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Table of contents :
Frontcover
CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
PREFACE
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Introduction
1 The Dangers of Invention: The Sack of Canterbury, 1011, and the ‘Theft’ of Dunstan’s Relics
2 Remembering Communities Past: Exeter Cathedral in the Eleventh Century
3 Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy in the Diocese of Lichfield, 1050–1150
4 The Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium and Urban Ecclesiastical Rivalry in Eleventh-Century Rouen
5 Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints in Eleventh andTwelfth-Century Wales
6 A Bishop and His Conflicts: Philip of Bayeux (1142–63)
7 Ecclesiastical Responses to War in King Stephen’s Reign: The Communities of Selby Abbey, Pontefract Priory and York Cathedral
8 Secular Cathedrals and the Anglo-Norman Aristocracy
9 The Lives of Thomas Becket and the Church of Canterbury
10 Caught in the Cross-Fire: Patronage and Institutional Politics in Late Twelfth-Century Canterbury
11 Crown, Cathedral and Conflict: King John and Canterbury
12 The English Monasteries and their French Possessions
INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES
Backcover
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spine 21mm 9 Sep 10

Marritt, Thomas Roche, Michael Staunton, Sheila Sweetinburgh, Nicholas Vincent, Paul Webster, Louise J. Wilkinson, Ann Williams.

Series: Studies in the History of Medieval Religion

BOYDELL & BREWER Ltd

PO Box 9, Woodbridge IP12 3DF (GB) and 668 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester NY14620-2731 (US) www.boydellandbrewer.com

DALTON, INSLEY, WILKINSON (eds)

Reuben Davies, Charles Insley, C. P. Lewis, Stephen

Cathedrals, Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World

Contributors: Richard Allen, Paul Dalton, John

Cover: Canterbury Cathedral Priory in the twelfth-century Eadwine Psalter, Trinity College Cambridge MS R.17.1, fols 284v–285r. Reproduced with the permission of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College Cambridge.

Cathedrals dominated the ecclesiastical (and physical) landscape of the British Isles and Normandy in the middle ages; yet, in comparison with the history of monasteries, the history of cathedrals has received significantly less attention. This volume helps to redress the balance by examining major themes in the development of cathedrals between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. These include the composition, life, corporate identity and memory of cathedral communities; the relationships, sometimes supportive, sometimes conflicting, that they had with kings (for instance King John), aristocracies, and neighbouring urban and religious communities; the importance of cathedrals as centres of lordship and patronage; their role in promoting and utilising saints’ cults (such as that of St Thomas Becket); episcopal relations; and the involvement of cathedrals in religious and political conflicts, and in the settlement of disputes. A critical introduction locates medieval cathedrals in space and time, and against a backdrop of wider ecclesiastical change in the period.

Cathedrals,

Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World Edited by Paul Dalton, Charles Insley, & Louise J. Wilkinson

Studies in the History of Medieval Religion VOLUME  XXXVIII

Cathedrals, Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World

Studies in the History of Medieval Religion ISSN  0955–2480 Founding Editor Christopher Harper-Bill

Previously published titles in the series are listed at the back of this volume

Cathedrals, Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World

Edited by

Paul Dalton, Charles Insley and Louise J. Wilkinson

THE BOYDELL PRESS

©  Contributors 2011 All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under current legislation no part of this work may be photocopied, stored in a retrieval system, published, performed in public, adapted, broadcast, transmitted, recorded or reproduced in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the copyright owner First published 2011 The Boydell Press, Woodbridge ISBN  978–1–84383–620–9

The Boydell Press is an imprint of Boydell & Brewer Ltd PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3DF, UK and of Boydell & Brewer Inc. 668 Mt Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620, USA website: www.boydellandbrewer.com The publisher has no responsibility for the continued existence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Papers used by Boydell & Brewer Ltd are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests

Printed in Great Britain by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham and Eastbourne

Contents List of Illustrations

vii

List of Contributors

viii

Preface

ix

List of Abbreviations

x

Introduction Paul Dalton, Charles Insley and Louise J. Wilkinson

1

1 The Dangers of Invention: The Sack of Canterbury, 1011, and the ‘Theft’ of Dunstan’s Relics Ann Williams

27

2 Remembering Communities Past: Exeter Cathedral in the Eleventh Century Charles Insley

41

3 Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy in the Diocese of Lichfield, 1050–1150 C. P. Lewis

61

4 The Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium and Urban Ecclesiastical Rivalry in Eleventh-Century Rouen Richard Allen

77

5 Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Wales John Reuben Davies

99

6 A Bishop and His Conflicts: Philip of Bayeux (1142–63) Thomas Roche

117

7 Ecclesiastical Responses to War in King Stephen’s Reign: The Communities of Selby Abbey, Pontefract Priory and York Cathedral Paul Dalton

131

8 Secular Cathedrals and the Anglo-Norman Aristocracy Stephen Marritt

151

9 The Lives of Thomas Becket and the Church of Canterbury Michael Staunton

169

10 Caught in the Cross-Fire: Patronage and Institutional Politics in Late Twelfth-Century Canterbury Sheila Sweetinburgh

187

11 Crown, Cathedral and Conflict: King John and Canterbury Paul Webster

203

12 The English Monasteries and their French Possessions Nicholas Vincent

221

Index of People and Places

241

Illustrations Figures 1. Plan of the Romanesque cathedral of Rouen 2. The ‘tour aux clercs’, St-Ouen de Rouen (R. Allen) 3. Plan of the Romanesque abbey of St-Ouen de Rouen 4. The abbey of Cerisy-la-Forêt (R. Allen) 5. The two-level apsidiole at Cerisy-la-Forêt (R. Allen)

80 82 84 90 91

Maps 132 1. Yorkshire in King Stephen’s reign 2. The Selby region in King Stephen’s reign 134 3. The French possessions of English (and Irish) monasteries 1070–1450 222

Contributors Dr Richard Allen is a Junior Research Fellow, St John’s College, University of Oxford, UK Dr Paul Dalton is Principal Lecturer in Medieval History, Department of History and American Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK Dr John Reuben Davies is AHRC Researcher, Department of History, University of Glasgow, UK Dr Charles Insley is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Department of History and American Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK Dr C. P. Lewis is Research Fellow, Department of History, King’s College London, and Senior Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, UK Dr Stephen Marritt is Lecturer in Medieval History, History, University of Glasgow, UK Dr Thomas Roche is Head of Archives in the département of Nièvre, at Nevers, France Dr Michael Staunton is Lecturer in Medieval History, School of History and Archives, University College Dublin, Ireland Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh is Research Fellow, Department of English, University of Huddersfield, UK Professor Nicholas Vincent is Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK Dr Paul Webster is an early career academic, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University, UK Dr Louise J. Wilkinson is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Department of History and American Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK Dr Ann Williams was until her retirement Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Polytechnic of North London, UK

Preface This volume originated in discussions between the editors, Dr Stephen Hipkin (Department of History and American Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University), Mr Cecil Humphery-Smith, OBE (Founder of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Canterbury), Dr Richard Baker (Principal of the IHGS), Dr Mark Bateson and Dr Malcolm Mercer (Canterbury Cathedral Archives), about holding a conference on medieval cathedrals. The participants in these discussions became the organising committee of the conference, which was duly held between 7 and 9 December 2007 at the North Holmes Road campus of Canterbury Christ Church University, just a few yards from the magnificent Canterbury cathedral, and was a great success. The editors are grateful to all the members of the organising committee for their hard work over many months. The success of the conference also owed a great deal to the scholars who kindly agreed to offer papers. The speakers included all the contributors to this volume along with Dr Julia Barrow of the Department of History, University of Nottingham, Dr Marie-Pierre Gelin, University College London, Mr Cecil Humphery-Smith [whose paper was subsequently published as ‘Medieval Heraldry, Cathedrals and Social Interchange’, Family History: The Journal of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies 23 (196), 2008, 325–35], Catherine Schulze, University of Toronto, and Sarah Thomas, University of Glasgow. The editors are very grateful to all of the participants in the conference and this volume for their splendid contributions and kind assistance, including help with chairing conference sessions. Our thanks are also due to the Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Michael Wright, CBE, DL, and the University for supporting the conference; all the University catering, portering, security and AVA staff who ensured that the delegates felt welcome and that everything ran smoothly; and the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury cathedral and Dr Mark Bateson and Dr Malcolm Mercer of Canterbury Cathedral Archives for organising a wonderful exhibition of manuscripts in the cathedral. Considerable thanks are also due to Mrs Catherine Rising for her hard work assisting Dr Dalton. The editors are delighted that the distinguished academic publishers Boydell & Brewer Ltd agreed to publish the volume, and grateful to Boydell’s external anonymous academic referee for the positive recommendation and helpful comments. We are particularly grateful to Caroline Palmer at Boydell & Brewer for her help, professionalism, support, and patience in seeing the volume through the press. It has been a pleasure to work with her. Paul Dalton, Charles Insley and Louise J. Wilkinson

Abbreviations Add. ANS ASC ASC, ed. Whitelock et al. BIHR BL BN CCAL Chronicles of the Reigns CTB EEA EHD I EHD II EHR Fasti

Additional Anglo-Norman Studies Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: edition is Two of the Saxon Chronicles in Parallel, ed. C. Plummer, 2 vols, Oxford 1892–9, cited by manuscript and year Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, ed. D. Whitelock, D. C. Douglas and S. I. Tucker, London 1965, cited by manuscript and year Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research British Library Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, ed. R. Howlett, 4 vols, RS 82, 1884–9 The Correspondence of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury 1162–1170, ed. A. J. Duggan, 2 vols, Oxford 2000 English Episcopal Acta English Historical Documents, c.500–1042, ed. D. Whitelock, 2nd edn, London 1979 English Historical Documents, 1042–1189, ed. D. C. Douglas and G. W. Greenaway, 2nd edn, London 1981 English Historical Review J. Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300, I St Paul’s, London, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 1968; II Monastic Cathedrals, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 1971; III Lincoln, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 1977; IV Salisbury, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 1996; V Chichester, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 1996; VI York, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 1999; VII Bath and Wells, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 2000; VIII Hereford, compiled by J. Barrow, London 2002; IX The Welsh Cathedrals (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids), compiled by M. J. Pearson, London 2003; X Exeter, compiled by D. E. Greenway, London 2005. Cited by volume number.

GDB

Huntingdon JEH John of Worcester Letters of Lanfranc LJS Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum Malmesbury, Gesta Regum MGH Monasticon MTB n. n. s. ODNB PL PRO Regesta

Great Domesday Book, followed by folio number, a or b (for recto or verso), and 1 or 2 (for the column), cited from Domesday Book, seu Liber Censualis Willelmi Primi, 2 vols, London 1783, I, or from Great Domesday Book: Library Edition, ed. A. Williams and R. W. H. Erskine, London 1986–92; followed in parentheses by the abbreviated county name and the entry number used in Domesday Book, ed. J. Morris and others, 34 vols, London 1974–86 Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, Historia Anglorum: The History of the English People, ed. D. Greenway, Oxford 1996 Journal of Ecclesiastical History The Chronicle of John of Worcester II–III, ed. R. R. Darlington and P. McGurk, Oxford 1995–8, cited by volume number The Letters of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. H. Clover and M. Gibson, Oxford 1979 The Letters of John of Salisbury, ed. W. J. Millor and H. E. Butler, rev. C. N. L. Brooke, 2 vols, Oxford 1955–79 William of Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum Anglorum: The History of the English Bishops, ed. M. Winterbottom and R. M. Thomson, 2 vols, Oxford 2007 William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum: The History of the English Kings, ed. R. A. B. Mynors, R. M. Thomson and M. Winterbottom, 2 vols, Oxford 1998–9 Monumenta Germaniae Historica W. Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum, ed. J. Caley, H. Ellis and B. Bandinel, 6 vols in 8, London 1846 Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. J. C. Robertson and J. B. Sheppard, 7 vols, RS 67, London 1875–85 note new series Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Patrologiae cursus completus, series Latina, ed. J-P. Migne, 221 vols, Paris 1844–65 Public Record Office Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, ed. H. W. C. Davis, C. Johnson, H. A. Cronne and R. H. C. Davis, 4 vols, Oxford 1913–69

Regesta: William I RS S s. a. TNA TRHS VCH

Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum: The Acta of William I (1066–1087), ed. D. Bates, Oxford 1998 Rolls Series For citations of charters in P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography, London 1968 sub anno The National Archives (of the United Kingdom) Transactions of the Royal Historical Society The Victoria History of the Counties of England [with county name], in progress

Introduction Paul Dalton, Charles Insley and Louise J. Wilkinson

When the Normans invaded England in 1066 cathedrals and the religious communities based in them were a well-established and prominent feature of the ecclesiastical landscape of the British Isles and Normandy. At that time there were fifteen bishoprics in England and seven in Normandy. The Norman sees of Avranches, Bayeux, Coutances, Évreux, Lisieux and Sées were subject to the archbishops of Rouen.1 Although these bishoprics, ‘with the partial exception of Rouen, had been ruined during the settlement period in the early tenth century’, from ‘990 the succession to bishoprics seems to have been continuous, and by the second half of the [eleventh] century all were securely established with new cathedrals in the course of construction and embryonic chapters and diocesan administration evolving everywhere’.2 In England, where the diocesan structure had survived the viking attacks of the late tenth and early eleventh centuries and the Danish conquest of 1016, nearly all of the bishops were suffragans of the archbishops of Canterbury, the only exceptions being the archbishops of York and their suffragans, the bishops of Durham. In Scotland it has been suggested that all except the outmost sees of Caithness and Argyll existed before King David I’s reign (1124–53), which means that there were then ten or so bishoprics in the country. None of these held metropolitan authority over the others, which was claimed instead from the 1070s onwards by the archbishops of York and, occasionally, by the archbishops of Canterbury until the papacy placed the Scottish church under its direct control in 1192.3 Similarly, in the eleventhcentury Wales

1

2 3

F. Barlow, The English Church 1066–1154, London 1979, 29. Barlow notes that the Normans came to dominate other bishoprics in Maine and Brittany as their power grew. For the ‘Norman empire’, see J. Le Patourel, The Norman Empire, Oxford 1976. The personnel of the Norman cathedral chapters have been studied by David Spear. For references, see D. S. Spear, ‘Power, Patronage and Personality in the Norman Cathedral Chapters, 911–1204’, ANS 20, 1997 (1998), 205–21, at 205 n. 2, 207 nn. 4–5. D. Bates, Normandy before 1066, London 1982, 189, 192. A. A. M. Duncan, Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, Edinburgh 1975, 257–75. The bishoprics were those of Aberdeen, Brechin, Dornoch/Caithness, Dunblane, Dunkeld, Glasgow, Moray, Ross, St Andrews, and possibly Whithorn/Galloway. The latter bishopric,

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PAUL DALTON, CHARLES INSLEY and LOUISE J. WILKINSON

was not acknowledged as a separate province of the church; it did not have a unified ecclesiastical structure under a single archbishop; and there were considerable differences in the nature of ecclesiastical organization from one part of the country to another … the number of bishoprics which would survive still remained to be determined and so did their territorial limits.

These bishoprics ‘were still fluid’ and the communities (claswyr) that served their mother churches were commonly composed of ‘groups of canons, sharing a common income but living as secular clerks, often indeed as married clerks and even transmitting their property and ecclesiastical offices to their children’.4 It is clear, therefore, that although the churches of the British Isles and Normandy were all part of the western Christian church headed by the papacy, there were significant differences between them. The extent of the distinctiveness and remoteness of the churches of the British Isles from the rest of Europe is open to debate. ‘The British Isles must be regarded as on the periphery of Latin Christendom,’ wrote H .E. J. Cowdrey in 2004, in volume four of the New Cambridge Medieval History.5 Cowdrey was referring to the eleventh century, and in some respects his assertion is unobjectionable for that period; the British Isles were outside the former Carolingian heartland of western, Latin, Christendom and there were many aspects of the Insular churches which stood outside the norms for Germany, Burgundy, Italy and France. In England, for example, whereas most cathedral communities were composed of secular clerics, the usual organisational model in continental cathedrals by the mid-eleventh century,6 at Canterbury, Sherborne, Winchester and Worcester in 1066 the cathedral staff were monks, a reflection of the distinctive historical development of the English church, especially the influence of the tenth-century English reform movement.7 Other features of the English church in the mid-eleventh century might have struck a French or German observer as odd, including the non-urban location of a number of its bishoprics, the relatively late arrival of elements of continental church reform, and the almost complete absence of churches built in the Romanesque architectural style that was sweeping through large areas of Europe. In addition, England appears largely to have lacked the archdeacons and synods common in France, and its bishops tended to be drawn from royal household chaplains rather than from baronial

4 5

6

7

however, was revived during the twelfth century: ibid., 260. The bishoprics of Orkney and the Isles were usually beyond the jurisdiction of kings of the Scots. R. R. Davies, The Age of Conquest: Wales 1063–1415, Oxford 1991, 173–4. See also Fasti IX, xx. H. E. J. Cowdrey, ‘The Structure of the Church, 1024–1073’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume IV c.1024–c.1198 Part 1, ed. D. Luscombe and J. Riley-Smith, Cambridge 2004, 229–67, at 240. This had not always been the case; as recently as the later tenth century the Bavarian cathedrals of Freising, Regensburg, Passau and Salzburg had all possessed monastic chapters: T. Reuter, Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056, London 1991, 244–5. J. Barrow, ‘English Cathedral Communities and Reform in the Late 10th and 11th Centuries’, in Anglo-Norman Durham 1093–1193, ed. D. Rollason, M. Harvey and M. Prestwich, Woodbridge 1994, 25–39, at 35–6.



INTRODUCTION  

3

families, as was common in large parts of the Continent, and were correspondingly more inclined to toe the royal political line.8 Despite these differences, there were ways in which the churches of the British Isles were closely connected to the European ‘heartland’. For example, the English church had a special reverence for the see of St Peter, and a number of English prelates in the tenth and eleventh centuries made the journey to Rome, such as Archbishop Sigeric of Canterbury in 990 and Bishop Lifing of Crediton in 1027.9 English clerics developed important links with some of the continental powerhouses of monastic reform in the tenth century. St Oswald’s uncle, Bishop Oda of Ramsbury (later archbishop of Canterbury), visited Fleury at some point in the 930s, possibly in 936.10 St Oswald was himself at Fleury during the 950s, while St Dunstan spent two years at St Peter’s, Ghent, in the same decade.11 English bishops were also attuned to some elements of continental church reform, including the adoption by some German cathedrals in the early eleventh century of the Institutio Canonicorum of the 816–17 Council of Aachen, which provided a rule for communities based on communal property, refectories and dormitories and the institution in the cathedral of the office of provost.12 Similar developments can be seen in England during the middle years of the eleventh century where a number of bishops, some of whom, like Leofric of Exeter (1046–72) and Giso of Wells (1060–88), had connections with the Rhineland and Lotharingia, restructured their cathedral chapters along the lines of the rule established in the mid-eighth century by Bishop Chrodegang of Metz (742–66), augmented by elements of the Aachen constitutions. The bishoprics of Hereford and London were also reformed along these lines, as was Harold Godwineson’s foundation of Waltham.13 Ealdred, archbishop of York (1060–9), attempted to establish communal life in York Minster, Southwell and Beverley and was inspired to reform liturgical standards in his diocese by a visit he made to the German Empire in 1054.14 English bishops attended papal councils at Rome and Vercelli in 1050, as well as the synod held by the reforming Pope

8 9

10 11 12 13

14

M. Brett, The English Church under Henry I, Oxford 1975, 6. V. Ortenberg, ‘Archbishop Sigeric’s Pilgrimage to Rome in 990’, Anglo-Saxon England 19, 2000, 197–246; ASC, ‘D’, s. a. 1031 (recte 1027); see also V. Ortenberg, The English Church and the Continent in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries, Oxford 1992. Historiae Richer von Saint-Remi, ed. H. Hoffmann, Monumenta Germania Historia, Scriptores t. 38, Hannover 2000, ii, 4. S. MacLean, ‘Britain, Ireland and Europe, c.900–c.1100’, in A Companion to the Early Middle Ages: Britain and Ireland c.500–c.1100, ed. P. Stafford, Oxford 2009, 358–75, at 361. Cowdrey, ‘The Structure of the Church’, 244–5. J. Barrow, ‘Cathedrals, Provosts and Prebends: A Comparison of Twelfth-Century German and English Practice’, JEH 37, 1986, 536–64, at 552–4; Cowdrey, ‘The Structure of the Church’, 245–6; Barrow, ‘English Cathedral Communities’, 25–39; Leofric of Exeter: Essays in Commemoration of the Foundation of Exeter Cathedral Library in A.D. 1072, ed. F. Barlow, Exeter 1972, 10. Barrow, ‘English Cathedral Communities’, 33.

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Leo IX at Rheims in 1049.15 Famously, Abbot Wulfric of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, modelled the rotunda he began constructing in the middle of the eleventh century on the similar structure at St Bénigne, Dijon. During the reign of King Edward the Confessor (1042–66), who spent many years in Normandy before his coronation, a number of England’s bishops had continental origins, including the Norman Robert of Jumièges who was bishop of London (1044– 51) and archbishop of Canterbury (1051–2).16 Despite its peculiarities and its remoteness from Rome, therefore, the English church before 1066 was far from being isolated from Europe.17 Elsewhere within the British Isles the churches of Ireland, Scotland and Wales also maintained some strong ties with the European church, along with their own distinctive characteristics.18 If Britain was, to some extent, on the periphery of Latin Christendom in the mid-eleventh century, England certainly was not by the early thirteenth. Robert Bartlett, in The Making of Europe, defined – tentatively – a European ‘core’, and by the late twelfth century England and the English church were very much part of this ‘core’.19 This is reflected, for example, in the fact that Canterbury had become one of the most important western European centres for pilgrimage, with all that brought in its train; and in the similarity of English liturgical life, capitular organisation and ecclesiastical hierarchies to those in the rest of Europe. Bartlett notes that the two English archbishops of Messina and Palermo in the later twelfth century, Richard Palmer and Walter Offamil, would have found the structures and liturgical life of their Sicilian cathedrals quite familiar.20 The factors behind this ‘Europeanisation’ of the English church, especially the episcopal church, are many and interconnected. The Norman Conquest of England was undoubtedly a major factor in this, but far from being the only one. This is underlined by the experience of the church in Normandy in the first half of the eleventh century. As David Bates has observed, the ‘revival of episcopal authority’, establishment of solid diocesan institutional structures and jurisdiction, organisation of cathedral chapters, recovery of cathedral estates, and ‘construction of new cathedrals’ at this time – developments that accelerated after c.1050, especially in the 1060s and 1070s – owed much to the local authority and governmental objectives of the Norman dukes, especially Duke William II (the future William the Conqueror).21 In addition, it ‘was also assisted by remarkable initiatives such as the visits to southern Italy made by bishops Geoffrey of Coutances and Ivo of Sées in the early 1050s to obtain funds’; and 15

16 17 18 19 20 21

ASC, E, s.a. 1049; ‘D, E’, s. a. 1050; Councils and Synods: with Other Documents Relating to the English Church I, A.D. 871–1204, ed. M. Brett, C. N. L. Brooke and D. Whitelock, 2 vols, Oxford 1981, i, nos 69, 72, pp. 521–5, 533–8. H. R. Loyn, The English Church, 940–1154, Harlow 2000, 58–9, 62. For the English church before 1066, see F. Barlow, The English Church 1000–1066: A Constitutional History, London 1963. See Davies, Age of Conquest, 172; A. Gwynn, The Irish Church in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, Dublin 1992, 1–16, 34–49, 84–99. R. Bartlett, The Making of Europe, London 1993, 1–23. Ibid, 11. Bates, Normandy, 197–9, 202–5, 208–9, 212–18, 226–8 quotations at 197, 204–5.



INTRODUCTION  

5

was also influenced by urban growth and economic vibrancy. Bates maintains that ‘the reorganisation of the Norman bishoprics was well under way by 1066 and in essence, as opposed to scale, owed little to the effects of the Conquest’.22 In Normandy and the British Isles other broad developments also powerfully influenced the changes occurring in cathedrals and monasteries during the eleventh century. The rapid growth of monasticism in eleventh-century Normandy owed much, initially, to monks and to architectural, artistic and liturgical influences from elsewhere in Europe.23 From the mid-eleventh century the development of the Norman church was also heavily influenced by the growth of papal authority and the impact of the papal reform movement: a campaign with which Duke William II of Normandy was sympathetic.24 In the British Isles, also, the successive waves of church reform, beginning in the ninth century with the monastic reforms of the Carolingians, had an impact on the Insular churches, and though these churches were not greatly affected by papal reform before 1066, they did not escape the consequences of the ‘Investiture Contest’ – the great clash between the papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors that erupted in the late eleventh century.25 The Salian emperors had been strong supporters of reform of the secular church earlier in the eleventh century; indeed, the reformer, Pope Leo IX, had been an appointee, as well as a cousin, of the Emperor Henry III. By the reign of Henry IV, however, the inherent contradictions of lay sponsorship of a movement aimed at purifying the church had come home to roost with the emergence, under Pope Gregory VII, of a papacy determined to assert its control over the church, especially over episcopal appointments, at the expense of secular power.26 Although the cathedrals of the British Isles and Normandy were not affected directly by the Investiture Contest, the pattern of their development from the late eleventh century onwards was increasingly shaped by a more assertive and powerful papacy and the reform programme and observance of canon law it advocated.27 For example, the reforms included strictures against simony and the marriage of priests; and the developing canon law, which helped to provide the theoretical and theological underpinnings for the papal assertion of authority over a Europe-wide ecclesiastical hierarchy, stipulated that a bishop should have his seat in a civitas.28 This wider European context of ecclesiastical change always needs to be borne in mind when assessing the impact of the Normans on the churches of the British Isles in general, and on their cathedral communities in particular. 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Ibid., 217. Ibid., 193–4, 220–3. Ibid., 192–3, and see also 199, 201–2, 204, 209. For the reform movements, see I. S. Robinson, ‘Reform and the Church, 1073–1122’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, 268–334. I. S. Robinson, Henry IV of Germany, 1056–1106, Cambridge 1999, 105–236; Robinson, ‘Reform and the Church’, 275–9. H. E. J. Cowdrey, ‘Pope Gregory VII and the Anglo-Norman Church and Kingdom’, Studi Gregoriani 9, 1972, 77–114. Robinson, ‘Reform and the Church’, 270–1, 276, 279, 281, 306–9; I. S. Robinson, ‘The Institutions of the Church, 1073–1216’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, 368–460.

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There can be little doubt, nevertheless, that the Norman invasion of England and the spread of Norman power elsewhere in the British Isles catalysed many changes already under way. This was, of course, first evident in England. There bishops of Norman, French, Italian and German origins were appointed by the new Norman masters of the country in greater numbers after 1066 than they had been before. The process of removing Anglo-Saxon bishops began in earnest, and with papal support, with the deposition of several of them in 1070 and continued until the death of the last one, Wulfstan II of Worcester, in 1095. Thereafter, Anglo-Saxons were, with only very few exceptions, excluded from episcopal office and also gradually came to be replaced or supplemented, to some extent, by foreigners in cathedral communities.29 The influx of continental clergymen into English bishoprics and cathedral chapters continued after 1100 and (as Nicholas Vincent’s chapter shows) well into the thirteenth century, but in the twelfth century English and Norman bishops and Norman cathedral personnel also came to be drawn from the holders of English benefices.30 It was not only Anglo-Saxon cathedral personnel who suffered as a result of the Norman Conquest. Some English cathedrals were damaged and despoiled and lost land and other property to aggressive and acquisitive Norman secular lords, though some were successful in recovering their losses. In time, many fared very well under the Normans and were richly endowed during the reign of William the Conqueror (1066–87) or later.31 However, English cathedrals, like a number of cathedrals in Normandy, were also burdened with the obligation of providing the Norman kings with quotas of knights from their resources.32 The Normans continued the practice, already evident during the reign of Edward the Confessor, of moving the focus of some English bishoprics from small villages to larger, urban settlements, which placed them at the heart of centres of population, commerce, industry and culture.33 Although probably inspired, to 29

30

31

32

33

Councils and Synods ii, nos 86, 87, 91, pp. 565–80, 591–606; John of Worcester iii, 10–19; ASC, ‘D’, s. a. 1069, 1072; C. Cubitt, ‘The Institutional Church’, in A Companion to the Early Middle Ages: Britain and Ireland c.500–c.1100, ed. P. Stafford, Oxford 2009, 376–94, at 381; Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 57–8, 63. Brett, The English Church, 8–9; D. S. Spear, ‘The Norman Empire and the Secular Clergy, 1066–1204’, Journal of British Studies 21, 1982, 1–10, at 2, 4–10; N. Vincent, ‘The English Monasteries and their French Possessions’, 231–3. For examples, see P. Taylor, ‘The Endowment and Military Obligations of the See of London: A Reassessment of Three Sources’, ANS 14, 1991 (1992), 303–10; EEA, V, York 1070–1154, ed. J. Burton, Oxford 1988, xxiii; A. Williams, ‘The Cunning of the Dove: Wulfstan and the Politics of Accommodation’, in St Wulfstan and His World, ed. J. S. Barrow and N. P. Brooks, Aldershot 2005, 33–8; M. Ruud, ‘Monks in the World: The Case of Gundulf of Rochester’, ANS 11, 1988 (1989), 245–60; F. R. H. Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury: An Essay on Medieval Society, London 1966, 36–47. See Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury, 52–113; T. K. Keefe, Feudal Assessments and the Political Community under Henry II and His Sons, Berkeley and Los Angeles 1983, 1–19, 143, 157–8. Crediton moved to Exeter (1050), Ramsbury and Sherborne merged at Sherborne (1058), Dorchester moved to Lincoln (1072), North Elmham to Thetford (1070×2), Lichfield to Chester (1072×3), Sherborne to Old Sarum (ratified 1075), Selsey to Chichester (ratified 1075), Chester to Coventry (1089×93), Wells to Bath (1090), and Thetford to Norwich



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some extent, by respect for the prescriptions of canon law, this was far from being the only influence behind these moves.34 As Chris Lewis’s chapter shows, the removal of the centre of the bishopric of Lichfield to Chester 1072×3 and from Chester to Coventry 1089×93, ‘amounted to a sustained effort to strengthen existing links between the diocesan bishop and the three main monastic and clerical communities of the diocese at Lichfield, Chester, and Coventry, and make them more effective, both in the service of augmenting the bishop’s limited revenues, and in strengthening pastoral supervision of the diocese’. More generally, although the relocation of diocesan centres has ‘usually been understood as a single process of rationalisation driven by the urges to place cathedral churches in towns and create dioceses of reasonable size’, in actuality the reform left anomalies: Old Sarum was not a town, Lincoln was still an enormous diocese, and Ely was too small if convenient size alone were important. It is more helpful to think of three overlapping processes: the burst of activity in 1071–5; the longer rationalisation of 1050–1109; and the incremental monasticisation of the English cathedral from the 960s onwards.35

The transfer of episcopal centres could also be influenced by resources, security, the continental origins of many later eleventh-century bishops, a desire to escape the confines of small churches (sometimes owned by others),36 and episcopal ambition. The consequences of such moves were undoubtedly farreaching for the cathedral communities and the urban populations into which they migrated. Charles Insley’s chapter, which explores one of the pre-Conquest examples of this phenomenon, shows, for example, that such moves could have very important implications for the history, identity and collective memory of the cathedral communities affected. Insley’s study of the transfer of the diocesan seat of Crediton to Exeter in 1050 argues that the bishop involved in this, Leofric, utilised the opportunity to construct a new communal identity and history for his church in which King Athelstan was portrayed as the original founder of the monastery of Exeter, and in which Leofric himself was depicted as the great restorer of the see: a process closely linked to the establishment of a prestigious past for the new see at Exeter, the justification of the changes being made to the cathedral and diocese in 1050, and the accentuation of Leofric’s own achievements.37

34

35 36

37

(1094×6): C. P. Lewis, ‘Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy in the Diocese of Lichfield, 1050–1150’, 64–5. Respect for canon law was among the grounds cited by Bishop Leofric in 1050 when he sought papal approval to move his bishopric from the ‘little town’ of Crediton to the ‘more suitable’ civitas of Exeter: Councils and Synods i, no. 71, 525–33; see below, C. Insley, ‘Remembering Communities Past: Exeter Cathedral in the Eleventh Century’, 48. Lewis, ‘Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy’, 65. See, for example, B. Dodwell, ‘Herbert de Losinga and the Foundation’, in Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096–1996, ed. I. Atherton, E. Fernie, C. Harper-Bill and H. Smith, London 1996, 36–43, at 37, 39. Insley, ‘Remembering Communities Past’, 41–60.

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As well as resiting cathedral communities, the Normans made significant changes to their composition and organisation. As Chris Lewis points out, although none of the first generation of Norman episcopal appointees ‘imported monks to his cathedral’ before 1080, and one, Bishop Walchelin of Winchester, attempted to eject the monks from the Old Minster,38 after 1079 there were several new instances where a cathedral community incorporated a monastic element.39 At Rochester in 1080, and at Durham in 1083, secular clerks were replaced by communities of Benedictine monks.40 The abbeys of Bath, Coventry and Ely became the seat of bishoprics in 1090, 1089×93 and 1109 respectively, and a new monastic cathedral community was established at Norwich in c.1095. In addition, Augustinian canons established the cathedral community of the newly formed diocese of Carlisle in 1133.41 Whereas English, Welsh and Scottish cathedral churches adopted other aspects of European ecclesiastical norms during the twelfth century, such as territorial organisation, chapter structure and prebends, the persistence of monastic cathedral chapters marked the English cathedral church out in western Europe, though ‘the English episcopate was not particularly monastic by comparative standards’.42 The introduction during the Anglo-Norman period of the northern French model of the chapter in those English cathedrals that remained secular was accompanied by an increase in the size of cathedral communities, and was a major transformation. The new chapters were presided over by deans and other officials, had a range of religious, administrative and educational duties, and were commonly sustained by prebends. Only at Exeter did the observance by the chapter of the rule of Chrodegang persist into the twelfth century.43 The speed at which chapters, chapter officials and prebends were established, however, varied considerably from cathedral to cathedral, and in some of them the process was still under way in the late twelfth century.44 Another development, already in

38 39 40

41

42 43 44

Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum i, 104–7. Lewis, ‘Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy’, 65. W. M. Aird, St Cuthbert and the Normans: The Church of Durham, 1071–1153, Woodbridge 1998, chap. 3; R. A. L. Smith, ‘The Early Community of St. Andrew at Rochester, 604–c. 1080’, EHR 60, 1945, 289–99. Lewis, ‘Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy’, 65. For Norwich, see Dodwell, ‘Herbert de Losinga’, 36–43. For Ely, see E. Miller, The Abbey and Bishopric of Ely, Cambridge 1951; EEA, 31: Ely 1109–1197, ed. N. Karn, Oxford 2005, li, liii–liv. For Carlisle, see H. Summerson, ‘Old and New Bishoprics: Durham and Carlisle’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 369–80. On the other hand, a secular community of clerks (subsequently superseded by canons) at Old Sarum/Salisbury replaced the monastic community at Sherborne in the 1070s, and towards the end of the twelfth century attempts were made in some bishoprics to replace monastic chapters with secular ones: Fasti IV, xxi–xxiii; R.  Bartlett, England under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075–1225, Oxford 2000, 396. Bartlett, England, 399. Barrow, ‘Cathedrals, Provosts and Prebends’, 554. See Cowdrey, ‘The Structure of the Church’, 253–4; Barrow, ‘Cathedrals, Provosts and Prebends’, 555–63; C. Harper-Bill, The Anglo-Norman Church, Bangor 1992, 19; Loyn, English Church, 114; EEA, V, xxiii–xxiv; Taylor, ‘The Endowment’, 289; EEA, 18: Salisbury 1078–1217, ed. B. R. Kemp, Oxford 1999, xxxv–xxxvi, xli, xlvii; Fasti III, ix–xii;



INTRODUCTION  

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progress in a limited number of cathedrals before 1066, by which chapter and episcopal estates and possessions were separated, was considerably advanced during the late eleventh and twelfth centuries.45 The same period saw the proliferation of archdeacons who served as administrative and judicial agents of bishops, did so within new territorial archdeaconries, presided over their own courts and synods, and came to supervise rural deans who were responsible for territorial rural deaneries – though the development of territorial archdeaconries took much longer in some dioceses than others and in monastic cathedrals archdeacons were not usually part of the chapter.46 At the level of the parish clergy, English clerics survived into the twelfth century and family networking continued to be important for them, but there was a growing emphasis on the importance of clerical education.47 The Norman fondness for territorial units of ecclesiastical administration also impacted upon the church in Wales. There, as John Reuben Davies’s contribution to this volume shows, the Norman military and political advance was accompanied by the establishment of new territorial bishoprics, the territorial demarcation of existing ones, the reconstruction of cathedrals, and attempts to subject sees to the metropolitan authority of the archbishops of Canterbury. Davies argues that these developments were intimately linked with and shaped by the competitive utilisation by Welsh bishops of the power and influence of saints’ cults and relics to create or underline political and religious allegiances, and to establish the identity and assert the prestige and independence of their churches.48 The changes also owed something to growing papal assertiveness and an increasing rigidity in ecclesiastical hierarchies across Europe.49 As in England, these Welsh diocesan developments also involved the emergence of chapters, prebends and territorial archdeaconries and rural deaneries, although this occurred more slowly, except in the case of the cathedral of St Davids where the formation of the chapter and some of the archdeaconries occurred during

45

46

47 48

49

Fasti V, xviii–xxi; Fasti VI, xxii–xxv; Lewis, ‘Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy’, 65–8, 71, 75. See E. U. Crosby, Bishop and Chapter in Twelfth-Century England: A Study of the Mensa Episcopalis, Cambridge 1994, passim. The process was almost complete at St Paul’s, London, by 1066: Taylor, ‘The Endowment’, 288–9. See also V. King, ‘Ealdred, Archbishop of York: The Worcester Years’, ANS 18, 1995 (1996), 133; EEA, 31, xcii–xciv; Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury, 21–2. For exceptions to the general trend after 1066, see J. Barrow, ‘Clergy in the Diocese of Hereford in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries’, ANS 26, 2003 (2004), 44–5; EEA, 31, xcii. Councils and Synods i, no. 87, p. 580; Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 48–50, 136, 156, 247–9 (who notes that archdeacons existed in the Old English church); Loyn, English Church, 73, 75, 83–4, 114, 116; Barrow, ‘Clergy in the Diocese of Hereford’, 44; EEA, 31, lix–lxi; EEA, 18, xxxi; Brett, The English Church, 199–215. J. Barrow, ‘The Clergy in English Dioceses c.900–c.1066’, in Pastoral Care in Late AngloSaxon England, ed. F. Tinti, Woodbridge 2005, 17–26. J. R. Davies, ‘Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Wales’, 99–115. The Normans established their own bishops at Bangor in 1092, Llandaff in 1107, St Davids in 1115, and Llanelwy/St Aspah in 1141. See also Davies, Age of Conquest, 179–80. Cowdrey, ‘The Structure of the Church’, 257–62; Brett, The English Church, 28–30.

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the episcopate of Bishop Bernard (1115–48).50 As in England, the process owed much to the impact of the Normans, especially at St Davids, but was also influenced by European-wide developments, the policies of individual bishops and local circumstances, including the influence of local cathedral familia and Welsh reformers.51 The churches of Scotland and Ireland were also a focus of Norman ambition. After 1066 the archbishops of Canterbury and York attempted to assert their authority over them. In 1074, for instance, Archbishop Lanfranc secured a profession of obedience from Gilla Pátraic, bishop of Dublin, which described Lanfranc as Britanniarum Primas, while in 1096 the bishops of Dublin and Waterford were consecrated by Archbishop Anselm.52 However, in 1111 the synod of Ráth Bressail, which created in Ireland two provinces divided into bishoprics, effectively terminated Canterbury’s claims to primacy;53 and in 1152 the country was divided into four ecclesiastical provinces at the synod Kells-Mellifont.54 In relation to primacy over Scotland, the sees of which also came to be organised along more territorial lines, the archbishops of Canterbury competed with the archbishops of York who were more active in asserting their claims but, despite some notable achievements, were ultimately largely unsuccessful.55 As in Wales, most Scottish and Irish cathedral chapters emerged during the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.56 It is important to remember that the Norman Conquest of England and the spread of Norman power elsewhere in the British Isles had significant consequences for cathedral churches in Normandy. Although it has been rightly noted by David Bates that diocesan reorganisation in the duchy preceded the Norman Conquest of England and ‘in essence, as opposed to scale, owed little’ to its effects,57 the impact of the Conquest on the scale of the reorganisation and on other aspects of Norman cathedral development is an important question that invites further research. Some of the Norman bishops became leading figures in the new Norman regime in England and were richly endowed with English estates. These new interests are likely to have increased the length of their absences from their Norman sees, while at the same time providing them 50

51 52

53 54 55

56 57

Fasti IX, xxi–xxii. However, the prebends at St Davids were established in the second half of the twelfth century, and some of its chapter offices did not emerge until the thirteenth century. Fasti IX, xxiii–xxiv. Councils and Synods i, nos 90–1, pp. 586–606; S. Duffy, Ireland in the Middle Ages, Basingstoke 1997, 49–50; Gwynn, The Irish Church, 68–83; Brett, The English Church, 31; see also Gwynn, The Irish Church, 50–2, for the possibility that Gilla Pátraic’s predecessor, Bishop Dunan, was also consecrated by the archbishop of Canterbury. Brett, The English Church, 32–3. The Annals of Inisfallen (MS Rawlinson B. 503), ed. S. Mac Airt, Dublin 1951, s. a. 1111; Duffy, Ireland in the Middle Ages, 52–3; Gwynn, The Irish Church, 180–233. For York’s claims, see below 24. For the dioceses of Scotland, see Duncan, Scotland: The Making of The Kingdom, 256–308; G. W. S. Barrow, Kingship and Unity, Edinburgh 1981, 61–83. See n. 51 above. Bates, Normandy, 217.



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with huge new resources that could be utilised, either in the form of revenues or patronage, to further their aims and objectives in Normandy as well as England. The best example is probably provided by the Conqueror’s half-brother, Odo, bishop of Bayeux, who fought at the battle of Hastings, acquired lands in more than twenty English counties, and was made earl of Kent.58 As David Bates observes, ‘after 1066 the Bayeux chapter, which was in many respects unique, did become exceptionally large and was a training-centre for a career in English government’.59 The Norman passion for cathedral building, which led to the reconstruction of many of Normandy’s cathedrals during the eleventh century,60 began powerfully to manifest itself in England before 1100, and spread to other parts of the British Isles that fell under Norman influence. The Anglo-Norman period witnessed the widespread rebuilding of cathedrals within the British Isles, on a much grander scale than before and in new architectural modes. In England, almost all the Anglo-Saxon cathedrals were rebuilt during this period, at the same time as castles began to dominate the secular skyline. Concurrently, the monastic renaissance of this period, heralded by the arrival of the new continental religious orders in England, was accompanied by the construction and reconstruction of numerous religious houses. Churches were built on a lavish scale compared with that which had gone before, at first in the Romanesque style of architecture in vogue on the Continent, for example at Canterbury cathedral, rebuilt under Archbishop Lanfranc from c.1070, and at Winchester where construction was directed by Bishop Walchelin from 1079. From the 1140s, however, Romanesque architecture began to be superseded in northern France by the Gothic style that originated at St Denis near Paris in 1140–4 and heralded one of the greatest ages of cathedral building in western Europe. No fewer than eighty cathedrals were erected in Capetian France alone between 1180 and 1270 in this architectural style, referred to by contemporaries as ‘French work’ (opus francigenum) or the ‘new style’. Gothic architecture came rapidly to predominate in Normandy after the 1140s and from the 1170s influenced building and rebuilding programmes in England, including those undertaken at the cathedrals of Canterbury, Salisbury and Wells.61 58 59 60 61

For Odo’s career, see D. Bates, ‘The Character and Career of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux (1049/50–1097)’, Speculum 50, 1975, 1–20. Bates, Normandy, 217. Ibid., 213–14. Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 8; R. Gem, ‘English Romanesque Architecture’, in English Romanesque Art 1066–1200, ed. G. Zarnecki, J. Holt and T. Holland, London 1984, 27–40, at 27. For detailed discussions of the building of the cathedrals of Durham, begun in 1093, Lincoln, begun in 1072, Worcester, begun possibly in 1084, and Norwich begun c.1095, see M. Thurlby, ‘The Roles of the Patron and the Master Mason in the First Design of the Romanesque Cathedral of Durham’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 161–84; P. Kidson, ‘Architectural History’, in A History of Lincoln Minster, ed. D. Owen, Cambridge 1994, 14–46; N. Brooks, ‘Introduction: How do we know about St Wulfstan?’, in St Wulfstan, 16–18; P. Barker, ‘Reconstructing Wulfstan’s Cathedral’, in St Wulfstan, 167–88; R. Gem, ‘Bishop Wulfstan II and the Romanesque Cathedral Church of Worcester’, in Medieval Art and Architecture at Worcester Cathedral, British Archaeological Association Conference

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The impact of these cathedral building programmes was enormous, and extended far beyond the settlements in which the cathedrals were located. This can be seen in the case of Durham cathedral which can be said to have had a general influence on architecture in England and Scotland in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, namely in terms of decoration and of rib vaults … Durham is the first large building since the Conquest in which decoration plays a major part in the architectural effect. As such it can be said to mark one of the main turning points in Norman architecture in England, from the plainness of the first generation of buildings after 1066 to the richness of buildings in the decades after 1093. Interlaced arcading, chevron, and complex arch mouldings, all features of Durham, characterize buildings of all types thereafter.62

Similarly at Norwich, the new cathedral constructed after 1095 ‘was of prime importance for the development of Romanesque architecture in East Anglia … a home for skilled masons and a major centre for training young craftsmen’ whose impact ‘has been traced in many buildings’.63 The motives behind cathedral building projects were many and varied. The magnificent new cathedrals were constructed for the glory of God and His saints, but also reflected and symbolised the power and wealth of the aristocrats who built them. Nowhere is this more patent than at Durham where the Norman castle, originally founded in the early 1070s, and the new Romanesque cathedral, begun in 1093, still dominate the promontory on which the city is situated.64 Rivalries between bishops, cathedral chapters, other religious houses and townspeople also provided important stimuli to construction and the adoption of carefully considered architectural strategies.65 Building work also sprang from accidents and disasters. For example, when the great fire of 1174 devastated Lanfranc’s Romanesque cathedral at Canterbury, practical necessity proved an important spur to action for the monks of Christ Church, who keenly lamented its loss. One of their community, Gervase of Canterbury, felt sufficiently moved by the experience to claim that it was as if his brethren had been expelled ‘from the land of promise, yea, even from a paradise of delight’.66 The design and layout of Anglo-Norman cathedral churches also evolved over time to reflect the practical and spiritual needs of the clergy and the laity.

62 63 64

65 66

Transactions 1, 1978, 15–37; E. Fernie, ‘The Building: An Introduction’, and S. Heywood, ‘The Romanesque Building’, in Norwich Cathedral, 47–58, 73–115. For Gothic, see M. Camille, Gothic Art, London 1996, 27. E. C. Fernie, ‘The Architectural Influence of Durham Cathedral’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 269–79, at 275. M. Thurlby, ‘The Influence of the Cathedral on Romanesque Architecture’, in Norwich Cathedral, 136–57, at 157. M. Leyland, ‘The Origins and Development of Durham Castle’, and M. W. Thompson, ‘The Place of Durham among English Episcopal Palaces and Castles’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 407–24, 425–36, esp. 426. Camille, Gothic Art, 31. ‘Gervase of Canterbury: The New Architecture’, in Gothic Art, 1140–c. 1450: Sources and Documents, ed. T. Frisch, Englewood Cliffs 1971, 16; Gem, ‘English Romanesque Architecture’, 40.



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Changes to the physical forms of cathedrals were closely tied to changes in liturgical life. The growing prominence attached to processions influenced the position of altars within the new churches; they now needed to be sited in more accessible locations than before. At Salisbury, seventeen altars were recorded in the thirteenth century, all facing to the east and situated on the same level to facilitate ease of ingress and egress.67 Popular devotion to the Virgin Mary inspired the construction of Lady Chapels and resulted in special services dedicated to her.68 During the 1120s, for example, the celebration of the feast of the Conception of the Virgin gained momentum. In the decades that followed, many monastic and secular communities celebrated a daily mass of the Virgin, while a special ‘commemoration’ mass for the Virgin was celebrated on Saturdays.69 Cathedral structures might be multifaceted in purpose, but popular devotion to the saints offered religious communities additional means of locating themselves, and thereby demonstrating their importance, within earthly and heavenly hierarchies. The power of Durham cathedral and its religious community was enormously reinforced in 1104 when the earthly remains of the greatest Northumbrian saint, Cuthbert, whose reputation was said to have instilled fear even in William the Conqueror, were translated there. The rooting of Cuthbert’s sacred authority and cult in the new cathedral was just one example of the way in which the Normans respected and utilised indigenous saints and their cults after 1066.70 This was undoubtedly inspired by religious devotion. It also helped to legitimise and strengthen the Norman regime in England and Wales. There was a strong belief that dead saints exercised great power in the world, and they provided prestige, patronage, pilgrims and benefactions to the churches associated with them, especially those serving as their mausoleums. Indeed, as the chapter by Ann Williams shows, churches, including cathedrals, sometimes competed with each other for proprietary control of saints and their cults and were prepared to go to great lengths to win these battles. In order to defend the reputation of their saints and their own proprietary claims towards them, the monks of Canterbury cathedral were quite prepared to distort histories and Lives written about these saints in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries. The important historiographical corollary of this is that these sources and others written in the twelfth century based upon them, which have influenced our understanding of the Anglo-Saxon past, need to be treated with caution.71 From the twelfth century onwards, the growth in reverence for the cult of relics as a means of securing saintly intercession was accompanied by an increase

67 68 69 70 71

P. Draper, ‘Architecture and Liturgy’, in English Romanesque Art, 83–91, at 86. Ibid., 86–7. Ibid.; N. Morgan, ‘Marian Liturgy in Salisbury Cathedral’, in The Medieval English Cathedral, ed. J. Backhouse, Donington 2003, 89–111, at 97. S. J. Ridyard, ‘Condigna veneratio: Post-Conquest Attitudes to the Saints of the AngloSaxons’, ANS 9, 1986 (1987), 179–206. A. Williams, ‘The Dangers of Invention: The Sack of Canterbury, 1011, and the “Theft” of Dunstan’s Relics’, 27–39.

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in the number of pilgrims who visited holy shrines. Cathedral design accordingly evolved to provide for pilgrims, but in ways which attempted to accommodate and distinguish between the differing needs of lay and religious visitors alongside those of resident monks or canons.72 Lay access to shrines in the inner, eastern part of cathedral churches, for example, gave rise to choirs like that at Canterbury, built to house St Thomas Becket’s relics, where pilgrims were conducted around, and might touch, the saint’s shrine and his remains. At Canterbury, a specially constructed Trinity Chapel (completed c.1180) housed Becket’s bones, while the Corona to the east (completed c.1200) displayed the fragment of Becket’s skull.73 When it was necessary, screens were erected or heightened to provide enclosures to separate monks from pilgrims.74 Investment in Becket’s cult was undoubtedly an astute manoeuvre by the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury, the chief metropolitan cathedral in England. Perhaps the most remarkable consequence of Becket’s martyrdom in that cathedral on 29 December 1170 was the emergence of a saint’s cult which made Christ Church the most famous and most visited pilgrimage centre in the kingdom. Ronald Finucane has calculated that 703 miracles alone were recorded at Becket’s shrine during the decade after his death.75 Becket’s cult attracted royal devotees, as well as noble and non-noble followers. As Paul Webster discusses below, after the performance of public penance, Henry II, the king legally held to account for Becket’s murder, regularly paid his respects to St Thomas’s shrine, and Henry’s sons, Richard and John, became habitual visitors to Canterbury. Royal pilgrimages to Canterbury during the early years of John’s reign formed part of a tripartite itinerary of pilgrimage for this king which also took in the shrines of two important royal saints – St Edmund at Bury St Edmunds and St Edward the Confessor at Westminster – and which suggest that John was not as irreligious as is often supposed.76 It was a reflection of the international appeal and celebrity of St Thomas’s cult that it also attracted the patronage of the Capetian kings of France and their subjects. Christ Church was, as Nicholas Vincent’s chapter points out, one of a mere handful of English religious houses which secured grants of French properties and rights in the century after the Norman Conquest. It was a mark of the esteem in which Christ Church was held through its association with Becket, whose cult quickly spread to the Continent after his martyrdom in 1170, that this cathedral community 72 73

74 75

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P. Draper, ‘Enclosures and Entrances in Medieval Cathedrals’, in The Medieval English Cathedral, 76–88, at 81. P. Crossley, ‘English Gothic Architecture’, in Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England, 1200–1400, ed. J. Alexander and P. Binski, London 1987, 60–73, at 67; M. Gibson, ‘Normans and Angevins, 1070–1220’, in A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. P. Collinson, N. Ramsay and M. Sparks, Oxford 1995, 38–68, at 63–4. See also Draper, ‘Architecture and Liturgy’, 87. Draper, ‘Enclosures and Entrances’, 76–88, at 81. B. Dobson, ‘The Monks of Canterbury in the Later Middle Ages, 1220–1540’, in A History of Canterbury Cathedral, 69–153, at 70; R. C. Finucane, Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England, Basingstoke 1995, 123–6. P. Webster, ‘Crown, Cathedral and Conflict: King John and Canterbury’, 204–6.



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was the only English religious house to secure extensive patronage from France in the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries and to retain its French possessions into the late fourteenth century, long after other English religious houses had relinquished hope of preserving their sparse continental possessions.77 The appeal and fame of St Thomas’s cult was such that it led to the composition of a significant corpus of saints’ Lives, some of which were written by witnesses to Becket’s martyrdom. As Michael Staunton’s chapter explains, the circumstances of St Thomas’s death immortalised this archbishop’s association with Canterbury cathedral. Yet before his murder, Becket’s dual struggle to protect Canterbury lands and rights from secular encroachment and from the rival claims in spiritual affairs put forward by Roger de Pont l’Evêque, archbishop of York, and Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, had achieved little. However, even though Thomas’s archiepiscopacy was fraught with tension between Becket and the cathedral community at Canterbury, after his death the development of his cult was appropriated, embellished and nurtured by the monks of Christ Church.78 Cathedrals like Canterbury that were the focus of important cults could utilise them to build up enormous communities of devotees and friends. In the case of the cult of St Thomas these communities were of European-wide dimensions. Although not on the same scale, the monks of Durham cathedral were able to establish similar networks associated with the cult of St Cuthbert which extended throughout northern England and into southern Scotland, included the Scottish royal family, and are reflected in the names and confraternity bonds recorded in the Durham Liber Vitae.79 As well as being the focus of saints’ cults and the devotional communities associated with them, cathedrals in the Anglo-Norman world were often the hub of communities of learning; and these could also sometimes be of European dimensions. The great French cathedral schools of Paris, Chartres, Rheims, Orléans and Laon made an enormous contribution to the movement sometimes referred to as the ‘twelfth-century renaissance’.80 Although the cathedral schools of England and Normandy were generally not as distinguished, many of them were respectable centres of learning, influenced by continental scholarship and very much part of the intellectual community of Europe. Bishop Odo of Bayeux (1049–97) has been described as ‘an outstanding patron of learning’ who supported students to study at the prestigious school of Liège.81 Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury (1070–89), who was born in Pavia, was a notable scholar who had taught at the cathedral school of Avranches and developed

77 78 79

80 81

Vincent, ‘The English Monasteries’, 221–39. M. Staunton, ‘The Lives of Thomas Becket and the Church of Canterbury’, 169–86. See also Gibson, ‘Normans and Angevins’, 61. Barrow, ‘English Cathedral Communities’, 29; G. W. S. Barrow, ‘The Kings of Scotland and Durham’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 311–23, at 313–14, 316; V. Wall, ‘Malcolm III and the Foundation of Durham Cathedral’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 325–37. For the European context, see D. Luscombe, ‘Thought and Learning’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, 461–98. Bates, Normandy, 211, 216, quotation at 211.

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a distinguished school at the abbey of Le Bec before his elevation at Canterbury.82 His successor at Canterbury, Archbishop Anselm (1093–1109), a highly distinguished scholar from Aosta in northern Italy, also spent time at Avranches cathedral and became abbot of Le Bec before his promotion to the archbishopric.83 The importance of Canterbury as a seat of learning at this time is also reflected in the historical and hagiographical works written there by the Canterbury monk Eadmer.84 The writing of history also blossomed after 1066 in the cathedrals of Durham, Lincoln, Worcester and York.85 At Canterbury the household of Archbishop Theobald (1139–61) was ‘a training ground for future rulers of Church and State’, ‘fulfilled the functions later taken over by [universities and the Inns of Court]’, and included men learned in theology and canon law.86 At Salisbury, under the direction of Bishop Osmund (1078–99), the ‘community began the formation of a working library of very considerable size and importance, taking advantage of a unique variety of contacts with centres of learning in England and, more especially, on the Continent’; while Osmund’s successor, Bishop Roger, had two nephews, Alexander and Nigel, who attended the school of Laon before 1113, and brought Guy of Étampes, who studied at that school, to Salisbury ‘to teach grammar and rhetoric’.87 At Durham cathedral a number of notable scholars are known to have been active in the Anglo-Norman period, and Bishop William of St Calais (1081–96) gave forty books to the cathedral library. By the mid-twelfth century this library included 450 volumes, transmitted historical and hagiographical texts to a number of Cistercian and Augustinian houses in northern England, had an artistic influence on the production of manuscripts ‘over a region extending from the Scottish borders down to the Humber, and including Cumbria’, and ‘played a central part in the development of a distinctive, northern style of book production and decoration, which lasted into the thirteenth century’.88 At the same time English bishops were recruiting an increasing number of magistri, men schooled in a studium generale, to their households and cathedral chapters.89

82 83 84 85 86 87

88

89

H. E. J. Cowdrey, Lanfranc: Scholar, Monk and Archbishop, Oxford 2003. R. W. Southern, Saint Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape, Cambridge 1993. R. W. Southern, Saint Anselm and His Biographer, Cambridge 1963. Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 16; Huntingdon; Brooks, ‘Introduction’, 4–12. A. Saltman, Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury, London 1956, 165–77, quotation at 165. E. J. Kealey, Roger of Salisbury: Viceroy of England, London 1972, 24, 48–9; EEA, 18, xxxvi, xli quotation at xxxvi. See also T. Webber, Scribes and Scholars at Salisbury Cathedral, c. 1075–c.1125, Oxford 1992; Fasti IV, xxiii–xxiv. After Roger’s time Salisbury’s ‘importance as a centre of learning’ appears to have declined until the early thirteenth century when it had significant contacts with the schools of Paris and Oxford : Fasti IV, xxxvi–xxxvii. A. C. Browne, ‘Bishop William of St Carilef’s Book Donations to Durham Cathedral Priory’, Scriptorium 42, 1988, 140–55; B. Meehan, ‘Durham Twelfth-Century Manuscripts in Cistercian Houses’, and A. Lawrence, ‘The Artistic Influence of Durham Manuscripts’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 439–49, 451–69, quotation at 469. J. Barrow, ‘Education and the Recruitment of Cathedral Canons in England and Germany 1100–1225’, Viator 20, 1989, 117–37.



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The role of bishops in the administration of the Anglo-Norman dominions meant that cathedrals were also part of extensive governmental, patronage, familial and seignorial communities and networks. It is well known that these bishops were usually appointed by the Anglo-Norman kings, commonly drawn from the ranks of the royal administrators and chaplains, often continued to perform key roles in central government and the royal court after their appointment, and frequently had relatives who were also bishops or held other prominent ecclesiastical positions. One of the best examples of this is provided by the family of Roger, bishop of Salisbury, Henry I’s chief administrative official who governed England during the king’s absences.90 Roger’s nephew, Alexander, became bishop of Lincoln; another nephew, Nigel, served as Henry I’s treasurer and acquired the bishopric of Ely; and Roger’s son, Roger, and probable son, Adelelm, served as King Stephen’s chancellor and treasurer respectively.91 Like bishops, cathedral canons and monks were also part of a complex variety of networks and communities.92 For example, many of the more prominent of them were drawn from the same or similar social circles as the bishops. Indeed, it was common in England for bishops and powerful secular lords, including kings and royal officials, to establish their own relatives, friends and household or administrative officials as cathedral canons or chapter officials, or as tenants of ecclesiastical estates. In England, although the appointment of cathedral clergy from local baronial and knightly families could be important, it occurred alongside wider geographical and social recruitment, and some chapters remained largely immune from the influence of local aristocratic and knightly families. It was common for prominent canons to originate from beyond the diocese, secure positions in the royal administration or other ecclesiastical offices, and be absent from their cathedral chapters for considerable periods of time. The evidence indicates, therefore, that cathedral chapters tended to be diverse groups. They included members of varied social status, though family ties continued to be important among them, and were also accessible to those who sought promotion through education. As for the make-up of cathedral chapters in Normandy, according to David Spear: All power flowed from the ducal throne in general into the hands of the bishops who in turn controlled the composition of their cathedral chapters. Both the king and the bishop drew from their families and households to reward faithful service, and in turn drew from the canonries when looking for faithful and capable serv-

90 91

92

For Roger, see Kealey, Roger of Salisbury, 26–81. Ibid., 24, 159; EEA, 18, xxxix–xl. For other examples of ecclesiastical dynasties, see EEA, V, xxi, xxiv–xxv; Spear, ‘Power, Patronage and Personality’, 214–15, 219–20; idem, ‘The Norman Empire’, 4–5. For the details in this paragraph, see Barrow, ‘Clergy in the Diocese of Hereford’, 46, 48, 49; J. Barrow, ‘Origins and Careers of Cathedral Canons in Twelfth-Century England’, Medieval Prosopography 21, 2000, 23–40, esp. 39–40, 208; Barlow, English Church 1066– 1154, 70–1, 81, 86, 134; King, ‘Ealdred’, 123–37, at 126, 135; Brooks, ‘Introduction’, 20–1; EEA, 18, xlvii; Brett, The English Church, 108–11, 189–91, 201–2, 209–10.

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ants. Elite noble families shaped the chapters to some degree, but mostly in the context of their links to the duke, not as separate powers operating independently in their own right. The degree to which the various forces at work overlapped reinforced a particularly Norman conception of church organization which sprang from a ducal-dominated episcopate. On the other hand, when ducal or episcopal leadership was weak, power tended to flow back to the local level where the local chapter and local nobility would then influence the composition of the chapters more than otherwise.93

In England and Normandy the relationship between cathedrals and secular aristocratic communities was usually close and complex. As Stephen Marritt’s study below of the nature of this relationship in England shows, it had religious, social and political dimensions. Marritt’s chapter casts much light on the forms of and motives for lay aristocratic patronage of secular cathedrals, and the diverse functions and multifaceted authority of cathedrals in local and regional aristocratic society. Marritt argues that local lords generally had a closer involvement with cathedrals than magnates of higher status, explores the reasons for this difference, shows that some cathedrals became at times foci of local baronial communities, and contends that although ‘Secular cathedrals were not as central to baronial piety as monasticism … [they] were, nevertheless, recognised as religious institutions by barons, both in terms of personal benefits and as mother churches, and they had jurisdictional, social, and political importance’.94 As sites of communal worship and ceremony, recipients of patronage, hubs of political and jurisdictional influence, places of burial, and centres of confraternities, cathedrals were not only intimately involved with aristocratic communities but helped to generate and shape them. This involvement also sprang, in part, from the fact that cathedral communities were lords and landowners and stood at the head of honorial communities.95 Like secular aristocratic lords, bishops had households, and although episcopal households naturally included clergymen (some of whom were drawn from cathedral chapters) they often also included laymen who sometimes held offices bearing the same titles as the honorial officials to be found in secular lordly households. Like secular lords, bishops also headed honorial courts attended by their leading tenants (many of whom were laymen), which dealt primarily with cases concerning land.96 In England some bishops even had their own private hundreds.97 The urban location of cathedral communities and the considerable interests, possessions and rights they often held within towns and cities meant that they 93 94 95 96

97

Spear, ‘Power, Patronage and Personality’, 220. S. Marritt, ‘Secular Cathedrals and the Anglo-Norman Aristocracy’, 151–67, quotation at 167. For studies of episcopal and cathedral estates, see C. Dyer, ‘Bishop Wulfstan and His Estates’, in St Wulfstan, 137–49; Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury. For detailed studies, see the EEA volumes, e.g. EEA, V, xxxii–xxxvi; EEA, 18, lxii– lxxviii; EEA, 31, cv–cxxii; Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury, 251–64, 297–305; C. R. Cheney, Hubert Walter, London 1967, 158–71; Brett, The English Church, 173–85. For examples, see Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury, 297–305.



INTRODUCTION  

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also had close and complex relationships with urban communities, especially elite communities. This is illustrated at York. There Domesday Book (1086) and other evidence from c.1080 and 1106 reveal that the archbishop of York had one of the seven shires (probably administrative, financial and jurisdictional divisions or wards) into which the city of York was divided. There he had ‘as much as the king has in his own shires’, 189 inhabited dwellings before 1066, 100 inhabited dwellings in 1086, a court and houses occupied by canons, and income from pleas and taxes. In addition, by 1086 the archbishop held a third of another shire which ‘constituted a large shipping and marketing area’, and six of the eighty-four carucates of land in the tax of the city which were cultivated in places by the burgesses.98 Before the mid-twelfth century the archbishop of York also had a mint in the city and possibly also a fair there.99 At York, ‘the chapter and its members exercised a formative influence on the development of the city … they dominated landownership and the market in land, especially in the central area’.100 Similarly, at Worcester Bishop Wulfstan II held more land than anyone else in 1086, although during his pontificate the power of the bishop within the city declined considerably.101 There is considerable evidence of positive religious interaction between cathedral and urban communities. It was common, for example, for urban citizens to go to cathedrals to worship, receive baptism and alms, and be buried.102 In eleventh-century Normandy, ‘the Bayeux chapter recruited heavily from wealthy urban families, as also in all probability did that of Coutances which contained family groupings similar to those at Bayeux’.103 In England the much studied confraternity of Rochester cathedral reveals a strong spiritual and temporal relationship between this church and the burgesses of Rochester, and one – it has been suggested – that reinforced neighbourhood ties and consolidated ‘a new sense of community’ between English and Normans.104 As some cathedral confraternities were linked specifically to provision for the fabric of the church, and as it became common for townsmen and guilds to make endowments that stamped cathedrals with their own distinctive symbols and motifs, cathedrals became, in a sense, powerful physical manifestations of urban communal identity.105 On the other hand, the seigniorial, jurisdictional and taxation rights and

98

99 100 101 102 103 104 105

GDB 298a1–2 (Yorks. C); A. G. Dickens, ‘York before the Norman Conquest’, in VCH, Yorkshire: The City of York, ed. P. M. Tillott, London 1961, 2–24, at 19–24, quotation at 20. E. Miller, ‘Medieval York: The 12th and 13th Centuries’, in VCH, Yorkshire: The City of York, 25–113, at 38. Fasti VI, xxviii. R. Holt, ‘The City of Worcester in the Time of Wulfstan’, in St Wulfstan, 123–35, at 132–3. See, for example, Holt, ‘City of Worcester’, 134. Bates, Normandy, 217. H. Tsurushima, ‘The Fraternity of Rochester Cathedral Priory about 1100’, ANS 14, 1991 (1992), 313–37, at 331, 334, 336–7. For confraternities of the fabric, see C. R. Cheney, From Becket to Langton: English Church Government 1170–1213, Manchester 1956, 165.

