Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8007
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Berman , Constance H.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The "Labours of Hercules," the Cartulary, Church, and Abbey for Nuns of la Cour- Notre- Dame- de- Michery
  • Source: Journal of Medieval History 26, 1 (March 2000): Pages 33 - 70.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Administration Architecture- Religious Charters and Diplomatics Cistercian Order Ecclesiastical Space Economics Misogyny Monasticism- Suppression of Near Michery, Sens, France- La Cour Notre Dame- Cistercian Abbey for Women Nuns Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 13- 14- 15
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence: Charter; Auxerre, A. D. Yonne, catalog mark F, now Yonne MS H787, "Cartulaire de la Cour-Notre-Dame." It consists of 222 folio pages and was made in the 1490s.
  • Illustrations: Four figures. Figure One La Cour- Notre- Dame, floorplan (after Aubert). Figure Two Partial detail of rose window and eastern view of la Cour- Notre- Dame. Figure Three Renaissance decorated doorway built by monks in 1532, La Cour- Notre- Dame. Figure Four Rose window in the church at Le Lys, a community of Cistercian nuns founded by Blanche of Castile.
  • Table: One table. Table One Number of charters of property acquisitions by la Cour- Notre- Dame in five-year intervals.
  • Abstract: La Cour-Notre-Dame was an abbey of Cistercian nuns in the diocese of Sens in France founded circa 1225 and suppressed circa 1496. At the latter date its female occupants were replaced by a community of monks detached from Cîteaux; henceforth la Cour was called a priory of Cistercian monks. The church of La Cour-Notre-Dame still stands and its preservation has become a matter of local political concern. Its cartulary, compiled at the time of the suppression, is unusual; rather than simply a collection of land acquisition documents (although preservation of title deeds was important), the cartulary's major purpose seems to have been to justify the suppression of the community of religious women, the takeover of their properties by the abbot of Cîteaux, and the diversion of some properties to Saint-Germain-des-Prés (as is noted in the cartulary's margins) to pay debts owed to that Parisian abbey by Cîteaux. In addition to considering how problematic the cartulary for la Cour-Notre-Dame is as a witness to the financial condition of la Cour or its abbesses' management of its properties, this evaluation of the community of nuns and their church addresses larger questions about the financing of space for communities of religious women and about the propriety of accusations of "extravagance" in architecture designed for them. [Reprinted from the Journal of Medieval History (at http://www.elsevier.nl/locate/jmedhist), Volume 26, Number 1, Constance H. Berman, "The 'Labours of Hercules,' the Cartulary, Church and Abbey for Nuns of la Cour-Notre-Dame-de-Michery," p. 33. Copyright 2000, with permission from Elsevier Science. See also the ScienceDirectTM Homepage at http://www.sciencedirect.com].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Iowa
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03044181
  • Material/Technique :
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