So here’s a little historical question

The Last Abbot of Reading

OK, so it’s a play and all that.

But was Hugh Faringdon actually the last abbot of Reading?

It’s not uncommon for distinguished and elderly monks – I think particularly of Benedictines, which the Reading house was – in these days to be awarded an honorary abbacy (abbotcy?). Of one of the houses that was destroyed in the Reformation. I’m really pretty certain there was one at Downside in my time there. Abbot’s ring and all that, but not actually the Abbott at all. Instead, abbot of “somewhere destroyed around 1540” an an honorary title.

A quick look around doesn’t provide me with any listing of houses whose titles are used this way. So, does anyone know?

Is “Abbot of Reading” a title still floating around in the manner that King of Jerusalem still does (although how many claimants to that there are I’ve no idea, at least three royal houses did so in modern times).

8 thoughts on “So here’s a little historical question”

  1. NDReader, yes, sort of like that, but I think for the abbots it’s more just an honorary thing whereas there is more of a reason for titular bishops. There are some things that only a bishop can do (ordain priests, used to be confirmations), and a bishop has to be bishop of somewhere, so if a bishop needs an assistant who can actually do bishoppy things, he has to have a titular see to be bishop of.

  2. I tried to find an Abbot of Costello but the closest I got was Urlaur Abbey, established by the (eventual) Costellos.
    There should definitely be one, though.

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