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Medieval Studies Christianity and the Church in Post-Conquest England
by
Joel Rosenthal

Introduction

The history of Christianity and of the church (and its flock) has been a rich field for scholarly endeavor almost from the time the faith became established in the 7th and 8th centuries. This entry deals with the church in the centuries between the Norman Conquest (1066) and what we generally consider the end of the Middle Ages and of medieval Christianity (1500). It stops short of the Henrician Reformation of the 1530s, but it does consider the “old faith” in its last century of dominance. The citations in this bibliography are meant as advisory: some for each category but no attempt at complete coverage, and many works could be cited in a different entry or even in more than one. The focus is primarily on the church as an institution, with attention to the major categories of church-related writing. Insofar as the sources for ecclesiastical history have been generally viewed as literature, they are not included in this entry, nor is much of the voluminous philosophical and theological writing of the post-Conquest period.

Bibliographies

Regular publications such as the annual International Medieval Bibliography from the University of Leeds or that published by the Royal Historical Society (planned to become an annual electronic bibliography, published by Brepols), offer current bibliographies, sometimes with editorial comments and criticisms. The journals listed here run bibliographies as part of their regular features, concentrating on publications of the previous year or two. In addition to a regular survey of scholarly articles and shorter publications, the English Historical Review carries extensive reviews; the bibliographies of the Economic History Review are arranged topically and chronologically and are of value, though ecclesiastical history is not the journal’s main focus. The Catholic Historical Review offers a list of recent publications on many areas of ecclesiastical history. For singe-volume coverage, the extensive bibliography of Graves 1975 was quite comprehensive, though its age is now beginning to show. It remains very useful for older publications and for scholarly work on primary sources and local history.

Reference Works

These guides for scholars and students cover a wide range of topics. Works such as Farmer 1979, Emden 1957–1959, and Emden 1963 are biographical guides, Farmer for the saints with particular attention to those of the British Isles, and the volumes of Emden as the starting point for all identifiable students (mostly clerics) who attended Oxford or Cambridge. Cheney 2000 and Fryde 1986 provide basic information about dates, officeholders, and the calendar, while Knowles and Hadcock 1971 and Knowles and Brooke 2001 give data on monasteries, friaries, and related institutions in compilations that are basic for any work on regular religion. Smith 1981 works through the dioceses to indicate the existence and whereabouts of episcopal registers, a major source for the study of bishops and the working church.

  • Cheney, C. R. Handbook of Dates for Students of English History. Revised by Michael Jones. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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    A list of saints and saints’ days and a discussion of the calendar are most relevant in this basic reference tool, though other basic dates (regnal years) are also set out. First edition 1955.

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  • Emden, Alfred B. A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1957–1959.

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    Covers nearly everyone who can be traced to Oxford, with career details and references. This is a “don’t leave home without it” reference work for the university, ecclesiastical careers, and such materials as authorship, private libraries, and bequests.

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  • Emden, Alfred B. A Biographical Register of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1963.

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    Like the three volumes on Oxford, this is a detailed Who’s Who of all known students at Cambridge. As Cambridge was a much smaller university, fewer men have to be treated.

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  • Farmer, David. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.

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    Many saints are covered in brief descriptions, with an explanation of hagiography, a calendar of feast days and a guide to the spread of cults, historical authenticity, and a basic source or two. A handy and compact volume (and more useful than D. Attwater’s Penguin Dictionary of Saints, 1965).

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  • Fryde, E. B., D. E. Greenway, S. Porter, and I. Roy. Handbook of British Chronology, 3d ed. London: Royal Historical Society, 1986.

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    Another basic research tool, with the authoritative list of episcopal appointments and their dates (a matter not as clear-cut as one might think) and the dates and venue of general and provincial church councils within Britain.

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  • Knowles, David, and R. Neville Hadcock. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. London: Longmans, 1971.

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    First published 1953; the basic list of every regular house, by order, with dates of foundation and subsequent life span. The starting point for virtually any inquiry into monastic history, with a mountain of scholarship presented in a compact and usable format.

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  • Knowles, David, Christopher N. L. Brooke, and Vera C. M. London. The Heads of Religious Houses, England and Wales: I, 940–1216, 2d ed. London: Longmans, 2001.

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    Supersedes the first edition of 1972, with new material by Brooke, and in many ways it is the logical follow-up volume to Knowles and Hadcock 1971. The arrangement is by orders (Benedictine houses, Cluniac houses, etc.). Smith and London brought this important project up to 1317 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001) and finally up to 1540 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008). A basic reference for work on monasticism.

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  • Smith, David M. Guide to Bishops’ Registers of England and Wales. London: Royal Historical Society, 1981.

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    Covers all that is extant of the registers; invaluable, indicating what has been published and what is still in manuscript. Supplemented in a volume published by the Canterbury and York Society in 2004. These volumes covers the bishops up to the abolition of the episcopacy in 1646.

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Journals

The scholarly journal has been a major outlet for new work, usually of a detailed sort, for over a century. In addition to those journals cited above for their value for bibliography (as well as for their scholarly articles and book reviews), some other journals that devote considerable attention to ecclesiastical history are listed here. There is no journal that concentrates on the post-Conquest church in England, although all those listed here publish relevant articles. Journals are also of value for their extensive book reviews. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History is the only one cited here that is devoted exclusively to the topic, though both Mediaeval Studies and Traditio are in-house journals of Catholic universities and both carry a considerable number of articles about the church in their general coverage. Speculum and the newer Journal of Medieval History give a fair amount of coverage to medieval England, and religious life figures among the aspects of the larger topic that receive reasonable coverage.

Surveys

Studies that offer a wider view of religious life and institutional development are valuable for the way they synthesize the detailed research of monographs and of the many scholarly articles and chapters. Because there are so many aspects of religious life to cover, some of the studies listed here cover a limited time period in focus, as does Cheney 1956 for the church of the late 12th century and early 13th, Moorman 1945 for the span of the 13th century, and Pantin 1955, still the place to start for the 14th century. Heath 1988 has a broader sweep and devotes considerable attention to church–state relations, while Barlow 1979 picks up with the Norman Conquest and the role it played in reshaping the late Anglo-Saxon church. Dickinson 1979 offers a conventional but thorough appraisal of the entire post-Conquest, pre-Reformation church. Swanson 1989, in a more recent study, brings more aspects of popular religion and the laity into the tale, and Dodwell 1959 remains useful for the links between English Christianity and churches and religious change and debate across the Channel.

Monographs

In addition to books that offer a survey of a considerable segment of the post-Conquest years, many important monographs explore specific aspects of the church and Christian life in considerable detail. These have different points of reference, but all represent scholarship of high quality, and although all of these citations might be listed in various other categories in this entry, they are brought together here to indicate the range of topics that have received detailed treatment. Brett 1975 offers a kind of survey, but of a small time span and one that explores the difficult relations between the king and his churchmen. The other works treat different aspects of the topic: Brown 1995 explicates the diverse avenues of popular piety, as do Wood-Legh 1965 on chantries and Spenser 1993, though the latter study follows religious teaching from the top down. Tanner 1984 presents a major study of the religious structures and piety of one particular town, and Tyerman 1988 straddles a movement that has one foot in the church, one in secular society. Elkins 1988 offers an ecclesiastical take on whether movements in the church were “good” for women, and Duffy 1992 remains the major statement on behalf of the vitality of late medieval Christianity.

  • Brett, Martin. The Church under Henry I. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

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    Covers England toward the end of the Investiture Struggle and looks at how the new dynasty dealt with reform and its control of the church it “inherited.”

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  • Brown, Andrew. Popular Piety in Late Medieval England: The Diocese of Salisbury, 1250–1550. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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    A recent look at the many forms and varieties of popular religion; the focus on a single diocese allows for case studies and examples that reinforce each other.

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  • Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the Altars. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

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    Now-classic statement of the view that the late medieval church was a vibrant institution that drew much popular support. A major treatment of popular piety, running into the early years of the Reformation.

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  • Elkins, Sharon. Holy Women of Twelfth Century England. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.

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    Mostly an assessment of the role of women and of women’s houses in the centuries after the Conquest. There was some support for new institutions, some within the new orders, though the general tale is one of modest success and a lesser role for women than in the great days before the Vikings.

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  • Spencer, H. Leith. English Preaching in the Late Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

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    An important book looking at a major issue: the delivery of the missions and lessons of the faith, a topic that has received less scholarly attention than it would seem to merit, with much of the work looking at sermons in terms of language and literature.

