The monastery of Redon, founded in the first half of the 9th century in the banks of the Vilaine River, is a much-researched community. This is due not just to the rich source material from the earliest phase of its existence, but also to its precarious position in the frontier zone between the Frankish and Breton spheres of influence. While the extant sources do show that the monks were aware of their position between two political powers, the current paper aims to look at the hagiographical output from that monastery (the 9th-century Gesta Sanctorum Rotonensium and the 11th-century adaptation, the Vita Conwoionis) and show how the authors primarily intended to not only ‘make a holy place’ (Julia Smith), but also impress upon their audience the many different frontiers they would have to cross – and defend – on their way towards salvation.
The problem relates to the transfer of cultural memory in the text of Tundale’s Vision, a work written around 1148 at the Irish Benedictine monastery in Regensburg. Based on J. Assman’s theory of cultural memory, the main goal of my work is to explore the Vision of Tundale as a medium that was used by its creators and recipients – Irish monks – as a carrier of memory about important events that once took place in their homeland. The aim of the project is to analyze how the Irish community preserved the memories of Ireland by casting them in eschatological space.
My proposal examines how Furness Abbey, one of the most influential Cistercian monasteries in Northern England, constructed an institutional memory of its cross-border interactions with Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man from a 15th-century perspective. My paper uses case studies of documents from the Furness Coucher Book (the abbey cartulary compiled c.1407-c.1412) to reveal how the abbey sought to give itself a more ‘English’ identity, contributing to growing late medieval discourse on articulating ‘proto-national’ identities. It is argued that the Coucher Book helped to create an institutional identity for Furness Abbey, particularly in de-emphasising or ‘forgetting’ its wider British interactions.