-Lord Trawnbull Thickstripe
November 4th, 2003
Authors Note: This editorial was written without me reading Loamhedge, therefore I would appreciate it if anything you have to say about this concerns Loamhedge is not said. After I read Loamhedge and if it provides myself further insight, I will update the editorial.
Whilst sitting in a religion class of mine today, I had an insight. Out of all the buildings BJ could've chosen when writing the series, why did he choose an Abbey? I mean the Redwall series in general is monastically influenced, but we don't see any other religious societies with the exception of Loamhedge, but Redwall really is an offshoot of Loamhedge anyway, being that it was founded by surviving missionaries from the original Abbey.
Moving along, and back to the original question, why did BJ choose an Abbey? Historically, abbeys of medieval Europe started off ascetically, but grew to be extremely wealthy, and had great political power. Redwall doesn't have much political power in the land of Mossflower (or surrounding areas), and to be frank it's not the richest of places either. Yes, it does have an orchard and farming grounds, and it also has a pond to fish, but the abbey-goers are a humble group of beasts here. Technically, Redwall is the only successful society within the Mossflower area, next to Salamandastron. Out of those two places, both have a long history. We don't see any other religious communes in the lands of the series at all, and if there are, Redwallers either have no knowledge of their existence, or have been extremely, extremely lax on relations with them; which just wouldn't make sense. Abbeys usually met together and convened, discussed laws and such, which was one of the primary purposes of the Abbot (or Abbess). Monastic abbeys were very strict, they did not allow ownership of any items at all, and to even use a pen or do anything at all required permission from the Abbot. In Redwall, the only purpose of the Abbot is just to be the local elder providing direction for younger Redwallers. One would presume the Abbot presides over weddings as well, but we just don't see those in the series, due to BJ's discretion.
Furthermore, it seems as that unless you are a traveler or outsider who has joined the Abbey collective, Redwallers grow to become either Sisters or Friars in their 'order' I guess one would call it. But what does that really mean? From my observations, a 'Friar' or 'Sister' is just an adult in Redwall society, they aren't really given much benefit over other adult Redwallers. In fact, they have a rougher time as they have jobs (unpaid), such as being head chef in the kitchens or taking care of the infirmary.
So overall, why an abbey was chosen seems to be a mystery. Would've made more sense for a Redwall Housing Complex or something.
-Lord Trawnbull Thickstripe