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Cathedrals, Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World

Cathedrals, Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World

Volume: 38
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Cathedrals, Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World
    Book Description:

    Cathedrals dominated the ecclesiastical (and physical) landscape of the British Isles and Normandy in the middle ages; yet, in comparison with the history of monasteries, theirs has received significantly less attention. This volume helps to redress the balance by examining major themes in their development between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. These include the composition, life, corporate identity and memory of cathedral communities; the relationships, sometimes supportive, sometimes conflicting, that they had with kings (e.g. King John), aristocracies, and neighbouring urban and religious communities; the importance of cathedrals as centres of lordship and patronage; their role in promoting and utilizing saints' cults (e.g. that of St Thomas Becket); episcopal relations; and the involvement of cathedrals in religious and political conflicts, and in the settlement of disputes. A critical introduction locates medieval cathedrals in space and time, and against a backdrop of wider ecclesiastical change in the period. Contributors: Paul Dalton, Charles Insley, Louise J. Wilkinson, Ann Williams, C.P. Lewis, Richard Allen, John Reuben Davies, Thomas Roche, Stephen Marritt, Michael Staunton, Sheila Sweetinburgh, Paul Webster, Nicholas Vincent.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-843-8
    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 Illustrations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. ix-ix)
    Paul Dalton, Charles Insley and Louise J. Wilkinson
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. x-xii)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)

    When the Normans invaded England in 1066 cathedrals and the religious communities based in them were a well-established and prominent feature of the ecclesiastical landscape of the British Isles and Normandy. At that time there were fifteen bishoprics in England and seven in Normandy. The Norman sees of Avranches, Bayeux, Coutances, Évreux, Lisieux and Sées were subject to the archbishops of Rouen.¹ Although these bishoprics, ‘with the partial exception of Rouen, had been ruined during the settlement period in the early tenth century’, from ‘990 the succession to bishoprics seems to have been continuous, and by the second half of...

  8. 1 The Dangers of Invention: The Sack of Canterbury, 1011, and the ‘Theft’ of Dunstan’s Relics
    (pp. 27-40)

    In 1184 Glastonbury Abbey experienced a disastrous fire, which necessitated a general rebuilding. Money was urgently required, and it was presumably in an attempt to boost the lucrative pilgrim traffic that the monks claimed to have discovered – or rather rediscovered – the remains of no less a person than St Dunstan, one-time abbot of Glastonbury, and archbishop of Canterbury. The story of the finding of the relics, and their original arrival at Glastonbury, is narrated in a long passage added to William of Malmesbury’s De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie.¹ It tells how, during the reign of ‘the famous King Edmund,...

  9. 2 Remembering Communities Past: Exeter Cathedral in the Eleventh Century
    (pp. 41-60)

    The subject of ‘memory’ and ‘commemoration’ has become a popular field of study for medievalists over the last few years, often linked to the similarly fashionable subject of identity. Over the last ten or so years, through the work of scholars such as Chris Wickham and James Fentress, Michael Clanchy, Patrick Geary, Amy Remensnyder and Matthew Innes, we now have a greater and more nuanced appreciation of the role memory, remembrance, commemoration and the past played in early medieval societies, as well as the way in which these societies and communities set about constructing memoria and a sense of the...

  10. 3 Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy in the Diocese of Lichfield, 1050–1150
    (pp. 61-76)
    C. P. LEWIS

    This paper takes a fresh look at an episode in Anglo-Norman church history: the removal of the north-west Mercian bishopric from Lichfield to Chester in the time of William I, followed within a generation by its further removal from Chester to Coventry.¹ The episcopal shuffle of Bishops Peter and Robert de Limesey was not the only relocation of an English cathedral in the late eleventh century, nor even the only double removal, but the continuing links of the communities at Lichfield, Chester, and Coventry with their bishop were unparalleled, leading the later twelfth-century Norman historian Robert of Torigni to express...

  11. 4 The Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium and Urban Ecclesiastical Rivalry in Eleventh-Century Rouen
    (pp. 77-98)

    As one of the few surviving texts to have been produced by a Norman cathedral chapter during the eleventh century, the Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium has long held the attention of scholars. Classified as a gesta episcoporum,¹ the text was first edited towards the end of the seventeenth century,² though was only studied for the first time in any real detail towards the end of the nineteenth.³ In recent years it has become one of the key focal points for scholars studying the rivalry that is believed to have existed between the cathedral of Rouen and its neighbouring abbey of St-Ouen...

