The Augstinian Order

The Augustinian order (also known as Austin Canons, or Black Canons) came to England and established themselves at St. Botolph’s Priory at Colchester, c. 1106. They spread rapidly, reaching Scotland by 1120. At their height, the Augustinians had over 200 houses in England and Wales.

Each of the houses was governed by a prelate, usually a prior, but sometimes, an abbot. The monastic “rule” followed by the Augustinians was that of St. Augustine of Hippo and was not particularly austere. Each of the Austin Canons was a priest and as such was not bound to his house, but was free to have outside responsibilities, such as to a parish. The Black Canons also ran schools, hospitals and almshouses.

Some well known Augustinian houses are Holyrood, St. Andrews, Jedburgh, Lacock, St. Botolph’s, Leeds (Kent), Llanthony, Walsingham and Barnwell. Their habit consisted of a hooded black cloak over top of a black cassock. The Augustinian Friars are another, separate order.