described in this database.

  
Left: Utrecht HUA inv. nr. TA ID 4.4
Right: Rotterdam Museum Boijmans van Beuningen inv. Nr. 1765

6.1 Definitions and terminology

The six types of institution
Objects, text carriers and texts have survived from six types of institution. There are great variations within each type, in their origins and their aims as well as in their organisation. The definitions given here should be considered to be broad descriptions, see 6.5 for specialised literature and websites.

Chapel: a chapel is a space in which an altar has been placed, whether in the form of an independent building, or as a part of or annex to a parish church or monastic church or castle. The liturgical celebrations in a chapel are performed by one or more members of the clergy, who may or may not be paid for this service from a capital (reserved for this pupose), a so-called chantry. Multiple chantries can be founded on a single altar. Founders of chapels and chantries were a (noble) family, a confraternity, the city council, local residents, interested parties in a place of pilgrimage, etc. The function of chapels varies greatly. For local residents who live far from their parish church, the independent chapel can fulfil functions of the parish if the priest of the chapel is given the right to administer one or more sacraments, see MeMO institution ID 48.

Chapter: an institution that was founded to enable its members, the canons, to perform the daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Also called the Divine Office, the Hours are the daily prayers to be recited or sung at fixed hours of the day. Two types of chapter can be distinguished:

  • the cathedral chapter, which was connected to a cathedral, i.e. an episcopal church. In the diocese of Utrecht this is the Domkerk or the St. Maartenskerk in the city of Utrecht.
  • the collegiate chapter, founded in an independent church or in a parish church (fig. 1 and the chapter of St. Marie in Utrecht (two pictures in the summary)).
Please note: in the MeMO database parish churches with chapters have been included under Chapter, not under Parish.



Top: Fig. 2. See MeMO text carrier ID 376
Bottom: Fig. 3. See MeMO memorial object ID 643

Confraternity/guild: a confraternity or guild is an association that was founded to promote the care for the souls of the living and deceased brothers and sisters. The aims of confraternities include the promotion of the commemoration of a tenet of faith (Sacrament confraternities), the adoration of St Mary or saint, and the propagation of a special devotion (the prayer of the rosary). Confraternities or guilds were usually based in the building of another institution such as a parish church or a monastery. They had their own altar services. Some had a chapel and/or altar of their own, some did not. For the liturgical services a confraternity or guild could found a chantry, which had its own chaplain, but this was not obligatory. A confraternity could also unite fellow craftsmen, in which case it doubled as a trade guild (fig. 2 and 3).

Hospital or orphanage: these are institutions for people who required special care, such as the elderly, the sick and orphans. These could be independent institutions or institutions that were connected to a monastery, for example. Initially these institutions usually serviced multiple categories of people in need. Many institutions specialised over the years and became orphanages, for example, or specialised hospitals that catered to specific groups, see MeMO institution ID 317 and ID 705.

Monastery: the term monastery has been used in the MeMO database as an umbrella term for all sorts of institutions for people who devoted their lives to God. The following terms are used in the detailed descriptions of the monastic institutions:

  • abbey: an institution headed by an abbot or abbess MeMO institution ID 82 and fig. 6a and 6b.
  • monastery: a monastic institution of the ancient orders (Benedictines, Cistercians, Canons Regular) that did not have the status of abbey MeMO institution ID 414.
  • commandery: local establishment of a knightly order. The two most important ones in the Netherlands were the Knightly Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitallers, and the Order of the Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, also known as the Teutonic Order, see fig. 6c.
  • house: a religious community of brothers and sisters of the Common Life, that did not live by one of the traditional monastic rules, see MeMO institution ID 381
  • beguinage: a community of beguines, whether in the form of a court beguinage, or as a beguine house, see MeMO institution ID 366.
  • convent: all other monastic institutions, including those of the mendicant orders (fig. 4).

Parish: this term denotes an ecclesiastical (geographic) area in which the parish priest, possibly with the assistance of other priests, had the care of the souls of the local residents, the parishioners. The centre of the parish was the parish church, where the liturgical celebrations took place, and which had been given burial rights. The deceased were buried in the church or in the churchyard next to the church. There could be one or more parishes in a town or city (fig. 5).

