Robin Turk


Robin Turk (PhD Candidate)

Industry and ideology: 19th and 20th century Cistercian monasticism

Supervisor: Dr. Barra Ó Donnabháin
Post-Medieval and Later Historical Archaeology Research Group



The Cistercian’s desire to be ‘far from the concourse of men’ has always necessitated a contained and self sufficient way of life. In the medieval period they became famous for their large and efficient farms and extensive use of labour saving technology such as water power. In the 19th and 20th centuries the level of mechanisation and technological development on Cistercian estates often exceeded that of the surrounding estate farms and local towns.  This raises some interesting questions about the influences on industrial and technological development in a Cistercian monastery.

The project aims to study the technology, industry and domestic economy of Cistercian monasticism in Ireland and Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, and to analyse the place of technology, industry and manual labour within the context of Cistercian ideals and principles. The research will focus on Mt Melleray Abbey Co. Waterford (1832), and on the daughter houses of Mt Saint Bernard Abbey, Leicestershire (1835) and St Joseph’s Abbey, Roscrea (1878) and also the female Cistercian monastery of St Mary’s Glencairn, Co.  Waterford (1932).


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