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the liberties enjoyed by cathedrals within towns and cities were sometimes a source of conflict with urban authorities, including sheriffs, and must often have been resented;106 and although cathedral building projects provided work for many local tradesmen and craftsmen, they could also impact negatively upon the local community resident beyond cathedral precincts. New or refurbished cathedrals came at a high price. If bishops, archbishops and cathedral chapters provided much of the momentum behind such projects, local communities provided much of the finance, and the relationship between the two was not always happy. On a practical level, houses, shops and churches might have to be cleared to accommodate new structures. As Michael Camille has perceptively commented, ‘Cathedrals were not always the symbols of social harmony that we sometimes imagine’; while monks, canons and their benefactors viewed them as expressions of religious devotion and spiritual authority, townsmen and women whose tenements were destroyed might have regarded them in far less favourable terms.107 There was a tendency in eleventh- and twelfth-century Europe for urban residents to organise themselves into associations, sometimes referred to as communes, that sought financial and jurisdictional independence from authorities, such as bishops, cathedrals, earls and sheriffs, who exercised power over towns. On the Continent this often led to violent conflicts between bishops and townsmen.108 In England, although these tensions were not as marked, and bishops and cathedral communities could at times form close alliances with townsmen, their existence is nevertheless clear. At Worcester, for example, by the early thirteenth century the citizens denied ‘that the bishops of Worcester had ever exercised any lordship or rights of jurisdiction in the city’.109 And in Norwich, where the construction of the new cathedral after c.1095 involved the demolition of urban buildings and churches and the imposition of taxation, and appears to have inspired little popular enthusiasm, open tension between the cathedral and urban communities can be traced from the 1240s onwards and erupted into a violent attack by the citizens on the cathedral in 1272.110 These observations remind us that cathedral communities were often involved in a wide variety of conflicts. Sometimes these could be internal. Although good relations commonly existed between bishops and chapters, who shared many interests,111 many examples can be cited of tension, competition and discord between them. Sometimes this sprang from the division of church possessions between bishops and chapters; from attempts by bishops or their officials to chal-

106 107 108

109 110

111

See, for example, Williams, ‘The Cunning of the Dove’, 34–8. Camille, Gothic Art, 34. See, for example, the famous account of a conflict between the bishop and commune of Laon in 1112, in Self and Society in Medieval France: The Memoirs of Abbot Guibert of Nogent, ed. J. F. Benton, Toronto 1984. Holt, ‘The City of Worcester’, 132–3, quotation at 133. Dodwell, ‘Herbert de Losinga’, B. S. Ayers, ‘The Cathedral Site before 1096’, and N. Tanner, ‘The Cathedral and the City’, in Norwich Cathedral, 43, 59–72, 255–80 (at 255–61). EEA, 18, xxxiv.



INTRODUCTION  

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lenge, upset or readjust these divisions; from ideological differences; and from the widespread efforts of chapters to assert their financial, administrative and jurisdictional autonomy and corporate identity, including their right to exercise independent lordship over their own estates and revenues and appoint their own officials and members.112 Sometimes conflict was precipitated by attempts by some bishops to move their diocesan centres into monasteries, implement visitation rights over monastic chapters, establish their own officials alongside chapters, exercise seigniorial jurisdiction over chapter estates, depose or replace chapter officials, or receive the profession of novices; or by the election or behaviour of canons.113 Chapters could also be divided amongst themselves, for example over the issue of episcopal elections, as at St Paul’s, London, in 1134 and at Durham, Salisbury and York during the 1140s.114 As Sheila Sweetinburgh’s chapter reminds us, the internal organisation of those cathedrals which housed monastic communities created problems for bishops and archbishops who wished to maintain the clerks who staffed their personal households. Since they were unable to appoint their clerks to prebends within these cathedrals, some members of the senior clergy attempted to establish separate houses of secular canons, like the one which Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury wished to found at Hackington, to the north of Canterbury. Baldwin’s plans, which involved funding part of his project from a share of the offerings made to St Thomas’s shrine, met with fierce resistance from the start from the monks of Christ Church, fearful of the threat posed to them by a rival establishment. In fact, the archbishop became entangled in a long and bitter dispute with the cathedral monks which was played out not only in the cathedral and on the streets of Canterbury, but also in the royal courts of England and France, and at the papal curia in Rome.115 The number of parties involved in this dispute demonstrates the pervasive influence of cathedral communities in local and national affairs. And it was not the only dispute of this kind. The plans of Baldwin and his successor, Archbishop Hubert Walter, to establish a collegiate church at Lambeth led to an even more bitter and protracted dispute

112 113

114 115

For examples, see EEA, 31, xcv, xcix–c; Fasti II, ix; Fasti VI, xxv; Crosby, Bishop and Chapter, passim; Brett, The English Church, 191–6. EEA, 31, li, ci–ii; Loyn, English Church, 114; D. Matthew, ‘Durham and the AngloNorman World’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 13; R. A. L. Smith, Canterbury Cathedral Priory, Cambridge 1969, 6–8; G. V. Scammell, Hugh du Puiset, Bishop of Durham, Cambridge 1956, 128–67. A myriad of other conflicts could occur between bishops and chapters and their tenants: see, for example, Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury, 62, 84–7 Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 92, 96–9; A. Young, ‘The Bishopric of Durham in Stephen’s Reign’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 353–68; EEA, 18, xliii; EEA, V, xxx–xxxii. S. Sweetinburgh, ‘Caught in the Cross-Fire: Patronage and Institutional Politics in Late Twelfth-Century Canterbury’, 187–202. See also Gibson, ‘Normans and Angevins’, 66; Smith, Canterbury Cathedral Priory, 5; Webster, ‘Crown, Cathedral and Conflict’, 206, 215.

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with the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury, who saw it as a threat to their position as the metropolitan chapter.116 More broadly, cathedral communities, especially bishops, could come into conflict with kings. The issues at stake could include investiture and other aspects of church reform, recognition of and contact with popes, royal succession disputes, claims to primacy, the liberties of the church, the boundaries between royal and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, proprietary rights over land, seigniorial and tenurial obligations, possession of castles, treachery or alleged treachery during times of political conflict, morality, and episcopal elections, to name just some.117 The bitter dispute between Henry II and Archbishop Thomas Becket, concerning jurisdiction over criminous clerks and other issues, is the most obvious example from twelfth-century England;118 while the conflict between Henry’s son, King John, and the monks of Canterbury over the election of a successor to Archbishop Hubert Walter, examined by Paul Webster’s chapter, provides another example from the early thirteenth century.119 Both these disputes, and many others between kings and bishops, often involved and were complicated by the interests and policies of popes. The papacy’s promotion of administrative and religious reform within the Roman church, which was closely linked to the development of canon law, attempted to regulate relationships between bishops, cathedral chapters, the crown and the laity. The impact of this was clearly evident in England as early as 1093 when William of St Calais, bishop of Durham, appealed to Rome following his involvement in the 1088 rebellion against William Rufus and the king’s subsequent denial of St Calais’s request for a trial before an episcopal court.120 What is striking about Bishop William’s appeal is that it was the first recorded appeal by an English bishop to Rome after 1066, and that he cited a body of canon law in his defence. Such efforts to assert ecclesiastical independence from royal authority were usually vigorously resisted by Anglo-Norman kings, who were determined to maintain tight control of the church within their dominions, but sometimes achieved notable successes, especially during periods of royal weakness. For example, during the pontificate of Innocent III (1199–1216), the principle, if not necessarily the practice, of freedom from royal interference in episcopal and 116

117

118 119 120

Cheney, Hubert Walter, 135–57. For tensions between archbishops of Canterbury and the monks of their cathedral more generally, see Staunton, ‘The Lives of Thomas Becket’, 172–3. For examples, see Southern, Anselm, 254–307; D. Nicholl, Thurstan Archbishop of York (1114–1140), York 1964, 49–74; Kealey, Roger of Salisbury, 154–208; Saltman, Archbishop Theobald, 24–41. F. Barlow, Thomas Becket, London 1986, 88–250; Staunton, ‘The Lives of Thomas Becket’, 176–86. Webster, ‘Crown, Cathedral and Conflict’, 211–19. The main source for William of St Calais’s troubles is De iniusta vexacione Willelmi episcopi primi per Willelmum regem filium Willelmi magni Regis, ed. H. S. Offler, revised by A. J. Piper and A. I. Doyle, in Camden Miscellany 34, Camden Society, 5th series, Cambridge 1997. For discussion, see M. Philpott, ‘The De iniusta vexacione Willelmi episcopi primi and Canon Law in Anglo-Norman Durham’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 125–37; Aird, St Cuthbert and the Normans, 102–4, 142.



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archiepiscopal elections was conceded by King John’s charter of 1214 addressed to the church. A year later, the right to ‘freedom of elections which is thought to be of the greatest importance to the English church’ merited inclusion in Magna Carta.121 It was under Innocent’s watchful eyes that the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 was convened, attended by more than 400 bishops, 800 abbots and lesser churchmen, and representatives drawn from cathedral churches across Latin Christendom, including the British Isles.122 As well as addressing the education, responsibilities and behaviour of the clergy, Lateran IV ruled upon the composition of the electoral assemblies. It placed greater emphasis on the electoral role of cathedral chapters in a bid to limit the interference in ecclesiastical affairs of ‘outside voices’ such as the crown and the local nobility. In practice, this proved difficult to enforce, as royal servants and scions of local nobles continued to enter cathedral communities.123 But the growing prevalence of papal provisions meant that a growing number of papal candidates secured appointments to positions in cathedrals, a development that elicited an increasingly hostile response in England as the thirteenth century progressed.124 When a bishop who was a foreigner or an outsider secured election, cathedral monks or canons were sometimes highly aggrieved. The monks of St Swithun’s, Winchester, satirised their Poitevin bishop, Peter des Roches (1205–38), as ‘hard as rocks’.125 The political and administrative role of bishops meant that they were also frequently in conflict with the enemies of their kings and sometimes organised, assisted or even engaged in direct military or political action against them, or built castles and provided soldiers for this purpose.126 Some bishops were also deeply involved in the politics and fighting associated with the civil war of King Stephen’s reign (1135–54), and with John, count of Mortain’s attempt to secure power in England during King Richard’s absence from the country in 1191.127 As well as finding themselves on opposite sides in national political contests, bishops came into conflict with each other over a range of other issues. When the archbishops of Canterbury Anselm and Thomas Becket opposed their respective kings, they received some support but also much opposition from their fellow bishops.128 Another source of inter-episcopal conflict was rights of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In England from 1070 onwards the archbishops of Canterbury and 121 122 123 124 125 126

127

128

J. C. Holt, Magna Carta, 2nd edn, Cambridge 1992, appendix 6, 448–9 (chapter 1). C. Morris, Papal Monarchy: The Western Church from 1050 to 1250, Oxford 1989, 447. Ibid., 528. Ibid., 547–8. EEA, IX: Winchester, 1205–38, ed. N. Vincent, Oxford 1994, liv. For examples, see Loyn, English Church, 64, 78, 121; Brooks, ‘Introduction’, 10; Matthew, ‘Durham’, 6, 12; W. M. Aird, ‘An Absent Friend: The Career of Bishop William of St Calais’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 283–97, at 289; J. O. Prestwich, ‘The Career of Ranulf Flambard’, in Anglo-Norman Durham, 299–310, at 302; Cheney, Hubert Walter, 51, 92, 98–9; Nicholl, Thurstan, 213–38. E. King, ‘Introduction’, and C. Holdsworth, ‘The Church’, in The Anarchy of King Stephen’s Reign, Oxford 1994, 11–36, 211–15; Kealey, Roger of Salisbury, 154–208; EEA, 31, lxxiv–lxxv, lxxxvi–lxxxviii. See, for examples, F. Barlow, William Rufus, London 1983, 338–40; Barlow, Thomas Becket, 109–14; Staunton, ‘The Lives of Thomas Becket’, 176–85; EEA, 18, xliv–xlv.

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York engaged in a long-running dispute over the primacy of the English church, which also involved arguments about diocesan boundaries and rights over suffragans.129 The assertion of metropolitan authority by the archbishops of Canterbury was also resisted by Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, during the reign of Henry II, and by some of the Welsh bishops, as were the metropolitan claims of the archbishops of York over the Scottish church.130 Wulfstan II, bishop of Worcester, resisted efforts by Thomas I, archbishop of York, to assert metropolitan authority over the diocese of Worcester and to claim some of its estates.131 Bishops could also come into conflict with each other over land and liberties, as Archbishop Lanfranc and Odo, bishop of Bayeux, famously did during the reign of William the Conqueror.132 Although many Anglo-Norman bishops were monks and monastic founders, protectors and friends, disputes between cathedral communities and monasteries were common.133 As Gratian’s Decretum stipulated in the twelfth century, it was the bishop’s express responsibility to ensure that the appropriate standards of discipline were enforced in the monastic communities within his see.134 Disputes between bishops and monasteries often arose from monastic claims to exemption from episcopal jurisdiction, and episcopal interference in monastic affairs, including disciplinary matters and elections. They could also arise from attempts by bishops to annex monasteries to their bishoprics.135 Cathedral communities and monasteries also came into conflict over rights and revenues within towns, and over the right to bury influential aristocrats.136 As Richard Allen’s chapter examining relations between Rouen cathedral and the neighbouring abbey of St-Ouen shows, disputes between cathedrals and urban-based monasteries could be complex, multi-dimensional, and sometimes violent.137 Allen’s analysis demonstrates that the rivalry of these two institutions involved competition for the restoration of land and other benefices from secular lords, the architectural development of their churches, the acquisition of relics and attraction of pilgrims, the generation of literature, and the rights of the bishop within the 129

130

131 132 133 134 135 136 137

Loyn, English Church, 71, 108, 110; Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 38–9, 83, 109; Southern, Anselm, 330–64; EEA, V, xix–xxi, xxiv–xxviii; Staunton, ‘The Lives of Thomas Becket’, 178–82. Davies, Age of Conquest, 188–91; Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 32, 37, 39; Staunton, ‘The Lives of Thomas Becket’, 182–3; EEA, V, xx–xxiii, xxviii–ix; Nicholl, Thurstan, 111–50; Brett, The English Church, 14–28. Williams, ‘The Cunning of the Dove’, 25–31. D. R. Bates, ‘The Land Pleas of William I’s Reign: Penenden Heath Revisited’, BIHR 51, 1978, 1–19. For good relations between bishops and monasteries, see Brett, The English Church, 136–40. D. Williams, ‘Trouble in the Cathedral Close: Archbishop Boniface’s 1259 Visitation of the Priory of Christ Church, Canterbury’, in The Medieval English Cathedral, 15–22, at 15. See Loyn, English Church, 100, 111; Cheney, Hubert Walter, 41–2, 56, 58; EEA, 18, xli; Brett, The English Church, 134–6; Bates, Normandy, 214–15. See, for examples, Brett, The English Church, 93–4, 98–9. R. Allen, ‘The Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium and Urban Ecclesiastical Rivalry in Eleventh-Century Rouen’, 77–97.



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abbey. As Allen notes, attempts by monasteries to secure freedom from episcopal jurisdiction, visitation and other forms of interference were a frequent source of dispute elsewhere in France and England; and bishops and monasteries also engaged in tenurial disputes.138 The results of such rivalry were not always negative, however; they could help to generate magnificent and sensitively bespoke architectural developments. Indeed, Allen contends that the rivalry at Rouen led to building work at St-Ouen which championed ‘form’ over ‘function’ in its efforts to surpass its neighbour and which, in its turn, created a new and highly popular Romanesque motif – an echeloned eastern end – that ‘was repeated in almost twenty churches throughout the Anglo-Norman realm’.139 The breadth of the disputes in which bishops could become involved is explored in a Norman context by Thomas Roche’s chapter. Utilising the Black Book of the cathedral church of Bayeux to illuminate the career of Philip of Harcourt, bishop of Bayeux (1142–63), Roche reveals that the bishop was caught up in the civil war of King Stephen’s reign, disputes over succession to the see of Bayeux, arguments with abbeys over tithes, and conflicts with neighbouring secular lords over the control of lands, rights, monastic foundations and other resources. Roche’s study also highlights the range of strategies that Bishop Philip employed in these disputes, including the utilisation of papal, royal and aristocratic authority, inquests, conventiones, donations, and a ‘shared grammar of social gestures’. It provides clear examples of the increasing reliance which many religious institutions placed on appeals to Rome as the twelfth century progressed, and of the growing European authority and influence of the papal curia. It also underlines the fact that bishops sometimes acted as peacemakers as well as disputants.140 The role of bishops as peacemakers was partly a function of their duties as justices in the royal administration, co-presidency (in England) with earls or sheriffs of shire courts, and heads (sometimes in the capacity of papal judgesdelegate) of their own ecclesiastical and honorial courts.141 It also stemmed, of course, from their religious and pastoral responsibilities as representatives of Christ. Some of these bishops were instrumental in negotiating peace with foreign powers during the Norman Conquest, or between kings and subjects who were in dispute with them or had lost royal favour.142 Although many bishops were deeply involved in the political conflicts of Stephen’s reign, and several 138 139 140 141

142

Ibid., 75, 95–6. For an English example, see Williams, ‘The Cunning of the Dove’, 32–8. Allen, ‘The Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium ’, 93–4, 96, quotation at 96. T. Roche, ‘A Bishop and His Conflicts: Philip of Bayeux (1142–63)’, 117–30, quotation at 127. For these duties, see Kealey, Roger of Salisbury, 26–81; Cheney, Hubert Walter, 5–6, 9, 41–2, 58, 70–1, 90–103, 172; Cheney, From Becket to Langton, 7, 139, 141–2, 144; EEA, 31, lxxxi, lxxxiv; Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 137, 149, 151, 154; Brett, The English Church, 148–61; C. Morris, ‘From Synod to Consistory: The Bishops’ Courts in England, 1150–1250’, JEH 22, 1971, 115–23; EEA, 18, xlvi. For examples, see Ruud, ‘Monks in the World’, 252–5; King, ‘Ealdred’, 126–9; Loyn, English Church, 67–8; Cheney, Hubert Walter, 82–7, 111; Webster, ‘Crown, Cathedral and Conflict’, 210.

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PAUL DALTON, CHARLES INSLEY and LOUISE J. WILKINSON

were even accused of wearing swords and armour and riding ‘with the haughtiest destroyers of the country’,143 as Paul Dalton’s chapter shows, some of them also took steps, sometimes in conjunction with cathedral chapters, not only to protect their interests and those of other religious communities but to limit and settle the military conflicts that threatened the wider community of the realm.144 In conclusion, the history of the development of cathedrals in the AngloNorman world, and of their interaction with the social, political, religious and economic communities that surrounded them is an enormous and unquestionably important subject, but one that has received less attention than the history of monasticism in this period. While no single-volume work can possibly hope to redress the balance entirely, this book makes a significant contribution to tilting the scales. In doing so it casts important new light on various key aspects of the evolution of religious institutions that were an intrinsic element of the fabric of medieval society, and whose profound significance and awe-inspiring grandeur endure to this day.

143 144

Gesta Stephani, ed. K. R. Potter and R. H. C. Davis, Oxford 1976, 156–7. P. Dalton, ‘Ecclesiastical Responses to War in King Stephen’s Reign: The Communities of Selby Abbey, Pontefract Priory and York Cathedral’, 131–49.

1 The Dangers of Invention: The Sack of Canterbury, 1011, and the ‘Theft’ of Dunstan’s Relics Ann Williams

In 1184 Glastonbury Abbey experienced a disastrous fire, which necessitated a general rebuilding. Money was urgently required, and it was presumably in an attempt to boost the lucrative pilgrim traffic that the monks claimed to have discovered – or rather rediscovered – the remains of no less a person than St Dunstan, one-time abbot of Glastonbury, and archbishop of Canterbury. The story of the finding of the relics, and their original arrival at Glastonbury, is narrated in a long passage added to William of Malmesbury’s De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie.1 It tells how, during the reign of ‘the famous King Edmund, called Ironside in his native tongue’, the Danes landed in eastern England, and brought the whole of Kent under their control.2 Among other atrocities, they captured Ælfheah, archbishop of Canterbury (1006–12), drove the monks from the metropolitan church, ‘and destroyed everything by fire’. Presently King Edmund came to Glastonbury, and described to Abbot Beorhtred and his monks how ‘the church of Canterbury had been burnt and entirely bereft of inhabitants and religion’. The Glastonbury community then begged the king to let them fetch the relics of Dunstan to their own house, and Edmund readily agreed. Four named monks were selected to lead the expedition, chosen because they had once accompanied Dunstan from Glastonbury to Canterbury, and after his death had ‘committed his body to its burial place’; they had then remained at Canterbury until Ælfheah’s martyrdom, after which they returned to Glastonbury. With their assistants, they now went to Canterbury, opened the grave, and transported Dunstan’s remains to Glastonbury: the date is given as ‘the year

1

2

J. Scott, The Early History of Glastonbury: An Edition, Translation and Study of William of Malmesbury’s De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie, Woodbridge 1981, 72–9. The statement that St Dunstan’s remains were concealed for 172 years (counting from 1012) shows that the passage was composed after the 1184 fire. A marginal addition explains that Edmund (whose short reign belongs to 1016) was sharing the kingship with his father Æthelred because of the latter’s incapacity.

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of Our Lord 1012, the second year [sic] after the murder of the archbishop St Ælfheah and the twenty-fourth after St Dunstan’s final sleep’. The relics were taken to Glastonbury but not displayed there; instead the brethren determined to conceal their prize, fearing that ‘when the enemy’s fury had been appeased and the church of Canterbury restored … the archbishop … would demand back the relics’. Two senior brethren were appointed to dispose of the relics in a place known to themselves alone, and only when dying would they reveal that place to a single person ‘who would similarly disclose it to someone at the moment of his death’. In order that the relics should be identifiable, a painting of the saint was made, identified by the letters ‘S’ and ‘D’; it was placed inside the receptacle which held the bones, and the whole was interred ‘beneath a stone … beside the holy water on the right hand side of the monk’s entrance’. Here it lay hidden for 172 years, until it was discovered after the great fire of 1184, when the bones were taken up and placed in the shrine which also contained the shoulder and arm of St Oswald, king and martyr. This was not the first time the monks of Glastonbury had made such a claim. In the early twelfth century they, like many others, were engaged in documenting their community’s past, providing written accounts to replace oral traditions, refurbishing and embellishing their charters and diplomas, even (where necessary) forging documents where none existed. Though the account of Glastonbury’s dereliction when Henry of Blois became abbot in 1126 seems to be greatly exaggerated, the abbey had not been fortunate in its first post-Conquest head, the notorious Turstin, and the necessity to provide for its knight-service had exacerbated that lay encroachment on its estates to which all ecclesiastical institutions were prone.3 Abbot Herluin (1100–18) had already begun the process of recovering disputed land, both by purchase and by litigation, and his successor Seffrid d’Escures (1120×2–25) obtained a papal privilege confirming the abbey’s possessions.4 It is presumably in the context of Herluin’s endeavours that we should set the first attempt to appropriate St Dunstan, presumably made (as in 1184) in an attempt to boost his church’s revenues and enable him to expend the necessary cash, but we know of this earlier claim only through a letter in rebuttal of it, written in about 1120 by Eadmer of Canterbury.5 Eadmer’s letter reveals that the Glastonbury community was claiming that, a century earlier, monks of their church had been ‘assigned as keepers (custodes)

3

4 5

Scott, Early History, 1–3; ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘E’, s. a. 1083. It seems that Turstin did acquire a writ from William I confirming some of Glastonbury’s estates. Its authenticity has been doubted, but it is defended by Professor Bates; see Regesta: William I, no. 151, 504–6. Not all the land losses were due to lay encroachment; in De Antiquitate (chapter 74), the two immediately pre-Conquest abbots, Æthelweard and Æthelnoth, are blamed for squandering the church’s resources: Scott, Early History, 152–3. Scott, Early History, 158–65 (chapters 79–82). Memorials of Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. W. Stubbs, RS 63, London 1874, 412–22, discussed and translated in R. Sharpe, ‘Eadmer’s Letter to the Monks of Glastonbury concerning St Dunstan’s Disputed Remains’, in The Archaeology and History of Glastonbury Abbey, ed. L. Abrams and J. P. Carling, Woodbridge 1991, 205–15.

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for ours, which was at that time left desolate, so they say, on account of the martyrdom of our glorious father Ælfheah’. These guardians, far from fulfilling their remit, ‘invaded the womb of the mother they had come to protect, tore it open, looted her heart and bowels, snatched and carried away’ the corpse of St Dunstan.6 So far this is clearly a version of the story told in 1184, but in 1120 there were men (including Eadmer himself) who could remember the translation of Dunstan’s relics after the fire which destroyed Christ Church, Canterbury in 1067, and their subsequent reinstatement in the new building constructed by Archbishop Lanfranc. It seems that to cover this objection the Glastonbury monks had claimed that the translated body was not Dunstan’s, but that of an anonymous abbot of Glastonbury, substituted by the monks who had removed the saint’s corpse. Eadmer has a great deal of fun in rubbishing this part of the tale: they are said to have brought with them the corpse of one of their own abbots, whose name is unknown to those who put about the story, and to have set this in the holy father Dunstan’s coffin so that it should not stand empty. What forethought! Were there not bones of dead men between Canterbury and Glastonbury that it should have been necessary for them, in order to conceal their theft, to have carried the corpse of someone they knew not over a distance of perhaps 200 miles?

Nor was this the only implausibility in Glastonbury’s story. The body translated in the 1070s was (as Eadmer bore witness) clothed in archiepiscopal vestments, so that either the anonymous abbot had been buried in improper clothing, or the body of Dunstan, once it reached Glastonbury, was stripped of its gear, which was then used to deck the abbatial corpse. The second alternative assumes that the grave of Dunstan was left open for some two weeks, until the anonymous body, now dressed as an archbishop, was brought back to fill it. That grave, however, was, in Eadmer’s words ‘in the middle of the choir at the foot of the steps leading to the high altar … and at a great depth’. Did the Canterbury monks, he asks, really not notice the existence of such a gaping hole?7 There seems to be little doubt that Eadmer was in the right and the Glastonbury monks in the wrong about the location of St Dunstan’s remains. William of Malmesbury’s vita of St Dunstan makes no mention of a Glastonbury burial, nor does the original version of his De Antiquitate, produced, like the vita, at Glastonbury’s request; indeed William’s failure to include such a burial in De Antiquitate may have produced a certain coolness between himself and the Glastonbury community.8 The disagreement itself, however, was not unusual. There was a long tradition of furta sacra (‘holy thefts’), involving the removal of saints’ relics from the church in which they had been interred to another, ostensibly

6 7 8

Mem. S. Dunstan, 414; Sharpe, ‘Eadmer’s Letter’, 210. Eadmer’s remonstrance did not put an end to Glastonbury’s claims, which were still being urged in 1508 (Sharpe, ‘Eadmer’s Letter’, 208; Mem. S. Dunstan, 426–39). Scott, Early History, 4–5, 23.

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more worthy (or at least safer), resting place.9 Some forty years earlier, at the request of the monks of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, Goscelin of St-Bertin had composed a ‘hagiographical polemic’ against the community of St Gregory’s in the same city, who had claimed to hold the relics of St Mildryth, relics which, somewhat ironically, had been appropriated by St Augustine’s from Minsterin-Thanet in the 1030s. The dispute differs from that between Christ Church and Glastonbury in that St Gregory’s claim was made in writing, in the shape of a vita of Mildryth commissioned from the German scholar Bertram.10 The Glastonbury monks provided no such written corroboration, a failure for which Eadmer mocked them: ‘why did you not look overseas, where they have more experience, more learning, and know better how to make up such stories? You could even have paid someone to make up a plausible lie for you on a matter of such importance.’11 Little can be added to Richard Sharpe’s discussion of Eadmer’s letter itself, ‘a sidelight’, as he calls it, ‘on Christ Church’s devotion to its saints and a hostile commentary on the whole tradition of furta sacra’.12 It is the genesis of the Glastonbury account which may repay investigation. The crucial incident which allowed the claim to be made was the capture and sack of Canterbury by the army of Thorkell the Tall in 1011. The only strictly contemporary description of the city’s fall is that in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the surviving versions of which (the ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ recensions) are all derived from an account written before 1023 by a scribe based in eastern England, probably at London.13 As the Chronicle makes clear, the siege of Canterbury was the culmination of a sustained campaign which had begun in 1009, with the landing at Sandwich of ‘the immense raiding-army (se ungemetlice unfriðhere) which we called Thorkell’s army’. On this occasion the city of Canterbury avoided damage by levying a tribute (gafol) of £3000 on the people of East Kent, and the raiders took themselves off to harry Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire; in the following year they turned their attention to East Anglia and the east midlands, before returning to their camp on the Thames coast. Up to this point there seems to have been a state of truce between the raiders and the Kentish authorities, but, for unknown

9

10

11 12 13

P. J. Geary, Furta Sacra, Princeton, NJ 1984. Not all such removals were due to monastic rivalries; there was a flourishing trade in the theft of relics for sale in the tenth and eleventh centuries, from which the Old English kings in particular had benefited (Geary, Furta Sacra, 59–63). M. L. Colker, ‘A Hagiographical Polemic: Goscelin’s Libellus contra inanes sancti virginis Mildrethae usurpatores’, Medieval Studies 39, 1977, 60–108. For the translation to St Augustine’s, see S, no. 1472, and for the date (probably 1030), see R. Sharpe, ‘The Date of St Mildreth’s Translation from Minster-in-Thanet to Canterbury’, Medieval Studies 53, 1991, 344–54. Mem. S. Dunstan, 415, Sharpe, ‘Eadmer’s Letter’, 210. Sharpe, ‘Eadmer’s Letter’, 208. S. Keynes, ‘The Declining Reputation of Æthelred the Unready’, in Ethelred the Unready: Papers from the Millennial Conference, ed. D. Hill, British Archaeological Reports British series 59, Oxford 1978, 227–53.

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reasons, this ended in 1011.14 In that year, ‘the king and his counsellors sent to the army and asked for peace, and promised them tribute (gafol) and provisions’, and yet between the Nativity of St Mary and Michaelmas [8 September and 29 September], they besieged Canterbury, and they got inside by treachery, for Ælfmær, whose life Archbishop Ælfheah had saved, betrayed it. Then they captured there Archbishop Ælfheah, and the king’s reeve Ælfweard, and Abbess Leofrun, and Bishop Godwine [of Rochester]; and they let Abbot Ælfmær [of St Augustine’s] escape. And they took captive there all the ecclesiastics and men and women – and it was impossible for any man to tell how much of that people that was – and they stayed afterwards in that burh as long as they pleased. And when they had then thoroughly searched (asmeade) the whole burh, they went to their ships and took the archbishop with them … And they kept the archbishop with them till the time when they martyred him.15

Disastrous though the fall of Canterbury was, its notoriety was largely derived from the subsequent murder of Archbishop Ælfheah, by elements of the same army. The Chronicle’s entry for 1012 describes how the English witan, led by Eadric streona, ealdorman of Mercia, assembled at London, for the payment of the agreed gafol (£48,000) at Easter, which in that year fell on 13 April. Implicit in the account is the removal of the viking fleet to some nearby anchorage, probably Southwark or Greenwich. It was in their camp that on the Saturday the army became greatly incensed against the bishop because he would not promise them any money, but forbade that anything should be paid for him. They were also very drunk, for wine from the south had been brought there. They seized the bishop and brought him to their husting on the eve of the Sunday of the octave of Easter, which was 19 April, and shamefully put him to death there: they pelted him with bones and with ox-heads (hryðera heafodum), and one of them struck him on the head with the back of an axe, and he sank down with the blow, and his holy blood fell on the ground, and so he sent his holy soul to God’s kingdom.

On the following day, the archbishop’s corpse was carried to London, where it was received by Eadnoth, bishop of Dorchester-on-Thames, Ælfhun, bishop of London, and the people of the city, and buried in St Paul’s minster. The Chronicle adds that ‘God now reveals there the power of the holy martyr’, a statement which not only attests to the fact that Ælfheah was venerated almost from the moment of his death, but to the contemporaneity of the Chronicle’s account, since his body was removed to Canterbury in 1023. A second almost contemporaneous version of Ælfheah’s martyrdom survives in the seventh book of Thietmar of Merseberg’s Chronicon, written between 14 15

For the movements of Thorkell’s army, which may have been based at Rochester, see A. Williams, Æthelred the Unready: The Ill-Counselled King, London 2003, 97–101. ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘CDE’, s. a. 1011. A short verse on the archbishop’s misfortunes inserted between the ultimate and penultimate sentences was probably composed independently of the annal (see n. 41 below).

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1014 and 1018.16 Thietmar admits that his knowledge of English affairs is slight (understandably enough, since he was a native of east Saxony) and undertakes to relate only what he had learnt from ‘a reliable witness’, whose name, Sewald, might imply that he was an Englishman.17 If it was Sewald who supplied the material behind Thietmar’s garbled and inaccurate account of Cnut’s siege of London in 1016, his reliability must be considered suspect, though the role which he gives to Æthelred’s widowed queen as commander of the English defence is born out by Scandinavian tradition.18 As for Thietmar’s account of Ælfheah’s martyrdom, this is not, of course, identical with that in the AngloSaxon Chronicle – it would be very suspicious if it were – and there is an immediate difficulty in that he calls the victim ‘Dunstan’; he does, however, correctly name Thorkell as the leader of the viking force.19 In Thietmar’s version, the archbishop initially promised a ransom to the Danish army, but ‘when the designated time was past’ and the money was demanded, he refused payment on the grounds of poverty.20 This provoked the rage of the assembled host, whose members ‘took up various weapons with the intention of killing him’. Thorkell himself attempted to prevent the murder, promising his companions gold and silver and whatever he had or could acquire, with the sole exception of his ship, but ‘their anger could only be satisfied by the innocent blood, which they caused to flow freely by hitting Dunstan [sic] with the skulls of cattle (capitibus boum), showering him with stones, and striking him with sticks’; the ox-heads (hryðera heafodum) also occur in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Thietmar’s description of the archbishop’s stole, ‘formerly white with the innocence of his mind and body, but now tinted red with blood’, implies his martyrdom, and he concludes with 16 17

18

19 20

Ottonian Germany: The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseberg, ed. D. A. Warner, Manchester 2001, 61. Ottonian Germany, 335; ‘Sewald’ might represent Old English Sæweald. Thietmar’s interest in English matters arose from the involvement of one of his bêtes noires, Swein Forkbeard, king of Denmark and (briefly) England, and brother-in-law of Boleslav ‘the brave’, duke of the Poles (992–1025), a thorn in the side of the Emperor Henry II. R. G. Poole, Viking Poems on War and Peace, Toronto, Buffalo and London 1991, 89, 113. The Encomium Emmae Reginae does not mention Emma’s presence in London in 1016, but by the time of its writing Emma was anxious to distance herself from her first marriage, and present Cnut as her only husband: Williams, Æthelred the Unready, 140–2. Thietmar’s statement that it was an Englishwoman (perhaps Swein’s daughter-in-law Ælfgifu of Northampton, Cnut’s wife) who arranged the removal of King Swein Forkbeard’s body from England to Denmark is perhaps also accurate, since a similar story does appear in the Encomium; Encomium Emmae Reginae, ed. A Campbell, Camden Classic Reprints, Cambridge 1998, 79–80; Williams, Æthelred the Unready, 127. If Thietmar was told of the assassination of an unnamed archbishop of Canterbury, it would be natural for him to supply the name of the best-known incumbent of the see. The language of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is ambiguous and it is not absolutely clear that the ‘Saturday’ on which the archbishop refused to allow a ransom to be paid is the same day as ‘the eve of the Sunday of the octave of Easter’ on which he was murdered. John of Worcester ii, 470–1, who used the Chronicle as one of his sources, assumed a week’s gap between the two events, saying that Ælfheah refused the ransom (of £3000) on Holy Saturday, but that the host ‘put off his death to the next Saturday’ (necem eius usque ad aliud sabbatum protelant).

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the exhortation that ‘we sinners should seek his intercession, through constant prayer, and believe that the divine majesty values him most highly’.21 Thietmar’s confusion of Ælfheah with Dunstan precludes use of this account as evidence for the former’s veneration in Saxony in the immediate aftermath of his death, but his cult was well established in England by the time of his translation in 1023. There was, however, no written account of that translation, nor any pre-Conquest vita, and it was this lack of written evidence which troubled Archbishop Lanfranc, who queried the basis of Ælfheah’s sanctity in the 1070s. He was won over, as is well known, by Anselm, who, on a visit from Bec in 1079, argued that although Ælfheah did not die for his faith, he nevertheless died for justice, since his murder was provoked by his determination that the poor of his diocese should not be burdened by the need to raise his ransom.22 Anselm’s interest in the saints of Canterbury was a consequence of his friendship with the Canterbury monk Osbern, and it was Osbern whom Lanfranc commissioned, in or soon after 1080, to compose a liturgical historia for St Ælfheah, ‘probably a full Matins service with lessons, antiphons and responsories’.23 This historia does not survive, but we do have Osbern’s subsequent prose vita of the saint.24 The lack of written sources meant that he had little to go on, and the vita consists of a few known facts ‘eked out’, to quote Sir Richard Southern, ‘with a great deal of imaginary discourse and rhetorical elaboration and a little unwritten tradition’. The similarity between the accounts of the archbishop’s death in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and in Thietmar’s Chronicon suggests that this postulated ‘unwritten tradition’ included an oral description of the murder, circulating in the immediate aftermath of the archbishop’s death and perhaps for some time afterwards.25 It is Osbern’s treatment of his meagre sources which has a direct bearing on the Glastonbury story of the removal of Dunstan’s relics.26 His purpose was to display Ælfheah’s fitness for sanctity, which he did by contrasting the archbishop’s innocent goodness with the terror, treachery and violence of the times in which he lived. The method is exemplified by his account of the siege of

21 22 23 24

25 26

Thietmari Merseburgensis episcopi chronicon, ed. R. Holtzmann, MGH Scriptores rerum Germanicarum n. s. 9, Berlin 1935, Book 7, § 42–3; translated in Ottonian Germany, 336–7. The Life of St Anselm by Eadmer, ed. R. W. Southern, 2nd edn, London 1972, 50–4. P. A. Hayward, ‘Translation Narratives in Post-Conquest Hagiography’, ANS 21, 1998 (1999), 72. Anglia Sacra, ed. H. Wharton, 2 vols, London 1691, ii, 122–48; for the sequence of composition, see J. Rubinstein, ‘The Life and Writings of Osbern of Canterbury’, in Canterbury and the Norman Conquest, ed. R. Eales and R. Sharpe, London 1995, 35. Osbern also composed an account of the 1023 translation, printed, translated and discussed in R. Morris and A. R. Rumble, ‘Translatio Sancti Ælfegi Cantuariensis archiepiscopi et matyris’, in The Reign of Cnut, ed. A. Rumble, Leicester 1994, 283–315. R. W. Southern, Saint Anselm and His Biographer, Cambridge 1966, 250. For the problems associated with Osbern’s description of his hero’s early life at Deerhurst and Bath, see P. Wormald, How do we know so much about Anglo-Saxon Deerhurst?, The Deerhurst Lecture, Deerhurst 1993, 8–9.

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Canterbury in 1011.27 Osbern begins with the arrival in England of the Danish vikings, in his version led by Swein and Thorkell, both called duces, though Swein of course was king of Denmark, and was not, in fact, one of the leaders of the ‘immense raiding-army’. The entire host is described as pagan, which was certainly not true in Swein’s case, and probably not in Thorkell’s either, but it is essential for Osbern’s vita that his hero should be martyred by the heathen. He alleges that it was only after Swein’s death (which didn’t occur till 1014) that Thorkell became the sole leader of the host, which raged throughout the country killing and burning. All this while Ælfheah continued to preach the word, redeem prisoners and feed the hungry; he even managed to convert some of the heathen themselves in the process.28 At this point, Eadric Streona, ealdorman of Mercia, makes an appearance. Osbern describes him as a man of low birth, whose eloquence earned him such wealth and rank that the king ‘appointed him governor over his whole realm’ (totius imperii sui praefectum statuerat).29 He then retails a story, unknown elsewhere, about an unnamed brother of Eadric, as greedy and proud as himself, who seized the property of some Kentishmen, as a result of which they killed him and burnt his house. When the affronted Eadric asked the king for redress, however, Æthelred answered that the anonymous brother had got his just desserts. Eadric then set out to ravage Kent on his own account, and when he was unsuccessful, allied with Thorkell; they arranged to divide the kingdom between them, and began by attacking Canterbury. As E. A. Freeman observed a long time ago, it is not hard to ‘resolve this fable into its component parts’.30 Eadric’s pre-eminence among Æthelred’s ealdormen emerges from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which singles him out as the leader of the witan in the annal for 1012.31 The Chronicle is also consistently hostile to Eadric, presumably because of his treacherous dealings with Cnut in 1015, which culminated when he started the flight at the battle of Assandun in the following year. But though Eadric certainly campaigned with Cnut in 1015–16, he was not campaigning with Thorkell in 1011, nor sacking the metropolitan see of Canterbury; he did, however, sack

27 28

29

30 31

Anglia Sacra ii, 131–6. This is probably the origin of John of Worcester’s claim that the man who despatched the archbishop with a battle-axe, whom he names Thrym, had been confirmed by Ælfheah on the previous day: John of Worcester ii, 470–1. Thrym (Old Norse Thrymr) attests diplomas of Cnut in the 1020s, occasionally as dux, though he seems to have been in fact a thegn; see S. Keynes, ‘Cnut’s Earls’, in The Reign of Cnut, 43–88, at 64. Anglia Sacra ii, 132; see John of Worcester ii, 460–1 and note 3. Osbern’s description of Eadric (‘ready of wit, smooth of speech, he surpassed all men of that time, both in malice and treachery and in arrogance and cruelty’) is lifted word for word by John of Worcester. E. A. Freeman, The History of The Norman Conquest of England, 6 vols, Oxford 1870–9, i, 660. ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘CDE’, s. a. 1012. Hemming describes Eadric as quasi subregulus, and the Life of Abbot Æthelwig preserved in the Evesham Chronicle says that he was ‘super omnes potentiores huius terrae’: Hemingi Chartularium Ecclesie Wigornensis, ed. T. Hearne, 2 vols, Oxford 1723, i, 280–1; Chronicon Abbatiae de Evesham, ed. W. D. Macray, RS 29, London 1863, 81.

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St Davids in the following year.32 As for his quarrel with the Kentishmen, this may have been suggested by the dispute, recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 1009, between Brihtric, Eadric’s brother, and the South Saxon thegn Wulfnoth cild, which caused the collapse of the great ship-levy in that year, and was immediately followed by the arrival ‘after Lammas’ of Thorkell’s immense raiding-army.33 After this prologue, whose inaccuracy does not inspire confidence, Osbern drops both Thorkell and Eadric, and proceeds to the siege of Canterbury itself. He says that after the city had been invested for three weeks, the suburban houses closest to the walls were set alight; the east wind fanned the flames so that the fires spread inside, and when the defenders abandoned the walls to save their own properties, the Danes were able to storm the city. There follows a highly charged description of wholesale slaughter in the burning streets, culminating in a round-up of all the surviving men, ecclesiastical and lay, and the killing of nine out of every ten, so that only four monks and 800 laymen were left alive. The cathedral itself was looted and set alight, and the archbishop, having seen his community massacred, and the mother-church of the whole kingdom incinerated, was carried off into captivity. Osbern’s account of the siege was subsequently used by John of Worcester, who, in a typical ‘scissors and paste’ exercise, knitted it together with the description in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to form his own version. Yet the two stories are quite clearly at variance. Almost the only thing they have in common (apart from the capture of Ælfheah) is the three-week siege (8–29 September). In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’s account, the city fell not by storm, but by the treachery of Ælfmær, apparently an associate of Ælfheah, who had saved his life in unspecified circumstances; John of Worcester’s assertion that this Ælfmær was archdeacon of Canterbury seems to be simply a guess (the incident is not mentioned in Osbern’s vita).34 No fires are mentioned in the Chronicle’s account, nor any slaughter of the inhabitants, though it does record the capture of all the ecclesiastics, and an uncountable number of men and women. Apart from the archbishop, only two ecclesiastics are named, Bishop Godwine of Rochester, and Abbess Leofrun, both of whom seem to have been ransomed.35

32 33 34 35

Annales Cambriae, ed. J. Williams ab Ithel, RS 20, London 1860, s. a. 1012; J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales, London 1939, 350–1. ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘CDE’, s. a. 1009; S. Keynes, The Diplomas of King Æthelred ‘the Unready’, 978–1016, Cambridge 1980, 216. John of Worcester ii, 468–9. If Leofrun is rightly identified as abbess of Minster-in-Thanet (John of Worcester II, 468–9), its demise a few years later may indicate that the payment of her ransom was the last straw for a house already in difficulties: Williams, Æthelred the Unready, 108. By 1012 the community may already have been resident at St Mildred’s, Canterbury, rather than at St Mildryth’s, Minster-in-Thanet; see further S. Kelly, Charters of St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury, and Minster-in-Thanet, Anglo-Saxon Charters 5, Oxford 1995, xxx–xxxi. Bishop Godwine was the beneficiary of one of the first royal diplomas issued in 1012 (S, no. 926), perhaps in recompense for whatever he had been obliged to lay out in ransom; one of the witnesses might be Thorkell the Tall: Williams, Æthelred the Unready, 112.

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Nor is there much indication in the Chronicle of an outright sack. In describing the vikings’ sojourn in Canterbury, the Chronicle says that they went to their ships ‘when they had thoroughly searched the whole city’ (þa hi hæfdon þa burh ealle asmeade). The verb asmeagan means ‘to look closely into, to examine, to devise, to plan’; it is used in the annal for 1006 (by the same hand as the annal for 1011) for the despairing deliberations of the English when faced by another Danish raiding-army: ‘no one could think or conceive (man ne mihte ge þeoncan ne asmeagan) how to drive them from the country’.36 A ‘thorough search’ conducted by a large viking host was probably not a pleasant experience; vikings were not noted for restraint, nor for leaving behind any valuables which they could conveniently carry off, and doubtless many citizens of Canterbury lost life and limb as well as property in the process. Indeed the praise poem which Ottarr Svarti composed for Olaf the Stout, a participant in the siege, described how ‘fire and smoke played fiercely upon the dwellings’, while Olaf ‘destroyed the lives of men’. Some poetic licence must, however, be allowed; Ottarr had fallen foul of Olaf and his verses, part of a ‘head-ransom’ (Höfudlausn) intended to avert his subject’s wrath, may exaggerate Olaf’s prowess.37 When Olaf’s regular skald, Sighvatr Thorðarson, came to treat the same event, he said merely that the portreeves of the city could not defend it, and that as a result ‘much sorrow befell the gallant partar’ (i.e., the English).38 As for the destruction of Christ Church, it is difficult not to conclude that Osbern’s vivid description of the conflagration, which includes the collapse of the burning roof-timbers and the inflow of melting lead into the building’s interior, derives from the great fire of 6 December 1067, which he must have witnessed.39 The assertion that the cathedral was burnt in 1011 as well as sacked is repeated by John of Worcester – ‘then Christ Church was pillaged and burnt’ (spoliata comburitur) – but once again, there is no hint of this in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which should surely have noted the combustion of the mother-church of England and the cradle of English Christianity; the fire of 1067 appears in all three surviving recensions.40 Even the little verse lamenting Ælfheah’s fate, which is inserted into the Chronicle’s account, is silent on this subject, dwelling on the captivity of the archbishop, but not the destruction of the metropolitan church: ‘he was then a captive who had been head of the English people and of Christendom. There could misery be seen where happiness was often seen

36

37

38

39 40

ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘CD’, s. a. 1006; ‘E’ has asmægian. In the 1011 annal, Dorothy Whitelock translated asmeade as ‘ransacked’, but ‘thoroughly searched’ seems more appropriate; see The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, ed. M. J. Swanton, London 1996, 142. Höfudlausn, stanza 10, translated in EHD I, no. 13; see Williams, Æthelred the Unready, 107–8. Ottarr’s hero is the future king, St Olaf, here earning some of the cash which enabled him to gain (eventually) the kingship of Norway. Sighvatr’s poem is edited, translated and discussed by C. Fell, ‘Víkingavísur’, in Speculum Norroenum: Norse Studies in Memory of Gabriel Turville Petre, ed. U. Dronke, Odense 1981, 117. Sharpe, ‘Eadmer’s Letter’, 211, n. 11. ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘A’, s. a. 1066; ‘DE’, s. a. 1067.

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before, in that wretched city from which first came Christianity and happiness in divine and secular things.’41 In terms of its purpose, Osbern’s vita of Ælfheah must be counted a success; before both were eclipsed by Thomas Becket, Ælfheah was equal with Dunstan as the premier saint of Canterbury.42 It was, however, Osbern’s portrayal of the sack of Canterbury and the destruction of Christ Church in 1011 which allowed the monks of Glastonbury to lay claim to Dunstan’s relics. When Eadmer was obliged to refute this claim, he had to contradict, or at least emend Osbern’s story in several respects: the church was at no point destitute of its own sons, nor was the city of Canterbury ever emptied of its people … When the blessed martyr [i.e., Ælfheah] suffered death, the church itself was not burnt, nor were its roof or walls damaged. For we know it was profaned and looted of many ornaments, and that an attempt was made to burn it, by a fire started from the outside, so that the savage troops could force out the bishop, protecting himself within when the invader had ordered him to leave. When he came out and they seized him, they abandoned their fire and their other traps set to catch him. They killed a few monks in his sight and took him away …43

Eadmer explicitly cites Osbern’s work only once, when he refers to the latter’s assertion that four monks were among those who survived the viking slaughter of the male population, but he uses this to demonstrate the continuance of the Canterbury community, adding (revealingly) that the four monks were accompanied by an unspecified number of clerks (clerici) ‘who assisted them in maintaining the service of the church’. Though it is entirely likely that Christ Church’s community in 1011 was composed of both secular and regular clergy, there is no need to believe that Eadmer’s account is any more accurate in depicting what actually happened than Osbern’s; setting fire to a building in order to force out the inhabitants was a common ploy, and not one used only by vikings.44 The point to notice is the adaptation of the story to meet the author’s current purpose, in Osbern’s case to emphasise Ælfheah’s holiness, in Eadmer’s to refute the idea that the Canterbury community fled or was slaughtered, necessitating the appointment of others as ‘guardians’. Both Osbern and Eadmer, like the monks of Glastonbury themselves, used a real event to bolster a particular

41

42 43 44

For discussion of the verse, see M. Home, ‘“These things we have written about him”: The portrait of King William in “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle” 1086E’, Anglo-Saxon 1, 2007, 238–68, at 257–60, 267–8. Rubinstein, ‘Osbern of Canterbury’, 36–7. Sharpe, ‘Eadmer’s Letter’, 211. It is unlikely that Christ Church’s community was fully monastic in 1011 (or for some time afterwards); see N. Brooks, The Early History of the Church of Canterbury, Leicester 1984, 255–61. In 1080, the murderers of Bishop Walcher of Durham (who were Northumbrians) set the church alight in order to drive out the bishop and his companions who had taken refuge inside; all, including the bishop, were killed as they fled the burning building: Symeon of Durham, Libellus de Exordio atque Procursu istius, Hoc est Dunelmensis ecclesiae, ed. D. Rollason, Oxford 2000, 216–19.

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line of argument, and selected details to support it; the facts of the matter, real or invented, could be tailored to suit different occasions. It is this flexibility of presentation which makes the use of twelfth-century (and later) writers so problematic as sources for pre-Conquest history. It is frequently assumed, either explicitly or implicitly, that these writers had access to materials, both oral and written, which have subsequently been lost. This may well be so, but oral accounts in particular are unsatisfactory in that by nature they must be both partial (in both senses of the word) and subject to modification through repetition; tellers may forget some elements, or add their own comments and interpretations to the ‘original’ relation. In the account of Ælfheah’s murder, for instance, there is disagreement over the ransom demanded by the vikings: in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Ælfheah consistently refused to pay any money; in Thietmar’s Chronicon, the ransom was promised but the archbishop changed his mind and would not pay; and when Osbern incorporated the story into his vita the ransom, demanded but never agreed to, amounted to £3000, a figure repeated by John of Worcester.45 As the original events recede ever further into the past, details become vague to the point of irrelevance; what counts is the thrust of the story. Thus in 1184 the Glastonbury monks cast Edmund Ironside, a king of heroic proportions, as the instigator of their trek to rescue Dunstan’s relics, rather than the actual ruler in 1012, his father Æthelred, whom twelfthcentury opinion regarded as a lazy incompetent. It was not that the true facts had been forgotten; it was known in 1184 that Æthelred was reigning in 1012, for it was felt necessary to add a marginal addition to De Antiquitate, explaining that Edmund was sharing the kingship with his father, because of the latter’s incapacity. It is a plausible solution, but it bears no relationship to the real situation in 1012, when not only was Æthelred sole king, but his heir (and thus potential partner) was not Edmund but his elder brother Æthelstan ætheling. Edmund’s appearance as ‘king’ in 1012 is based not on any lost source, oral or written, but on the exigencies of the story itself. Medieval historians not only had their own agendas, but were just as likely as anyone else to fill any gaps in their inadequate sources not just from hypothethically ‘lost’ materials, but also (or instead) with inferences and theories of their own. Sometimes the picture presented by later writers is demonstrably inaccurate, a point which can be illustrated by the treatment of Thorkell the Tall. It is curious that such a prominent leader found no skald to record his exploits, unlike his contemporaries, St Olaf the Stout, Cnut, and Erik of Hladir. As a result, later commentators were left to embroider the meagre details provided by the AngloSaxon Chronicle and the Encomium of Queen Emma.46 In the Vita Elphegi, Osbern presents a traditional picture of a heathen pirate, but Thorkell fades out of the picture as the siege of Canterbury proceeds, and (perhaps as a result) John of Worcester’s account of the event ignores him completely. William of Malmesbury, however, who certainly knew of Osbern’s account, developes Thorkell’s 45 46

Anglia Sacra ii, 137–8; John of Worcester ii, 470–1. For the problems of Thorkell’s career, see Encomium Emmae Reginae, 73–82; Keynes, ‘Cnut’s Earls’, 54–7.

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role to the extent of making him the instigator of the stoning of Ælfheah.47 Yet in the almost contemporaneous account of Thietmar of Merseberg, Thorkell attempts to save the archbishop, and even offers to pay for his release. This is not directly corroborated by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which does not mention Thorkell in this context, but it is clear that Thorkell was the leader of the fortyfive ships which entered Æthelred’s employ after the archbishop’s murder, and though it was not unprecedented for English kings to hire forces which had previously been harrying their lands, this is not the only suggestion of a change of heart engendered by Ælfheah’s death.48 Someone carried the archbishop’s corpse to London on the day after the murder, where it was received by Eadnoth of Dorchester and Ælfhun of London, and since no English agency is mentioned in respect of its transportation, it must have been undertaken by someone from the viking host, perhaps Thorkell himself.49 The contemporary picture of Thorkell is thus almost exactly the opposite of the picture presented by William of Malmesbury in the twelfth century. The point that this discussion has sought to convey is that more than lipservice should be paid to the proposition that contemporary sources should be preferred to later ones, and that details given by later sources for which no earlier corroboration can be provided should be treated with the utmost caution. The dangers of accepting uncritically the assumption that ‘they must have known more than we do’ are exemplified by this cautionary tale of the ‘theft’ of Dunstan’s relics. Osbern’s exaggeration of the sack of Canterbury allowed the monks of Glastonbury to mount a campaign which was at least plausible and necessitated the modification of his account by Eadmer. However neither account is valid evidence for what happened in 1011; both are conditioned by the intentions and needs of those who wrote them. In the case of the sack of Canterbury, we have a contemporary account with which to compare the later adaptations. Even more care should be taken where no such account exists. Where the layers of embroidery can be stripped away, the picture given of Old English history by twelfth-century historians (which is still influential even today) can sometimes be seen to be rather different from that derived from the annoyingly sparse contemporary sources. As Samuel Butler is alleged to have remarked: ‘it has been said that although God cannot alter the past, historians can; it is perhaps because they are useful to Him in this respect that He tolerates their existence’.

47 48 49

Malmesbury, Gesta Regum i, 300–1, 320–1; ii, 160–1. ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘CDE’, s. a. 1012, 1013; Encomium Emmae Reginae, 10–11. ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘CD’, s. a. 1012; ‘E’, perhaps appreciating the difficulty, reverses the word-order to make the bishops bring the body to London. The killing of the archbishop may not have been intentional but rather the result of a bout of drunken horseplay which went wrong: see I. McDougall, ‘Serious Entertainments: A Peculiar Type of Viking Atrocity’, Anglo-Saxon England 22, 1993, 201–25.

2 Remembering Communities Past: Exeter Cathedral in the Eleventh Century Charles Insley

The subject of ‘memory’ and ‘commemoration’ has become a popular field of study for medievalists over the last few years, often linked to the similarly fashionable subject of identity. Over the last ten or so years, through the work of scholars such as Chris Wickham and James Fentress, Michael Clanchy, Patrick Geary, Amy Remensnyder and Matthew Innes, we now have a greater and more nuanced appreciation of the role memory, remembrance, commemoration and the past played in early medieval societies, as well as the way in which these societies and communities set about constructing memoria and a sense of the past; how they remembered and how they forgot; and the structures and strategies individuals and communities used to remember.1 Historians no longer create an opposition between collective memory, seen as organic, social and non-constructed, and history, seen as a political, intentional and manipulative process. Equally, there is less of a tendency to equate oral culture with collective memory and written culture with history: it is undoubtedly true that the eleventh and twelfth centuries saw a great increase in the use of the written word but it is rather less clear whether this was accompanied by a transition between memory and history. Historians are aware that ‘memory’, whether individual or collective, could be every bit as deliberate and synthetic as ‘history’. This work has opened our eyes to new ways of using particular types of evidence. Much of what follows concerns charters and ecclesiastical archives, and it is the work of Patrick Geary, Amy Remensnyder and Karin Ugé, in particular, from which I take my lead in approaching the question of archival memory and material such as cartularies, monastic chronicles, traditionsbücher/gift-notice lists and libri vitae. This is especially relevant in an eleventh-century context, a 1

J. Fentress and C. Wickham, Social Memory, Oxford 1992; M. T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, 2nd edn, Oxford 1993; P. Geary, Phantoms of Remembrance: Memory and Oblivion at the End of the First Millennium, New Jersey 1994; A. Remensnyder, Remembering Kings Past: Monastic Foundation Legends in Medieval Southern France, Ithaca 1996; The Uses of the Past in the Early Middle Ages, ed. Y. Hen and M. Innes, Cambridge 2000; see also K. Cubitt, ‘Memory and Narrative in the Cult of Early Anglo-Saxon Saints’, in Uses of the Past, 29–66.

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period which was seen even at the time as one profoundly dislocated from the past.2 No longer do we necessarily approach monastic archives in a positivist way, searching for ‘facts’, ‘authenticity’ or ‘historical’ events, nor do we necessarily seek to reconstruct some sort of traditional ‘linear’ historical narrative: we recognise that the past as represented in many of these texts was fragmented and episodic and contingent on the present.3 Instead we look at how and why such archives were assembled: what imperatives governed the processes of collection, recollection and selection; and what crises or traumas might have been the spur for the ordering or reordering of the past. We look at cartularies not simply as neutral collections of charters but as a distinct genre of historical writing – even as literary sources – different from but similar to sacred biography, with equally specific functions; though historians such as Lifshitz would reject such modern notions of genre when looking at the sort of narratives produced from the ninth to the twelfth centuries.4 We do not now simply assume that cartularies were purely concerned with the organisation of lands, privileges and jurisdiction, but that they provide us with an invaluable snapshot of how an institution, be it a noble family, such as those Bavarian and Burgundian families studied by Geary, or the southern French monasteries studied by Remensnyder, viewed itself at the point at which the cartulary was made.5 Such material gives us an insight into the identity of an institution and the role of individuals within that institution: the abbot, for instance, who had the cartulary made, or his scribes. What were their priorities and purposes? What were they hoping to achieve? What we are concerned with here is how an institutional ‘identity’ might be created and how a shared understanding of the past and its relationship to the present might inform that identity. What were the relationships between ‘identity’, ‘memory’ and the processes of remembering? How did institutions recreate, or in some cases, create their pasts, and what was the relationship of this ‘past’ to the present? The work of the last fifteen years has revolutionised the way in which scholars approach early medieval history on the continent, but has had perhaps less impact on insular scholarship. Even in relatively recent editions of collections of archival material there seems to be a series of inbuilt positivist assumptions about the nature of artefacts such as cartularies or collections of charters – that they are simply neutral collections of documents, whose reliability as historical sources can be established and from which ‘facts’ can be extracted.6 Very seldom does the artificial nature of cartulary material – its ‘constructedness’ – inform its

2 3 4 5 6

Geary, Phantoms; Remensnyder, Remembering Kings Past; see also K. Ugé, Creating the Monastic Past in Medieval Flanders, York 2005. Ugé, Creating the Monastic Past, 10–15. Geary, Phantoms, 102–3; F. Lifshitz, ‘Beyond Positivism and Genre: “Hagiographical” Texts as Historical Narratives’, Viator 25, 1994, 95–113, at 102–4. Geary, Phantoms, 48–80; Remensnyder, Remembering Kings Past, 215–88. See, for instance Bassett Charters, c.1120–1250, ed. W. T. Reedy, Pipe Roll Society n. s. 50, London 1995; this is far from being the only example of this approach.



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treatment, nor do we often see discussions of the processes which lay behind the collection of such material – in essence, the processes of remembering, editing those memories and forgetting.7 The particular subject of this discussion is the bishopric of Exeter in the eleventh century and its tenth-century predecessors, located at Crediton in Devon and St Germans in Cornwall.8 The sources for early Exeter history are relatively poor: unlike the institutions studied by Geary, Remensnyder, Ugé and others, there are no obviously straightforward ways into the institutional memory of Exeter such as cartularies, hagiography or libri vitae. We are dependent on a disparate variety of sources for the history of Exeter: charters, relic lists and other assorted material copied into liturgical books and, in one case, a book of poetry, the great compilation of Anglo-Saxon verse known as the ‘Exeter Book’.9 The common thread to the material that this discussion explores is that, as far as can be discerned, it was all produced, copied or annotated in the middle years of the eleventh century, during the episcopate of Leofric, bishop of Crediton and St Germans from 1046 and bishop of Exeter from 1050 until his death in February 1072.10 What I shall argue is that, although there is no single ‘memorial’ text for Exeter, in the programme of work carried out by Leofric’s scriptorium we can see a clear attempt to reshape the past of the communities which comprised Leofric’s see. Before we move on to a discussion of the sources for Leofric’s episcopate, a brief outline of the history of the bishopric is perhaps necessary to contextualise Leofric’s activities and to provide a traditional ‘scientific’ history of the see, compiled from sources not explicitly connected with the bishop.11 Three components made up the see of Exeter, as created in 1050: the bishoprics of Crediton and St Germans and the monastery of St Peter and St Mary, Exeter.12 Just how much continuity there was between late and immediately post-Roman Exeter and the Anglo-Saxon settlement we can glimpse in Willibald’s Life of Boniface, or in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 877, when

7 8

9 10

11 12

Although see F. Tinti, ‘From Episcopal Conception to Monastic Compilation: Hemming’s Cartulary in Context’, Early Medieval Europe 11.3, 2002, 233–61. For the history of the church in the south-west see: The Early Church in Western Britain and Ireland, ed. S. Pearce, British Archaeological Reports British series 52, Oxford 1982; L. Olson, Early Monasteries in Cornwall, Woodbridge 1989; K. Jankulak, The Medieval Cult and Relics of St Petroc, Woodbridge 2001; P. Conner, Anglo-Saxon Exeter: A Tenth-Century Cultural History, Woodbridge 1993; The Charters of Exeter, Crediton and St Germans, Anglo-Saxon Charters 16, ed. C. Insley, Oxford forthcoming, 1–47. Exeter, Dean and Chapter, MS 3501; The Exeter Anthology of Old English Poetry; An Edition of Exeter Dean and Chapter MS 3501, ed. B. J. Muir, 2nd edn, Exeter 2000. F. Barlow, ‘Leofric, Bishop of Exeter (d.1072)’, ODNB, www.oxforddnb.com/view/ article/16471; Leofric of Exeter: Essays in Commemoration of the Foundation of Exeter Cathedral Library in A.D. 1072, ed. F. Barlow, Exeter 1972, 7. See Appendix 4. See Charters of Exeter, no. 28. The foundation of the new see in 1050 is described in the surviving single sheet version of the foundation charter, Exeter, Dean and Chapter, MS 2072; S, no. 1021.

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Exeter was attacked by the vikings, is unclear.13 The Roman basilica was on roughly the same site as the tenth-/eleventh-century church, although on a different alignment.14 The area seems to have become the site of a cemetery by the end of the fifth century; this was followed by a mid-Saxon cemetery and then by the apsidal church present during Leofric’s day.15 The apse dates from the tenth or eleventh century, although the nave may have been earlier. According to Willibald’s vita of St Boniface, there was a monastery at Exeter in the last quarter of the seventh century, since the saint received his education there under an Abbot Wulfheard.16 Whether this monastery was on the site of an earlier British community is impossible to say and the exact dedication of this early foundation is also unclear. The eleventh-century material refers to both Petrine and Marian dedications, sometimes individually, sometimes as a joint dedication.17 Frances Rose-Troup suggested that there may have been a double community of both men and women at Exeter, although there is no other evidence for this and, indeed, urban double communities were almost unheard of in early Anglo-Saxon England.18 Mary Clayton suggested that a Marian dedication had been added to an original Petrine one at some point in the later tenth century.19 Alternatively, the Marian dedication may have reflected a rededication of the church in the 930s, after Athelstan’s final subjugation of the British of Cornwall.20 The most recent commentators, John Blair and Nicholas Orme, have argued for an early dual dedication.21 The history of the monastery is largely a blank between the end of the seventh century and the end of the ninth, when the house next surfaces in the historical record. According to Alfred the Great’s biographer Asser, he – Asser – was given the church and all its parochia, probably at some point in the 890s.22 Whether Asser was acting in a suffragan capacity at Sherborne and Exeter was part of this arrangement is unclear and something that can be argued about ad infinitum. 13 14 15 16 17

18

19 20 21 22

Vita Bonifatii, ed. W. Levison, MGH Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum in Usum Scholarum, Hannover 1905, p. 6; ASC, ‘D’, s. a. 877. C. G. Henderson and P. T. Bidwell, ‘The Saxon Minster at Exeter’, in Early Church, 145; M. Todd, The South-West to AD 1000, London 1984, 248. Henderson and Bidwell, ‘Saxon Minster’, 148–50. Vita Bonifatii, 6. Of the early charters copied/forged at Exeter during Leofric’s episcopate, S, nos 386 and 387 have dual dedications, S, no. 389 and two of the three versions of S, no. 433 are dedicated solely to St Mary, while the version of S, no. 433 dated 937 contains a dedication to St Peter alone: see J. Hill, ‘The Exeter Book and Lambeth Palace Library, MS. 149: The monasterium of Sancta Maria’, American Notes and Queries, n.s. 1, 1988, 4–9, at 7–8. F. Rose-Troup, ‘The Ancient Monastery of St Mary and St Peter at Exeter (680–1050), Transactions of the Devon Association 63, 1931, 179–220, at 179–86; William of Malmesbury (Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum ii, 201) also refers to the ejection of nuns from Exeter by Leofric in 1050, although this is almost certainly erroneous. M. Clayton, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Saxon England, Cambridge 1992, 133–7. Charters of Exeter, 16–18. J. Blair and N. Orme, The Anglo-Saxon Minster and Cathedral at Exeter: Twin Churches?, Friends of Exeter Cathedral 65th Annual Report, Exeter 1995, 24–6. S. D. Keynes and M. Lapidge, Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and other Contemporary Sources, London 1983, 96–7.



