Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michelle M. Sauer


The Nun of Watton is a treatise by Ælred of Rievaulx focusing on the scandalous affair of a nun becoming pregnant by a lay brother, and through a series of events is miraculously transformed back into a virgin like state. In my thesis, I will be examining the properties of the space that the nuns of Watton inhabit and how the functions of the space affected the events that occurred by applying Henri Lefebvre’s spatial theory. Additionally, I will be arguing that the Nun received a miraculous abortive churching. Those actions protected the purity of the monastery and the people within it and allowed the Nun to become virgin-like so that she could re-enter the monastic community. These events give a clear representation of how important the virginal state was in the Middle Ages. Furthermore, it not only shows how important virginity is for an individual, but also demonstrates how the virginal status affects the surrounding community and the larger communal space.