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The Prelate in England and Europe, 1300-1560

The Prelate in England and Europe, 1300-1560

Edited by Martin Heale
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    The Prelate in England and Europe, 1300-1560
    Book Description:

    High ecclesiastical office in the Middle Ages inevitably brought power, wealth and patronage. The essays in this volume examine how late medieval and Renaissance prelates deployed the income and influence of their offices, how they understood their role, and how they were viewed by others. Focusing primarily on but not exclusively confined to England, this collection explores the considerable common ground between cardinals, bishops and monastic superiors. Leading authorities on the late medieval and sixteenth-century Church analyse the political, cultural and pastoral activities of high-ranking churchmen, and consider how episcopal and abbatial expenditure was directed, justified and perceived. Overall, the collection enhances our understanding of ecclesiastical wealth and power in an era when the concept and role of the prelate were increasingly contested. Dr Martin Heale is Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History, University of Liverpool. Contributors: Martin Heale, Michael Carter, James G. Clark, Gwilym Dodd, Felicity Heal, Anne Hudson, Emilia Jamroziak, Cédric Michon, Elizabeth A. New, Wendy Scase, Benjamin Thompson, C.M. Woolgar

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-350-8
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-ix)
    (pp. x-x)
    (pp. xi-xi)
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    The years between the early fourteenth and the mid sixteenth century are of considerable interest in the history of the prelate. In some respects, this era might be regarded as a golden age of prelacy, culminating in the appearance of great ecclesiastical dignitaries across much of Europe, such as Wolsey, d’Amboise, Cisneros, Lang and Jagiellon.¹ In terms of their political weight, their grandeur and their wide-ranging cultural patronage, these early sixteenth-century ‘cardinal-ministers’ arguably represented a high point in prelatical influence. Nor should they be regarded as wholly distinct from their clerical contemporaries: recent studies of Renaissance cardinals and the early...

  8. Part I: Prelates and Power

    • The Clerical Chancellors of Late Medieval England
      (pp. 17-49)
      Gwilym Dodd

      In September 1376, just two months after Edward III’s unpopular courtiers had been humiliated in the Good Parliament, the great and good of the realm were summoned to attend a meeting of the royal council to participate in what must have seemed to be a distinctly peculiar affair.¹ The meeting had been called to allow the ‘victims’ of the Good Parliament, foremost among whom was John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, to exact their revenge on William Wykeham, bishop of Winchester. As Thomas Walsingham put it, in his own inimitable style,

      the duke disgorged the devilish venom pent up within...

    • Prelates and the Alien Priories
      (pp. 50-75)
      Benjamin Thompson

      The transformation of the alien priories in England in the decades around 1400 was largely driven by laymen.¹ Kings, nobles and gentry, as well as aspiring middling sorts, responded to the permanent state of war with France by confiscating the properties of more than 125 cells and bailiwicks belonging to overseas abbeys, as well as naturalizing around thirty of the latter’s larger dependencies.² Broadly speaking, houses which were large enough to function as monasteries, ‘conventual’ houses, even if small ones, survived in Anglicized form, their French ‘alien’ monks replaced by English denizens, and their links with their mother-houses cut. Those...

    • Cardinals at the Court of Francis I
      (pp. 76-98)
      Cédric Michon

      The cardinals present in the court of Francis I (1515–47) can be categorized in three different ways. First the courtiers, in other words the cardinals from the most powerful court families who gravitated around the sovereign without occupying any political or administrative function. These were Cardinals Adrien Gouffier, Claude de Givry, Odet de Châtillon and Jacques d’Annebault. Then there were the cardinals who took advantage of the captive market of curial ecclesiastical missions, especially as chaplain (Cardinals Jean Le Veneur and Antoine Sanguin) or almoner. These missions were sometimes, though not always, a stepping stone to political service. Finally...

  9. Part II: Patronage and Learning

    • An Abbot and his Books in Late Medieval and Pre-Reformation England
      (pp. 101-126)
      James G. Clark

      The century before the break with Rome witnessed the triumph of the bookish prelate. No longer was a place among the ‘princes of the priesthood’ (as one contemporary preacher pictured them) a likely prospect for those most unlikely clerks whose conspicuous promotion, powered by royal patronage, roused outrage and scorn from the writing desks of the clerical establishment.¹ Such men had seen something of an Indian Summer under the last of the Plantagenets, when plague and political unrest had claimed more than one learned prelate and the power ofclergieto mislead church and people had become a matter of...

    • Prelates and the Provision of Books: Bishop John Carpenter’s Carnary Library
      (pp. 127-141)
      Wendy Scase

      The most celebrated achievements of John Carpenter as bishop of Worcester (1443–76) are his educational initiatives, including his foundation of the Carnary Chapel Library at Worcester and of the Kalendars’ Library associated with All Saints’, Bristol. This essay will attempt to shed new light on Carpenter’s activities in relation to the provision of books in his diocese, with a particular focus on the Worcester library. It will review and revise the current interpretation of the sources of evidence for the ordinances of the library, revising our assessment of what they can and cannot tell us; consider a recent suggestion...

