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Reverend Father Wilfred Edwin Dennis (1935-)
Papers re history of Cluniac Order 1977-2001

MSS 0116

Biographical note

The Abbey of Cluny was founded in 909 by William I, Count of Auvergne. The Benedictine order was a keystone to the stability that European society achieved in the 11th century, and Cluny became the acknowledged leader of western monasticism from the second half of the 10th century through the early 12th century. The monastery of Cluny itself was the grandest, most prestigious and best endowed monastic institution in Europe. The Abbey was sacked and mostly destroyed in 1790 by revolutionaries and only a small part of the original remains.

The Reverend Father Dennis is an Anglican priest trained at St Francis College in Brisbane and ordained in 1961. These papers were donated in 2007 and comprise mainly source materials collected towards his study on the importance of the Cluniac order.


Contents Listing

 Series 1: Study on the importance of the Cluniac Order

1.1 “What is the importance of the Cluniac Order in Christian history? / an exercise self-imposed by the Reverend Wilfred Dennis Th.L.” 1985
19 leaves plus [20] leaves of illustrations and references. Typescript (Roneo copy)

Proposing that Cluny Abbey set in motion a series of practical and spiritual values that were not only important to the Medieval world, but which have become part of the Church’s normal life, and also to a large degree preserved civilization itself through the Dark Ages. Includes many photocopied illustrations of the architectural structure and details of Cluny Abbey.

1.2 Photocopied source materials arranged in order of study references

Series 2: Source materials

2.1 Source materials supplied by the Centre d'études clunisiennes of the Musée Ochier in Cluny, and associated correspondence with the Centre and L'église des Sants Pierre et Paul (the Monastic Church of SS Peter and Paul) in Cluny (June-July 1985). Includes an historic and tourist guide of Cluny (with English translation by Dennis), photocopied article by Guy de Valans, a description of the Ochier Museum, plans of the Abbey and the town of Cluny, and postcards.

2.2 Source materials supplied by the Centre d'études clunisiennes of the Musée Ochier in Cluny, and associated correspondence (August-Sept 1985). Includes photocopied photographs of Cluny Abbey chapels, article "La destruction de l'abbaye de Cluny 1789-1823" (Centre d'études clunisiennes, 1985) by Bruno Marguery-Melin (with English translation by Dennis).

2.3 Other published pamphlets etc concerning Cluny Abbey (with associated correspondence), including:

  • L'abbaye de Cluny (guidebook pub. Editions du patrimoine, 2001)
  • Cluny III: Le maior ecclesia (exhibition catalogue: Ecuries de St-Hughes, 1988)
  • Flyer for Les abbes de Cluny / Denis Grivot (1993)
  • Cluny-L'église Notre Dame / Michel Bouillot (1993)
  • Un carillon a Cluny (1996)

2.4 Flyers, invitations and other ephemera from the Centre d'études clunisiennes at Cluny

2.5 Source materials supplied by the Abbaye de Citeaux, and associated correspondence with La Communité Trappiste at Cîteaux and the Abbey 1985 (with English translations by Dennis), including Abrégé chronologique de l’histoire de Cîteaux / Marcel Lebeau (1981) and postcards

Series 3: Display material (Held in MAP CABINET)

  • Cluny display material with index sheet
  • "Cluny tapestries" (1977 Landmark calendar)

The Bulletin of the Centre d'études clunisiennes (1984- ) has been catalogued separately at Rare Books 944.005 C3977b.


Cheryl Hoskin
August 2008


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