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  • Tanner, Norman. The Church in Late Medieval Norwich, 1370–1532. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1984.

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    Perhaps the best local study of the church as it played out in a specific setting; a monograph touching the institution and its popular impact, with appendices on bequests, anchorites, and names.

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  • Tyerman, Christopher. England and the Crusades, 1095–1588. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

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    This study could be placed under popular piety or church–state relations, as it explores the links between a movement launched by the church and its reception by the populace, from kings on down to the lesser folk who heard the call.

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  • Wood-Legh, K. L. Perpetual Chantries in Britain. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1965.

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    A thorough treatment of a major institution bridging the established church and popular religious belief and behavior. This older study has not been superseded and remains of value.

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Annual Volumes

Volumes that appear on an annual basis are often the end product of a conference at which the papers were first presented. Many of the volumes of the annual Harlaxton Symposium (published as Harlaxton Medieval Studies) focus heavily on ecclesiastical history if the annual theme touches the church. Harlaxton volumes are interdisciplinary: history, literature, art and architecture, and other fields, and as edited by Thomson 1999, Backhouse 2003, or Barron and Stratford 2002, each published volume offers about fifteen papers. Some annual volumes result from a regular conference and they usually include some work on church-related topics, as in the annual Proceedings of the Battle Abbey Conference or the Haskins Society Journal. Studies in Church History usually has some material on the church in England between 1066 and the early 16th century.

  • Backhouse, Janet, ed. The Medieval Cathedral: Papers in Honour of Pamela Tudor-Craig. Harlaxton Medieval Studies 9. Donington, UK: Shaun Tyas, 2003.

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    Wide coverage of the topic: buildings, administration, the liturgy, the building itself (old St. Paul’s), and antiquarian studies of the history of English cathedrals, among other papers.

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  • Barron, Caroline M., and Jenny Stratford, eds. The Church and Learning in Late Medieval Society: Studies in Honour of Professor R. B. Dobson. Harlaxton Medieval Studies 11. Donington, UK: Shaun Tyas, 2002.

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    The papers cover monasteries, cathedrals, universities, and parish life, and various aspects of intellectual and spiritual life, for a wide spread around the central theme.

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  • Haskins Society Journal. 1989–.

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    The Haskins Society is the US counterpart of the Battle Abbey Conference, and its annual volume usually contains relevant papers, straddling the events of 1066 and looking at both the late Anglo-Saxon and the early Norman Church.

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  • Proceedings of the Battle Abbey Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies. Ipswich, UK: Boydell, 1979–.

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    The papers of this conference look at English and French life and society both before and after the coming of the Normans in 1066; most volumes contain material on ecclesiastical history in the critical years on either side of the great divide (and some argue for continuity, to weaken the idea of the great divide).

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    • Studies in Church History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1965–.

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      The annual volumes of the Ecclesiastical History Society. The chronological coverage always runs from the very early church through recent times; several papers on medieval England are part of the usual fare, and there are special volumes (subsidia) that offer a special focus (as in The Medieval Church: Universities, Heresy, and Religious Life: Essays in Honour of Gordon Leff, edited by Peter Biller and Barrie Dobson and published in 1999 as Subsidia 11 and with papers by Margaret Aston on the Lollards as a sect, Dobson on monastic orders at Cambridge, and Jeremy Catto on the ideology of Wycliffe’s followers).

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      • Thompson, Benjamin, ed. Monasteries and Society in Medieval Britain. Harlaxton Medieval Studies 6. Stamford, UK: Paul Watkins, 1999.

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        Fifteen papers on many aspects of regular religion, though a historical focus is the main theme and the papers mostly deal with the post-Conquest church, primarily as case studies of specific houses, manuscripts and monuments, and education.

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      Festchriften and Collected Volumes

      A Festschrift is a volume presented to an honoree, usually at some milestone birthday or upon retirement; sometimes the editor and contributors move too slowly and it winds up as a memorial volume. Scholars who work on ecclesiastical history are often the honorees of such volumes: Barr and Hutchinson 2005 honoring the leading student of Wycliffe, Blair and Golding 1996 in appreciation of the work of the expert on Westminster Abbey and monastic life, Harper-Bill 1991 to acknowledge the many contributions of an archivist who was also an expert on canon law and local ecclesiastical history. Barron and Harper-Bill 1985 is a tribute to a scholar and teacher who edited an archiepiscopal register among his many areas of interest. Harper-Bill 1991 brought together conference papers to shed light on varieties of late medieval religious experience and the personnel of the church.

      • Barr, Helen, and Ann M. Hutchison, eds. Text and Controversy from Wyclif to Bale: Essays in Honour of Anne Hudson. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2005.

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        Twenty papers covering recent scholarly approaches and a bibliography of Hudson’s writings. The essays deal with Wycliffe’s influence and reputation, the controversies he generated in the realms of theology, politics, and scholarship, and a look at the vernacular tradition that grew out of his academic work and his preaching.

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      • Barron, Caroline M., and Christopher Harper-Bill, eds. The Church in Pre-Reformation Society: Essays in Honour of F. R. H. DuBoulay. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1985.

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        Papers on parish fraternities, the piety of queens, life in monastic houses, chantries, and ecclesiastical personnel, among other topics.

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      • Blair, John, and Brian Golding, eds. The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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        The tribute to a major scholar includes papers by Gervase Rosser on sanctuary, Golding on a hermit of the 12th century, Teresa Webber on the diffusion of Augustine’s Confessions in England, Clive Burgess on a London parish, and Elizabeth Gardner on the nobility and monastic education.

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      • Franklin, M. J., and Christopher Harper-Bill, eds. Medieval Ecclesiastical Studies in Honour of Dorothy M. Owen. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1995.

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        Papers cover canon law, ecclesiastical personnel, parishes, bishops and episcopal acta in this tribute to an archivist and scholar.

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      • Harper-Bill, Christopher, ed. Religious Belief and Ecclesiastical Careers in Late Medieval England. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1991.

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        This collection is of much wider impact than its narrow title would indicate, with contributions by Colin Richmond on the religion of the gentry, by Clive Burgess on chantries, and by Robert Swanson on parochial revenues, among others.

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      Primary Sources

      Many of the various primary sources listed below were written by monks and clerics and accordingly have a distinct ecclesiastical flavor. Other volumes are records of various sorts that allow us to look at life within the church—its personnel, its relations with external powers, its inner life regarding the teaching of the people, and the debates and controversies of the schoolmen.

      Editions of Sources

      Items listed here have been chosen to give an idea of the diversity of materials available to students; some of them are volumes in series or a long-range collaborative enterprise, such as Bennett 2009 and Smith 1980, and they are cited as examples of the kind of editing that continues to be published. Other editions are of basic texts, now edited and translated for easy student use: Cheney and Semple 1953 for papal relations at a critical time, Knowles and Brooke 2002 for a major source for monastic reform after the Conquest, Powicke 1950 for the life of an important figure of the 12th century, and Lawrence 2006 for an example of letter writing, in this case by a major figure in the new Franciscan movement of the 13th century. The Calendar of the Papal Registers 1893–1960 is a series of invaluable documents, covering papal involvement in English ecclesiastical life and offering a look at such church-related activities as marriage, the legitimization of children, private worship, and penance.

      • Bennett, N. H., ed. The Register of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, 1420–1431. Vol 2. Canterbury and York Society 99. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2009.

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        A typical volume and edition of this genre of source. An episcopal register is rich for data on the coming and going of ecclesiastical personnel and many such volumes, published by the Canterbury and York Society and local historical societies, are available (as listed, up to 1981 and then to 2004 by David Smith, cited under Reference Works). Volume 1 published in 1984.

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      • Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters (1198–1492). 14 vols. London: HMSO, 1893–1960.

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        With letters in abbreviated (calendar) form in England; invaluable for information on matters that went to Rome and back, such as dispensations for marriages, entry into the priesthood, and the disposition of ecclesiastical personnel.

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        • Cheney, C. R., and W. H. Semple, eds. and trans. Selected Letters of Pope Innocent III Concerning England (1198–1216). London: Thomas Nelson, 1953.

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          The great pope and King John during the latter’s times of troubles; a major source for years of turmoil and a window into the style and focus of papal concern for a kingdom within Christendom.

