St Albans was one of the greatest Benedictine abbeys of medieval England, and the early 14th century was a period during which
the concerns of the community and the role of the abbot emerge particularly clearly. Yet the history of the abbey during this
period has received little attention since general surveys undertaken over eighty years ago, and the manorial history by Levett
in 1938. Basing herself on the unique and relatively unexploited Gesta Abbatum Monasterii Sancti Albani, Michelle Still examines
the position of St Albans in both the secular and monastic worlds, with a focus on the period 1290-1349. The study includes
discussion of the role of the abbot as a feudal landlord, a provider of education (at the abbey's grammar school), and a dispenser
of charity. In conclusion, she notes the pivotal importance of the personality and influence of the abbot of St Albans in
ensuring the strict observance of the Rule of St Benedict in an age when traditional monasticism was increasingly challenged.
Through the detailed study of this one abbey, this book makes an important contribution to the overall picture of monastic
life in medieval England.