Please note: in the MeMO database parish churches with chapters have been included under Chapter, not under Parish.

The tasks of these institutions in the commemoration of the dead
The great majority of the institutions mentioned had a function in the commemoration of the dead, both for their own members, but for others as well. In many cases monasteries and hospitals had a chapel and burial place of their own at their disposal where they could bury and commemorate their own members and the deceased who had wished to be buried in the institution (if the institution had received permission from the ecclesiastical authorities). Confraternities or guilds usually had their own burial vault or a number of burial places in the church where they were congregated.

Definitions relevant to the descriptions of the institutions
The types of institution that are included in the MeMO database show much diversity within each type, and within this diversity there are different names for the same variant. Also, there are all sorts of variations in the titles of the officials within each type of institution. The table below shows only the terms and titles that occur in the MeMO database. For specialised literature see 6.5 Literature and websites.


Term Explanation
Abbey Monastery with an abbot or an abbess as its superior
Abbot/Abbess Superior of a monastery, especially of the ancient orders, with the highest level of independence (fig. 6a and 6b)
Advowson The right to have the functionary of an ecclesiastical office receive his living from that office and to propose him for appointment to the ecclesiastical authorities. Synonym: collation.
Arch diocese 1. Ecclesiastical province, the largest jurisdiction of the Latin church, headed by an archbishop. The ecclesiastical province is divided into dioceses
2. Diocese directly ruled by an archbishop
Bailiff Head of a bailiwick
Bailiwick Commandery of which the head supervised the commanderies in its region
Beguines (or Beguins) and Beghards (or Beguards) Men/women who unite to lead a religious life without taking monastic vows and with the right to own private property
Bishop Head of a diocese, who has both the power of ordination (the ordainment of priests and the consecration of churches and altars) and the power of jurisdiction and administration in his diocese
Brothers/sisters of the Common Life Clergy and laymen/women who, inspired by the Modern Devotion, led a religious life in common possession of properties but without taking monastic vows
Canons and canonesses regular Members of an order that observes the Rule of St Augustine
Chantry A foundation consisting of a reserved capital with a its own administrative regulations, to support a priest for an altar service.
Chapel Building or part of a building in which an altar was founded
Chaplain Priest performing the altar service that is provided for in a chantry founded for that purpose
Chapter 1. Institution founded to enable its members, the canons, to perform the daily liturgy of the Hours. The chapter can be established in a church of its own or in a parish church
2. Supralocal association of monasteries who live by the same rule and practices, that inspect each other through visitations
Chapter of Sion Supralocal association of monasteries of observant monasteries of canons and canonesses regular in the county of Holland
Chapter of Venlo Supralocal association of monasteries of observant monasteries of canonesses regular, primarily in the diocese of Liège
Chapter of Windesheim Supralocal association of monasteries of observant monasteries of canons and canonesses regular, founded in 1395
Clergy (regular) Men who took vows to follow a rule approved by the church
Clergy (secular) Men who received (lower and/or higher) Holy Orders
Collation The right to have the functionary of an ecclesiastical office receive his living from that office and to propose him for appointment to the ecclesiastical authorities. Synonym: advowson.
Collegiate church Church in which a chapter had taken residence
Commandery Independent establishment of a military order such as the Teutonic Order
Commander Administrative superior of a commandery (fig. 6c)
Confraternity or guild Association of clergy and/or laymen founded e.g. to the honour of God and his saints and to keep an altar service. Often called a guild
Convent Religious community, though not an abbey, monastery, commandery or house
Curate The clergyman to whom the care of the soul in a parish is entrusted. Synonym: parish priest
Dean 1. In a chapter: priest-canon who is responsible for the daily running of the chapter under the authority of a provost
2. Head of a deanery, responsible for supervision and jurisdiction, who is usually a curate in one of the parishes belonging to the deanery
Deanery District (subdivision of a diocese) that rules a number of parishes
Diocese Part of an Arch diocese, ruled by a bishop
Divine Office The official prayers that are to be recited or sung seven times per day, guided by the requirements of the liturgical year. Synonym: Liturgy of the Hours
Double monastery A monastery that combines a community for monks with an annexed community for nuns, under the unitary leadership of the head of the monks' monastery (usually an abbot)
Enclosure Separation from the outside world of certain areas of a monastery, where enclosed nuns remain permanently and to which outsiders have no access
Guild See Confraternity or guild
Hospital Foundation for the care for one or more categories of those in need
Hours, Liturgy of the Hours The official prayers that are to be recited or sung seven times per day, guided by the requirements of the liturgical year. Synonym: Divine Office
House Religious community of brothers and sisters of the Common Life
Indulgence Originally: full or partial remission of ecclesiastical penance imposed at confession. In the course of time it also came to mean a shortening of the souls' stay in purgatory
Military order Order that emerged during the crusades that consisted of knights (who do battle), priests and brothers, all three of which took monastic vows
Modern Devotion, Devotio Moderna Religious revival among religious people and laymen from the end of the fourteenth century emerging in the Northern Netherlands
Monastery Establishment of persons who choose to separated themselves from the world to lead a life devoted to God and who take the three vows of poverty, obedience and chastity
Monastic Order: Mendicant order Order of conventuals who maintain the vow of poverty not only individually, but also collectively, by begging and devoting themselves to the care for the soul
Monastic Rule Ecclesiastically sanctioned rule by which monks and nuns lived. The major rules in late-medieval Western Europe are the Rule of St Benedict, of St Augustine and the first and second rules of St Francis
Monk Men who have taken the three monastic vows of poverty, obedience and chastity (members of the Military Orders and Canons regular are not considered monks)
Nun Woman who has taken the three monastic vows of poverty, obedience and chastity
Observance Renewed strict compliance with a monastic rule
Orphanage See hospital
Parish Basic unit of an ecclesiastical organisation for the care for the soul: the place where the parishioners receive the sacraments
Pilgrimage Journey undertaken with a religious aim, especially of visiting a place with a specific cult
Prior 1. In ancient orders: second in command of the monastic community; the superior is an abbot.
2. In more recent orders: monastic superior.
Prioress Superior of a women's abbey, either independently, or under the rule of an abbot
Provost 1. Superior of a secular chapter.
2. In some ancient orders: Superior of a monastic establishment that is dependent on an abbey
Religious order: contemplative order Order of conventuals who consider prayer for the church, the world and their patrons their most important task
Secular chapter of canonesses Secular chapter inhabited by canonesses of noble birth
Semi-religious people Common term (but incorrect in canon law) for men and women who lead a religious life but have not taken the three vows
Tertiaries Men/women who either individually or collectively lead a religious life and observe the third Rule of St Francis, which is intended for laymen