    • The Bishops and the Printers: Henry VII to Elizabeth
      (pp. 142-170)
      Felicity Heal

      Matthew Parker, Elizabeth’s first archbishop of Canterbury, was in love with antiquities. He was also more than half in love with the political and cultural power of printing. Print offered him the possibilities of winning friends and influencing people, promoting the interests of the fledgling Church of England, and displaying his personal engagement with early British history. Elizabeth Evenden’s study of John Day, the Protestant printer, has revealed how crucial it was for this erudite archbishop to have the resources of the press at his command.¹ Their relationship evolved in the 1560s and was consolidated by Day’s printing of Ælfric’s...

  10. Part III: Identity and Display

    • Treasure, Material Possessions and the Bishops of late Medieval England
      (pp. 173-190)
      Christopher Woolgar

      Debates about wealth and its moral character go to the heart of the Christian message. No late medieval bishop could have been unaware that his principal charge was a spiritual one; nor could he be ignorant of the evangelical poverty that had formed so compelling an element in Christ’s ministry, emulated by groups like the mendicant friars. Yet society also expected great households – and bishops had some of the most impressive establishments – to conduct themselves in a way that brought honour to their estate. The episcopacy was therefore closely bound to an investment in material possessions, in buildings and a...

    • Episcopal Embodiment: The Tombs and Seals of Bishops in Medieval England and Wales
      (pp. 191-214)
      Elizabeth A. New

      The visual representation of a medieval bishop is a familiar one. The mitred figure vested for Mass, blessing and holding a pastoral staff, is widely understood as the visual signifier for the episcopate.² The inter-relationship of this image in figural sculpture, glass, manuscripts and sepulchral monuments has elicited much comment, particularly in the context of the creation of episcopal authority and lineage in a specific cathedral or diocese.³ Sigillographic evidence is, however, very often neglected in such inter-media discussions.⁴ This is unfortunate for, unlike manuscripts with their limited audiences, and glass where details are often difficult to discern from the...

    • Cistercian Abbots as Patrons of Art and Architecture: Northern England in the Late Middle Ages
      (pp. 215-239)
      Michael Carter

      The patronage of Cistercian abbots in the late Middle Ages has often been judged harshly by scholars. Nikolaus Pevsner famously damned the lodging built by Abbot Thomas Chard (c. 1505–39) at Forde Abbey, Dorset, as being on a scale ‘to justify the Reformation and Dissolution’.¹ His comments are reflective of a wider English historiographical tradition that has tended to disparage the monastic life in the late Middle Ages, with patronage of art and architecture often interpreted as evidence of the decline and spiritual malaise into which the religious orders, especially the Cistercians, had fallen.² There can be no doubting...

    • Cistercian Abbots in Late Medieval Central Europe: Between the Cloister and the World
      (pp. 240-258)
      Emilia Jamroziak

      From the very beginning of monasticism, the role of the abbot was central to the way in which communities of monks functioned on a practical and spiritual level. The abbot was the father and spiritual leader of the community, responsible for guiding the monks towards salvation by preaching, taking confessions, and officiating in the liturgy, while, at the same time, he was head of the monastic community in all its temporal functions. In the twelfth century, the abbot was often the only ordained priest in many Cistercian communities. The Benedictine tradition emphasized hierarchical dependence and total obedience to the abbot:...

  11. Part IV: Attitudes towards Prelacy

    • Monastic Attitudes to Abbatial Magnificence in Late Medieval England
      (pp. 261-276)
      Martin Heale

      In his chronicle on the early history of St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury, written c. 1400, Thomas Elmham contrasted the first seven saintly heads of his monastery with the superiors of his own day. These early abbots, he considers, observed the Benedictine Rule wholeheartedly and, unlike modern-day superiors, ‘did not seek chief salutations in the marketplace, chief places at feasts, and chief seats in assemblies, things suitable only to the dignity of pontiffs, to the mitre, the ring and the staff’. Not only were contemporary abbots preoccupied with their own dignity and status, Elmham complains, but they had also distanced themselves...

    • Lollard Views on Prelates
      (pp. 277-294)
      Anne Hudson

      Lollard opinion on ‘prelates’ was overwhelmingly governed by one fact: the termprelatusand its related nounprelatioare not to be found in the Vulgate text of the Bible. Terms that can be found in that text, and whose meaning might be thought close to those, areepiscopusandepiscopatum.³ Whatever the obscurity in detail of Wyclif’s own conception of the ideals for which the Church in this world should aim, and from which the contemporary Church had so largely fallen away, it is clear that the basis of his conception and that of his followers was the model...

    (pp. 295-313)
  13. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 315-317)
    (pp. 318-321)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 322-322)