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        • Knowles, David, ed. and trans. Monastic Constitutions of Lanfranc. Revised by C. N. L. Brooke. Oxford: Clarendon, 2002.

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          Latin with English translation of an important source for monastic reform as brought over by the Conqueror’s Continental clergy.

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        • Lawrence, C. Hugh, ed. and trans. Letters of Adam Marsh. Oxford: Clarendon, 2006.

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          With a valuable introduction, these letters explore 13th-century spiritual life and offer a good example of how leading figures of the day communicated and disseminated their views about the world and the church.

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        • Powicke, F. Maurice, ed. and trans. The Life of Ailred of Rievaulx by Walter Daniel. London Nelson, 1950.

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          An important life of one of the great figures of 12th-century ecclesiastical and monastic life (b. 1110–d. 1167); republished with introduction by Marsha Dutton (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1984). Dutton adds to Powicke’s long introduction to a work that is a blend of hagiography and a narrative of church history centering around its hero.

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        • Smith, David M., ed. English Episcopal Acta, I: Lincoln Diocese, 1067–1187. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980.

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          This is the first volume in an ongoing enterprise, with Latin documents and English introductions and commentaries. The Acta are a guide to ecclesiastical land dealings, clerical pensions, privileges granted and received, among other forms of activity they record. Episcopal itineraries, of importance and hard to determine, are established and published.

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        Collections of Sources

        Collections of primary materials in translation are of great value for students, though few such volumes are devoted solely to ecclesiastical history in post-Conquest England. The major collections of documents, such as Rothwell 1975 and Myers 1969, devote considerable attention to the church, along with valuable editorial comments and bibliography. Swanson 1993 covers the medieval church in a shorter but well-focused and useful volume, published in a series designed for classroom use. Heale 2009 also has a student audience in mind in a collection that picks up after the great days of enthusiasm for regular religion but carries the tale to its bitter end.

        • Douglas, D. C., and G. M. Greenway. English Historical Documents, 1042–1189. 2d ed. London: Eyre Methuen, 1981.

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          This invaluable collection begins at the end of the Anglo-Saxon period and runs to the death of Henry II. One-third of this vast collection relates directly to the church, and many other sections (and documents) touch on ecclesiastical relations with secular government and the laity.

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        • Heale, Martin, ed. Monasticism in Late Medieval England, c. 1300–1535. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2009.

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          Many documents brought together to cover various aspects of monastic life up to the Henrician suppression; translated in a volume in a series designed to be student-friendly.

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        • Myers, Alec R., ed. English Historical Documents, 1327–1485. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1969.

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          Volume 4 of the series; a vast collection of material in translation and covering most aspects of political, religious, and social life in England. A key volume for student use.

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        • Rothwell, Harry. English Historical Documents, 1189–1327. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1975.

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          Volume 3 of the series; not as rich or as exhaustive as Myers 1969 but still a very valuable and useful gathering of many kinds of sources.

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        • Swanson, Robert N. Catholic England: Faith, Religion and Observance before the Reformation. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1993.

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          A standard but very good collection of primary sources all related to the church and to popular practice and belief.

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        Monasticism

        As a key ecclesiastical institution, monasticism in its many forms has drawn much scholarly attention. General surveys of the rise and leveling off (or decline) of monastic houses and the mendicant orders of the friars, as well as of the lay and political support they attracted, are of value for the way they synthesize the vast amount of more specialized scholarship. To give an idea of the breadth of the topic and the volume of scholarship, it has been divided into general studies and then into specific works on the various orders, both those established mainly for men and those for women. For the general treatments, the master narrative remains Knowles 1950–1959, and Burton 1994 follows with a shorter and more recent approach to the institution. A study of monastic life in a given house is a good way to understand monasticism in practice; Dobson 1973 looks mostly at governance and intellectual life, Harvey 1993 at the problems of daily life and death and office holding, and Miller 1951 at the practical and economic aspects of regular institutions. New 1916 is an old study that still holds sway in looking at the English colonies of French houses. The outside world could be a problem: Logan 1996 follows the monks and nuns who went over the wall, and Stöber 2007 the way families that had founded houses maintained their ties, often through burial.

        • Burton, Janet. Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain, 1000–1300. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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          A survey covering the end of Anglo-Saxon England and then running forward to consider the friars and the role of women in religious life.

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        • Dobson, R. Barrie. Durham Priory, 1400–1450. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1973.

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          A very close reading of a half-century in the life of a major northern monastic house, with a focus on personnel, internal governance, and intellectual and scholarly life. Reprinted in 2005.

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        • Harvey, Barbara. Living and Dying in England, 1100–1540: The Monastic Experience. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993.

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          These Ford Lectures of 1989, using Westminster Abbey as the case study, are the best treatment of life inside a great house: demography, diet, ecclesiastical office and advancement, death and burial.

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        • Knowles, David. The Religious Orders in England. 3 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1950–1959.

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          The first volume covers monks and friars, 1216–1340, and the second, “The End of the Middle Ages” (volume 3 covers the Tudors). This remains the classic narrative, though we now are more sympathetic to the later period. Knowles also covered the earlier years in The Monastic Order in England: A History of Their Development from the Times of St Dunstan to the Fourth Lateran Council, 940–1216 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1963).

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        • Logan, Donald F. Runaway Religious in Medieval England, c. 1240–1540. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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          A thorough examination of the story of the men and women who tried to go over the monastic wall after taking lifelong vows: numbers, case studies, punishment, and a general discussion of the issue.

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        • Miller, Edward. The Abbey and Bishopric of Ely. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1951.

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          A model study of the administrative aspects of monastic life: estates, finances, and administrators; worldly concerns of great interest and importance to a monastic establishment.

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        • New, Chester. History of the Alien Priories in England to the Confiscation of Henry V. Menasha, WI: G. Banta, 1916.

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          An old study that still covers an aspect of English regular church life that rarely gets much attention, as a focus on the large monastic establishments pushes the small and French-affiliated houses to the edges of concern.

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        • Stöber, Karen. Late Medieval Monasteries and their Patrons: England and Wales, c. 1300–1540. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2007.

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          The relations between noble families that had founded monastic houses and the duration and strength of ties over the years, with case studies and a look at where members of founding families chose to be buried.

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        Men’s Orders

        Many of the studies of monastic orders (and of variations on Benedictine monasticism) are older monographs that told the tale of that particular order well and that have been supplemented but not superseded by more recent work. With the great monastic reform movements of the 12th century, various orders emerged with their own distinctive variations on observance of the 6th-century Rule of St Benedict. Some of the new orders drew serious support and had a real presence, as told by Golding 1995 for the only English order, Thompson 1930 for the very austere Carthusians, and Hill 1968, looking at the ties between the most powerful of the new orders and their lay patrons. The orders of canons also proved attractive, as their entry into England and their fortunes there are traced by Colvin 1951 and Dickinson 1950 for the Austin (or Augustinian) canons. Graham 1929 traces an order that had but a small presence in England, though it drew English royal support in France, and Parker 1963 traces the rise and the dramatic fall of a military order that originated to supply men under vows but able to fight in the crusades.

        • Colvin, H. M. The White Canons in England. Oxford: Clarendon, 1951.

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          The background and then history, from the first houses at Newhouse in Lincolnshire in 1143, with a good deal of house-by-house coverage. Their intellectual life and their few nunneries are explored.

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        • Dickinson, J. C. The Origin of the Austin Canons and their Introduction into England. London: SPCK, 1950.

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          The order arrived around 1100 with the house of St. Botolph at Colchester as the first. Their expansion, life within the houses and their observance of the Rule, plus success as measured by the bishops they produced and their role at Carlisle are covered, with a discussion of their statutes and rule.

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        • Golding, Brian. Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertine Order, c. 1100–c.1300. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995.

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          The only major monastic order or reform offshoot that was founded in medieval England; it began with double houses, though after about 1190 the foundations were just for male canons. The final score was ten double houses, fourteen for canons, and four failed houses in England.

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        • Graham, Rose. “The Order of Grandmont and Its Houses in England.” In English Ecclesiastical Studies. By Rose Graham, 209–246. London: SPCK, 1929.

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          A small and poor affair in England compared to more successful Grandmontine life on the Continent, where the order had drawn the benevolent attention of Henry II; not helped by French control until 1317. (Graham also deals with the English province of Cluny, pp. 62–87.)

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        • Hill, Bennett. English Cistercian Monasteries and their Patrons in the Twelfth Century. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1968.

