The Order was always stronger in southern France than in the northern half of the country; its number of houses in the south were boosted by the acquisition of houses from the Sack Friars after their gradual dissolution as a consequence of the Council of Lyons in 1275.
In southern France, between six and eight Augustinian foundations were made before 1275; this compares with at least 113 Franciscan, 45 Dominican, 22 or 23 Carmelite, and 31 Sack Friars convents. By 1300, this total had risen only to sixteen; during that quarter century, the number of Carmelite foundations rose to 39.
But by 1350 there were 44 Augustinian houses in the south of France; in the first half of the fourteenth century, the Order made 28 new foundations, as compared with 18 Carmelite, 15 Dominican, and a mere six or seven Franciscan foundations. The Augustinians had become the most rapidly growing of the mendicants in this area.
This slowness of development of the Order in southern France in the thirteenth century is shown by the fact that in the six towns that had, by 1275, houses of all the four major mendicant orders, the Augustinians were the last to be established in five — Aix, Avignon, Marseille, Montpellier and Toulouse; only in Narbonne, where they preceded the Carmelites, did they achieve third place.
And by 1275, there were twelve other towns that had convents of the other three orders but not of Augustinians Agen, Bayonne, Bordeaux, Cahors, Carcassonne, Clermont, Figeac, Limoges, Montauban, Nimes, Perpignan, La Rochelle.
A second aspect of Augustinian expansion in southern. France is notable. Down to 1275, of eight foundations, five were made in towns already possessing three mendicant convents, two in towns that already had two such houses, and one (Grasse) in a town that had but a single convent hitherto. This is merely to say that the Order tended to put its houses into the larger urban centers.
Of the eight foundations between 1275 and 1300, five (Agen, Bordeaux, Cahors, Carcassonne, Limoges) were in towns with three houses of friars, and a sixth (Draguignan) already had one. But two (Castellano, Puget-Theniers) were made in relatively small towns in which no friars had previously settled. From 1300 onwards, the Order displayed an increasing tendency to found its new houses not in the larger towns where other orders of friars had established themselves, but in smaller centers as yet untouched by the mendicant movement.
(Continued on the next page.)