Kanikerna i Dalby: tre studier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


The Canons of Dalby. Three Studies

I. When did the brothers in Dalby become Augustinians? There are different opinions among historians about what kind of community Egino founded in Dalby in the late 1060s. Some say it was Benedictine, others say it was a community of canons. Among the latter, some say they were regular canons, others that they were secular, and one distinguished historian has even claimed that they were Augustinians from the very beginning. This study argues that the community must be understood in relation to ideals of canonical living that were developing rapidly at the time. A movement of reform had started in the 1040s with the aim that large churches should be served by celibate priests living in community without private possessions. Establishments where canons lived separately and had property were reformed and new communities were founded in accordance with the new ideals. The language that Adam of Bremen uses when describing the community in Dalby strongly suggests that he thought of it as part of the reform: he describes them as living regulariter, which was a catch-word among the reformers. If they did adhere to the reform, we need not speculate when the Dalby brethren “became” Augustinians: the reform canons generally adopted the Rule of St. Augustine in the early decades of the 12th century, not as a new step but as a way of defining what they already were. Only in the 13th century did provincial chapters begin to occur and an “Order of St. Augustine” take shape.
II. Fragments from the history of the canons of Dalby. Few documents remain that can tell us anything about the life lived in the monastery of Dalby during the 450 years of its existence. This study presents a brief survey of the documents and what they say. We have names of 31 officers (styled dean, provost or prior), 98 canons and 9 lay brothers. From the names and their dating we can deduce that the monastery, during its heyday in the 12th and 13th centuries, housed 10–12 canons on an average. The name of the monastery changed: in the 12th and 13th centuries it was called either Dalbyensis ecclesia or Sancta Crux; from the 14th century onward the normal name was simply “Dalby Monastery” or “the monastery in Dalby”. In earliest times it was led by a provost, possibly assisted by a dean; from the mid-12th century the head was called prior and his second-in-command subprior (the latter is only attested once, in 1439). From about 1440 the priorate was held “in commendam” by dignitaries at the cathedral of Lund, and once even by an Italian cardinal. The now merely titular head of the monastery came to be called provost (meaning simply chief?) after 1466. In the early 16th century a resident canon was again made provost by the king and held the office until the monastery's dissolution in the 1530s.
III. The buildings of Dalby monastery. West of the church of Dalby there was between the 11th and 14th centuries a complex of buildings that has been interpreted as a royal manor but must have been used, wholly or in part, by the canons. The three extant monastic buildings lie northwest and north of the church and belong to a complex that cannot be older than the 13th century. The two to the northwest are a storehouse and a stable. The present farmhouse north of the church was once the western building in a traditional cloister. On the ground floor of this house there is a vaulted corridor that was once part of a crosswalk. This study discusses the medieval extent of the cloister and crosswalk, attempting to modify some previous theories. It also raises the question of what happened to the canons after a devastating fire in 1388 all but destroyed the monastery. It appears as if only the western (extant) building of the cloister was rebuilt. If the remainder was left in ruins, what happened to the canons? Did they set up separate quarters in the village, perhaps in stone buildings, of which there exists some scattered evidence?


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Religious Studies


  • Dalby, monastery, prosopography, historical archaeology, Augustinian canons, monastic history
Original languageSwedish
Title of host publicationLocus Celebris: Dalby kyrka, kloster och gård
EditorsStephan Borgehammar, Jes Wienberg
PublisherMakadam förlag
VolumeCentrum för Danmarksstudier 28
ISBN (Print)978-91-7061-116-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

VolumeCentrum för Danmarksstudier 28
ISSN (Print)1651-775X

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)

Related research output

Jes Wienberg (ed.) & Stephan Borgehammar (ed.), 2012, Makadam förlag. 552 p. (Centrum för Danmarksstudier; vol. 28)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology (editor)

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