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Quite what Exeter’s parochia was is also unclear: it may have simply been the area in which the minster church had estates and dependent churches, or it may have referred to a much wider area of territorial jurisdiction, perhaps akin to the wide territorial jurisdictions held by some Cornish churches or the parochia of Irish monastic churches.23 We should not forget that Exeter in the ninth century was very much on the frontier between West Saxon and British communities. According to the (admittedly not always reliable) William of Malmesbury, there were British inhabitants in Exeter until the 930s, and Asser’s position and authority may have been more like that of bishops in Frankish frontier zones.24 There may have been a new phase of building on the site of the monastery in the early tenth century, perhaps associated with the substantial benefactions which Exeter sources claim that Athelstan made, or at least with Athelstan’s activities in the south-west.25 In 968, according to John of Worcester, a monk called Sidemann was sent to Exeter to rule the monks ‘gathered there’.26 Sidemann was clearly someone of importance: he was tutor to the future King Edward the Martyr and part of the court establishment towards the end of the reign of Edgar (959–75) and Edward (975–8), and possibly an associate of the arch-reformer St Æthelwold, if anything is to be made of Sidemann’s burial at Abingdon on his death in 977.27 Within six years of his appointment to the monastery of Exeter he had been appointed to the bishopric of Crediton. Following Sidemann’s promotion, Exeter vanishes from sight once again in the historical record until the early eleventh century. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Exeter was sacked in 1003 and a rather dubious Exeter charter of 1019 (S, no. 954) refers to the burning of the monastery’s ‘ancient privileges’, which may have happened at the same time – or it may be that the sack of 1003 was a convenient point for the monastery or the later bishopric to lose/reshape material in its archive.28 In 1050, the monastery became the site of the new bishopric of Exeter, created by the union of the sees of Crediton and St Germans.29 Crediton may have been founded as a monastery in 739 by Bishop Forthhere of Sherborne.30 There is some doubt here, since the charter which attests Forthhere’s foundation is a very problematic text – it is likely that the document

23

24 25 26 27 28 29 30

H. P. R. Finberg, Lucerna, London 1964, 109–10; W. Davies, An Early Welsh Microcosm: Studies in the Llandaff Charters, London 1978, 145–6; K. Hughes, ‘The Celtic Church: Is this a Valid Concept?’, in Church and Society in Ireland, A.D. 400–1200, ed. K. Hughes, London 1987, no. XVIII, 15; Olson, Early Monasteries, 51–60. Malmesbury, Gesta Regum i, 216; C. R. Bowlus, Franks, Moravians and Magyars: The Struggle for the Middle Danube, 788–907, Philadelphia 1995, 133–5. Malmesbury, Gesta Regum i, 148; J. R. Maddicott, ‘Trade, Industry and the Wealth of King Alfred’, Past and Present 123, 1989, 3–51, at 38. John of Worcester ii, 418. ASC, ‘C’, s. a. 977; John of Worcester ii, 422; J. Raine, The Historians of the Church of York and its Archbishops, RS 71, 1879, 449. ASC, ‘D’, s. a. 1003; S, no. 954. S, no. 1021. S, no. 255.

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should be regarded as an eleventh-century forgery that might contain some genuine eighth-century material.31 It is perhaps significant that two later medieval Sherborne manuscripts, the Sherborne Missal and British Library, Cotton Faustina A. ii, attribute the grant of Crediton to the bishop of Sherborne not to King Athelheard, but to King Cynewulf (757–86).32 A fourteenth-century Exeter lectionary asserts that St Boniface was born at Crediton, which may have influenced the decision to site a monastery there, although equally it may simply have been influenced by the fact that Crediton was, as it is now, an attractive and fertile site in the middle Exe valley.33 In the early tenth century, perhaps in 909 and 910, the two huge dioceses of Winchester and Sherborne, which covered all of the kingdom of Wessex (modern Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall), were subdivided and a separate diocese of Crediton was created, along with new bishoprics at Ramsbury and Wells.34 A semi-mythical account of these events was in circulation by the end of the tenth century, to which I shall return later. An early tenth-century episcopal list, contained in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 183, names Eadwulf as the first bishop of Crediton and this seems to be borne out by the fragmentary charter evidence, where Eadwulf appears regularly as a witness to royal grants from the late 920s onwards.35 Like the other components of the see of Exeter, the bishopric of Crediton only features occasionally in our sources. Sidemann, already mentioned as abbot of Exeter, was bishop of Crediton from 973 to his death in 977.36 Another of his successors, Bishop Ælfwold, was notable for the bequests in his will, perhaps dating from between 1008 and 1012, which included a warship (scegð), two books (a hrabanum and a martyrology) and a considerable quantity of gold.37 From the death of Bishop Eadnoth, at some point between 1019 and 1027, Crediton was governed by Bishop Lifing. Lifing was at the heart of court politics through much of Cnut’s reign. He accompanied Cnut to Rome in 1027 and may have had a hand in drafting some of the legislation associated with Cnut. He was also an avid collector of bishoprics, being bishop of Worcester, Crediton and St Germans on his death in 1046, having only recently – and reluctantly – handed over the abbacy of Tavistock to Ealdred. Perhaps most notoriously of all, he had been implicated in the unpleasant death of the 31

32 33 34 35 36 37

N. P. Brooks, ‘The Development of Military Obligations in Eighth- and Ninth-Century England’, in England Before the Conquest, ed. P. Clemoes and K. Hughes, Cambridge 1971, 69–84, at 75–7; The Charters of Sherborne, Anglo-Saxon Charters 3, ed. M. A. O’Donovan, Oxford 1988, liv; H. Edwards, The Charters of the Early West Saxon Kingdom, British Archaeological Reports British series 198, 1988, 255–8. Sherborne, xlvii–xlviii. Rose-Troup, ‘Ancient Monastery’, 181. S, no. 1296; S, no. 1451a; M. A. O’Donovan, ‘An Interim Revision of Episcopal Dates for the Province of Canterbury’, Anglo-Saxon England 2, 1973, 91–113, at 109–10. O’Donovan, ibid.; Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 183, fols 61–4. Sidemann died at Kirtlington, Oxon., in 977, ASC, ‘C’, s. a. 977; John of Worcester ii, 422. S, no. 1492; Councils and Synods: with Other Documents Relating to the English Church I, A.D. 871–1204, ed. M. Brett, C. N. L. Brooke and D. Whitelock, 2 vols, Oxford 1981, i, 382–6.



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Atheling Alfred, brother of the future King Edward the Confessor and murdered in 1036.38 He was stripped of his bishopric of Worcester for a year in 1040 by Harthacnut, half-brother of the unfortunate atheling. The bishopric of St Germans seems to have been established a few years after its neighbour at Crediton, possibly in the later 920s or early 930s. There is strong evidence that far from being a new creation, St Germans was an existing Cornish episcopal centre and that its foundation was really a refoundation, following Athelstan’s final establishment of English power in Cornwall in c.930.39 In effect, what Athelstan may have been doing was taking an existing Cornish episcopal centre and incorporating it into the structures of English episcopal organisation, rather than establishing ab initio a new bishopric. Certainly, its earliest bishops all seem to have been natives of Cornwall; Conan, Daniel and Wulfsige Cemoyre would all appear to have been Cornish.40 If Athelstan had intended to establish an independent episcopal entity, with jurisdiction over Cornwall, then he was not entirely successful, since the new bishopric seems to have faced problems both within and without Cornwall until the end of the tenth century. Its relationship with its Devon neighbour was a difficult one and at various points through the tenth century the two bishoprics were in dispute over three estates in Cornwall which had originally been granted by Ecgberht, king of Wessex (802–39) to the bishop of Sherborne, to exercise pastoral authority over the Cornish.41 These estates passed to Sherborne’s successor in the south-west, the bishopric of Crediton. Following the establishment by Athelstan of St Germans, it would seem logical that these estates would then have been transferred to the new bishopric. Indeed, the bishops of St Germans certainly thought so.42 Nevertheless, Crediton attempted to hang on to these estates well into the later tenth century. If the disputed property had an explicitly pastoral function, then the dispute between the two sees was effectively about status and jurisdiction, in particular the right of the bishop of Crediton to exercise pastoral authority within Cornwall. Only at the intervention of Archbishop Dunstan in the 980s and early 990s was this dispute ended, final resolution coming in 994 in the form of a grant of privileges to the bishop of Cornwall by Æthelred ‘the Unready’.43 The bishops of St Germans may have also faced challenges to their authority within Cornwall. One of the more confusing aspects of Æthelred’s grant of 994 is that it refers to the ‘place and governance of St Petroc’ being given to the

38 39 40 41 42 43

John of Worcester ii, 522–6, 530; Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum ii, 201; V. King, ‘Ealdred, Archbishop of York: The Worcester Years’, ANS 18, 1995 (1996), 123–37, at 124–5. Olson, Early Monasteries, 51–6; Jankulak, St Petroc, 43–51; O’Donovan, ‘Episcopal Dates’, 35–6. W. M. M. Picken, ‘Bishop Wulfsige: An Unrecognised Tenth-Century Gloss in the Bodmin Gospels’, Journal of Cornish Studies 14, 1986, 34–8. The origin of this dispute is narrated by S, no. 1451a and its various derivatives and S, no. 1296. S, no. 1296. S, no. 994; Olson, Early Monasteries, 74–7.

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bishop of St Germans.44 Previous historians have suggested that this meant the diocesan seat was transferred from St Germans to St Petroc’s church at Bodmin.45 This reading, however, has been challenged by Lynette Olson, who argued convincingly that it refers not to a moving of diocesan seats, but to the jurisdiction exercised by St Petroc’s church at Bodmin being placed under St Germans, the assumption being that until then St Petroc’s claimed or exercised some measure of quasi-independent episcopal authority in Cornwall.46 The bishopric’s independence was extremely shortlived, since from 1027 at the latest the bishoprics of St Germans and Crediton were held together by Bishop Lifing and his successor, Bishop Leofric. In 1050, Leofric sought and received papal permission to move his diocesan seat to Exeter, citing both the canonical prescription that episcopal centres should be in a civitas, which Exeter was and Crediton was not, and the greater security offered by Exeter. Exeter was also a wealthy urban centre and it is likely that Leofric hoped to exploit some of this wealth: we should not forget that in Domesday Book the bishopric owned forty-seven of the 399 houses in the city.47 At the same time, without papal permission, the two south-western sees were formally reunited.48 It is the activities of Bishop Leofric to which I now want to turn, in particular what might have lain behind the great burst of activity in the episcopal scriptorium during his episcopate.49 His episcopate has been seen by historians as a period of regeneration, transforming the rather down-at-heel state of the south-western bishoprics into the efficient, well-endowed concern inherited by his twelfth- and thirteenth-century successors.50 Traditionally this ‘regeneration’ has been seen in terms of lands, privileges and Leofric’s contributions to the cathedral library.51 The material copied or produced at Exeter, though, tells us much more about Leofric’s activities than this: most importantly it goes some way towards telling us what Leofric’s priorities might have been: how the bishop might have seen the relationship between past and present at Exeter. The material I shall discuss consists of a group of six charters copied at some point between 1050 and 1072 (but probably in the 1060s), a relic list, an account of Leofric’s benefactions to the see and an account of Leofric’s deeds including

44 45 46 47 48 49

50 51

S, no. 994, ‘locus et regimen Sancti Petroci’. Finberg, Lucerna, 113. Olson, Early Monasteries, 76–7. GDB 101b2 (Dev. 2/1) S, no. 1021 describes the reunion of the two sees, as well as Leofric’s enthronement in his new cathedral, attended by both King Edward and Queen Edith. The best detailed discussion of Leofric’s scriptorium is that in E. M. Drage, ‘Bishop Leofric and the Exeter Cathedral Chapter, 1050–72’, unpublished D.Phil. thesis, Oxford University 1978; see also T. A. M. Bishop, ‘Notes on Cambridge Manuscripts, Part III: MSS Connected with Exeter’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 2, 1954–8, 192–9; Conner, Anglo-Saxon Exeter, 1–21. Barlow, Leofric of Exeter. L. J. Lloyd, ‘Leofric as Bibliophile’, in Bishop Leofric, 32–42; Conner, Anglo-Saxon Exeter, 1–21.



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his obituary.52 To deny that most, if not all, of these sources were in some way concerned with the physical possessions of the see would be foolish, since lands and jurisdiction were an integral part of the identity of any ecclesiastical institution: they located the institution in physical space. However, I would also argue that these sources are concerned with much more than lands, relics or books: they located the institution in time. Leofric’s episcopate saw much copying of charters, but those with which I am particularly concerned (S, nos 386–7, 389 and 433) are a very curious group indeed.53 All, bar one of the three versions of S, no. 433, are dated 670 and purport to be gifts to the monastery of Exeter by King Athelstan (925–39) of estates at Stoke Canon, Monkton (probably in the parish of Shobrooke), Culmstock and Topsham, all in the Exe valley. Diplomatically they are nonsense: the formulation is extremely crude and none of it is derived from genuine charters of Athelstan; indeed, there are no real parallels elsewhere in the corpus of surviving Anglo-Saxon charters. The witness lists, supposedly lists of those who were present when the grants were made, are a mixture of individuals who appear in charters ranging in date from the 890s through to the 950s. These charters have been dismissed almost universally as some of the worst examples of the Anglo-Saxon charter-forger’s art, with no pretensions at all to reproducing the appearance, language or orthography of an original.54 So inept were these productions that Frank Barlow suggested any theory that Leofric may have been Edward’s ‘chancellor’ was firmly undermined by the shockingly poor standard of these charters.55 It has also been pointed out that the account in another Exeter charter, S, no. 954, of Exeter’s ‘ancient privileges’ being burnt, presumably during the sack of Exeter in 1003, also precluded the ‘discovery’ of ‘lost originals’.56 In all senses, then, the charters have been and still are seen as deeply implausible. This, I think, is to miss the point of these charters in a very fundamental way. We should not necessarily evaluate them solely in terms of whether they are diplomatically acceptable or not and neither should we assume that their primary function was to deceive. If I might digress for a moment, we can see this if we look at the three charters for Topsham.57 The first two are all but identical, differing only in the addition of an extra boundary, but in other respects they are like the other charters, that is, deeply implausible from a diplomatic point of view.58 That they were not even designed to resemble originals can be seen in the third charter for Topsham. The third charter, I think, was designed to be used in court – it was designed to deceive and to persuade and was made to 52 53

54 55 56 57 58

See Appendices 1–3. The fullest discussion of these charters is in Charters of Exeter, nos 2, 3, 5, 8, 9; see also P. Chaplais, ‘The Authenticity of the Royal Anglo-Saxon Diplomas of Exeter’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 39, 1966, 1–34, at 1–7. S, nos 386, 387, 389, 433; Chaplais, ‘Diplomas of Exeter’, 4–9. Barlow, Leofric of Exeter, 12. Chaplais, ‘Diplomas of Exeter’, 23. Appendix 1, nos 4–6. Ibid., nos 1–3.

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resemble a real Athelstan charter; the script, the formulation and the witness list were all drawn from genuine tenth-century material, albeit from the 950s, not the 930s.59 It was still very wide of the mark and to the modern diplomatist a rather unconvincing effort, but a world away from the other charters. This emphasises that applying normal rules of diplomatic criticism to these charters is missing the point. We should not dismiss them so readily, or assume that they are the product of incompetence. A date of 670 is obviously impossible for Athelstan, so why was it chosen? This is ultimately unknowable, but Willibald’s Life of St Boniface described the young Winfrith, the future Boniface, receiving his education at Exeter under abbot Wulfheard, presumably at some point in the 680s.60 The date of the charters may be based on a genuine (and now lost) tradition that the Anglo-Saxon monastery at Exeter was founded in 670, or on a desire by the draftsman of the charters to give them a date just a little before Boniface’s time there. This perhaps explains the date of 670, but to understand why Athelstan was identified in these charters as the benefactor we should turn to our other sources, in particular the relic lists. The list of relics given by King Athelstan to Exeter survives in Latin and Old English versions.61 The oldest Latin list was copied into the Leofric Missal, one of the books given by Leofric to the cathedral library, and is followed in the manuscript by a set of collects and benedictions.62 The Old English version was copied into another of Leofric’s gifts to the cathedral, a set of ninth- or tenthcentury Breton Gospels, possibly written at the monastery of Landévennec.63 The relic list is copied into the second gathering of the manuscript – the first gathering contains an inventory of Leofric’s gifts and restitutions along with the Latin and Old English inscriptions of the bishop’s gifts. The Old English relic list is prefaced with an introduction, which states that Athelstan founded a minster in Exeter and gave it twenty-six estates and a great number of relics. This is followed by a long list of relics, ranging from those of Roman martyrs to Breton saints and even a local Devonian saint, St Sidwell. It is possible, as Patrick Conner suggested, that the Old English version of the list was composed for oral delivery, possibly as part of the liturgy.64 However, it is also clear that not all of the relics in the list could have been given by Athelstan, since relics of an Ælfgifu, who is possibly to be identified with the widow of Edward the Elder – a woman who died in 944, Edward the Martyr (d.978) and

59 60 61

62 63 64

Chaplais, ‘Diplomas of Exeter’, 6–8. Vita Bonifatii, 6. The Old English version of the list was copied into Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. D.2.16, fols 8r–14r; three Latin versions were copied into, respectively, the Leofric Missal (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS 579, fo. 6rv); BL, MS Royal 6. B vii, fols 54v–5r; and Exeter, Dean and Chapter, MS 2861. See Conner, Anglo-Saxon Exeter, 171–209 for a full discussion of the relic lists. Leofric Missal, ed. N. Orchard, 2 vols, Henry Bradshaw Society, London 2002, ii, 8–9. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. D.2.16, fols 8r–14r; N. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon, Oxford 1957, 351, no. 291; Conner, Anglo-Saxon Exeter, 176–87. Conner, Anglo-Saxon Exeter, 175.



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Archbishop Oda (d.958) are included in the list. It is also clear that Athelstan did not actually found the minster, despite the wording of the relic list. If the charters and the relic list are taken together, then something of the reasons for the peculiar dating of the charters can, perhaps, be discerned. The charters are not forgeries as such, but simply replacement title deeds, with no pretensions to looking or sounding like original charters of Athelstan. The peculiar dating serves the very important function of linking what were clearly seen as two significant dates in Exeter’s history by Leofric or his clerks in the 1050s or 1060s: the early foundation of Exeter in the time of Boniface and the benefactions made by Athelstan two and a half centuries later. These charters, in effect, fuse the two events, effectively casting Athelstan in the role of founder of the monastery, underlined by his description as such in both the Latin and Old English relic lists and the otherwise impossible attribution of some of the relics to him. We should also understand that both the charters and the relic list were, in a sense, ‘public’ documents. The relic list, if given as a sermon or incorporated into liturgical ceremonies reinforced the identity of Leofric’s new cathedral chapter internally, amongst the community, whilst the charters functioned as title deeds to the cathedral’s estates and were, no doubt, regularly consulted. They may even have been deployed in the shire court to recover the lands claimed by Exeter and possibly even rehearsed as part of the legal process. How then, do the relic lists and the charters fit with the other sources for Leofric’s episcopate? The remaining sources under consideration, Leofric’s inventory of gifts and the historical account copied into the Leofric Missal, are concerned with the wider history and traditions of the bishopric, rather than just the Exeter part of it, and Leofric’s part in that history.65 The inventory, as copied into the relic list and the Exeter Book, serves to reinforce the ‘founding’ role ascribed to Athelstan, while also highlighting ­Leofric’s own role. The first part of the inventory is concerned with the restitution of lands, rehearsing that they were given by Athelstan and then lost, but returned through Leofric’s treasure and wisdom, or advocacy (‘þurh his forespræce 7 þurh his gærsuma’).66 This is followed by a list of the lands added by Leofric, along with a note that when Leofric arrived at Exeter, all that the monks possessed were two hides of land, six bullocks and a number of worn-out service books and vestments (a capitulary, one worn-out nocturnale, one epistle, two very worn-out lectionaries and one poor mass vestment).67 As well as restoring sixteen ‘lost’ estates, Leofric also added Dawlish and Holcombe from his own possessions, along with three estates in Oxfordshire. This part of the inventory is followed by a list of the books given by Leofric. Previous historians have used this account of Leofric’s gifts to cast him as an eleventh-century ‘bibliophile’,68 65 66

67 68

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS 579, fo. 3v; Leofric Missal, 5. The Exeter Book of Old English Poetry: with Introductory Chapters by R. W. Chambers, M. Förster and R. Flower, ed. R. W. Chambers, M. Förster and R. Flower, Exeter 1933, 15; Anglo-Saxon Charters, ed. A. J. Robertson, Cambridge 1956, 226–8. Exeter Book, 15. Lloyd, ‘Leofric as Bibliophile’, 32–42.

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but as Richard Gameson forcefully and persuasively pointed out in 1996, if we look at the texts concerned, they are mostly liturgical in use and it seems that Leofric was more than just an antiquarian book collector; he was an energetic and practical-minded bishop, restoring and bringing up to date the liturgical resources of his see.69 Whether we believe Leofric’s account of the destitution of the monastery in 1050, this part, at least, rings true. The final part of the inventory contains an anathema against any who would deprive Exeter of his gifts.70 How, then, does the inventory fit with the other sources from Leofric’s Exeter? The juxtaposition of Leofric’s benefactions with the reference to those of Athelstan is not, perhaps, accidental, especially when we consider not just the content of the inventory but its context, copied into the Landévennec Gospels ahead of the relic list. Perhaps Leofric was consciously linking his role as ‘restorer’ of the monastery with Athelstan’s, comparing Athelstan’s ‘foundation’ with his ‘refoundation’ of Exeter as part of the bishopric. The final piece of evidence to turn to is the account of the bishopric’s history copied into the first gathering of the Leofric Missal.71 As it stands, this text was copied into the missal after Leofric’s death in 1072, since it contains an obituary of the bishop, but it seems likely indeed that parts of it were in existence long before 1072. The account is split into seven parts, beginning with an account of the foundation of the south-western bishoprics at the behest of Pope Formosus, King Edward the Elder and Archbishop Plegmund, and a rather fanciful description of the mass consecration of the new West Saxon bishops of Winchester, Sherborne, Ramsbury, Wells and Crediton, as well as the bishops of Selsey and Dorchester, in one ceremony. This narrative is interesting in its own right, for a number of reasons. First, it seems to have enjoyed a wide currency in the eleventh century, surviving in manuscripts produced at Canterbury, Winchester and Glastonbury as well as Exeter, and more abbreviated versions were incorporated into John of Worcester’s chronicle and William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Regum.72 Second, the account is completely fictitious, for reasons more than adequately outlined by Nicholas Brooks and Mary Ann O’Donovan.73 Not the least questionable aspect of this frankly legendary account is that Pope Formosus died in 896 and was therefore in no position to be laying down the law on episcopal vacancies to Edward the Elder and Archbishop Plegmund in the early tenth century. The narrative justifies Formosus’ intervention on the grounds that the two West Saxon sees, Winchester and Sherborne, had been without bishops for seven years. Again, this does not seem to have been the case, and the other element of the story, the mass consecration of the five new bishops, is equally 69 70 71 72

73

R. Gameson, ‘The Origin of the Exeter Book of Old English Poetry’, Anglo-Saxon England 25, 1996, 135–85, at 136–43. Exeter Book, 5. Leofric Missal, 2–5. A single sheet version, possibly produced at Exeter, survives in the British Library (S, no. 1451a); other versions survive in BL, MS Add. 15350, fo. 112 (the ‘Codex Wintoniensis’); BL, MS Cotton Faust. B vi vol. 1, fo. 98; CCAL, ‘Reg. A’, fo. 3v. O’Donovan, ‘Episcopal Dates’, 109–10; N. P. Brooks, The Early History of the Church at Canterbury, Leicester 1984, 210–13.



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spurious: what we know of the successions to Winchester and Sherborne simply does not allow for such an episode.74 The ‘Plegmund narrative’, as it is known, is followed in the Missal by an account of the accession of Edward the Confessor, the appointment of Leofric to Crediton and a discussion of the insecure site of his bishopric. This is followed by a preface to Pope Leo IX’s letter transferring the bishopric to Exeter and the letter itself.75 Next is an account of the move to Exeter and Leofric’s enthronement, a passage praising Leofric’s restoration of the see and the bishop’s obituary. It is very unlikely that the account was composed in its entirety on Leofric’s death. The ‘Plegmund narrative’ and Leo IX’s letter were obviously in existence well before 1072, but the account of Leofric’s enthronement also occurs, with different wording, in the foundation charter for the new see, dated 1050; both the account in the Missal and the charter describe Leofric being led to the altar by Edward the Confessor and Edith, one on each arm.76 The Missal account may have been based on the charter, but it is also equally possible that both the account in the charter and the Missal account were derived from an existing contemporary description of the enthronement. The main purpose of the Missal account would appear to be to commemorate Leofric and write him into the history of his see. The focus of the account in the Missal is Leofric himself: the move of his see to Exeter, culminating in his enthronement as bishop of the new see. It seems likely, though, that the Missal account was merely developing and confirming an identity already established in the other texts explored in this discussion: the role of Athelstan as founder of Exeter and the role of Leofric as the restorer of the see. Taken collectively, the texts under consideration tell us something of how Leofric tried to establish an identity and a sense of tradition for his new see. He may have lacked the ‘wealth of kinsmen’ bemoaned by his contemporary, Heremann of Ramsbury, but he made up for this in ingenuity and sheer power of invention.77 The contexts of the sources under discussion should also be borne in mind. With the exception of the material copied into the Exeter Book and the charters, the material used here was copied into liturgical books – in one case a Gospel book – and some of it may have even been intended for liturgical use. What better way to reinforce the new cathedral community’s view of its past and identity than to incorporate it into the liturgy? In terms of Exeter at least, Leofric seems to have deliberately cultivated the image of Athelstan as founder of the monastery. To what extent Athelstan truly was the great benefactor is impossible to establish clearly. There is no certainty that he gave the church the large number of estates attributed to him, although he may have done. Some may have come from other donors; there is a good case for arguing that Clyst, for instance, may have been acquired from a lay benefactor, and it is also possible that any grants made by Athelstan were merely confirma74 75 76 77

O’Donovan, ibid. Leofric Missal, 4–5. Ibid, 4–5; S, no. 1021. Barlow, Leofric of Exeter, 7.

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tions of the foundation’s existing possessions.78 The point surely is not just what can be recovered from the eighth, ninth or tenth century in terms of ‘facts’, but also what can be uncovered about the ‘collective memory’ of the community. The scribes and copyists of the late eleventh-century cathedral clearly believed that Athelstan was, in some sense, their founder. That, certainly, seems to be the sense of communal identity being articulated in the material produced during Leofric’s episcopate. As part of this identity, the role of Leofric himself, the great restorer, was underlined and celebrated. Again, how much is fact and how much is fiction is unclear and, to a considerable extent, irrelevant to this argument. Leofric seems to have wanted to portray Exeter as a desolate place in 1050, with a monastic community in terminal decline. As Gameson showed, in the case of liturgical books this may have been true, but, equally, we should be wary of taking the ‘desolate monastery’ topos at face value, as the example of Abingdon in the period before the abbacy of Æthelwold shows. The Vita Æthelwoldi, the account of the saint’s life, describes Abingdon in the 950s, when it was given by King Eadwig to Æthelwold, as practically derelict, but it is clear, as Alan Thacker and Susan Kelly have shown, that there was a functioning community there certainly as late as the 930s.79 The image of Exeter’s dereliction portrayed in the material associated with Leofric was surely designed to throw into sharp relief the bishop’s achievements, as well as to justify the changes made by Leofric to the community at Exeter. The creation of a past for the new bishopric – a past which explained and validated the present – should, in the final analysis, be seen as part of Leofric’s wider achievements. The creation of a sense of institutional identity for the see and for Exeter as the diocesan seat was as much a part of Leofric’s restoration as the recovery of land, the defence of privileges and the restocking of the cathedral’s liturgical resources. There is, of course, the question of the extent to which the texts discussed here can be attributed directly to Leofric. Was the creation of identity at Exeter a collective exercise, or one more remote from the bishop, such as the early twelfth-century historical material attributed to ‘Symeon’ at Durham, which seems largely to have been aimed at the new bishop, Ranulf Flambard, rather than for him?80 Throughout this discussion, an a priori assumption has been that Leofric was the driving force behind the rash of copying and manuscript production at Exeter in the period 1050–70. That this assumption is justified is borne out by a consideration of Leofric’s stated aims in his inventory and a consideration of the scribes responsible for much of the manuscript production at Exeter.

78 79

80

S, no. 669. Charters of Abingdon Abbey, ed. S. E. Kelly, Anglo-Saxon Charters 7 and 8, Oxford 2000–1, xxxv–xxxviii; A. Thacker, ‘Æthelwold and Abingdon’, in Bishop Æthelwold: His Career and Influence, ed. B. Yorke, Woodbridge 1988, 43–64. W. M. Aird, St Cuthbert and the Normans: The Church of Durham, 1071–1153, Woodbridge 1998, 154–7; W. M. Aird, ‘The Political Context of the Libellus de Exordio’, in Symeon of Durham: Historian of Durham and the North, ed. D. Rollason, Stamford 1998, 23–45, at 42–40.



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It is clear that the production and copying of texts at Exeter accorded closely with Leofric’s aims as stated in the inventory. Elaine Drage has demonstrated how much control Leofric exercised over his scriptorium and how closely linked some of these scribes were to the bishop.81 This was very much an enterprise directed from the top. The Exeter evidence provides ample demonstration of the way an institution might create a sense of wir-gefühl – who we are – and the way that this identity reflected not so much the past of the institution as the needs and concerns of the eleventh-century present. The Exeter material also highlights some of the limitations of recent discussions of memory and ‘collective memory’. Undoubtedly Leofric was trying to create a sense of tradition for Exeter, but it was one that had little to do with any sense of organic ‘collective remembrance’ as such. It was as synthetic and artificial as any historia: collective memory has less to do with individual human remembrance than with the common cultural pool of information ‘which informed a vision of the collective past’.82 What have been laid out here are, in effect, two different narratives of Exeter’s pre-eleventh-century history.83 The first is what modern historians think probably happened, from a critical reading of the sources. The second is the episodic ‘collective memory’ – malleable and fluid – of the cathedral community at Exeter in the eleventh century. This narrative bears little relation to what might be called real ‘history’, yet was real enough for the canons and clerks of Exeter in the eleventh century and indeed beyond, since the sense of past it articulates was still accepted in the sixteenth century by the antiquarians Leland and Hooker.84 Does this past then have no value? Obviously it does: as James Fentress and Chris Wickham point out, ‘the social meaning of memory, like its internal structure and mode of transmission, is little affected by its truth; all that matters is that it be believed, at least at some level’.85 Amy Remensnyder calls this ‘imaginative memory’, in that although these sorts of foundation stories were often at best only partially true, they were believed and as such had tremendous power in the present: as Remensnyder says, ‘the past may become legitimating, glorifying – even sanctifying – for the present’.86 Remensnyder was writing about clearly constructed and articulated foundation legends in southern French cartularies, and the Exeter material is nothing like as tidy. Nevertheless, the Exeter material exists in the same institutional context and Leofric’s scribes were using and responding to the material to which they had access.87 In the 1050s and 1060s, Leofric was trying to create some cohesion from three distinct entities: the two 81 82 83 84

85 86 87

Drage, ‘Bishop Leofric’, 153–86. Uses of the Past, 6–7. See Appendix 4. J. Hooker, A Catalog of the Bishops of Excester with the Description of the Antiquities and First Foundation of the Cathedrall Church of the Same, London 1584, 1–3; Joannis Lelandi Antiquarii de Rebus Britannicis Collectanea, ed. T. Hearne, 2nd edn, London 1774, 75. Fentress and Wickham, Social Memory, xi. Remensnyder, Remembering Kings Past, 2–3. G. Spiegel, ‘History, Historicism and the Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages’, Speculum 65, 1990, 84.

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bishoprics and the monastery of Exeter. Again, in Remensnyder’s words, the past ‘can serve as the basis for the fashioning of new identities, new traditions and claims to new rights’.88 This was surely the challenge that faced Leofric in the 1050s and 1060s: how to create a new identity for his new institution. Leofric’s Exeter also highlights the duality of the relationship between past and present: we tend to think in a linear way that the past informs the present, but at Exeter it was the imperatives of the present that were guiding the reshaping, reconstruction, or indeed, the construction of the past. One cannot look at the material produced in Leofric’s scriptorium and expect to find a ‘truth’, since that was not its main function. What Leofric and his scriptorium set out to do was to reconstruct a past that explained and legitimised the present, but also to embed themselves in that past. To steal a quotation from Michael Wood, as the newspaper editor said in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, ‘when legend becomes stronger than fact, print the legend’. At Exeter they printed the legend.89

Appendix 1: The ‘Athelstan’ forgeries 1. S, no. 386. Exeter D. & C., 2519. King Athelstan grants 5 hides at Culmstock, Devon, to the minster of Saints Mary and Peter, Exeter. A.D. 670 (for 925×39). 2. S, no. 387. BL, Add. Ch. 19516. King Athelstan grants 1 hide at Monkton to the minster of Saints Mary and Peter, Exeter. A.D. 670 (for 925×39). 3. S, no. 389. Exeter, D. & C., 2517. King Athelstan grants 6 perches at Stoke Canon to the minster of St Mary, Exeter. A.D. 670 (for 925×39). 4. S, no. 433 (i). Stafford, William Salt Library, S. 7. King Athelstan grants 1 hide at Topsham to the minster of St Mary, Exeter. A.D. 670 (for 925×39). 5. S, no. 433 (ii). CCAL, Ch. Ant. T. 37. King Athelstan grants 1 hide at Topsham and a yardland at Ashurst to the minster of St Mary, Exeter. A.D. 670 (for 925×39). 6. S, no. 433 (iii). CCAL, Ch. Ant. E 206. King Athelstan grants 1 hide at Topsham and a yardland at Ashurst to the minster of St Peter, Exeter. A.D. 937. Notes 1–5 share the same formulation and are all dated 670, impossible if they are genuine charters of Athelstan (who ruled 924–39). Their formulation has nothing to do with that of genuine charters of Athelstan and their witness lists are a haphazard mixture of individuals from the 890s and 950s. 88 89

Remensnyder, Remembering Kings Past, 4. M. Wood, ‘In Search of King Arthur’, in his In Search of the Dark Ages, London 1981, 40–61, at 61.



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6 is rather different. It is dated 937, i.e. within Athelstan’s reign, and the witnesses are plausible for a date between 934 and 939. The formulation, although different from 1–5, still does not really resemble that of genuine Athelstan charters; rather it is drawn from charters from the 950s. Nevertheless, this charter is very different from 1–5 and an attempt has been made to create something plausible.

Appendix 2: The account of the history of the see in the Leofric Missal (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS 579) Fo. 1rv A series of Old English manumissions Fos 2–3r The account of the creation of the sees of Crediton and St Germans (the ‘Plegmund Narrative’) Fo. 3r An account of Leofric’s appointment to the sees of Crediton and St Germans and the reasons for moving the see(s) to Exeter Fo. 3v Introduction to letter from Pope Leo IX to Edward the Confessor Fo. 3v Copy of letter of Leo IX granting permission for the removal of the see of Crediton from the villula of Crediton to the civitas of Exeter Fo. 3v Account of Leofric’s enthronement at Exeter Fo. 3v Account of Leofric’s deeds as bishop, including the restoration of lands given by the ‘most religious’ king Athelstan, and Leofric’s gifts of lands and books Fo. 3v Notice of Leofric’s death

Appendix 3: Bishop Leofric’s gifts of books to Exeter cathedral (from Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. D.2.16, fols 1r–2v) 2 complete missals 1 collectar 2 epistolaries 2 office antiphoners 1 nocturnal antiphoner 1 gradual 1 troper 2 psalters and a third as they sing it in Rome 2 hymnals 1 valuable pontifical and three others 1 English gospel book (Cambridge, UL, MS Ii.2.11) 2 summer lectionaries 1 winter lectionary 1 copy of rule for canons

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1 martyrology 1 book of canons in Latin 1 penitential in English 1 complete homiliary for summer and winter Boethius’ book in English 1 great English book in verse (Exeter, D. & C., MS 3501 ‘The Exeter Book’) And he acquired the following books in Latin: A copy of the Liber Pastoralis A copy of the Liber Dialogorum Books of the 4 Prophets A copy of Boethius’ De Consolatione A copy of the Liber Officialis of Amalarius A copy of Porphyrius’ Isagoge 1 legendary A copy of Prosper’s book A copy of Prudentius’ Psychomachia A copy of Prudentius’ Liber Hymnorum A copy of Prudentius’ De Martyribus A copy of the book of the Prophet Ezekiel A copy of the Cantica Canticorum A copy of the book of the Prophet Isaiah A copy of Isidore’s Etymologiae A copy of Isidore’s De Novo et Veteri Testamento A copy of Isidore’s De Miraculis Christi A copy of the Passiones Apostolorum A copy of Bede’s Expositio super Evangelium Lucae A copy of Bede’s Expositio super Apocolipsin A copy of Bede’s Expositio super vii epistolas canonicas A copy of the book of Oserius A copy of the book of Maccabees A copy of the Liber Persii A copy of Sedulius’ book A copy of the Liber Aratoris A copy of glosses of Statius



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Appendix 4: Exeter histories, real and imagined Sources connected with Bishop Leofric 670: Athelstan ‘founds’ Exeter (S, nos 386–7, S, no. 389, S, no. 433) 739: Foundation of Crediton by Bishop Forthhere (S, no. 255)

909: Mass consecration of seven bishops, including Bishop Eadwulf of Crediton, at the instigation of Pope Formosus (d. 896) (Leofric Missal) c.924×39: Athelstan donates relics to Exeter (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. D.2.16)

Non-Leofric Sources c.680: Boniface educated at Exeter (Willibald, Vita Bonfatii) 757×86: Foundation of Crediton during reign of Cynewulf (757–86) (Sherborne Missal; BL, Cotton Faustina A. ii) c.833×70: Bishop Kenstec of Dinuurium professes obedience to Archbishop Ceolnoth (CCAL, Reg. A, 243r) 877: Exeter attacked by Vikings (ASC) c.892: Asser is given Exeter and all its paraochiae (Asser, Vita Alfredi) c.909–11: various episcopal vacancies in Wessex; diocese of Sherborne divided and Eadwulf appointed to Crediton (Cambridge, CCC, MS 183) 928×32: ?Athelstan refounds Exeter and donates relics; significant building work on St Mary Major site in Exeter c.930: establishment of bishopric of St Germans (S, no. 1296 + charter subscriptions of Bishop Conan) c.950–94: dispute between Crediton and St Germans over three Cornish estates (S, no. 1296; S, no. 1451a) 968–73: Sidemann abbot of Exeter (John of Worcester; Vita Oswaldi) 994: Bishop of St Germans granted full episcopal liberties and the ‘governance’ of St Petroc (S, no. 880) 1003: Exeter attacked by Vikings (ASC); archive destroyed? (S, no. 954) 1019×27: Crediton and St Germans held in plural by Lifing, abbot of Tavistock

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1050: Leofric moves episcopal seat to Exeter and restores possessions – landed and manuscript – of the see (Leofric Missal; Exeter Book) 1072: Notice of Leofric’s death (Leofric Missal)

1046: Leofric made Bishop of Crediton and St Germans (ASC) 1050: Leofric moves episcopal seat to Exeter and reunites Devon and Cornish sees (S, no. 1021)

3 Communities, Conflict and Episcopal Policy in the Diocese of Lichfield, 1050–1150 C. P. Lewis

This paper takes a fresh look at an episode in Anglo-Norman church history: the removal of the north-west Mercian bishopric from Lichfield to Chester in the time of William I, followed within a generation by its further removal from Chester to Coventry.1 The episcopal shuffle of Bishops Peter and Robert de Limesey was not the only relocation of an English cathedral in the late eleventh century, nor even the only double removal, but the continuing links of the communities at Lichfield, Chester, and Coventry with their bishop were unparalleled, leading the later twelfth-century Norman historian Robert of Torigni to express surprise that the bishopric should still in his own day have three seats or sees (sedes).2 The case of Lichfield merits re-evaluation not because there is new evidence, but because rethinking it in the context of the communities of Lichfield, Chester, and Coventry gives new perspectives on their multiple interactions and on episcopal policy. The communities involved were not limited to the chapters of the cathedral, St John’s church in Chester, and the abbey. Lichfield was one of the poorest dioceses and its first two Norman bishops were unimportant in politics.3 Three sorts of explanation have been offered for the move from Lichfield to Chester, variously invoking what might be called ‘ideological’ and ‘strategic’ factors, but there are problems with each and none is especially compelling. First is the assertion that Lichfield was only a village, and that by the mid eleventh century villages were no longer acceptable as diocesan seats.4 The general principle is true: towns were thought more seemly and more in accordance with the customs of the early church, and there were many practical advantages in having readier access to the resources and conveniences of urban life. The crucial point as far as the north-western bishopric is concerned, 1

2 3 4

Previous discussions of the topic include E. U. Crosby, Bishop and Chapter in TwelfthCentury England: A Study of the Mensa Episcopalis, Cambridge 1994, 113–32; EEA, 14: Coventry and Lichfield, 1072–1159, ed. M. J. Franklin, Oxford 1997, xxiii–xxxvi. Robert of Torigni, Chronicle, in Chronicles of the Reigns, iv, 121. F. Barlow, The English Church 1066–1154, London 1979, 36, 62, 117. E.g. R. Studd, ‘Pre-Conquest Lichfield’, Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society 22, 1980–1, 24–34, at 24.

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however, as will be shown later, is that eleventh-century Lichfield was not a mere village. Secondly, it has been claimed that the main factor was the pull of Chester, rather than the push of Lichfield.5 Chester was certainly the largest town in the diocese, and a place of growing economic clout. But if that was the reason for moving the diocesan seat from Lichfield, why leave? Thirdly, it has been suggested that Chester was chosen because it was near Wales, the bishop, perhaps in collaboration with Earl Hugh of Chester, being keen to expand his diocese into Welsh territory.6 There is some evidence for the collaboration of Norman bishop and earl, as will appear, but the ecclesiastical history of northeast Wales in this period is so obscure that we are not entitled to presume that no Welsh bishop was active there before a territorial diocese on the English model was established at St Asaph (formerly Llanelwy) in 1141.7 It is true that twelfth-century St Asaph was so lacking in knowledge of its own earlier history that the community invented the strange idea that the church was founded by St Kentigern of Glasgow.8 On the other hand, there are scraps of plausible evidence for a Welsh bishop in the area in the 1060s and a Welsh archdeacon in the 1120s, while from England it was reported in 1125 that the (unnamed) diocese lying between Chester and Bangor was vacant.9 The recent consensus has been to suspect that Llanelwy was an ancient ecclesiastical site, complete with bishop.10 Commentators have generally agreed that the motive for the second step of the episcopal shuffle from Lichfield was the wealth of the Benedictine abbey of Coventry into which Bishop Robert intruded himself. There is no doubt that Coventry was a rich house, but its wealth alone does not account for the abandonment of Chester so soon after arriving. Coventry, too, was urban at the end of the eleventh century, but it was nothing like as big or important a place as Chester. Besides trying some new approaches to the motivation and policy of Bishops Peter and Robert, this paper discusses consequences for the communities affected – principally the original cathedral chapter of priests at Lichfield, the clerks of St John’s minster in Chester, and the monks of Coventry. 5 6

7

8

9

10

E.g. VCH Ches. v (1), 30. C. N. L. Brooke, ‘The Church and the Welsh Border in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries’, in idem, The Church and the Welsh Border in the Central Middle Ages, Woodbridge 1986, 1–15, at 11–12. M. J. Pearson, ‘The Creation and Development of the St Asaph Cathedral Chapter, 1141–1293’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 40, Winter 2000, 35–56, at 38; see also J. R. Davies, ‘Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Wales’, below, 109–11. K. H. Jackson, ‘The Sources for the Life of St Kentigern’, in N. K. Chadwick et al., Studies in the Early British Church, Cambridge 1958, 273–357, at 313–18; see also Davies, ‘Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints’, below, 110–11. Pearson, ‘St Asaph Chapter’, 37, and sources cited there; Hugh the Chanter, The History of the Church of York, 1066–1127, ed. C. Johnson, revised M. Brett, C. N. L. Brooke, and M. Winterbottom, Oxford 1990, 206–7. J. R. Davies, ‘Aspects of Church Reform in Wales, c. 1093–c. 1223’, ANS 30, 2007 (2008), 85–99, at 89; W. Davies, Wales in the Early Middle Ages, Leicester 1982, 159–60.



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Dating the Moves The timing of both moves needs some exposition, since varying dates have been given in different secondary sources, and the primary evidence, though not explicit, can be squeezed a little harder than it has been.11 Bishop Peter, consecrated to Lichfield in 1072, was given permission to move to Chester by the council of London, probably at Easter or Whitsun 1075.12 That does not necessarily mean that the see was moved then or shortly afterwards. Permission might have been retrospective, and it is not transparent which of several processes that must surely have been involved in moving a cathedral from one place to another was regarded as the constitutive act requiring permission: a declaration by the bishop that such and such a church was the new cathedral; physically setting up an episcopal seat; occupying it for the first time; conducting some liturgical ceremony of consecration; or forming a new or additional cathedral chapter. In fact there is evidence that the move had already taken place before the council of London. First, Peter witnessed the acta of the council as bishop of Chester,13 hardly likely if the permission given was for a move that had yet to happen. Secondly, he was addressed as bishop of Chester in a letter of Archbishop Lanfranc sent in late 1072 or early 1073, instructing him and Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester to assist in the consecration of a bishop of Orkney at York.14 There have been quite unnecessary suspicions about Peter’s episcopal title in that letter. Chester appears both in the official collection of Lanfranc’s letters made at Canterbury and independently in the copy sent to Worcester,15 so must surely have been the title that Lanfranc used.16 The removal to Chester must have taken place before Lanfranc’s letter, and should be dated 1072 or 1073. Bishop Robert’s desertion of Chester for Coventry is also known only from its formal approval, not by a council of the English church but by a papal bull of 1102.17 In this case approval was more obviously retrospective: Bishop Robert happened to be in Rome as part of an embassy from Henry I to the pope, and seized the chance to have the change ratified by the highest authority. The bishops of Lincoln and Norwich were members of the same delegation and also

11

12 13 14 15 16

17

E.g. Handbook of British Chronology, ed. E. B. Fryde, D. E. Greenway, S. Porter, and I. Roy, 3rd edn, London 1986, 253 (1075 and 1102); Crosby, Bishop and Chapter, 115 (‘sometime around 1075’ and ‘about the year 1100 or 1102’); Barlow, English Church 1066–1154, 48 (1075 and ‘about 1087’). Letters of Lanfranc, no. 11 (outside limits 25 Dec. 1074 to 28 Aug. 1075). Ibid., p. 20; C. N. L. Brooke, ‘Archbishop Lanfranc, the English Bishops and the Council of London of 1075’, Studia Gratiana 12, 1967, 39–59. Letters of Lanfranc, no. 13 (outside limits 29 Aug. 1072 to Feb. 1073). Ibid., p. 19 for the Worcester copy. Not a ‘retrospective correction’ or a ‘declaration of intent’, as suggested ibid., p. 81 n.; or an ‘anachronism’, as F. Barlow, The English Church 1000–1066: A History of the Later AngloSaxon Church, 2nd edn, London 1979, 42 n. PL 96, col. 95; EEA, 14, xxxiii.

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sought papal approval, but in those cases the move had certainly already taken place.18 Pinning down the date when Robert moved from Chester to Coventry is difficult. He was nominated bishop during the Christmas feast of 1085–6, and his title was still given as Chester at Christmas 1087–8 in a list of bishops apparently copied from a charter by Henry of Huntington.19 Domesday Book, compiled over the period 1086–8, consistently calls him bishop of Chester on the episcopal estates and his personal holdings in Hertfordshire alike.20 Later Lichfield tradition dated the move 1095, but is untrustworthy.21 On the direct evidence available the date of relocation remains open in the period 1088–1102. Another approach to both dates may be possible. Both Peter and Robert came to their episcopal seats from the royal chapel; both men were career royal servants with no independent standing and no patron other than the king. Removal of their see must have had royal approval from the outset; the decision to move, and the tactics of handling relations with the churches affected, must have been discussed with the king and his clerical advisers. Given that Chester was involved, and that Earl Hugh of Chester was a conspicuously loyal supporter of both William I and William II, it is conceivable that he was also party to the discussions. Both bishops may well have been appointed on the understanding that a move would soon be put in hand, or even under direct instructions. A further factor may be important for the second move. Would Lanfranc – who had sat in council in 1075 to approve the removal to Chester – have countenanced its abandonment barely a decade later? He certainly disapproved of Peter’s harassment of the monks of Coventry and wrote to him twice to tell him to desist.22 But Lanfranc died in May 1089, and Canterbury was without an archbishop for four and a half years until Anselm was appointed. The interregnum, when William Rufus was unfettered by an archbishop, seems a likely context for his clerk Robert’s removal to Coventry.23 Telescoping the double shuffle into and out of Chester into a period of less than twenty years makes it even more pressing to understand it better.

Wider Contexts The Lichfield two-step needs to be contextualised in overlapping time-frames, separating out the different types of diocesan reform which it involved. Although the immediate trigger was the removal of English bishops after the Norman Conquest, the larger reorganisation of the later eleventh and early twelfth century should be considered first. Eleven separate events can be identi18 19 20 21 22 23

M. Brett, The English Church under Henry I, Oxford 1975, 58. Huntingdon, 408–9 and n. 223; F. Barlow, William Rufus, London 1983, 66–7. GDB 132a2, 135a1 (Herts. 7), 238a1, 238b1 (Warws. 2), 246a1, 247a1 (Staffs. 2), 252a1, 252a2 (Salop. 1), 262b2, 263a1 (Ches. B), 272a1, 273a2 (Derb. 2). EEA, 14, xxxiii. Letters of Lanfranc, no. 27. Barlow, William Rufus, 177–82.



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fied between 1050 and 1109:24 (1) Crediton and St Germans united and transferred to Exeter, 1050; (2) Sherborne and Ramsbury united at Sherborne, 1058; (3) North Elmham transferred to Thetford, 1070×2; (4) Dorchester transferred to Lincoln, 1072; (5) Lichfield transferred to Chester, 1072 or 1073; (6) Selsey transferred to Chichester, ratified 1075; (7) Sherborne transferred to Old Sarum, ratified 1075; (8) Wells transferred to Bath, 1090; (9) Chester transferred to Coventry, 1089×93; (10) Thetford transferred to Norwich, 1094×6; and (11) new diocese at Ely, separated from Lincoln, 1109. These changes have usually been understood as a single process of rationalisation driven by the urges to place cathedral churches in towns and create dioceses of reasonable size. In reality the reform left anomalies: Old Sarum was not a town, Lincoln was still an enormous diocese, and Ely was too small if convenient size alone were important. It is more helpful to think of three overlapping processes: the burst of activity in 1071–5; the longer rationalisation of 1050–1109; and the incremental monasticisation of the English cathedral from the 960s onwards. Each can be characterised briefly. First, the burst of activity in 1071–5 involved only the transfer of sees, and four of the five (Dorchester, Elmham, Selsey, and Lichfield) appear to have taken place soon into the rule of a new non-English bishop. Secondly, the longer trend over the sixty years from 1050 had a more varied character: besides the transfers there were two unions of small sees and one new creation. Thirdly, the monastic cathedral chapter – a unique institution in Europe – had its origins in the Benedictine reform movement of the later tenth century, but took a long time to reach its fullest extent, with a significant expansion in the early years of Norman rule. None of the first generation of new bishops after the Conquest imported monks to his cathedral, but in the second generation, after 1080, there were five new monastic projects: Gundulf at Rochester in 1080, William de Saint-Calais at Durham in 1083, John de Villula of Wells’s acquisition of Bath abbey in 1090, Herbert Losinga of Thetford’s new foundation at Norwich in 1096×1101, and Robert de Limesey’s acquisition of Coventry abbey. In addition Ely abbey was turned into a cathedral in 1109, and at least one bishop tried but failed to take over an abbey church as his cathedral, Bishop Herfast of Thetford at Bury St Edmunds.25 The net result was to raise the number of monastic cathedral chapters from four (out of fifteen) in 1066 to ten (out of sixteen) in 1110. The shift towards monastic cathedrals had a central ambiguity. On the one hand, monks were pushed into greater involvement in the public affairs of the church as members of cathedral chapters. On the other, some notable Benedictine houses were appropriated by bishops. Whether this should be seen as a crisis of Benedictine monasticism or an enlargement of its opportunities is a moot point. Contemporary reflections on these matters are hard to find, and the best direct evidence is the monastic perspective of William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Pontificum. Malmesbury was often critical of the antics of secular bishops, and

24 25

Barlow, English Church 1000–1066, 162–83; idem, English Church, 1066–1154, 29–48. Regesta: William I, no. 39.

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in the case of the Mercian diocese he implied that Peter moved from Lichfield to Chester through pride, and said explicitly that Robert moved from Chester to Coventry through greed.26 The monasticisation of cathedral chapters was plainly unNorman: there were no monastic cathedrals in Normandy before 1066, and the habit did not spread from England afterwards. Not only keeping up but extending the practice in England might well have been designedly double-edged: both a sop to English monastic sentiment and a blow against the independence of houses still staffed largely by Anglo-Saxon monks. It is significant that its chronology marched with the steady replacement of English abbots by Frenchmen: eighteen monasteries still had English heads in 1075, including some of the most important houses; there were still nine in 1080 and seven in 1085, but only one insignificant house in 1090.27 Some insight into how the changes seemed at Lichfield might be gleaned by speculating about the church’s likely knowledge of its own history, and specifically the history of Chad, the Anglo-Saxon bishop (669–72) who was the founder of the diocese and titular saint of the cathedral. Anglo-Norman churchmen were attentive readers of Bede,28 and anyone reading Bede would know that Chad was both monk and bishop and that he built a monastery at Lichfield as well as a cathedral.29 Readers at Lichfield may have persuaded themselves that Bishop Robert’s linkage of monastic Coventry with episcopal Lichfield was a kind of restoration rather than a novelty. The existence by 1100 of three cathedrals and three chapters in the diocese might even have brought to mind Chad’s three churches at Lichfield – cathedral, monastery, and oratory. Widening the chronological focus thus does help contextualise the double removal of the Mercian bishopric and provide additional ways of thinking about processes and perceptions. For the narrower time-frame it is necessary to home in on the communities affected by the bishops’ peregrinations. One might perhaps expect the wanderings of the bishops of Lichfield around their diocese to cause conflict between the communities at Lichfield, Chester, and Coventry. Certainly in the later twelfth and thirteenth centuries there were welldocumented antagonisms over which churches had cathedral status, which chapters had a role in the election of the bishop, what title the bishops should use, and where they should be buried.30 As far as titles are concerned, it is clear that the bishops themselves did not adopt the later medieval title 26 27 28

29 30

Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum i, 464–73; cf. his criticisms of the moves to Thetford and Bath: ibid. 238–9, 304–5. Based on dates in The Heads of Religious Houses: England and Wales, 940–1216, ed. D. Knowles, C. N. L. Brooke, and V. C. M. London, Cambridge 1972, 23–84. A. Gransden, ‘Bede’s Reputation as an Historian in Medieval England’, JEH 32, 1981, 397–425; R. H. C. Davis, ‘Bede After Bede’, in Studies in Medieval History presented to R. Allen Brown, ed. C. Harper-Bill, C. J. Holdsworth, and J. L. Nelson, Woodbridge 1989, 103–16. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, ed. B. Colgave and R. A. B. Mynors, Oxford 1969, 336–47; D. H. Farmer, ‘Ceadda’, in ODNB, www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4970. EEA, 16: Coventry and Lichfield, 1160–1182, ed. M. J. Franklin, Oxford 1998; EEA, 17: Coventry and Lichfield, 1183–1208, ed. idem, Oxford 1998; VCH Staffs. iii, 140–66.



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of Coventry and Lichfield until after 1223, and that earlier usage depended entirely on personal preference and context.31 Outsiders undoubtedly regarded all three places as contributing to episcopal status. One early indication is the reluctance to drop Lichfield from references to the bishops of Chester: the Canterbury memorandum on the primacy, for example, written 1073×5, referred awkwardly to ‘the bishop of Lichfield who is now Chester’ (Licifeldensis qui nunc est Cestrensis).32 Probably the bishops, too, regarded themselves as bishops of three places. Certainly they invested in substantial rebuilding of the churches at both Lichfield and Chester even after they had settled at Coventry.33 The most bitter conflicts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were ostensibly about the right of election, but that can scarcely have been an issue in the late eleventh, when bishops were simply imposed by the king over the heads of all local interests. It is symptomatic that Prior Laurence of Coventry’s programme of industrious charter-forgery in the mid-twelfth century was designed to secure Coventry’s freedom from the bishop, not its rights against the communities at Lichfield or Chester.34 Overall, it seems most likely in the early years that all three chapters wanted an easy-going bishop who would respect their customs and their estates.

Lichfield Much later in the Middle Ages it was alleged that a chapter of eleven priests and nine deacons was founded at Lichfield in 822 under a provost (praepositus). It used to be argued that the reference to a provost indicates that Lichfield had adopted the Rule of Chrodegang,35 but it is now clear that the Rule was unknown in England at the time.36 In 1086 Lichfield cathedral had five canons37 who were probably the forerunners of the five senior members of the chapter still identifiable after the chapter was enlarged in the twelfth century. A later writer at Coventry claimed that the cathedral community comprised five priests (sacerdotes), each serving his own chapel, until Bishop Roger de Clinton (1129– 48) established a college of canons (collegium canonicorum).38 That seems highly plausible, and a group of five priests without a dean may well represent the

31 32 33 34

35 36 37 38

EEA, 14, 16–17, passim; Crosby, Bishop and Chapter, 116–17, discusses the twelfth-century evidence. Letters of Lanfranc, no. 3 (pp. 42–3), lines 57–8. W. Rodwell, ‘Revealing the History of the Cathedral, 2: Archaeology in the North Quire Aisle’, Friends of Lichfield Cathedral 58th Annual Report, 1995, 20–33; for Chester, below. J. C. Lancaster, ‘The Coventry Forged Charters: A Reconsideration’, BIHR 27, 1954, 113–39; R. H. C. Davis, ‘An Unknown Coventry Charter’, EHR 86, 1971, 533–45; Crosby, Bishop and Chapter, 118–20. VCH Staffs. iii, 140. I thank Dr Julia Barrow for information on this point. GDB 247a1 (Staffs. 2/16). Monasticon vi (3), 1242.

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ancient constitution of the cathedral, something well short of a formal chapter living under a rule. In 1086 the five priests of Lichfield had just three ploughteams between them, and at best a limited share in the endowment of the see held by the bishop.39 Landed estates, however, were not the only resources at their disposal. The rights of the five prebendaries as recorded later look well entrenched and were very likely of long standing. The absence of a dean, and the fact that the territorial archdeacons of the diocese, established probably by the 1120s and perhaps by the late 1080s, never had a place in the chapter, are both indicative of the pre-eminence of the five priests. Until as late as 1491 the cathedral clergy controlled the three other churches in the city of Lichfield as chapels of ease, and with them a large parochial territory around Lichfield. Even after the college of canons was formed, service at the high altar of the cathedral was reserved to the five prebendaries.40 Any one of those features in isolation was unusual; together they show that the original five priests once controlled all the spiritualities of the cathedral and its extensive parochia. William of Malmesbury called Lichfield a uilla, his normal word for a village, and a small one at that (uilla exigua).41 It contrasted in his scheme of places with towns and cities, variously called urbs, uicus, and ciuitas.42 It was not even a ‘small town’ (uiculus), his word for Sherborne, but more like Crediton, a uillula, or Dorchester, a uilla ‘of small size and few people’ (exilis et infrequens).43 The most thorough and convincing modern account of Lichfield, Terry Slater’s plan analysis, however, shows that Malmesbury was simply wrong. Lichfield was not a village like the other English sees deserted by their bishops in the period 1050– 75, but rather what might be called a polyfocal town. It took the unusual form of a cluster of settlement foci strung around and between three churches: the cathedral in its precinct, the church of St Chad a few hundred yards down river at Stowe, and the hilltop church of St Michael to the south-east. The largest settlement had been laid out in a planned, formal way along the road linking the cathedral and St Chad’s. A dominant feature of the topography which helps explain the dispersal of the urban settlement was the two large millponds in the valley immediately south of the cathedral.44 Eleventh-century Lichfield looked very different from an Alfredian walled town in Wessex (like Malmesbury) or the compact shire boroughs of Mercia (such as Chester and Stafford), but in scale and function it was certainly urban. In any case William of Malmesbury exaggerated the insignificance of Lichfield for rhetorical effect. He used Bishop Peter’s desertion of Lichfield to make a 39 40 41 42 43 44

Crosby, Bishop and Chapter, 117–18; VCH Staffs. iii, 140. EEA, 14, xliii–xliv, lii; VCH Staffs. iii, 140–66 gives a full history of the chapter and cathedral. Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum i, 464–5. E.g. ibid. 444–7, 658–9. Ibid. 276–7, 314–15, 472–3. T. R. Slater, ‘The Topography and Planning of Medieval Lichfield: A Critique’, Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society 26, 1984–5, 11–35; S. R. Bassett, ‘Medieval Lichfield: A Topographical Review’, ibid. 22, 1980–1, 93–121.



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point about the difference between past and present times, and more particularly past and present bishops. ‘Men of old’ (antiqui uiri), he wrote, meaning bishops, rightly preferred moderation and self-restraint, whereas modern bishops (nostri aeui episcopi) thought too much of their episcopal dignity, so that Lichfield, a uilla exigua, seemed a ‘shameful place’ (locus pudendus) for them to have their cath­ edral.45 Episcopal pride was one of William of Malmesbury’s bugbears. Bishop John of Wells, for example, ‘thinking it inconsistent with his dignity to live ingloriously in a village’ (‘minoris gloriae putans si in uilla resideret ing­lorius’), moved to Bath.46 But in other circumstances Malmesbury equivocated over whether such responses were appropriate. His own view of Sherborne was that it was ‘surprising, almost shameful’ (mirandum pene pudendum) that an episcopal see lasted there for so long.47 His wording at Lichfield, in contrast, could be taken to imply that it was shameful to be ashamed of Lichfield, and that he thought Lichfield a perfectly proper place for a cathedral. Arguably the most important function of the five priests of Lichfield was custody of the shrine of St Chad, a source of wealth and prestige. Reverence for Chad is a marked feature of what little is known about the cathedral in the late Anglo-Saxon period. The form of the shrine at that time is unknown, only that it occupied a central position in the cathedral, near which parts (at least) of its dismantled predecessor – the broken carving of an angel which came to light in 2003 – were carefully buried before or during Edgar’s reign (957–75).48 The structure of which the Lichfield Angel formed part must have been impressive, and its removal might be taken to suggest a deliberate decision to replace it with something grander still. The significance of Chad at Lichfield is further underlined by the cathedral’s retrieval, probably also in the mid-tenth century, of the luxury gospel book known as the Lichfield or St Chad Gospels. Briefly, the manuscript was probably written elsewhere in the mid-eighth century for use at Lichfield; in the ninth century it was lost or given away, and travelled to the monastery of Llandeilo Fawr in south Wales; in the tenth century, before or during the time of Bishop Wynsige (963×4–75), by some extraordinary means it was tracked down and returned to Lichfield.49 All this hints at renewed and ­refocused interest in the cult of Chad in late Anglo-Saxon Lichfield, and suggests a cathedral community intensely aware of its past. The cult of Chad also had the potential to link the cathedral canons with important churches dedicated to him throughout the diocese. Some Chad churches were at places where the bishop had estates, but others were not, and 45 46 47 48 49

Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum i, 464–5. Ibid. 304–5. Ibid. 276–7. W. Rodwell, J. Hawkes, E. Howe, and R. Cramp, ‘The Lichfield Angel: A Spectacular Anglo-Saxon Painted Sculpture’, Antiquaries Journal 88, 2008, 48–108. D. Jenkins and M. E. Owen, ‘The Welsh Marginalia in the Lichfield Gospels, Part I’, Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 5, Summer 1983, 38–66; M. P. Brown, ‘The Lichfield Angel and the Manuscript Context: Lichfield as a Centre of Insular Art’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 160, 2007, 8–19; see also Davies, ‘Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints’, below, 112–13.

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indeed some were outside the diocese, so that the cult had an existence independent of the bishops. Chad dedications are found, for example, in the shire towns of Stafford and Shrewsbury, at Tachbrook (afterwards Bishops Tachbrook) almost at the southern extremity of the diocese, at Prees in north Shropshire and Hanmer near by in south Cheshire, at Farndon on the Dee, and at Rochdale between Ribble and Mersey. Three Chad dedications in Lindsey, which had been part of Lichfield diocese in Bishop Chad’s lifetime, perhaps gave the five priests of Lichfield links beyond the diocese.50 What else beyond Bede the priests of Chad’s cathedral knew about their saint is now unknowable, but surely they preserved some memories of the Mercian hegemony, Offa’s patronage, and the short-lived elevation of their bishop to metropolitan status in 787, on equal terms with Canterbury and York. The later traditions of the church, preserved in the fourteenth-century Lichfield Chronicle of Alan of Ashbourne (once attributed to Thomas Chesterfield), are confused about the Anglo-Saxon period, and much more work is needed before it is clear whether anything there had an authentic basis.51

Chester Bishop Peter, who moved the see to Chester, had evidently been a royal chaplain under Edward the Confessor in the 1050s, one of an adaptable group at the centre of politics, who in the turbulent times of the Conquest mostly proved loyal servants of whoever was king.52 Like others of the group he was married. His career can be traced in outline: owner on a small scale of churches, manors, and urban property in Somerset and Berkshire, and custodian of Dorchester diocese for a brief period in either 1067 or 1070–1.53 Peter has been thought a Norman,54 but he had a son with the Germanic name Reinbald,55 and perhaps he was a Lotharingian, like others in the royal chapel. A worldly non-monastic background made him a good man for Lichfield. Long before Peter’s time the bishops of Lichfield had links with important minster churches in the two main towns of the diocese, St John’s in Chester and St Chad’s in Shrewsbury. At Chester, St John’s stood outside the city walls, in a precinct and with its own borough, the ‘bishop’s borough’, distinct from the royal borough within the walls. Either through St John’s or in his own right 50

51

52 53 54 55

F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications, 3 vols, London 1899, i, 398–400; confirmed or otherwise from Graham Jones’s online Transnational Database and Atlas of Saints’ Cults (TASC), www.le.ac.uk/users/grj1/tascintro.html and from parish histories in VCH. ‘Thomæ Chesterfeld canonici Lichfeldensis historia de successione episcoporum Coventrensium & Lichfeldensium’, in Anglia Sacra, ed. H. Wharton, 2 vols, London 1691, i, 423–34. Barlow, English Church 1000–1066, 115–37. EEA, 14, xix–xxx; GDB 56a2, 57a1, 91b1, 98b2 (Berks. B/4; 1/9, 11; Som. 16/6–7, 14; 47/1). VCH Ches. iii, 5. GDB 58a1 (Berks. 1/42).



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the bishop had houses, revenues, and authority in the city and a scatter of rural estates outside.56 At Shrewsbury the bishop’s church of St Chad was also an important minster of great antiquity with lands and rights in the town and hinterland.57 Both St John’s and St Chad’s had functioning chapters in 1066 which were larger numerically than Lichfield’s and richer in landed endowment; they had valuable burial rights in the city and hinterland; and their canons – especially the deans – very likely cut a figure in town. The history of the two churches diverged after the Conquest. Shrewsbury St Chad was subordinated to the earl of Shrewsbury after Roger de Montgomery arrived in Shropshire in 1068, its chapter may have been dissolved, and it was not retrieved by the bishop and resuscitated as a collegiate church until some time after the fall of the Montgomerys in 1102. One possibility is that Bishop Peter’s early move to Chester was intended to forestall similar plans for St John’s by Earl Hugh of Chester. More likely, given how powerful and independent Earl Hugh was in comparison with the bishop, and given that both men moved in the Conqueror’s circles, they had come to an understanding that Hugh would take over one of the two minsters in Chester, St Werburgh’s, leaving the bishop a free hand at St John’s. Bishop Peter did not begin a building campaign at St John’s. The Romanesque eastern arm of the church – known from archaeological investigation among the ruins preserved outside the present building – has been dated to around 1100 and so dates from Bishop Robert’s time, quite possibly after he had already left for Coventry. Four bays long, aisled with eastern towers over the aisles, and three round apses, the work has similarities with contemporary work at Hereford: it was clearly designed as a cathedral.58 Work at St John’s was suspended for a short period after the eastern arm was finished but resumed in the second quarter of the twelfth century, showing that later bishops (starting with Roger de Clinton, 1129–48) continued to invest heavily there. Interactions between St John’s and other communities in Chester – St Werburgh’s, the townspeople, and Earl Hugh’s household – may have been at least as important as the relationship between St John’s and Lichfield, but only the sketchiest outline can be offered here about the shape they may have taken. At St Werburgh’s the Anglo-Saxon minster was succeeded in the early 1090s by a Benedictine monastery, founded by Earl Hugh of Chester and staffed initially by monks from Bec. New foundation myths were soon written, and by the mid-twelfth century many aspects of the earlier house had been expunged, though the monks did preserve devotion to the virgin St Werburgh, interest in her miracles, and some confused and contradictory stories about the foundation

56 57 58

VCH Ches. v (2), 125. VCH Salop. ii, 114–19. R. Gem, ‘Romanesque Architecture in Chester c. 1075 to 1117’, in Medieval Archaeology, Art and Architecture at Chester, ed. A. Thacker, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions 22, 2000, 31–44, at 38–41; S. Ward, ‘Recent Work at St John’s and St Werburgh’s’, ibid., 45–56, at 45–7.

