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The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History

The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History: Studies Presented to David Smith

Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History
    Book Description:

    The work of historians in providing new editions of primary documents, and other aids to research, has tended to go largely unsung, yet is crucial to scholarship, as providing the very foundations on which further enquiry can be based. The essays in this volume, conversely, celebrate the achievements in this field by a whole generation of medievalists, of whom the honoree, David Smith, is one of the most distinguished. They demonstrate the importance of such editions to a proper understanding and elucidation of a number of problems in medieval ecclesiastical history, ranging from thirteenth-century forgery to diocesan administration, from the church courts to the cloisters, and from the English parish clergy to the papacy. Contributors: CHRISTOPHER BROOKE, C.C. WEBB, JULIA BARROW, NICHOLAS BENNETT, JANET BURTON, CHARLES FONGE, CHRISTOPHER HARPER-BILL, R.H. HELMHOLZ, PHILIPPA HOSKIN, BRIAN KEMP, F. DONALD LOGAN, ALISON MCHARDY

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-397-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Contributors
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
    P.M.H., C.N.L.B. and R.B.D.
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. David Smith: the Scholar
    (pp. 1-8)

    In a lecture delivered nearly fifty years ago I pilloried the dictum of a distinguished scholar, who had told us that ‘the archivist is not and ought not to be a historian’. ‘He need not,’ said I: ‘one has heard of cooks of rare genius who had no palate themselves; one has heard of librarians who never opened a book. But the view that any of the barriers which divide our little worlds is desirable in itself is a terrible notion.’¹ David Smith has trampled for thirty years and more on the boundaries which divide the work of archivist, Chris...

  7. ‘The archivist is not and ought not to be a historian.’ David Smith and the Borthwick Institute
    (pp. 9-17)

    ‘The archivist is not and ought not to be a historian.’ Christopher Brooke has referred to this aphorism in his own article with some scepticism, and not without good reason, for David’s career at the Borthwick is evidence of the falsity of the dictum.¹ It was, however, coined with care, in the early days of the professional development of archivists, and in a laudable attempt to draw a distinction between archives and history. History, well established, with a career structure, commonly accepted methods of entry into the profession and characteristic techniques; and archives, very new, with no career structure (unless...

  8. Why Forge Episcopal Acta? Preliminary Observations on the Forged Charters in the English Episcopal Acta series
    (pp. 18-39)

    ‘In the eleventh and twelfth centuries social pressures were such that respectable men and respectable communities forged as they had not forged before and would never forge again.’¹ In England, particularly, where the shock of the Norman Conquest had made religious institutions fear that they might lose knowledge of their past and thus control of their possessions, the first half of the twelfth century was, as is well known, a period when the past was reinvented. Closely linked with that process was the forging of charters.² However, the practice of forgery had by no means died away in the later...

  9. Pastors and Masters: The Beneficed Clergy of North-East Lincolnshire, 1290–1340
    (pp. 40-62)

    The little nunnery of Greenfield lay a few miles to the north-west of the Lincolnshire town of Alford. Carrying out a visitation here in 1293, Bishop Oliver Sutton found that the prioress, Christine of Owmby, was ill-suited for either the spiritual or the temporal rule of the house. Shortly afterwards, he issued a commission to the prior of Markby and to the rector of Aylesby, Master Simon de Luda, to examine and confirm the next prioress to be elected by the convent. Events did not altogether proceed as planned, however, because Master Simon was ill and unable to travel to...

  10. The Convent and the Community: Cause Papers as a Source for Monastic History
    (pp. 63-76)

    Among David Smith’s many contributions to making known and making accessible the archives held at the Borthwick Institute, his two volumes of lists and indexes to the cause papers generated by the Consistory Court of the archbishops of York are of special interest for historians working in a number of different fields.¹ First designated ‘cause papers’ by Canon Purvis, who was responsible for their earliest listing, the files are a rich source for the church’s jurisdiction in matters concerning ecclesiastical dues (the payment of tithes and other offerings), matrimonial cases, defamation, and testamentary business, and the workings of the church...

  11. Patriarchy and Patrimony: Investing in the Medieval College
    (pp. 77-93)

    The collegiate church is something of an under-studied phenomenon. Commonly considered to have declined from the early twelfth century, its renaissance was only to come after the Black Death, in the form of the chantry college. Those colleges which existed during the period between the Conquest and the Pestilence of 1348–49 have been considered by historians principally in terms of their role as alternative or additional sources of patronage: for bishops, limited by their cathedral chapters, and likewise for the Crown and some secular lords, fostering similarly burgeoning administrations. The provision of patronage is undoubtedly a pivotal role of...