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6.2 Criteria for the inclusion of institutions

Institutions are included in the MeMO database if they are institutions in which the objects, text carriers and texts described served a function in the commemoration of the dead before 1580. These institutions may or may not exist today. Please note: for purposes of brevity these are called 'original institutions', but keep the following in mind:

  • In some cases the described sources served a function in different successive institutions, where they had a function in the commemoration of the dead. This goes for both text carriers containing one or multiple texts and for objects MeMO memorial object ID 719 and 921.
  • It is also possible that (all or some) separate texts that are now in a single text carrier were not yet conjoined when they had their original function, and functioned in different institutions. These are composites, see section 2.4. This is one of the reasons why more than one institution can be indicated for a text carrier containing multiple texts. For this reason, it is advisable to consistently check the explanation under Specification in the descriptions.

These are therefore not necessarily the institutions in which the objects, text carriers and texts have been produced. To summarise: original institutions are institutions in which the objects, text carriers and texts had a function in the commemoration of the dead.


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6.3 Sources used in the compilation of this database

For the information in the database the MeMO project has used surveys and online repertories. Such reference works are not available for chapels, confraternities or guilds and hospitals.

Literature

General:

  • Nederlandse Monumenten van Geschiedenis en Kunst, series published by the Rijkscommissie voor de monumentenbeschrijving. For the volumes see the records in the database.
  • Caspers, C., and P.J. Margry (eds), Bedevaartplaatsen in Nederland, 4 volumes (Amsterdam and Hilversum 1997-2004).