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of the house.59 The townspeople of Chester should be regarded as a community with some capacity for articulating their communal interests against others, even though they were not self-governing until the mayoralty developed in the early thirteenth century.60 Their sense of corporate identity is evident from the way in which in 1086 they produced their pre-Conquest laws for the Domesday inquest,61 laws which made explicit the dependency of the town jointly on king, earl, and bishop. In the changed circumstances of 1086, with the king withdrawn from direct involvement in the town but the earl and the bishop newly resident among them since the Conquest, they were surely making a point. Earl Hugh’s household was a new community, forged in war in England and north Wales in the early years of the Conquest. Its ethos, identity, and oral culture are all evident in the exploits remembered by a group of knights who tired of its violence and greed and left to become monks at Saint-Evroul in Normandy.62 These several communities of Chester were in flux throughout the period from the Conquest into the 1090s. The two old minster churches were transformed into Benedictine monastery and cathedral chapter; a new comital household was created at the castle under a charismatic leader, directed towards warfare and conquest in north Wales, but also dispersed and polyfocal in the sense that its leading members also had landed estates scattered across England; the townspeople may have been infiltrated by some French settlers and may well have felt nostalgic for the good old days of King Edward’s law. There were physical transformations too: the destruction of streets and houses for the castle, probably the extension of the town walls, long-term large-scale building projects begun at St Werburgh’s and St John’s, and perhaps the creation of the causeway across the Dee to power the mills.63 There was plenty of scope here for conflict, and not simply of English against Normans in the crude way that post-Conquest social identities are sometimes imagined: the townspeople may have been set against the earl’s household; monks from Bec against English clerks at St Werburgh’s; a twist in the local rivalry of the two minsters under their new patrons. Considerations such as these might be thought to provide the background to Bishop Robert de Limesey’s withdrawal from Chester to Coventry, probably, as argued above, in the period 1089–93. Of particular importance are the consequences of Earl Hugh’s refoundation of St Werburgh’s. Although the crucial phases took place only in the early 1090s, the scheme may well have been long in the planning, with everyone in Chester well aware of what was intended. It had the effect of cementing the honorial community – wider than the earl’s household alone – as co-founders and co-donors with 59

60 61 62

63

VCH Ches. iii, 132–46; C. P. Lewis, ‘Edgar, Chester, and the Kingdom of the Mercians, 957–9’, in Edgar, King of the English 959–975: New Interpretations, ed. D. Scragg, Woodbridge 2008, 104–23. VCH Ches. v (1), 25–8, 34–44. GDB 262b1–2 (Ches. C/3–20). C. P. Lewis, ‘Avranches, Hugh d’, first earl of Chester’, in ODNB, www.oxforddnb.com/ view/article14056; idem, ‘The Formation of the Honor of Chester, 1066–1100’, Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society 71, 1991, 37–68. Gem, ‘Romanesque Architecture in Chester’; VCH Ches. v (2), 83, 207.



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Earl Hugh. It provided, and probably was always intended to provide, his mausoleum. Earl Hugh’s plans for St Werburgh’s outflanked the bishop at St John’s: the new abbey was always going to be much grander than the new cathedral, and would be plugged into regional power structures across Cheshire and beyond in a much more effective way than the bishop could hope to achieve. But it seems more likely that it was not rivalry, but co-operation, which took Bishop Robert away from Chester to Coventry.

Coventry Bishop Robert was the son of a Norman knight and perhaps related to the tenantin-chief Ralph de Limesey.64 Like Peter, he was a royal clerk, holding a canonry of St Paul’s in London before he was appointed bishop of Chester in 1086. Coventry abbey stood in what in the late eleventh century was a strange bipartite place.65 The abbey had a small market town, unrecorded in Domesday Book, laid out at its gates, but immediately to the south was a rural manor of Coventry held successively by the earls of Mercia and King William. The duality of Coventry was a consequence of the abbey’s history earlier in the eleventh century.66 Two variant traditions of that history were preserved, one that it was consecrated as a new house in 1043, the other – not fully formed until the fifteenth century – that it was founded early in Cnut’s reign on the destroyed foundations of a nunnery of St Osburga. Both may have been true, consecration in the 1040s perhaps marking completion of a building project. In any case it was the most important monastery in the diocese. Its standing in the last years of Anglo-Saxon England is apparent in its patronage by the earls of Mercia. In particular it was the burial place of Earl Leofric (d.1057) and his widow Godiva (d.1067), and perhaps the place where the Vision of Earl Leofric was written. Amazingly, the memory of Leofric and Godiva was still treasured in Norman times, both of their names being written into the mortuary roll of Abbot Vitalis of Savigny when the monks of Savigny came calling in 1122. Coventry, in other words, somehow made a comfortable transition across the turbulent times of the Conquest. According to John of Worcester it was ‘adequately’ endowed with lands but ‘so rich in various ornaments that in no monastery in England might 64

65

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EEA, 14, xxxii; L. C. Loyd, The Origins of Some Anglo-Norman Families, ed. C. T. Clay and D. C. Douglas, Harleian Society 103, 1951, 54; K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066–1166, I: Domesday Book, Woodbridge 1999, 334, 383. Its early history is now best elucidated by S. Baxter, The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford 2007, 153–63. See also J. Hunt, ‘Piety, Prestige or Politics? The House of Leofric and the Foundation and Patronage of Coventry Priory’, in Coventry’s First Cathedral. The Cathedral and Priory of St Mary: Papers from the 1993 Anniversary Symposium, ed. G. Demidowicz, Stamford 1994, 97–117. R. Goddard, Lordship and Medieval Urbanisation: Coventry, 1043–1355, Woodbridge 2004, 21–48; K. D. Lilley, ‘Coventry’s Topographical Development: The Impact of the Priory’, in Coventry’s First Cathedral, 72–96.

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there be found the abundance of gold, silver, gems, and precious stones that was then in its possession’.67 Among the three religious communities directly involved in the removals of the bishops of Lichfield, Coventry was the newest, largest, best endowed with land, wealthiest in treasures – and in theory the most autonomous until Bishop Robert took it over. However, it is clear that the closest possible links existed before the Conquest between the abbey and its diocesan bishop, since they were one and the same person, Leofwine, a kinsman of Earl Leofric. Leofwine was made abbot of Coventry at its refoundation c.1043 and seems to have remained abbot when appointed bishop of Lichfield in 1053. When his resignation as bishop was forced by the Normans at Easter 1071 he seems to have retired to Coventry as abbot, and may have remained there for many years.68 Leofwine’s reputation at Coventry ought to have been black, since he allegedly abstracted lands and churches from the monks and gave them to Norman incomers.69 In fact he was revered at Coventry, no doubt partly as a member of Earl Leofric’s family but also perhaps because some losses were recognised as a price worth paying for the retention of the great bulk of the monastic estate. The links which Leofwine established between Coventry and the diocese set a pattern for his successors. Bishop Peter’s relations with the abbey were represented by the monks as interference. They claimed that he forced an entry into the monks’ dormitory in order to break into their ‘strongboxes’ or ‘treasure chests’ (archae), robbed them of their horses and goods, pulled down their houses (domus) and removed the building materials for his own use, and lodged his household (a reminder of yet another community involved in these trans­actions) at the abbey for a week, eating up the monks’ provisions.70 This account, repeated in Lanfranc’s letter of admonition, raises several questions.71 What were the monks of Coventry doing with treasure in their dormitory? Were the ‘houses’ private property within the monastic precinct? Residence for a week hardly seems an intolerable burden, and in any case, what happened to monastic hospitality? Far from treating Coventry abbey as if he owned it, Bishop Peter may simply have been bringing a disorderly community back under proper discipline. William of Malmesbury made allegations against Bishop Robert which went beyond his acquisition of the abbey as the diocesan seat: he ill-treated the monks, neglecting their buildings, spiritual development, rations, and learning.72 The criticism here, however, is perhaps not that Robert had no business with the monks of Coventry, rather that he was not living up to expectations of his role as their father and bishop. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Bishop Robert’s relocation to Coventry is that it may well have happened at the same time as Earl Hugh’s 67 68 69 70 71 72

John of Worcester ii, 582–3. EEA, 14, xxv–xxvii, where the evidence is fully discussed; Letters of Lanfranc, no. 2. A Coventry text printed in Monasticon iii, 182, and discussed EEA, 14, xxvii n. 19. Letters of Lanfranc, no. 27; discussed EEA, 14, xxxi. Crosby, Bishop and Chapter, 115, thought the letter ‘surprisingly mild’. Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum i, 468–71.



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acquisition of the other half of Coventry from William II.73 That is impossible to date more narrowly within Rufus’s reign, and the earl’s share was not developed as a town until later, but we should probably envisage the earl and the bishop taking joint control of Coventry, in some planned and negotiated operation that removed the bishop from Chester. Some judgement can now be made on the policies of Bishops Peter and Robert of Lichfield-Chester-Coventry. The two men were from the same milieu and very likely knew one another at court when Peter was bishop and Robert a royal clerk. Continuity in policy was also ensured by the fact that it was backed and perhaps instigated by William I and William II. Episcopal policy at Lichfield was not an aimless and opportunistic wandering around the diocese, driven by pride and greed. Rather it amounted to a sustained effort to strengthen existing links between the diocesan bishop and the three main monastic and clerical communities of the diocese at Lichfield, Chester, and Coventry, and make them more effective, both in the service of augmenting the bishop’s limited revenues, and in strengthening pastoral supervision of the diocese. What they did was entirely consonant with the progressive monasticisation of English cathedral chapters, and with the continuing reform of diocesan structures more generally. Looking forward into the twelfth century, the activities of Bishop Roger de Clinton after 1129 were in very much the same vein, pursued more effectively because of his greater wealth and close links at the centre of royal power, his uncle being the royal administrator Geoffrey de Clinton.74 Bishop Clinton switched the focus of the diocese back to Lichfield: he reformed the chapter, started new building work, gave Chad’s shrine a central place in the cath­edral, and laid out an ambitious new town on a site immediately in front of the cath­edral precinct, complete with a new market-place, church, and borough status. Quite possibly he intended returning to Lichfield as the main seat of the ­bishopric.75 At the same time he maintained and strengthened links with the most important religious communities in other parts of the diocese, keeping the chapters of Lichfield and Coventry in play, and securing full control of St Chad’s in Shrewsbury. Elsewhere he founded a Savignac house at Buildwas on the Severn, a location which seems carefully chosen to challenge the local dominance of the Cluniac monastery of Much Wenlock. Significantly Buildwas was dedicated to St Chad as well as the conventional Savignac dedication to the Virgin.76 For Bishop Clinton, the many religious communities of the diocese were not conflicting but complementary, underpinning the bishop’s presence in outlying parts of the diocese. How far that was true of the activities of Bishops Peter and Robert is difficult to judge, but continuities in policy across the ­episcopal reigns from the 1050s to the 1150s are striking. 73 74 75 76

Goddard, Coventry, 22. See EEA, 14, xxxviii–xlvii; for his wealth: Crosby, Bishop and Chapter, 120–1. I owe this suggestion to Dr Stephen Marritt. A. Binns, Dedications of Monastic Houses in England and Wales, 1066–1216, Woodbridge 1989, 159; ibid. 38–54 for the wider context.

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The conflicting communities in the affairs of the Mercian diocese over that century were not rival cathedral chapters at Lichfield, Chester, and Coventry, but rather the different communities at Chester. It was Chester’s complexity as a place of multiple communities – clerical, monastic, burghal, but especially comital – which formed the hinge in this singular story of the episcopal two-step.

4 The Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium and Urban Ecclesiastical Rivalry in Eleventh-Century Rouen* Richard Allen

As one of the few surviving texts to have been produced by a Norman cathedral chapter during the eleventh century, the Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium has long held the attention of scholars. Classified as a gesta episcoporum,1 the text was first edited towards the end of the seventeenth century,2 though was only studied for the first time in any real detail towards the end of the nineteenth.3 In recent years it has become one of the key focal points for scholars studying the rivalry that is believed to have existed between the cathedral of Rouen and its neighbouring abbey of St-Ouen de Rouen, which erupted most noticeably in the city during the last quarter of the eleventh century. This rivalry was played out on many levels, and the two institutions competed with each other for the restitution of land and other benefices from the duke and his leading magnates, as well as for the acquisition of relics and the subsequent attraction of pilgrims. Their rivalry also included the production of literary works, ­especially hagiographical

*

The author is indebted to Véronique Gazeau and Stephen Marritt for their comments on earlier drafts of this article, and also to Paul Dalton for the opportunity to first present the ideas contained therein at the Canterbury conference in December 2007. Any errors that remain are, of course, my own.

1

The standard work on this genre is M. Sot, Gesta Episcoporum, Gesta Abbatum, Turnhout 1981. Veterum analectorum tomus I [–IV], ed. J. Mabillon, 4 vols, Paris, 1675–85, ii, 424–57. The text has recently been published according to modern standards: R. Allen, ‘The Acta archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium: Study and Edition,’ Tabularia ‘Documents’ 9, 2009, 1–66, at 32–45. This will be referenced here as ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’. The text has been published on three other occasions: Veterum Scriptorum et Monumentorum Collectio Nova, ed. E. Martène, Rouen 1700, part II, 233–48; Vetera analecta, ed. J. Mabillon, Paris 1723, 222–6; PL 147, cols 9–14, 273–80. E. Vacandard, ‘Un essai d’histoire des archevêques de Rouen au XIe siècle’, Revue catholique de Normandie 3, 1893, 117–27.

2

3

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texts.4 The abbey and cathedral are also believed to have competed with each other architecturally.5 Evidence for this is severely lacking, however, since little remains of the Romanesque structure at either site. Fortunately, detailed excavations have been carried out at the cathedral, which have revealed its eleventhcentury form, but the abbey has never been the subject of a survey in the modern era. References within one version of the Acta archiepiscoporum to certain eleventh-century architectural features of the abbey are therefore particularly important, and their analysis not only emphasises the competition between the cathedral and abbey at this time, but also illustrates its direct physical impact on the urban environment in which the two institutions operated. Two versions of the Acta archiepiscoporum survive, and both are conserved in the Bibliothèque municipale de Rouen. Although it has recently been argued otherwise,6 it is probable that the exemplar of the two is to be found in a manuscript belonging to the cathedral, which is known from its finely carved ivory cover as the Livre d’ivoire.7 The text is written in a fairly uniform eleventhcentury hand. It opens with a description of the six Norman dioceses, and ends with a note on John of Ivry (1067–79).8 Since this does not mention his death the text was probably written during his archiepiscopate, perhaps c.1070. The other version of the Acta archiepiscoporum is found in a hagiographical dossier belonging to the abbey of St-Ouen, which is known as the Livre noir.9 This version is concordant with that in the Livre d’ivoire insofar as it begins with the episcopate of St Mallonus, but it includes at its beginning, after the description of the province of Rouen and before the poem dedicated to Mallonus, a development on St Nicasius, who is alleged to be the founder of the episcopal seat. Furthermore, the text continues after the entry devoted to John of Ivry with an account of a dispute between this prelate and the monks of St-Ouen, which occurred in the abbey on 24 August 1073, and then ends with a note on Archbishop William Bona Anima (1079–1110). Geneviève Nortier dated the codex (and consequently the Acta archiepiscoporum) to the abbacy of Nicholas

4

5 6 7 8 9

F. Lifshitz, ‘The Acta Archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium: A Monastery or Cathedral Product?’, Analecta Bollandiana 108, 1990, 337–47; L. Violette, ‘Une entreprise historiographique au temps de la réforme grégorienne: les Actes des Archevêques de Rouen’, Revue d’histoire de l’église de France 83, 1997, 343–65; L. Violette, ‘Le problème de l’attribution d’un texte rouennais du XIe siècle: les Acta Archiepiscoporum Rothomagensium’, Analecta Bollandiana 115, 1997, 113–29. An interesting continuation of this rivalry can be found in, D. Spear, ‘The Double-Display of St Romanus of Rouen in 1124’, Haskins Society Journal 17, 2006, 117–31. F. Lifshitz, ‘The Politics of Historiography: The Memory of the Bishops in 11th-Century Rouen’, History and Memory 10, 1998, 118–37, at 118. Lifshitz, ‘The Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 337–47. Bibliothèque municipale (hereafter BM) de Rouen, MS Y 27 Omont 1405, pp. 26–36. For his career, see R. Allen, ‘“A Proud and Headstrong Man”: John of Ivry, Bishop of Avranches and Archbishop of Rouen (1060–79)’, Historical Research 83, 2010, 189–227. BM (Rouen), MS Y 41 Omont 1406, fols 1r–11r.



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(1042–92) based on the presence of his anathema on folio 23v,10 while Felice Lifshitz further narrowed the date to between 1090 and c.1093.11 The association of the Acta archiepiscoporum with rivalry and division is certainly not a new idea. The very existence of two different versions testifies to the discord that existed between the cathedral and abbey at this time, while the two important additions made to the abbey version of the text reveal candidly the areas in which these institutions could come to blows (literally, in one case). The first of these, the discussion of the primacy of St Nicasius as first bishop of Rouen, represented a deliberate attempt by the abbey (using a cathedral text, no less) to redefine the religious heritage of the city, and consequently the province as a whole, in direct contradiction to the image supported by the cathedral. It was an effort in which they were largely successful, since only the cathedral continued to resist the primacy of St Nicasius, grudgingly accepting it for the first time in the mid-twelfth century.12 The other addition to the abbey text is the account of the riot of 24 August 1073, which has become, in the well-known words of Michel de Boüard, ‘un incident héroï-comique souvent narré’.13 The riot began after Archbishop John, who was supposed to conduct the feast day mass of St-Ouen, arrived at the abbey late and found that proceedings had started without him.14 Clearly feeling that his jurisdiction had been undermined, the archbishop flew into a rage. Excommunicating the monks on the spot, he drove the officiating prelate, the abbot of St-Martin de Sées, from the altar, placing him under an interdict. He then began to celebrate mass himself, but was interrupted when someone offended by his behaviour began to ring the monastery bell. The individual responsible for the interruption then ran to the square, and shouted that John was trying to take the relics of St Ouen back to the cathedral, which was untrue. Upon hearing the rumour, however, the people of Rouen took up arms and entered the abbey, where they attacked the archbishop. The cathedral clerks and St-Ouen monks then began to brawl, and the whole situation

10

11 12

13 14

G. Nortier, Les bibliothèques médiévales des abbayes bénédictines de Normandie: Fécamp, Le Bec, Le Mont Saint-Michel, Saint-Evroul, Lyre, Jumièges, Saint-Wandrille, Saint-Ouen, Paris, 1971, 186. Lifshitz, ‘The Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 337. The best survey of the primacy dispute between St Nicasius and St Mallonus is L. Violette, ‘L’église métropolitaine de Rouen pendant la première période normande (Xe–XIe siècles)’, unpublished PhD thesis, 2 vols, Université de Paris-X 1994, ii, 314–402. M. de Boüard, ‘Sur les origines de la Trêve de Dieu en Normandie’, Annales de Normandie 9, 1959, 169–89, at 176. The archbishop was with the duke in Le Mans advising him on his campaign; ‘… qua Guillelmus Nortmannorum comes et Anglorum rex gloriosus, Cinomannis cum expeditione sua morabatur’: ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 41. There can be no doubt that Cinomannis should be translated as Le Mans, rather than simply Maine, and that the author meant to imply William was in the city, rather than contemplating an attack elsewhere, for he uses the locative, which for 1st declension nouns (Cinomanna, Cinomannae) is the ablative plural. For translation of Cinomannis as Le Mans elsewhere, see The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ed. M. Chibnall, 6 vols, Oxford, 1969–80, ii, 306 (hereafter OV).

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Fig. 1.  Plan of the Romanesque cathedral of Rouen.



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only dissipated with the arrival of the local vicomte.15 A council was convened in Rouen by the duke to examine the dispute, and William ordered that the archbishop pay a fine of 300 livres for his actions against a ducal abbey, and reconcile himself with St-Ouen. The archbishop’s rage was so great, however, that he refused, and the task was eventually entrusted to Michael, bishop of Avranches (1068–94). The veracity of the story is confirmed by entries in various Norman annals that record the names of four monks punished for their part in the riot,16 and Lanfranc’s discussion of it in his correspondence with John.17 There can be no question that the monk who recorded the events of this day did so in part to discredit Archbishop John. The blame for the riot is placed squarely on the archbishop, while the monk later humiliates John by recounting how the incapacitated archbishop (he had a terrible stroke in the summer of 1077) returned to the abbey to celebrate the same feast day mass a few years later.18 Unable to control his bodily functions, John wet himself during the service and had to be removed from the church.19 What the monk certainly cannot have intended was to leave one of the few surviving records of the architectural design of the abbey church, which was then beginning to forge its own distinctive place within the city skyline. Ten years earlier, the cathedral of Rouen had been completed and consecrated by Archbishop Maurilius (1055–67). The archaeological and architectural history of this church is well known, since the current edifice was damaged by bombing during the ‘semaine rouge’ of 30 May to 5 June 1944, and the restoration that followed was accompanied by excavations.20 These revealed an ambulatory eastern end with three radiating chapels under which was a crypt (Fig. 1). The eleventh-century church was also notable for its incredibly wide transept arms (47 metres). The Romanesque cathedral is held as one of the great achievements of the period (far outshining some of its

15

16

17 18 19

20

The identity of the vicomte, unnamed in the text, is most likely Ansfredus, who occupied the position from 1055×66–81; J.-M. Bouvris, ‘Contribution à une étude de l’institution vicomtale en Normandie au XIe siècle. L’exemple de la partie orientale du duché: les vicomtes de Rouen et de Fécamp’, in Autour du pouvoir ducal normand Xe–XIIe siècles, Caen 1985, 149–74, at 161. ‘Chronicon Rotomagense’, in Novae Bibliothecae Manuscriptorum Librorum, ed. P. Labbé, 2 vols, Paris 1657, i, 364–90, at 367; Annales de l’abbaye Saint-Pierre de Jumièges. Chronique universelle des origines au XIIIe siècle, ed. J. Laporte, Rouen 1954, 58; ‘Chronica Monasterii S. Stephani Cadomensis’, in Scriptores Rerum Gestarum Willelmi Conquestoris, ed. J. Giles, London 1845, 161–74, at 166. Letters of Lanfranc, nos 16 and 17. The circumstances surrounding the stroke are recorded by Orderic: OV iii, 16–18. ‘Ut vero evangelium cepit legi, horribile dictu sic ab intimis humoribus in secretiorem meatum profluentibus est subito angustiatus, ut raptim urina procurrens lineam usque super pellicialem indumentum omne infecerit, pavimentum etiam quo stabat per quam humectauerit’: ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 44. G. Lanfry, La cathédrale dans la cité romaine et la Normandie ducale, Rouen 1956; G. Lanfry, G. Derivière and M. Morisset, La cathédrale depuis quinze siècles au cœur de la cité, Rouen 1963. See also J. Le Maho, ‘Les fouilles de la cathédrale de Rouen de 1985 à 1993. Esquisse d’un premeir bilan’, Archéologie médiévale 24, 1994, 7–49.

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Fig. 2. The ‘tour aux clercs’, St-Ouen de Rouen. (R. Allen)



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monastic contemporaries), while it is even possible that its influence spread as far as the Loire valley.21 In comparison, little substantial archaeological work has been done on the abbey of St-Ouen. No surveys have been carried out in the modern era, and those of the nineteenth century concentrated either on the discovery of sarcophagi, on the pillars of the nave on which the current columns rest, or on the best known surviving Romanesque feature, the two-level apsidiole otherwise known as the ‘tour aux clercs’ (Fig. 2).22 In many cases the findings of these digs are difficult to interpret, as they are often unaccompanied by plans or illustrations.23 We therefore know very little about the great church built by Abbot Nicholas, the greatest of the eleventh-century abbots,24 which was begun in the mid-eleventh century after the destruction of the old church,25 and which was itself almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1136.26 Orderic Vitalis provides some of the limited information on the edifice, and not only described it as being of ‘remarkable size and beauty’, but also noted that work had to be halted at the beginning of the twelfth century due to the building’s ‘exceptional’ dimensions.27 Elsewhere, an anonymous monk of St-Ouen claimed Nicholas rebuilt the abbey in an ‘elegant style’ (eleganti construens opere).28 Orderic’s assessment does not seem unwarranted, for the width of the transept has been estimated at 54 metres.29 This surpassed even the cathedral of Rouen in its scale, and is perhaps the first indication that the abbey church was built in a spirit of competition with the cathedral. Excavations carried out in 1875 under a chapel south of the current choir established that the church had an echeloned east end (sometimes known as the ‘Benedictine’ plan), allowing André Masson to outline a plan of the Romanesque abbey (Fig. 3). However, much of Masson’s reconstruction is hypothetical and, most importantly, the form of the choir and central apse was at that time unknown.30 Since so little is known of the abbey in this period, the Acta archiepiscoporum is invaluable to our understanding of what parts of the church had been completed by the summer of 1073, and what form they took. According to the 21 22 23

24 25 26 27 28 29 30

M. Baylé, ‘Les évêques et l’architecture normande au XIe siècle’, in Les évêques normands du XIe siècle, ed. P. Bouet and F. Neveux, Caen 1995, 151–72, at 157–8. An apsidiole is a small or secondary apse usually found in the transept arms. For a discussion of the limitations of the nineteenth-century reports, see P. Périn, ‘A propos des origines de Saint-Ouen de Rouen. Contribution de l’archéologie funéraire’, in La Neustrie: Les pays au nord de la Loire de 650 à 850, ed. H. Atsma, 2 vols, Sigmaringen 1989, ii, 21–39, at 23–6. For Nicholas’s career, see Normannia monastica (Xe–XIIe siècle), ed. V. Gazeau, 2 vols, Caen 2007, ii, 244–8. The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, Orderic Vitalis and Robert of Torigni, ed. E. van Houts, 2 vols, Oxford 1995, ii, 46. J.-F. Pommeraye, Histoire de l’abbaye royale de Saint-Ouen de Rouen, Rouen 1662, 261. OV ii, 298; iv, 308. BM (Rouen), MS Y 41 Omont 1406, fol. 47r. A. Masson, L’église abbatiale Saint-Ouen de Rouen, Paris 1927, 28. A. Clapham, English Romanesque Architecture after the Conquest, 2nd edn, Oxford 1934, 13–14.

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Fig. 3. Plan of the Romanesque abbey of St-Ouen de Rouen.



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text, the abbey had a tower complete with a large bell.31 If this refers to the lantern tower above the crossing, as it most likely does, it means that the first phase of the two-phase process of building a large church (i.e. east arms, transept arms and crossing first, then everything else) had been completed by 1073.32 If, however, this bell was within a tower in the western façade as at Jumièges, a westwerk after which that at St-Ouen may have been patterned, it means we must completely re-evaluate the chronology of the building’s construction.33 It is possible that there was a freestanding bell-tower at St-Ouen. No trace of one has ever been found at the site, but there was such a structure at the abbey of St Albans, a church with which, as we shall see below, the abbey of St-Ouen had much in common.34 Besides the bell and tower, the account also contains the following revealing sentence, which the author uses to describe the behaviour of the people of Rouen as they entered the abbey: Quidam curiositate acti, celata monasterii conscendunt, quędam ex tabulatis auferunt.35 Two words are of particular interest. The first, tabulatis, can be translated as ‘floor’, but since the author later refers to the flooring as the pavimentum, it is perhaps a reference to scaffolding, suggesting that construction was still ongoing in this part of the church.36 The second, and most interesting, is celata, which is a derivative of the verb celo (‘to hide’). This literally translates as ‘secrets’ or ‘hidden things’, and within the context of our sentence makes little sense. Louis Violette translated the word as ‘voûtés’ (vaulting), but this classification, while partially correct, still does not correspond entirely with our sentence.37 A more suitable translation is found in the Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus under the definition for caelata (from caelo ‘to carve’). This can be translated as ‘embossed’ or ‘engraved’, but also as ‘vaulted gallery’. This corresponds more precisely with our sentence, and as if to confirm that this was the meaning intended by our author, all the examples cited by Jan Frederik Niermeyer in support of this translation use the spelling c-e-l-a-t-a.38 Frustratingly, the author does not use a more specific term, such as tribune or triforium, to designate these galleries. Their significance, therefore, might at first seem unclear, since Norman churches at this time contained passageways at almost every level. The tribune was a common feature of Norman Romanesque,

31 32 33

34 35 36

37 38

‘… turrim properat, maius ęcclesię signum pulsat’: ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 42. E. Fernie, The Architecture of Norman England, Oxford 2000, 36. The original west end of St-Ouen is unknown. For the suggestion that it was modelled on that at Jumièges, see A. Klukas, ‘Altaria Superiora: The Function and Significance of the Tribune-Chapel in Anglo-Norman Romanesque’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Pittsburgh 1978, 177. For the tower at St Albans, see Fernie, The Architecture, 264. ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 42–3. ‘… pavimentum etiam quo stabat per quam humectaverit’; ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 44. For the various uses of wood in the construction of Norman buildings, see Fernie, The Architecture, 296–7. ‘Les Actes des Archevêques de Rouen’, in La cathédrale de Rouen: seize siècles d’histoire, ed. J.-P. Chaline et al., Rouen 1996, 49–60, at 57. Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus, ed. J. F. Niermeyer, Brill 1972, 162.

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and by the latter half of the century was found throughout the elevation of entire buildings, such as the cathedral of Coutances or the abbey of St-Etienne de Caen.39 We even know that St-Ouen had some tribune network at this time, since the upper level of the ‘tour aux clercs’ has aumbries and a piscina within it, which proves its liturgical utility and the need for access through the transept arm.40 The location of our celata is quite some distance from this particular part of the church, however, and we are able to locate their position more exactly thanks to the sentence after that noted above, which tells us that the archbishop of Rouen, ‘becoming frightened by the approaching rabble which surrounded him on all sides, and feeling more threatened by those who were above him [i.e. those in the galleries], fled from the altar towards the double doors of the monastery’.41 Although the Romanesque abbey of St-Ouen may have had as many as nine altars on the ground level,42 three pieces of evidence allow us to state with some certainty that John was at the high altar, and that this altar was located before the curvature of the central apse (Fig. 3). First, John was at the abbey to celebrate the feast of its patron saint. This alone would be enough to suggest that John was at the high altar, but the Livre noir version of the Acta archiepiscoporum also refers to a sanctuary where the coffins (loculi) of the abbey’s saints were being held.43 The use of the word sanctuarium is frustratingly vague, but the description of a miraculous smoke which emanated from this area during the riot gives some indication where in the monastery it was, for the saints’ bodies (which included that of St Ouen) are said to be in a location ‘upon which even the most curious eyes had wrongly gazed’.44 If these curious eyes belonged to those who had climbed up into the vaulted galleries surrounding the presbytery – an area of the abbey restricted for the use of the monks – it means that the body of St Ouen, which had been removed from Normandy during the Northmen incursions of the ninth century, had been returned to its position behind the high altar, where it had first been placed by Bishop Ansbertus in the seventh century.45 Second, an agreement drawn up between Archbishop Maurilius and Abbot Nicholas regulating the ceremonial 39 40

41

42

43 44 45

The standard work on wall passages within Norman Romanesque is J. Bony, ‘La technique normande du mur épais à l’époque romane’, Bulletin monumental 98, 1939, 153–88. Klukas, ‘Altaria Superiora’, 177; M. Baylé, ‘L’architecture romane en Normandie’, in L’architecture normande au Moyen Age, ed. M. Baylé, 2 vols, Caen 2001, i, 13–35, at 23; M. Baylé, ‘Caen: abbatiale Saint-Etienne (Abbaye-aux-Hommes)’ and ‘Rouen: abbatiale Saint-Ouen’, in L’architecture normande ii, 57 and 192; Clapham, English Romanesque, 13 n. 7. ‘Archiepiscopus circumcirca furentium se turmis appeti expavescens, plus tamen desuper imminentes metuens, ab altari ad valvas monasterii fugam arripuit’: ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 43. For detailed plans outlining the location of the altars of various Anglo-Norman churches, see A. Klukas, ‘The Architectural Implications of the Decreta Lanfranci’, ANS 6, 1983 (1984), 136–71. ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 43. ‘Nam tanta subito nubis caligo id spacium sanctuarii quo loculi sanctorum continebantur obtinuit, ut vix vel a curiosis oculorum acie corripi potuerit’: ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 43. The body of St Ouen was placed ‘in exclesiore gradu post altare sancti Petri’ by Bishop



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aspects of the feast day noted that, as the archbishop said mass, the clerks were to stand on the left side of the choir,46 while the Acta archiepiscoporum itself tells us that when John returned to the abbey following his incapacitation, he positioned himself among the cantors, who presumably stood in the choir.47 Finally, it should be noted that liturgical arrangements at this time remained close to those established during the Carolingian period, and these determined that the high altar be situated before the curvature of the central apse.48 Consequently, for John to have felt ‘threatened by those who were above him’, the galleries must have run either through the wall of this apse, or through the walls of the presbytery, or perhaps both. If this identification is correct it is highly significant, since this distinctive feature allows us to place Abbot Nicholas’s abbey within the architectural history of eleventh-century Normandy, and partially document the architectural influence of his church. Only a handful of Norman churches in the 1060s had an echeloned east end. The first to adopt this form were the abbeys of Bernay and Lonlay, which were completed c.1020–5,49 and the abbey of La Trinité de Caen, whose choir was ready for consecration on 18 June 1066.50 The scarcity of the design led Eric Carlson to argue that when it was adopted by St-Etienne de Caen, this was done in contradiction to contemporary architectural trends, which favoured an ambulatory east end similar to that at the cathedral of Rouen.51 However, if this is true for St-Etienne, it must also be true for St-Ouen, for its eastern end predated almost all those others known in the duchy, perhaps even those in Caen. Three dedications are mentioned for St-Etienne de Caen: 1073, 1077 and 1081. Carlson concluded that these dates referred to the respective consecration of the choir, the transept, and the remaining six bays of the nave.52 All but the last of these dates were accepted by Maylis Baylé,53 while Lucien Musset seemed to dismiss all those except 1077, which he dated more exactly to 13 September.54

46

47 48 49 50

51

52 53 54

Ansbertus in 688; Vita Audoeni I, ed. B. Krusch, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum, Hanover 1910, v, 565. ‘Clerici vero, sinistrum chorum teneant …’: Rouen, Archives départementales de la Seine-Maritime, 14 H 156; BN, Latin MS 10055, fol. 90v; BN, Latin MS n. a. 1246, fol. 197r ‘… ipse in medio cantorum specie precentoris stetit’: ‘Acta Archiepiscoporum’, 44. Fernie, The Architecture, 89. Baylé, ‘Caen: abbatiale Saint-Etienne’, 56. Subsequent modifications have greatly confused the evidence at La Trinité, although its initial form seems certain. For discussion, see M. Baylé, La Trinité de Caen: sa place dans l’histoire de l’architecture et du décor romans, Geneva 1979, 11–18, 38–53, esp. 40 for the association of the 1066 consecration with the choir. E. Carlson, ‘The Abbey Church of Saint-Etienne at Caen in the 11th and Early 12th Centuries’, unpublished PhD thesis, Yale University 1968, 235; E. Carlson, ‘Excavations at Saint-Etienne, Caen (1969)’, Gesta 10, 1971, 23–30, at 27 Carlson, ‘The Abbey Church’, 102–10. Baylé, ‘Caen: abbatiale Saint-Etienne’, 56. Les actes de Guillaume le Conquérant et de la reine Mathilde pour les abbayes caennaises, ed. L. Musset, Caen 1967, 14–15. Musset’s conclusions were followed by J.-M. Bouvris,

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Unfortunately, matters are not much clearer for St-Ouen. Only one dedication is known to have taken place (17 October 1126), which witnessed the consecration of the entire building, while Orderic gives two different dates (c.1056 or c.1066) for the beginning of construction on the new church.55 Marjorie Chibnall preferred the former,56 and if the tower discussed above was that above the crossing, it seems unlikely that such a substantial part of the church (i.e. the entire eastern arm, including the transept) could have been completed within the seven years between 1066 and 1073.57 Regardless, the description of the vaulted galleries within the Acta archiepiscoporum confirms that the choir of St-Ouen, including its apse, must have been completed before 24 August 1073. Using St-Etienne as a model, whose choir was completed in around ten years (between 1063 and 1073), if construction began at St-Ouen in around 1056 then the choir could have been completed as early as 1066. However, if the choir was completed as quickly as that at La Trinité (six years) then it may have been finished by as early 1062. This predates the choir at La Trinité by four years, that at St-Etienne by six, and if like Musset we abandon the St-Etienne consecration of 1073, this predating becomes even greater. Consequently, we must reconsider the architectural influence of St-Ouen. The abbey of St-Etienne has long played an established role in the development of Norman Romanesque.58 This is particularly true for the form of the abbey’s chevet, the completion of which Eric Carlson argued heralded ‘a noticeable shift’ in chevet design within the duchy.59 Indeed, the number of churches with an echelon design increased dramatically following the completion of the example at St-Etienne, and from this was derived a whole series of comparable structures in churches throughout Normandy,60 including those at Lessay (completed before 3 February 1098),61 La Trinité de Caen (remodelled in 1100×10),62 and St-Georges de Boscherville (completed c.1130).63 Unfor-

55 56 57

58

59 60 61 62 63

‘La dédicace de l’Eglise cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux (14 juillet 1077)’, Société des sciences, arts et belles-lettres de Bayeux 28, 1982, 1–16, at 14. OV iv, 308. OV iv, 309 n. 3. Such a short period of time for the completion of a church was not unknown, however, since it is possible that Lanfranc’s Canterbury was completed in just seven years: Fernie, The Architecture, 104. For a recent example, see M. Baylé, ‘Le rayonnement des abbayes caennaises et la maturité de l’architecture romane en Normandie’, in L’architecture normande ii, 49 ff. However, not all are convinced that Saint-Etienne’s influence was quite so widespread: Carlson, ‘The Abbey Church’, 310–35. Carlson, ‘The Abbey Church’, 234–5. L. Musset, ‘Présentation de Saint-Etienne de Caen’, in Normandie romane, 2 vols, Editions du Zodiaque, 1967, i, 55–7, at 55. L. Musset, ‘Lessay’, in Normandie romane i, 168–208; M. Baylé, ‘Lessay: abbatiale de la Trinité’, in L’architecture normande ii, 97–100. M. Baylé, ‘Caen: abbatiale de la Trinité (Abbaye-aux-Dames)’, in L’architecture normande ii 53. M. Baylé, ‘Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville: abbatiale Saint-Georges’, in L’architecture normande ii, 126–9; L. Musset, ‘Boscherville’, in Normandie romane ii, 139–90, at 152.



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tunately, the Romanesque chevet of St-Etienne was replaced in the early thirteenth century with a gothic design. Carlson suggested a reconstruction, and argued that the central apse was composed of seven bays of windows, each with three levels, and that of all the Norman churches with an echeloned chevet, the form of the central apse was probably most like that at the abbey of Cerisyla-Forêt.64 The foundations of Cerisy were laid in 1089, and it is long thought to have been derived from the example in existence at Caen.65 However, since the dating noted above suggests that the chevet at St-Ouen predated that at St-Etienne, it is suggested here that the Rouen example influenced the design at Caen, and that the abbey of Cerisy was instead derived from a tradition of St-Ouen, whose choir and central apse may have had three levels, through which ran the celata mentioned in the Acta archiepiscoporum (Fig. 4). Links between St-Ouen and Cerisy were established well before the abbey of St-Etienne was even conceived, since Cerisy was one of nine daughter houses founded by St-Ouen before the Conquest.66 According to Robert of Torigni, the first abbot of Cerisy was Durundus, who, undoubtedly along with the monks who accompanied him, came from St-Ouen.67 The influence of St-Ouen was also long lasting at the monastery. When Angilrammus, abbot of St-Riquier, visited Normandy to find out about the relics of St Vigor (the saint to whom Cerisy was dedicated), it was the monks of St-Ouen who confirmed that his life and deeds were well known at their monastery.68 Moreover, there is even evidence that the same monks had a hand in writing the vita of St Vigor, inserting within it an anachronism that reinforced links between the two houses.69 The two buildings are also linked architecturally. Besides the suggestion that St-Ouen had a central apse like that at Cerisy, both had a choir of two bays, while Cerisy also has a two-level apsidiole similar to the ‘tour aux clercs’ (Fig. 5).70 If the Bessin abbey did copy a design in existence at St-Ouen, a church of ‘remarkable size and beauty’ to repeat Orderic’s words,71 it may explain why,

64 65 66

67 68 69

70 71

Carlson, ‘The Abbey Church’, 250, 252. It should be noted, however, that Cerisy only has five bays in the semicylinder of its apse. L. Musset, ‘Cerisy-la-Forêt’, in Normandie romane i, 153–60; M. Baylé, ‘Cerisy-la-Forêt’, in L’architecture normande ii, 65–8. The other eight houses included those of St-Trinité de Rouen, La Croix-St-Leufroy, St-Victor-en-Caux, Beaumont-en-Auge, St-Pierre-sur-Dive, Tréport, Cormeilles and Montebourg: D. Knowles, The Monastic Order in England: A History of its Development From the Times of St Dunstan to the Fourth Lateran Council, 940–1216, 2nd edn, Cambridge 1976, 722. Robert of Torigni, Chronique de Robert de Torigni, abbé du Mont Saint Michel, ed. L. Delisle, 2 vols, Rouen 1872–3, ii, 195. Hariulf, Chronique de l’Abbaye de Saint-Riquier (Ve siècle–1104), ed. F. Lot, Paris 1894, 186–8. This anachronism was the entry of St Vigor into the monastery of St-Vedast, which made the saint ‘an indirect part of the Saint-Ouen monastic family’: J. Howe, ‘The Date of the “Life” of St Vigor of Bayeux’, Analecta Bollandiana 102, 1984, 303–12, at 311. Masson, L’église abbatiale, 27. St-Etienne de Caen and the priory of St-Vigor de Bayeux also had this feature, but they have since been destroyed. OV ii, 298.

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Fig. 4. The abbey of Cerisy-la-Forêt. (R. Allen)

of all the abbeys and cathedrals in the Anglo-Norman realm, it is one of only two with a three-level galleried apse.72 Acknowledged as ‘l’un des joyaux de l’architecture normande et anglo-normande’, perhaps this innovation, which is often associated with St-Etienne, should in fact be assigned to Abbot Nicholas and St-Ouen.73 It would hardly be out of place for a man and institution long recognised as ecclesiastical powerhouses of their time. Frustratingly, Cerisy is the only one of St-Ouen’s nine daughter houses to survive in anything of its Romanesque form, so a comparison elsewhere is impossible. It is actually outside the duchy, at the abbey of St Albans, that we find what is 72 73

The other is at the abbey of Peterborough, but it has been embedded in later work: Baylé, ‘Cerisy-la-Forêt’, 67. Ibid.



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Fig. 5. The two-level apsidiole at Cerisy-la-Forêt. (R. Allen)

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perhaps the most tantalising evidence to suggest that the central apse of St-Ouen did take this form. Here the Norman church was begun in 1077 (the east end was completed by 1088) under the guidance of Abbot Paul de Caen.74 As Paul’s toponym suggests, he was intimately linked with the great ducal town of Lower Normandy, and consequently, when scholars look for comparisons between his church and others in the Anglo-Norman realm it is invariably to St-Etienne that they turn.75 However, while St Albans shares many characteristics with Caen, there is a far more striking resemblance between this house and that at St-Ouen.76 Both are unusual, for example, for their echeloned seven-apse ends. That at St-Ouen is the only Norman example for this period, while St Albans is one of only a handful with this design in England, the others being daughter houses of St Albans, perhaps evidence that these foundations were modelled on their motherhouse, as Cerisy was on St-Ouen. One might even want to extend the central apse on Masson’s plan to coincide with the current hemicycle, which would make the choir four bays in length and identical to that at St Albans. Carlson proposed such a scheme for St-Etienne,77 but subsequent excavations demonstrated that the choir was only two bays in length,78 while only similar surveys at St-Ouen could confirm such a suggestion. Nevertheless, the transept at St Albans was almost identical in scale to that at St-Ouen, measuring in width just 3 metres more.79 Moreover, when Sir George Gilbert Scott suggested a reconstruction of the Norman abbey’s east end, a feature almost identical in design and scale to that at St-Ouen, he conceived that the central apse had three tiers of windows, just as at Cerisy-la-Forêt.80 The following is therefore proposed. The existence of the ‘tour aux clercs’, and the evidence from subsequent nineteenth-century excavations, confirm that the Romanesque abbey of St-Ouen had an echeloned east end. It was long thought to have been based upon similar designs at Caen, but references within the Acta archiepiscoporum, and a reassessment of certain key dates in the abbey’s construction, reveal that St-Ouen was not part of a Caen tradition, but that Caen was rather the product of a Rouen tradition. Of all the surviving churches with an eastern end of this design, St-Ouen was probably most similar to that at

74

75 76

77 78 79 80

For the dates of the distinct stages in the abbey’s construction, see M. Biddle, ‘Alban and the Anglo-Saxon Church’, in Cathedral and City: St Albans Ancient and Modern, ed. R. Runcie, London 1977, 23–42, at 41. C. Brooke, ‘St Albans: The Great Abbey’, in Cathedral and City, 43–70, at 48–9; Fernie, The Architecture, 112–14. St-Etienne is not the only house with which scholars draw comparison with St Albans, for some argue that the church is modelled on the great Cluniac priory at La Charité-surLoire: Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), A Guide to Saint Albans Cathedral, London 1982, 9. Carlson, ‘The Abbey Church’, 232. Carlson, ‘Excavations at Caen’, 26. M. Thurlby, ‘L’abbatiale Romane de St Albans’, in L’architecture normande i, 79–90, at 85. E. Roberts, The Hill of the Martyr: An Architectural History of St Albans Abbey, Dunstable 1993, 40, 43.



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Cerisy-la-Forêt, which copied a design that it found at a significant nearby abbey (St-Etienne) and its mother house (St-Ouen). Although this hypothesis challenges the established chronology, the use of a rouennais design for churches within Caen corresponds with what else we know about William the Conqueror’s mastery of Lower Normandy in the mid-eleventh century. Long seen as an ‘Upper Norman colonisation’ of the region,81 the use of an Upper Norman design to define the appearance of the region’s new principal settlement, rather than an original motif, would have played an important part in legitimising ducal authority there. It was a method familiar to the Normans, for they had used established Carolingian motifs to legitimise their rule in Upper Normandy in the preceding decades.82 Furthermore, the decision by Abbot Nicholas to build his church in this form is consistent with the circumstances in Rouen in the mid-eleventh century. A rivalry between the cathedral and abbey had been ongoing since the late tenth century, and although St-Ouen had the ascendancy in many areas of this competition, the cathedral of Rouen held the architectural advantage.83 Substantial parts of the cathedral had already been completed by the mid-1050s, and its bold new form would have stood in stark contrast to the outdated Merovingian abbey.84 When construction began on a new abbey church in around 1056, it was only the third edifice in the duchy to adopt an echeloned east end. In a single stroke, therefore, Abbot Nicholas not only restored the standing of his church with regards to the cathedral, but also began a process that would eventually see the abbey dominate the city skyline. That the abbey church was built as part of this competition with Rouen cathedral is also revealed in the apparent inconsistency between its form and its intended function. Eric Fernie, although noting that it was impossible to determine with any certainty a consistent connection between ambulatories and relics, remarked how churches with significant relic collections in England tended to prefer ambulatory east ends, since they could be used to control pilgrims visiting shrines.85 The situation in Rouen illustrates this uncertainty neatly. The cathedral, which had very few relics,86 was designed with an ambu-

81 82 83

84 85 86

D. Bates, Normandy before 1066, London 1982, 103. Fernie, The Architecture, 96. The abbey had received a huge number of donations from the dukes and their most powerful magnates, making the restitutions made to the cathedral by the archbishops seem trivial in comparison: Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie de 911 à 1066, ed. M. Fauroux, Caen 1961, nos 13, 19, 21, 24, 37, 39–41, 43–4, 53, 78–9, 103, 105, 107, 112, 158, 191, 193, 204 bis, 205, 210–12. The abbey had also developed a sophisticated scriptorium capable of producing numerous hagiographical texts in honour of the saints whose relics it held, while these relics had themselves been involved in some of the most important events of the duchy, such as when Duke William swore to uphold the Truce of God on the relics of St Ouen in October 1047: Miracula Audoeni, in Acta Sanctorum, ed. Société des Bollandistes, 67 vols, 1863–1983, 4 August, IV, 834–5 (hereafter AASS). We know very little of the Merovingian church. The best survey remains, Périn, ‘A propos des origins’, 21–39. Fernie, The Architecture, 252–3. The cathedral had only one relic at this time, that of a sixth-century bishop of Avranches,

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latory east end and a crypt (also associated with relics),87 while the abbey of St-Ouen, which boasted one of the most impressive collections in the duchy, had an echeloned east end.88 It is generally acknowledged that at this time Abbot Nicholas was attempting to turn his abbey into a site of pilgrimage to rival those elsewhere in the duchy,89 while we know that access to the east end would have been particularly important in the abbey, since we have already seen how the relics of the abbey’s patron saint occupied a special place within this part of the church. Nicholas’s decision to build the abbey’s eastern end with form rather than function in mind may, therefore, be the best indication of how eager the abbey was to dissociate itself from the cathedral. Its design reinvigorated an architectural tradition that would later include some of the most impressive churches in the Anglo-Norman realm (but not, it should be noted, the great Norman centres of pilgrimage, Mont-St-Michel, St-Wandrille and Jumièges, all of which had ambulatories), and which is distinct from the ambulatory trend that had preceded it.90 Unfortunately, it is difficult to compare the situation in Rouen with the other cities of the duchy. Only the city of Sées had a monastic institution (St-Martin) comparable in size to St-Ouen, but so little is known of the Romanesque form of both the cathedral and abbey that it is impossible to make a detailed comparison here.91 There were no urban monastic institutions in either Coutances or Avranches, although the abbey of Mont-St-Michel was often a dominant force over the latter, and may have even influenced the architectural design of the cathedral.92 Little more is known about the Romanesque cathedral of Évreux and the abbey of St-Taurin d’Évreux, which in 1035 became a priory of Fécamp,93 although it seems that, as in Rouen, the cathedral and priory each opted for different architectural designs (the cathedral appears to have had an ambulatory, while the priory was echeloned).94 If this was the result of any animosity

whose body was translated to the cathedral by Archbishop Robert (c.989–1037): Beati Severi Translatio Anno 1089, in AASS, February I, 192–4, at 192. 87 88 89 90

91 92 93 94

Fernie, The Architecture, 253–4. An impressive inventory of the abbey’s relics, many of which were acquired in the eleventh century, can be found in Neustria pia, ed. A. du Monstier, Rouen 1663, 59–61. F. Lifshitz, The Norman Conquest of Pious Neustria: Historiographic Discourse and Saintly Relics, 684–1090, Toronto 1995, 194, 197. This includes the churches at Bernay, both Caen abbeys, Montivilliers, Lonlay, Lessay, St-Georges de Boscherville, Lanfranc’s Canterbury, Lincoln, Old Sarum, Durham, Rochester and Peterborough: Fernie, The Architecture, 250. R. Gobillot, La cathédrale de Sées, Paris 1937, 17–19; P. Deschamps, Abbaye Saint-Martin de Sées (Orne), Rouen 1978, 24–9. Baylé, ‘Les évêques et l’architecture’, 160. For the priory’s architectural history, see J. Taralon, ‘L’ancienne église abbatiale de SaintTaurin d’Évreux’, Congrès archéologique de France 138, 1984, 266–99, esp. 284–8. The excavations of Louis Regnier suggest the presence of an ambulatory at the cathedral of Évreux: L. Regnier, ‘Fouilles dans le chœur de la cathédrale d’Évreux’, Correspondance historique et archéologique 2, 1895, 97–9, at 98. These findings seem to have been ignored by G. Bonnenfant, La cathédrale d’Évreux, Paris 1939, 10, who proposed an echelon plan.



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between the two it was short lived, since St-Taurin was later patterned after the cathedral.95 There seems to have been a similar situation at Bayeux. Although the evidence is not conclusive, the cathedral seems to have had an ambulatory,96 while an engraving of the priory (formerly abbey) of St-Vigor-le-Grand suggests that it had an echeloned east end.97 Little, however, is known of its Romanesque structure, and the priory quickly faded into obscurity with the imprisonment of its primary patron, Odo, bishop of Bayeux.98 The city of Lisieux was home to the nunnery of Notre-Dame-du-Pré, but what little we know of each structure is inadequate to make a comparison here.99 However, the critical difference between the situation in Rouen and its suffragan cities was that elsewhere the episcopate still retained a degree of control over their urban monastic institutions, since the bishops, and sometimes members of their families, had been involved in their foundation.100 In contrast, while the archbishops of Rouen had once governed the abbey of St-Ouen, serving as titular abbots, in the early eleventh century it had achieved independence and significant power. It outclassed the cathedral on almost every level, and the archbishops of Rouen must have looked on in envy as Nicholas’s church began to reveal its dramatic form. Rouen, however, was not unusual within wider Europe for being home to monastic–episcopal rivalry. Similar developments dominated local ecclesiastical politics in dioceses throughout France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries,101 while a remarkably similar incident to the riot at St-Ouen occurred between the men of Arnulf, archbishop of Tours (1023–52), and the monks of Marmoutier sometime during the archbishop’s reign. Relations between the cathedral of this city and its surrounding monasteries were marred throughout the eleventh century by disputes over monastic exemption,102 as were many of

95 96

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W. Clark, ‘The Nave of Saint Pierre at Lisieux: Romanesque Structure in a Gothic Guise’, Gesta 16, 1977, 29–38, at 33 and n. 38. See the conjectural cathedral plans in Klukas, ‘Altaria Superiora’, 554, figs 48a–c. It has been suggested, however, that the cathedral may have had an echelon plan: R. Plant, ‘Ecclesiastical Architecture, c.1050 to c.1200’, in A Companion to the Anglo-Norman World, ed. C. Harper-Bill and E. van Houts, Woodbridge 2003, 215–53, at 226. Monasticon Gallicanum, ed. A. Peigné-Delacourt, Paris 1871, pl. 103. For the history of St-Vigor, see F. Neveux, Bayeux et Lisieux, villes épiscopales de Normandie à la fin du Moyen Age, Caen 1996, 65–70. For details of the limited archaeological excavations, see G. Aubourg, ‘L’église du prieuré de Saint-Vigor-le-Grand’, Bulletin de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie 47, 1939, 333–47; L. Musset, ‘Les fouilles entreprises à l’emplacement de l’ancienne église abbatiale de Saint-Vigor-le-Grand près de Bayeux’, Bulletin de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie 57, 1965, 696–703; L. Musset, ‘Rapport sur les fouilles de l’abbatiale de Saint-Vigor-le-Grand’, Bulletin de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie 58, 1969, 538–44. For Notre-Dame-du-Pré, see Neveux, Bayeux et Lisieux, 340–9. This was the case in Bayeux, Lisieux and Sées. Tours and Orléans are two well studied examples: T. Head, Hagiography and the Cult of Saints: The Diocese of Orléans, 800–1200, Cambridge 1990, 202–81; S. Farmer, Communities of St Martin: Legend and Ritual in Medieval Tours, Cornell 1991, 17–20. Farmer, Communities of St Martin, 38–49, esp. 40–1.

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those within Normandy itself.103 Canterbury is perhaps best known within the Anglo-Norman realm for the rivalry between its cathedral and the abbey of St Augustine’s, which first erupted under Archbishop Lanfranc.104 Whether this ever spilled over into the architectural sphere is unknown. Lanfranc’s cathedral had an echeloned east end, while the abbey had a form remarkably similar to Rouen cathedral.105 Although these designs recall the situation in the Norman capital, and the rebuilding of St Augustine’s heralded an ‘epoch-making’ dedication ceremony, evidence from the York–Canterbury dispute suggests that neither church was built with the other in mind.106 Indeed, the form of the new cathedral at York built by Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux is so unusual that it seems to have been built ‘to be as unlike the standard Canterbury type of building as possible’.107 Such distinctiveness is not a part of the design of either Canterbury cathedral or St Augustine’s. Not all are convinced, however, that Thomas’s church stands in as much isolation from the mainstream of Norman Romanesque [i.e. the Canterbury/Caen (Rouen in our reckoning) model] as has hitherto been supposed.108 What does make Rouen unusual is that this rivalry gave birth to a new architectural motif. The design first championed by Abbot Nicholas was repeated in almost twenty churches throughout the Anglo-Norman realm.109 What makes these developments all the more remarkable is that they occurred in such a short space of time. At some time point in 1079×90 (certainly before 28 April 1090), William Bona Anima, the new archbishop of Rouen, performed with great ceremony the translation of the body of St Romanus to the cathedral.110 This event is traditionally seen as the beginning of the end of the overwhelming influence of St-Ouen in Rouen. The move had created an important local cult at the cathedral to rival those at the abbey, and it soon wanted to be part of this movement, laying claim to the saint’s head.111 It is perhaps no coincidence that

103

104 105 106

107 108 109 110

111

The classic study is J.-F. Lemarignier, Etude sur les privilèges d’exemption et de jurisdiction ecclésiastique des abbayes normandes depuis les origines jusqu’en 1140, Paris 1937, xxxiii, 331. H. E. J. Cowdrey, Lanfranc: Scholar, Monk, Archbishop, Oxford 2003, 167–72. Plant, ‘Ecclesiastical Architecture’, 228. Cowdrey, Lanfranc, 167. On the rebuilding of St Augustine’s, see Goscelin of St-Bertin, Historia Translationis S. Augustini Episcopi Anglorum Apostoli, in PL 155, cols 13–46. This text is discussed in R. Sharpe, ‘The Setting of St Augustine’s Translation, 1091’, in Canterbury and the Norman Conquest: Churches, Saints and Scholars, 1066–1109, ed. R. Eales and R. Sharpe, London 1995, 1–13. Plant, ‘Ecclesiastical Architecture’, 236. C. Norton, Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux and the Norman Cathedral at York, York 2001, 14–33, esp. 28–33. Carlson, ‘The Abbey Church’, 235. OV iii, 22–4. The date is based upon the acquisition of the head of St Romanus, translated to the abbey of St-Ouen, which notes that the body of the saint was already ‘in vicina beate Marie basilica’: ‘The translation to St Ouen in 1090’, in F. Lifshitz, ‘The Dossier of Romanus of Rouen: The Political Uses of Hagiographical Texts’, unpublished PhD thesis, Columbia University 1988, 412. Lifshitz, The Norman Conquest, 194, 203–6.



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the abbey version of the Acta archiepiscoporum, which was written to undermine the cathedral, was produced at this time. In the early twelfth century the abbey suffered a double blow, when in 1124 the cathedral performed a double display of the body of St Romanus, which was witnessed by Henry I,112 while just over ten years later Nicholas’s abbey was almost completely destroyed by fire.113 The Acta archiepiscoporum is no replacement for the loss of this monument, but it has hopefully been demonstrated here that the text is even more important to our understanding of the situation in Rouen during the last quarter of the eleventh century than is traditionally believed.

112 113

Spear, ‘The Double-Display’, 117–32. Pommeraye, Histoire de Saint-Ouen, 261.

5 Cathedrals and the Cult of Saints in Eleventhand Twelfth-Century Wales John Reuben Davies

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

St Davids The best continuously documented of the cathedral churches of Wales is at Mynyw (Latinised as Meneuia), the place associated with St David (Dewi Sant). Mynyw was subject to a series of devastating attacks during the tenth and eleventh centuries, from vikings as well as Mercians. On the cusp of the millennium, in 999, Danish pirates killed the bishop, Morgeneu: judgement for having been the first bishop since Dewi himself to eat meat.1 Eight decades later, in 1080, another bishop of Mynyw, named Abraham, was killed by vikings; this bishop’s death demanded the calling back from retirement of his predecessor, the renowned and learned Bishop Sulien, who in 1078 had withdrawn to his

1

Gerald of Wales (Itinerarium Kambriae, II.i) relates the appearance of Bishop Morgeneu in a vision in which the bishop claimed his fate was linked to his eating of meat. (Giraldi Cambrensis Opera, ed. J. S. Brewer, J. F. Dimock, and G. F. Warner, 8 vols, RS 21, London 1861–91, vi, 104). The destruction of Mynyw and the death of Bishop Morgeneu was recorded in the Annales Cambriae (Annales Cambriae, ed. J. Williams ab Ithel, RS 20, London 1860, 22).

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old home in Ceredigion, the clas-church of Llanbadarn Fawr, after five years as bishop of Mynyw.2 In 1081, a year into Sulien’s second stint as bishop, Gruffudd ap Cynan, pretender to the kingdom of Gwynedd, landed at Porth Clais and was met by Sulien along with Rhys ap Tewdwr, the dispossessed king of Deheubarth. Gruffudd and Rhys accompanied Bishop Sulien the short distance to the church of Mynyw to swear an oath on the relics of St David.3 This solemn action was the prelude to a successful military push, which fairly quickly gave Gruffudd and Rhys victory at the battle of Mynydd Carn: a decisive triumph over Trahaearn ap Caradog of Gwynedd, Caradog ap Gruffudd of Glamorgan, and Meilir ap Rhiwallon of Powys, all of whom fell on the battlefield.4 The Almighty, so it would seem, through the efficacious intercession of Dewi Sant, had blessed the alliance of the two warriors made over the sacred remains, and delivered victory into their hands. Not only were the relics of St David a powerful aid in what Gruffudd and Rhys no doubt thought to be a righteous cause; but the guardian of the shrine, Bishop Sulien, positioning himself on one side of this political struggle, publically bestowed the church’s sanction on the military project. The venerable prelate was endorsing an exile, Gruffudd ap Cynan, and appears to have granted the sanctuary of the church of Mynyw to Rhys ap Tewdwr.5 In this way, the church of Dewi, under Bishop Sulien, showed itself to be both a secure refuge and a source of mystical assistance. This precedent having been set, William the Conqueror went in person later the same year to Mynyw to receive the submission of Rhys ap Tewdwr, now king of Deheubarth.6 While there, William must have met Bishop Sulien, and given the earlier events around the relics of Dewi, we ought not to dismiss the chronicler’s gloss that there was an element of pilgrimage in the Conqueror’s journey to the heart of St David’s cultus.7 Perhaps Bishop Sulien again presided over the swearing of oaths, this time between the king of the English and a king of the Britons, over the relics of David in the cathedral church. Was this place to which Gruffudd, Rhys, and King William made pilgrimage, however, the same place where David had founded his original community, the historic resting place of his body? J. Wyn Evans has noticed that, in the description of Bishop Sulien’s meeting with Gruffudd ap Cynan, the Welsh Life of the prince, Historia Gruffud vab Kenan, describes how the bishop went down to Porth Clais with not one, but two groups of clergy, ‘the whole clas of the lord 2 3 4 5 6 7

Annales Cambriae, 27. Sulien of Llanbadarn Fawr was bishop of St Davids twice, 1073–8, and 1080–5; he died in 1091. Vita Griffini filii Conani: The Medieval Latin Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan, ed. P. Russell, Cardiff 2005, 68–9. Brut y Tywysogion (Red Book of Hergest Version), ed. T. Jones, 2nd edn, Cardiff 1973, 30–1. See J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest, 2 vols, London 1911, ii, 384. Annales Cambriae, 27–8; Brut y Tywysogion (Red Book), 30–1. Cf. R. R. Davies, The Age of Conquest: Wales 1093–1415, Oxford 1991, 32.



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Dewi and one of the church of Mynyw’.8 Evans suggested there was some sort of distinction being drawn between one group linked to Dewi and the other to the church of Mynyw. The name Mynyw (Meneuia), commonly used for St Davids in the medieval period, is to be distinguished from the place-name Hen Fynyw (Old Menevia). Hen Fynyw and the other major centre of David’s cult, Llanddewi Brefi, are respectively located in the Aeron and Teifi valleys in Ceredigion. This is also the area where the greater number of dedications to Dewi occurs; there are far more here than in Pembrokeshire. Evans therefore asked whether there was a shift southwards in the centre and distribution of the cult of Dewi at some unknown period before 1081. Indeed, was it Bishop Sulien who moved the cult of David down to West Wales from Hen Fynyw, commissioning his son Rhygyfarch to write a Life, thereby justifying and creating a new scenario? Richard Sharpe has brought the textual history of Rhygyfarch’s Life of St David to the support of Evans’s argument.9 The ‘Vespasian’ text of Rhygyfarch’s Life (i.e. the earliest version) reads, at § 14, ‘[Dewi] returned to the place from which he had been separated when he set out, namely Vetus Rubus’. He dwelt there for some time, but then chose to move, at the prompting of an angel; ‘for [the angel] showed me a place from where few will go to perdition; for everyone who is buried in good faith in the graveyard of that place will obtain forgiveness’. The place to which David and his followers travel is ‘Vallis Rosina, which the British call in their common tongue Hoddnant’. Vallis Rosina or Hoddnant is where St Davids now stands. The later ‘Nero-Digby’ version of the text introduced a change of sense by omitting the place-name of Vetus Rubus, rephrasing the angel’s direction: ‘there is another place nearby where scarcely one of those buried in the saving faith in its graveyard will pay the pains of perdition’. Rhygyfarch (argues Sharpe) was a Llanbadarn man with strong interests in Ceredigion, and the St David of his story moved from Vetus Rubus, that is Hen Fynyw (near Aberaeron, Ceredigion), to Hoddnant and St Davids. The name Mynyw, Sharpe continues, is unusual, and it moved with him; the adjectives Vetus or Hen, that is ‘old’ or ‘former’ Mynyw, show that Rhygyfarch recognised this move; his loyalty to the site in Ceredigion, however, kept him from using the old name, Mynyw, in reference to the new site, St Davids, hence the name Vallis Rosina or Hoddnant. Sharpe concludes his argument by saying that whoever shortened Rhygyfarch’s text to produce the ‘Nero-Digby’ version may have wanted to avoid any implication that St David himself had connexions elsewhere in West Wales. Or, more likely, he may simply have thought this was an unnecessary complication and that it was better to remove both place-names and substitute a vague local indicator, ‘nearby’. So the cathedral church at St Davids, just over a mile from the landing-point at Porth Clais, could have been the relatively new home for the 8

9

J. Wyn Evans, ‘Transition and Survival: St David and St Davids Cathedral’, in St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation, ed. J. Wyn Evans and J. M. Wooding, Studies in Celtic History 24, Woodbridge 2007, 20–40, at 38. Evans himself was subsequently elected and consecrated to the see of St Davids in 2008. R. Sharpe, ‘Which Text is Rhygyfarch’s Life of St David?’, in St David of Wales, 90–105, at 97–9.

