The Black Monks exercised their financial and political power along local and regional lines through a vast number of conventual sites sustained by extensive networks of spiritual and temporal properties. The Benedictines held more property throughout England than all the other religious orders combined, and although they suffered the greatest diminution in the number of their houses from the peak of the monastic movement in the early fourteenth century to the Dissolution (a reduction of about 70 per cent), the 10 wealthiest houses in 1535 were all Benedictine. The continued economic pre-eminence of the order in England indicates that although many of the smaller Benedictine houses had had difficulty surviving the post-plague era and the greatly reduced popularity of the order amongst donors, most of the larger and better established houses were able to reorganize and restructure their affairs during the thirteenth century and subsequently, thereby maintaining their status and positions.1