There survive from the late first millennium three Rules drawn up for secular clergy living in community, or ‘canonical clergy’ as they were termed. For several centuries there had been experiments, both in East and West, in such a communal life, before the first surviving written rule, that of St Chrodegang, composed around 755 AD (henceforth referred to as RC). There have been widely differing interpretations of what such a clerical common life should comprise, and to what extent it was in fact practised. Some writers, particularly those from an Augustinian tradition, appear to believe that in the early centuries of the Church all clerics lived in communities with all their possessions held in common. They refer back to the situation described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:44–6, 4:32–5), even though this relates to the entire Christian community, not only the clergy. It is assumed that during the pre-Constantinian period all clergy lived up to this ideal, even though it would have been difficult for a common fund to be maintained for what was usually perceived as an illegal purpose. Clear evidence is found in the later fourth century, when St Eusebius of Vercelli is recorded to have shared a monastic life with his clergy, and more famously in the life of St Augustine. 1 Following the vandalism of the community at Hippo, we are then told, decadence set in, and individual clerics increasingly came to own private property, so that the situation accepted at the time of the Rule of Chrodegang marks a depth of decadence exceeded only by the Rule of Aachen. This corruption, of property-owning clerics, was only reformed in the late eleventh century under the influence of Peter Damian and Pope Gregory VII. This ‘Augustinian’ view is put across, for instance, by Amort (1747) and Poggiaspalla (1968).