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relics of Dewi Sant when Rhys ap Tewdwr sought sanctuary there, Gruffudd ap Cynan arrived to swear oaths, and King William came on pilgrimage. Within the decade, however, the relics were to be lost, for about the year 1090 the shrine was stripped bare in an attack by vikings.10 The Life of St Caradog (written in the earlier half of the twelfth century) tells how, because of pirates coming from the Orkneys in longboats, St Davids was left more-or-less forsaken for seven years, and it would take a visitor almost a week to reach the tomb of the saint, having to clear away thorns and brambles on the way.11 No mention is made of a shrine or relics – only the tumba. Indeed, we may agree with F. G. Cowley, that although the annalistic sources do not specifically mention the fate of the relics themselves, ‘had they been stolen, the St Davids annalist would probably have been loath to acknowledge it; had they been saved, he would surely have mentioned it’.12 For this reason, the Life of St David, composed by Bishop Sulien’s eldest son, Rhygyfarch, may perhaps be read, in part, as a lament for the loss of St David’s relics.13 The apparent loss of the primary, corporeal relics, in the raid of c.1090, is mitigated in Rhygyfarch’s hagiography by the enumeration of secondary relics: an altar covered with skins and veils, a bell renowned for its miracles, a pastoral staff gloriosis choruscus miraculis, ‘lustrous with glorious miracles’, and a tunicle (a type of liturgical vestment) made from cloth of gold.14 The importance of St David, and the continuation of an active cult, was to become more critical for the bishops of St Davids and their objectives during the decades to follow. During the pontificate of Honorius II (1124–30), an attempt at aggrandisement was begun by those closely associated with the see of St David. The conuentus of the ‘church of St Andrew and St David’ at Mynyw wrote to the pope, offering arguments in support of the bishop’s new claims to metropolitan authority over the other bishops of the Welsh. In Gerald of Wales’s record of the letter (the authenticity of Gerald’s claims about the text is not certain), Dewi is said to have been elevated to the archiepiscopate by the common choice of a clerical and lay council of the whole of the western realm of Britain, and thereafter, it is found that he was consecrated archbishop by

10 11 12 13

14

Annales Cambriae, 28–9; cf. Brut y Tywysogion (Peniarth MS 20 version), ed. T. Jones, Cardiff 1952, 18. De sancto Caradoco heremita, in Nova Legenda Anglie, ed. C. Horstman, 2 vols Oxford 1901, i, 174. F. G. Cowley, ‘The Relics of St David: the Historical Evidence’, in St David of Wales, 274–81, at 274. Rhygyfarch ap Sulien, Vita beati Dauid, qui et Dewi, episcopi et confessoris, ed. R. Sharpe and J. R. Davies, in St David of Wales, 107–55; for the dating of the text see J. R. Davies, ‘Some Observations on the “Nero”, “Digby”, and “Vespasian” Recensions of Vita S. Dauid’, ibid., 156–60; for the authenticity of the ‘Vespasian’ recension, see Sharpe, ‘Which Text is Rhygyfarch’s’. A further likely motive for the composition of the Life was the death of the author’s father, Bishop Sulien, in 1091 (see Davies, ‘Some Observations’, 159–60). Vita beati Dauid, § 48, 140.



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Saint Dyfrig, his forerunner in that office, and by that church’s own synod, as the method had been.15

Bishop Bernard (1115–48), an Anglo-Norman, and the first non-native bishop of St Davids, is not likely to have embarked on this pursuit of metropolitan status for his see before the end of the first decade of his episcopate. Until 1125 he had been engaged by the archbishops of Canterbury to work in support of their claim to primacy over the archbishops of York.16 The definitive success of York’s case in front of Pope Honorius in 1127 ended any conception of a primacy of all Britain and Ireland; and the collapse of such a model of primacy now allowed for the notion of a metropolitan for the churches of western Britain. Bernard, nevertheless, had already been looking for ways to promote the cult of St David; and the hagiological activities of his neighbour to the east, Bishop Urban of Llandaf, would have been a spur. Even before Bishop Urban began translating relics, however, the acid of rivalry had begun to have its inevitable corrosive effect when he began to take his complaints about Bernard’s supposed incursions into his diocese in front of the papal courts. Both Urban and Bernard attended the Council of Rheims in 1119, and at that time Urban obtained bulls from Pope Calixtus II (1119–24); four years later, however, Bernard visited Rome and acquired a bull for St Davids from the same pope, and something more.17 Now, the loss of Dewi’s corporeal relics was being played upon by William of Malmesbury, the official historiographer of Glastonbury Abbey; for in supporting his patrons’ claim to St David’s body, William recorded that Bishop Bernard had more than once looked for the holy remains, and in the face of many protests had not found them.18 But the bishop was fully aware of the value – in every sense – of the cult of Dewi Sant at Mynyw. For this reason, it seems, he made some move to obtain a signal of papal recognition of the cult of St David. Again it is William of Malmesbury who supplies our evidence. In an account of the merits of Pope Calixtus II, William mentions that the French pope was so far from seeking to exploit pilgrims to Rome that he encouraged English pilgrims to go to St Davids rather than Rome, because of the length of the journey; those 15

16

17

18

Gerald of Wales, Libellus inuectionum, ii, 9; ed. W. S. Davies, ‘The Book of Invectives of Giraldus Cambrensis’, Y Cymmrodor 30, 1920, 1–248, at 77–237, 143). Parts of the letter appear to rely on material that is to be found in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae, which was not published until 1136. Historia Regum, s. a. 1123 (Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia, ed. T. Arnold, 2 vols, RS 75, London 1882–5, ii, 268–73); Ralph de Diceto, Abbreviationes chronicorum, s. a. 1123 (Radulfi de Diceto decani Lundoniensis Opera Historica, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 68, London 1876, i, 244); Hugh the Chanter, Historia ecclesiae Eboracensis: The History of the Church of York, 1066–1127, ed. C. Johnson, rev. edn by M. Brett, C. N. L. Brooke, and M. Winterbottom, Oxford 1990, 189, 193. These proceedings are described in detail in J. R. Davies, The Book of Llandaf and the Norman Church in Wales, Studies in Celtic History 21, Woodbridge 2003, 32–45; for the papal bull issued to Bishop Bernard, see Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, ed. A. W. Haddan and W. Stubbs, 3 vols, Oxford 1869–78, i, 315–16. Malmesbury, Gesta Regum i, 810.

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who went twice to St Davids should have the same privileges in the way of blessing as those who went once to Rome.19 The acquisition of such an indulgence from Pope Calixtus must have been a significant bonus in Bernard’s visit to the papal court in 1123. We have already noticed how the conuentus of the ‘church of St Andrew and St David’ had written to Pope Honorius II. The addition of St Andrew as a patron of the cathedral church is intriguing. Likewise, at Llandaf, the new cathedral was dedicated not just to St Dyfrig, St Teilo, and St Euddogwy, the founding episcopal saints, but also to St Peter. We may note in passing that the pairing of dedications to St Peter and St Andrew (his brother) may be found elsewhere in Britain in the early middle ages, most notably at the monastery of St Peter and St Paul at Canterbury and the cathedral of St Andrew at Rochester, but also at the churches of St Peter at Ripon and St Andrew at Hexham and perhaps even in eighth-century Pictland, with an episcopal church dedicated to Peter at Rosemarkie in Northern Pictland, and St Andrews in southern Pictland.20 There is no evidence, however, to support a view that respective dedications to St Peter and St Andrew existed at Llandaf and St Davids before the rebuilding of the cathedral churches in the twelfth century. The dedications are probably to be related to rivalry between the two sees and not to embarrassment over the prestige of the local cult on the part of a reformed church hierarchy. Urban of Llandaf had been courting Canterbury and the pope, and to emphasise his loyalty to both, was producing pseudo-historical accounts of early links with Rome, and immediate acceptance by the ‘archbishops of Llandaf’ of St Augustine’s authority when he arrived in Britain. A Petrine dedication for the new cathedral at Llandaf demonstrated where Bishop Urban’s allegiance lay. As for St Andrew at Mynyw, if William of Malmesbury’s story about Pope Calixtus’ granting of an equal indulgence to those who made two pilgrimages to St Davids and to those who made one to Rome is accurate, then an Andrean dedication there would make sense. As James E. Fraser has reminded us, by the end of the fourth century, St Andrew had become associated with the foundation of the earliest church at Byzantium; this tradition grew up to act as a kind of counterweight to Rome’s association with St Peter and St Paul.21 As the brother of Peter, Andrew was the obvious choice for this role as his counterbalance. The author of the St Andrews foundation legend wrote of St Andrews that, ‘in relation to the first Rome, this is the second’.22 ‘In this way’, Fraser has written, Bishop Giric, who lies behind the text A-text of the St Andrews 19 20

21 22

Ibid. i, 778–81. See J. E. Fraser, ‘Rochester, Hexham and Cennrígmonaid: The Movements of St Andrew in Britain, 604–747’, in Saints’ Cults in the Celtic World, ed. S. Boardman, E. Williamson, and J. R. Davies, Studies in Celtic History 25, Woodbridge 2009, 1–17. Fraser, ‘Rochester, Hexham and Cennrígmonaid’, 8; citing D. H. Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 4th edn, Oxford 1997, 21. Fraser, ‘Rochester, Hexham and Cennrígmonaid’, 8; citing D. Broun, ‘Church of St Andrews and its Foundation Legend in the Early Twelfth Century: Recovering the Full Text of Version A of the Foundation Legend’, in Kings, Clerics and Chronicles in Scotland 500–1297, ed. S. Taylor, Dublin 2000, 108–14, at 111.



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foundation legend, ‘sought to establish the metropolitan credentials of twelfthcentury Cennrígmonaid [i.e. St Andrews]’.23 Like St Andrews, then, St Davids was developing a view of itself as being like a second Rome. Of course, Bishop Bernard would have been familiar with the historical tradition of St Andrews. Immediately before his election to St Davids, Bernard had for many years been chaplain to Henry I’s consort, Queen Matilda, daughter of the Scottish monarch King Malcolm III and his queen, Margaret.24 Through Matilda, Bernard must have known Turgot, bishop of St Andrews (1107–15), author of the Life of St Margaret the Queen (Queen Matilda’s mother). From a point sometime in the 1130s, until 1174, there was also a direct link between the Scottish crown and the see of St Davids; for the stewardship of the lands of the bishopric of St Davids was given by Bishop Bernard to Earl Henry, son of King David I (and Queen Matilda’s nephew). Bernard had also appointed as one of his archdeacons Jordan, one of Earl Henry’s chaplains, and chancellor to David I. We might also notice the neat association between David and Andrew at Mynyw, which would have reflected the association between King David (brother of Bishop Bernard’s former patron) and Scotland’s patron.25 We can therefore identify several motives for making St Andrew a patron of St Davids cathedral – motives other than the rather unimaginative and prejudiced idea, favoured by a former generation of Welsh historians of Wales, that St Andrew was needed because Anglo-Normans would not have recognised Dewi as a ‘proper saint’. Bishop Bernard, then, was beginning to re-establish the fortunes of St Davids; he commenced the rebuilding of its cathedral, a church whose site may have been of no antiquity, and since the shrine’s despoliation c.1090, now lacked the efficacious corporeal relics of St David. Instead, there were secondary relics of Dewi; and there were also the newly enshrined relics of a recently deceased eremitical saint, Caradog Fynach. A miracle-working hermit, Caradog had died in 1124, and an unofficial cult had grown up among the local Welsh, Flemish and Anglo-Norman inhabitants of Penfro. When Bishop Bernard had Caradog’s remains translated to the newly built cathedral, perhaps on the occasion of its dedication in 1131, the body was found to be incorrupt. The occasion was of such significance that William of Malmesbury had made the journey to be present.26 From Gerald of Wales we also learn that the church even claimed relics of St Stephen the Proto-Martyr.27 In addition, Bishop Bernard, a prelate with close ties to the Scottish court, was developing an identity for his see as a second 23 24

25 26

27

Fraser, ‘Rochester, Hexham and Cennrígmonaid’, 8. For a summary of Bernard’s career prior to his election to St Davids, see my ‘Aspects of Church Reform in Wales, c.1093–c.1223’, in ANS 30, 2007 (2008), 85–99, at 88; St Davids Episcopal Acta, 1085–1280, ed. J. Barrow, Cardiff 1998, 2–4, gives a more detailed account of Bernard’s episcopate. For all this, see St Davids Episcopal Acta, 28. The account of the translation is to be found in De sancto Caradoco heremita (Nova Legenda Anglie, i, 176) and by Gerald of Wales, Itinerarium Kambriae, i, xi; Giraldi Cambrensis Opera, vi, 86–7; see Cowley, ‘The Relics’, 275. Itinerarium Kambriae, i, xi; Giraldi Cambrensis Opera, vi, 87.

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Rome – another Constantinople – a counterpart to St Andrews in Fife, and a counterbalance to the neighbouring cathedral church of St Peter at Llandaf. We need not be startled, disturbed, or perplexed, therefore, by the appearance of St Andrew in the dedication of Bernard’s new cathedral.

Llandaf Far to the east of St Davids, in the opposite corner of southern Wales, the ­cathedral church of St Peter at Llandaf was in the process of reconstruction too. The bishop of Llandaf, however, had ample relics to enshrine. In 1120, soon after his return from Rheims with a portfolio of freshly issued papal bulls, Bishop Urban acquired the relics of St Dyfrig. An account is given in the Book of Llandaf.28 On Friday 7 May 1120, by decree of Bishop Urban, and with the approval of Ralph, metropolitan of Canterbury, the agreement of David, bishop of Bangor, and in the presence of Gruffudd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd, St Dyfrig was translated from Bardsey.29 The relics were received in procession into the church at Llandaf on Sunday 23 May, accompanied by a much-needed fall of rain; and on Wednesday 2 June, the sacred relics were washed before being enshrined in front of the altar of St Mary in the north aisle. Bishop Urban now realised how small the church was: it was twenty-eight feet in length, fifteen in breadth, and twenty in height; there were two aisles, one on each side, of very small size and height; and a sanctuary of rounded structure, twelve feet in length and breadth. In consultation with Ralph, archbishop of the church of Canterbury, and all the clergy and people, he therefore began to build a great monastery in honour of Peter the Apostle and the holy confessors Dyfrig, Teilo, and Euddogwy.30

The rebuilding upon which Bishop Urban embarked is notable for having been undertaken after, rather than in preparation for, the translation of St Dyfrig’s relics. Earlier in the same year, on Wednesday in Holy Week (14 April 1120), Archbishop Ralph’s letter giving permission to rebuild the church of Llandaf was received; within the month, the process of translating St Dyfrig’s relics commenced.31 At the same time as the translation of the relics of St Dyfrig, Urban also interred the teeth of Ælfgar, a recently deceased hermit of Bardsey

28 29 30

31

The Text of the Book of Llan Dâv, ed. J. Gwenogvryn Evans, Oxford 1893, 84–6. Book of Llan Dâv, 84–5. Ibid., 86. This short section, which comes at the end of the Life of St Dyfrig, gives us an important description of the original cathedral, which was about the size of a grand reception room in a country house. We should also observe that there was an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the north aisle, and an apsidal sanctuary (cum porticu … rotundę molis) in the Roman fashion. Porticus can be found in some contexts to mean the place at the east end of a church where the high altar stands, and this seems to be the most likely meaning here. Ibid., 84–5, 87.



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Island, and a native of Devon.32 As with St Dyfrig, a Life of the holy man was specially written to accompany the translation of relics, including a description of the translation. Llandaf now possessed the relics of both the oldest and the latest saint to have died among the western Britons. These translations, however, represent the first fully documented break with what had apparently been the tradition of British Christians. The practice among the Brittonic-speaking peoples had been to build churches over the graves of local saints, rather than to move the relics inside the churches. In Wales and Brittany, before the late eleventh century, there was a general reluctance to disturb saints’ graves. Special graves appear to have influenced the site of later churches in Wales, and it seems likely that it was only in the late eleventh or twelfth century that substantial above-ground stone shrines were introduced.33 This reluctance may perhaps reflect the classic treatment of the corporeal relics of saints in the early centuries of Christianity, which was to leave them undisturbed and construct a church or chapel over them.34 Julia Smith has indicated that there was such an attitude towards corporeal saints’ relics in Brittany too.35 The nature of the original cathedral church at Llandaf, and its clerical community, is partially revealed in a petition to Pope Calixtus II, which accompanies the Life of St Dyfrig. Bishop Urban laments the weakened state of the church of Llandaf; yet despite strife, warfare, and the incapacity of the previous bishop, there had always been religiosi uiri, (quasi-) monastic men, to perform the services of the church; and in ęcclesiastico […] ministerio nichil discrepabant (‘in ecclesiastical ministry they differed in no respect’).36 At the beginning of the reign of William Rufus (towards the end of 1087), the petition continues, the greater part of the clergy already depleted, the church of Llandaf was still supported by 32

33

34

35 36

Ibid., 5. As a counterpart to Llandaf’s Ælfgar, though, Bernard did manage to secure the relics of his own recently deceased holy man, Caradog Fynach (see Cowley, ‘The Relics’, 274). Caradog’s shrine may still be visited below the north tower-arch of St Davids cathedral today. If we accept the argument that the cult-centre of Dewi was moved from Hen Fynyw, in Ceredigion, to the site of the present cathedral, in Penfro, during the final quarter of the eleventh century, then the shrine, which contained a portable reliquary, despoiled c.1090, may be an important early example of new practice. N. Edwards, ‘Celtic Saints and Early Medieval Archaeology’, in Local Saints and Local Churches in the Early Medieval West, ed. A. Thacker and R. Sharpe, Oxford 2002, 225–65. For British conservatism in their treatment of relics, also see R. Sharpe, ‘Martyrs and Local Saints in Late Antique Britain’, in Local Saints, 75–154. J. M. H. Smith, ‘Oral and Written: Saints, Miracles, and Relics in Brittany, c.850–1250’, Speculum 65, 1990, 309–43. Book of Llan Dâv, 88. The primary sense of discrepo is ‘to sound differently’, and one wonders whether the sense of this sentence is that the liturgy at Llandaf sounded no different from that of her English neighbours, ‘since they had been brought up and educated among them’ (‘quia apud eosdem fuerant tam nutriti quam eruditi’); we might even conjecture that Llandaf followed the liturgical practice of Worcester, where Bishop Urban had been trained. The liturgical ‘Use’ of Hereford cathedral was later to become influential, but evidence for its impact in Wales at this time is thin; R. W. Pfaff, The Liturgy in Medieval England: A History, Cambridge 2009, 463–8, 475–8, discusses the nature of the evidence and influence of liturgical books from Hereford and Worcester.

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twenty-four canons; but of these, only two were now left there. David Crouch has remarked that the term canonici (‘canons’) was probably used to give the papal court the impression that Llandaf was endowed with a reformed cathedral chapter; yet one wonders what other Latin term the bishop might have used to describe a body of secular clergy living in community.37 Llandaf also possessed – and still does – corporeal relics of St Teilo, St Dyfrig’s supposed successor as ‘archbishop of Llandaf’.38 The principal cult-centre of St Teilo had been the former episcopal church of Llandeilo Fawr in Carmarthenshire, which had been subsumed under the jurisdiction of St Davids by the beginning of the eleventh century, and then probably claimed by the bishops of Glamorgan during the political upheavals of the 1020s, when Rhydderch ab Iestyn was extending his rule across Morgannwg and Dyfed. Another important cult site appears to have been Penally, near Tenby. The Life of St Teilo in the Book of Llandaf concedes that both Llandeilo and Penally possessed one of the three bodies of St Teilo which miraculously multiplied on his death. We may suppose that this was a story to explain the dismembering of the bodily relics. There is reason to doubt that Llandaf was an episcop­al church much before the second quarter of the eleventh century; indeed, the see was not even known as ‘Llandaf’ until 1119, before which time the bishopric went by the territorial designation of ‘Glamorgan’.39 Bishop Urban, the first ‘Bishop of Llandaf’ proper, the first bishop of a Welsh diocese who is certainly known to have submitted to the metropolitan authority of Canterbury, and the first bishop of the area to engage in any constructive way with the new class of Marcher lords, managed the cults of his new cathedral church with accomplishment. The dedication to Peter proclaimed obedience to Rome and Canterbury; the shrine of Dyfrig provided a powerful connexion to the founding patriarch of the British episcopate; the relics of Teilo secured Llandaf within the episcopal heritage of the southern Welsh; the teeth of Ælfgar, the Hermit of Bardsey, tied the new cathedral into what must have been a popular contemporary cult, and one which may have prompted the enshrinement of the eremitical saint, Caradog Fynach, at St Davids a decade later.

Bangor and Llanelwy At the two northern cathedrals, the dedications are exclusively to local saints. The patron of Bangor cathedral is St Deiniol or Daniel. The antiquity of this association is not disputed. The first mention of him comes from the Irish Martyrology of Tallaght (about the beginning of ninth century) where he is one of only four Welsh saints to be included (the others being Dewi, Gildas, and Beuno),

37 38 39

Cf. Llandaff Episcopal Acta 1140–1287, ed. D. Crouch, Cardiff 1988, xxviii. Part of the skull of St Teilo is housed in a shrine in the Teilo chapel of Llandaf cathedral. For the evolution of the bishopric of Llandaf and its association with the cult of St Teilo, see Davies, Book of Llandaf, 13–30, 86–9.



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and is styled ‘bishop of Bangor’.40 In the notice of his death in Annales Cambriae, in 584, he is ‘Daniel of the Bangors’.41 Only one copy of a version of a Life of St Deiniol is known; the Latin text was transcribed from an ‘ancient’ manuscript by Sir Thomas Wiliems of Trefriw in 1602 and represents the lections for the nine hours of the feast of the saint (the eight ‘hours’ of the day, plus first vespers of the vigil).42 This may represent an epitome of an earlier uita, which could have accompanied a full cult, with relics; but we are not able to support this speculation with anything more than supposition. Although the diocese of Bangor was the first to come under Anglo-Norman control – in both territorial and ecclesiastical terms – it quickly reverted to native royal control.43 The cathedral had been sacked by vikings in 1073;44 but the earliest part of the present building was not constructed until the episcopate of Bishop David (1120–39), with the assistance of the king of Gwynedd, Gruffudd ap Cynan, who donated money towards the project, and who was buried y mewn yscrin (‘in a shrine’) on the left side of the high altar upon his death in 1137.45 In this way the cathedral church was a kind of royal foundation and burial place. One also wonders whether King Gruffudd was buried in such way to encourage his sainthood.46 The diocese of Llanelwy, occupying the north-eastern quarter of Wales, encompasses the old counties of Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Montgomeryshire. The earlier history of the bishopric is obscure, but the area had certainly 40

41

42

43

44 45

46

The Martyrology of Tallaght: from the Book of Leinster and MS. 5100–4 in the Royal Library, Brussels, ed. R. Irvine Best and H. Jackson Lawlor, Henry Bradshaw Society 68, London 1931, 70 (under September 11). BL, MS Harley 3859, fo. 190v: dispositio Danielis bancorum, ed. E. Phillimore, in ‘The Annales Cambriæ and Old Welsh Genealogies from Harleian MS. 3859’, Y Cymmrodor 9, 1888, 141–83, at 155–6). Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales (NLW), MS Peniarth 225, 155: Legenda novem lectionum de S. Daniele Ep’o Bangoriensi (‘The Legenda of the nine readings on St Daniel, bishop of Bangor’). The nine short readings correspond to the eight ‘hours’ of the divine office, plus an extra for first vespers of the vigil. I have given an account of the episcopate of Bishop Hervé, a Breton cleric imported to be bishop of Bangor by the Anglo-Norman overlord of Gwynedd in 1092, in ‘Aspects of Church Reform’ (see n. 24, above). Brut y Tywysogion (Red Book), 28–9. Historia Gruffud vab Kenan, printed as A Medieval Prince of Wales: The Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan, ed. D. S. Evans, Llanerch 1990, 51–2; see also 133. In the underlying twelfthcentury Latin text, the phrases splendido monumento (‘magnificent monument’) or splendida tumba (‘magnificent tomb’) are the terms translated as yscrin in the thirteenth-century Welsh (Vita Griffini filii Conani, 90, 200); both monumentum and tumba could have been translated differently, but the author of the Welsh Life chose a word which was also used in Brut y Tywysogion to describe the reliquary of St David that was despoiled c.1090. This is the classic position for a shrine in English churches: J. Crook, ‘The Enshrinement of Local Saints in Francia and England’, in Local Saints, 189–224; see also A. Thacker, ‘Loca Sanctorum: the Significance of Place in the Study of the Saints’, ibid., 1–43, at 38–40; and idem, ‘The Making of a Local Saint’, ibid., 45–73, at 62–4. The end of Gruffudd’s life was marked by a programme of church building, generous ecclesiastical patronage, and entry into the religious life: Brut y Tywysogion (Peniarth 20 version), 52; Historia Gruffud vab Kenan, 50–2, 82–3.

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lacked a bishop for a significant length of time before 1141, when the first of a new line of bishops of Llanelwy, one Richard, was consecrated.47 This Bishop Richard lies hidden in history’s shadows, but we may infer from his name that he was of Anglo-Norman origin. The episcopal see of Llanelwy soon came to be associated with St Asaph, whose name survives in several local toponyms: the most notable is Llanasa, above Prestatyn on the mid-Flintshire coastline. Both the personal name Asaph and the place-name Llanasa point to a figure of high ecclesiastical status: someone who was being honoured in the region for a long time before the foundation of the bishopric at Llanelwy in the twelfth century. The name Asaph plausibly signifies a man of episcopal status, for it is a name known from the Old Testament; and one of the most notable characteristics of the earliest bishops among the Welsh is that they bore Old Testament names. Apart from Asaph (the chief musician in the court of King David), we have Daniel of Bangor (named for the prophet Daniel), David at Mynyw (David, king of Israel and Judah), and Eliud (also known as Teilo) at Llandaf (Eliud being a form of the Hebrew name Elihu).48 The first bishop whom we know to have styled himself ‘bishop of St Asaph’ is the third bishop of Llanelwy, Geoffrey of Monmouth, who was consecrated to the see in 1152.49 There are strong grounds to support the idea that Geoffrey of Monmouth first linked the persons of St Asaph and St Kentigern, and so associated St Kentigern with Llanelwy. Kentigern is a patron still dear to the modern inhabitants and clergy of Llanelwy. We might even suppose that he was responsible for associating St Asaph with Llanelwy. In order to understand this notion, we ought briefly to indicate some significant points of comparison with Llanelwy’s counterpart in south-east Wales, the see of Llandaf.

47

48

49

For Bishop Richard, see M. J. Pearson, ‘The Creation and Development of the St Asaph Cathedral Chapter, 1141–1293’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 40, 2000, 35–56, at 38–9. See Mt. 1. Cf. also Eliud the Canaanite, father of Serf (Vita S. Servani). We also know of Aaron, one of two British citizens of Caerleon martyred during the Diocletian persecution; the Life of St Samson of Dol has Samson himself, his parents Amon and Anna (Hannah), and the ‘religious and venerable old man Henocus’ (Enoch); King Alfred’s biographer, Asser (Asher), a bishop of St Davids, was named after the eighth son of Jacob; at Llantwit Major (Glam.), the Old Testament names Samson and Samuel appear together in an inscription of the early tenth century; an abbot called Samson set up a cross, perhaps in the previous century, in the same place; in the eleventh century, another bishop of St Davids owned a patriarchal name, Abraham; his two sons, Isaac and Hedd (Heth) were named from the Pentateuch as well; the names Daniel, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, and Solomon all make regular appearances in sources from early medieval Wales, especially in the Book of Llandaf and genealogical tracts. Richard Sharpe was apparently the first to recognise this phenomenon in his note, ‘The Naming of Bishop Ithamar’, EHR 117, 2002, 889–94; the present author has in preparation for publication a paper which seeks to show that the naming of persons with Old Testament names was a practice particularly special to the Brittonic-speaking peoples (that is, of Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and North Britain): see ‘The Significance of Old Testament Names among the Brittonic-Speaking Peoples’ (forthcoming). Fasti IX, 33.



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In early twelfth-century Llandaf we encounter some striking parallels with Llanelwy. In both places an episcopal see, based on an ancient llan-settlement that takes its name from a river, was refounded. Both churches are roughly two miles upstream of a Norman castle, the capita of recently founded Marcher lordships. The parallels go further. Llandaf claimed St Dyfrig as its founding father – the founder of the church among ‘the Britons of South Wales’.50 At Llanelwy, by comparison, there is St Kentigern, the reputed patriarch of the church among the Britons of the North. At Llandaf the founding bishop is succeeded by a famous local bishop-saint with a Hebrew name, Eliud (St Teilo’s real name, ‘Teilo’ being a hypocorism, or pet-form, of the name); the parallel at Llanelwy is found in Bishop Asaph. In both cases a once powerful, but now withering, episcopal cult is transferred to the new see: Dyfrig and Teilo are co-patrons of Llandaf, while Kentigern and Asaph are honoured at Llanelwy. Both were bishoprics in the Anglo-Welsh borderlands under the control of Marcher lords. With Geoffrey, as we have already noted, the name of St Asaph is first applied to the bishopric. Geoffrey, we might suppose, looked about for a patron of his new see to rival Llandaf, for whose official history he had developed a certain scorn.51 In his research he must have alighted on a version of Annales Cambriae, where the death-notice recorded beside that of Llandaf’s St Dyfrig is of none other than St Kentigern.52 There are some pointers to additional activity relating to the cult of St Asaph at Llanelwy, for Jocelin of Furness, in the Life of St Kentigern (§ 25), alluded to a ‘little book’ (libellus) of the ‘Life’ of St Asaph, which he used;53 and the lost thirteenth- or fourteenth-century manuscript called the Red Book of Asaph (Llyfr Coch Asaph) is known to have contained a Vita sancti Assaph.54 There is even some textual evidence to encourage the notion that Geoffrey authored such a Life of St Asaph.55 The existence of a Life of the saint in the twelfth century would indicate (as with Bangor) that there had been the enshrinement of relics. So, at Llanelwy, as at Llandaf and St Davids – and possibly at Bangor too – the revival of the cult of local episcopal saints, with the enshrinement of relics, and the promulgation of hagiographies, was a common, integral, and fundamental component of the reform of the episcopal see, and the rebuilding of the cathedral church in particular.

50 51 52 53 54

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Britannos dextralis partis Britanniae (Book of Llan Dâv, 69). See J. R. Davies, ‘Bishop Kentigern among the Britons’, in Saints’ Cults, 66–90, at 85–6. I have given this argument in more detail in ‘Bishop Kentigern’, 83–7. Lives of S. Ninian and S. Kentigem, ed. A. Penrose Forbes, Edinburgh 1874, 205. ‘Index to “Llyfr Coch Asaph”’, Archaeologia Cambrensis 14, 3rd series, 1868, 151–66 and 433–42, at 442; for the subsequent history of the manuscript, see D. L. Evans, ‘Llyfr Coch Asaph’, National Library of Wales Journal 4, 1945–6, 177–83, and O. E. Jones, ‘Llyfr Coch Asaph: A Textual and Historical Study’, unpublished MA thesis, 2 vols, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1968. Davies, ‘Bishop Kentigern’, 85–6.

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Gospel-Books A further important link of church and cult is found in the principal gospelbooks of Welsh episcopal churches. The most renowned is the eighth-century gospel-book in Lichfield Cathedral Library, which is on permanent public display in the cathedral’s chapter house; it is now known as the Book of Chad (on account of the patron of the church of Lichfield) or the Lichfield Gospels.56 The gospels contain a series of ninth-century marginal charter-memoranda in Latin and Welsh. The first of these memoranda refers to Eliud (that is St Teilo), patron of Llandaf. We now know, however, from the topography of the charters, that the gospel-book came not from Llandaf, as used to be thought, but from the ancient church of St Teilo in Carmarthenshire, Llandeilo Fawr. But in the twelfth century, Llandaf laid claim to many of the charters, historical traditions, and lands of Llandeilo Fawr. The Book of Chad, with its charters copied into the margins, may be typical of many other such gospel-books which have perished, along with every other pre-Conquest Welsh manuscript that remained in Wales to the Reformation. In 1537, for instance, we hear of a book called Graphus S’ci Bewnoi (The Writing of St Beuno) to which witnesses at Caernarfon appealed in a case concerning the patronage of Clynnog Fawr.57 In 1594, the same book was seen by Sir Thomas Wiliems of Trefriw, and was known as Diboeth, ‘unburnt’, having escaped destruction pan losgodd yr eglwys, ‘when the church was burnt down’ (perhaps it had escaped the destruction of Clynnog by vikings in 978); it was thought to have been written in the saint’s own lifetime by St Twrog, supposed to have been Beuno’s amanuensis, and a polished black stone, associated with the book or its case, is already referred to in the Red Book of Hergest in a poem by a celebrated poet, Iolo Goch:58 ‘Llygad fel glain caead coeth / Tebyg i faen y Tiboeth (An eye like a polished jewel clasp, like the stone of Tiboeth)’.59 Almost certainly it was the Liber sancti Beugnobi cited in Clynnog’s privilege from Edward IV.60 The privilege includes obvious quotations from its charters, including the one recording the seventh-century founder’s grant of Clynnog to St Beuno. At St Cadog’s church, Llancarfan (or Nantcarfan), where there was an ecclesiastical community closely associated with the bishop of Glamorgan’s household, a Book of Cadog is mentioned in one of the charters in the Llancarfan 56

57 58 59 60

Lichfield, Cathedral Library, MS 1; for a description, see D. Jenkins and M. E. Owen, ‘The Welsh Marginalia in the Lichfield Gospels, Part I,’ Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 5, 1983, 37–66. E. Owen, ‘An Episode in the History of Clynnog Church’, Y Cymmrodor 19, 1906, 68–88, at 78–9. A. O. Evans, ‘Three Old Foundations (Clynnog, Llanrhychwyn and Llangeinwen)’, Y Cymmrodor 42, 1931, 69–110, at 96–7. Iolo Goch: Poems, ed. D. Johnston, Llandysul 1993, 101. BL, MS Harley 696, fo. 164; see P. Sims-Williams, ‘Edward IV’s Confirmation Charter for Clynnog Fawr’, in Recognitions: Essays Presented to Edmund Fryde, ed. by C. Richmond and I. M. W. Harvey, Aberystwyth 1996, 229–42.



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cartulary appended to Vita S. Cadoci (in Vespasian A. xiv): ‘pro anima sua et ut nomen eius in libro Catoci apud Nantcarban scriberetur (for his soul, and so that his name be written in the book of Cadog at Nantcarfan)’.61 This book survived at least until the mid-twelfth century, if it is the same as the ancient Llancarfan Gospel described by Lifris of Llancarfan and Caradog of Llancarfan, who asserted that it was written by Gildas himself.62 Books such as the Lichfield Gospels, the Book of St Beuno, and the Book of St Cadog were forerunners of a more developed form of gospel-book, the only extant example of which is Liber Landauensis, the Book of Llandaf.63 Produced in the second quarter of the twelfth century by Urban, bishop of Llandaf, this was the principal gospel-book of Llandaf cathedral; but it also contained the legends of the founding saints (for reading out during the liturgy of the hours), charters similar in nature to those found in the Lichfield Gospels and the ‘Vespasian’ Vita S. Cadoci, and copies of papal bulls. The Book of Llandaf is our principal source for the events surrounding the refoundation of Llandaf as a reformed episcopal see in the years around 1120, with a new cathedral, new shrines of its founding saints, and papal privileges bringing it formally under the protection of the Holy See. At St Asaph during the thirteenth century, during a period of particular financial difficulty, a famous gospel-book belonging to the cathedral was taken by canons on a fund-raising tour.64 We know little more about it, or what it contained. Gerald of Wales was the first to mention a secondary relic of St David in the form of an imperfect gospel. In his version of the Life of St David (1192×4), Gerald told how David was busy copying the gospel of St John; when the church bell rang, David jumped up and rushed to church without closing the book or completing the page. When he returned to the scriptorium he found the column which he had begun already completed in gold letters by the work of an angel. David therefore ‘closed the book and removed it from the sight of human eyes, making no addition whatsoever.’65 This is why, even to this day, the inside of the book, which was closed and bound into a volume becomingly adorned with silver and gold, is not shown to human eyes. No one is said to have dared to look inside the book or to open its seal since St David’s time almost to the present. But in these recent days, some people have presumed to try it … but grievously and suddenly struck down by heaven’s anger, they were called back from their rash daring. That text, moreover, is called by the inhabitants of this district the Imperfect Gospel, and even to this day it is 61 62 63 64

65

Lifris of Llancarfan, Vita S. Cadoci, § 56, printed in Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae, ed. A. W. Wade-Evans, Cardiff 1944, 126. Vitae Sanctorum, 94–7; Caradog of Llancarfan, Vita S. Gildae, § 8, in Two Lives of Gildas: By a monk of Ruys and Caradoc of Llancarfan, ed. H. Williams, Felinfach 1990, 96–7. Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 17110 E. Glanmor Williams, The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation, Cardiff 1962, 43, 89, cited by P. Sims-Williams, ‘The Uses of Writing in Early Medieval Wales’, in Literacy in Medieval Celtic Societies, ed. H. Pryce, Cambridge 1998, 15–38, at 21–2. Gerald of Wales, De uita S. Dauidis Meneuensis archiepiscopi, lectio 6; in Giraldi Cambrensis Opera iii, 377–404, at 393.

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renowned for its miracles and virtues, and is not undeservedly held in the highest reverence by everyone.

Here is noteworthy evidence, from West Wales, for the practice of keeping richly produced gospel-books permanently sealed, as mystical objects with spiritual power.66 Gospel-books, then, were usually considered to be the property of the patron saint of the church, and so in this respect too, the saints could be at the heart of a cathedral church’s liturgical life.67 In the case of the ‘Imperfect Gospel’ at St Davids, the book took on the status of a secondary relic; at Llandaf, Liber Landauensis became known as Llyfr Teilo, ‘Teilo’s Book’; at Clynnog Fawr, the ‘unburnt’ Book of St Beuno was famous enough to be mentioned in poetry; the Book of Cadog at Nantcarfan, like the Book of St Beuno, represented the ‘book of Life’, in which are recorded the names of the righteous. The Gospel-Book of St Asaph, although we know little about it, was apparently of such fame that it could be used as a fund-raising tool.

Conclusion As the bishoprics of the Welsh territories underwent a period of more or less radical reform in the early decades of the twelfth century, we are able to observe how the saints and their relics were at the heart of this process, animating and even directing the course of reorganisation and reconstruction. The role of relics was vital; for relics provided a powerful focus and well-spring for the spiritual life of a community.68 Each cathedral church was a cult-centre for the founding saint of the church and bishopric; the ideal was that it would house a shrine of the corporeal relics of the patron saint or saints. The dedication of the church could emphasise wider allegiances – as with St Peter at Llandaf – or proclaim a degree of independence – as with St Andrew at Mynyw. The cathedrals also kindled new cults, some of which thrived – as with St Caradog at St Davids – while others ultimately failed – as did St Ælfgar at Llandaf, and perhaps Gruffudd ap Cynan at Bangor. Hagiography, the principal accessory of a saint’s cult, fulfilled several purposes. The primary function was to supply a liturgical need, providing readings for the divine office on the feast-day of the saint. The saint’s Life also told the story that the church wanted to tell about itself; identifying itself with its patron, and locating itself within a particular version of that saint’s story. Finally, each cathedral church owned a gospel-book that acted as a kind of secondary relic of

66 67 68

This is a practice found elsewhere in Britain and the Continent. D. Huws, Medieval Welsh Manuscripts, Aberystwyth 2000, 5. The remarkable display of mass popular devotion surrounding the relics of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (St Thérèse of Lisieux), which were taken on a tour of Britain in 2009, may be taken as a valuable illustration of the powerful effect of the cult of a particular saint on the human spirit, even in this age of supposed general atheistic materialism.



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the patron saint. In some cases the book could be venerated as a sacred object; in others it performed the function of Liber Vitae, a Book of Life, recording the names of the righteous who had contributed to the welfare of the church. In the case of Liber Landauensis the manuscript itself bears the marks of liturgical use. So far as one can tell, this was a continuation of a custom from an earlier period: that the churches associated with bishops had a high-status gospel-book which somehow embodied the cult of the patron saint. In this way we may understand how the cult of the saints lay at the heart of the rebuilding and refoundation of a bishop’s principal church and its subsequent liturgical, devotional, political, and financial life. Hardly a move was made in restructuring a bishop’s framework of operation or the constitution of his cathedral church, barely a text composed or document copied, without the role and impact of a patronal saint having been carefully considered.

6 A Bishop and His Conflicts: Philip of Bayeux (1142–63) Thomas Roche

In the nave of Bayeux cathedral, above the columns, can be seen two small figures depicting bishops. One of them might be Philip of Harcourt, prelate from 1142 to 1163, as he was involved in the rebuilding of the church after a fire broke out in 1160, according to Robert of Torigny.1 This later sculpture does not, however, throw much light on Philip. Neither do our other sources. Philip himself has not left us any text, if we exclude the charters he gave as bishop or attested as chancellor to King Stephen or as a royal servant of King Henry II, or the list of the books he left to the abbey of Bec as he felt his death approaching. The 140 volumes in this list have vanished, but the inventory has been preserved and is a fine introduction to a prelate’s library; it has been studied by Mary and Richard Rouse, among others.2 As well as knowing that Philip was interested in literature, however, we also know that he was a prelate in conflict. He spent the first years of his administration fighting to gain control of his diocese, most notably against Earl Robert of Gloucester, whose son was the former bishop. In this dispute, as in his other litigation, Philip gained a severe reputation, as the author of the Chronicle of Sainte-Barbe-en-Auge testified: ‘The view of his face only frightened.’3 Of these disputes, we barely have any contemporary accounts. Historians of the Common Law can study legal strategies through the numerous English

1

2

3

Chronique de Robert de Torigni, abbé du Mont-Saint-Michel, ed. L. Delisle, Rouen 1872, s. a. 1160. On the architecture of the cathedral, see M. Baylé, ‘Bayeux: cathédrale NotreDame’, in L’architecture normande au Moyen Âge, ed. M. Baylé, 2 vols, Caen 2001, ii, 37–42 and 164–7. M. A. Rouse and R. H. Rouse, ‘Potens in Opere et Sermone: Philip, Bishop of Bayeux, and His Books’, in Authentic Witnesses: Approaches to Medieval Texts and Manuscripts, Notre Dame 1991, 33–59; see also G. Nortier, Les bibliothèques médiévales des abbayes bénédictines de Normandie: Fécamp, Le Bec, le Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Evroul, Lyre, Jumièges, SaintWandrille, Saint-Ouen, Paris 1971, and P. Stirnemann, ‘Two Twelfth-Century Bibliophiles and Henry of Huntingdon’s Historia Anglorum’, Viator 24, 1973, 121–42. La chronique de Sainte-Barbe en Auge, ed. R.-N. Sauvage, Caen 1907, 35.

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cartulary-chronicles, such as the Battle chronicle.4 There are no documents of this kind for Normandy. Our major source on Philip is a manuscript written a century after his time, the thirteenth-century cartulary of the Bayeux chapter.5 It reflects Philip’s administration of his diocese, and especially the conflicts he had with powerful magnates and small lords, ill-mannered abbots and shameless priests. This Livre Noir (or Black Book) is famous among legal historians because it documents some early uses of the inquest in Plantagenet justice.6 It is merely a collection of charters rather than an organised narrative of legal procedures, but this does not mean it is not organised at all, or that it has no tale to tell. Beyond the information in each charter, a story emerges from the collection as a whole. Although there have been many studies of the list of Philip’s books, and although the Black Book was a focus for legal historians in the early twentieth century, Philip has stayed in the shadows; he has not gained the fame of his friends Hugh of Rouen or Arnoul of Lisieux.7 Paradoxically, his little-studied career has nevertheless given birth to many contradictory interpretations. That is where my paper will focus first.

The Historians’ Philip Philip’s career before 1142 is hardly known. The scarcity of records has resulted in contradictory interpretations of his elevation to the see of Bayeux and of the various conflicts he faced then. There are actually three ways of telling the story. The first is supported mostly by French historians and puts the stress on royal patronage. The second comes from British scholars and points to the influence of family connections. A third one appears in works by the Catholic commentators on the history of the Bayeux diocese. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a Norman priest, Valentin Bourrienne, wrote what is still the only biography of Philip, first as articles in the Revue catholique de Normandie, then as a book printed in 1930.8 A few years later, a student of Charles Haskins, Sarrell Gleason, published his dissertation on the bishops of Bayeux.9 These two ‘classical’ studies of Philip of Bayeux strengthened what I would call the ‘French’ or ‘royalist’ hypothesis, already expressed by 4 5 6 7

8 9

For a recent and original look at those texts, see A. Boureau, La loi du royaume: les moines, le droit et la construction de la nation anglaise (XIe–XIIIe siècles), Paris 2001. ‘Antiquus Cartularius Ecclesiae Baiocensis’ (Livre noir), ed. V. Bourrienne, Rouen 1902–3, hereafter Bourrienne, LN, followed by the charter number. C. H. Haskins, Norman Institutions, Cambridge, Mass. 1917, 196–238. See T. Waldman, ‘Hugh of Amiens, Archbishop of Rouen (1130–64), the Norman Abbots, and the Papacy: The Foundation of a “Textual Community”’, Haskins Society Journal 2, 1990, 139–53; C. Poling Schriber, The Dilemma of Arnulf of Lisieux: New Ideas versus Old Ideals, Bloomington 1990. V. Bourrienne, Un grand bâtisseur: Philippe de Harcourt, évêque de Bayeux (1142–1163), Paris 1930. S. E. Gleason, An Ecclesiastical Barony of the Middle Ages. The Bishopric of Bayeux, 1066– 1204, Cambridge, Mass. 1936.

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previous historians. It asserts that Philip, as a friend and faithful servant of King Stephen,10 gained the see of Bayeux as a final promotion. The supporters of this scheme remind us of Philip’s skills as an administrator,11 first as archdeacon of Évreux, then as royal chancellor. The royal reward could have come in 1139, when Philip became bishop-elect of Salisbury after the arrest of Bishop Roger, had he not faced a strong opposition. He had to wait until 1142 to gain his episcopal promotion.12 Why was this promotion at Bayeux? The second foundation of this scenario is that the Norman church long stayed loyal to Stephen, and converted only very late to the Plantagenet cause, when Hugh, archbishop of Rouen, recognised Count Geoffrey of Anjou’s success in conquering Normandy in 1144.13 The corollary is that the trouble Philip met on his arrival in Normandy was due to his political standpoint in the struggle between Stephen and the Angevins; he was assaulted because he sided with Stephen, not because he was a bishop. Valentin Bourrienne believed that this ‘royalist’ hypothesis most probably explains Philip’s promotion to the see of Bayeux, and dismissed the idea that Philip was nominated by Count Geoffrey as ‘absurd’.14 Yet this is exactly the argument of the ‘British’ or ‘family’ hypothesis, defended by Geoffrey White15 and David Crouch.16 The cornerstone of this hypothesis is that Philip’s career was successful because of his family connections – and these family ties made him change side.17 Possibly because of his ties with the Briouze family, Philip became rector of Sompting (Sussex).18 But his career owed much to his connection with the magnate Waleran of Meulan. Before 1131, Waleran appointed him dean of Beaumont collegial church; perhaps by 1126 Philip had been made archdeacon of Évreux.19 By 1135 Waleran might have helped him to gain the deanship of Lincoln. As the Norman magnate secured King Stephen’s favour, his own friends and cousins benefited from parallel promotions. Waleran was Stephen’s counsellor-in-chief when Philip became chancellor. And when 10 11

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

H. Böhmer, Kirche und Staat in England und in der Normandie im XI. und XII. Jahrhundert, Leipzig 1899, 313, mentions Philip among ‘Stephen’s personal creatures and minions’. Gleason, Ecclesiastical Barony, 30, describes Philip, even after 1142, as more a baron than a bishop, because of his interest in disputes and in the administration of his diocese, and because of the lack of evidence regarding his cultural concerns. More recently, D. Spear, The Personnel of the Norman Cathedrals during the Ducal Period, 911–1204, London 2006, 141, follows the ‘reward’ hypothesis. Haskins, Norman Institutions, 125–6; Böhmer, Kirche und Staat, 314; D. Matthew, King Stephen, London 2002, 78. Bourrienne, Un grand bâtisseur, 7. G. H. White, ‘Philip de Harcourt, Bishop of Bayeux’, Notes and Queries 12 (10), 1922, 126–7. D. Crouch, The Beaumont Twins: The Roots and Branches of Power in the Twelfth Century, Cambridge 1986. Compare with C. H. Haskins, The Normans in European History, Boston 1915, 167: ‘He owes his appointment to his influence as Stephen’s chancellor and not to blood relationship.’ Crouch, Beaumont Twins, 45. Spear, Norman Cathedrals, 33 and 141; J. Peltzer, Canon Law, Career and Conquest: Episcopal Elections in Normandy and Greater Anjou, c.1140–c.1230, Cambridge 2008, 136. But Crouch and White assert, wrongly, that Philip gained this position only by 1140, after Waleran was appointed viscount of Évreux by 1137.

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the count decided at last, in 1142, to rally to the cause of Geoffrey of Anjou, the churchman followed, perhaps disappointed by the lack of royal support during his misadventure at Salisbury. But if we accept this chain of events, why was Philip as bishop faced by such opposition? Richard and Mary Rouse explained that Geoffrey’s gifts to former supporters of King Stephen may have angered pro-Angevin lords in Bessin.20 David Crouch’s argument is slightly different: he points to a long-lasting ‘feud’ between Waleran’s party and Robert of Gloucester, in which Norman lords were on Robert’s side but the Angevin princes acted as mediators because it proved they owed nothing to either magnate.21 The Rouses stress, however, the distancing of Philip from Waleran once he was elected, as Philip’s relations with the Plantagenets remained warm while Waleran’s cooled.22 Jörg Peltzer advances a third and opposite view: Philip would have used Waleran’s influence in his struggle to recover the see’s possessions.23 A last scenario is the ‘Catholic’ one. In this case, what mattered was neither Philip’s political nor familial connections, but his piety. His arrival at Bayeux resulted not from the prince’s will, but from the chapter’s choice.24 To the eyes of Norman religious historians, Philip appears as a Gregorian bishop, eager to impose order in an ill-ordered diocese, in relation to both laymen and monks. He was a church super-hero, standing against the evil Robert of Gloucester.25 Bourrienne, himself a priest, could not help his nature and stressed the moral qualities of ‘his’ bishop.26 Putting aside the Christian rhetoric of the good shepherd, this third interpretation is interesting, because it leads us to turn to the state of the Bayeux church in the twelfth century rather than to the immediate political context of the 1140s, and particularly to two questions: was Philip’s time a turning point in the history of this peculiar diocese, and what was the nature of the relationship there between the bishop and his chapter? This last point is all the more at the core of our investigation because of the nature of our main source for Philip’s activity, the Black Book.

20 21 22 23 24

25 26

Rouse and Rouse, ‘Potens in Opere’, 38–9. D. Crouch, The Reign of King Stephen, 1135–1154, Harlow 2000, 198. Rouse and Rouse, ‘Potens in Opere’, 38. Peltzer, Canon Law, 137. J. Hermant, Histoire du diocèse de Bayeux, contenant l’histoire des évêques, avec celle des saints, des doyens et des hommes illustres de l’Église cathédrale ou du diocèse, Caen 1705, 169–77, asserts that the chapter had refused at first to accept Richard, son of Robert of Gloucester, as bishop, and welcomed Philip for his moral virtue. Hermant, Histoire du diocèse, 172, depicts Robert as ‘plus cruel que les barbares même’ (more cruel than even barbarians), and Philip as another Judas Maccabee. Bourrienne, Un grand bâtisseur, for example, 7 and 12.

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The Black Book’s Philip Although the Black Book dates from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, the first 213 items are written in the same hand27 and constitute the initial core of the manuscript. Documents related to Philip belong to this part. Can we discover more about the relationship between the Book and the bishop? A first hypothesis is that the foundations for this initial part are Philip’s own files. Indeed, only fifteen out of the first 213 charters date back to before his time. The oldest is an act of Hugh, bishop of Bayeux, dating from 1035–7, and nine are from Odo’s episcopacy. Moreover, remnants of the wording of these charters can be found in the privileges given by the pope to Philip.28 The French legal historian Jean-François Lemarignier has coined the phrase l’avalanche des bulles to describe the surge in papal privileges for Norman beneficiaries in the middle of the twelfth century. This avalanche was especially heavy upon Bayeux, as the church there received, for instance, roughly half the acts Pope Eugene III sent to Normandy.29 In order to gain a confirmation of possessions by the pope, or just a helpful mandate, bishops and abbots needed to take their own files to the papal court, documents used not only for their legal value, but also to help in the drafting of papal charters. This explains the conservation of some old documents, usually from prestigious authorities, which often provide lists of lands and rights.30 Philip certainly took some of the episcopal archives on his trips to Rome, and added to these files documents used or received in his legal proceedings back in Normandy. The preservation of Philip’s archives, ‘as they were’ in extenso, in the cartulary could also explain why other evidence not meant to be kept is to be found there: for example, the reports of legal inquests by royal judges (commanded by Duke Geoffrey or Duke Henry during the conflicts between Bishop Philip and his lay opponents), which had no long-term legal value, are written side by side in the Black Book with the solemn charters, that is the ducal notifications, which were aimed at recalling the inquest results.31 So does the first part of the Black Book mirror Philip’s archives chest? Richard and Mary Rouse, in their study of the man behind the books, do not push the evidence further. We may push further the analysis of the Black Book. The first and early part of the cartulary, its core, contains roughly three kinds of charters: ducal and royal 27 28

29 30 31

If we except a later addition, an act of 1266 written in a space left blank at the bottom of fol. 8: Bourrienne, LN, no. 33 bis. For example, parts of the list of possessions of the church of Bayeux in the 1144 confirmation (reissued in 1145 and 1153) come from Hugh’s charter: see Bourrienne, LN, respectively nos 154, 155 and 156. J. Ramackers, Papsturkunden in Frankreich, 2. Band: Normandie, Göttingen 1937. D. Lohrman, Kirchengut im nördlichen Frankreich: Besitz, Verfassung und Wirtschaft in Spiegel der Papstprivilegien des 11.–12. Jahrhunderts, Bonn 1983, for example, at 95–9. See, in the case of the inquest on Cambremer: returns from officers (Bourrienne, LN, nos 43–4) and ducal confirmation (Bourrienne, LN, no. 17)

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ones; episcopal acta mostly concerned with the endowment of prebends, one after another; and papal letters and privileges. As I have noted above, a handful of them date from before Philip’s time; most of the rest are from the 1140s to the 1160s. But the documents relating to the prebends include as many charters from Bishop Henry, Philip’s successor, as from Philip. The Black Book is a reinterpretation of Philip’s files, stressing his connections to Rome and to the duke-kings. It established the period of his pontificate as a legal reference point for his successors. We should not forget that the Black Book is not a bishop’s or an abbot’s register, of the kind we find in England or even in Normandy from the end of the twelfth century onwards, but a cathedral chapter’s cartulary – within which the ‘Catholic’ interpretation of Philip’s career has its roots. We should regard the Black Book as the best compendium of Philip’s legal activity, although one which was reconstructed by the thirteenth-century canons of Bayeux cathedral chapter. Its nature stresses our bishop’s interest in the written word – an interest confirmed by the composition of his library. But the reordering of Philip’s files by the canons, in a way useful for the management and memory of the Bayeux chapter, may hide from us elements of continuity and context, partly because it involved the biased selection of older documents. Moreover, the Black Book does not reflect the whole of Philip’s concerns; unsurprisingly, instances of cases lost by the bishop are to be looked for elsewhere. And other sources – charters from neighbouring abbeys or local chronicles – can also bring us evidence that provides other glimpses of Philip, suggests other ways of reading his deeds, and has implicit narratives in which he appears. Can we find in this corpus of evidence any clues about Philip’s personality? This is doubtful. Gleason’s statement that he was more a lay lord than a bishop could appeal to us, but it is undermined by the quality of Philip’s library.32 Even though Philip has not left any written works, it is clear that he was a fine reader and book collector, as indicated by Richard and Mary Rouse. Robert of Torigny depicted Philip as ‘prudent and astute at restoring his Church’;33 the anonymous writer of the Chronicle of Sainte-Barbe wrote that he was ‘severe and frightening’ – but in order to praise the prior of Sainte-Barbe, one of the only men able to stand against Philip.34 In a letter to the pope, Arnoul of Lisieux asked him to send Philip back from Rome to Normandy, where his church needed him, and described Philip as ‘powerful in deeds as in words’.35 I do not believe we can draw a psychological sketch of Philip – or of any man in the High Middle Ages – because of the nature of our sources. However, what his contemporaries stressed was how a ‘good’ bishop ought to act, and the means he could use to be

32

33 34 35

Gleason only developed and amplified Haskins’ argument: Philip’s library was ‘on the whole a typically Norman library, deficient on the imaginative side, but strong in orthodox theology, in law and in history … strikingly lacking also, save for a volume, on Norman history, in products of Normandy itself’ (Haskins, Normans in European History, 179–80). Chronique, ed. Delisle, s. a. 1163. Chronique, ed. Sauvage, 35. F. Barlow, The Letters of Arnulf of Lisieux, London 1939, 11, no. 8.

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efficient: not only the recourse to legal knowledge and the written word, but the use of particular forms of behaviour and emotional displays.

Philip’s Conflicts Legal historians have looked at the Bayeux evidence with the Common Law in mind. They have noticed the fact that Philip appealed to Rome, expecting help in his confrontation with his lay opponents and especially against Robert of Gloucester, but see it as fruitless, and they have rather stressed the key role played by the Plantagenets in Philip’s success against lay lords – often the men of Robert of Gloucester. But does this mean that the struggle between the bishop and the earl is the one and only way to read these conflicts? The focus by legal historians, in their discussion of the Bayeux evidence, on the general issue of the legal inquest by jury has not taken into account the peculiar local and archival context, in particular the peculiar relationship between the Bayeux diocese and the Roman curia and the fact that the archival evidence is based upon Bishop Philip’s files. As Harald Müller has shown, the 1140s saw a rise in the activities of papal judges-delegate in Normandy, and most cases they dealt with came from the diocese of Bayeux.36 Unfortunately, the nature of our evidence – we cannot escape the Black Book – induces a circular argument here. Eventually, most of the disputes Philip was involved in arose from ecclesiastical matters; more often than lay lords, monks and clerks were his opponents in litigation he sometimes lost. Of course, of these failed cases the Black Book has no word. The study by Richard and Mary Rouse, sketching Philip as a library owner belonging to fine intellectual networks, encourages us to regard him as a man of the written word, relying on his records, keeping them, and seeking written mandates from his patrons.37 Let us have a closer look at some of the disputes Philip was involved in. Was he an advocate of the diffusion of canonic procedure, a supporter of ‘pure’ written law? Does his way of handling disputes reflect a wider social and legal context? Case 1: The Rules of Agreement We can start with the dispute against Robert of Gloucester. I have already mentioned the different interpretations this conflict has given rise to, in relation to Philip’s election. What this case reveals is the variety of support the bishop sought. 36 37

H. Müller, Päpstliche Delegationsgerichtsbarkeit in der Normandie (12. und frühes 13. Jahrhundert), Bonn 1997. See his preambles. See also his concern to justify procedure: in the mandate against Richard de Chicheboville, it is stated that the man was summoned, verbally then by writ, and that it was only after a triple default that the sentence of excommunication was passed: Bourrienne, Un grand bâtisseur, appendix, charter no. 3.

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Robert was Bessin’s greatest magnate. After the conquest of Normandy by his father Henry I in 1106 and the burning of Bayeux, he worked to expand his influence in the area, first by wedding the daughter of Robert fitz Hamon. Two achievements exemplify this process. In 1133, Robert was asked by King Henry to lead an inquest into the fees of the bishop; he appears in the resulting record of inquest as the first of the bishop’s tenants, which raises the question of whether his relationship with the diocese was similar to one that a lay advocatus might have with an abbey, including involvement in the management of its estates. Moreover, the next year he had his illegitimate son, Richard, whose mother was possibly a sister of the previous bishop, elected to the bishopric of Bayeux. Unsurprisingly, Robert was not eager to see a man with whom he had no connection appointed bishop. Facing such an opponent, Philip tried to mobilise every supporter he could find. As a bishop sharing the Roman viewpoint, he first turned to his friend and primate Archbishop Hugh before appealing to Rome, where he travelled several times to support his claims, obtaining firmer confirmations of his rights and stronger excommunications for his enemies. However, the Roman support had to be supplemented by local intermediaries, which Philip tried first to find among the English bishops.38 There was a clear consciousness of the transmarine nature of Robert’s honour, but the manoeuvre had little success. Philip eventually used a traditional method of settling conflicts: negotiating a direct agreement with Robert of Gloucester. Conventiones of this kind were frequent, not only at the time of the ‘Anarchy’,39 but also more generally as a common device to settle disputes and establish new relations. Agreements were born not only out of the free will of their two partners, but reflected the influence of the social network they evolved in. Philip’s agreement with Robert, described as a ‘compositio et concordia’, was reached at Devizes in September 1146 in the presence of Empress Matilda, which shows the involvement of the higher authorities in the arrangement, and was quite favourable to Robert whose renunciation of claims to many of the bishop’s fees was balanced by quitclaims on Philip’s part and his recognition that Robert was to hold the land which Ranulf, earl of Chester, held of the church of Bayeux until an heir arrived whom the duke of Normandy recognised as Ranulf’s heir.40 This royal mediation announced the legal support brought, on the Norman side of the Channel, by Duke Geoffrey to the bishop. Beyond his connection to Rome, Philip knew well the socio-legal rules of the world he lived in. Case 2: Bishop or Lord? The numerous disputes Philip had with lay lords other than Robert of Gloucester are traditionally linked to the Gloucester dispute. The earl’s men would have followed their lord’s attitude against the bishop. However, rather than being 38 39 40

Bourrienne, LN, nos 190–1, 198. E. King, ‘Dispute Settlement in Anglo-Norman England’, ANS 14, 1991 (1992), 115–30. Bourrienne, LN, no. 41; Regesta iii, no. 58.

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linked to Philip’s disputes with Earl Robert, the bishop’s disputes with other laymen show us Philip as an ecclesiastical lord fighting his neighbours. At stake was not only the preservation of the consecrated patrimony of the church of Bayeux, but also economic and symbolic centres of power. Special inquests, held by ducal-royal judges at the duke-king’s command and the bishop’s request, were convened, for instance, on the episcopal rights in forests. Other places at stake were waters – for example, at Fosse-Luchon – given back to the diocese by Richard du Hommet, with an oath.41 Here is another trace of that sworn agreement culture common in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. Rights over such places were precious and they were usually divided between many patrons. Oaths and homages could be used as devices to clarify and resolve the status, rights and legal disputes of various competitors in relation to lands and other resources. Inquests, by then an ‘old practice’, were also used to settle legal uncertainties, and relied as much on the participation of local communities as on the influence of the magnates who sponsored them.42 Philip witnessed a new phase in that practice, because of the systematic involvement of ducal justice in inquests. The dispute of Cambremer, often studied,43 provides a fine example of the kind of dispute over lands, rights and resources in which Bishop Philip found himself involved. Cambremer was an exemption, an area right in the middle of the neighbouring diocese of Lisieux where the bishops of Bayeux held spiritual and temporal rights. This episcopal domination was threatened in Philip’s time by the manoeuvres of the lords of Crèvecœur. Although mentioned as tenants of the bishop of Bayeux in the feudal inquest of 1133,44 they were trying to secure more autonomy and local power by encroaching on episcopal rights. In 1153, having built a market at Cambremer, they were excommunicated by the pope.45 Philip also obtained the support of King Henry II in the enforcement in Cambremer of the general recognition of episcopal rights as ordered by Duke Geoffrey.46 Once again, our bishop played the spiritual and temporal cards. But the peculiarity of the dispute is that spiritual domination was also at stake. Cambremer was a symbolic area for the bishops of Bayeux, due to its connection to Saint Vigor.47 In their quest for influence, the Crèvecœur family had planned to sponsor there a priory of Tiron abbey – with the assent of Philip. And eventu-

41 42 43

44 45 46 47

Ibid., no. 18. R. Helmerichs, ‘Norman Institutions or Norman Legal Practices? Geoffrey le Bel and the Development of the Jury of Recognition’, Haskins Society Journal 10, 2001, 81–94. By legal historians among others: H. Brunner, Die Entstehung der Schwurgerichte, Berlin 1872; Haskins, Norman Institutions, 196–226; Helmerichs, ‘Norman Institutions’, 93–4; more recently in Deux abbayes de Basse-Normandie Notre-Dame du Val et le Val-Richer (XIIe–XIIIe siècles), ed. M. Arnoux and C. Maneuvrier, Flers 2000, 70–4, which stressed the spiritual issue at stake. H. Navel, ‘L’enquête de 1133 sur les fiefs de l’évêque de Bayeux’, Bulletin de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie 43, 1934, no. 45. Bourrienne, LN, nos 187, 200. Ibid., nos 12, 14. Deux abbayes, 70–1.

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ally some rights and dependencies of the place were given by the bishop to the newly founded abbey of Val-Richer, a Cistercian house Philip could not suspect of aiming at autonomy from episcopal power.48 Case 3: Family Politics The relationship between Philip and the family of Colombières is known only incompletely. Philip of Colombières figured among the lay lords who usurped the bishop’s rights, and his ‘violence’ (if not physical assault, certainly violation of legality) precipitated his excommunication by a papal mandate. Reconciliation occurred around 1154; lands restored by Colombières to the bishop were used, as was usual in the cases reported by the Black Book, because of its selectivity, to endow a prebend. Another example, unconnected with Philip’s dispute with the Colombières family, is the creation of the prebend of Saint Jean in Caen, founded by Philip following a successful recognition.49 However, what made the Colombières case so striking is evident from two vague mentions in later charters – an agreement reached before King Henry II50 and a donation by a relative of Philip of Colombières to the priory of Plessis-Grimoult.51 We are told in the agreement that the son of Philip de Colombières killed Beatrix, the niece of Bishop Philip. No more comment is given. Was this death accidental? Could it have been part of a ‘retaliation’ process? Why was a woman targeted? Imagination can suggest other questions: could Beatrix have been promised or wedded to that son? The most we can say is that the conflict that could have arisen as a result of the killing was quickly settled, maybe because of the involvement of the king. Philip of Colombières and his brother Roger Bacon bought peace with donations, not to Beatrix’s family, but to religious communities she was connected to via her uncle: the Bayeux chapter (the donation was made explicitly in order to endow a new prebend) and the priory of Plessis-Grimoult. Case 4: Saving Faces Philip settled as well as engaged in disputes. Before the episcopal court, a certain Ralph Travers proved by legal argument (juste disrationavit) that the tithe of Donnay belonged to his fee, against the claims of the local priest; but his right having been confirmed, he remitted it to Philip’s hands so that it could be given as alms to the church.52 This minor affair shows how legal proceedings were an exercise in the art of ‘saving faces’, to use Erving Goffman’s words.53 Ralph wanted to appear as the legal owner of the tithe, not so much because of the economic value it constituted, but because he wished to appear as a lawful partner and 48 49 50 51 52 53

Ibid., 78, no. 36. Bourrienne, LN, no. 148. Ibid., no. 33. Bourrienne, Un grand bâtisseur, appendix, charter no. 20. Ibid., appendix, charter no. 17. E. Goffman, Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior, New York 1967.