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          Explores the way in which a new order that came with great prestige was able to become a vital part of the landscape and of English spirituality.

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        • Parker, Thomas W. The Knights Templars in England. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1963.

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          A straightforward narrative, looking at their economic base and their proximity to the crown and the related financial dealings. Their years of power ran from Henry II to Edward I, told here in an antisensational narrative.

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        • Thompson, E. Margaret. The Carthusian Order in England. London: SPCK, 1930.

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          From their French origins to their English presence, with house-by-house treatments of origins and success, their libraries and writers, and a look at their tragic end under the Tudors.

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        Women in Regular Life

        In recent years the topic of women in regular religion has become a popular one and both orders that were for women and the issue of their role in the church and in society have received attention. Bourdillon 1926, in an old study linked to an interest in the English Franciscans, and Kerr 1999, on the small but upper-class order of Fontevraud, examine variations of regular life designed for women. Thompson 1991 offers a general survey and narrative history that helped dispel an older view that nunneries were run down, second rate religious houses. This more positive view is complimented by the local focus of Oliva 1998 and the archaeologically driven study of Gilchrist 1994, writing with an eye on the physical layout of houses and difference between male and female use of space. Bell 1995 shows the serious level of intellectual life that could be found in women’s houses, Becket 1993 looks at a late medieval effort to introduce austere piety for women, and Warren 1984 explores variations in spiritual life that existed even after a woman took her vows.

        • Becket, Neil. “St Bridget, Henry V, and Syon Abbey.” Studies in St Birgitta and the Brigittine Order, Analecta Cartusiana, 35.19 (1993): 125–150.

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          A withdrawn and pious order than Henry V went to some lengths to establish at a new foundation.

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        • Bell, David N. What Nuns Read: Books and Libraries in Medieval England. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Studies, 1995.

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          A counter to the idea that women’s regular life was a second class affair, losing vigor and intellectual growth over the centuries; books, libraries, reading habits all come under examination.

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        • Bourdillon, A. F. C. The Order of Minoresses. British Society of Franciscan Studies 12. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1926.

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          Published to provide a narrative of the women’s side of the immensely popular mendicant Franciscan order, picking up the tale with the coming of the order and looking at the proliferation of the order and its houses.

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        • Gilchrist, Roberta. Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

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          Basically using archaeology and a look at iconography and physical evidence to free the “handmaidens” from the minor role they generally are allowed in documentary approaches to monasticism. Some social science and general theory in a bold revisionist presentation.

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        • Kerr, Berenice M. Religious Life for Women, c. 1100–c. 1350: Fontevraud in England. Oxford: Clarendon, 1999.

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          A small order, but one that drew high interest and that also indicates how Angevin England was closely connected to France in culture as well as politics.

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        • Oliva, Marilyn. The Convent and the Community in Late Medieval England: Female Monasteries in the Diocese of Norwich. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1998.

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          The nuns of East Anglia came from local families that supported monasticism with generosity and with their daughters.

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        • Thompson, Sally. Women Religious: The Founding of English Nunneries after the Norman Conquest. Oxford: Clarendon, 1991.

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          A survey that offers considerable support for women’s houses as active institutions. This sympathetic survey replaces the outdated and rather negative classic of Eileen Power, English Medieval Nunneries (1922).

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        • Warren, Ann K. “The Nun as Anchoress in England, 1100–1500.” In Medieval Religious Women I: Distant Echoes. Edited by John A. Nichols and Lillian T. Shank, 197–212. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Studies, 1984.

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          A subtopic of Warren’s more general study, and one that shows the many currents of spirituality within as well as beyond the cloister.

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        Mendicant Orders

        When the new orders of friars arrived in England in the early 13th century, they brought an air of enthusiasm and popular piety that was unmatched by the institutionalized church. Although they soon became part of the establishment, with a major role at the universities, they can claim a special role in the history of medieval religion. Hinnebusch 1951, Roth 1961, and Sheppard 1943 provide narrative histories of some of the mendicant orders, while Little 1943 and Brooke 1975 explore aspects of the wide role and influence of the Franciscans. Emden 1967 explores the ranks of the Dominicans through a biographical and prosopographical approach; Smalley 1960 explores the intellectual achievements of the friars as they moved from street corners into libraries and academic lecture halls.

        • Brooke, Rosalind. The Coming of the Friars. London: Allen & Unwin, 1975.

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          A volume in the Historical Problems series, offering many basic documents in translation along with a solid narrative and commentary on the sources.

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        • Emden, Alfred B. A Survey of Dominicans in England, Based on the Ordination Lists in Episcopal Register, 1268–1538. Rome: Dominican Historical Institute, 1967.

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          A who’s who of English Dominicans, with biographical information about all those who can be identified.

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        • Hinnebusch, William A. The Early English Friar Preachers. Rome: Dominican Historical Institute, 1951.

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          This old survey still covers the field very adequately, for an order of great importance and academic clout; but it did not attract the public enthusiasm that greeted the Franciscans.

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        • Little, A. G. Franciscan Papers: Lists and Documents. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press for the Society for Franciscan Studies, 1943.

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          Sixteen of Little’s papers, mostly dealing with the Franciscans in England and covering their role in education and theology, some prominent individuals, and their governance, with a list of chapters. Little’s work did much to spark scholarly interest in the order.

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        • Roth, Francis. The English Austin Friars, 1249–1538. 2 vols. New York: Augustinian Historical Institute, 1961.

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          Volume 1 offers a historical narrative, and Volume 2 (1967) deals with the primary sources that enable us to write the history of this order of friars. First published in Augustiniana, 1958.

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        • Sheppard, Lancelot. The English Carmelites. London: Burns and Oates, 1943.

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          A short study of an order that never grew to rival its famous counterparts but had a high reputation for learning and a generally respected level of spirituality; some royal confessors were in its ranks.

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        • Smalley, Beryl. English Friars and Antiquity in the Early Fourteenth Century. Oxford: Blackwell, 1960.

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          An important study that examines how the mendicants turned with great success to academic and intellectual pursuits.

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        Biographies

        Though writing biography is a difficult challenge for the study of medieval men and women, the abundance of records and writings left by some ecclesiastics makes the task easier than it often is for even the most prominent lay figures. This explains why bishops are favorites for biographers, as in Davis 2007, Aston 1967, and especially Duggan 2007 and Barlow 1986; this last study is of special interest because Becket was the most famous (and venerated) churchman of medieval England. Studies such as Callus 1955, on a major scholar and statesman of the 13th century, and Powicke 1928 and Southern 1992, on major archbishops, tell of the men, their role as ecclesiastical administrators, and their philosophical and intellectual trend setting. Green 1945 explicates a puzzling 15th-century bishop whose writings are as dense for modern students as they were for contemporaries, who badly misunderstood his line of endeavor.

        • Aston, Margaret. Thomas Arundel: A Study of Church Life in the Reign of Richard II. Oxford: Clarendon, 1967.

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          An important study of an archbishop who was a major player in the politics of Richard II and Henry IV and who hammered the Lollards, written by a leading recent authority on the Lollards.

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        • Barlow, Frank. Thomas Becket. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

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          One of the more recent scholarly biographies of the famous archbishop, offering a balanced view of the controversial man and the struggles that engaged and consumed him.

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        • Callus, Daniel A. P., ed. Grosseteste, Scholar and Bishop: Essays in Commemoraton of the Seventh Centenary of His Death. Oxford: Clarendon, 1955.

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          Although some of the papers deal with the role of Grosseteste as a scientist and philosopher, there is considerable interest here in his ecclesiastical administration and household, his relations with king and pope, the unsuccessful efforts toward his canonization, and the opening of his tomb in 1782.

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        • Davis, Virginia. William Wykeham: A Life. London: Hambledon, 2007.

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          A study of a bishop of Winchester and Oxford University patron who has been relatively untouched by historians, despite his educational benefactions and very long episcopate.

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        • Duggan, Anne J. Thomas Becket: Friends, Networks, Texts, and Cult. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007.

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          The life put into a wider setting, written by a scholar who wrote about and eventually edited Becket’s letters.

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        • Green, V. H. H. Bishop Reginald Pecock: A Study in Ecclesiastical History and Thought. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1945.

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          A sympathetic look at one of the more controversial and obtuse or enigmatic figures of the 15th century—a failed and unpopular voice in the efforts to combat the perceived Lollard threat.

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        • Powicke, F. M. Stephen Langton. Oxford: Clarendon, 1928.

