Lay burial within Cistercian precincts
Gerald recites other examples
of noblewomen who, upon the throes of death, were persuaded by the Cistercians’ promises
of salvation to take the habit and bestow the monks a considerable benefaction.
This process, known as ad succurrendum, was prohibited by the General
Chapter but was not always observed, and was extended to women as well as men. However,
as Brian Golding underlines all the women that Gerald pinpoints were in
some way associated with a leading patron of the abbey; for instance, the
lady of Ewias Harold was most probably a member of Robert of Ewias’ family.
At Strata Florida Matilda de Braose, wife of Gruffudd ap Rhys, patron of
the abbey, was buried next to her husband in the abbey church; Matilda had
previously received the Cistercian habit at Llanbadarn Fawr.
[Cited in B. Golding, ‘Gerald of Wales
and the Cistercians’, Reading
Medieval Studies XXI (Reading, 1995), pp. 5-30, at pp. 18-19.]