Chapters:

  • Kuys, Jan, Kerkelijke organisatie in het middeleeuwse bisdom Utrecht (Nijmegen 2004), esp. 277-280 for an overview of the chapters in the bishopric of Utrecht.
  • Vliet, Kaj van, In kringen van kanunniken. Munsters en kapittels in het bisdom Utrecht 695-1227 (Zutphen 2002).

Monasteries:

  • Schoengen, M., Monasticon Batavum I: De Franciscaansche Orden (Amsterdam 1941) with Supplement (Amsterdam 1942).
  • Schoengen, M., Monasticon Batavum II: De Augustijnsche orden benevens de broeders en zusters van het gemeene leven (Amsterdam 1941).
  • Schoengen, M., Monasticon Batavum III: De Benedictijnsche orden benevens de Carmelieten en Jesuieten (Amsterdam 1942).
  • Persoons, E., W. Kohl, A.G. Weiler, Monasticon Windeshemense III: Niederlande (Brussel 1980).
  • Leesch, W., A.G. Weiler, E. Persoons, Monasticon Fratrum Vitae Communis III: Niederlande (Brussel 2004).

Parishes:

  • Joosting, J.G.C., Geschiedkundige Atlas van Nederland. De kerkelijke indeeling omstreeks 1550 tevens kloosterkaart II De bisdommen Munster en Osnabrück (in Groningen en Friesland) (The Hague 1915).
  • Joosting, J.G.C., and S. Muller Hzn., Bronnen voor de geschiedenis der kerkelijke rechtspraak in het bisdom Utrecht in de Middeleeuwen I: S. Muller Hzn, De indeeling van het bisdom (The Hague 1915).
  • Veen, J.S. van, and A.A. Beekman, Geschiedkundige atlas van Nederland. De kerkelijke indeeling omstreeks 1550 tevens kloosterkaart III De bisdommen Munster, Keulen en Luik; het bisdom Doornik (The Hague 1923).
  • Hartog, Elizabeth den, De oudste kerken van Holland. Van kerstening tot 1300 (Utrecht 2002).
  • Karstkarel, Peter, Alle middeleeuwse kerken. Van Harlingen tot Wilhelmshaven (Leeuwarden 2007).
  • Numan, A.M., Noord-Hollandse kerken en kapellen in de Middeleeuwen, ca. 720-1200 (Zutphen 2005).

Websites


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6.4 Points of special interest

Meaning of the term 'original institution'
See 6.2 for the meaning of the term 'original institution' in the context of this database.

Names of the original institutions
The MeMO database intends to make the institutions easy to find in as many ways as possible; one of these is their name. This proved problematic in many cases, because

  • Many institutions are known under many different names
  • The patron saints of many of the institutions is unknown, which precludes using the name of the saint as the point of departure for a name search
  • There are institutions whose medieval name is not known, especially in the case of parishes
  • There are medieval churches as well as much later buildings that share the same name in the same town or city

The following basic approaches have therefore been applied:

  • As much as possible the names have been used that the institution was and is known by, with preference to the medieval name, taking the patron saint's name as the point of departure.
  • If the institution is better known under a different name, this name is also mentioned in the field for the Dutch name. This may mean that a modern name has been included between brackets. In this way it may be easier to identify the institution involved. The Domkerk in Utrecht, for instance, is indicated as 'St. Maartenskerk (Domkerk)', see MeMO institution ID 21.
  • The names of the parish churches deserve special mention. The parish churches were transferred into protestant hands in the part of the Netherlands that became protestant due to the Reformation by the end of the sixteenth century (the whole country except Noord-Brabant, Limburg, parts of Guelders and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen). This was regarded as a reform of the existing public church rather than an expropriation. The parishes were not dissolved, but reformed. In most cases the saint's name fell into disuse. In the nineteenth century however, catholicism re-emerged as a public religion, due to the separation between church and state (1796) and the reinstatement of the episcopal hierarchy in 1853. In many places a catholic church was founded, which was often named after the established (i.e. previous) patron saint. In Amsterdam, for example, a new St. Nicolas' Church was established besides the (Dutch Reformed) Old Church, or St. Nicolas' Church. It is self-evident that in such cases the description in MeMO always refers to the old church. In cases where the patron saint is unknown to us, the MeMO database provides the name of the settlement, e.g. 'Church of Jelsum', MeMO institution ID 167. Please take into account that in the literature provided there can also be indications such as 'protestant church' or 'Dutch Reformed Church (Nederlands Hervormde Kerk)'.