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          A great scholar of 13th-century England considers the archbishop who played a role in baronial politics as well as the church. The Ford Lectures of 1927 remain a powerful case study in the way a prominent medieval figure can be put into a context to illuminate his life and career. Reprinted 1965.

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        • Southern, Richard W. St. Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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          A summary view by a great scholar who worked on Anselm for decades (see his St Anselm and His Biographer [1963] and his co-edited Memorials of St Anselm [1969]). A study of the investiture contest in England as the archbishop, who was also a major scholar and theologian, worked to establish the power and autonomy of “his” church.

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        Bishops and the Episcopacy

        Bishops were key players in the church as an institution, and many of them were also important figures in the king’s government. Knowles 1961 and Rosenthal 1970 explore their backgrounds: What kind of men, given their social background and training, rose to the episcopal bench? Davies 1982 also offers comments about them as a social and “vocational” aggregation. Highfield 1950 considers their political role and the extent to which they spoke with a common voice, while Jewell 1984 analyzes one form of activity, looking at them as patrons and benefactors of education rather than as political men. Gibbs and Lang 1934 examines the role of episcopacy in implementing the reforms and decrees of the Lateran Council of 1215, though not all its judgments flatter the bishops. Edwards 1967 remains the model study of the workings of the secular cathedrals and their nominal leaders, while Crosby 1994 explores the internal workings of the church as revealed by the uneven relations between the bishops and the ecclesiastical administrators, who often were the men who made the diocese function on a daily basis.

        • Crosby, Everett U. Bishop and Chapter in Twelfth Century England: A Study of the Mensa Episcopalis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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          Explores the interesting and obscure question of the relationship between the bishops (often outsiders) and their cathedral chapters.

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        • Davies, Richard G. “The Episcopate.” In Profession, Vocation and Culture in Later Medieval England: Essays Dedicated to the Memory of A. R. Myers. Edited by Cecil H. Clough, 51–89. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 1982.

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          Diversity within their ranks is a keynote, as it is an obstacle to easy generalizations. A concise examination of personnel and of the bishops’ ecclesiastical and political activities.

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        • Edwards, Kathleen. The English Secular Cathedrals in the Middle Ages. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1967.

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          Still the key treatment of the way the secular cathedrals functioned, written by a scholar who also published on the social background and political activity of the bishops.

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        • Gibbs, Marion, and Jane Lang. Bishops and Reform, 1215–1272, with Special Reference to the Lateran Council of 1215. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934.

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          Gibbs wrote Parts 1 and 2 (on personnel and external influences), Lang Part 3 (on the reforms as measured against the decrees of the council). The bishops get mixed marks for their involvement in the serious reforms called for by the Council of 1215.

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        • Highfield, J. R. L. “The English Hierarchy in the Reign of Edward III.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser. 6 (1950): 115–138.

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          Men and the role they played in secular politics as well as in their role as clerical leaders.

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        • Jewell, Helen. “Bishops as Educational Patrons in the Late Fifteenth Century.” In The Church, Politics and Patronage in the Fifteenth Century. Edited by Barrie Dobson, 146–167. Gloucester, UK: Alan Sutton, 1984.

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          Though not all the bishops were active in this regard, the overall record is quite strong, with some exemplary case studies.

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        • Knowles, David. “The English Bishops, 1070–1532.” In Medieval Studies Presented to Aubrey Gwynn, S.J. Edited by J. A. Watt, et al., 283–296. Dublin, Ireland: C. O. Lochlainn, 1961.

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          Solid generalizations about the men elevated to high office.

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        • Rosenthal, J. T. The Training of an Elite Group: English Bishops in the Fifteenth Century. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society n.s. 60.5. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1970.

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          Mostly concerned with their pre-episcopal careers: what kind of men eventually rose to the top and what forms and years of service and training went toward their eventual elevation.

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        Relations with the Monarchy and the Papacy

        Although the bishops were figures of considerable power and the church in England in aggregate held perhaps one-third of the land of the realm, relations with the king and with the pope were important and often contentious. The king held various rights over the church; Howell 1962 examines his claim to diocesan property and resources when there was no bishop, and Cantor 1958 explores the Investiture Controversy of post-Conquest days, which brought the potential for conflict to the fore. Relations with Rome were complex: Lunt 1938 looks at the key role of clerical and ecclesiastical taxation; Harvey 1993 concentrates on diplomatic relations in the decades after the healing of the great schism and the rise of the councils, following the lead of Sayers 1984 in examining the extent to which the pope was actively involved in shaping the English church and its personnel. Lawrence 1984 is a collection of essays that offer a running account of a delicate relationship. Wood-Legh 1934 looks at topics or occasions when the royal interest in church property and government led to involvement, if not necessarily interference.

        • Cantor, Norman F. Church, Kingship, and Lay Investiture in England, 1089–1135. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1958.

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          Still one of the few treatments of the Investiture Controversy in England.

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        • Harvey, Margaret. England, Rome, and the Papacy, 1417–1464: The Study of a Relationship. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1993.

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          The aim is to look at this relationship as seen by both sides, rather than the more frequent approach that focuses on either papal efforts to control or insular efforts to resist.

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        • Howell, Margaret. Regalian Right in Medieval England. London: University of London, 1962.

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          Kings were often eager to interfere, with the main area being diocesan revenues and assets in the intervals between bishops.

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        • Lawrence, Hugh, ed. The English Church and the Papacy in the Middle Ages. New York: Fordham University Press, 1984.

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          Essays for this period by C. Lawrence (“The Thirteenth Century,” pp. 119–56), W. A. Pantin (“The Fourteenth Century,” pp. 159–94), and F. R. H. DuBoulay (“The Fifteenth Century,” pp. 197–242); good short summaries on a complicated topic. Originally published in 1965 (London: Burns and Oates).

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        • Lunt, William. Financial Relations of the Papacy with England to 1327. Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1938.

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          An important and complex issue, spelled out with numbers and tables; continued by Edgar Graves up to 1378 from Lunt’s material (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1968).

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        • Sayers, Jane. Papal Government and England during the Pontificate of Honorius III (1216–27). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

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          Much of the focus is on diplomacy, and the documents and instruments whereby canon law and decrees were given substance so they could be implemented.

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        • Wood-Legh, Kathleen. Studies in Church Life in England under Edward III. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1934.

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          A series of studies rather than a monograph, looking at areas where the king’s government pushed into ecclesiastical affairs (as when sees were vacant and with mortmain benefaction).

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        Saints

        although the canonization of English saints was not as important to the post-Conquest church as it had been in Anglo-Saxon times, there were both new saints and the development of cults for older figures. To the laity the saints continued to be figures on whom local piety and pilgrimage were focused. Thomas Becket was the most popular and important saint of post-Conquest England, as discussed by Duggan 2007 and as illustrated by selections from the many lives and accounts as edited by Staunton 2001. After Becket among post-Conquest saints would come Hugh of Lincoln, with the appropriate hagiography, edited by Douie and Farmer 1961 and covered in an edited volume, Mayr-Harting 1987. Southern 1962 turned his interest in Anselm to a translation of the 12th-century life, while Duffy 1990, Russell 1929, and Walker 1995 examine different aspects of popular cults, the first looking at women saints, and the others at political victims who were turned into martyrs.

        • Douie, Decima L., and Hugh Farmer, eds. and trans. The Life of St Hugh of Lincoln. 2 vols. London: Nelson, 1961.

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          Text with translation of this life by Adam of Eynsham. There is less traditional hagiography for post-Conquest than for Anglo-Saxon England, and this life celebrates one of the most influential and popular saints of the 12th century.

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        • Duffy, Eamon. “Holy Mayden, Holy Wyfes: The Cult of Women Saints in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century.” Studies in Church History 27 (1990): 175–196.

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          On the vitality of hagiography and the prominent role of women saints in popular piety up to the Reformation.

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        • Duggan, Anne J., ed. Thomas Becket: Friends, Networks, Texts, Cult. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate/Variorum, 2007.

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          A collection of papers by many authors, originally printed in various books and journals. This collection gives an idea of the rapid and wide growth of the cult of the most famous martyr of the central Middle Ages.

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        • Mayr-Harting, Henry, ed. St. Hugh of Lincoln: Lectures Delivered at Oxford and Lincoln to Celebrate the Eighth Centenary of St Hugh’s Consecration as Bishop of Lincoln. Oxford: Clarendon, 1987.

