This book offers the first comprehensive history of the Order of Tiron. As a unique survey of the Tironensian experience it sheds new light on traditional assumptions of twelfth-century monastic history. Previous sketches have been shaped by the life of the founder, the Vita Bernardi, which depicts the forests of western France teeming with holy men, and that self-image of hermit preachers in the wilderness has been deeply influential in the historiography of twelfth-century reform. Drawing from the latest advances in the understanding of hagiography and institutional memory, Thompson reinterprets key sources to offer a valuable contribution to the history of monasticism. She outlines the rapid dissemination of the Tironensian approach in the first thirty years of its existence, its network of contacts with the lay elite and the impact on the Tironensians of the successes of the Cistercians and Mendicants.
Kathleen Thompson is an independent scholar, writing mainly on French and English history of the twelfth century. Her research interests have generally centred on the history of the western European aristocracy and began with a study of the Norman nobles who followed William the Conqueror in 1066. This led to a study of their origins in western France and the themes of 'la mutation', the changes of the year 1000 and the fragmented power structures which emerged from the Carolingian empire. Like many other scholars of her generation she has explored issues of gender, women's studies and family dynamics. She has published papers in French and English periodicals, contributed to conferences in France and England and is the author of Power and Border Lordship: The History of the County of the Perche, c.1066-1217 (2002). She was joint editor of Normandy and its Neighbours, 900-1250: Essays for David Bates (2011) and the Annual Bibliography of Historical Literature (2004-10). She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Royal Historical Society, and writes on the local history of Bristol under her family name of Kathleen Hapgood. She is a Senior Policy Adviser at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
Introduction; 1. Developing the Tiron Narrative; 2. Uncovering Tiron's literary history; 3. Documenting Tiron's success; 4. Abbot Bernard; 5. The monastery at Tiron; 6. Mother and daughters; Epilogue: the thirteenth century; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.