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donor to his local church. Philip’s role as mediator between lay people illegally holding ecclesiastical property and the religious houses this property could be given to is recognised, since this was the role assigned to bishops by the dispositions of the council of Clermont introduced into Normandy at the council of Rouen in 1095. The priest got his tithe: a perhaps vital economic resource for him, but one that also meant a place for him in the local social exchanges, and a connection to the local patron. Once again, the wording of the charter reflected the different steps of the procedure and its canonical (legal) context; but beyond the phrasing, Philip communicated using a shared grammar of social gestures that complemented the legal aspects of the case. Case 5: A Reluctant Patron Sometimes Philip lost his cases, as happened in the matter of the tithe and lands in Thaon which belonged to the abbey of Savigny. A papal mandate to the pope’s judges-delegate54 reported that this tithe was given to Savigny with the consent of Bishop Richard, one of Philip’s predecessors.55 Yet Philip and the dean of the Bayeux chapter claimed it and had the men of Thaon (who might have been the inhabitants of the place or only the officers or servants of the monks of Savigny settled there) excommunicated. The pope had instructed his judges-delegate that the abbot was expected to prove his right to the tithe by the testimony of three legal witnesses. The actions of the judges appointed by the pope are interesting.56 They summoned all parties; only the abbot and the dean showed up. The bishop could not present any legal excuse for not appearing. Moreover, the dean refused the audience with the judges and threatened his opponent with an appeal directly to Rome. All parties were summoned a second time; once again, the bishop did not come, but sent word that he gave up the claim. The abbot had nevertheless brought his witnesses, who provided sufficient proof of his right to the tithe, and the excommunicated men were absolved. Another papal confirmation mentions the dean’s defect of refusing to appear before the court, with no word about the bishop.57 The case provides more questions than answers. If Bishop Richard was involved in the original donation, could it have been part of the influencebuilding process led by Robert of Gloucester in the area? Was the original donation opposed by the dean, and, if so, does this reveal a latent conflict inside the church of Bayeux between one of the former bishops and the chapter? That could throw new light on the possible role played by the chapter in the election of Philip: the canons could have been looking for a better patron. The new bishop seems to have supported the claim of his dean very half-heartedly, once the matter was brought to papal justice. But the case probably did not end there. Indeed, another charter attests that in 1164 the clerk residing in the church 54 55 56 57

Ramackers, Papsturkunden, 76. Either Richard de Douvres (1107–33) or Richard, son of Robert of Gloucester (1134–42). Ramackers, Papsturkunden, 79. Ibid., 82.

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of Thaon recognised the patronage of the dean.58 Was a settlement arrived at outside court, which has left no written trace? Or was the legal situation of Thaon less clear than the previous documents indicate? Such a combination of various rights belonging to different patrons or lords was commonplace in medieval Western society: they were a permanent cause of dispute, and of renegotiated agreements. Case 6: The Joking Bishop The Chronicle of Ardenne, written at the end of the twelfth century, reports an anecdote about Philip that contrasts sharply with the ‘severity’ with which he is often attributed.59 The church of Blanche-Herbe was disputed between the canons of Ardenne and a priest named Matthew. Philip supported the canons, and in consequence excommunicated their opponent, who appealed to the pope. All parties went to Rome. Bringing up the matter of the excommunication, Matthew asked for absolution; Philip could not refuse but, joking, he claimed he had been excommunicated too, by the priest. Because of his pride, Matthew did not treat this as a joke and could not resist absolving his bishop, thereby confirming in the sight of the cardinals who were present that he was prepared scandalously to excommunicate a bishop. The case was won for the canons. The source was written nearly fifty years after the events, and it could be accurate, although truth tends to be embellished in such chronicles. True or not, the story nevertheless reveals the emotional component of a legal process, and the behaviour that could be expected from a ‘good’ bishop: he should know canon law – and Philip knew which trap he could use against Matthew; and he should be able to follow the rules of social performance – and Philip knew how to dramatise the incident. Further study is needed to reveal all that Philip’s files can teach us about disputing, and beyond that, about the dynamics of twelfth-century society. I have only focused here on cases not used by legal historians in their study of the ‘origins of Anglo-Norman jury’. If our bishop was indeed connected to the development of the ducal inquest, he nonetheless used a wider range of legal strategies. Despite the picture given by his library, Philip was not only a man of the written word, a master of canon law;60 he also operated according to the more diffuse rules of disputing in a ritually agreement-structured society.

58 59

60

Bourrienne, LN, no. 133. ‘Chronique de fondation de Notre Dame d’Ardenne’, in Des clercs au service de la réforme: études et documents sur les chanoines réguliers de la province de Rouen, ed. M. Arnoux, Turnhout 2000, 306–10, at 309. See Rouse and Rouse, ‘Potens in Opere’, 41, who stress too much this dimension of Philip’s character: ‘[His] methods were those of a schoolman: He went after his goals armed with the written word – the right, effective words, written by those (the pope, the duke) whose words had power among lesser lords lay and ecclesiastic. Without an army but simply by knowing how to use the written words and the law courts effectively, Philip persisted until he gradually established in law the see’s rights, and secured the observation of those rights.’

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Philip’s Time We mentioned earlier the various interpretations historians have built around the shadowy figure of Philip. A final word on them could, at first, underline the peculiarity of the time Philip lived in. It could indeed stress the troubled political context, and argue that the ‘Anarchy’61 – which gave free rein to local magnates, in the case of Bayeux to the men of Robert of Gloucester – led Norman churchmen to the sheltering arms of Rome because they could not rely on local government. But Philip’s activities and the help eventually given to him by Duke Geoffrey are fine counter-examples to this picture of governmental breakdown. There are also other trends to consider. The appeals to Rome were also the result of new opportunities: the development of a network of papal delegates, linked to the growth of Roman bureaucracy and legal practice; and the fact that, owing to the Italian troubles, popes were actually present in France for periods of time. They were far from being out of sight, out of mind. There are three final points to stress. If I have focused here on Philip, there is nonetheless a certain continuum in the history of the Bayeux diocese. The ‘classical’ historiography of the Norman duchy has already asserted that this area has a long record of unrest, because it was far from the traditional eastern centres of ducal government, as shown for instance by the rebellions during the early years of Duke William’s reign. But furthermore, there was also a long history of bishops working for political control of the Bessin. At the end of the eleventh century, while Robert Curthose and William Rufus struggled for Anglo-Norman domination, the bishop of Bayeux played another chess game, on a local scale. Odo of Bayeux was the first one to turn to Rome – and the papal letter he obtained in support of his local authority was later reused by Philip62 – but he was also the first to compromise with neighbouring magnates, Count Ranulf of Caen for instance, in an early conventio.63 The feudal inquest of 1133 revealed the involvement of King Henry in the management of the diocese, which was regarded as a lordship. Even Richard, son of Robert of Gloucester, used the procedure of recognition by inquest to state his rights over land at Hérils.64 This story of the local enforcement of episcopal power, combined in Philip’s time with the strengthening of episcopal authority more generally, was in line with the agenda of the Gregorian movement. In other words, Philip’s career was a stepping stone in the process of Romanisation of the northern French church, as was that of his better documented ‘brother’, Archbishop Hugh of Rouen. These two prelates shared the same kinds of disputes against old Benedictine abbeys in their diocese which could justify their privileges, especially their exemption from episcopal rights, by exhibiting ancient charters dating from 61 62 63 64

M. Chibnall, ‘Normandy’, in The Anarchy of King’s Stephen Reign, ed. E. King, Oxford 1994, 93–115. Bourrienne, LN, no. 172. Ibid., no. 76. Ibid., no. 102.

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Carolingian times or from the period of the early Norman dukes. These charters had usually been rewritten to widen the scope of the original privileges granted to the abbeys.65 And in relation to charter-drafting, Olivier Guyotjeannin has shown the very limited influence of Roman pontifical diplomatic on Norman episcopal charters compared to charters in other parts of northern France, and noted that among the few exceptions are the charters of Hugh of Rouen.66 Not surprisingly, Philip’s charters are also among these exceptions. As I have tried to stress, Philip’s character was multi-faceted and is difficult to assess accurately. This is not only because of what our sources let us know about him, but also because by their nature and their scope they cannot but offer a biased view of him. Philip settled disputes involving canons,67 acted, sometimes reluctantly, as their patron in their conflicts, and tried to impose his authority upon clerks and abbots in his diocese, but not with automatic success. He also acted as a lord. It is worth recalling that the issues at stake with his lay opponents involved not only land but also those special places – markets, forests, mills – that mattered not only economically, but also spatially and legally. These were, in short, the tokens of a lordship that in the twelfth century was using more legal justifications and legal devices to enforce its domination. Part of an increasingly connected network of prelates, and at the same time belonging to a network of royal counsellors and officers, Philip interacted with different communities. He held a special responsibility for his chapter, and placed members of his family there: a William of Harcourt, likely a cousin, was appointed treasurer; William de Tournebu and his nephew Simon, respectively dean and steward, were also connected to Philip’s family.68 A pastor, Philip brought episcopal attention to bear on the holy communities and the priests of his diocese, which could mean his goodwill, or his competition. He managed, as a lord, the community of his vassals,69 and made use, sometimes as a ‘judge’, sometimes as a legal actor, of the local communities and of the vavassores, through the means of inquest. As Stephen Marritt put it,70 there was no contradiction between being a ‘royal’ bishop and being a Roman one. Although he remains a somewhat shadowy figure, we can still see that Philip was both – and more.

65 66

67 68 69 70

J.-F. Lemarignier, Étude sur les privilèges d’exemption et de juridiction ecclésiastique des abbayes normandes depuis les origines jusqu’en 1140, Paris 1937. O. Guyotjeannin, ‘L’influence pontificale sur les actes épiscopaux français (provinces ecclésiastiques de Reims, Sens et Rouen, XIe–XIIe siècles)’, in L’Église de France et la papauté (XIe–XIIIe siècles). Actes du XXVIe colloque historique franco–allemand (Paris, 17–19 octobre 1990), ed. R. Grosse, Bonn 1993, 83–102. For instance, he sponsored an agreement between the chapter and his steward Simon de Tournebu, regarding Isigny: Bourrienne, LN, no. 71. Spear, Norman Cathedrals, respective entries. See the case of the fee of Montmartin, where an inquest was held at his request to prove the usurpation of Enjuger de Bohon: Bourrienne, LN, no. 24 and Navel, ‘L’enquête’, 18. S. Marritt, ‘King Stephen and the Bishops’, ANS 24, 2002 (2003), 129–44.

7 Ecclesiastical Responses to War in King Stephen’s Reign: The Communities of Selby Abbey, Pontefract Priory and York Cathedral Paul Dalton

It is well known that religious communities in England suffered as well as flourished during the reign of King Stephen (1135–54), a period dominated by a protracted civil war fought for control of the crown.1 The extent of this suffering and efflorescence has been studied extensively.2 Less attention has been paid to the methods by which religious communities sought to deal with the threats and violence that faced them, to protect and promote their interests and secure their peace and safety, and to reconcile themselves with their oppressors.3 This chapter will help to illuminate these themes as they relate to two monasteries and one cathedral community in Yorkshire. The monasteries are the Benedictine abbey of St Mary and St Germanus, Selby, the foundation of which in 1069–70 owed much to the support of William the Conqueror, and the Cluniac priory of St John the Evangelist, Pontefract, established during the 1090s by Robert I de Lacy, lord of Pontefract.4 The cathedral is that of St Peter’s, York, whose hospital (also named St Peter’s) in York and important estate at nearby Sherburn will be 1

2

3 4

I am very grateful to John Hills of the Department of Geographical and Life Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University for his considerable help and patience in producing the maps. The software used to produce the maps was ArcGIS v9.2 by ESRI. Recent works on Stephen’s reign include The Anarchy of King Stephen’s Reign, ed. E. King, Oxford 1994; D. Crouch, The Reign of King Stephen, 1135–1154, Harlow 2000; King Stephen’s Reign (1135–1154), ed. P. Dalton and G. J. White, Woodbridge 2008. See, for example, T. Callahan Jr., ‘A Re-evaluation of the Anarchy of King Stephen’s Reign, 1135–54: The Case of the Black Monks’, Revue Bénédictine 84, 1974, 338–51; idem, ‘The Impact of Anarchy on English Monasticism, 1135–1154’, Albion 6, 1974, 218–32; idem, ‘Ecclesiastical Reparations and the Soldiers of the “Anarchy”’, Albion 10, 1978, 300–18; C. Holdsworth, ‘The Church’, in The Anarchy, 207–29, at 216–28. For references, see P. Dalton, ‘Churchmen and the Promotion of Peace in King Stephen’s Reign’, Viator 31, 2000, 79–119. R. B. Dobson, ‘The First Norman Abbey in Northern England. The Origins of Selby: A Ninth Centenary Article’, Ampleforth Journal 74, 1969, 161–76; J. Burton, The Monastic Order in Yorkshire, 1069–1215, Cambridge 1999, 6, 23–32, 56–60; W. E. Wightman, The Lacy Family in England and Normandy 1066–1194, Oxford 1966, 61–2.

Map 1. Yorkshire in King Stephen’s reign



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particular centres of attention.5 The chapter will begin by discussing some of the damage suffered by these communities, and the political and military context in which it occurred. It will then explore some of the practical and spiritual ways in which the communities sought to respond to the difficulties, dangers and opportunities that faced them. Its conclusions have a wider bearing on understanding the processes that brought the civil war to an end.

Civil War Damage and its Political and Military Context During Stephen’s reign the monasteries of Selby and Pontefract, the cathedral of York and its hospital, and other nearby religious houses were badly damaged by wars involving several powerful local barons. This was because of their location in highly important administrative, strategic and economic positions, at points where different secular lordships and competing lordly ambitions collided (Maps 1–2).6 At least two lords damaged Selby abbey. One was Roger de Mowbray, lord of extensive lands in Yorkshire, including clusters of estates to the north-west and east of Selby (Maps 1–2), whose ambitions included recovering the custody of York castle probably once held by his father Nigel d’Aubigny, a benefactor of Selby abbey.7 The other lord was William count of Aumale who was made earl of York by King Stephen in 1138, entrusted with control of royal administration in Yorkshire and probably custody of York castle, and had huge territorial and jurisdictional ambitions in the county.8 The harm done by Roger de Mowbray to Selby abbey is reflected in a charter he issued between 1143(?) and 1153 granting the monks the manor of Middlethorpe near York for the damage he had done to the house.9 The harm inflicted by Earl William is graphically described in a history of Selby abbey (Historia Selebiensis Monasterii), probably written there in 1174.10 William’s 5

6

7 8 9 10

For the cathedral and hospital, which came to be known as St Leonard’s, see VCH, Yorkshire III, 336 ff, 375 ff; Charters of the Honour of Mowbray 1107–1191 [cited hereafter as Mowbray Charters], ed. D. E. Greenway, London 1972, 194, and nos 2–3; EEA, 20: York 1154–1181, ed. M. Lovatt, Oxford 2000, nos 117–18 and nn. For the wars and their impact, see Wightman, Lacy Family, 76–80, 87, 233–4; P. Dalton, Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship: Yorkshire 1066–1154, Cambridge 1994, 168–9, 171–2, 179, 184, 193, 288–9; Burton, Monastic Order, 200–5; J. Burton, ‘Citadels of God: Monasteries, Violence, and the Struggle for Power in Northern England, 1135–1154’, ANS 31, 2008 (2009), 17–30, at 25–30. Mowbray Charters, nos 1–3, 9, 254–6, pp. xvii–xxxii, and Map III; Dalton, Conquest, 168–9; Burton, Monastic Order, 201–2; Burton, ‘Citadels’, 28. Dalton, Conquest, 145–95. Mowbray Charters, no. 255. The only modern edition of the Historia is based on a seventeenth-century transcript: The Coucher Book of Selby, ed. J. T. Fowler, 2 vols, The Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Association Record Series 10, 13, 1891, 1893, i, 1–54. A late twelfth-century manuscript exists: BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 3r–48r; P. Janin, ‘Note sur le manuscrit Latin 10940 de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris contenant l’Historia Selebiensis monasterii et les Gesta abbatum Sancti Germani Autissiodorensis’, Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes 127,

Map 2. The Selby region in King Stephen’s reign



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soldiers attacked the abbey during a war with Henry de Lacy, a son of Robert I de Lacy, who in c.1142 succeeded his brother Ilbert II de Lacy as lord of Pontefract, the caput of an extensive honour in the West Riding of Yorkshire (Maps 1–2). The fighting occurred at some point during the period c.1142–52, most likely during or soon after 1143, and was sparked by Henry’s construction of a castle at Selby. The building had been discussed in advance by Henry with his kinsman Elias, abbot of Selby, who was also a relative of the Paynel lords of nearby Drax and Hooton (Maps 1–2). Less than a week after the castle was finished, Earl William and his forces assaulted Selby, attacked the abbey and its cemetery, where people had taken refuge with their possessions, and besieged the fortress. The town was pillaged and burnt and, several days later, the siege ended with the defeat and expulsion of the Lacy garrison, after which soldiers continued to plunder and oppress the surrounding region.11 The harm suffered by Pontefract priory during Stephen’s reign was inflicted by Gilbert II de Gant, lord of Hunmanby (Yorks.) and Folkingham (Lincs.), during a war he fought against Henry de Lacy, probably at some point between 1141 and 1154.12 Whether this was part of the same conflict that resulted in damage to Selby abbey is unknown but possible.13 The harm it inflicted at Pontefract might have been extensive enough to have required the rebuilding and rededication of all or part of Pontefract priory church at some point between 1154 and 1161.14

11

12

13

14

1969, 216–24; Burton, Monastic Order, 12, 23–32; idem, ‘Selby Abbey and its TwelfthCentury Historian’, in Learning and Literacy in Medieval England and Abroad, ed. S. Rees Jones, Turnhout 2003, 49–68. For a translation, see A History of Selby Monastery to 1174 A.D., trans. I. S. Neale, 1984, 1–81. BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 30v–9v; Coucher Book i, 33–44; A History of Selby, 48–65; Burton, ‘Citadels’, 26–8. Ilbert II de Lacy was captured by Ranulf II earl of Chester in 1141 at the battle of Lincoln and died soon afterwards. Ilbert’s wife, Alice, a sister of Gilbert II de Gant, then married, probably at Ranulf’s direction, Roger de Mowbray, another of Ranulf’s captives: Mowbray Charters, xxvii, xxviii and n. 1. It is possible that the war occurred later in Stephen’s reign, between 1148 and 1153. For the war, see Wightman, Lacy Family, 78, 80, 87, 233–4. For the Gants, see M. R. Abbott, ‘The Gant family in England, 1066–1191’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cambridge 1973; R. M. Sherman, ‘The Continental Origins of the Ghent Family of Lincolnshire’, Nottingham Mediaeval Studies 22, 1978, 23–35; Early Yorkshire Charters [hereafter EYC], ed. W. Farrer, vols i–iii, Edinburgh 1914–16, and C. T. Clay, vols iv–xii, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series Extra Series 1935–65, ii, 427–504. See n. 11 above. Gilbert was also among the captives of Ranulf of Chester in 1141. The war could have occurred later in the reign, after Gilbert established his independence from Ranulf by 1149/50. In the period 1148–53 Gilbert’s younger brother, Robert, married Alice, daughter of William Paynel of Drax (d.1145×7) and Avice de Rumilly (a cousin of Ranulf of Chester) and appears to have secured with her control of William’s English estates. Gilbert and the earl of York were at war in c.1151: Abbott, ‘Gant Family’, 39, 45; EYC vi, 6, 31–4; P. Dalton, ‘Aiming at the Impossible: Ranulf II Earl of Chester and Lincolnshire in the Reign of King Stephen’, in The Earldom of Chester and Its Charters: A Tribute to Geoffrey Barraclough, ed. A. T. Thacker, Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society 71, Chester 1991, 109–34, esp. 124–5. EYC iii, nos 1477, 1499, 1504; Wightman, Lacy Family, 78, 233–4, 246–7; D. Knowles and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses England and Wales, 2nd edn, Harlow 1971,

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Other nearby religious houses were also harmed during Stephen’s reign. Henry de Lacy plundered Nostell priory, 5 miles south-west of Pontefract, seized its men, and might have interfered in its prioral elections.15 Some of his men also benefited the priory, as shown by a charter of Henry confirming to it the mill in Saxton (Map 2), about 10 miles north of Pontefract, given by Robert the Poitevin, together with other possessions, lands and renders ‘quos de me sive de hominibus meis adepti sunt vel imposterum adipisci poterunt’.16 But the mill of Saxton was badly damaged during warfare.17 This is also one of the signs that the extensive and wealthy archiepiscopal manor of Sherburn, less than 4 miles south-east of Saxton and incorporating lands and rights in thirty or so neighbouring vills, was another target of baronial aggression (Map 2).18 In 1141 William earl of York made control of Sherburn his price for supporting one of the candidates for the vacant archbishopric of York.19 Not long afterwards, between 1142 and 20 June 1143, Dean William and the chapter of York cathedral conceded land in Ledsham (Map 2), an outlying estate of Sherburn, to Pontefract priory in return for a rent of ten marks per annum, declaring that the rent was not to be reduced ‘si forte occasione aliqua villa ipsa depopulata fuerit, vel sterilitate vel alia devastatione’.20 Not far to the east of Sherburn, the great soke manor of the bishops of Durham, centred on Howden, also fell under the earl of York’s dominion (Maps 1–2).21 More generally, considerable damage was inflicted on York cathedral’s hospital of St Peter and its possessions in Yorkshire. Between 1150 and 1161 (most probably 1150×4) Theobald archbishop of Canterbury, then papal legate, gave the hospital a charter granting it his protection, threatening anathema against anyone violating or molesting it, and releasing twenty days’ penance to benefactors who made gifts to provide lodgings and repair buildings. The charter describes the hospital as incapable of supporting the sick due to the destruction of its premises, plunder of its livestock, depopulation of its vills and devastation of the region.22

15 16 17 18

19 20

21 22

102; Burton, Monastic Order, 62, 203–4 and n. 87, 303; Burton, ‘Citadels’, 29–30. But see also C. V. Bellamy, Pontefract Priory Excavations 1957–1961, Publications of the Thoresby Society 49, Leeds 1965, xv, 50, 90, 99; EEA, 20, nos 74, 84–5. Wightman, Lacy Family, 75, 83–4, 233; Burton, Monastic Order, 204; Burton,’Citadels’, 30; and n. 16 below. EYC iii, no. 1497. Ibid., no. 1561. For Sherburn, see GDB 302b1 (Yorks. 2B); Domesday Book Yorkshire, ed. M. L. Faull and M. Stinson, 2 vols, Chichester 1986, i, 302c; idem ii, ‘Notes on the Text and Translation’ 2B1; EYC i, no. 7. Selby abbey held part of the Sherburn estate, including (probably) land in (Monk) Fryston, Little Selby and Hillam: EYC i, nos 41–2; EEA, V: York 1070–1154, ed. J. E. Burton, London 1988, nos 4–5, 20. Jocelin of Furness, Vita Sancti Waldevi, Acta Sanctorum Augusti 1, Antwerp 1733, 256. EYC iii, no. 1472; EYC ix, 205–6, 248–50. See also The Chartulary of St John of Pontefract [hereafter CP], ed. R. Holmes, 2 vols, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 25, 30, 1899–1902, i, nos 42–3; EYC iii, no. 1469; EEA, V, nos 57, 99. By 1147 at the latest, and possibly several years earlier: Dalton, Conquest, 167. EYC i, no. 183, and see nos 189–90; A. Saltman, Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury, London 1956, 514–18 nos 285–8.



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The damage and losses inflicted on all these religious houses were manifestations of rivalry between the earl of York, Henry de Lacy, Gilbert II de Gant, Roger de Mowbray and others, for political, military, tenurial and economic power in Yorkshire, the complex causes and wider dimensions of which have been examined in depth elsewhere.23 These powerful lords were competing for centres of lordship, habitation, commerce and religion; for land, especially the great hundredal and soke manors which were the foci of considerable wealth, jurisdiction and agricultural resources; and for control of key road and river routes, and the traffic and trade that flowed along them.24 It is against this background that some of the strategies used by the monks of Selby and Pontefract and the churchmen of York cathedral to respond to the threats, violence and opportunities that faced them need to be viewed.

Responses to the War There are strong indications that the appointment of Elias Paynel, prior of Holy Trinity Priory, York, as abbot of Selby in 1143 was, at least partly, a response to the troubles of Stephen’s reign.25 It was very different from that of his predecessor, Walter, in 1137. Walter was chosen on the instructions of Thurstan archbishop of York after a vacancy of two years, a period of dissension during which the monks argued about choosing a new head.26 The appointment of Elias, by contrast, was comparatively quick, unanimous and agreed, as far as we can tell, without interference from the archbishop.27 It is possible that the monks’ decision was influenced, in part, by a desire to assert their independence from the archbishop, to whom the patronage of Selby abbey had passed during the reign of William Rufus.28 It probably also owed something to Elias’s kinship with Henry de Lacy. W. E. Wightman observed that Elias ‘was a relative of Henry de Lacy. Selby is only twelve miles from Pontefract, and the Lacy estates came to within two miles of the town, so that Elias must have seemed to be the right 23 24

25 26 27 28

See n. 6 above. Dalton, Conquest, 145–95. Selby was connected by the River Ouse with York and the North Sea, and on a major road connecting York with Doncaster. Pontefract was on a Roman road close to the Great North Road, and Sherburn was close to another important road linking the Great North Road with Tadcaster. BN, Latin MS 10940, fo. 30r; Coucher Book i, 33; A History of Selby, 48. BN, Latin MS 10940, fo. 28r–v; Coucher Book i, 31; A History of Selby, 44–5; Burton, Monastic Order, 159, 163. BN, Latin MS 10940, fo. 30r; The Heads of Religious Houses England and Wales I 940–1216, ed. D. Knowles et al., 2nd edn, Cambridge 2001, 69. For the grant of Selby to the archbishop, see EYC i, no. 126; Burton, Monastic Order, 31 and nn. 32–4; EEA, I: Lincoln 1067–1185, ed. D. M. Smith, Oxford 1980, xxxii; EEA, V, no. 20 and n. Archbishops of York were involved in the appointment or removal of some of Selby’s abbots: BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 20v, 22r–3r, 25v–6r, 28r–v, 30r, 39v–40r; Coucher Book i, 22, 24, 28, 31, 33, 44–5; A History of Selby, 31, 34–5, 41, 44–5, 48, 65–6. For discussion, see Burton, Monastic Order, 156–63. Archbishop William of York was probably absent from Yorkshire for much of 1143: see J. Burton, ‘William of York (d.1154)’, ODNB, www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/9606.

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person to protect the goods of the monastery against the depredations of minor local personages.’29 From Henry de Lacy’s perspective, Elias’s appointment might well have been part of a strategy to maintain or extend Lacy control over Selby at a time when Henry had recently inherited control of the lordship of Pontefract from his brother, Ilbert II de Lacy.30 The need to appoint an abbot with influential local connections must have been reinforced by the waning of Selby abbey’s links with the royal family after 1087 and the fact that King Stephen was hardly well placed to provide it with help and protection.31 But there is reason to question Wightman’s view that Elias ‘had been made abbot simply because he was related to the Lacys, the local family most likely to protect the property of the monastery’.32 Elias’s appointment probably also owed something to his membership of the Paynel family, who were related to the Lacys and whose members held important lordships in the region of Selby, centred on Drax and Hooton Pagnell (Maps 1–2).33 Other aspects of Elias’s curriculum vitae probably also recommended him for promotion at Selby. As prior of Holy Trinity, he was well connected in York. He also had experience and personal qualities well suited to meet the challenges posed by the civil war. Whereas his predecessor, Abbot Walter, was an advocate of the liberal arts, a deeply religious man of high moral standing, and so devoted to his care for spiritual matters that he entrusted the administration of his abbey’s external affairs to one of his monks (William Grandis),34 Elias was much more a man of the world. The Historia Selebiensis Monasterii notes that he was essentially a layman, except that he had knowledge of the psalms, that he had been ‘converted from a soldier’, and that he was deservedly chosen by everyone because of his great honourableness of character and knowledge of the outside world. It praises Elias for protecting his abbey’s possessions ‘from the violence of its enemies and robbers’ during the war, and indicates that Henry de Lacy constructed Selby castle after speaking with Elias and taking his advice.35

29 30

31

32 33

34 35

Wightman, Lacy Family, 76. Henry might already have exercised influence at Selby through Abbot Walter (1137– 43), former prior of Pontefract, who could have influenced Elias’s appointment. Selby’s second abbot, Hugh (c.1096/7–c.1122), is traditionally associated with the Lacys: Burton, ‘Citadels’, 25. For relations with the crown, see Burton, ‘Selby Abbey’, 54, 59–60; Burton, Monastic Order, 27–30. Only two charters of Stephen appear in the Selby cartulary: one dated 1136×54; the other issued in 1154 while Stephen was besieging Drax castle: Regesta iii, nos 816–17. Wightman, Lacy Family, 233. William Paynel of Drax’s father, Ralph, held land from the Lacys in Leeds (Yorks.), and might have married a sister or daughter of Ilbert I de Lacy. For this and the suggestion that Elias Paynel was a half-brother of William Paynel and a brother of Jordan Paynel, lord of Hooton, see EYC vi, 4–5, 34, 38, and pedigree facing p. 1. See also Early Yorkshire Families, ed. C. T. Clay and D. E. Greenway, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 135, 1973, 68–9. See n. 26 above; Burton, Monastic Order, 159. BN, Latin MS 10940, fo. 30r–v; Coucher Book i, 33; A History of Selby, 48; Burton, Monastic Order, 159; Burton, ‘Citadels’, 26.



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Its testimony is supported by charters which show Elias extending these possessions during Stephen’s reign.36 Elias seems to have made good use of his secular connections and knowledge of worldly affairs, including his military experience, in trying to protect his abbey. His example raises important questions about the extent to which other religious houses and their patrons employed similar tactics during these troubled times. There is evidence that the monks of Selby utilised the power of spiritual as well as secular patrons to deal with the challenges of the civil war, by demonstrating the protective and punitive power of their patron saint, Germanus (c.378–c.448), especially through the miracles he performed, which are recorded in the Historia Selebiensis Monasterii. As Janet Burton has noted: Those [miracles] which happened between 1135 and … 1152 are all related to the disturbances of Stephen’s reign, when Selby was at the heart of local, baronial rivalry. In this period, Germanus performs miracles such as striking down the man who tried to break down the doors of the church, the man who snatched a horse from the cemetery, or the man who stole from the church. Furthermore, he saves knights who have been injured, ransomed, or hanged – he takes on some of the characteristics of St James of Compostella and St Leonard of Noblat. These were the miracles of Germanus avenging the insults to his church and his own people.37

The men struck down by St Germanus appear to have been among the soldiers of William earl of York who attacked Selby in c.1143. They are described as being physically incapacitated or wounded, two of them subsequently dying horrific deaths. The graphic descriptions of their demise, one involving the painful swelling of the man’s limbs and the bursting of his eyes out of their sockets, the other depicting progression from physical suffering into madness, were clearly intended to terrify those who encountered them and to prevent similar attacks. The Historia also describes various ways in which St Germanus punished those who offended him by theft or fraud, and attributes to him the protection of a chapel, dedicated to him, from the fire started by the besiegers of Henry de Lacy’s castle. And it describes how, after the fall of Selby castle to Earl William, Germanus freed, protected or saved a number of people who had been captured and tortured by William’s new garrison.38 There are obvious objections to the idea that these miracles were a direct response to the violence of Stephen’s reign. One is that the earliest surviving manuscript of the Historia Selebiensis Monasterii was not compiled until twenty years after Stephen’s death. A second objection is that miracle stories are highly questionable historical sources, had many possible purposes, and were commonly influenced by literary conventions. Janet Burton rightly observed that the section of the Historia covering the period 1134–74, in which the miracles occur, was written ‘to glorify the church as that of St Germanus’ and ‘for expressly, if conventional, didactic purposes’ connected, in part, with showing how 36 37 38

Burton, Monastic Order, 160. Burton, ‘Selby Abbey’, 58–61, quotation at 58–9. BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 30v–9v; Coucher Book i, 33–44; A History of Selby, 48–65.

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Germanus was an avenger who punished those who injured him and his church during Stephen’s reign.39 Furthermore, as Hugh Thomas pointed out, many of the miracles said to have occurred in England during this time, including several concerning the freeing of prisoners, ‘were invented or inflated’, ‘may have been adapted from earlier sources’, and ‘contain topoi that are common in miracle stories of all sorts’.40 It is not impossible, moreover, that the Historia’s miracle stories about St Germanus freeing prisoners and protecting his church from fire owed much to similar stories in the late fifth-century Life of St Germanus by Constantius of Lyon.41 The Historia’s miracle stories could also have been influenced by similar miracles in Sulpicius Severus’s writings on the fourth-century saint Martin of Tours.42 Martin was the patron saint of Marmoutier abbey, of which the priory of Holy Trinity in York, a foundation of Ralph Paynel that was headed by Ralph’s son Elias Paynel before he became abbot of Selby in 1143, was a dependency.43 Despite the problems of dating the Selby miracles said to have occurred during Stephen’s reign, and despite the religious, literary and didactic conventions that undoubtedly influenced their composition, this does not necessarily mean that they are nothing more than simple fabrications, unrelated to real events, concocted many years after the civil war. Janet Burton has argued that the miracles in the Historia were probably drawn from a pre-existing written Selby miracle collection.44 The context in which the miracles occur also has an air of authenticity about it. The predatory activities of the Selby garrison in the Historia closely resemble the famous depredations of the castlemen of Stephen’s reign described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and other sources, which commonly included the taking, torturing and ransoming of prisoners.45 Such depredations were also endemic in parts of south-west France during the tenth and early eleventh centuries, when the patron saint of Conques abbey, Foy, became famous for miracles in which she punished violent castellans and warriors and freed prisoners.46 The utilisation of similar miracles during Stephen’s reign by the monks of Selby is supported by other evidence. The Historia informs us that a soldier named Payn Foliot was miraculously struck down by a fatal wound while 39 40 41

42 43 44 45

46

Burton, ‘Selby Abbey’, 57–58, quotations at 58; and see Burton, Monastic Order, 288–9. H. M. Thomas, ‘Miracle Stories and the Violence of King Stephen’s Reign’, Haskins Society Journal 13, 2004, 111–24, at 112–13. Compare BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 33r–v; Coucher Book i, 37; A History of Selby, 53–4; and Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints’ Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, ed. T. F. X. Noble and T. Head, London 1995, 82–5, 88–9, 93–103, 105. St Martin’s miracles included healing, and protecting a house from fire: Soldiers of Christ, 11–12, 17–21. EYC vi, 3, 38. For Holy Trinity, see also Burton, Monastic Order, 46–51, 159. Burton, ‘Selby Abbey’, 59, 61. ASC, ed. Whitelock et al., ‘E’, s. a. 1137; Gesta Stephani, ed. K. R. Potter and R. H. C. Davis, Oxford 1976, 62–5, 80–1, 94–5, 102–3, 106–11, 130–3, 136–7, 146–7, 152–61, 164–7, 180–1, 188–91, 198–9, 210–11, 212–15, 228–31. B. Ward, Miracles and the Medieval Mind: Theory, Record and Event 1000–1215, Aldershot 1987, 38–42; The Book of Sainte Foy, trans. P. Sheingorn, Philadelphia 1995, 22, 52–4, 59–62, 102–8, 125–9, 148–51, 162–5, 171–3, 185–97, 204–6, 223–6, 244–6, 250–3.



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attempting to steal a horse from the abbey churchyard, during Earl William’s assault on Selby.47 Payn is known from independent sources to have been a real person. He was a son of William Foliot, a lord of some standing in the region who held estates from the Lacy family and the earl of York, and must have been well known locally.48 The manner of his death would have been equally well known, and a local sensation. The report of it generated by the monks of Selby, replete with miraculous connotations, must have been based, to some extent, upon real events and is likely to have originated soon after the event. Though ultimately preserved in a history written in 1174, it has about it a more contemporary resonance, a flavour of ‘breaking news’ from the front line in Stephen’s reign, albeit news formulated to serve monastic ends. Its purpose was partly to deter other men of violence from attacking and plundering the abbey of St Germanus. Another miracle story suggests that one of the Selby monks, William Grandis, deployed a range of earthly skills and techniques to facilitate or publicise the other-worldly protective power of saints during the troubles of Stephen’s reign. It relates that William was confronted one day at the abbey by a group of soldiers claiming that money had been stolen from them by an armigeris called Martin, and that Martin had given the money to one of the abbey’s men. The soldiers had extracted, through torture, a false confession to this effect from Martin. William Grandis was unimpressed. In the name of God and St Germanus he forbade Martin to make his false claim, whereupon Martin found himself unable to speak. Only when Martin cleansed his mind of the unjust thoughts that had led him to lie was he able to recover the power of speech and revoke his confession. The soldiers returned to their lodgings and continued to torture Martin until he became suicidal and stabbed himself. William Grandis then went to rebuke the soldiers and demanded that they surrender Martin, who was barely alive. Martin was brought to the monastery cemetery where William made him drink holy water, which had been used to wash sacred relics, mixed with herbs, after which he was miraculously restored to health within three days.49 The story of Martin raises suspicions that it was influenced by hagiographic literature or traditions, and to some extent invented.50 But its detailed and public nature suggests that it was also based, to some extent, upon actual events.

47 48

49 50

BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 31v–2r; Coucher Book i, 35; A History of Selby, 51. Early Yorkshire Families, 26–7, 33–5, 79; The Red Book of the Exchequer, ed. Hubert Hall, 3 vols, RS 99, London 1896, i, 421–2; EYC iii, 219, nos 1306–7, 1334, 1381, 1493, 1499– 1501, 1504, 1508, 1527–39; CP i, nos 1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 11–13, 14, 15; Wightman, Lacy Family, 42–3, 77, 88. BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 37v–9v; Coucher Book i, 42–4; A History of Selby, 61–5. Martin was the name of a saint who would have been well known to Elias abbot of Selby and one who rejected the soldier’s life to become a bishop who healed the sick and resurrected the dead. The miracle story of Martin (of Selby) may owe something to St Martin’s miracles or similar biblical examples. It may have been intended, in part, to compare St Germanus’s power with that of St Martin. See Soldiers of Christ, 3, 6, 8, 11–12, 18–21; C. Stancliffe, St Martin and His Hagiographer: History and Miracle in Sulpicius Severus, Oxford 1983, 95, 140, 153, 155, 171, 187–90, 250, 345, 352–3.

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At every stage William Grandis’s actions are recorded as having been undertaken in the public gaze. He struck Martin dumb before a group of soldiers; he went ‘with others’ to demand Martin’s liberation; and he administered his curative draught to Martin in open view, in the abbey churchyard. The publicity of the event may have been another literary convention, intended to support the credibility of the story. But it is also more than possible that William knew something of medicine, could see that Martin’s wound was treatable, believed in the curative power of human skill and divine faith, and took full advantage of the opportunity to amaze and impress less knowledgeable onlookers. The miracle of Martin’s cure might well provide an insight into the origins and early utilisation of miracles, before they were written down. It suggests that the monks of Selby knew very well how to publicise the power of their patron saint and protector, and that they did so through practical actions during Stephen’s reign, as well as through their Historia in the 1170s.The story of the cure of Martin is not the only indication that William Grandis was an extraordinary monk. He had been entrusted with the administration of the abbey’s external affairs by the previous abbot, Walter (1137–43), and his practical qualities were utilised and valued by his fellow monks.51 They chose him as their new abbot when Elias Paynel was forced by the archbishop of York to resign in 1152.52 Miracles performed by saints were important in the protection of monasteries from harm, but their occurrence and impact were sometimes facilitated by men of the world. William Grandis was just such a man and, during Stephen’s reign, was clearly regarded by his religious community as a man for the times. For all their efforts, however, the monks of Selby were far from completely successful in their attempts to utilise the power of earthly and other-worldly patrons. The association of Abbot Elias with the Lacy and Paynel families and with the construction of Selby castle appears to have done his abbey more harm than good, and embroiled it in local wars. Janet Burton argues that his removal as abbot by Archbishop Henry Murdac in 1152 was more likely to have resulted from ‘the way in which the monks were drawn into the violence that erupted in the Selby area in the 1140s, and which impacted heavily on both the abbey and town’, than from Elias’s failure to support Murdac’s election as archbishop in 1147.53 Neither Elias’s alliance with Henry de Lacy nor the power of St Germanus protected Selby abbey from damage, some of which was actually inflicted by Henry himself and by some of his tenants. At some point between 1155 and 1177, and probably early in this period, Henry issued a charter for Selby abbey, witnessed by Robert sacerdote and Lambert medico, granting the monks the manor of Hambleton, 4 miles west of Selby, with a quitclaim of the service of one knight which he had required from the abbey, for acquittance of forfeitures made against it.54 That Hambleton had already been granted to Selby 51 52 53 54

BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 28v–9r; Coucher Book i, 31–2; A History of Selby, 45. BN, Latin MS 10940, fols 39v–40v; Coucher Book i, 44–5; A History of Selby, 65–7. The choice was not accepted by the archbishop: Heads of Religious Houses, 69. Burton, ‘Citadels’, 28–9. EYC iii, no. 1506.



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abbey free from all services, in pure alms, by Ilbert I de Lacy (d. c.1093) suggests that Henry had unjustly imposed the military service he was now quitclaiming, and that the forfeitures he had inflicted on the monks had been committed in Hambleton itself.55 Many reparation charters like this one were issued during and shortly after Stephen’s reign. They were one of the ways in which religious houses were reconciled with their enemies.56 Between 1144 and c.1160 Selby abbey secured another reparation charter from Henry de Lacy, notifying his restoration of land which his tenant Hervey de Campeaux and Hervey’s son, Robert, had encroached on next to the abbey’s manors of (Monk) Fryston and Hillam (Map 2).57 The land here appears originally to have been acquired by Selby abbey from Thomas I archbishop of York, Robert de Bella Aqua and Nigel provost of the archbishops, and had probably once been attached to the nearby manor of Sherburn (Map 2).58 Henry de Lacy’s charter states that the Selby monks had protested about Hervey’s and Robert de Campeaux’s encroachment in a synod. It also declares that Henry’s act of restoration and quitclaim (his conventione) was made for the absolution of the soul of Hervey who had been anathematised for his encroachment, and for the soul of Robert who restored and quitclaimed the land to the monks. Henry’s conventione-charter was witnessed by Ralph Nowell bishop of Orkney and Paulinus his son, and by Robert sacerdos and Lambert medicus, the same men who attested Henry’s charter making a reparation grant in Hambleton to Selby abbey.59 The negotiations that lie behind this conventione-charter clearly owed something to Henry himself and to the ecclesiastical cursing of Hervey de Campeaux, possibly during the synod where the monks of Selby made their complaint against him. These negotiations are also very likely to have involved members of the cathedral community of York. Bishop Ralph Nowell appears to have been a priest of York before his elevation to his bishopric, and was active during Stephen’s reign in the archdiocese of York;60 and there is evidence that Lambert medicus was probably based in York, possibly at St Peter’s hospital.61 Reparation charters for Selby abbey and York cathedral were also issued by Roger de Mowbray. As we have seen, Roger gave Selby abbey the manor of Middlethorpe near York for the damage he had done to it, and agreed (conventione) to give an exchange when he recovered custody of York castle. A second 55 56

57 58 59 60 61

For Ilbert’s grant, see EYC iii, nos 1414, 1423, 1484, 1491. F. Stenton, The First Century of English Feudalism 1066–1166, Oxford 1961, 244–5; Callahan, ‘Ecclesiastical Reparations’, 300–18; E. King, ‘The Anarchy of King Stephen’s Reign’, TRHS, 5th series 34, 1984, 133, 139–43, 153. EYC iii, no. 1547. EEA, V, nos 4–5, 20–1; EYC i, nos 7, 41–3, 45–6; Burton, Monastic Order, 157; Domesday Book Yorkshire ii, n. 2B1. Robert sacerdos and Lambert medicus witnessed other charters of Henry: EYC iii, nos 1544, 1567, 1772–3. A. M. Cooke, ‘Ralph (d. in or after 1151)’, rev. B. E. Crawford, ODNB, Oxford 2004, www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23050. See EYC i, no. 295; EYC iii, nos 1531, 1562, 1567, 1673.

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charter for Selby abbey, issued by Roger September 1143×7 or October 1153×June 1154, notified William archbishop of York of Roger’s restoration of the land of Acaster Selby (Map 2), and might well have been a similar act of recompense.62 Another reparation charter granted by Roger, restoring losses he had inflicted on York cathedral during the war and seeking absolution for his actions, is notable for being issued before an assembly of clergy and prominent citizens of York in York cathedral on Good Friday 1153, the anniversary of the day Christ died on the cross to redeem the sins of mankind, and for being witnessed by Bishop Ralph Nowell.63 Roger’s wife, Alice de Gant, who was the niece of Robert de Gant, dean of York cathedral, also sought absolution for Roger in the cathedral and the grant of fraternity rights for Roger and herself. Roger often visited the cathedral and regularly sought the chapter’s and the archbishop’s confirmation of his charters to monasteries; and, on one occasion, in the presence of his own knights, did so in order to increase the security and protection of grants made by him and his mother to Byland abbey.64 Pontefract priory also received reparation charters from Gilbert II de Gant. The charters notified Gilbert’s gift of the ferry and other property in South Ferriby (Lincs.) in recompense for damage he had done to the monks and their church during his war with Henry de Lacy, and referred to the monks absolving him from a sentence of excommunication they had imposed and receiving him into the confraternity of their church and order.65 The witnesses include the Cistercian abbot of Rufford (Notts.) and Ralf Fitz Gilbert, a Hampshire and Lincolnshire landholder. In one sense, these attestations are quite conventional, since Gilbert II de Gant was the founder of Rufford abbey, and Ralf Fitz Gilbert was one of his tenants.66 But it is also significant that Rufford abbey and Ralf Fitz Gilbert were closely linked with another Cistercian abbot, Ailred of Rievaulx, who played an important role, during and beyond Stephen’s reign, in promoting peace.67 Rufford abbey (founded 1146) was a daughter house of Rievaulx abbey, Ailred’s home from c.1134 until c.1141 and where he became abbot in 1147;68 and Ralf Fitz Gilbert and his wife Constance were among the major patrons of the Cistercian abbey of Revesby (Lincs.), where Ailred was abbot between c.1141

62 63 64 65 66

67 68

Mowbray Charters, nos 255–6; Dalton, Conquest, 168–9; Burton, ‘Citadels’, 28. EYC iii, no. 1823, calendared as Mowbray Charters, no. 322. See also EYC iii, no. 1824, calendared as Mowbray Charters, no. 323, and nos 1825–6; EEA, 20, 145, no. 136, 154. See below 164. CP ii, nos 399–400; Wightman, Lacy Family, 78; Burton, Monastic Order, 202–4; Burton, ‘Citadels’, 29; EEA, I, no. 224. Rufford Charters, ed. C. J. Holdsworth, 4 vols, Thoroton Society Record Series 29, 30, 32, 34, 1972–81, i, xx–xxv; D. M. Williamson, ‘Ralf son of Gilbert and Ralf son of Ralf’, Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Reports and Papers 5, 1953, 19–27. Dalton, ‘Churchmen’, 94–119. The Life of Ailred of Rievaulx by Walter Daniel, ed. and trans. F. M. Powicke, London 1950, lv–lxii.



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and 1147.69 During his abbacy of Revesby, Ailred was instructed by Alexander bishop of Lincoln to accept grants of land from knights in free alms and obeyed, ‘since he had realized that in this unsettled time such gifts profited knights and monks alike … And so he desired that that land, for which almost all men were fighting to the death, should pass into the hands of the monks for their good’.70 Ailred would readily have approved of the decommissioning of instruments of war, such as castles, by granting them to the church. And he certainly endorsed, and participated in, the commissioning of instruments of peace, in the form of works of history, genealogy and theology.71 He wrote a number of such works and might have influenced the commissioning of another by his patron Constance Fitz Gilbert. This was Geffrei Gaimar’s Estoire des Engleis, a history of England written in French during Stephen’s reign that was intended, in part, to teach its readers about the disastrous consequences of war and the virtues of peace.72 In addition to receiving reparation charters, Pontefract priory was also engaged during Stephen’s reign in interesting and revealing negotiations with the cathedral community of York, involving the tenure of lands within the war zone between Selby and Pontefract. Between 1142 and 20 June 1143, as we have seen, Dean William and the chapter of York cathedral issued a charter granting Pontefract priory land in Ledsham, a vill incorporating an outlying estate of the manor of Sherburn and land belonging to the Lacys (Map 2).73 The land given to the priory was conceded saving the claim of the cathedral to Ledsham church and the claim of the priory to 67 acres included in the grant, for which the monks were to pay rent to the chapter that was not to be reduced even if Ledsham was depopulated through barrenness or any other form of devastation. The charter’s terms are described as a conventionem. It was witnessed by a series of important and well-connected prelates, including Ralph Nowell bishop of Orkney; Noel abbot of Aumale, who would have been well known to William earl of York (who was count of Aumale and had ambitions to control Sherburn); Ranulf archdeacon of Durham and Roger prior of Durham (members of the Durham cathedral chapter); and Augustine prior of Hood, an Augustinian house in Yorkshire founded by Roger de Mowbray, one of Earl William’s rivals.74 The charter can be interpreted in different ways. One possibility is that it reflects an attempt by the cathedral community to secure its possession of, and guarantee its income from, vulnerable and possibly contested estates. This could have been served by establishing a local monastery closely allied to the dominant local Lacy lords as a fixed-rent paying tenant in these estates, and by having the arrangement attested and sanctioned by influential churchmen closely allied to other barons 69 70 71 72 73 74

Williamson, ‘Ralf son of Gilbert,’ 19; BL, MS Egerton 3058; C. Holdsworth, The Piper and the Tune: Medieval Patrons and Monks, Reading 1991, 6–20. Life of Ailred, 28. Dalton, ‘Churchmen’, 109–19. P. Dalton, ‘Geffrei Gaimar’s Estoire des Engleis, Peacemaking, and the “Twelfth-Century Revival of the English Nation”’, Studies in Philology 104, 2007, 427–54. See 136 and n. 20 above; GDB 315b1 (Yorks. 9); CP i, 3–6, no. 1; Burton, Monastic Order, 57–8, 203. Mowbray Charters, nos 32, 39, 194–5.

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who were enemies of the Lacys, had their own ambitions within the region and could well have coveted Ledsham. The influence of the cathedral community in establishing order and stability is reflected again in charters issued by Robert the Poitevin, one of Henry de Lacy’s men, probably soon after Stephen’s reign. In one of them, addressed to Archbishop Roger and the chapter of York, Robert confirmed to Nostell priory the gift made by his father of the mill of Saxton (Map 2), and added a grant of twelve shillings per annum until Saxton’s mill, damaged during the war, was repaired.75 In another charter Robert gave notification that, in the presence of the dean and the chapter of York, he had granted the advowson of the church of Saxton, an orchard there and the side of a hill called Maidencastle to the hospital of St Peter’s, York, for the soul of his lord Henry de Lacy and those of Henry’s wife and sons.76 If Maidencastle was the motte and bailey castle whose earthworks still survive in Saxton and was a functioning castle during Stephen’s reign, Robert’s charter could reflect the decommissioning of a civil war fortress through the transfer of its site into the hands of the church. Robert’s charters strongly suggest that he was acting under the influence of his lord Henry de Lacy, to whom the monks may have appealed for help. They also signal that both Robert and Henry were (overtly at least) concerned for their souls, trying to amend wrongs committed during the war, and doing so through cooperation with powerful churchmen. Conspicuous by its absence in all this is royal justice. To seek redress of grievances and attain protection and security, religious communities relied instead on utilising the penalty of excommunication, on securing reparation and conventio-charters from powerful barons which are redolent with the influence of leading churchmen, and on forging agreements between themselves which utilised networks of local and regional religious and secular influence. As we have seen, one of these charters for Selby abbey was addressed to the archbishop of York, and others were witnessed, and possibly negotiated, by clergymen closely connected with York cathedral and its hospital of St Peter’s, including a suffragan of the archbishop of York. In addition, Selby abbey also relied, at one stage, on the justice of the church, exercised through a synod. Similarly, the dean and chapter of York cathedral and the monks of Pontefract forged their own settlement concerning Ledsham, and did so with the help of the bishop of Orkney, prelates closely linked to the rival barons whose aggressive ambitions had destabilised the surrounding region, and other influential churchmen, probably during some form of church council or assembly. More generally, as Sir James Holt observed: The Church was up to its neck in the settlement [of the civil war of Stephen’s reign] and its execution.… First, it had suffered great loss during the anarchy.…

75 76

EYC iii, no. 1561, dated 1154–75, but probably early in the period. Ibid., no. 1562 (dated c.1160–74, but probably earlier), and see nos 1563–4. Robert gave land in Saxton to the hospital by 1158: EYC i, no. 173, and compare EYC i, nos 179, 186; Saltman, Theobald, no. 285.



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Secondly, it had made enormous gains: grants in free alms, endowments of new foundations, to salve the conscience of the robber baron and ensure salvation amidst uncertain fortunes.… But it could not recover its losses without risking its gains.

Under the terms of the settlement of 1153 that brought the civil war to an end, these gains ‘could be subject to review’. To lessen the risk, the Church sought charters from Henry II confirming its possessions. By 1162 all cathedrals and most monasteries had acquired them; and the ‘king’s confirmation implied and involved the king’s jurisdiction’.77 The monks of Selby initially secured King Stephen’s confirmation charter while he was besieging Drax castle and attempting to restore royal authority in Yorkshire in 1154.78 Henry II’s confirmation followed between 1155 and 1161.79 The monks of Pontefract obtained their confirmation charter from the new king between 1154 and 1159.80 St Peter’s hospital, York, obtained a charter from King Stephen granting his peace and protection from injury as early as 1140,81 and along with York cathedral (or its dean) secured several other charters from Henry II between 1154 and 1162.82 It is also significant that these religious houses, or some of their officials or lay patrons, also obtained confirmation charters, and the protective jurisdiction that went with them, from leading churchmen. Between 10 October 1154 and 1164 Roger archbishop of York issued a charter giving notification that he had taken the goods of William the precentor of York cathedral, including the mill of Ulleskelf (a village only 5 miles north-east of Sherburn), under his protection and that of St Peter, and prohibited anyone from weakening the mill or damaging its pond, except for certain purposes.83 Pontefract priory secured charters of confirmation and protection from William and Roger, archbishops of York, and from Theobald archbishop of Canterbury who was also papal legate at the time. In the case of Archbishop William the priory did so with the help of Henry de Lacy, who was doubtless anxious to ensure that Lacy family benefactions to the priory remained secure and undisturbed.84 Before 1157 Pontefract 77 78 79 80 81 82

83 84

J. C. Holt, ‘1153: The Treaty of Winchester’, in The Anarchy, 291–316, quotations at 313, 315. Regesta iii, no. 817; EYC i, no. 480 and n. EYC i, no. 481, and see nos 482–6. EYC iii, no. 1451 and n.; CP i, nos 71–2. Regesta iii, no. 991, and see nos 989–90, 992–4. EYC i, nos 140–1, 173–4. A charter of King Stephen, granting peace to the canons and commanding certain restorations, might date from late in the reign: Regesta iii, no. 984 (dated c.1141×53). Stephen issued other charters for the cathedral before 1144: ibid., nos 975–83. EEA, 20, no. 139. EEA, V, no. 99 (dated 26 Sept. 1143×7 or Oct. 1153×8 June 1154); EEA, 20, no. 74 (dated 10 October 1154×61) and n.; Saltman, Theobald, 423–5, no. 202 (dated 1150×61; probably 1153×4). Archbishop William’s charter confirmed all its churches within the diocese and, at the request of the canons of York, half of Ledsham to hold from the chapter of York, as well as Lacy donations, one of which was granted in the archbishop’s presence by Henry de Lacy. For Roger de Mowbray influencing Archbishop Roger and the chapter of York to issue a charter of protection, see EEA, 20, no. 7 and n.

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priory also obtained a charter from Robert bishop of Lincoln confirming the grants made by Gilbert II de Gant in recompense for the damage he had done to the house.85 Similarly, as we have seen, St Peter’s hospital, York, secured a protection charter from Archbishop Theobald granting remission of penance to those who assisted it to recover from serious damage.86 Roger archbishop of York issued other charters granting the hospital his protection and prompt justice in the event of an injury to the community or its possessions, and similar remission of penance and inclusion in the prayers of the cathedral to those contributing to the hospital’s sustenance and rebuilding following its destruction. Two of his charters also commanded the payment of customary alms of corn and the delivery of bequests, which had clearly been withheld.87 In addition to all this, the hospital of St Peter’s and the priory of Pontefract sought the protection of even more exalted ecclesiastical jurisdiction by securing confirmation charters from the pope.88

Conclusion The religious communities of Selby abbey, Pontefract priory and York cathedral (and its associated hospital) became embroiled in the civil war of Stephen’s reign and suffered considerable damage as a result. It is clear that control of these communities and their resources was something for which secular magnates were prepared fiercely to compete and fight. Some of these magnates clearly had a possessive attitude towards religious houses: requisitioning, seizing and encroaching upon their resources, intervening in their elections, referring to them as their property, and describing themselves as ‘advocates’ of these institutions – a position that could have proprietary, protective and predatory connotations. The extent, duration and impact of this involvement and interference, the degree to which its beneficial effects outweighed its negative and sometimes damaging consequences, and how far it was accepted, suffered or even promoted by religious communities as the price of maintaining or securing the patronage and protection of the powerful, are difficult to determine.89 It should be remem85 86 87

88

89

EEA, I, no. 224. See above n. 22. For a charter of Archbishop William and the chapter of York for the hospital (26 September 1143×7 or October 1153×8 June 1154), see EEA, V, no. 106. EEA, 20, nos 119 (dated February 1157×64; probably 1157), 120 (dated 10 October 1154×64, probably 1157×9), 121 (dated 10 October 1154×64), 122 and 123 (dated 10 October 1154×64). EYC i, nos 179, 186–8; EYC iii no. 1482; Papsturkunden in England, ed. W. Holtzmann, 3 vols in 4, Abhandlungen der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Phil.-hist. Klasse, n. s. 25, 3rd ser. 14–15, 33, Berlin 1930, 1935–6, Göttingen 1952, i, no. 64 and see no. 65. For the Lacy lords as advocates of Pontefract priory, see EEA, V, no. 99; EEA, 20, no. 74. For advocates more generally, see Mowbray Charters, xlii; King, ‘The Anarchy’, 137; D. B. Crouch, The Beaumont Twins: The Roots and Branches of Power in the Twelfth Century, Cambridge 1986, 204–5; idem, The Image of Aristocracy in Britain 1000–1300, London 1992, 327–34; Burton, Monastic Order, 196–205.



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bered that these communities often acted to advance, as well as defend, their own interests, and – in a hard and competitive world – sometimes did so ruthlessly and aggressively, and were quite prepared to utilise secular influence and power when it suited them. There are clear signs, for example, that in the early 1140s the monks of Selby abbey were ruled by an abbot who had knowledge of political and military affairs and was closely connected with the powerful local Lacy and Paynel families, and raised (as far as we know) no objection to this abbot’s complicity in the construction of a castle by Henry de Lacy in their town. The religious communities which have featured in this chapter also employed a range of other strategies to deal with the challenges of the troubled times in which they lived. These could include publicising the protective and punitive power of God and His saints; employing the attributes of monks experienced and skilled in worldly affairs; and granting vulnerable and contested estates to tenants for guaranteed rents. Other tactics involved securing – sometimes with the help of powerful lay patrons and lords – the confirmations, protections, indulgences and attestations of cathedral chapters, prelates, ecclesiastical assemblies, popes and, especially after 1154, the king;90 and appealing to and utilising the authority, jurisdiction and influence of these powerful individuals and groups. In addition, religious communities were prepared to curse and excommunicate, grant fraternity rights to, and obtain reparation charters from, their oppressors; encourage the gift of disputed lands and castle sites to the church;91 and produce historical and theological literature orientated, didactically, towards the promotion of order and stability. The strategies were many and varied. They were not always successful, and could sometimes backfire badly. Viewed collectively, however, they strongly suggest that the ‘Magnates’ Peace’, as R. H. C. Davis so memorably termed it, which helped to bring the civil war of Stephen’s reign to an end, owed far more to the influence and actions of monastic and cathedral communities than has been appreciated.92

90 91 92

There is much more evidence that archbishops and cathedral communities were involved in protecting religious communities and settling the war. I hope to discuss this elsewhere. Dalton, ‘Churchmen’, 94–119. R. H. C. Davis, King Stephen 1135–1154, 3rd edn, London 1990, 108–24.

8 Secular Cathedrals and the Anglo-Norman Aristocracy Stephen Marritt

Much has been written about relations between monasteries (including monastic cathedrals) and the Anglo-Norman aristocracy, and their importance not just in religious life, but also in the development of baronial political and social networks.1 Cathedrals’ roles as parish churches and their relationships with urban elites have also received some attention,2 but, with the exception of Dr Julia Barrow’s work on canons’ social backgrounds, little has been written about the nine secular cathedrals and the Anglo-Norman aristocracy.3 There can, of course, be no question that aristocratic piety focused on monasteries, but the secular cathedral’s status as the mother church of the diocese, its chapter’s lands, rights, and wealth, and its connection with the bishop must have given it some significance. This paper explores aspects of three elements of the relationship between the secular cathedrals and the aristocracy: benefactions, chapter and prebends, and the cathedral space. It is commonplace that English secular cathedrals could be semi-public and political meeting places, venues for legal activity, and providers of hospitality, but much of the evidence cited is from the thirteenth century or later.4 AngloNorman evidence is limited, and sometimes negative. Obituary and fraternity 1

2

3

4

K. Edwards, The English Secular Cathedrals in the Middle Ages, Manchester 1949, is the classic study. For this period, see M. Brett, The English Church under Henry I, Cambridge 1976, 186–98; for later, see D. Lepine, A Brotherhood of Canons Serving God: English Secular Cathedrals in the Later Middle Ages, Woodbridge 1995. I would like to thank the editors for their invitation to contribute to the conference, and for their care and patience thereafter. All errors of fact or interpretation remain my own. M. J. Franklin, ‘The Cathedral as Parish Church: The Case of Southern England’, in Church and City 1000–1500, ed. D. Abulafia, M. J. Franklin, and M. Rubin, Cambridge 1992, 173–98. J. Barrow, ‘The Canons and Citizens of Hereford Cathedral, c.1160–c.1240’, Midland History 24, 1999, 1–23; idem, ‘Origins and Careers of Cathedral Canons in TwelfthCentury England’, Medieval Prosopography 21, 2000, 23–40. P. Stollard, ‘The Social History of the English Medieval Cathedral’, History Today 43, 1993, 15–24; D. M. Hayes, Body and Sacred Place in Medieval Europe, 1100–1389, London 2003, 57–61.

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lists contain few aristocratic entries compared with those from monasteries.5 Urban monasteries in cathedral cities often received more baronial patronage.6 Burial disputes show that when some cathedrals claimed burial rights over barons who died in their cities, the barons, with royal support, preferred monasteries of their own choice.7 Even at lower levels of baronial society, local lords made their small donations to monasteries.8 Some secular cathedrals were also new establishments with neither ‘tradition of a holy landscape’ nor local saints’ cults, and their twelfth-century miracle collections rarely incorporate barons.9 Kings and magnates might turn out for episcopal consecrations, dedications, translations, and funerals, but important assemblies seem rarely to have been held in secular cathedrals.10 Kathleen Edwards concluded that, for their part, high medieval cathedral chapters were much less willing to engage with secular society than their early medieval predecessors and early modern successors.11 Barrow has made the important point that Edwards’ main sources were cathedral statutes, the earliest of which, from the thirteenth century, deal for the most part with internal ecclesiastical administration, while there is no secular cathe-

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 328 (Hereford Cathedral Obituary), fols 1v–53r; Giraldi Cambrensis Opera, ed. J. S. Brewer, J. F. Dimock, and G. F. Warner, 8 vols, RS 21, London 1861–91, vii, 153–64; Documents Illustrating the History of St Paul’s Cathedral, ed. W. S. Simpson, Camden Society n. s, 26, 1880; Statutes and Customs of the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Salisbury, ed. C. Wordsworth and D.  Macleane, London 1915, 5–9; N. Orme, ‘The Kalendar Brethren of the City of Exeter’, Transactions of the Devonshire Association 109, 1977, 153–69; Death and Memory in Medieval Exeter, ed. D. Lepine and N. Orme, Devon and Cornwall Record Society n. s. 47, 2003, 248–588; H. Tsurushima, ‘The Fraternity of Rochester Cathedral Priory about 1100’, ANS 14, 1991 (1992), 313–37; idem, ‘Forging Unity between Monks and Laity in Anglo-Norman England: The Fraternity of Romsey Abbey’, in Negotiating Secular and Ecclesiastical Power, ed. A. Bijsterveld, H. Teunis, and A. Wareham, Turnhout 1999, 133–46. Barrow, ‘Canons’, 13. The same phenomenon can be seen at Exeter: Exeter, Cathedral, Dean and Chapter, MS 3672 (Exeter cathedral); BL, MS Cotton Vitellus D ix (Priory of St Nicholas). Regesta ii, nos 880, 1774. For burial rights, see J. Barrow, ‘Urban Cemetery Location in the High Middle Ages’, in Death in Towns: Urban Responses to the Dying and the Dead, 1000–1600, ed. S. Basset, Leicester 1992, 78–100; Lepine, Brotherhood, 10. For monastic burial, see B. Golding, ‘Anglo-Norman Knightly Burials’, in The Ideals and Practice of Medieval Knighthood I, ed. C. Harper-Bill and R. Harvey, Woodbridge 1986, 35–48; D. Postles, ‘Monastic Burial of Non-Patronal Lay Benefactors’, JEH 47, 1996, 620–38. D. Postles, Lay Piety in Transition: Local Society and New Religious Houses in England 1100– 1280, Leicester 1998, 9, 17, 24–5; idem, ‘Small Gifts but Big Rewards: The Symbolism of some Gifts to the Religious’, Journal of Medieval History 27, 2001, 23–42. R. Gilchrist, Norwich Cathedral Close: The Evolution of the English Cathedral Landscape, Woodbridge 2005, 18; B. Nilson, Cathedral Shrines of Medieval England, Woodbridge 1998, 9, 122; Giraldi Cambrensis Opera vii, 24–7; The Saint of London: The Life and Miracles of St Erkenwald, ed. E. G. Whatley, Binghampton 1989. EEA, V, York 1070–1154, ed. J. Burton, Oxford 1988, no. 63 (consecration); EEA, 18, Salisbury 1078–1217, ed. B. R. Kemp, Oxford 1999, no. 3 (dedication); The Cartulary of the High Church of Chichester, ed. W. D. Peckham, Sussex Record Society 46, 1942–3, no. 299 (translation); Huntingdon, 732–3 (mass); Giraldi Cambrensis Opera vii, 114–18 (funeral). Edwards, Secular Cathedrals, 331.



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dral chronicle or history to match those produced at various abbeys.12 Charters, including monastic material, offer better evidence of aristocratic contact with cathedrals. Bishops are not the focus here. Cathedrals and chapters had independent identities, even at new cathedrals, and even before the separation of capitular and episcopal estates.13 Much episcopal activity took place beyond the cathedral, even when bishops were resident in their cities.14 Walls sometimes delineated the boundary between the bishop’s palace and the cathedral before they separated the cathedral from the city.15 In 1156, the abbot of Battle appeared before the dean and chapter of Chichester deputising for their absent bishop in a dispute about episcopal jurisdiction at the abbey. The Battle chronicle has the dean demand recognition of Chichester’s rights, and when the abbot dissembled, cut him off with: ‘We are the church. We will remain after the bishop has gone. That is why we demand this of you.’16 David Postles has suggested that even the least wealthy local lords chose to patronise monasteries rather than parish churches because monasteries were more socially exclusive (that is, open only to, or associated with, restricted social groups, and economically beyond certain social groups) and more focused on their benefactors, and because monks were considered to be purer and closer to God than secular clerics.17 Barrow has made a similar point about cathedral canons, and has also suggested that canons’ non-residence might have limited the religious appeal of the cathedral.18 Monasticism also offered entrance as a conversus or on the deathbed; secular cathedrals could not.19 Entrance to cathedrals and participation in their worship were not restricted, and opportunities to assert differentiated social status within them were relatively few. Urban elites and better off peasants were also benefactors and are common in obituary and 12

13

14

15

16 17 18 19

J. Barrow, ‘The Origins of the Vicars Choral to c.1300’, in Vicars Choral at English Cathedrals, ed. R. Hall and D. Stocker, Oxford 2005, 11–16; EEA, VII, Hereford 1079– 1234, ed. J.  Barrow, Oxford 1993, xxvi. For early statutes, see Councils and Synods with other Documents relating to the English Church, II (1205–1313), ed. F. M. Powicke and C. R. Cheney, Oxford 1964. Brett, English Church, 191, 194, 196; C. N. L. Brooke, ‘The Composition of the Chapter of St. Paul’s. 1086–1163’, Cambridge Historical Journal 10, 1951, 111–32 at 119; E. U. Crosby, Bishop and Chapter in Twelfth-Century England: A Study of the Mensa Episcopalis, Cambridge 1994. For synods, see Brett, English Church, 157–8, and for a settlement made in a bishop’s lodgings, ‘Historiola de Primordiis Episcopatus Somersetensis’, ed. J. Hunter, in Ecclesiastical Documents, Camden Society 8, 1840, 1–41, at 27. Bishop Jocelin of Salisbury preferred his palace when in the city, and charters issued there were more often attested by his knights than the chapter: EEA, 18, nos 61, 63, 73–5, 97, 99, 101–2. J. Blair, ‘The Twelfth-Century Bishop’s Palace at Hereford’, Medieval Archaeology 31, 1987, 59–72, 69; J. Montague, ‘The Cloister and the Bishop’s Palace at Old Sarum with some Thoughts on the Origin and Meaning of Secular Cathedral Cloisters’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 159, 2006, 48–71. The Chronicle of Battle Abbey, ed. E. Searle, Oxford 1980, 172. Postles, ‘Small Gifts’, 24–8. Barrow, ‘Canons’, 15. C. Harper-Bill, ‘The Piety of the Anglo-Norman Knightly Class’, ANS 2, 1978 (1979), 63–77, at 69–71.