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          Essays treating many aspects of the life, canonization, and cult of one of medieval England’s major homegrown saints.

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        • Russell, Josiah Cox. “The Canonization of Opposition to the King in Angevin England.” In Anniversary Essays in Medieval History by Students of Charles Homer Haskins. Edited by C. H. Taylor and John L. LaMonte, 279–290. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1929.

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          An early appreciation of the importance of local feelings and of how popular religion and cults could be used for political purposes.

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        • Southern, Richard William, ed. and trans. Eadmer: The Life of St Anselm. London: Nelson, 1962.

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          Translation of a near-contemporary and adulatory life of the second Norman archbishop and an important theologian as well as an active political figure. This is a primary source and, with the editorial comments, tells about the man and the role of a saint in the early Norman Church. Revised edition published 1972.

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        • Staunton, Michael, ed. The Lives of Thomas Becket: Selected Sources, Translated and Annotated. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2001.

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          In a series designed for students, a selection from the many lives written by many churchmen shortly after Becket’s death and while his cult sprang into full bloom. Guidance regarding the wealth of sources and their various purposes and messages.

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        • Walker, Simon. “Political Saints in Late Medieval England.” In The McFarlane Legacy: Studies in Late Medieval Politics and Society. Edited by Richard H. Britnell and Anthony J. Pollard, 77–106. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 1995.

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          Continues the intriguing topic that Russell 1929 launched, with more focus on the political “saints” of the 14th and 15th centuries.

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        The Clergy

        The parish clergy, at many levels and in many roles, were the bread-and-butter troops of the church: the men who administered the sacraments, preached the faith, profited from the imposition of a tithe on their parishioners, and represented the church at the local level. Their numbers were great, as Russell 1944 shows, and their roles were diverse, as seen in Lepine 1995, looking at canons attached to the cathedrals. Candidates for job openings were aware of the competition as well as the opportunities for mobility, as McHardy 1989, Davis 1993, and Bennett 2005 have shown from different databases and localities. Orme 1991 explores some of the demographic and occupational realities, and Thompson 1947, though an old study, remains the basic overview of the structure, personnel, and workings of the church.

        • Bennett, Nicolas. “Pastors and Masters: The Beneficed Clergy of North-East Lincolnshire, 1240–1340.” In The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History: Studies Presented to David M. Smith. Edited by P. Hoskins, Christopher Brooke, and Barrie Dobson, 40–62. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2005.

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          Many candidates with qualifications and some opportunity for those with luck and skills; generally, a not unworthy group of men.

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        • Davis, Virginia. “Episcopal Ordination Lists as a Source for Clerical Mobility in England in the Fourteenth Century.” In England in the Fourteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1991 Harlaxton Symposium. Edited by Nicholas Rogers, 152–170. Stamford, UK: Paul Watkins, 1993.

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          More men than beneficed positions, and a general flow of men from the north to the richer and better-populated south.

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        • Lepine, David. A Brotherhood of Canons Serving God: English Secular Cathedrals in the Late Middle Ages. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1995.

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          About men who had made a move up from the parish level and who served the complex liturgical and administrative needs of the cathedrals.

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        • McHardy, Alison. “Careers and Disappointments in the Late Medieval Church: Some English Evidence.” Studies in Church History 26 (1989): 111–130.

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          Results of this study show that there were many applicants for every good position; climbing upward was a matter of luck and of good connections as well as of training and background.

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        • Orme, Nicholas. “Sufferings of the Clergy: Illness and Old Age in Exeter Diocese, 1300–1540.” In Life, Death and the Elderly: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Margaret Pelling and Richard M. Smith, 62–73. London: Routledge, 1991.

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          About the harsh realities of clerical careers, with information on pensions as well as on wearing down and the need to be replaced.

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        • Russell, Josiah Cox. “The Clerical Population of Medieval England.” Traditio 2 (1944): 177–212.

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          An early foray into demography, still accepted as the place to turn to for the numbers.

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        • Thompson, Alexander Hamilton. The English Clergy and Their Organization in the Later Middle Ages. Oxford: Clarendon, 1947.

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          These Ford Lectures of 1933 are still the basic explanation of a complex world (their publication being long delayed because of World War II). The overview of the church has not been superseded.

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        Mystics and Visionaries

        Because there is so much current interest in individualized responses to religious callings, the mystics and visionaries who stayed safely within the church’s acceptable boundaries have been distinguished in this entry from others who chose a more solitary path as well as from those who left the mainstream and were adjudged to be heretics. Accordingly, the distinction here between mystics and anchorites is rather arbitrary, though this separation does permit a greater number of citations for each group. The volume of work on the mystics has produced editions of their writing as well as much scholarly treatment.

        Sources

        Interest in the individualized words and writings of the mystics has led to editions of many of their better-known and more popular works. Margery Kempe has become the mystic of choice, combining an extremely individual story of religious quest and of proto-feminism in her “book,” offered first in modernized English by Butler-Bowdon (Kempe 1940); more recently, Windeatt (Kempe 1985) makes this peculiar text accessible. Anthologies give an idea of the variety of mystical voices: College 1961 and Windeatt 1994 offer selections from a number of seekers. Sherley-Price 1957 makes another compelling religious voice available in an accessible modern version, as does Wolters (Hilton 1961) with another of Hilton’s popular treatises.

        • College, Eric, ed. The Medieval Mystics of England. New York: Scribners, 1961.

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          Extracts from Aelred of Rievaulx, Edmund Rich, Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, and The Cloud of Unknowing. This volume, like Windeatt 1994, gives selections from the major figures and can serve as both an introduction and an easy way to compare the different voices telling of their mystical message. It includes writers cited here as mystics and some cited as anchorites.

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        • Hilton, Walter. Walter Hilton: The Cloud of Unknowing. Translated by Clifton Wolters. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1961.

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          An edition of a lesser-known but influential and penetrating mystic of the 14th century.

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        • Kempe, Margery. The Book of Margery Kempe: A Modern Version. Edited and translated by W. Butler-Bowdon. London: Jonathan Cape, 1940.

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          This was the first modernized version of the life, and it explains the history of the text as well as presenting the heroine of the tale.

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        • Kempe, Margery. The Book of Margery Kempe. Translated by Barry Windeatt. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1985.

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          A handy volume with an excellent introduction, making late medieval England’s most popular mystical voice easy to read, (as do translations/editions of 1998 by J. Skinner and of 2001 by Lynn Staley; Windeatt’s 2000 version is in Middle English).

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        • Sherley-Price, Leo, ed. Walter Hilton: The Ladder of Perfection. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1957.

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          Includes an introduction that helps make this obscure and spiritual figure accessible for the student and the modern reader.

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        • Windeatt, Barry, ed. English Mystics of the Middle Ages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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          A handy anthology of some of the main figures: Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, The Cloud of Unknowing, and short extracts from some of the less familiar writers.

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        Scholarship

        With Margery Kempe as the main center of interest, it is useful to have Goodman 2002 to expand the social setting of her life, Atkinson 1983 for a sympathetic approach to her peculiarities, and Arnold and Lewis 2004 to bring together much recent scholarship and numerous perspectives. Collections of papers demonstrate the wide interest in and many lines of scholarly attention to the mystics; these diverse approaches are well presented by Glasscoe 1999 and Szarmach 1984.

        • Arnold, John, and Katherine J. Lewis, ed. A Companion to the Book of Margery Kempe. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2004.

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          A collection of twelve essays on the social, religious, feminist, and eccentric roles of a mystic who has become a favorite topic of study. Very good in summing up and presenting much of the huge volume of recent work.

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        • Atkinson, Clarissa W. Mystic and Pilgrim: The Book and the World of Margery Kempe. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983.

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          A relatively early and clear discussion of the strange author and her visions.

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        • Goodman, Anthony. Margery Kempe and Her World. London: Longman, 2002.

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          For the historian this is an excellent introduction to the woman, setting her into her society as well as approaching her religious message.

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        • Glasscoe, Marion, ed. The Medieval Mystical Tradition: England, France, Ireland, and Wales. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 1999.

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          The 6th Exeter Symposium devoted to the topic, with papers looking at the important individuals, mysticism as a subtopic, and Carmelite spirituality. All the volumes edited by Glasscoe and coming out of the Exeter Symposium are of value; they too combine work on mystics and on anchorites, and offer comparative material on England and the Continent.

