Bury St Edmunds and the Norman Conquest

Bury St Edmunds and the Norman Conquest

Edited by Tom Licence
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt5vj7zd
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  • Book Info
    Bury St Edmunds and the Norman Conquest
    Book Description:

    "Bury St Edmunds is noteworthy in so many ways: in preserving the cult and memory of the last East Anglian king, in the richness of its archives, and not least in its role as a mediator of medical texts and studies. All these aspects, and more, are amply illustrated in this collection, by specialists in their fields. The balance of the whole work, and the care taken to place the individual topics in context, has resulted in a satisfying whole, which places Abbot Baldwin and his abbey squarely in the forefront of eleventh-century politics and society." Professor Ann Williams. The abbey of Bury St Edmunds, by 1100, was an international centre of learning, outstanding for its culting of St Edmund, England's patron saint, who was known through France and Italy as a miracle worker principally, but also as a survivor, who had resisted the Vikings and the invading king Swein and gained strength after 1066. Here we journey into the concerns of his community as it negotiated survival in the Anglo-Norman empire, examining, on the one hand, the roles of leading monks, such as the French physician-abbot Baldwin, and, on the other, the part played by ordinary women of the vill. The abbey of Bury provides an exceptionally rich archive, including annals, historical texts, wills, charters, and medical recipes. The chapters in this volume, written by leading experts, present differing perspectives on Bury's responses to conquest; reflecting the interests of the monks, they cover literature, music, medicine, palaeography, and the history of the region in its European context. Dr Tom Licence is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Director of the Centre of East Anglian Studies at the University of East Anglia. Contributors: Debbie Banham, David Bates, Eric Fernie, Sarah Foot, Michael Gullick, Tom Licence, Henry Parkes, Véronique Thouroude, Elizabeth van Houts, Thomas Waldman, Teresa Webber

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-300-3
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. LIST OF MUSIC EXAMPLES
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. ix-ix)
  6. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. x-x)
  7. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  8. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    In the late 1060s, a cleric, possibly the bishop of Amiens, wrote a poem on the Norman Conquest. It represented William the Conqueror as a hero worthy of Troy, rightfully claiming a kingdom; but it also depicted him as a warrior revelling in gore, enthralled to the god Mars.² The poet told of how venerable age and beautiful youth lay mingled in death on the battlefield and how William camped at Dover where the vanquished came to seek terms and kiss his feet, ‘just as flies … throng in swarms to sores full of blood’.³ Blood was impure in the...

  9. 1 THE ABBEY AND THE NORMAN CONQUEST: AN UNUSUAL CASE?
    (pp. 5-21)
    David Bates

    The notion that the history of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds after the Norman Conquest was unusual is not new. William of Malmesbury in hisGesta pontificumdescribed St Edmund as ‘the first of the saints of the country’.¹ And in theGesta regumhe wrote that the saint’s abbey was remarkable both for its capacity to attract patronage and to repulse tax-collectors:

    By these arts he has so engaged the loyalty of all the inhabitants of Britain that anyone thinks it a privilege to enrich his monastery by even a penny. Even kings, the lords of other men,...

  10. 2 CHARTERS AND INFLUENCES FROM SAINT-DENIS c. 1000–1070
    (pp. 22-30)
    Thomas Waldman

    In comparison with the large number of manuscripts at Saint-Denis from the Carolingian period and the twelfth century, the sources for the eleventh century, the time of Abbot Baldwin of Bury St Edmunds, are meagre.¹ This is one indication that the abbey suffered severe losses in the tenth century at the hands of the Normans. It lost many of its domains, the fabric of the church seems to have deteriorated greatly, and the performance of the liturgy seems to have become lax.²

    Abbot Suger, writing in the 1140s, saw the division of the Carolingian empire under the sons of the...

  11. 3 THE ABBEY’S ARMOURY OF CHARTERS
    (pp. 31-52)
    Sarah Foot

    At some point during the 1070s the archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, wrote to Herfast (bishop of East Anglia 1070–84/5) in trenchant terms. Much of his letter criticized the bishop’s lifestyle – ‘Give up the dicing (to mention nothing worse) and the world’s amusements in which you are said to idle away the entire day’ – and the company he kept: ‘Banish the monk Hermann, whose life is notorious for its many faults, from your society and your household completely.’ Instead, Lanfranc told his bishop to read Scripture and above all to master the decrees of the Roman pontiffs and...

  12. 4 THE WOMEN OF BURY ST EDMUNDS
    (pp. 53-73)
    Elisabeth van Houts

    The fourth richest monastery of England in the late eleventh century was a Benedictine monastery for monks – a male institution, one might suppose.¹ Yet, women played an important role in its life. As landholder, Abbot Baldwin was in charge of his landed estate, and the names of his peasant tenants (male and female, predominantly English), have been preserved. Higher up the social ladder among the (Norman) knightly class far less evidence of women has come down to us. Women also lived in the borough that grew up around the monastery. The Domesday survey compiled in 1086 tells of more...

