Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Amos

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy Graham

Third Advisor

Dr. James Palmitessa

Fourth Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Monastic settlements in early medieval Ireland were active: politically, socially, economically, and spiritually. While an ascetic life was ideal, these communities were in fact often lively participants in the secular affairs around them. Yet, detailed studies of ecclesiastical social structure and its economic and political influence on early Irish society have been, for the most part, not attempted while disagreements concerning organization continue to haunt scholars of the early Irish church. Moreover, as Colman Etchingham aptly points out in his recent publication, Church Organisation in Ireland, AD 650 to 1000, detailed studies of individual religious communities will bring to light many of the intricacies of medieval Irish church organization. Consequently, it is my hope that by examining the methods of social control exercised by the monastic community of Kildare between the seventh and eleventh centuries, I can detect patterns that will benefit the continuing study of the church in early medieval Ireland. By social control, I mean the manner with which Kildare attained and maintained its position within the larger social, political, and economic domain of the kingdom of Leinster.