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        • Szarmach, Paul E. An Introduction to the Medieval Mystics of Europe: Fourteen Original Essays. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984.

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          Essays on various figures, including the English representatives of this version of late medieval religious expression.

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        Anchorites and Hermits

        The anchorites and others who advocated a solitary religious life offered a different approach to an individualized form of religious expression. Though their numbers were always small, they—like the mystics—had an impressive following and were role models of a devotion that was beyond most people, which helps explain their popular appeal (and the alms and support they often attracted).

        Sources

        Although individualism is the way we can characterize this approach to religion, some of those who withdrew from the world did so in response to a vision or inner voice that they preserved in a written record. The revelations of Julian of Norwich have been edited by College and Walsh (Julian of Norwich 1978) in a scholarly edition and by Wolters (Julian of Norwich 1976) in a Penguin Classic that makes the work available to students. Talbot 1959 edited a unique manuscript that tells of another woman’s pursuit of a holy life. The Ancrene Wisse (Millett 2009) opens the world of exhortations to a life of withdrawal for women and is available in modern translations by Millett and with other works in Savage and Watson 1971. Heseltine (Rolle 1979) presents some of the writings of Richard Rolle, another of the numerous voices that extolled the virtues of turning one’s back upon the world.

        • Millett, Bella, trans. Ancrene Wisse: Guide for Anchoresses. Exeter, UK: Exeter University Press, 2009.

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          A modernized version of the text Millett edited in its Middle English form, in full scholarly dress, for the Early English Text Society. This text allows a glimpse into the world of withdrawal and contemplation that was highly valorized by late medieval society.

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        • Julian of Norwich. Revelations of Divine Love. Translated by Clifton Wolters. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1976.

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          A handy volume, with a long introduction preceding the eighty-six chapters of spiritual reflections.

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        • Julian of Norwich. A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich. Edited by Edmund College and James Walsh. 2 vols. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1978.

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          Scholarly edition with elaborate notes and with much attention to the order of the visions and the way in which they express a feminist theology.

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        • Rolle, Richard. Selected Works of Richard Rolle, Hermit. Edited by G. C. Heseltine. Westport, CT: Hyperion, 1979.

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          although Rolle is largely studied for his English language, his religious thinking offers another contribution to the varieties of mystical, visionary, and eremitic expression. Originally published 1930.

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        • Savage, Anne, and Nicholas Watson, eds. and trans. Anchoritic Spirituality: Ancrene Wisse and Associated Works. Classics of Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1971.

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          Another basic text for engaging the late medieval individualization of spirituality. This text was written for women.

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        • Talbot, Charles H., ed. and trans. Life of Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth Century Recluse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1959.

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          A translation of the only manuscript makes this strange biography very accessible; a good classroom text, reprinted by the University of Toronto Press for the Mediaeval Academy, 1998.

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        Scholarship

        As with the mystics, many of the works of these men and women are in the language of intense personal devotion, and some explication for the modern reader is most welcome. Clay 1919 offered an early survey of such people in a study still of value, and Warren 1985 explores one strand of feminine religiosity in detail. Jones 1998 offers a detailed case study of the regional attraction and popularity of the withdrawn life. Fanous and Leyser 2005 is a collection of papers that offer a variety of approaches to an understanding of Christina of Markyate, and Wada 2003a volume that opens windows into the world of the Ancrene Wisse and its reception and influence; Watson and Jenkins 2006 does much the same in presenting a wide range of recent work on Julian of Norwich. Hodgson 1926, an old study, focuses on Rolle’s religious thinking whereas much recent scholarship deals with his role as a writer of English. Erler 1995 presents a body of information about women, largely widows, who chose a limited form of withdrawn life, taking vows of celibacy and some aspect of withdrawal but stopping short of the cloister or the anchoress’s cell.

        Heresy and Heterodox Conviction and Practice

        Although the church in England was not deeply affected by the various heretical and reform movements that convulsed religious life on the Continent, in the 14th century a major heresy—that of Wycliffe and his followers, the Lollards—threatened unity and conformity. Much of the work on Wycliffe has been devoted to making his difficult writings (whether in Latin or English), along with those of his followers, available in modern scholarly editions.

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        Wycliffe was a voluminous if difficult writer, and while his theology was in Latin he placed great emphasis on the value of a vernacular message, and many of his sermons were in English. Recent scholars have added many texts of older editions of Wycliffe’s works and sermons, and thanks to Hudson 1983–1996 and Cigman 1989 many important works have been published in studies that are up to current scholarly standards. Wycliffe’s writing are voluminous, and older work by Arnold (Wycliffe 1869–1871) still has its use, as does a recent translation by Noble (Wycliffe 2001) of Wycliffe’s version of a vernacular bible. When the Lollard movement spread beyond academic circles and enlisted followers who questioned the structure of society, the arms of state and church turned against them, as illustrated in the inquisitorial proceeding in Norwich, edited and well explicated by Tanner 1977.

        • Arnold, Thomas, ed. Select English Works of John Wyclif. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1869–1871.

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          Two volumes devoted to the sermons and one to miscellaneous treatises. An old edition, being replaced by more recent work.

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        • Cigman, Gloria, ed. Lollard Sermons. Early English Text Society. o.s. 294. Oxford and New York: Early English Text Society, 1989.

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          Jeremy Smith offers an analysis of the language, though the volume produced for the EETS is in Middle English and has only a limited focus on the religious controversy behind the sermons.

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        • Hudson, Anne, ed. English Wycliffite Sermons. 5 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1983–1996.

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          Five volumes of these important texts; Wycliffe’s theology, political ideology, and the attempt to reach beyond academic walls to a wider audience. Sources of major importance, now available (though Wycliffe’s English is that of the 14th century).

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        • Tanner, Norman, ed. Heresy Trials in the Diocese of Norwich, 1428–31. Camden Society, 4th ser. 20. London: Royal Historical Society, 1977.

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          The local persecution of Lollards gives us their own words about their beliefs, including some extreme and interesting statements and those of some of the women in the movement.

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        • Wycliffe, John, trans. Wycliffe’s New Testament. Edited and translated by Terence P. Noble. Vancouver, BC: T. P. Noble, 2001.

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          A translation into modern English, making this rather obscure source available and inviting comparisons with later Protestant Bibles as well as the Vulgate of the Roman Catholic Church.

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        Scholarship

        Scholarly work on Wycliffe has extended to studies of his followers as the Lollard movement spread and then, driven by persecution and aborted calls for popular support, was driven underground or out of existence. Aston 1984, Hudson 1988, and Biller and Hudson 1994, in volumes of collected papers, shed light on many aspects of Wycliffe and his movement: theology, the use of the vernacular and of books, the spread of the cult, its influence on later religious reform, and more. Kenny 1985 offers a short but well-informed biography, while McFarlane 1953, a book of great influence, looks at the social setting and movement of Wycliffe rather than at his theological work. McNiven 1987 on persecution, Thomson 1965 on the 15th-century fate of Lollardy, and McSheffrey 1995 on the role of women and gender among the laity in the movement all explore various ramifications of a movement that went from the university to a popular and then an underground existence.

        Parishes and Gilds

        The parish clergy were the frontline soldiers of the faith, and it was in the parish, both in its spiritual and its social incarnations, that the laity engaged most closely and on a regular basis with the rituals of faith. Detailed studies of parish life reveal a commitment to local religious life and to the strength of lay concern for it: Barron 1985 on fraternities shows how the line between the spiritual and the secular was easily crossed; French 2001 is concerned with women’s roles; and French, et al. 1997 offers case studies and some comparisons over time. More case studies, such as Burgess 1996, Fleming 1984, and Burgess and Duffy 2006, further enrich the tale of community-based faith and activity, while Aston 1990 illustrates how the hierarchies of class and gender made themselves felt in sacred space and ritual.

        • Aston, Margaret. “Segregation in Church.” In Women in the Church: Papers Read at the 1989 Summer Meeting and the 1990 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society. Edited by W. J. Sheils and Diana Wood, 237–294. Studies in Church History 27. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990.

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          A careful and extremely innovative look at how church seating and hierarchy opens windows on questions of gender, social relations, and the laity’s understanding of the faith as it was taught to them.

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        • Barron, Caroline M. “The Parish Fraternities of Medieval London.” In The Church in Pre-Reformation Society: Essays in Honour of F. R. H. DuBoulay. Edited by Caroline M. Barron and Christopher Harper-Bill, 13–37. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1985.