  13. 5 ABBOT BALDWIN’S CHURCH AND THE EFFECTS OF THE CONQUEST
    (pp. 74-93)
    Eric Fernie

    An accurate picture of the architectural history of Abbot Baldwin’s church began to emerge already in the middle of the nineteenth century, as for example with Graham Hills’s study of 1865. The first person to make sense of the remains on the site as a whole was Arthur Whittingham, with the research he published in the early 1950s, and many aspects of the subject were investigated further at the conference of the British Archaeological Association of 1994, organized by Antonia Gransden. In the present essay I want to examine three things: the contrast between the Norman church and its Anglo-Saxon...

  14. 6 NEW LIGHT ON THE LIFE AND WORK OF HERMAN THE ARCHDEACON
    (pp. 94-103)
    Tom Licence

    In 2009, in theEnglish Historical Review, I published a study of the historian and hagiographer Herman the Archdeacon (d. c. 1098), a senior monk of Bury St Edmunds, active during the last third of the eleventh century.¹ In the discussion, I noted that we could trace his activity in England back to the early 1070s, when he was drafting letters for Herfast, bishop in East Anglia (1070–84/5), and I also presented evidence suggesting that he might have been a recent immigrant, as implied in a letter to Herfast from Archbishop Lanfranc, insisting that the monk Herman must either...

  15. 7 THE CULT OF ST EDMUND
    (pp. 104-130)
    Tom Licence

    Most of what can be inferred about the state of Edmund’s cult in the eleventh century comes from a work calledMiracles of St Edmund, completed in the 1090s by a monk of the abbey who reveals that his name was Herman. He took on the allied roles of a historian and a hagiographer, inserting records of the saint’s posthumous miracles into a narrative of English history and the history of Edmund’s community. His work was a continuation of St Edmund’s story, picking up where the account of the saint’s martyrdom and early miracles left off, in the 980s, and...

  16. 8 ST EDMUND BETWEEN LITURGY AND HAGIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 131-159)
    Henry Parkes

    The medieval persona of St Edmund, as far as it can be recovered, is generally recognised to have resided in Abbo of Fleury’sPassio sancti Eadmundi. Written at the request of the monks of Ramsey at the end of the tenth century, this text was swiftly adopted by the Benedictine community at Bury, where it appears to have been recorded in a booklist from the 1040s,¹ and from whose scribes three eleventh-century copies survive.² ThePassiowas undoubtedly a creative stimulus for the local community, for it gave rise both to the famous cycle of illuminations in the twelfth-century illustrated...

  17. 9 BOOKS AND THEIR USE ACROSS THE CONQUEST
    (pp. 160-189)
    Teresa Webber

    During the mid-fourteenth century, Henry of Kirkstead, the indefatigable librarian and later prior of Bury, supplied class-marks,ex librisinscriptions, and other notes in the great majority of the Bury books (see Plate 9.1).¹ Around 270 manuscripts survive that contain his marks and annotations, evidence that today provides the principal means of identifying the medieval books of Bury.² The survival of so many books owes much to the donation in 1598 of some one hundred volumes to Pembroke College, Cambridge by William Smart, portreeve of Ipswich, who had himself acquired them (presumably en bloc) in circumstances that are unknown.³ The...

  18. 10 AN ELEVENTH-CENTURY BURY MEDICAL MANUSCRIPT
    (pp. 190-225)
    Michael Gullick

    Some ten years ago I identified an eleventh-century Continental medical manuscript in the British Library (Sloane 1621) as a hitherto unrecognised Bury book. It is a small book of several contemporary parts that is interesting for its content, its many contemporary, near-contemporary, and early twelfth-century additions by Continental and English scribes, and the likelihood that it should be linked to Baldwin, abbot of Bury between 1065 and 1097.¹ Its content is discussed by Debby Banham in the following chapter, and therefore what follows is concerned mostly with the physical and scribal features of the manuscript, and the conclusions concerning its...

  19. 11 MEDICINE AT BURY IN THE TIME OF ABBOT BALDWIN
    (pp. 226-246)
    Debby Banham

    Abbot Baldwin is a fine example of the way the intimacy of bodily care could bring physicians to the heart of political power. His ability to survive the political, military, and even ecclesiastical upheavals of the Norman Conquest, without losing his position or influence, was no doubt due largely to his knack of being close to those in power at the right moment,¹ and staying there, but it must have been his medical skill and reputation that helped him to get there in the first place. He is recorded as having served as physician successively to three kings, Edward the...

  20. 12 MEDICINE AFTER BALDWIN: THE EVIDENCE OF BL, ROYAL 12. C. XXIV
    (pp. 247-258)
    Véronique Thouroude

    This explanation of the causes and effects working within the human body is found in an eleventh-century medical text from Salerno, thePassionarius(‘Book of Diseases’) attributed to the physician Gariopontus. This medical text survives in sixty-five medieval manuscripts, one of which is now London, British Library, MS Royal 12. C. xxiv.² Michael Gullick has identified the script of this manuscript as that of an early twelfth-century scribe of Bury St Edmunds, demonstrating that this text was known at Bury in the generation after the physician-abbot Baldwin.³

    The text of thePassionariusemerged from the traditions of classical medicine, which...

  21. INDEX
    (pp. 259-266)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-267)