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fraternity lists; crowds may have been a deterrent to the aristocracy at times; and burial was not reserved for the few. Not all Anglo-Norman secular cathedral precincts were walled, and, while distinctions were observed within the church, there was much less delineation of space without than at monastic institutions.20 Only with the development of chantries and, later, private chapels could social status be advertised, exclusiveness maintained, and prayers for individual benefactors become the focus. Even then, the first known English secular cathedral chantry dates to 1192, long after they appear in monasteries. The Young Henry’s burial at Rouen in 1183 may have influenced practice thereafter.21 In the AngloNorman cathedrals, such focused religious provision and opportunities for representation of social status as were offered by chantries could only be gained by the major commitment required to endow prebends. Some chapters recognised their relative failure to attract high status benefactors. When Lincoln’s vault collapsed in 1185 there was no shortage of peasant donors, but ‘they were not exactly the kind of benefactor at whom the appeal was aimed’.22 Gerald of Wales’s Life of Bishop Remigius, commissioned by Lincoln before the collapse, had incorporated no barons in the miracles, but his Life of St Hugh emphasised the involvement of royalty and magnates in Hugh’s funeral, and one of the first beneficiaries of a post obitum miracle recorded therein is a Lindsey knight healed at the saint’s bier.23 Fourteenth-century Salisbury tradition had it that Old Sarum had been so geographically isolated that the chapter had introduced Christmas drinkings to attract laymen.24 Contemporary society certainly privileged monks and regular canons over the secular clergy, but secular chapters were not a barrier to baronial piety, because the aristocracy patronised colleges of secular canons.25 Canons may not have had cure of souls, but there was just as constant a round of religious service as at a monastery.26 Notable secular bishops were keenly interested in the liturgy.27 20

21

22 23 24 25

26 27

Barrow, ‘Canons’, 8; C. Davidson Cragoe, ‘Fabric, Tombs and Precinct, 1087–1540’, in St Paul’s: The Cathedral Church of London 604–2004, ed. D. Keene, A. Burns, and A. Saint, London 2004, 127–42, at 141; P. Draper, ‘Enclosures and Entrances in Medieval Cathedrals: Access and Security’, in The Medieval English Cathedral. Papers in Honour of Pamela Tudor-Craig, ed. J. Backhouse, Donington, 2003, 76–88; C. M. Barron, ‘London and St Paul’s Cathedral in the Later Middle Ages’, in ibid., 126–49. The Great Register of Lichfield Cathedral known as Magnum Registrum Album, ed. H. E. Savage, Collections for a History of Staffordshire, 1926, no. 66; D. Crouch, ‘The Origin of Chantries: Some Further Anglo-Norman Evidence’, Journal of Medieval History 27, 2001, 159–80, at 172, 175. Sybil of Conversano’s burial at Rouen had had no such effect: The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ed. M. Chibnall, 6 vols, Oxford 1969–80, vi, 58. P. Kidson, ‘St Hugh’s Choir’, in Medieval Art and Architecture at Lincoln Cathedral, ed. T. A. Heslop and V. A. Sekulas, British Archaeological Association, 1986, 29–42, at 30. Giraldi Cambrensis Opera vii, 118. Statutes of Salisbury, 205–7. M. J. Franklin, ‘The Secular College as a Focus for Anglo-Norman Piety: St Augustine’s Daventry’, in Minsters and Parish Churches: The Local Church in Transition, 850–1200, ed. J. Blair, Oxford 1988, 97–104; Crouch, ‘Origin’, 174. Edwards, Secular Cathedrals, 4, 7, 9, 38. The Letters of Osbert of Clare, ed. E. W. Williamson, Oxford 1929, nos 12–13; Edwards, Secular Cathedrals, 38.



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It was they who laid out precisely canons’ duties in daily recital of the psalter at London, Lincoln, and Salisbury.28 When bishops began to issue indulgences for religious houses, they also promised shares in the prayers and benefits of their cathedrals.29 Those visiting Salisbury cathedral on its own Feast of Relics gained forty days’ indulgence.30 For the parish churches of which the barons were patrons, and the parishioners whose lords these barons were, the cathedral, of course, had fundamental governmental and religious importance, perhaps best represented in Pentecostal processions by priest and people to the cathedral to collect the chrism.31 How local lords perceived the cathedral in this context is difficult to assess, but, in comparison with magnates, their authority and status may have been more dependent on their patronage of parish churches. They may, therefore, have been more integrated with the secular church and the cathedrals than their superiors, and canons as well as archdeacons and rural deans might attest their charters.32 William Croc’s grant of the church of Chesterton to Kenilworth priory, for example, was attested by the dean of Lichfield, and two Lichfield canons witnessed a confirmation Hugh de Arden made to Canwell priory at the end of Stephen’s reign. Two York canons witnessed grants to Bridlington in its early years.33 When William fitz Goer settled a dispute with Sixle priory he did so in the presence of the chapter of the Holy Mother church of Lincoln, through the hands of the archdeacon of Buckingham, who was standing in for

28

29

30 31 32

33

EEA, 15, London 1076–1187, ed. F. Neininger, London 1999, xlv; Fasti, III, 152–3; D. E. Greenway, ‘1091, St Osmund and the Constitution of the Cathedral’, in Medieval Art and Architecture at Salisbury Cathedral, ed. L. Keen and T. Cocke, British Archaeological Association, 1996, 1–9, at 6. E.g. Letters and Charters of Gilbert Foliot, ed. C. N. L. Brooke and A. Morey, Cambridge 1967, no. 298; Reading Abbey Cartularies, ed. B. R. Kemp, 2 vols, Camden Society 4th series 31, 33, 1986–7, i, no.189; EEA, 18, nos 70, 106, 108. For benefits, see Registrum Sancti Osmundi Episcopi, ed. W. H. Jones, 2 vols, RS 78, London 1883–4, i, 20. For indulgences, see N. Vincent, ‘Some Pardoners’ Tales: The Earliest English Indulgences’, TRHS 6th series 12, 2002, 23–58. A. Saltman, Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, London 1956, no. 243. D. Greenway, ‘The Medieval Cathedral’, in Chichester Cathedral: An Historical Survey, ed. M. Hobbs, Chichester 1994, 11–24, esp. 11–12. Henry of Huntingdon, canon as well as archdeacon, saw an entrance into religion and confirmed a donation to Crowland: Huntingdon, Appendix 1, nos 1, 6. He also attested charters: Cartularium Monasterii de Ramesia, ed. W. H. Hart and P. A. Lyons, 3 vols, RS 77, London 1884–93, i, nos 54, 59, 67–9. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1527 (Lichfield cathedral cartulary), fol. 88r–v; Sir Christopher Hatton’s Book of Seals, ed. L. C. Loyd and D. M. Stenton, Northamptonshire Record Society 15, 1950, no. 52; W. T. Lancaster, Abstracts of the Charters and other Documents contained in the Chartulary of the Priory of Bridlington, Leeds 1912, 25–6, 45; Early Yorkshire Charters [henceforth, EYC], ed. W. Farrer, vols i–iii, Edinburgh 1914–16, and C. T. Clay, vols iv–xii, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series Extra Series, 1935–65, ii, nos 1155, 1208.

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the archdeacon of Lincoln, and in the presence of the subdean. He also asked the chapter to attest his charter and add its seal.34 Architecturally, a number of Lincolnshire church bell towers were built by ‘second rank’ lords influenced by Anglo-Norman liturgical developments and the new cathedral.35 It has been suggested that the ‘Kilpeck school’ of architecture and sculpture in Herefordshire originated with the cathedral and that it represents local lords’ keenness to emphasise their political relationship with their bishop in a time of crisis.36 It is also possible, however, that it was the cathedral as mother church which was the more influential, and, perhaps, that such connections might buttress lords’ social status in relation to their tenants by linking them to the ecclesiastical centre and hierarchy, just as their attendance at shire courts emphasised their political superiority. Cathedrals’ roles as sanctuaries, venues for ordeals, and foci for other ceremonies connected to ecclesiastical governance may have given them some significance to magnates as well. The ‘Woodstock’ charter recording a wary agreement between Robert earl of Gloucester and Urban bishop of Llandaff about the real and virtual boundaries of their respective authority, incorporates the cathedral as well as the bishop. Parish processions, burial rights, and the ordeal by iron concerned the earl.37 It was cathedrals’ doorways that were blocked with thorns and cathedral crosses which were covered or taken down when an interdict was pronounced.38 Other corporate rights and liberties could also be significant. At York it was remembered in the fourteenth century that in 1106 Osbert the sheriff had tried to deprive the church of its customs, and that, as a result, an inquest was held concerning them. The inquest found, for example, that the privileges of the sanctuary were extremely strong, and that ‘nobody from the land of the canons of St Peter is bound to service of wapentake-moot, riding-moot or shiremoot, but the plaintiff and the defendant shall receive or do right before the door of the St Peter’s Minster’.39 It was claimed at Lincoln in the early thirteenth century that pleas of the crown and some assizes from certain prebends ought to be held before the door of the cathedral in the presence of a knight sent by the royal justices, and in 1256 a canon holding the prebend of Asgarby apparently

34 35 36 37 38

39

Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses of Sixle, Ormsby, Catley, Bullington and Alvingham, ed. F. M. Stenton, Lincoln Record Society 18, 1922, Sixle, no. 5. P. Everson and D. Stocker, ‘The Common Steeple? Church, Liturgy, and Settlement in Early Medieval Lincolnshire’, ANS 28, 2006 (2007), 103–23. J. Hunt, ‘Sculpture, Dates and Patrons: Dating the Herefordshire School of Sculpture’, Antiquaries Journal 84, 2004, 185–222, esp. 205, 210–12. Earldom of Gloucester Charters, ed. R. B. Patterson, Oxford 1973, no. 109. William of Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum i, 155; ‘The Anglo-Norman Chronicle of Wigmore Abbey’, ed. J. C. Dickinson and P. T. Ricketts, Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club 93, 1969, 413–46, 425. Letters of Gilbert Foliot, no. 77, orders the canons of Hereford to publish an interdict. English Lawsuits from William I to Richard I, ed. R. C. van Caenegem, 2 vols, Selden Society 106–7, 1990–1, i, no. 172.



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exhibited a charter of Henry II which supported those claims.40 Salisbury prebends were exempt from pleas in shires and hundreds.41 Henry I and Stephen regularly intervened to confirm capitular estates and rights, which suggests that both caused friction.42 The Lincoln chapter made a grant to the Basset family to ensure their good offices in royal justice.43 Individual prebends might also have, and be exempt from, archidiaconal jurisdiction.44 Martin Brett has said that a canon ‘enjoyed a measure of independence and had interests which might be distinguished from those of his fellows or even opposed to them, and in which he might be supported by powerful friends even against the bishop’.45 Canons and chapters could thus possess some authority and autonomy in local and regional society, in political as well as ecclesiastical matters. Bishops did not have to hear ecclesiastical cases with the chapter, but often did, although the venue need not have been the chapter house.46 There was, then, social, spiritual, and perhaps political value in benefactions to cathedrals, and there are enough baronial grants to suggest that this was understood. Roger Bigod, Robert de Stuteville, and a ‘Martel’ made grants to Lincoln early in Henry I’s reign, while the earliest extant baronial grant to Salisbury dates to 1098.47 At Exeter, at least one grant of which record survives was made to the canons before 1137.48 Not all grants were simple donations: several early Lincoln charters record compensation for quittance of cathedral and episcopal rights at chapels and churches.49 Saher de Arcellis quitclaimed, pro anima, land in Asgarby to Lincoln which he had claimed, and was remembered in the Lincoln Obituary.50 It was only in the 1150s, however, that there was a real take off in recorded donations. Lincoln benefactors included Albert Grelley (a son-in-law of the constable of Chester) and William fitz Clarembald of Searby who held one and a half knights’ fees of the honour of Skipton.51 Ralph son of Drogo, who would become sheriff in 1175, made the first recorded

40

41

42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49

50 51

The Registrum Antiquissimum of the Cathedral Church of Lincoln [henceforth RA], ed. C. W. Foster and K. Major, 10 vols, Lincoln Record Society 27–9, 32, 34, 41, 46, 51, 62, 67, 1931–73, ii, nos 497–8. Charters and Documents Illustrating the History of the Cathedral, City and Diocese of Salisbury in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, ed. W. R. Jones and W. Dunn Macray, RS 97, London 1891, 11; Regesta iii, no. 791. Regesta ii, nos 507, 965, 994, 1336, 1397, 1541, 1843; iii, nos 562–4, 566, 976–8, 981. RA iii, nos 952–3. Brett, English Church, 195. Ibid., 188. EEA, I, Lincoln 1067–1185, ed. D. M. Smith, London 1980, no. 281. RA i, nos 34 (cal. Regesta ii, no. 781), 156, 168, 320; Registrum Sancti Osmundi i, 215. EEA, XI, Exeter 1046–1184, ed. F. Barlow, London 1996, no. 46. RA i, nos 309, 325. Adeliza de Redvers granted Salisbury land which the king had already given it and which she held from it: Charters of Salisbury, no. 5; Charters of the Redvers Family and the Earldom of Devon 1090–1217, ed. R. Bearman, Devon and Cornwall Record Society n. s. 37, 1994, no. 5. RA i, no. 129; Giraldi Cambrensis Opera vii, 157. RA i, nos 141, 144. See also, idem iii, nos 906, 911; iv, nos, 1247, 1312–14.

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donation for the fabric early in Henry II’s reign.52 At York, in the 1160s, William de Percy donated the church of Topcliffe for building and repair work and, when this work was completed, for holy vessels and ornaments. His grant was made for the salvation of his family ‘ut intercedat pro nobis ad dominum beatus Petrus claviger regni celorum’.53 Large numbers of grants by lay people occur by the last third of the twelfth century.54 This development coincides with an increase in donations by members of urban elites, which has been explained by economic growth,55 and baronial interest in secular colleges and extra-parochial chapels.56 Economic growth likely contributed, but could simply have led to increased giving to monasteries, which were more accessible, geographically and socially, than ever before by the 1150s. Perhaps there was a more widespread recognition that a reformed secular clergy could be efficacious spiritually, and that the cathedral might offer social as well as religious benefits. It is also worth noting that few of the benefactors listed above were of magnate status. Indeed, many of the earliest recorded magnate grants to cathedrals were for damages done in the civil war of King Stephen’s reign or returned estates which had originally belonged to the church.57 Magnate grants to cathedrals before the 1150s most often took the form of prebends. Several families of local importance also took on the major commitment of endowing cathedral prebends and some had expectations of continuing rights of presentation of family members, although they seem not to have been able to maintain them for very long.58 Three royal servants who endowed Salisbury with new prebends in Henry I’s reign are well known: Croc the Huntsman, Arnulf the Falconer, and Serlo the Collector of Devon.59 Those founded by Arnulf and Serlo were to be held by their sons, now canons of the cathedral. Arnulf’s family was to present his son’s successor, while Serlo’s heirs only gave up their claim to present in 1227.60 Gerbert de Percy’s endowment of a prebend in the same chapter may have been later, but was made before 1150.61 In the 1140s at

52 53 54 55 56 57

58 59 60 61

RA iv, no. 1457. EYC xi, no. 30; EEA, 20, York, 1154–1181, ed. M. Lovatt, Oxford 2000, no. 137. Charters and Records of Hereford Cathedral, ed. W. W. Capes, Cantilupe Society I, 1908, 9, 14–15; Magnum Registrum Album, nos 312, 512; RA i, no. 537. Barrow, ‘Canons’, 1. Crouch, ‘Origin’, 174–5. Registrum Sancti Osmundi i, no. 237; EYC iii, no. 1824 (cal. Charters of the Honour of Mowbray 1107–1191 [cited henceforth as Mowbray Charters], ed. D. E. Greenway, London 1972, no. 323; Magnum Registrum Album, nos 66, 513; Papsturkunden in England, ed. W.  Holtzmann, 3 vols in 4, Abhandlungen der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Phil.-hist. Klasse, n. s. 25, 3rd ser. 14–15, 33, Berlin 1930, 1935–6, Göttingen 1952, i, no. 57; RA i, no. 316; Regesta ii, no. 522; iii, nos 491–2; Earldom of Gloucester Charters, no. 171; EEA, I, no. 200. Brett, English Church, 188. Registrum Sancti Osmundi i, 203, 383; Regesta ii, nos 1372, 1716; EEA, 18, nos 6, 16; Fasti, IV, 55, 100, 130. Brett, English Church, 188–9. Registrum Sancti Osmundi i, 205.



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Lincoln the bishop’s constable and steward both endowed new prebends,62 as did the Chandos and Parvus families at Hereford in the 1150s.63 Wells was only fully redeveloped as a secular chapter in the 1140s and 1150s and at least three local families endowed prebends.64 One son at least became a canon.65 Lesser aristocratic endowment was likely to be partly intended to provide for a family member who could then support the ecclesiastical careers of relatives. At Lincoln, the endowments of the bishop’s constable and steward strengthened their relationship with the chapter over the long term, not only through family membership of the chapter, but also by remembrance of their names in the cathedral’s obituary list.66 Endowment could guarantee memorialisation in perpetuity, especially if the family was intending to retain rights of presentation. Arnulf the Falconer and Gerbert de Percy occur in the Salisbury Obit Kalendar.67 Links with the chapter seem sometimes to have brought other benefits. Members of two Lincoln treasurers’ families were the only individuals of baronial status recorded as beneficiaries of Bishop Remigius’s miracles by Gerald of Wales.68 The Wells prebends look like a case of the projection of the hierarchy of local political society into a new religious institution. At Hereford, the Chandos family had been in dispute with the bishop and chapter in the 1130s.69 The new prebend they endowed served both to reconcile them with the cathedral and to give them influence within it for the future. Croc, Arnulf and Serlo, who founded prebends at Salisbury, were royal servants rather than members of the local aristocracy, and were not possessed of extensive estates. Their status depended on their offices, but these were not hereditary and could not guarantee their families’ continued position in local society; whereas a permanent presence at the cathedral through their endowments, their continued rights in them, and the presence of family members within the chapter did offer such a guarantee. It is also possible that royal and episcopal servants were wary of engaging with local aristocratic identities and networks built around monastic patronage of established institutions. Thereafter, since their own status was defined by their connection to national public governmental institutions they may have preferred to patronise religious institutions with a similar profile. Local lords also made grants in augmentation of the prebends of individual canons.70 Henry II commanded Mathew de Curcy to warrant to Philip fitz William fitz

62 63 64 65 66

67 68 69 70

RA ii, 552–3; Fasti, III, 58. Charters of Hereford, 12; Letters of Gilbert Foliot, no. 315. EEA, X, Bath and Wells 1061–1205, ed. F. M. R. Ramsey, Oxford 1995, xxv, nos 25, 48. Ibid., 221. Fasti, III, 18–19, 121; Giraldi Cambrensis Opera vii, 155–6, 159, 164; C. T. Clay, ‘The Family of Amundeville’, Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Reports and Papers 3, part 2, 1945–7, 109–36. See also, P. Brand, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Hereditary Steward in English Ecclesiastical Institutions, 1066–1300’, in Warriors and High Churchmen in the High Middle Ages, ed. T. Reuter, London 1992, 145–62. Statutes of Salisbury, 7, 9. Giraldi Cambrensis Opera vii, 27. Charters of Hereford, 5–6; Regesta ii, no. 1392. RA iv, nos 1247, 1292, 1311; v, no. 1681.

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Osbert, a canon, a rent worth 12 shillings he had promised to give to Lincoln cathedral in augmentation of Philip’s prebend. Richard fitz Urse also increased the endowment of a prebend.71 Cases like these show that local lords could consider individual canons worth supporting, but it seems unlikely that such limited gifts benefited these lords’ religious or social standing. Individual canons were perceived as having useful influence in the chapter and diocese. Magnate endowment of prebends sometimes took place early in new cathedrals’ history, such as Robert de Stuteville’s and Roger fitz Gerold’s gifts to Lincoln.72 Both men may have had religious motives, but they also identified themselves with the king’s establishment of a new centre of ecclesiastical authority and symbol of Norman power in Lincoln, and emphasised their own status within the region through their capacity to make such significant donations. Several magnates also engaged with prebends during the civil war of King Stephen’s reign. At Lincoln, Ranulf II earl of Chester attempted to endow a new prebend; Simon de Senlis II increased the endowment of another; William de Roumare was in dispute with the chapter over a third; and Gilbert II de Gant made a donation to the cathedral.73 Ranulf, William, and Gilbert all coveted the city. Philip de Harcourt, dean in the late 1130s, was a member of a family closely connected to another regional leader, Robert earl of Leicester.74 At Chichester, Bishop Hilary reasserted episcopal power in Sussex in the later 1140s with strong royal support.75 John count of Eu was persuaded to restore estates to Chichester cathedral at the translation of St Erkenwald in St Paul’s, and William earl of Arundel made restorations and significant donations to Chichester cathedral and may also have endowed a prebend there.76 In the new local ecclesiastical and political climate he must have needed to engage with the cathedral. Christopher Norton has described how, during the disputed election to York in the 1140s, William earl of York backed William fitz Herbert the cathedral’s treasurer and archdeacon of the East Riding, within which were both the earl’s power base and the treasurer’s own family estates. Alan count of Richmond worked with fitz Herbert’s main opponent within the chapter, Osbert of Bayeux, archdeacon of Richmond.77 Royal authority was limited in Yorkshire in Stephen’s reign and the two magnates were competing for influence. Both saw the value of an ally in the archiepiscopal see, and of close connections to chapter members. Later it was Hugh de Puiset, the new treasurer, and the canons who allied with the city, the earl, and local barons to prevent the entry of Arch71 72 73

74 75 76 77

RA i, nos 189, 327. RA i, nos 44, 130–l; Regesta ii, no. 731, 844; Brett, English Church, 188–9. RA i, nos 130–3; 252; ii, nos 310, 315; Fasti, III, 78, 94; S. Marritt, ‘Reeds Shaken by the Wind? Bishops in Local and Regional Politics in King Stephen’s Reign’, in King Stephen’s Reign (1135–1154), ed. P. Dalton and G. J. White, Woodbridge 2008, 115–38, at 132–3. Fasti, III, 8; D. B. Crouch, The Beaumont Twins: The Roots and Branches of Power in the Twelfth Century, Cambridge 1986, 45, 48, 150. H. Mayr-Harting, ‘Hilary, Bishop of Chichester (1147–69) and Henry II’, EHR 78, 1963, 209–24. Chichester Cartulary, nos 113 (Regesta iii, no. 185), 299. C. Norton, St William of York, Woodbridge 2006, 100–2.



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bishop Henry Murdac into York. King Stephen’s concern that the canons and the clerks of Hugh de Puiset’s archdeaconry should have his firm peace may date to this period.78 It is noteworthy, too, that by 1149 de Puiset, Robert de Gant dean of York and royal chancellor, and the barons Gilbert II de Gant and Robert de Gant of Drax were among the few aristocrats who appear to have been openly loyal to King Stephen in Yorkshire. Dean Robert was Gilbert’s and Robert’s uncle. Gilbert’s sister, Alice de Gant, was the wife of Roger de Mowbray whose relationship with the cathedral is discussed below. A Hugh de Gant was also a canon of York and Ripon in the 1150s.79 The Gant family is unusual because magnates seem not to have considered careers in cathedral chapters as suitable for family members, but their initial involvement at York was by royal appointment not endowment. Most canons whose backgrounds can be determined came from the lesser aristocracy, often from outside the diocese.80 The extent to which magnate endowments had a religious purpose is difficult to establish. As has been noted, few magnates appear in secular cathedral obituary lists and miracle collections, few were buried in their cemeteries, and few can be found making other types of grants. Status may have been important in the early de Stuteville and fitz Gerold endowments at Lincoln, but most magnate engagement seems to have taken place during the civil war of Stephen’s reign, and to have been motivated by a perception that chapters had regional significance. The case of York also makes clear that magnates were keenly interested in the chapter’s role in episcopal elections. Royal endowments suggest similar interests. Henry I’s contributions to new cathedrals increased chapters’ wealth and authority considerably.81 Kings might be as willing to listen to cathedral canons as they were to abbots. Disputes regarding Roger fitz Gerold’s endowment of the Lincoln prebend of Asgarby required royal intervention several times over the next fifty years.82 By the end of the Anglo-Norman period, when episcopal and capitular estates were separated, kings were making grants to chapters as well as bishops, and there was a marked increase in such donations during the civil war.83 At Wells Stephen endowed two prebends.84 Like the baronial donors noticed above, he was likely trying to emphasise and develop his authority in the region. He also endowed several prebends at Lincoln, and tried to create one for Baldric de Sigillo, his keeper of the seal c.1140.85 Half of the endowment was to come from the city farm, but Stephen did not control Lincoln and had to try again in 1146.86 Baldric’s 78 79

80 81 82 83 84 85 86

Regesta iii, no. 984. P. Dalton, Conquest, Anarchy, and Lordship: Yorkshire 1066–1154, Cambridge 1994, 175; EYC ii, 433; vi, 33; Fasti, VI, 8–9, 122. Hugh also appears among Archbishop Theobald’s household: Saltman, Theobald, nos 46, 83–4, 125. Barrow, ‘Origins’, 29–35. RA i, no. 252; Regesta ii, nos 538, 720, 746. Regesta iii, nos 466–7. Ibid., nos 451–2, 454, 456, 473, 483, 489, 565–6, 785, 787, 789. ‘Historiola’, 26; Regesta iii, no. 924. Regesta iii, nos 477–8, 484–6. For Lincolnshire, see P. Dalton, ‘Aiming at the Impossible: Ranulf II Earl of Chester and

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proposed prebend was perhaps intended to increase royal influence within the city as well as the chapter. Heytesbury, a Salisbury prebend, had initially been endowed by Henry I, but in the early 1140s Empress Matilda and several of her key baronial supporters – Elias Giffard, Humphrey de Bohun, and Robert Vernun – increased its resources significantly, much to the benefit of the incumbent, the archdeacon of Wiltshire, who was able to convert the church into a college supporting four canons.87 Matilda’s power was based in this region, and in the episcopal castle at Devizes, and she had very difficult relations with the bishop.88 Her chancellor took over another Salisbury prebend during the war.89 This considerable investment increased her influence in the chapter further, and perhaps bought her an influential ally in the archdeacon who himself was not always on friendly terms with the bishop. Despite this engagement, it is difficult to find evidence of magnates at secular cathedrals, beyond exceptional events. In Stephen’s reign local lords could be present in some numbers in the chapter at Lincoln when their peers such as Alice de Craon, Robert de Gant, and Philip of Kyme made grants to various religious houses in Lincolnshire.90 When Ranulf of Bayeux and his wife entered the religious life, they also did so in the cathedral, again in the presence of other barons.91 Sometimes the superior lords of these men were in conflict. When the Gant family tenant Ralf fitz Gilbert gave land to Kirkstead abbey, Robert fitz Hugh, an important Chester baron, was among the witnesses.92 Lincolnshire baronial society was to some extent autonomous of the great magnates who were the tenants in chief in the county,93 and the cathedral seems to have been a focus for their community at least during the civil war. The bishops of Lincoln were by no means always present. Brett noted that the chapter was an appropriate place for the delivery of judgements and other public acts to which the chapter was not party, and most of the charters witnessed by Lincolnshire barons recorded or confirmed grants made to monastic houses.94 When William Tison made a grant to Sempringham priory he made it on the altar of the church there. His nephew then made the gift through the hands of the subdean in chapter at Lincoln, in the presence of

87 88 89 90

91 92 93 94

Lincolnshire in the Reign of King Stephen’, in The Earldom of Chester and its Charters, ed. A. T. Thacker, Chester Archaeological Society 71, 1991, 109–34. For the bishops, Marritt, ‘Reeds’, 130–7. Registrum Sancti Osmundi i, 337–52; Regesta iii, nos 792–6; EEA, 18, xliii, no. 120; VCH, Wiltshire iii, 1956, 389–92; M. Chibnall, The Empress Matilda, Oxford 1991, 148. Regesta iii, nos 794–6. N. Vincent, ‘A Prebend in the Making: The Churches of Hurstbourne and Burbage, 1100– 1250’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 90, 1997, 91–100, at 93. Documents Illustrative of the Social and Economic History of the Northern Danelaw, ed. F. M. Stenton, Records of the Social and Economic History of England and Wales 5, London 1920, nos 2, 58, 303; Transcripts of Gilbertine Charters, Alvingham, no. 3; Sixle, no. 5. BL, MS Harley Charters, 45 F 17, 50 H 58. BL, MS Cotton Vespasian E xviii (Kirkstead cartulary), fol. 99r. Dalton, ‘Aiming’, 127–8. Brett, English Church, 155.



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Master Gilbert of Sempringham and local notables.95 When Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury and Bishop Robert de Chesney of Lincoln settled a dispute between the Templars and the Cistercian abbey of Kirkstead at Lincoln they did not use the cathedral, but testimony about the lands in dispute had been given by the donor before the Lincoln chapter, and the bishop’s confirmation was witnessed by the subdean, an archdeacon, ‘magna parte capituli Lincolniensis’, at least one local lord, Wido de Ver, ‘et multis aliis’.96 Members of the lesser aristocracy can also be found making or confirming grants or agreements with a variety of monasteries at York.97 Peter de Meaux gave land at Topcliffe to Fountains abbey, first through the hands of the dean of York in the presence of the chapter, and then on the abbey altar.98 Bernard de Balliol made a grant to Rievaulx abbey through the hands of William de Amundeville on the altar at York.99 Byland abbey came to an agreement with one Richard Croyer in the chapter.100 The bishop, again, was by no means always present. A Hereford example gives some insight into the ceremony and prestige that might accompany such processes. Hugh of Kilpeck made a grant to Gloucester abbey with the support of the earl of Hereford through the hands of the bishop, in the presence of ‘aliorum multorum nobilium virorum’ and with ‘pulsantibus campanis et candelis accensis in ecclesias cathedrali’.101 The York chapter’s importance to local baronial society is partly explained by archiepiscopal vacancies and the disputed legitimacy of archbishops in Stephen’s reign, but that was not the case elsewhere, and at York the minster space continued to be significant after the resolution of the problems.102 Making or confirming grants in the cathedral, whether on a baron’s or monastery’s initiative, with or without the bishop, was more public than doing so only in the beneficiary institution. It also enhanced the prestige of the donor. It likely buttressed the legitimacy and the future maintenance of the grant, and made use of the institutional memory of the chapter. Bishop Robert de Warelwast of Exeter confirmed a grant to a monastery originally made before his uncle Bishop William de Warelwast, the chapter, and the city burgesses in chapter. He recognised and confirmed the grant in his own chapter.103 Cathedrals’ and chapters’

95 96

97

98 99 100 101 102 103

EYC xi, no. 106. Records of the Templars in England in the Twelfth Century, ed. B. A. Lees, Records of the Social and Economic History of England and Wales 9, London 1935, 241–4; EEA, I, no. 137. Cartularium abbathiae de Rievalle, ed. J. C. Atkinson, Surtees Society 83, 1887, nos xliii, cxx–cxxii, ccxvii–ccxxxiii; EYC v, no. 173; ix, no. 94; xi, no. 194; The Cartulary of Byland Abbey, ed. J. Burton, Surtees Society 208, 2004, nos 47, 56, 58–9. EYC ix, no. 278. Cartularium de Rievalle, no. cxv (EEA, 20, no. 81). Byland Cartulary, no. 442. Letters of Gilbert Foliot, no. 302. In EYC x, no. 65, Warter priory petitioned the dean and chapter to confirm its transfer to the order of Arrouaisse, the see being vacant. EEA, XI, no 43. See also no. 46.

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jurisdictional, legitimising, and communal roles could thus be of importance to the aristocracy. Earl Roger of Hereford was involved in Hugh of Kilpeck’s grant to Gloucester, and on another occasion, before the chapter, seised Hugh with some land he had given him; but in this context magnates rarely appear.104 Neither Ranulf of Chester nor William de Roumare, two of the three most important magnates in Lincolnshire politics during Stephen’s reign, can be found at the cathedral, except (in Ranulf’s case) possibly near the end of the reign; and the third magnate, Gilbert de Gant, only occurs at the cathedral once, making restitution to Norwich cathedral.105 Walter of Salisbury did the same for Gloucester abbey at Salisbury cathedral.106 Only one Yorkshire magnate can be found often in the York cathedral chapter or regularly seeking capitular as well as archiepiscopal confirmation of his grants to monasteries: Roger de Mowbray.107 Roger’s keenness for the chapter’s confirmation is explained in the foundation history of Byland; when he saw that the abbey was being engaged in litigation he decided that to make his own grants more secure and better protected he would go with his knights to the archbishop and to the chapter and ask them both to confirm the grants with their own charters.108 His son confirmed one of his father’s gifts by placing his hands in those of the dean.109 Roger held land from the archbishop, was guilty of depredations during the civil war, and his wife, the dean’s niece, sought absolution for him at the minster, and enrolment of both of them in its fraternity.110 He made extensive donations to the minster, and endowed a prebend.111 After the Anglo-Norman period, he issued a confirmation to Rievaulx which included land Samson of Cornwall had held from his mother, which he had purchased from Samson. Samson had made an affidation in the hands of Roger’s steward, in the presence of the whole court, and then in the hands of the sheriff, and then acknowledged the affidation in the chapter of York.112 Roger must have considered the chapter as one of three important legal arenas in Yorkshire, the other two being his own honorial court and the shire court. 104 105

106 107 108 109 110 111 112

Letters of Gilbert Foliot, no. 338. Sometime between 1150 and 1153, and again in 1153 (probably under pressure from Henry duke of Normandy), Ranulf promised recompense for damages he had caused to the cathedral. In 1153 chapter dignitaries attested the charter recording Ranulf’s grant to the Hospital of the Holy Sepulchre in the city, which was probably under their supervision at the time, and his notification to the bishop of the same grant. See Charters of the Anglo-Norman Norman Earls of Chester c.1071–1237, ed. G. Barraclough, Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire 126, 1988, nos 104, 106–8; Regesta iii, no. 492. For Gilbert, see EEA, I, no. 200. Registrum Sancti Osmundi i, 237. Mowbray Charters, nos, 42–4, 53, 55–6, 58–61, 64–5, 67–8, 110–13, 173, 194, 236–7. The Foundation History of the Abbeys of Byland and Jervaulx, ed. J. Burton, Borthwick Texts and Studies 35, York 2006, 33. EYC ix, no. 153. EYC iii, no. 1824 (cal. Mowbray Charters, no. 323); Mowbray Charters, xxiii. York Minster Fasti, ed. C. T. Clay, 2 vols, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 123–4, 1958–9, i, nos 34–5; Mowbray Charters, nos 324–6. EYC ix, no. 126; Mowbray Charters, nos 249–50.



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Given Roger’s close relationship with York minster and its chapter, it is worth asking what made him different to other magnates both within and beyond Yorkshire. The answer may lie in his experience of the civil war in which his estates suffered considerably and he struggled to protect them.113 Magnates developing their own rights and powers, like Robert of Gloucester in the ‘Woodstock’ charter, might, for very similar reasons, be more wary of cathedrals while recognising a need to engage with and influence them through chapters. It may be that behind several charters recording developments towards more defined topographical boundaries between magnates and cathedrals within cities there was a similar recognition of cathedrals’ powers and responsibilities. Hugh earl of Chester and his brother gave Chichester cathedral land for a cemetery in the late eleventh century or the very first years of the twelfth.114 During the civil war of Stephen’s reign, William earl of Arundel, whose benefactions and endowments at Chichester were noted above, gave all his rights in the entire quarter of the city in which the cathedral and canons’ houses were situated to the cathedral.115 Some time in the first decade of the twelfth century, Eustace of Boulogne quitclaimed land in St Paul’s churchyard to the canons of the cathedral and the bishop with his wife’s consent. He and she received from the canons and bishop’s chaplain the prayers and benefits of the church and a house plot outside St Paul’s wall, from which Durand the canon had removed his house on account of the count’s claim. The negotiations took place in the house of William Baynard, then the most important royal official in London, and later Eustace and his wife offered their quitclaims on the altar of the cathedral.116 It is worth taking this hypothesis into account when considering one of the better known aspects of the relationship between the Anglo-Norman aristocracy and the secular cathedrals: burial disputes. In 1108, Henry I oversaw the resolution of a case in which Bishop Reinhelm of Hereford had forcibly taken the body of Ralph fitz Ansketill from Gloucester abbey and buried it in his cathedral on the grounds that Ralph was his parishioner. It was decided that the body should be dug up and restored to Gloucester. Robert count of Meulan stated that henceforth men should be buried where they chose.117 That this continued to be an important issue is clear from Henry’s 1133 notification to the bishop of London and the dean and chapter of St Paul’s that it was the custom of his realm for his chief barons and the citizens of London to cause themselves to be buried in whatever church they wished, provided that the priest of the parish in which 113 114 115 116

117

Mowbray Charters, xxviii. Regesta ii, no. 617. Ibid. iii, no. 182. Early Charters of the Cathedral Church of St Paul, London, ed. M. Gibbs, Camden Society 3rd series 58, 1939, no. 198; Regesta ii, no. 749. For the Baynards, see R. Mortimer, ‘The Baynards of Baynard’s Castle’, Studies in Medieval History presented to R. Allen Brown, ed. C. Harper-Bill, C. J. Holdsworth, and J. L. Nelson, Woodbridge 1989, 241–53. Historia et cartularium monasterii sancti Petri de Gloucestria, ed. W. H. Hart, 3 vols, RS 33, London 1863–7, i, 13 (cal. Regesta ii, no. 880); English Lawsuits, I, no. 179. Bishop Reinhelm then withdrew his many claims against Gloucester, which allowed him to retain the body.

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they died conducted the corpse to the selected place. The bishop and dean and chapter were not to hinder London priests in these escort duties.118 Much of this charter likely relates to city churches, not monasteries, and to freedom of choice. Barons certainly chose to be buried in monasteries for religious and social reasons, but it was baronial autonomy from an ecclesiastical jurisdiction that was at issue in these cases. It is impossible to determine if Robert of Meulan intended specific social groups, but members of the lesser aristocracy at least can be found buried at secular cathedrals. In the 1090s, Ranulf Peverel, an East Anglian landholder, was buried at St Paul’s although his wife was a member of the fraternity of Bury St Edmunds. It may be that he died in London and St Paul’s asserted its burial rights, but he had also made a donation towards the provision of lights at the cathedral.119 Robert de Condet was likely buried at Lincoln c.1140, because his son and widow made a donation to the cathedral on the altar on his anniversary in the 1160s. The family’s wealth and status were, however, unusually closely tied to their urban possessions, and the son held lands from the bishop.120 William Beket, on the other hand, was a Lincolnshire subtenant of the Kyme honour who made a donation at the altar at Lincoln in 1154 because his father was buried in the cathedral cemetery. No tenurial or urban link is extant, and William was also a benefactor of the Gilbertine priory at Bullington founded by his lords.121 Two further charters of Henry I relate to another chapter issue: hospitality. At York, in 1105 Henry I ordered his barons, household, and marshals to take no lodgings in the houses and hospices of the canons of York within the city or in their manors outside the city. Around 1111 he prohibited Robert fitz Richard and his men from demanding entertainment on the land or in the houses of the bishop of London, the canons of St Paul’s, and the burgesses of the bishop, until the question of Robert’s right had been decided.122 Hospitality is sometimes cited as one of the functions of secular cathedrals because of the social suitability of canons’ houses, but these charters are the only evidence for the chapter as distinct from the bishop for the Anglo-Norman period.123 Both might relate only to large official contingents, because Robert held what had been the Baynard family’s offices in London.124 It may be that behind these two charters was an assumption that hospitality towards individual barons was acceptable, Robert’s rights were after all disputed not rejected, but it is impossible to be certain. Gerald of Wales’s writings suggest his household only took in clerics.125 Evidence of relations between the Anglo-Norman aristocracy and secular cathedrals and their chapters is, then, frustrating with regard to hospitality, but 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125

Regesta ii, no. 1774. EEA, 15, nos 18, 54. RA iv, no. 1101. RA iv, nos 1386, 1389; Danelaw Documents, no. 1. Early Charters of St Paul’s, no. 30 (cal. Regesta ii, no. 994); Regesta ii, no. 713. Lepine, Brotherhood, 94, 132–3. For episcopal hospitality, see Huntingdon, 586–9. Mortimer, ‘Baynards’, 246. Speculum Duorum, ed. Y. Lefevre and R. Huygens, trans. B. Dawson, Cardiff 1974, 59, 118, 126; The Jewel of the Church, trans. J. Hagen, Leiden 1979, 27.



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also overall. Secular cathedrals were not as central to baronial piety as monasticism, and it would be foolish to argue otherwise. English chapters are not comparable with those of some French dioceses which were integral to much more powerful comital and urban politics and societies. No magnate was murdered in an English secular cathedral in this period.126 Secular cathedrals were, nevertheless, recognised as religious institutions by barons, both in terms of personal benefits and as mother churches, and they had jurisdictional, social, and political importance, not just through their estates and rights, but also as a communal space. It remains difficult to quantify this significance, but the nature of local lords’ and magnates’ engagement with chapters suggests that it was considerable. Cathedrals’ public, universal character seems to have deterred some baronial religious and social interest, but it may also have attracted local lords closely connected to parishes, who may not have had as many opportunities as their superiors to enhance and advertise their status elsewhere. Coincidence of county and diocesan boundaries may be significant: most of the Lincoln evidence cited above is from Lincolnshire, while Barrow noted a ‘county set’ connected to Hereford cathedral.127 Simon Tuschet’s c.1147×50 charter recording a Lincolnshire donation to the Templars is addressed to ‘omnibus Amicis et Fidelibus S. Matris Ecclesie de Lincolnshyre, clericis et laicis, Francis et Anglis …’, which may reflect his view of the cathedral’s place in his community.128 Great magnates on the other hand had interests across many counties and many dioceses, and, again, other ways of expressing their status and place within communities. Secular cathedrals’ political, religious, and social significance seems to have increased from mid-twelfth century. This might partly be explained by increased documentary production and survival, the importance of a legitimate authority and place during the civil war, and perhaps even acceptance of the secular clergy’s religious role, but it may also be that it simply took time for their role and for baronial perceptions of that role to develop. Some of these cathedrals were new foundations, while Norman cathedrals and chapters were less autonomous, less well endowed, and less prominent.129 Parallels might be drawn between the secular cathedrals and the new monastic cathedral at Norwich, which also became involved in baronial burial disputes and had difficulty attracting aristocratic benefactors in the early years of the cult of St William.130

126

127

128 129

130

Guibert of Nogent, Self and Society in Medieval France, trans. J. F. Benton, Toronto 1986, 158; C. B. Bouchard, Sword, Mitre and Cloister: Nobility and the Church in Burgundy 980–1198, Ithaca 1987, 79. Barrow, ‘Canons’, 2. On communities, see D. Crouch, ‘From Stenton to Macfarlane: Models of Societies of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries’, TRHS 6th series 5, 1995, 179–200. Records of the Templars, 253. D. R. Bates, Normandy before 1066, London 1982, 204–18; D. Spear, ‘L’administration épiscopale Normande: archidiacres et dignitaires des chapitres’, in Les Evêques Normands du XIe siècle, ed. P. Bouet and F. Neveux, Caen 1995, 81–102. Regesta ii, no. 886; EEA, VI, Norwich, 1070–1214, ed. C. Harper-Bill, Oxford 1990, nos 21–2; The Life and Miracles of St William of Norwich, ed. A. Jessop and M. R. James, Cambridge 1896, xii.

9 The Lives of Thomas Becket and the Church of Canterbury Michael Staunton

When Thomas Becket’s mother was pregnant with him she is said to have dreamed that she held the whole church of Canterbury in her womb.1 In another vision her belly swelled to such an extent as she approached Canterbury cathedral that she could hardly squeeze through the door and, when she did, her belly swelled to fill the whole church.2 Such visions are obviously meant to suggest Thomas’s future greatness, with specific reference to the church of Canterbury, but other visions which surrounded his birth would appear to suggest something different. Shortly after Thomas’s mother conceived, she is said to have seen the entire river Thames flowing within her.3 Soon after his birth, the boy was discovered covered with a cloth of precious purple. When his mother and a nurse tried to unfold it, they were told by a voice from heaven that their efforts were in vain: ‘All England is smaller than this purple cloth and cannot contain it.’4 The contrast between these visions encapsulates the problem of locating Thomas as a saint. Thomas’s memory was firmly associated with a particular place, thanks to his status as archbishop of Canterbury, the occurrence of his murder in Canterbury cathedral and his burial close to the spot where he fell, but at the same time a distinguishing feature of his cult was that it transcended Canterbury, indeed England. The church of Canterbury is central to the study of Thomas’s life, conflict and death. Yet reading the posthumous Lives of St Thomas, one finds that apart from the murder, few of the best-known scenes concern his church.

1

2 3 4

MTB iii, 13. The best modern biographies are F. Barlow, Thomas Becket, 2nd edn, London 1997, and A. Duggan, Thomas Becket, London 2004. On the Lives of St Thomas, see M. Staunton, Thomas Becket and his Biographers, Woodbridge 2006; E. Walberg, La tradition hagiographique de saint Thomas Becket avant la fin du XIIe siècle, Paris 1929; repr. Geneva 1975. On the church of Canterbury, see A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. P. Collinson, N. Ramsay and M. Sparks, Oxford 1995. I am grateful to the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the award of a Senior Research Fellowship during the term in which this article was written. MTB ii, 357; iv, 3–4. Ibid., 356–7; iv, 3. Ibid., 357–8; iii, 13–14; iv, 4–5.

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Rather, the memorable ones are the descriptions of his life as royal chancellor and his friendship with the king, his clash with the king over royal customs at Westminster and Clarendon, his trial at Northampton, his escape from England and his adventures in exile. Nonetheless many of the biographers do place Thomas’s life in the context of his church and address issues of special relevance to Canterbury. Here I intend to examine how Thomas’s biographers addressed Thomas’s life at Canterbury, his defence of Canterbury rights and conflict with other churches, and how they sought to integrate this aspect of his life into the broader picture of the man, the saint and his cause. The earliest detailed written recognition of Thomas as a saint is John of Salisbury’s letter Ex Insperato, written to his friend John, bishop of Poitiers, in the early months of 1171. Though he refers to Thomas as ‘holy archbishop, primate of Britain, legate of the Holy See’,5 the achievements he notes are largely ones that transcend Thomas’s church: his scorn for riches and worldly glory, his suffering of exile and vigorous defence of ecclesiastical liberty, and finally his willing offering of his own blood. But in describing his murder John of Salisbury writes, Take note too of where the sacrifice was made. Yes, in the church which is the kingdom’s head, the mother in Christ of all others in the kingdom, before the altar, among his fellow priests, and in the ranks of the monks, whom the shouts of the armed assasins had drawn together to witness the pitiful and tremendous drama. He had shown himself long since a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God;6 he had crucified his flesh, its vices and desires in prayers, in vigils and fasting, in constant wearing of the harsh hair-shirt; he had laid bare his back to the whip, as his intimate, holy attendants knew, as a child in Christ’s school; he had been used to offer Christ’s body and blood upon the altar: and now, prostrate at the altar’s foot, he offered his own blood shed by the hands of evil men.7

As Thomas’s body was laid out for burial, John writes, the monks discovered that it was wrapped in a hair-shirt, and now throngs of people witness at his tomb and are cured of various ailments through the intercession of the saint. John began from Thomas’s death and the early signs of his posthumous glory and worked backwards, showing how these recent events had shone a light on the reality of Thomas’s life. He later expanded his letter to form a short Life which fleshed out his presentation of Thomas as an ascetic in the mould of his monastic predecessors in the office of archbishop and as head of the mother church of England.8 The sense of revelation is also central to the Passion written by Benedict of Peterborough, a monk of Canterbury. Describing how the monks stripped the body for burial, they found not only the hair-shirt mentioned by John, but a monastic habit: ‘The monks looked at each other’, he writes, ‘and were aston-

5 6 7 8

LJS ii, no. 305, 726–7. See Rom. 12:1. LJS ii, no. 305, 728–9. MTB ii, 301–22.

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ished at this view of hidden religion beyond what could have been believed.’9 As other writers began to discuss more fully the life that preceded the murder, they addressed to varying degrees Thomas’s connection with Canterbury. The earliest surviving full-scale Life is by Edward Grim, a clerk from Cambridge who met Thomas for the first time in December 1170, just before his death.10 Grim’s work, completed in its first recension by 1172, is important not only for its early date of composition, but for the fact that it drew on the testimony of others as it was recounted in the immediate aftermath of the murder, and reflects the earliest version we have of the legend of St Thomas. It gives us some indication, then, of the weight given to Canterbury affairs in the early days of the cult. After recounting Thomas’s birth and parentage, Grim devotes twelve chapters to topics which have a strong bearing on Canterbury. In chapters 11–14 he describes how Thomas became clerk to Archbishop Theobald, how in that office he experienced the enmity of Roger de Pont l’Evêque, the future archbishop of York, and how he was appointed archdeacon. In 15–17 he recounts Thomas’s election as archbishop, his consecration and subsequent ‘conversion’, and how the monks of Canterbury prevailed upon him to change from secular to regular dress. In 18–20 he reflects on Thomas’s new manner of life, including his devotion to asceticism. In chapters 21–3 he focuses on the new archbishop’s involvement with the world outside Canterbury, as he began to reclaim the church’s lost properties, and how he first came into open conflict with the king at Woodstock in July 1163. Thereafter Canterbury is little mentioned until after Grim’s discussion of the council of Clarendon in January 1164 when he describes the king’s attempt to secure a legation for the archbishop of York. Grim provides only sketchy details of the exile, relying mainly on letters from the period. The coronation of the young King Henry, a matter of great significance to the rights of Canterbury and the outcome of the dispute, is mentioned briefly and is attributed to the earlier part of his exile rather than July 1170.11 Here, then, the connection to Canterbury is addressed, but receives little attention once the conflict with the king moves centre-stage. Edward Grim’s work had a strong influence on other biographers, providing the narrative framework for the French Life by Guernes12 and the Latin Life by Anonymous I in particular.13 Three writers, however, deviate significantly from this pattern, and they are of special interest not only for their original material, but for their difference of perspective. William of Canterbury became a 9 10 11 12

13

Ibid., 17. Ibid., 353–458. Ibid., 407. Guernes de Pont-Sainte Maxence, La vie de Saint Thomas Becket, ed. E. Walberg, Les classiques français du moyen âge 77, Paris 1936; Garnier’s Becket, ed. J. Shirley, London 1975; repr. Felinfach 1996. Guernes (or Garnier), a clerk from Picardy, wrote a French verse Life of St Thomas, based on Edward Grim’s work and his own research, which was completed in 1174 after a first draft was stolen. MTB iv, 1–79. Anonymous I’s Life of St Thomas, sometimes attributed to ‘Roger of Pontigny’, survives in one fifteenth-century manuscript. Strongly influenced by Edward Grim’s work, it was completed in 1176–7.

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monk at Christ Church while Thomas was in exile, and received consecration at the archbishop’s hands on the latter’s return. In addition to a large collection of miracles of St Thomas, William wrote a Life, divided into two books, the first of which touches on Canterbury affairs only fleetingly, but the second of which deals exclusively with the archbishop’s last month at Canterbury.14 William FitzStephen was clerk to Thomas as chancellor and archbishop, but remained in England during the exile and seems to have retained links with the royal court. He provides some original information on Canterbury lands and the coronation, and on London’s claim to metropolitan rights.15 Herbert of Bosham was also clerk to the chancellor and archbishop, and remained with Thomas in exile. His most outspoken supporter, Herbert paid little attention to the monastic community, but vigorously upheld Canterbury rights and provides an unparalleled description of Thomas’s daily life at Canterbury.16 In late 1167 or early 1168 John of Salisbury wrote to the monks of Christ Church when relations between the convent and the exiled archbishop were especially troubled, accusing them of turning their attitude towards the archbishop from lukewarm attention to hatred. Comparing their behaviour to that of Israel during Moses’s absence on the Mount, he continues, Many who were there scorned the man, and pursued him with curses, when they felt they were free to speak; they said it was no wonder, since the monks of Canterbury always have a sort of hereditary right to hate their archbishops. To confirm this they say, ‘They never bore any aid to Anselm when he twice went into exile for righteousness’ sake. They despised Ralph; they hated William; they laid snares for Theobald, and now they insatiably persecute Thomas without reason.’17

If tensions had always existed between Canterbury’s archbishops and the monks of Christ Church, relations were especially uneasy between Thomas and his community.18 As a non-monastic royal clerk, intruded by the king, Thomas broke a tradition of some standing that the archbishop – who was also their abbot – should be a regular, preferably a Benedictine monk, and he faced some opposition from the convent of Christ Church on his appointment. Thomas spent the larger part of his archiepiscopate in exile in France, and during that time his contacts with the monks were limited and brusque. Yet Gervase of Canterbury, who began writing his Chronicle in the 1180s, was able to describe his contribution to the community in glowing terms: As long as he lived he did nothing in prejudice to the convent, but showed them all favour and love. He was accustomed to preside over the monastic chapter, to be present at collations, to turn to reading in the cloister with them, to prayer in the church, to confer in private with the prior and seniors concerning the utility of the 14 15 16 17 18

MTB i, 136. Ibid. iii, 1–154. Ibid., 155–534. LJS ii, no. 244, 482–95, at 486–7. On their relationship, see R. W. Southern, The Monks of Canterbury and the Murder of Archbishop Becket, Canterbury 1985.

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church as a good pastor and pious father. Indeed he promised he would do them greater honour than any of his predecessors. But he was prevented by martyrdom, and God absolved His glorious athlete of his promise.19

Thomas’s biographers tend to acknowledge the problematic nature of his tenure, but also suggest that it conformed more closely to that of his glorious predecessors than many realised at the time. The biographers do not hide the fact that from the beginning Thomas looked out of place at Canterbury. According to Herbert of Bosham, when the king informed Thomas that he wanted him as archbishop, he looked down at his colourful clothes and said, ‘And you desire a religious, a saint to be in charge of such a celebrated and holy congregation of monks!’20 Anonymous II tells us that objections were raised against Thomas on the grounds that it was at the insistence of the king rather than the people that one unused to handling oars had been made captain of the ship, especially in a church where the head was accustomed to be a monk.21 A number of writers describe how the monks soon began to complain about their new archbishop coming into the cathedral choir in secular dress. Then a man of his own household told Thomas of a vision in which a person terrible of countenance appeared to him and commanded: ‘Go tell the chancellor to change his garb straightaway, because if he fails to do so, I shall go against him all the days of his life.’22 William of Canterbury notes the ominous examples of Thomas’s non-monastic predecessors: Stigand, who ended his days in prison, and Ælfsige who had tried to visit Rome to receive the pallium, but froze to death on the Alps.23 Thomas’s transformation into a ‘new man’ is well known from the posthumous Lives. It is summed up in William of Canterbury’s description of the new archbishop’s three-fold manner of dress: on the outside he wore the accustomed dress of a canon and archbishop, deceptively retaining his secularity and magnificence, but beneath that he secretly adopted the monastic habit, so that he could conform to the life of his brothers; close to his skin, he wore a hair-shirt of rough cloth.24 This balance is also present in John of Salisbury’s description of Thomas’s life at Canterbury, which is followed by many other biographers. He describes him in the hair-shirt and monastic habit, crucifying his body, giving up whatever time he could to prayer and reading, and being so caught up in the celebration of mass that it was as if he beheld Christ’s passion before him in the flesh. The reverence he showed in the 19 20 21

22 23

24

The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 73, London 1879– 80, i, 48. MTB iii, 181. Ibid. iv, 84–5; see iii, 182. The Life of St Thomas by Anonymous II, or the ‘Lambeth Anonymous’, survives in one manuscript in Lambeth Palace. The writer seems to have had links with the diocese of London and completed his work in 1172–4. MTB ii, 368; see i, 10; iv, 21. Ibid. i, 10–11. Orderic Vitalis discusses previous archbishops of Canterbury who were not monks: The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ed. M. Chibnall, 6 vols, Oxford 1969– 80, vi, ch. 12. 31, 318–21; see D. Bethell, ‘English Black Monks and Episcopal Elections of the 1120s’, EHR 84, 1969, 673–98, at 680–1. MTB i, 10.

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celebration of the mass also informed the faith and morals of those around him, and in his preaching he acted as teacher and pastor. Every day in his chamber he privately washed the feet of paupers, but also arranged for his men to visit the poor with gifts of food and clothes. Though his hospitality and generosity were famous, he retained his own temperance, without being a hypocrite by going too far. He was prudent in counsel, and a scrupulous and impartial judge. Even in precious clothes he was a pauper in spirit, and with a happy face he maintained a contrite heart. He was mild and gentle to the meek and the poor, but freely condemned the vices of the powerful, striking out indefatigably against heretics and schismatics in his zeal for justice.25 John’s description of Thomas’s qualities as archbishop recalls pious eulogies of other saintly bishops, with its emphasis on the correct combination of pastoral duties and inner spirituality, and does not give us much concrete illustration of Thomas’s life at Canterbury.26 A more unusual description of Thomas’s daily life at Canterbury is presented by Herbert of Bosham; while also associating the new archbishop with such ideals, it follows no obvious model and contains so many idiosyncratic details as to be of more historical interest. Thomas began his day, as Herbert describes it, by rising immediately after cock-crow and chanting the office. Then he had thirteen poor men secretly brought to him in an upper room where he served them and gave each four silver coins before falling to his knees and washing their feet. This he carried out every day except on the rare occasions when he deputed it to one of his brethren. At day-break, another twelve entered and the brother in charge of the poor washed each of their feet and gave them food, and later 100 poor canons were fed.27 Once he had served the twelve brothers, Thomas had a brief nap and then, while others were sleeping, he would turn to the reading of Scripture, initially with Herbert as his guide but then alone.28 Next Thomas left his chamber and went to say mass, but he did not say mass every day since the Bible neither commands nor forbids daily celebration. Thomas, Herbert says, approached the celebration of mass with fear and trembling, and often at the altar he poured forth great tears and sighs. But he was also prone to vain and wandering thoughts so, while his ministers were chanting the sacred songs, he always had some book of morals, and more frequently a little prayer book, the Prayers and Meditations of St Anselm. For the same reason he was accustomed to finish in a hurry, often reading just one collect, and seldom more than three, thereby avoiding the distraction of evil angels.29 When he finished celebrating mass, the archbishop left the church and entered the courtroom, and there,

25 26

27 28 29

Ibid. ii, 306–9. Ruotgers Lebensbeschreibung des Erzbischofs Bruno von Köln, Monumenta Germaniae historica, ed. I. Ott, Scriptores rerum Germanicarum ns 10, Weimar 1951, 30–1; discussed by E. Auerbach, Literary Language and its Public in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, New York 1965, 159–63. MTB iii, 198–203. Ibid., 204–6. Ibid., 208–19.

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says Herbert, he was as great a judge at tribunal as he had been a priest at the altar. Unlike other ecclesiastical judges, he was very wary about accepting gifts, fearing they would pervert judgments, though he occasionally accepted some that common courtesy could not refuse.30 About midday, the archbishop left the tribunal and entered a private room to prepare for dinner, and after a brief respite went out to dine. Thomas sat at the middle of the table, with his learned companions on the right, monks and other religious at the left. Following Canterbury custom, the meal from beginning to end was accompanied by a sacred reading by the archbishop’s cross-bearer. Visiting laymen were placed at a separate table, an unusual arrangement which meant that visitors would not be annoyed by reading, nor would those at the archbishop’s table be inhibited in their learned discussion or let slip something they should not in front of their guests. While all were seated in their appropriate places, the meal was served by a swarm of attendants, many of them young noblemen, including Henry, the king’s eldest son, who was the archbishop’s foster-child.31 Everything about this table was magnificent, says Herbert: its guests, its attendants, its servers and its rich and tasty foods. But as he dined, Thomas retained his temperance, secretly withdrawing food from himself and at the same time looking after the needs of all his guests. Herbert accepts that such a table seems far from that of Jesus and the disciples, more fit for Caesar than for an archbishop, but he says that one should not judge Thomas adversely on this account. St Paul made himself all things to all men, rejoicing with them that rejoice, weeping with them that weep, giving to the world the things that are the world’s and to God the things that are God’s. Similarly, all things have their seasons: a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. We see this in Thomas’s day, in which the archbishop acts in various guises, his soul nourished at the spiritual table, the banquet of the mass, his bodily needs at the worldly table; his eyes filled with tears at the first, with laughter at the second.32 One of the archbishop of Canterbury’s most important roles was as protector of the rights of his church, but on the day of his death Thomas appeared to have achieved little and lost much.33 During the vacancy after Archbishop Theobald’s death, a number of properties had been lost to Canterbury, and though some were regained during Thomas’s early days in office, all archiepiscopal prop30 31 32

33

Ibid., 219–29. Ibid., 226–8. Ibid., 228–38. Compare Thómas Saga Erkibyskups, ed. E. Magnusson, 2 vols, RS 65, London 1875–83, i, 95–117. I am grateful to Dr Julie Kerr for showing me her unpublished paper on Thomas Becket’s table, presented at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 2000. C. S. Jaeger has pointed out how this description is also suffused with standard images of courtliness, though one might disagree with his claim that its purpose is ‘to recreate the educating force of the archbishop’s presence’: The Envy of Angels. Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval England, 950–1200, Philadelphia 1994, 301–6, at 304. On Canterbury administration and lands, see F. R. H. Du Boulay, The Lordship of Canterbury, London 1966, and R. A. L. Smith, Canterbury Cathedral Priory: A Study in Monastic Administration, Cambridge 1943.

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erties were confiscated during his exile. Even after peace had been made and Thomas had returned to Canterbury, a satisfactory restoration was not achieved. At the same time, the long-running dispute with York over privileges and status was revived, and during Thomas’s archiepiscopacy the archbishop of York not only held a papal legation and carried his cross in the southern province, but also crowned a king of England. Thomas’s tenure also saw claims to metropolitan status advanced by the bishop of London, Gilbert Foliot. Yet the early Lives of Thomas were written in a climate in which the prestige of the church of Canterbury had never been greater, benefactions were flowing in veneration of Thomas’s memory, and hopes were strong for a favourable settlement in respect of York. The biographers tended to identify the royal customs as the central issue in the dispute, but Canterbury rights also show through, particularly in relation to lands and the coronation of the young Henry as king in 1170. The relative jurisdictions of the king of England and the archbishop of Canterbury, and in particular the issue of ‘criminous clerks’, became central to the growing antipathy between king and archbishop with Thomas’s refusal to accept the royal customs at the council of Westminster in October 1163.34 But before that a series of controversies had emerged which related both to the church of Canterbury and the king. These include Thomas’s disputes with magnates regarding Canterbury lands; the transfer of the office of archdeacon to Geoffrey Ridel and the appointment without a profession of obedience of Clarembald as abbot of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, both at the insistence of the king; Thomas’s quarrels with the king for excommunicating William de Eynsford and his refusal at Woodstock to allow Canterbury estates to transfer ‘sheriff’s aid’ to the king; and the king’s support for Roger, archbishop of York’s claims to parity with Canterbury.35 Some writers move swiftly from Thomas’s ‘conversion’ to his clash with the king regarding royal customs,36 while others pay some attention to the recovery of Canterbury lands. William FitzStephen tells us that the primary cause of hostility against Thomas was that many bishops, fearing to lose their land and goods, abandoned the archbishop and joined the king and the courtiers. But he adds that the indignation of the king and of the nobility of the realm was increased by the archbishop’s attempt to recover from Earl Roger of Clare the castle of Tonbridge and the whole honour formerly alienated from the church of Canterbury, ‘because according to law his predecessors and the patrons of the church were permitted to care for and augment the estate, but not to diminish

34

35

36

The Constitutions of Clarendon which followed in January 1164 comprised a written statement of royal prerogatives relative to the church, as Henry II claimed had existed during the time of his grandfather King Henry I. Most concerned ecclesiastical courts and contacts with the pope. Ralph de Diceto, dean of St Paul’s, London, highlighted all except the last of these disputes when he detailed the steps to conflict in his chronicle: Ymagines Historiarum in Radulfi de Diceto decani Lundoniensis Opera Historica, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 68, London 1876, i, 307–14; see Duggan, Becket, 33–9. See e.g. Anonymous I: MTB iv, 22.

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it or alienate it’.37 Though this now rankled with the king, FitzStephen claims that the archbishop had previously obtained the king’s leave to reclaim for the church of Canterbury the property wrongfully alienated by his predecessors or usurped by laymen.38 Herbert of Bosham is more expansive, describing how Thomas raised the issue of estates which certain great magnates had taken from his church because of either the impotence or negligence of his predecessors. Some he requested be returned, but others where there seemed to be an obvious injury he took back, expelling tenants without any inquiry or pleading. Herbert describes how the archbishop demanded the fief of seven knights’ fees from William de Ros, confiscated soon after the death of Archbishop Theobald, and clashed with the earl of Clare when Thomas demanded he do homage for Tonbridge castle and its lands. Herbert says that Thomas called for the custody of Rochester castle and claimed it by right of his church, producing a charter of William the Conqueror, though he does not mention that he claimed its return from the king, along with the royal castles of Saltwood and Hythe.39 Here we see a particular feature of Herbert’s perspective. His purpose is to show that although Thomas vigorously stood up for the rights of his church, this in no way contradicted the potential for accord with the king. Rather, the suggestion is that in the early days of the archiepiscopate, king and archbishop worked well together, with the latter – in the mould of Lanfranc – standing up for his church and at the same time serving the interests of the realm. He acknowledges that Thomas’s actions meant that he was quickly faced with many disputes, quarrels and adversaries: ‘However all were hidden for fear of the king, for they were aware and respectful of the extraordinary royal favour in which, as we have shown above, the archbishop was still held, and on this account they were quite afraid to offend the archbishop.’40 There is some distortion in Herbert’s picture of the early days of Thomas’s archiepiscopate, but his account reflects a view of the archbishop’s duties which would not have been challenged by contemporaries, and which matches that advanced by Anne Duggan that Thomas’s actions in the first nine months of his tenure were ‘attempts to discharge the normal duties of the archiepiscopal office in an atmosphere of mounting harassment and opposition’.41 Herbert tells us that the archbishop ‘held and managed these estates according to his will until he was banished and, proscribed for justice’s sake, he lost these and others’.42 When a messenger informed Thomas, now at Pontigny, that the king had ordered the confiscation of Canterbury property, it was, Herbert tells us, like the messenger telling Job that the Sabeans had carried off his oxen and donkeys.43 Though often overshadowed by other concerns, the restoration of

37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Ibid. iii, 42. Ibid. Ibid., 250–2; see Du Boulay, Lordship, 367–8. MTB iii, 251–2. Duggan, Becket, 34. MTB iii, 251. Ibid., 351, 358–9; see Job 1:15.