  12. ‘Above all these Charity’: the Career of Walter Suffield, Bishop of Norwich, 1244–57
    (pp. 94-110)

    Walter Suffield became well known beyond his own diocese of Norwich and the royal court through his enforced role as chief assessor of the 1254 valuation, for taxation purposes, of the resources of the English church.¹ Some light is thrown on his reputation, and perhaps even on his character, in the pages of Matthew Paris. On one occasion he is criticised for securing from the papacy a privilege by which he might extort money from his diocese (within which St Albans had two dependent priories). Elsewhere, however, he is noted for preaching eloquently at the translation in 1247 of the...

  13. The Law of Charity and the English Ecclesiastical Courts
    (pp. 111-123)

    David Smith and I first met in the fall of 1967. At the time we were graduate students. We shared an interest in the institutional history of the church and were attempting to write Ph.D. dissertations on some aspect of that subject. Although our research would eventually take us into many corners of England and require us to work in many different archives, at the time we were both in London, and we chanced to enroll in a seminar on medieval bishops’ registers being given at the Institute of Historical Research by the late Professor Rosalind Hill. As I recall,...

  14. Continuing Service: the Episcopal Households of Thirteenth-Century Durham
    (pp. 124-138)

    The medieval English bishop was a man of huge spiritual and temporal power. Throughout the thirteenth century, prelates ranked among some of the most powerful men in the land, often holding vast landed estates, as well as having spiritual jurisdiction, with the power to bind and loose which extended beyond even the authority of the king. In order to understand the ways in which any medieval baron’s power was wielded, and the patterns of patronage he held, it is vital to understand the nature and construction of his household. That there were similarities between the households of great ecclesiastical and...

  15. The Acta of English Rural Deans in the Later Twelfth and early Thirteenth Centuries
    (pp. 139-158)

    This article brings together for the first time a substantial selection of the earliest knownactaand charters of English rural deans, from the mid twelfth century to c.1220. The aim is to illustrate from documents issued by them some aspects of their role in English diocesan administration and jurisdiction at this early and important stage of their existence.¹ Of the twenty-two texts included here, most survive as more or less full copies, but four are originals. The small number of ruridecanal letters surviving from this period, some quite lengthy, have been omitted for reasons of space,² as have the...

  16. The Court of Arches and the Bishop of Salisbury
    (pp. 159-172)

    Roger Martival was consecrated bishop of Salisbury on 28 September 1315 and served as bishop until his death on 14 March 1330. Entries were made in his episcopal register as early as 18 July 1315 (as bishop elect and confirmed) and continued to be made for the rest of his pontificate. Martival’s is among the fullest and best kept of medieval English bishops’ registers.¹ Although we speak of the register of Bishop Martival, there were, in fact, four registers, which are now bound in two volumes. The present volume 1 contains the register of presentations and institutions to benefices and...

  17. Bishops’ Registers and Political History: a Neglected Resource
    (pp. 173-193)
    A.K. McHARDY

    It is a truth insufficiently acknowledged that the registers of medieval English bishops are a rich quarry for the political historian. Historians of secular events overlook this material because they do not imagine that church records will contain anything useful for their enquiries, and it is the purpose of this essay to urge them to look more carefully at bishops’ registers, for in this class of record will be found rich and unexpected rewards, the ‘Uncovenanted Blessings of Ecclesiastical Records’, of which the late Professor Rosalind Hill (a warm admirer of David Smith) so eloquently spoke.¹ In this article I...

  18. The Vatican Archives, the Papal Registers and Great Britain and Ireland: the Foundations of Historical Research
    (pp. 194-210)

    No one today can contemplate writing serious medieval history, or carrying out any major research project, certainly from the thirteenth century onwards, without recourse to some part of the Vatican Archives. The Vatican Archives is the oldest and the largest collection of archives in Europe, the major fount of knowledge and the most important (from a European point of view) for the last millennium. Here are major sources for the political, religious, and social history of the countries of Europe. It should not be thought that the information here contained is restricted only to matters of political and diplomatic interest,...

  19. Bibliography of the Writings of David Smith
    (pp. 211-216)
  20. Index
    (pp. 217-235)
  21. Tabula Gratulatoria
    (pp. 236-236)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-237)