Monasteries in England
There are many monasteries in England, although few are inhabited by monks and nuns nowadays, since their numbers have grown less in modern times. However, monasteries in England were bastions of learning in the medieval period, when monks were the only learned and literate members of the population. There were many different kinds of monasteries in England, but the Benedictine Order was dominant for a long time. This order stressed solitude and was introduced by Augustine on his visit to England. The monastic tradition began in Egypt as a gathering in of religious hermits and spread to Ireland and England. Monasteries in England once abounded, and while many of the buildings have been converted for other uses, many still remain today.
Life in monasteries in England in medieval times was challenging yet simple. The monasteries in England were self-supporting and the hard physical labor was required to provide food and shelter and all of the needs of the monastery's inhabitants. While monks and nuns took vows of poverty and chastity, there were still basic food and clothing requirements that had to be met. In addition to physical labor, much learning was required, and many people joined these orders in monasteries in England in order to devote their time to learning. Since there were no printing presses, many inhabitants in monasteries in England were scribes who spent much of their waking hours copying and illuminating manuscripts. One could think of monasteries in England as the country's first publishing houses.
With the rise of the Enlightenment and the university system, those who remained in monasteries in England were few. Before this period, the Black Plague claimed the lives of many monks and nuns and monasteries in England sustained a permanent loss. However, today many tourists enjoy visiting remaining monasteries in England to get a sense of medieval life.