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Geoffrey Grossus' lengthy life of Bernard of Abbeville leaves unanswered many questions. Comparison with contemporary sources suggests that Bernard was a career churchman with an interest in ascetism and the apostolic life, who left his original house in Poitiers because of resistance to reforms that he had introduced as abbot. A successful search for a patron enabled him to establish an entirely new community at Tiron in the Perche, where he was able to implement his ideas, although the community did not remain at the forefront of monastic thinking after the death of its charismatic founder in 1116.
The author would like to thank Michael Clanchy, Lindy Grant, Christopher Holdsworth and Edmund King for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.