English Monastic Life – Augustinian Canons

Canon Regular of Saint AugustineArticle

The early history of the Austin, or Black Canons, is involved in considerable obscurity, and it is only after the beginning of the twelfth century that these Regulars are to be found in Europe. The Order was conventual, or monastic, rather than congregational or provincial, like the Friars: that is, the members were professed for a special house and belonged by virtue of their vows to it, and not to the general body of their brethren in the country. In one point they were not so closely bound to their house as were the monks. The Regular Canons were allowed in individual cases to serve the parishes that were impropriated to their houses; the monks were always obliged to employ secular vicars in these cures. The Augustinians were very popular in England; most of their houses having been established in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The earliest foundation was that of Christ Church, or Holy Trinity, Aldgate, made by Queen Maud in A.D. 1108; and at the time of the dissolution there were about 170 houses of Augustinian Canons in England; two of the abbeys, Waltham Cross and Cirencester, being governed by mitred abbots. In Ireland they were even more popular and numerous, the number of the houses of canons being put at 223, together with 33 nunneries. The Augustinian priors of Christ Church, and All Hallows, Dublin, and seven other priors of the Order, had seats in the Irish Parliament. The habit of the Order was black, and hence they were frequently known as Black Canons.

MLA Citation

  • Dom Adrian Gasquet. “Augustinian Canons”. English Monastic Life, 1904. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 November 2018. Web. 18 April 2021. <>