Medieval Glossary


An abbey properly means a series of buildings adapted for the domestic accommodation and religious ceremonies of a fraternity of persons subject to the government of an abbott or an abbess. As such it is contra-distinguished from from a priory, friary, nunnery, hospital, and college, and from all other ecclesiastical and military houses.

Note: this word orginated from the Latin abbas, in low Latin this term is abbatia, abbaye in French, badia in Italian, abadia in Spanish and Portugese, abati in Amoric, abbs in Norman French, and abtey in German.

Related term(s): Abbot; Abbess; Priory; Friary; Ecclesiastical; Monastery
Category: Western Christianity
Added: 08.09.04
Last modified: 11.05.05
Source information: Britton, John, F.S.A. A Dictionary of the Architecture and Archaeology of the Middle Ages. J. Le Keux, illus. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, Paternoster Row; and the Author, Burton Street, 1838. 3.


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