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          An important study of how religious and secular life blended in an urban setting. One of the first scholarly treatment of fraternities in recent years and an oft-cited model study.

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        • Burgess, Clive. “Shaping the Parish: St Mary at Hill, London, in the Fifteenth Century.” In The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey. Edited by John Blair and Brian Golding, 246–286. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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          A close look at how the laity interacted with the church at the most local level.

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        • Burgess, Clive, and Eamon Duffy, eds. The Parish in Late Medieval England. Harlaxton Medieval Studies 14, Donnington, UK: Shaun Tyas, 2006.

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          These sixteen papers from the 2002 Harlaxton Symposium consider the parish, parish priests, services, and the role of the laity in this level of religious activity.

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        • Fleming, Peter W. “Charity, Faith, and the Gentry of Kent, 1422–1529.” In Property and Politics. Edited by A. J. Pollard, 36–58. Gloucester, UK: Alan Sutton, 1984.

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          An examination of two hundred wills to show the pull of local benefaction and how lay identity could revolve around the parish and the localized ecclesiastical establishment.

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        • French, Katherine L. The People of the Parish: Community Life in a Late Medieval English Diocese. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.

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          A close look at how much of secular life revolves around the running of the parish church; particular concern for the role of women in the community.

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        • French, Katherine L, Gary G. Gibbs, and Beat A. Kumin, eds. The Parish in English Life, 1400–1600. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997.

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          Although running through the 16th century, essays on the medieval parish talk of the European perspective, of architecture and archaeology, church wardens’ accounts, fund-raising, and a case study on the assimilation of outsiders into the parish community.

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        Popular Piety

        Although the church was concerned to persecute and eliminate heresy when it deemed that extreme views threatened ecclesiastical control or the social order, there was always considerable scope for individualized expression that stayed with accepted boundaries. Varieties of lay faith and variations in the expression of faith, as well as behavior that posed no threat to belief or the ecclesiastical hierarchy, often received considerable support. The entries listed here have been chosen to reinforce the idea of diversity: Erler 2002 showing that pious women had intellectual and spiritual lives of great interest and that only depended slightly on official support, and Finucane 1977 on the way the laity absorbed views about saints, miracles, and pilgrimage. Pfaff 1970 and Owst 1933 examine ways in which “official” religious ideology came into the realm of popular faith, and Hicks 1987 offers a case study of an individualized response to religious instruction, a topic that is writ on a larger canvas by Middleton-Stewart 2001. Swanson 2007 isolates one rather dubious form of pious belief and behavior, while Morris and Roberts 2002 is a collection that reveals some of the aspects of a popular and famous form of socio-religious activity.

        • Erler, Mary Carpenter. Women, Reading, and Piety in Late Medieval England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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          Detailed study of women’s networks of piety, literacy, and book reading, mostly in East Anglia and over the course of several generations. A strong case for strong piety being kept alive with limited help from the establishment, though supportive men were often to be found.

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        • Finucane, Ronald C. Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Belief in Medieval England. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1977.

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          How the directions of popular and lay religion were shaped and directed by the cults of saints and their relics and holy places.

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        • Hicks, Michael. “The Piety of Margaret, Lady Hungerford (d. 1478).” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 38 (1987): 19–38.

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          A clear case study of an aristocratic lady who took her spiritual obligations seriously.

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        • Middleton-Stewart, Judith. Inward Purity and Outward Splendour: Death and Remembrance in the Deanery of Dunwich, Suffolk, 1370–1547. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2001.

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          Despite the cumbersome title, an astute examination of lay piety, ritual, wills, and burial, and popular religion in an affluent and well-documented region; an exploration of the power of lay piety.

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        • Morris, Colin, and Peter Roberts, eds. Pilgrimage: The English Experience from Becket to Bunyan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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          Many perspectives: Nicholas Vincent on the Angevin kings, Richard Gameson on the imagery of the Becket shrine, Tim Tatton-Brown on the architecture of pilgrim shrines, Carole Rawcliffe on sickness and pilgrimage, and Eamon Duffy on the dynamics of late medieval pilgrimage.

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        • Owst, Gerald R. Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England: A Neglected Chapter in the History of English Letters and of the English People. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1933.

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          As the title says, this was and to some extent remains a neglected aspect of church history; this was the pathbreaking study, though it is heavy reading and now rather old-fashioned. Revised edition published 1961 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1961).

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        • Pfaff, Richard W. New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970.

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          This innovative examination of new feast days has been the benchmark for all subsequent work on change, innovation, and vitality in liturgical celebration and popular religion into and through the last century of medieval religious life. This book is inexplicably hard to find and should be reprinted.

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        • Swanson, Robert N. Indulgences in Late Medieval England: Passports to Paradise? Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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          Scholarly assessment of the role, use, and popularity of what is usually considered an abuse by the medieval church.

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        Canon Law

        The law of the church stood apart from the common law, and there was conflict as well as complementary practice. Cases in the church’s courts followed the dictates of Rome and of canon lawyers; Adams and Donahue 1981 covers actual cases, while Helmholz 1974, Logan 1968, and Woodcock 1952 explain different aspects and areas of jurisdiction covered by canon law. Duggan 1982 looks at a number of specific issues as they were governed by canon law or contributed to its formation, and McHardy 1990 works through the layers of procedure around an area of great sensitivity. Owen 1990 sets the study of canon law into an intellectual and pedagogical context, running to men who had to deal with the new entanglements of the Reformation.

        • Adams, Norma, and Charles Donahue, eds. “Select Cases from the Ecclesiastical Courts of the Province of Canterbury, c. 1200–1301.” Selden Society 95 (1981).

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          As well as the cases (presented with English translations), there is a full explanation of the workings of the court.

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        • Duggan, Charles. Canon Law in Medieval England: The Becket Dispute and the Decretal Collections. London: Variorum, 1982.

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          Sixteen of Duggan’s papers, covering the reception of canon law, the lawyers, some key manuscripts, and the role of canon law in the great Becket controversy. Some papers are rather technical, some for lay readers and useful for understanding canon law.

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        • Helmholz, Richard. Marriage Litigation in Medieval England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1974.

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          A history of litigation concerning the enforcement of marital contracts, which was usually the main form of business dealt with in the diocesan courts. An important study of the intersection of church law and lay behavior and interests.

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        • Logan, Donald F. Excommunication and the Secular Arm in Medieval England: A Study in Legal Procedure from the Thirteenth to the Sixteenth Century. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1968.

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          The procedure whereby excommunication was imposed and lifted, and who was authorized to do so; some idea of the numbers affected by the sentence.

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        • McHardy, Alison. “Church Courts and Criminous Clerks in the later Middle Ages.” In Medieval Ecclesiastical Studies in Honour of Dorothy M. Owen. Edited by M. J. Franklin and Christopher Harper-Bill, 165–183. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1990.

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          A serious problem for the church and an area of great sensitivity in terms of church-state relations, published in a volume of valuable studies on related topics.

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        • Owen, Dorothy. The Medieval Canon Law: Teaching, Literature and Transmission. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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          The law of the church as it operated, drawing examples from the rich archives of Ely and Lincoln, by a scholar who knew them well. A good introduction backed up by pertinent case studies and examples and a discussion of the canonists, both before and after the Reformation. The Sandars Lectures in Bibliography.

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        • Woodcock, Brian. Medieval Ecclesiastical Courts in the Diocese of Canterbury. London: Oxford University Press, 1952.

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          A clear guide to procedures and to the structure of the system of church courts.

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        Cathedrals and Churches

        Bishops presided over cathedrals, and their vast size and splendor were reminders of the riches and glory of the church. All the medieval English cathedrals were built or extensively rebuilt after the Conquest, and regular new projects brought them up to date, repaired the damage of fire and structural flaws, and gave successive bishops something to boast of. Recent studies have usually been in the form of collective volumes and chapters on the medieval building, its personnel, and its architecture are fairly standard components, as in Aylmer and Cant 1977 on York, Collinson 1995 on Canterbury, Greenway 1994 on Chichester, Oakley 1996 on Rochester, Owen 1994 on Lincoln, and Swanson 1994 on Coventry. Dodwell 1957 looks rather at the building of the new cathedral at Norwich when the see was transferred from Thetford, and Cattermode and Cotton 1983 survey the great volume of church-building activity in late medieval Norfolk.

        LAST MODIFIED: 12/15/2010

        DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396584-0019

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