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Familia (familiars)

The term describes two different groups of people, namely those who were non-resident and received the spiritual benefits of the abbey such as prayers and masses, and those who resided within the abbey distinct from the monks and lay-brothers; they might include men who were not fit to carry out the lay-brothers’ duties, those who died before taking their vows, lay-brothers who had misbehaved and were thus demoted. The General Chapter took measures in the late thirteenth century to restrict the number of familiars and in 1293 permission was required from the General Chapter.