We prohibit any abbot from
entrusting his granges or any one of them
to any monk other than the cellarer, who according to the authority
the Rule is to take care of everything in keeping with the abbot's
according to need, let additional help be available to him, by whom
he may be
assisted in what has to be done.
[Institutes of the General
Chapter, no. LXX] (27)
Did the Cistercians use local labour
on their granges? The grangemasters probably employed
locals to help at harvest and other times when extra help was
required, but earthworks at Fountains' grange sites at Morker,
Cayton and Sutton suggest that peasant communities were established
by the grange complexes here, to help work the abbey's lands.
The Cistercian grange has thus been described as a 'mixed community'
of lay-brothers, peasants and servants.
[Platt, The Monastic Grange, pp. 88-90; 93.]
oversaw the management of all the abbey's granges. He was an important
monastic official (or obedientiary)
who resided at the monastery. A resident grangemaster, who was a
lay-brother, was directly responsible for the running of each grange,
and might be assisted by a helper.(29)
He supervised the team of lay-brothers who staffed the grange, and
would have employed seasonal local labour when necessary, for example
at harvest. If there were a number of lay-brothers,
several might be appointed to oversee the various departments at
the grange, such as the dairy or forge.(30)
Whilst the cellarer and grangemaster between them were responsible
for the daily organisation of the granges, it was a monk official
known as the master conversi who tended the lay-brothers' spiritual
needs. He visited the granges on Saturdays to hear their confessions,
and also on the days before they received Communion
at the abbey.
Changes in the economy, the effects of plague
and warfare, and the demise of the lay-brotherhood brought changes
in the structure and organisation of the granges. By the later Middle
Ages many were leased to lay people, others were farmed as demesne.
Fountains was slower than most other Cistercian abbeys to reorganise
its economy, but by the fifteenth century a number of the abbey
granges were leased to tenants, for example at Cowton, or farmed
as demesne by lay keepers, as at Bouthwaite.
The abbey's servants might have been well placed
to lease lands. In 1512 Robert Dawson and his wife, Ellen, who were
keepers of the West Gate at the Fountains, leased land in Aldfield;
Marmaduke Wildmen, a tailor of Fountains, also leased land here.(31)