This book traces the development of monasticism in England, Scotland and Wales from the last half century of Anglo-Saxon England to 1300. It explores the nature of the impact of the Norman settlement on monastic life, and how Britain responded to new, European ideas on monastic life. In particular, it examines Britain's response to the needs of religious women. It covers every aspect of the life and work of the religious orders: their daily life, the buildings in which they lived, their contribution to intellectual developments and to the economy. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between religious houses and their founders and patrons. This shows the degree of dependence of religious houses on local patrons. Indeed, one major theme which emerges from the book is the constant tension between the ideals of monastic communities and the demands of the world.