(‘Regular’ or ‘Black’ canons) had their origin in the mid‐11th‐cent. ecclesiastical reform movement. Earlier communities of clerics (or ‘canons’) staffing cathedrals and large churches and organized in a quasi‐monastic rule had long existed. Reformed canons, particularly in southern France, Italy, and Germany, increasingly adopted a rule based on that drawn up by St Augustine of Hippo (354–430). Many Augustinian priories were sited in towns, where their canons fulfilled a wide range of roles, serving in parish churches and cathedrals, running hospitals (such as St Bartholomew's, London), and functioning as teachers. In England, where the first truly Augustinian priory was founded at Colchester c.1100, they tended to be more contemplative, often emerging from communities of hermits.
Subjects: Regional and National History — Christianity.