  12. 5 Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Wales
    (pp. 99-116)

    The cathedral churches of the four bishoprics of the Welsh, the reformed episcopal sees that emerged in the eleventh and twelfth centuries at Bangor, St Davids, Llandaf, and Llanelwy, had at their heart the cult of local founding bishops. All were rebuilt in the first half of the twelfth century; and for three of them – St Davids, Llandaf, and Llanelwy – posterity has handed down demonstrations of major new activity around the cult of the patron saints. The shrines of the holy bishops honoured as founders, their secondary relics, and the formalised accounts of their lives – the accessories...

  13. 6 A Bishop and His Conflicts: Philip of Bayeux (1142–63)
    (pp. 117-130)

    In the nave of Bayeux cathedral, above the columns, can be seen two small figures depicting bishops. One of them might be Philip of Harcourt, prelate from 1142 to 1163, as he was involved in the rebuilding of the church after a fire broke out in 1160, according to Robert of Torigny.¹ This later sculpture does not, however, throw much light on Philip. Neither do our other sources. Philip himself has not left us any text, if we exclude the charters he gave as bishop or attested as chancellor to King Stephen or as a royal servant of King Henry...

  14. 7 Ecclesiastical Responses to War in King Stephen’s Reign: The Communities of Selby Abbey, Pontefract Priory and York Cathedral
    (pp. 131-150)

    It is well known that religious communities in England suffered as well as flourished during the reign of King Stephen (1135–54), a period dominated by a protracted civil war fought for control of the crown.¹ The extent of this suffering and efflorescence has been studied extensively.² Less attention has been paid to the methods by which religious communities sought to deal with the threats and violence that faced them, to protect and promote their interests and secure their peace and safety, and to reconcile themselves with their oppressors.³ This chapter will help to illuminate these themes as they relate...

  15. 8 Secular Cathedrals and the Anglo-Norman Aristocracy
    (pp. 151-168)

    Much has been written about relations between monasteries (including monastic cathedrals) and the Anglo-Norman aristocracy, and their importance not just in religious life, but also in the development of baronial political and social networks.¹ Cathedrals’ roles as parish churches and their relationships with urban elites have also received some attention,² but, with the exception of Dr Julia Barrow’s work on canons’ social backgrounds, little has been written about the nine secular cathedrals and the Anglo-Norman aristocracy.³ There can, of course, be no question that aristocratic piety focused on monasteries, but the secular cathedral’s status as the mother church of the...

  16. 9 The Lives of Thomas Becket and the Church of Canterbury
    (pp. 169-186)

    When Thomas Becket’s mother was pregnant with him she is said to have dreamed that she held the whole church of Canterbury in her womb.¹ In another vision her belly swelled to such an extent as she approached Canterbury cathedral that she could hardly squeeze through the door and, when she did, her belly swelled to fill the whole church.² Such visions are obviously meant to suggest Thomas’s future greatness, with specific reference to the church of Canterbury, but other visions which surrounded his birth would appear to suggest something different. Shortly after Thomas’s mother conceived, she is said to...

  17. 10 Caught in the Cross-Fire: Patronage and Institutional Politics in Late Twelfth-Century Canterbury
    (pp. 187-202)

    During the 1180s the church in England was again engulfed in an acrimonious dispute involving not only the country’s monasteries, the episcopacy and the king but also continental religious houses and the papal curia, as each side sought to win allies and legal backing for its position. At the centre of this cause célèbre was Archbishop Baldwin’s intention to establish a large community of secular canons at Hackington, just outside Canterbury, and the total opposition to his plan led by his cathedral monks. As the conflict raged across England, and to a lesser extent continental Europe, a particular incident occurred...

  18. 11 Crown, Cathedral and Conflict: King John and Canterbury
    (pp. 203-220)

    Canterbury cathedral, its archbishops, monks and the relics of its saints hold a prominent place in the events of the turbulent reign of King John. The disputed election to the archbishopric, resulting in the choice of Stephen Langton at the behest of Pope Innocent III, the king’s refusal to acknowledge this, and the ensuing sentences of interdict and excommunication are all well known.¹ This essay will consider specific aspects of the relationship between king, cathedral and archbishop, focusing on John’s religious outlook, and on the contrast between royal actions and their portrayal in the major narrative histories of the day....

  19. 12 The English Monasteries and their French Possessions
    (pp. 221-240)

    It is a well-known fact that during the years between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and King John’s loss of much of his continental dominion in 1204, the religious of France came to possess wide estates in England. These English lands, administered directly by French monks or forming the endowment of numerous alien priories, remained in the custody of their French landlords even after 1204, providing an important link between England and the continent for much of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.¹ Less familiar than this French acquisition of English lands is the reverse process by which English monasteries came...

  20. Index of People and Places
    (pp. 241-258)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-263)