Institutions (chapters and confraternities or guilds) that have been established in the buildings of other institutions

  • Only the information on the institution involved (a confraternity or guild, for example) is given for institutions that were established in the building of another institution. Please note: for the building history of parish churches in which a chapter was established, please search under Chapter.

Original place of the functioning of the sources
In the literature it has been indicated for a number of cases that an object or text originated in a certain institution, while another institution is mentioned in other publications. As much as possible those sources have been placed under all institutions mentioned. For this reason the list of extant objects and text carriers must be interpreted as certainly, probably or possibly from that institution. See for example MeMO memorial object ID 618.



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6.5 Literature and websites

Literature

  • Brink, H. e.a. (eds), Theologisch woordenboek (Roermond, etc.) 1952-1958.
  • Brinkhoff, L. e.a. (eds), Liturgisch woordenboek (Roermond, etc.) 1958-1968.
  • Caspers, C. and P.J. Margry (eds), Bedevaartplaatsen in Nederland, 4 volumes (Amsterdam and Hilversum 1997-2004).
  • Hartog, Elizabeth den, De oudste kerken van Holland. Van kerstening tot 1300 (Utrecht 2002).
  • Hoven van Genderen, Bram van den, De heren van de kerk: de kanunniken van Oudmunster in de late Middeleeuwen (Zutphen 1997).
  • Joosting, J.G.C., Geschiedkundige Atlas van Nederland. De kerkelijke indeeling omstreeks 1550 tevens kloosterkaart II De bisdommen Munster en Osnabrück (in Groningen en Friesland) (The Hague 1915).
  • Joosting, J.G.C., and S. Muller Hzn., Bronnen voor de geschiedenis der kerkelijke rechtspraak in het bisdom Utrecht in de Middeleeuwen I: S. Muller Hzn, De indeeling van het bisdom (The Hague 1915).
  • Karstkarel, Peter, Alle middeleeuwse kerken. Van Harlingen tot Wilhelmshaven (Leeuwarden 2007).
  • Kuys, Jan, Kerkelijke organisatie in het middeleeuwse bisdom Utrecht (Nijmegen 2004).
  • Leesch, W., A.G. Weiler, E. Persoons, Monasticon Fratrum Vitae Communis III: Niederlande (Brussel 2004).
  • Nederlandse Monumenten van Geschiedenis en Kunst, series published by the Rijkscommissie voor de monumentenbeschrijving. For the volumes see the records in the database.
  • Numan, A.M., Noord-Hollandse kerken en kapellen in de Middeleeuwen, ca. 720-1200 (Zutphen 2005).
  • Persoons, E., W. Kohl, A.G. Weiler, Monasticon Windeshemense III: Niederlande (Brussel 1980).
  • Schoengen, M., Monasticon Batavum I: De Franciscaansche Orden (Amsterdam 1941) with Supplement (Amsterdam 1942).
  • Schoengen, M., Monasticon Batavum II: De Augustijnsche orden benevens de broeders en zusters van het gemeene leven (Amsterdam 1941).
  • Schoengen, M., Monasticon Batavum III: De Benedictijnsche orden benevens de Carmelieten en Jesuieten (Amsterdam 1942).
  • Speetjens, Annemarie, 'The founder, the chaplain and the ecclesiastical authorities. Chantries in the Low Countries', in: Weijert, Rolf de, Kim Ragetli, Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld and Jeannette van Arenthals (eds), Living Memoria. Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Memorial Culture in Honour of Truus van Bueren, Middeleeuwse Studies en Bronnen, CXXXVII (Hilversum 2011) 195-206.
  • Veen, J.S. van, and A.A. Beekman, Geschiedkundige atlas van Nederland. De kerkelijke indeeling omstreeks 1550 tevens kloosterkaart III De bisdommen Munster, Keulen en Luik; het bisdom Doornik (The Hague 1923).
  • Vliet, Kaj van, In kringen van kanunniken. Munsters en kapittels in het bisdom Utrecht 695-1227 (Zutphen 2002).

Websites

See chapter seven for a general overview of the literature and websites used in these introductory texts.


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