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The Catholic Historical Review 88.2 (2002) 337-338

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Book Review

Le cartulaire de l'abbaye cistercienne de Hautcrêt (fin (XIIe siècle)

Le cartulaire de l'abbaye cistercienne de Hautcrêt (fin (XIIe siècle). Edited by Alexandre Pahud, Bernadette Perreaud, and Jean-Luc Rouiller. [Cahiers lausannois d'histoire médiévale, 29.] (Lausanne: Université de Lausanne. 2001. Pp. 228. FrS. 35.-.)

When documents for Hautcrêt were published by J.-J. Hisely in 1854, the editor included all surviving documents for this community that he could find, whether surviving in original copies or only in cartulary versions, presenting them in chronological order, placing those without dates in an appendix. Here in the 2001 edition of the cartulary, the editors have republished Hautcrêt's charters as they appear in the late-twelfth century charter book. The codicological reconstruction in the new edition makes sense of certain charters garbled in earlier publications because the cartulary had been rebound out of itsoriginal order. The presentation of cartulary as cartulary and as itself evidenceabout administrative structures follows the latest trends in cartulary treatment—restoration of an original cartulary version and order, rather than attempted reconstruction of parchment originals sometimes only found in cartulary copies. In this case additional work might also provide evidence for intermediate stages in the evolution of this charter book which reflect changing relationships among individual donors, land, and monastic community.

While the work of transcription, editing, and identification of individuals and place-names is of an extremely high standard, less satisfactory are the editors' attempts to restore dates to the undated charters in the book (about 80 of the total 103 are undated). In part this is inevitable given so few published acts. But the methodology adopted uses the appearance of an individual in a dated charters to bracket the date of another act—but sometimes this is a close bracketing and other times not; the system does not allow that distinction to be made. The problem is that although the individual for whom we have a single date may have lived up to perhaps fifty years earlier or later (probably not both) than the single dated appearance we have, that fact does not really help in dating the undated documents. Perhaps a better method is that advocated by Michael Gervers and others in a recent volume, using changing vocabulary, for instance in descriptions of the community or of its inhabitants, to establish a relative [End Page 337] chronology of dates. 1 Here there are brothers at Altcrest, then gifts to Beata Maria de Altcrest, then to Sancta Maria de Altcrest, then to the monastery of Hautcrêt, etc. We also see the gradual replacement of the term "fratri" for all members of the community by specific references to monks and conversi.

But there is a second problem that adds to the confusion regarding dating, and that is the editors' assumptions about Hautcrêt as a Cistercian abbey, founded in the standard gestational model by colonization from within the Cistercian Order. All the evidence of the cartulary (with the exception of a foundation document restored by the editors to its opening pages and not actually extant in the twelfth-century volume) suggests an eremitical community at the outset, with no abbot and no distinction between lay-brothers and monks who all worked with their hands for their sustenance, possibly by clearing land (one holding is called Sartis), created with the support of bishops of Lausanne and local secular authorities. The community was visited and presumably attached to the Cistercians by Abbot Gerald of Hauterive circa 1157 or slightly earlier when this Gerald is said to have then left his abbacy at Hauterive (at that point still not Cistercian) to become a monk at the Cistercian house of Cherlieu. In attaching Hautcrêt to his own community, Gerald may have sent Magnus to be the first abbot there. Magnus was very active over the next few years in attracting gifts and making contracts with the surrounding community, as the cartulary shows. So...


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