06. St. Bernardushof, Aduard (NL)

Aduard Abbey was founded in 1192 as a member of the filiation of Clairvaux. Her mother house is Klaarkamp. Her official name is 'Ad Sanctum Bernardum'. The factual end of monastic life in Aduard came in 1580, the legal confiscation in 1594. There were some hundred monks and more than 500 lay brothers. The landownership was about 7000 ha. The monks settled themselves in an area that was continuously threatened by the sea. As a result the abbots were compelled to regulate rivers and build dykes and sluices and thus turned marshes into fertile farmland. The Cistercians probably introduced the art of brick making into the Low Countries. The oldest written sources about this craft can be found in the monastic chronicles that were made in the provinces of Groningen and Friesland. The building of Aduards cross-church between 1240 and 1263 serves as an example of great Cistercian craftmanship in the field of architecture and brick making. Aduard has known two local saints: the Englishman Richard de Busto and the Italian Emanuel of Cremona. The abbeyıs library was put fire to; only ten manuscripts have survived. Aduard had six daughter houses of which some were incorporated.

In the years 1939 till 1941 a small part of the abbey precincts has been excavated by prof. dr. A.E. van Giffen. He was mainly interested in the church of which the Aduard chronicle relates that it had been drawn by a lay brother-architect. The abbot had sent him to Clairvaux to copy the church of which the building had been commissioned by St. Bernard himself. The church had a ship and aisles, and an ambulatory with radiating chapels. The excavations have shown that it was modelled on Royaumont. Its length was ca. 85 m. Cloister and adjacent buildings followed the standard Cistercian plan. The abbey walls and moats enclosed an area of ca. 20 to 25 ha. The buildings have gradually been pulled down. On the ruins a new village arose, now called Aduard. Only the infirmary survived, because in 1595 it fortunately was turned into a protestant church, which it still is. What is now the main street in the village was also the central road through the abbey precincts. Some parts of the surrounding moat are still intact.

Internet: www.kloostermuseumaduard.nl
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