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Canterbury lands remained a sticking-point right up to Thomas’s death, and this is sometimes reflected in the Lives. Herbert complains of the fact that they were handed over to Ranulf de Broc, a courtier who had a particular hatred for the archbishop and went well beyond the king’s mandate.44 FitzStephen criticises Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, for taking confiscated lands into his hands for a time and says that some of those whom the archbishop excommunicated for occupying either the goods of the church of Canterbury or the churches or goods of his clerks died in the flower of youth, while others were struck with a fatal ulcer, as if by God.45 Herbert’s description of the peace negotiations between Gisors and Trie in November 1167 mostly concerns the Constitutions, but he adds that, ‘besides, we very urgently sought the restitution of goods, both moveables and fixtures, taken away from us – or rather, from the church’.46 Thomas followed up the failed negotiations by censuring some bishops for disobedience and for fomenting the dispute, but also clerks of the court, and lay courtiers: some as usurpers of property, others for violently and wrongfully detaining the things of the church, others because they received estates of the church of Canterbury at the time of his exile not from him but from the king.47 Again at the discussions at Montmartre in November 1169 Thomas spoke to the king of France and the other mediators about his dispossession and that of his men, reckoning the sum of money taken away from him and his men at 30,000 marks. King Louis had to try to persuade the archbishop that it would be dishonourable and unfitting for peace to be obstructed for the sake of money but even so, the mediators said that they would petition the king frankly and assiduously regarding his demands.48 Although the restoration of lands and churches was part of the peace settlement which brought Thomas back to Canterbury, a number of the biographers note the failure of its implementation. FitzStephen writes that though the archbishop’s clerks were partially restored to their churches and lands, the king’s officials expelled the archbishop’s officials from the disputed churches and the king’s men returned to them. Additionally, the king’s officials, rather than the archbishop’s, received the revenues and pensions of the archiepiscopal manors for the next Michaelmas term: ‘Many wise men silently considered these things, and took note.’49 The problem of Canterbury lands was there at the beginning of Thomas’s archiepiscopate, and remained unresolved at its end. The same could be said of the primacy dispute with York.50 Roger de Pont l’Evêque was Thomas’s fellow44 45 46 47 48

49 50

Ibid., 360. Ibid., 81–2. Ibid., 409–12. Ibid., 413–14. Ibid., 448–9. See also FitzStephen’s description of Thomas petitioning the king to return confiscated lands, and his unique account of how three of Thomas’s clerks came to the king at Angers to ask for return of their lands: ibid., 97–102. Ibid., 112–13. See ibid. vii, nos 686–7, 343–4. See R. Foreville, L’église et la royauté en Angleterre sous Henri II Plantagenet (1154–1189), Paris 1943, 231–40, 276–307; M. Haines, ‘Canterbury versus York: Fluctuating Fortunes in a Perennial Conflict’, in idem, Ecclesia Anglicana: Studies in the English Church in the

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clerk in Archbishop Theobald’s court, and archdeacon of Canterbury before he became archbishop of York in 1154. The biographers give us differing information on their early relationship: William of Canterbury tells us that Thomas formed an alliance with Roger and John of Belmais, later bishop of Poitiers, for their mutual advancement, but others attest to Roger’s hostility towards Thomas, which William FitzStephen tells us caused Thomas to leave the court on two occasions.51 On Thomas’s accession, Roger had been archbishop for seven years, and had already begun to assert the rights of his church. In July 1162 Pope Alexander III authorised Roger to carry his cross before him and crown kings ‘as his predecessors had’ but subsequently forbade him from carrying his cross in the southern province.52 The pope gave similarly mixed signals in mandating that York is independent of Canterbury, and that the senior archbishop was to have precedence at consecrations, but subsequently confirming Canterbury’s primacy.53 In 1163 Henry II requested a legation for Roger over all England, but that which he was granted was so hemmed in with conditions as to be useless; when Thomas was granted a legation, in 1166, it exempted the see of York. We get some interesting glimpses of the primacy dispute in the narrative sources. For example, the Summa Causae inter regem et Thomam claims that the sole purpose of the council of Westminster in October 1163 was not, as reported by other biographers, the establishment of the king’s ancestral customs, but the question of Canterbury’s primacy.54 Edward Grim, followed by Guernes and Anonymous I, pays some attention to the circumstances in which the legation was sought for York.55 But in general the dispute receives less attention than in the letters. Some details seem to have been passed over deliberately: for example, Herbert of Bosham discusses the council of Tours of 1163 at some length without any mention of the clash between Roger and Thomas detailed in the (admittedly hostile) Draco Normannicus.56 The role of the archbishop of York is also less prominent than one might expect, considering the longstanding antipathy and his involvement in Becket’s murder. It is true that ‘the

51 52

53

54 55 56

Later Middle Ages, Toronto, Buffalo and London 1989, 69–105, 271–95; P. S. Morgan, ‘Archbishop and Primate: Thomas Becket and the Making of the Canterbury Tradition’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of California Santa Barbara 1985, chs. 3–5; M. Richter, ‘Archbishop Lanfranc and the Canterbury Primacy – Some Suggestions’, Downside Review 90, 1972, 110–18. MTB i, 4; iii, 16; iv, 9–10; Guernes, verses 251–65. See MTB v, no. 13, 21–2; no. 41, 67–8; no. 42, 68; CTB i, no. 17, 40–3; no. 23, 62–5; no. 62, 242–5. The cross-bearing dispute is discussed by C. Duggan, ‘St Thomas of Canterbury and Aspects of the Becket Dispute in the Decretal Collections’, Mediaevalia christiana, XIe–XIIe siècles: hommage à Raymonde Foreville, ed. C. E. Viola, Tournai 1989, 87–135. MTB v, no. 68, 131–2; CTB i, no. 70, 272–9. See A. Duggan, ‘The Confirmation of Becket’s Primacy: In Apostolice Sedis, Lateran 8 Apr. 1166’, Journal of the Society of Archivists 9, 1989, 197–209. MTB iv, 201. Ibid. ii, 384–5; iv, 38–9; Guernes, verses 1046–1105; see also MTB i, 25. Stephen of Rouen’s Draco Normannicus is a Latin poem, sympathetic to Henry II and his family, covering events in Normandy and France up to 1169: Chronicles of the Reigns ii, 742–6.

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biographers are unanimous in their abuse’,57 but none of it comes close to that of William of Newburgh, whose own house had clashed with Roger, or the monks of Canterbury who accused Roger of homosexual paedophilia and of being an accessory to murder.58 A topic which does receive attention, however, is the coronation of the king’s son, the young Henry, on 14 June 1170 in the absence of the archbishop of Canterbury.59 William FitzStephen provides quite a detailed description of the circumstances of the coronation, including a unique account of how Roger, bishop of Worcester, rebuked his cousin the king for carrying out such an unjust coronation, contrary to God.60 The coronation and the injury done to Canterbury thereby were also central to the discussions between king and archbishop at Fréteval the following month, as reported by FitzStephen. Expanding on Thomas’s own report of the discussions,61 he describes how Thomas told the king that among all of the individual evils which he had endured at Henry’s hands, the one that most disturbed him was that he had his son crowned by the archbishop of York in the province of Canterbury: You despoiled the church of Canterbury, the church which anointed you as king with the unction of God’s mercy, of its privilege of consecrating kings. This amongst all its privileges it has considered particular, its own and special, for a long time past, since first the blessed Augustine established the metropolitan see of Canterbury.62

The king in reply reminded Thomas that William I had been consecrated and crowned at London by the archbishop of York, and Henry I by the bishop of Hereford. But Thomas countered that in their coronations the dignity of the church of Canterbury was not encroached on, for in 1066 the see of Canterbury was effectively vacant, Stigand holding the see illegitimately, and in 1100 Anselm was in exile and the delay involved in his recall would have been very dangerous to the kingdom. The king acknowledged that this could be true, pledged himself to make correction to the church of Canterbury if he had offended it in any way, and allowed Thomas to make any complaint against the archbishop of York and the bishops who had assisted him.63 William of Canterbury writes that while some said that the king in the coronation was taking precautions for his hereditary succession, others asserted that 57 58

59

60 61 62 63

D. Knowles, The Episcopal Colleagues of Archbishop Thomas Becket, Cambridge 1951, 14. William of Newburgh, ‘Historia Rerum Anglicarum’, in Chronicles of the Reigns i, 225–8. MTB vii, 525–9; see vii, 504–6; discussed by R. L. Poole, ‘Two Documents Concerning Archbishop Roger of York’, Speculum 3, 1928, 81–4; repr. in idem, Studies in Chronology and History, ed. A. L. Poole, Oxford, 1934. See A. Heslin, ‘The Coronation of the Young King in 1170’, Studies in Church History 2, London 1965, 165–78; P. E. Schramm, A History of the English Coronation, Oxford 1937, 40–5. MTB iii, 103–7. CTB ii, no. 300, 1260–79; see also Herbert’s account, MTB iii, 466. MTB iii, 109. Ibid., 109–10.

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he was detracting from the dignity of Canterbury. He inserts the pope’s letter prohibiting the coronation and comments that ‘York nonetheless introduced his sickle into another man’s harvest.’64 This is a reference to canonical prohibition on interference in the province of another archbishop, derived from Pope Gregory I’s letter to the founder of the church of Canterbury.65 William compares Roger of York to King Joakim from the Book of Jeremiah:66 although he did not burn the pope’s letter, as that king had burned the letter containing the word of the Lord, he nonetheless spurned the divine precept. This coronation, he suggests, later redounded against the king. In the banquet that followed, the father deigned to minister to the son, but he rued his action in due course, finding that he had not only harmed the church of Canterbury but provoked the rebellion of his children.67 Herbert tells us that when Thomas heard of the coronation he first hardly believed it, since he had papal letters of prohibition sent to York and the other bishops before the coronation. Some of the bishops, he insists, certainly received these letters before the coronation, but others refused to receive them.68 Herbert asserts that the king had his son consecrated by an alien metropolitan and in an alien province in hatred of the archbishop, to the damage of the person and the church of Canterbury to whose dignity and right the coronation of kings of England is understood of old to pertain.69 After reporting the coronation, Herbert reflects on it: How profane this anointing, how hateful, how hostile this consecration, if it should be called a consecration rather than an execration, entirely lacking papal blessing, rather, carried out in transgression of the pope. Which certainly proceeded from pure hatred, anger and indignation, hatred of the spiritual father, in sorrow of the spiritual mother, contrived by the carnal father. All this profane, all this truly alien from the temple, alien and alienated; an alien province, an alien consecrator, and also an alien boy king consecrated, still more fit for games than for ruling people: and the king the father who had him consecrated, alien and alienated from his spiritual father and mother.70

The language used is an allusion to a letter of Cyprian of Carthage in the context of opposition to the consecration of a bishop while another bishop is living, and is included to that effect in Gratian’s Decretum, suggesting that Herbert’s opposition to the coronation may have gone beyond Canterbury rights to the issue of

64 65

66 67 68 69 70

Ibid. i, 81–2. See Gratian, Decretum C. 6, q. 3. c. 1 (Corpus Iuris Canonici, ed. E. Friedberg, 2 vols, Leipzig 1879, i, col. 562) ex Pope Gregory I’s seventh answer to Augustine: Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, ed. B. Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors, Oxford 1969, i, 27, 88–9; Deut. 23:25. Jer. 36:23. MTB i, 82–3. Ibid. iii, 458–9. Ibid., 458. Ibid., 459.

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whether an heir should be crowned at all in the lifetime of the reigning king.71 Writing in the late 1180s, Herbert is able to lament the long-term consequences of the consecration. First, he says, it resulted in the censures on the ecclesiastics involved. Then, ‘if it was not the full cause of the archbishop’s precious death, it nevertheless provided greater and more speedy occasion’.72 Thirdly, in time it prompted the rebellion of the son against the father. And finally, he claims, it resulted in the premature death of the king’s son in 1183: ‘Behold what abominable, what execrable evils proceeded from this consecration: suspension, anathemization, killing, rebellion of the sons against the father, premature death of the young king.’73 Mention should also be made of a challenge to Canterbury’s authority from another source which is touched on in some of the narrative sources: the assertion by Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, of the metropolitan rights of his see.74 Foliot had refused to renew his profession to Canterbury when he transferred to London,75 and later used this as an excuse for disobedience to Thomas. In 1169 John of Salisbury informed the monks of Canterbury that Foliot was suggesting that the see be transferred to London, using as evidence Geoffrey of Monmouth’s claim that a pre-Saxon metropolitan see had existed there, and Merlin’s prophecy that it would return.76 William FitzStephen writes that after the archbishop excommunicated Foliot, the bishop of London summoned a general synod where he claimed that he was not subject to the archbishop or church of Canterbury because he had made no profession to Thomas on his transfer to Hereford, ‘and he claimed on the testimony of chronicles that he ought to be archbishop, since in the time of the Britons, before the island had been subdued by the Angles, London was the metropolitan see’.77 FitzStephen also mentions this controversy in his famous description of London at the beginning of his Life of St Thomas, writing, ‘It was once a metropolitan see and will be so again – so it is thought – if the citizens have their way.’78 The Summa Causae inter Cantuariensem archiepiscopum et episcopum Londoniensem is a presentation of legal arguments which may or may not have actually been made by Thomas 71

72 73 74

75 76

77 78

Gratian, Decretum, C. 7. q. 1. c. 5 ex Cyprian, Epistolae, no. 10, PL 3. 773: ‘He cannot have the ordination of the Church who does not hold the unity of the Church. Whoever he may be, although greatly boasting about himself, and claiming very much for himself, he is profane, he is an alien, he is without (profanus est, alienus est, foris est). And as after the first there cannot be a second, whosoever is made after one who ought to be alone, is not second to him, but is in fact none at all.’ MTB iii, 459. Ibid., 459–60; see also iv, 120–1. Discussed in detail by A. Morey and C. N. L. Brooke, Gilbert Foliot and his Letters, Cambridge 1965, 151–62; see also Foreville, L’église, 285–88; Knowles, Episcopal Colleagues, 47–8, 160–2. See CTB i, no. 18, 42–7. LJS ii, 292, 666–73 at 666–9. See Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, ed. M. D. Reeve, trans. N. Wright, Arthurian Studies 69, Woodbridge 2007, 88–9, 144–5. See also CTB ii, no. 207, 900–9, at 904–5. MTB iii, 87–8. Ibid., 2.

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and Gilbert. There Foliot makes the same claim that he is not bound to obey the archbishop since he made no profession to him. He adds that by right London should be the mother not the daughter of Canterbury, as was asserted from the first establishment of the church in England, in the days of the fifty-two apostles (that is, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth) and is read in authentic writings and also as is testified by the writings of Pope Gregory I in renewing Christianity in England. The difficulty of extirpating paganism in London at the time meant that Canterbury instead became the archiepiscopal see, but ‘the bishops of London have nonetheless assiduously cried out against it’.79 On 1 December Thomas landed in the port of Sandwich, bringing his six-year exile to a close. His return to Canterbury is presented by most of the biographers as a prelude to the murder, with echoes of Christ’s last days. Common to most are descriptions of how Thomas sent ahead the letters of censure against the ecclesiastics who had taken part in the coronation; how he was challenged by royal officers, and by envoys of the censured bishops, accusing him of treason against the young king and demanding that he revoke the sentences; accounts of Thomas’s triumphant reception at Canterbury, met by a joyous populous and a solemn procession of monks and clerks; his excommunication of members of the de Broc family on Christmas Day for a combination of insults to the church of Canterbury; and Thomas’s predictions of his death and spiritual preparation for it. William FitzStephen presents a detailed, and in many respects original, account of Thomas’s last days. Herbert too devotes much space to this period, but is less circumstantial and more reflective. William of Canterbury, however, devotes a substantial proportion of his book to December 1170, with a marked focus on the affairs of his church. Much of his testimony is not found elsewhere, including a description of the murders and an account of the king’s submission to the monks of Canterbury after Thomas’s death, and much of the unique material relates to the issues already discussed: Thomas’s life at Canterbury and his defence of Canterbury rights. William begins his second book with the arch­bishop’s preparations for his return, and includes the unique detail of the arrangements for the return of his library to Canterbury.80 This is the first of a number of themes discussed relating directly to the everyday life of an archbishop at Canterbury. Thomas’s return to his church was greeted by the singing and tears of the brethren, and one of his first steps was to arrange for the absolution of those who had consulted with the excommunicated bishops.81 Thomas had intended to meet with the young king, but on his way he encountered courtiers who ordered him to return, despite his protest, ‘How will I visit my diocese?’82 Comparing him to Semey, ordered by Solomon to remain in Jerusalem and then executed, William comments, ‘though they looked for an aggressive traitor, they found a hidden monk’.83 In Ember week Thomas promoted many from his 79 80 81 82 83

Ibid. iv, 224–6. Ibid. i, 86–7. Ibid., 102. Ibid., 113. Ibid., 113–14; see 1 Kings 2:36–44.

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provincial monasteries and churches, but few from his own monastery, only one subdeacon and three priests. William himself was the only monk who had taken the habit during the exile whom he consecrated deacon, postponing the consecration of others since they had entered the monastery without his permission, but he later had mercy on them and confirmed them in office.84 William also shows a marked interest in the rights of Canterbury. He refers to Thomas throughout the second book as primas, the only biographer to do so consistently, and he provides some unique evidence of how the archbishop continued to defend the rights of his church right up to his death. William describes how he twice sent Richard of Dover, prior and later Thomas’s successor at Canterbury, to the young king’s court at Winchester. On the first occasion Richard found that an assembly of nobles, bishops and abbots had gathered to make appointments to vacant sees without the involvement of Thomas. Acknowledging that the bishops of Winchester, Oxford, Worcester and Norwich had cited canonical precedent for such an action, William comments that ‘this repeal of the authority of the church of Canterbury had been contrived by that of the archbishop of York, who, while he solicitously gratifies his new master, does not remember his old friend, his foster-mother’.85 After an altercation with the young king’s guardians, the prior said, ‘Just as dukes, consuls and governors are subject to kings, so metropolitans, bishops and archdeacons are subject to primates.’86 In the secular jurisdiction those who withdraw their due services are cited and made answerable, But in the ecclesiastical jurisdiction when inferiors have rebelled against the authority of their superiors or when one has usurped the rights of another, for lack of complaisance they are punished by summons, suspensions, or excommunications. Would a king bear it calmly if a soldier usurped the throne or published an edict? Would a metropolitan bear it calmly if an assistant bishop assumed the pallium or sent a formal or dimissorial letter? Will the primate not be justly indignant if a metropolitan crowns a king and dares to perform a regal consecration which is none of his business? Who, I ask, considers himself such an object of contempt today that he renounces his rights?87

Brought before the young king, Richard spoke on behalf of Thomas, ‘Primate and legate of the Holy See’, saying that he had come in peace, but was simply concerned for the right of the church of Canterbury to crown kings. As he left some made disparaging remarks about the primate, denying that he was a legate of the Holy See.88 On the second mission, Richard, accompanied by the abbot of St Albans and an unnamed clerk from London, met with the young king’s guardians to explain

84 85 86 87 88

MTB i, 119–20. See Herbert of Bosham’s discussion of Thomas’s carefulness as to ordination: ibid. iii, 238–44. Ibid. i, 106. Ibid., 109. Ibid. Ibid., 107–11.

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the archbishop’s grievances. Of the five described, the first concerned clergy oppressed by the secular courts, and the last the prevention of clergy crossing the sea, both matters involving the Constitutions of Clarendon, but three others directly relate to Canterbury rights. Richard complained that when peace had been restored the king had promised that he would restore the rightful dignity to the church of Canterbury in the case of Saltwood and also the archiepiscopal see to the same condition it enjoyed three months ago before Thomas went abroad. But now, he says, their tumbledown houses are scarcely fit to live in, the enclosures are broken by wild animals, groves are laid waste, land is heavily taxed, farms are plundered, orphans are disinherited: ‘The things that are stolen from the ministers of the mysteries of God constitute an offence against God. Let the things that are God’s be restored to God.’89 Next he describes how Ranulf de Broc had stolen wine destined for the archbishop, broken up the ships and sunk them. And he adds that during the exile some intruders had occupied the archbishop’s churches and even now retain them.90 William goes on to relate how on Christmas day the archbishop excommunicated the vicar of a certain Nigel and also Robert de Broc with his servant, the former because he was keeping the keys of one of his churches, the latter because he was keeping a church obtained by lay hands. He tells a story of how when the latter gave a banquet for some of his friends in the house which had been constructed according to his plan from timber cut down at random from the archiepiscopal estates of Canterbury, the dogs rejected the bread which his hands had touched, yet they greedily ate everything offered by another.91 Thomas’s death in the cathedral united him to his church as none of his earlier deeds had. The biographers describe him declaring his determination never to abandon his church again, protecting his monks from the assault of the knights, and crying out to the patron saints of Canterbury as he is sacrificed on the altar as priest and victim. But the scale of Thomas’s triumph in death meant that in accounts by both medieval and modern commentators, matters directly concerned with the church of Canterbury have often been overshadowed by his actions on a larger stage. Of course the affairs of the church of Canterbury cannot be divorced tidily from the other issues with which Thomas concerned himself as archbishop, but there are some topics which evidently interested a Canterbury audience more than other audiences. For most saints, our principal source is a Life written by a member of that saint’s church. That this is not the case for Thomas is testimony to the success of his cult and the volume of material that has survived, but also to Thomas’s uneasy relations with the monks of Christ Church. We learn much of interest about Canterbury affairs from William FitzStephen and Herbert of Bosham; they were well-informed and perceptive writers, but their perspective was not that of the monastic community. One wonders what further information could have been provided by William of Canterbury had he witnessed earlier events in Thomas’s life. It was 89 90 91

Ibid., 117. Ibid. Ibid., 120.

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not until the 1180s, when another monk of Christ Church, Gervase, began to write his Chronicle, that there emerged a literary witness to Thomas Becket as a saint fully integrated into Canterbury tradition. But by that time, Thomas had more clearly shown himself to be a friend to his church.

10 Caught in the Cross-Fire: Patronage and Institutional Politics in Late Twelfth-Century Canterbury Sheila Sweetinburgh

During the 1180s the church in England was again engulfed in an acrimonious dispute involving not only the country’s monasteries, the episcopacy and the king but also continental religious houses and the papal curia, as each side sought to win allies and legal backing for its position. At the centre of this cause célèbre was Archbishop Baldwin’s intention to establish a large community of secular canons at Hackington, just outside Canterbury, and the total opposition to his plan led by his cathedral monks. As the conflict raged across England, and to a lesser extent continental Europe, a particular incident occurred at Canterbury and it is this tiny offshoot of the dispute that is the subject of this essay. By adopting a microhistorical approach to the study of conflict and community, this analysis is following, as far as the sources will allow, the type of approach used so fruitfully by historians such as Carlo Ginsburg and Natalie Zemon Davis, who have attempted to investigate ‘social relationships and interactions among historical persons’ to try ‘to elucidate historical causation on the level of small groups where most of real life takes place’.1 However, before considering the events involving Master Feramin and the sisters at St James’s hospital that took place a few days after Easter 1188, it seems worthwhile to highlight a few ideas taken from the recent historiography on medieval conflict. These will provide a theoretical framework which may aid our understanding of the surviving evidence regarding the processes involved and the ways individuals and groups sought to manipulate or were manipulated by these same processes.

1

E. Muir, ‘Introduction: Observing Trifles’, in Microhistory and the Lost Peoples of Europe, ed. E. Muir and G. Ruggiero, trans. E. Branch, Baltimore, MD, and London 1991, vii–xxviii, at ix, xxi. Both Davis and Ginsburg have focused on the early modern period but their approach still seems valid, though more challenging, for earlier historical periods. Among their many publications are: C. Ginsburg, The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller, trans. J. Tedeschi and A. Tedeschi, Baltimore, MD 1980; N. Z. Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre, Cambridge, MA 1983.

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Ideas from Conflict Studies Warren Brown and Piotr Górecki’s broad and inclusive definition of conflict as ‘several kinds of interpersonal or intergroup tension, and several modes of managing that tension’ is a valuable starting point.2 Nevertheless, as they go on to point out, what we as twenty-first-century historians may mean by conflict and its constituent forms may bear little resemblance to what contemporaries meant in medieval times. Although the studies they discuss predominantly focus on the vocabulary of law or politics, their assessment of the differing stances among medievalists ‘regarding the adequacy of “our” concepts and categories for meaningfully understanding “them”’ seems pertinent if, in Michel de Certeau’s terms, we are to understand more about cultures from the deep past than Robinson Crusoe did from the footprint in the sand.3 In part, these problems may stem from the employment of such terms as feudalism, which are seen by some to be inadequate concepts within the currently available analytical vocabulary because they are used to cover too many different types of relationship.4 Instead, as Elizabeth Brown noted, it is better to deploy ‘conceptual alternatives’ that are specific ‘in terms of concrete human activity’.5 Another difficulty that Brown and Górecki identify in the current literature is one of vocabulary, raising the question of whether the terms that we meet in the documentary sources mean the same now as they did then. One of these apparently contentious words is violentia, its use in chronicles and other texts possibly part of a mode of writing that should be envisaged as stereotypical, conventional or rhetorical, making its meaning obscure in modern terms.6 Other historians are prepared to accept that whatever the changes of meaning, it is still possible, at least tentatively, to recover a sense of violence, physical force, brutality and unpleasant experiences inflicted on defenceless groups. Stephen White is among those who see the problems but feel such words remain valuable markers, though for him the meaning rests in terms of social negotiation. That is, rather than today’s idea of ‘great social unpleasantness’, violentia referred to ‘a mutual jostling for position among some [of the] population by, or about, or in reference to whom’ it was ‘used’. Thus, ‘in deed and in text, force was a continuation of politics by other 2

3 4 5

6

W. C. Brown and P. Górecki, ‘What Conflict Means: The Making of Medieval Conflict Studies in the United States, 1970–2000’, in Conflict in Medieval Europe: Changing Perspectives on Society and Culture, ed. W. C. Brown and P. Górecki, Aldershot 2003, 1–35, at 1. Ibid., 1–3; M. de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. S. Rendall, Berkeley, CA 1984, 154–5. Brown and Górecki, ‘What Conflict Means’, 11. Ibid., citing E. A. R. Brown, ‘The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and Historians of Medieval Europe’, American Historical Review 79, 1974, 1063–88. Other scholars did not agree, and this debate has provoked a series of thought-provoking studies into the conception of power and especially the role of negotiation: ibid., 11–14. Brown and Górecki, ‘What Conflict Means’, 31, citing S. D. White, ‘Debate: The “Feudal Revolution”, II’, Past and Present 152, 1996, 205–23.



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means’.7 This seems a valuable notion regarding the case study discussed here because the violent event involving Master Feramin and the sisters at St James’s hospital apparently became part of the negotiation process within the dispute between Archbishop Baldwin and the Canterbury monks. Another related idea derived from Brown and Górecki which seems especially pertinent in the context of the Canterbury dispute is that ‘medieval “mental orders” were very different from modern ones in some important respects’, for ‘medieval people saw the world around them as charged with meaning’.8 Words and deeds had meaning, and so did the physical environment, for instance landscapes, buildings, objects and the use of space. The messages they were capable of imparting might be inherited or acquired, making them valuable ‘resources to be drawn on alongside law or violence’.9 Churches and other religious places were particularly significant with regard to ‘the division and control of this manmade space’, which meant that they or parts within them might be employed as expressions of power or might provoke intense conflict among protagonists.10 Such a situation appears to have occurred at Amiens in the early twelfth century as Bishop Enguerran’s successors used a range of different methods and media to re-establish their responsibility for the community and thereby wrest control of the city from the count and castellan.11 For the bishops, like other authority figures, the ways in which space was used and written about were symbolic, bearing messages that were widely understood and ‘shaped by the perspectives and interests of those doing the mental organising and imagining’.12 ‘The mental organisation and imagination of space was, therefore, ideological’, and it ‘could be used to forge or break relationships, and it could be used to tell stories about friendships or about conflicts that stretched over generations’.13 Hospitals, too, may have offered meanings in terms of ideological spaces, being linked to ideas concerning caritas and hospitalitas, the violation of which provoked condemnation, which seems to have occurred at Canterbury (see below). Moreover in terms of our understanding, conflict narratives pose similar problems because ‘record keepers framed and portrayed what [the] actors in conflicts did and said, [being] shaped by the interests and purposes of those keeping the records’. So ‘to understand medieval conflicts it is vitally important to unravel the frame of reference surrounding each of our sources, to puzzle out the mental order that is shaping or driving the story we are reading, whether that order

7 8

9 10 11 12 13

Ibid. W. C. Brown and P. Górecki, ‘Where Conflict Leads: On the Present and Future of Medieval Conflict Studies in the United States’, in Conflict in Medieval Europe, 265–85, at 276. Ibid. Ibid., 277. J. S. Ott, ‘Urban Space, Memory, and Episcopal Authority: The Bishops of Amiens in Peace and Conflict, 1073–1164’, Viator 31, 2000, 43–75. Brown and Górecki, ‘Where Conflict Leads’, 276. Ibid., 276–7.

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is expressed visually or in writing’.14 The latter is relevant in the case of the ‘defenceless sisters’ at St James’s hospital, requiring a consideration of the texts produced at Christ Church priory. This means, as Brown and Górecki discuss, ‘looking at how parties to conflict thought power should work and what norms they chose to appeal to in order to justify their own positions’, because it is vital to understand ‘how written records functioned within disputing processes’. By so doing it becomes possible to see, amongst other matters, ‘whether written documents or oral testimony served as a means of proof, or [indeed] what diplomatic form dispute records took’.15 This is important because ‘written records and narratives of conflict were themselves tools in waging conflicts; [consequently] it is crucial to understand what role the written document itself played in a dispute if we want to understand how to interpret it’.16 Moreover, as well as the production of the record, it is important to consider the producer, perhaps especially so in the case of monastic chronicles, where ‘images of disputes were frequently crafted by people with partisan interests, [by] people who chose what language to use and which norms to invoke. [Thus] written records are the place where parties in conflict constructed the normative frameworks that justified their behaviour and then deployed them in the arena.’17 Yet it is not just chronicles that could be seen as potential resources in this way, and as Brown has shown using charters from eighth-century Bavaria, disputing parties employed other documents creatively to express ‘norms governing the substance of disputes’ as well as ‘those concerned with disputing procedures’.18 Furthermore, as Patrick Geary, Amy Remensnyder and others have shown, objects such as relics, books and other precious items might be similarly deployed by participants in disputes, using material culture to invoke meaning for their position through what Remensnyder calls ‘imaginative memory’.19 Having considered how conflict takes place by focusing on the idea of process, the interests, choices, strategies and negotiation practices of the participants as they pursue their goals ‘and accommodate (or fail to accommodate) the resulting tension’, the next step is to look more deeply at what conflict may encompass.20 According to Geary, conflict is ‘an aspect of the social order’ and consequently dispute is ‘an inseparable part of a fundamental tension in relations that constitute society, such as power, lordship, authority and legitimacy’, so for him it 14 15 16 17 18 19

20

Ibid., 277. Ibid., 281. Ibid. Ibid., 281–2. W. Brown, ‘The Use of Norms in Disputes in Early Medieval Bavaria’, Viator 30, 1999, 15–39, at 20. P. Geary, ‘Sacred Commodities: The Circulation of Medieval Relics’, The Social Life of Things, ed. A. Appadurai, Cambridge 1986, 169–91; A. G. Remensnyder, ‘Legendary Treasure at Conques: Reliquaries and Imaginative Memory’, Speculum 71, 1996, 884–906; see also her Remembering Kings Past: Monastic Foundation Legends in Medieval Southern France, Ithaca, NY 1995. Brown and Górecki, ‘What Conflict Means’, 9.



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is ‘structure as well as process’.21 This means ‘dispute itself is a resource in the negotiation [of these greater things]; it is, in the nature of things, instrumental to the jostling for advantage in those other, highest-order dimensions of social reality’.22 Thus, as Brown and Górecki point out, disputing is placed within collective practice on the one side and fundamental social and political structure on the other, which has concerned certain historians in recent decades.23 For White, amongst others, is deeply suspicious of structuralism, especially the proposition that in the medieval past there had been sudden changes in the political order stemming from conflict. In order to better understand the relationship between conflict and power, White saw many advantages in turning to local case studies that showed ‘how specific people behave in concrete situations’.24 Using the results of such studies from Brown and Górecki’s collection it appears that ‘strong central powers in the Middle Ages had to be able to wield some degree of coercive military force and to exploit the combination of fear and prestige that coercive power brought with it’. Notwithstanding this ability, the central authority was more likely to reap greater success ‘when it succeeded in engaging someone’s self-interest – that is [to] say, when someone needed or wanted it to have an impact’.25 Nevertheless, as Geary has remarked, ‘the dialectic between central authority and local processes can run in two directions’; so ‘once you start using central authority and its agents for your own purposes, you may allow yourself to be used for its purposes and co-opted by its agenda’.26 Whether the monks at Christ Church priory or, more pertinently to this essay, Master Feramin would have concurred with this view is debatable, yet Feramin’s anxiety at particular times (see below) may indicate his realisation of such ‘dangers’. As a corollary regarding the value of microhistory as a methodological approach, Brown and Górecki stress the danger of seeking a general narrative from a collection of case studies of particular places and times, or an ideal model as a basis for a ‘big picture’ story. Thus even while ‘thinking theoretically, or trying to generalize about large-scale developments, one cannot divorce specific stories about how power developed from their immediate contexts’. This is interesting, and for Brown and Górecki is especially pertinent regarding those cases where ‘personal relationships, history and even physical environments shaped the paths along which power flowed’.27 Thus ‘authority figures such as counts and bishops functioned in these areas because they worked within the webs of relationships that bound local societies together, not because they stood outside or above them’. This meant that ‘in some areas law and the images and

21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Ibid., 17–18, citing especially P. Geary, Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages, Ithaca, NY 1994. Ibid., 18. Ibid. Brown and Górecki, ‘Where Conflict Leads’, 267. Ibid., 269. Ibid., 270. Ibid., 270–1.

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rituals associated with strong lordship [that is coercive authority] were available for the lords to deploy for political purposes, just as images of compromise and consensus were deployed elsewhere’.28 The final theoretical point that seems appropriate for this analysis concerns those within medieval society who did not have access to power. Whilst the focus of most studies remains the people who were able to participate in power, Thomas Bisson has argued that any findings from such research do not apply to the powerless.29 Taking his point Brown and Górecki put forward their own proposition, seeing ‘negotiation as helpful in understanding conflict but at the same time realising that it is not complete or entirely adequate’. For them, ‘negotiation fails to account for coercion, and furthermore, coercion may limit, even eliminate, the parameters of negotiation’. This means that they believe ‘power may, after all, vest very disproportionally among the participants to conflict – in which case, resolutions to conflict are not negotiated, but rather imposed’.30 Although there would seem to be considerable merit in this proposition, it rests in part at least on the limited availability of the extant sources for the earlier medieval period compared to later centuries. As Davis, Ginsburg, Shagan and others have shown, marginal and other disadvantaged groups were at times able to employ strategies, such as the construction of depositional narratives or symbolic gestures, appropriated from those seen as their oppressors.31 This is not to imply that there were no ‘victims’ but to underline the need, wherever possible, to employ close reading techniques with respect to the available sources, and to be aware of such possibilities.32 Such a proposition may have some validity with respect to Master Feramin and his hospital, though the evidence is tantalisingly limited and difficult to assess.

The Dispute Because this dispute between Archbishop Baldwin and his cathedral monks is widely known, this section provides only a general outline of events before turning to Master Feramin who, for the purposes of this case study, is the pivotal figure among the various parties.33 For the monks of Christ Church, Richard of 28 29 30 31

32 33

Ibid., 272. Ibid., 282–3, citing T. N. Bisson, Tormented Voices: Power, Crisis, and Humanity in Rural Catalonia, 1140–1200, Cambridge, MA 1998. Brown and Górecki, ‘Where Conflict Leads’, 283. N. Z. Davis, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France, Stanford, CA 1987; C. Ginsburg, The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, trans. J. Tedeschi and A. Tedeschi, Baltimore, MD 1983; E. H. Shagan, Popular Politics and the English Reformation, Cambridge 2003. This essay collection indicates the potential for such close reading: Muir and Ruggiero, Microhistory. Gervase of Canterbury provides a detailed account of this dispute; as would be expected his sympathies are with his fellow monks – see also Stubbs’s ‘Introduction’, in The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 73, London 1879–



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Dover (1174–84) had been an ideal archbishop, overseeing the great building programme to provide a suitable resting place for their murdered archbishop and greatest asset. Moreover, he was deeply interested in the management of the monastic community, seeing its welfare as part of his remit.34 However, the choice of Baldwin (1185–90) as his potential successor was unlikely to provide the monks with the same support, which probably explains their attempt to have their own nominee installed; this initial disagreement can be seen as symptomatic of the relationship during the new archbishop’s time in office. For the monks, not only was Baldwin a Cistercian and a scholar, but also another stranger with his own household of clerks, a stranger who had gained considerable experience regarding diocesan management during his time first at Exeter and then at Winchester. Even though this situation was not new, it did present particular problems because, unlike in the organisation of the secular cathedrals, Baldwin was not in a position to reward his household clerics through their appointment as prebendaries.35 Notwithstanding this dilemma, if Baldwin had looked to the past, the omens were not propitious because William of Corbeil, one of his predecessors, had tried unsuccessfully to organise a college of Augustinian canons by refounding St Martin’s at Dover, but was foiled on that occasion by the Christ Church monks (he was successful at the smaller St Gregory’s priory, Canterbury).36 Yet after his election in 1184, Baldwin seems almost immediately to have started his project to establish a new college of canons to the north of Canterbury in the extra-mural settlement at Hackington. Furthermore, his plans were extremely ambitious because he intended to have between sixty and seventy canons: the stalls allocated one to the king, one each to every bishop in the southern province and one to every church held in the archbishop’s gift.37 Baldwin intended that his new establishment, dedicated to the martyrs Stephen and Thomas, would be funded from the archiepiscopal property that had been alienated to the monks by his immediate predecessor, that is by part of the offerings at Becket’s shrine and four churches which had been appropriated to the almonry. To achieve his objective Baldwin needed papal approval and, in the early stages, he was successful. However, the Christ Church monks were not prepared to surrender control over what they saw as part of ‘their’ revenue, so

34 35 36

37

80. For a brief and less censorious description that highlights the scandalous nature of such disputes having taken place at all, see ‘The History of William of Newburgh’, in The Church Historians of England, ed. J. Stevenson, 5 vols in 8, London 1853–8, iv pt. ii, 611–12; William of Newburgh, ‘Historia Rerum Anglicarum’, in Chronicles of the Reigns i, 391–4. For a modern assessment, see C. Holdsworth, ‘Baldwin of Forde, Cistercian and Archbishop of Canterbury’, Annual Report [Friends of Lambeth Palace Library], 1989, 13–31. M. Gibson, ‘Normans and Angevins, 1070–1220’, in A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. P. Collinson, N. Ramsay, M. Sparks, Oxford 1995, 66. W. L. Warren, Henry II, Berkeley, CA 1973, 549. C. Haines, Dover Priory, Cambridge 1930, 60–70; S. Sweetinburgh, The Role of the Hospital in Medieval England: Gift-Giving and the Spiritual Economy, Dublin 2004, 129; M. Sparks, ‘St Gregory’s Priory, Canterbury: A Re-assessment’, Archaeologia Cantiana 118, 1998, 77–90. Gibson, ‘Normans and Angevins’, 67.

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impoverishing themselves in terms of their potential influence over questions of archiepiscopal nomination. As a consequence, they too appealed to Rome and the papal curia became one of the principal battlegrounds in what would become a long-running dispute. Both protagonists needed allies, and Henry II backed his archbishop, as did the Cistercian monasteries both in England and in continental Europe, and Baldwin also received the support of most of the bishops in England.38 Kinship ties were also significant, and Henry II’s son-in-law, Henry the Lion, favoured the archbishop, his lead followed by the king and queen of Sicily. The monks were similarly able to marshal support from royal and religious personages such as Philip of France, Philip of Flanders and the Cluniac monks, as well as certain Benedictine houses, which meant that in some places, as at Rochester, the bishop and the monks supported opposing sides.39 Of the other monastic houses in Kent, Faversham actively supported their fellow Benedictines, the prior on more than one occasion acting on Christ Church’s behalf (see below), while Boxley abbey, as a Cistercian house, strongly backed Baldwin, though those at St Augustine’s abbey watched but did not take sides, perhaps regarding such a quarrel as advantageous from their own standpoint. The abbeys in France were similarly split, and also the college of cardinals, but, in part, this was due to certain other agendas among these senior churchmen. Outside the church both sides received support from men among Henry II’s chief advisors and magnates; and this division was mirrored among other sectors of society, including, most importantly, the citizens of Canterbury.40 After three years and several popes, the dispute was no nearer to reaching a conclusion that the archbishop or his monks would accept, and, by this time, the prior of Christ Church was pursuing his house’s grievance in person at the papal curia. Baldwin, too, was not prepared to give way, though he had made little progress after his early successes and was contemplating moving the site of his new college from Hackington to the parish of St Dunstan’s (in February 1187), that is near to the centre of his archiepiscopal manor of Westgate just outside the city’s jurisdiction. Almost a year later he attempted a different strategy, sending the bishop of Rochester with a retinue of knights and canons from Hackington to the priory. There the bishop angrily lectured the monks in their own chapter house, in an attempt to persuade them to give up the community’s position or to surrender their treasure and seal. The monks refused, but Baldwin’s arrival at Wingham a few days later initiated a further escalation in the dispute. Baldwin’s supporters attacked the monks in the priory, the sub-prior barely having time to strip the altars and suspend divine service before he found

38 39

40

H. Mayr-Harting, ‘Henry II and the Papacy’, JEH 16, 1965, 39–53, at 45–6. A similar, though far less ambitious attempt, was carried out at Rochester by Bishop Gilbert through his foundation of the hospital of St Mary at Strood in the early 1190s: A.  Oakley, ‘Rochester Priory, 1185–1540’, in Faith and Fabric: A History of Rochester Cathedral, 604–1994, ed. N. Yates, Kent History Project, Woodbridge 1996, 29–55, at 30–1. W. Urry, Canterbury under the Angevin Kings, London 1967, 165.



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himself and his brethren effectively imprisoned within the claustral buildings. What, in some ways, amounted to a state of siege lasted for well over a year, from January 1188 to about Easter time the following year.41 During this period few of the monks were able to ‘escape’ but it does not appear to have stopped letters passing in and out of the priory.42 Furthermore, pilgrims and the convent’s supporters, but not its servants, were apparently also able to maintain contact with those within, supplying them with food and other necessities. This may, in part, reflect local feeling that the city needed St Thomas and Christ Church as Christ Church needed St Thomas and Canterbury. And this recognition also seemingly extended to the wealthy and, perhaps, in some ways, influential Jewish population who also aided the monks.43 Even though the situation was not promising for those confined within their cloister, the prior of Christ Church had been successful in Rome, and two of the convent’s trusted supporters were directed to deliver a papal bull to Canterbury, excommunicating those who had attacked the monastery. The two men were the prior of Faversham and Master Feramin, whose loyalty had been noted in a letter of the previous July.44 Travelling to Canterbury, the prior and Feramin arrived on 15 April, Good Friday, and the next day the prior, in his address, castigated those who had attacked Christ Church.45 He repeated his performance from the pulpit three days later on 19 April, and again on 23 April; the monks by this date had finally received the chrism from the archbishop and so were able to resume celebrating mass.46 After the initial execution of the papal mandate, Feramin seems to have had some misgivings and, at an audience with the king in London, Henry’s wrath must have worried him still further, though by that time the king’s instruction forbidding him to follow the pope’s decree was too late.47 The prior and monks were particularly angry about the behaviour of some of their late servants, and, as a way of highlighting their disloyalty, they recorded their names, calling them the principalities and powers of the evil business.48

41 42

43

44 45 46 47 48

Ibid., 166. Much of the dispute can be followed in the letters produced by and sent to the monks: see the introduction and individual letters in Chronicles and Memorials of the Reign of Richard I, vol. 2, Epistolae Cantuarienses, ed. W. Stubbs, RS 38, London 1865. Urry, Angevin Kings, 166; M. Alder, Jews of Medieval England, London 1939, 52, 55. Nothing similar appears to have occurred elsewhere, and in the mid-thirteenth century (1261 and 1264) the Canterbury Jews were attacked. With regard to the latter occasion, Gervase reported that nearly all the Jews were ‘destroyed or expelled’: D. Cohn-Sherbok, ‘Medieval Jewish Persecution in England: The Canterbury Pogroms in Perspective’, Southern History 3, 1981, 23–37, at 32–3, 36. On Jewish/Christian relations more generally, see P. Hyams, ‘The Jewish Minority in Medieval England, 1066–1290’, Journal of Jewish Studies 25, 1974, 270–93; G. I. Langmuir, ‘The Jews and the Archives of Angevin England: Reflections on Medieval Anti-Semitism’, Traditio 19, 1963, 183–244. Epistolae Cantuarienses, 56–7. Ibid., 198–200. Ibid., 202–3, 206–7. Ibid., 201–2. An interesting choice of words, recalling the middle and junior orders of angels, which would underline the status of these men within the monastery as well as their

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As a consequence of the actions of the prior of Faversham and those at Christ Church, Baldwin’s supporters in the city rioted, receiving support from many of the local clergy who said that the papal mandate had no legal power within the diocese. These priests who were loyal to Baldwin also tried to ensure that their parishioners continued to associate with those who had been excommunicated, and a priest called Thomas even refused to baptise a dying child until the father swore on the gospels not to avoid those who had been excommunicated.49 The king seems to have known what was occurring in Canterbury and his intervention, commanding that those who refused to associate with the excommunicated should be imprisoned, must have made the situation even worse. The next move involved several among the archbishop’s followers who, presumably believing that they were implementing Henry’s instructions, imprisoned Ralph, Becket’s nephew, and others in the new city jail. Not content with imprisoning them, members of the pro-Baldwin party then tried to burn down the jail, but their night-time raid was unsuccessful because they set off the local dogs. A skirmish followed with the priory’s supporters and, later on, the archbishop’s supporters targeted the houses of their prisoners in the jail, throwing stones at the roof tiles, all of which deeply worried the prior at Christ Church who renewed his plea for help to the pope.50 Another local target in Canterbury was St James’s hospital. Robert de Bechetune led a party of Baldwin’s supporters across the city boundary to the south of Hollow Lane, whereupon they attacked the hospital’s possessions (and the leprous women). According to Gervase, Robert was one of the canons of Hackington, and it is conceivable that he is Robert the parson of Hackington who appears in the priory’s rental c.1180 as the holder of land in Worthgate ward.51 Robert and his men also drove off the hospital’s cattle and sheep that may have been grazing in the hospital’s fields in the same ward, which is perhaps more than just a coincidence, though Robert’s land was within the city walls.52 Feramin’s appeal to the papacy for protection only enraged his opponents still further, and they persecuted him yet again.

49 50 51 52

having misused the power and trust placed upon them: Imogen Corrigan, personal communication. The ringleader was ‘Godefrid the baker, [that] man of Belial, the others being John the cook, William the watchman [alias the gatekeeper], Gilbert the clerk, Jun of Barton and Thomas Croc’: Epistolae Cantuarienses, 202. Urry provides information about these men. Godefrid the baker was married with at least three children (all saved by St Thomas according to the ‘Miracles’) and seemingly lived in a street close to the main Christ Church priory gate, though he also held land in the vicinity of St James’s hospital; William the gatekeeper also had interests close to the cathedral gate, apparently holding the site of a slaughter yard, which would have been near to the Bullstake; John the cook lived in the suburb of Northgate, as Thomas might also have done, and so was close to the priory’s domestic buildings; Jun was relatively close by, the priory’s barton sited on the road to Sturry; Gilbert the clerk’s holding was down by the river Stour on Stour Street: Urry, Angevin Kings, 160, 162, 163, 166–7, 229. Urry, Angevin Kings, 167; Epistolae Cantuarienses, 201, 209. Epistolae Cantuarienses, 209. Urry, Angevin Kings, 244, 282. Ibid., 167; Gervase of Canterbury i, 427.



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Nonetheless, these violent activities in and around Canterbury were not sustained and the action during the remainder of 1188 and the early months of 1189 was confined primarily to Rome and France, the latter because the king and Baldwin were abroad.53 Henry seems to have continued to support Baldwin during the remainder of his life, even when he was adopting a mediatory role. Even though the king’s death might have stopped Baldwin from pursuing his goal, the archbishop was not prepared to give way and, initially at least, the new king, Richard, was seemingly willing to back his father’s archbishop by keeping the papal legate, who was to act for Christ Church, out of England. But conditions were changing and the new king’s likely departure within a short time on crusade may have meant that Baldwin realised he was unlikely to be successful, especially once Richard put forward a new compromise during his visit to Canterbury in November 1189. Baldwin’s death abroad, though not finally ending archiepiscopal ambitions at Hackington (and from 1190 at Lambeth), probably still marked their likely disappointment, yet for several years Hubert Walter continued his predecessor’s quest. Consequently in 1191, when Feramin was one of those called upon to see to the demolition of what remained of the college at Hackington, he may have felt that this was only just.54 Yet notwithstanding the ending of the quarrel in 1199 and the monks’ apparent victory, Hubert Walter and his successors took the opportunity to build a great hall at the archbishop’s palace, next to Christ Church. This magnificent hall was second only in size to Westminster Hall and perhaps contained considerable amounts of stone from the aborted college buildings.55

Master Feramin and St James’s Hospital So what do we know about Master Feramin? According to William Stubbs, he had been a member of Becket’s household who at some point transferred his allegiance to the priory.56 As the convent’s physician he would have been a frequent visitor to the infirmary, but probably also to other buildings within the monastic complex as well as the herb garden. His education and medical knowledge may have made him an important and highly valued member of the community, perhaps a friend of the prior, who was prepared to trust him with vital convent business, requiring him to travel on the monks’ behalf across Europe. Unfortunately none of the priory’s accounts indicate the level of salary he received

53 54 55

56

Epistolae Cantuarienses, 210ff. Ibid., 341. The Archbishop’s Palace, Canterbury, ed. J. Rady et al., Canterbury Archaeological Trust (reprinted from the Journal of the British Archaeological Association 144, 1991), 6–10; R.  Eales, ‘The Political Setting of the Becket Translation of 1220’, in Martyrs and Martyrologies, ed. D. Wood, Studies in Church History 30, 1993, 127–39, at 137. If the description of Feramin as the monks’ physician reflects his position when he saw the vision of Becket at Pentecost before the saint’s martyrdom, he would seem to have changed his allegiance by May 1170: MTB i, 143.

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but his successor in the early thirteenth century received two marks annually.57 Presumably both men had treated the leading citizens as well as the monks, their private practice making them prosperous and probably well-respected members of the city’s elite.58 Feramin was also a landholder in Canterbury, holding at least two plots from Christ Church in St Margaret’s parish, a further plot in the central city parish of St Mary Bredman and possibly also in St Alphage’s parish.59 Those in St Margaret’s parish were substantial and he may also have had other holdings from other landlords. Yet, even if this was the extent of his landholdings, he seems to have been considered of sufficient social stature by several religious houses in Canterbury to be a witness, and sometimes the first witness, of a number of charters.60 Consequently he seems to have played an active role inside the various precincts and outside in the city, his public persona apparently marking him as a respected member of the city, whose network of relationships covered several of the key institutions in Canterbury. His standing in the community, both within and beyond the cloister, was presumably also enhanced by the two visions he had concerning Thomas Becket. In the first, which he saw on the vigil of Pentecost before Becket’s martyrdom, the archbishop was riding with Henry II behind the monks’ procession, the monks loudly praising God as they passed the campanile and went round towards the monastery.61 At that point they halted, silence falling as they saw a golden cross from which a golden crown was hanging by three chains. A voice coming from heaven spoke, giving the names of those who could belong to this cross, that is those whose names were to be written in the book of life. Feramin then saw the archbishop approach the cross and place gold and jewels on the crown; the king did likewise. His second vision was recorded as having taken place in the cathedral, and again involved a premonition of Becket’s martyrdom.62 After receiving a warning from a gatekeeper that only those crowned could enter, Feramin, in his vision, attired himself appropriately and, having prayed at the high altar, went down into the crypt. There he saw many seated queens, splendidly attired and crowned, but very sad. Joining them and going through their midst he came to a doorway where Becket’s body had been lain since his murder, and above which he saw a great golden cross with a man on it. Feramin exclaimed in wonder at the sight and was then warned not to forget what he had seen. 57 58

59 60

61 62

Urry, Angevin Kings, 158. Though he was a monk as well as a physician, Simon is known from a court case (dated 1218) to have treated people in York, including the woman he seduced: C. Rawcliffe, Medicine and Society in Later Medieval England, Stroud 1995, 113, citing Rolls of the Justices of Eyre for Yorkshire, ed. D. M. Stenton, Selden Society 56, London 1937, 377–8. Urry, Angevin Kings, 259, 288, 292, 300. CCAL, MS DCc/ChAnt C856; The Register of St Augustine’s Abbey Canterbury Commonly Called The Black Book, ed. G. J. Turner and H. E. Salter, 2 vols, London 1915–24, ii, 484, 506, 590; Cartulary of the Priory of St Gregory, Canterbury, ed. A. M. Woodcock, Camden 3rd series 88, London 1956, 14, 24, 25, 97, 98. I should like to thank Dr David Wright for his detailed translation of these: MTB i, 143. Ibid., 144–5.



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Although any interpretation is fraught with difficulty, it is conceivable that certain elements within these visions – such as the crown suspended by the three equal and balanced chains of the Trinity, the voice of God, the book of life and the presence of the joyful monks, Becket and Henry in the first vision – denote the importance of harmony on various levels, as well as Feramin’s piety as the privileged observer. The second vision confirmed and, indeed, enhanced his spirituality because not only was he an observer of the weeping queens, but he was seen to be worthy of a crown himself, as endorsed by the crucified Christ and the queens, accepting the palm (of victory) from Becket at the martyred archbishop’s first tomb in the cathedral crypt.63 Presumably his visions were common knowledge, positioning him not only in the saint’s company, but also in that of the convent, which too was favoured by God. Feramin’s other known claim as a pious individual comes from his association with St James’s hospital, possibly as its first master but not the founder. The founder appears to have been Godefrid de Malling several decades before the events of the 1180s, whose family held land in Sussex from the archbishop as well as in Thanington, and who seems to have had several dealings with the monks at Christ Church concerning his Sussex properties.64 His daughter, in 1166, held land in St Margaret’s parish, Canterbury, from the monks, and this too may have been part of her father’s estate.65 How Feramin came to be master and when this occurred is unknown but the position seems to have offered him certain advantages, not least the rectory of Bredgar which he received for life from Henry II in an undated charter, the rectory passing thereafter to the leper hospital. It is possible that the charter was produced before Baldwin’s time as archbishop because there is no reason to suppose Henry would have wished to reward one of those who actively opposed his archbishop.66 Moreover, Feramin seems to have turned to the pope for assistance after the events in the spring of 1188, which would not have endeared him to Henry either. Yet if the grant was earlier, it demonstrates the complex networks of patronage because the archbishop’s supporters, and by inference those of the king, were seen to attack an individual and an institution that might have expected to receive at least a

63 64 65 66

I am grateful to Imogen Corrigan for sharing her observations regarding the symbolism contained within Feramin’s narrative. Godefrid’s daughter confirmed her parents’ gifts and that of her husband: BL, MS Add. 32098, fol. 1. Urry, Angevin Kings, 53–4. Although it is difficult to be sure, the witness list may indicate the early 1180s because among the witnesses were Bartholomew dapifer and Alwredo de sancto Martino and probably Bishop Seffrid of Chichester, the Canterbury men listed in other contemporary charters: BL, MS Add. 32098, fol. 1v; Urry, Angevin Kings, 413, 415. A copy of the deed, but without the witness list, is included in the Christ Church registers and letter books, where it is dated to c.1185: CCAL, MS DCc/Register B, fol. 426v; Literae Cantuariensis: The Letter Books of the Monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury, ed. J. B. Sheppard, 3 vols, RS 85, London 1887–9, iii, 76–7; Kent Chantries, ed. A. Hussey, Kent Records 12, 1932, 80.

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measure of royal protection.67 Thus, in terms of the conflict between archbishop and convent, the hospital was a powerless player or even bystander, the lepers seen to be part of the process of coercion rather than negotiation. As a result of the appeal to the pope for aid, though, the narrative of the assault and its aftermath in the hands of Gervase became a part of the greater narrative that could be employed by Feramin’s patron and by inference might have been of ‘value’ to the leprous sisters. For Feramin and St James’s hospital, but even more for the monks, the recording of the events of 1188 was part of the process of negotiation. This recording took a number of forms, and possibly the most valuable for these participants was Gervase’s detailed but selective narrative of the conflict as part of his wider chronicle.68 How and what was recorded and matters such as ordering and vocabulary, for example the eliciting of sympathy and the projection of the righteousness of the cause, gave him and his fellow monks the means to place their version of events before an audience which potentially was inside and outside the precincts, and was contemporaneous and in the future. Though not without precedent, to harass a religious house, albeit one containing lepers, was an act that cast the perpetrators as wicked because they could be envisaged as attacking Christus quasi leprosus.69 This idea that the leper (maybe even Christ in disguise) was spiritually superior through his suffering on earth as he engaged in a religious vocation was part of late twelfth-century piety, thereby placing his tormentors on a par with those who had tormented Christ before his crucifixion. This concept would have done little for the reputation of the archbishop’s supporters, especially if it was, in a sense, added to the victimisation of Ralph, the imprisoned nephew of Becket, who may at the time have been master of the pilgrim hospital dedicated to his uncle.70 In terms of examining the processes involved in conflict, also important were the different textual forms, including chronicles, letters, petitions and hagiography, employed by the monks. These provided a variety of opportunities to order the written record for their own benefit, but also perhaps for others such as those at St James’s hospital. Even though the hospital’s contribution was apparently passive, neither Feramin nor the lepers had any say in the selecting, ordering and copying of the material, yet, still through its very presence in the letters themselves, its role as victim placed the hospital (and those within it) with Christ and many of the saints as patient sufferers, who would (eventually) triumph.71 Furthermore, Feramin’s presence as master of the hospital, especially in his charitable role as physician, underlined the association between Christ

67 68 69 70 71

Again undated, the hospital’s cartulary contains a grant from Henry to Master Feramin, as custos of the hospital, whereby none is to molest it: BL, MS Add. 32098, fol. 1v. Gervase of Canterbury i, 427. C. Rawcliffe, Leprosy in Medieval England, Woodbridge 2006, 58–64. Although it is not clear exactly when he was master of St Thomas’s hospital, it was early in the house’s existence: Urry, Angevin Kings, 199. Rawcliffe, Leprosy, 59, 124–5.



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and St James’s.72 This link was strengthened even more through Feramin’s two visions and his apparently spiritual relationship with the martyred archbishop. For the monks, the recording of materials covering Becket’s life and miracles, and, in this instance, Feramin’s two visions, showed the master of St James’s hospital as an intermediary (as observer and participant) in the saint’s exchanges with the monks, which was perhaps envisaged as mutually beneficial. Through the intertwining of narratives in the creation of an overarching grand narrative of the quarrel, the Christ Church monks might use it as part of the negotiation process, but it also had the potential to provide them with a record for posterity, a matter of some importance for a community comprising the dead, the living and those to come.73 It is not clear whether Feramin was able to procure papal protection for the sisters at St James’s hospital in the immediate aftermath of the raid in 1188, but seemingly he turned to the priory within a few years to act as guardian and overseer. By the terms of the agreement, the priory gained the right and responsibility to appoint three priests to perform divine service daily and to select the twentyfive leprous women.74 This, in effect, placed the hospital under the patronage of Christ Church, its position comparable to St Lawrence’s hospital vis-à-vis St Augustine’s abbey, though unlike that hospital St James’s had received nothing by way of endowment or benefaction from its new mother house.75 Nor, apparently, does this new arrangement appear to have resulted in a wave of further grants; instead the evidence from the hospital’s only surviving cartulary seems to show that it was Henry’s earlier gift of Bredgar that was the catalyst for a series of small grants from several inhabitants of that community and those nearby.76 However, from other later evidence, the hospital is known to have held certain lands in and around Canterbury, including the site of the civic authorities’ Lyon inn, and it is conceivable that some citizens may have been drawn to support St James’s in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.77 Nevertheless, Feramin and his hospital’s place in the conflict may have given him an opportunity to safeguard St James’s, especially once the monastic community could turn its attention outwards after it had rid itself of the archbishop’s canons. As a victim of Baldwin’s supporters, its apparent powerlessness was in some ways a bargaining counter which Feramin may have placed alongside his own active role on the monks’ behalf in the conflict. Moreover, the hospital’s position outside the city’s boundary, and thus jurisdiction, made it an attractive daughter establishment, especially as it bordered one of the main 72 73

74 75 76 77

Ibid., 112. The neighbouring priory of St Gregory in Canterbury appears to have adopted a similar approach – using various texts and seals – in its dispute with St Augustine’s over St Mildred’s relics: S. Sweetinburgh, ‘Anglo-Saxon Saints and a Norman Archbishop: “Imaginative Memory” and Institutional Identity at St Gregory’s Priory, Canterbury’, in The Regular Canons in the British Isles in the Middle Ages, ed. J. Burton and K. Stöber, forthcoming. CCAL, MS DCc/Register B, fol. 426; Literae Cantuariensis iii, 77. CCAL, MS Lit. C20, 9–10, 34. Many of these are dated, mainly from the reign of Henry III: BL, MS Add. 32098, fols 3vff. Kent Chantries, 82–5.

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thoroughfares into the city, and its lands, including the hospital’s home farm, straddled the city boundary. By the late twelfth century the priory was already the major landlord in Worthgate ward, and the addition of the hospital’s lands would strength its grip on the suburb of Wincheap, as St Augustine’s abbey had done in the extra-mural parish(es) of St Paul’s (and St Lawrence’s) and the archbishop in St Michael’s (and St Nicholas’s), Harbledown.78 Wincheap was, furthermore, a particularly valuable area, comprising the road from Ashford and the link to Stone Street via Hollow Lane (adjacent to the hospital site), the wagon and timber markets, commercial assets such as lime, brick and gravel works, a considerable acreage of pasture and water meadows, and woodland, especially in the neighbouring area to the south.79 To conclude, the conflict between Baldwin and his cathedral monks drew in adherents from across Europe as well as those in England, making it for contemporaries a major episode in late twelfth-century European politics. Not only did several monarchs become involved but so did a succession of popes. In addition, the different religious houses also joined the warring factions, which meant that sometimes the order was split, and this similarly affected England’s senior churchmen. This international level of the dispute is important, both then and also now, for the light it sheds on the politics of conflict. Nevertheless this is not the only level, and the local dimensions of the conflict for those living in Canterbury may have been envisaged as equally significant, not least in terms of what had become a fast-growing pilgrimage trade in which both the monks and the citizens had a vested interest. Similarly, by focusing down even further onto the sisters at St James’s hospital and their custodian, Master Feramin, it has been possible to make some observations concerning the processes which encompass conflict. Of particular interest would seem to be the apparent interplay between negotiation and coercion for those at the hospital, though trying to ascertain how this may have been understood and employed by the participants is more problematic. Yet one aspect that seems especially noteworthy was the deployment of a range of texts, which might be said to reinforce collectively Christ Church’s and Feramin’s stance in the dispute process by providing moral and spiritual capital, and hence validity, for their own actions. Thus this investigation would seem to bear out the validity of White, Brown and Górecki’s emphasis on the value of exploring specific personal relationships and concrete situations. In addition, while taking due consideration of their misgivings regarding the problems of seeking the ‘big picture’, this case study has demonstrated the significance of such observable matters as the employment of different textual forms in the history of the dispute that would appear to offer useful markers for the wider study of medieval conflict.

78 79

Both the hospitals of St Lawrence and St Nicholas had parochial responsibilities locally: CCAL, MS U60; Kent Chantries, 137. P. Bennett and S. Sweetinburgh, An Archaeological and Historical Desk Assessment of the Wincheap Industrial Estate, Canterbury Archaeological Trust 2008, 11–19.

11 Crown, Cathedral and Conflict: King John and Canterbury* Paul Webster

Canterbury cathedral, its archbishops, monks and the relics of its saints hold a prominent place in the events of the turbulent reign of King John. The disputed election to the archbishopric, resulting in the choice of Stephen Langton at the behest of Pope Innocent III, the king’s refusal to acknowledge this, and the ensuing sentences of interdict and excommunication are all well known.1 This essay will consider specific aspects of the relationship between king, cathedral and archbishop, focusing on John’s religious outlook, and on the contrast between royal actions and their portrayal in the major narrative histories of the day. It will argue that Canterbury cathedral ranked alongside Bury St Edmunds and Westminster as an important centre of royal pilgrimage in the early years of John’s reign, a role that has been unrecognised hitherto. The king’s pilgrimages demonstrate that the cult of St Thomas Becket was as important to John as those of canonised kings such as St Edmund the Martyr and St Edward the Confessor. In addition, John’s activity stands in sharp contrast to the notion that Becket’s status as a ‘political’ or ‘anti-royal’ saint in some way precluded royal efforts to appeal for the saint’s intercession.2 After brief consideration of the influence of Hubert Walter (archbishop of Canterbury 1193–1205) on John, the essay will examine the relationship between the king and the Canterbury monks in the years 1205 to 1213, a period usually considered in terms of the struggle between king and pope over the election of Stephen Langton as archbishop. The *

I should like to thank Elma Brenner, David Crouch, Erin McGibbon Smith, Helen Nicholson, Nicholas Vincent and Carl Watkins for their suggestions and help.

1

See, for example, M. D. Knowles, ‘The Canterbury Election of 1205–6’, EHR 53, 1938, 211–20; C. R. Cheney, ‘King John and the Papal Interdict’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 31, 1948, 295–317; C. R. Cheney, ‘King John’s Reaction to the Interdict on England’, TRHS 4th series 31, 1949, 129–50; C. R. Cheney, Pope Innocent III and England, Stuttgart 1976. On political and ‘anti-royal’ sainthood, see J. C. Russell, ‘The Canonisation of Opposition to the King in Angevin England’, in Anniversary Essays in Medieval History by Students of Charles Homer Haskins, ed. C. H. Taylor, Boston, MA 1929, 279–90, at 279–81, and the discussion below, 208.

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eventual papal victory obscures an important question, particularly relevant to the early part of the dispute: how did John justify his anti-papal standpoint? In his critical assessment of H. G. Richardson’s and G. O. Sayles’s account of the interdict, C. R. Cheney noted that the authors considered the interdict from the point of view of Westminster rather than Canterbury, with instructive, but flawed, results.3 The validity of their approach is nonetheless worth emphasising. The behaviour of the Canterbury monks was crucial in shaping the king’s reaction. Evidence for this exists in sources directly relevant to the dispute, and in the wider corpus of contemporary narrative accounts, traditionally seen as creating the prevailing image of John as an irreligious tyrant.

King John’s Pilgrimages to Canterbury, 1199–1205 From the beginning of his reign, John regularly visited Canterbury, and the shrine of St Thomas Becket – the archbishop of Canterbury martyred in his own cathedral by Henry II’s men in 1170.4 He only stayed away in 1200 and 1202, when his affairs largely confined him to the continent, and between 1208 and 1212, when he resisted the appointment of Archbishop Langton.5 John’s visits to Canterbury often occurred as part of an itinerary that included other major shrine sites.6 In 1199, the king came to Canterbury within his first month in England as monarch. His combined pilgrimage in this period seems ripe with potential significance. His coronation took place at Westminster abbey, in the shadow of the shrine of St Edward the Confessor (king of England 1043–66), whose canonisation in 1161 had been promoted by John’s father, Henry II, and with whom the Angevin kings claimed kinship.7 John then travelled to Bury St Edmunds, ‘impelled by a vow and out of devotion’ to St Edmund, king and martyr, the ninth-century king of East Anglia killed by Viking invaders in 869.8 He perhaps also prayed at the tomb of St Alban, the third-century saint regarded 3

4 5

6

7 8

H. G. Richardson and G. O. Sayles, The Governance of Medieval England from the Conquest to Magna Carta, Edinburgh 1963, 337–63; C. R. Cheney, ‘A Recent View of the General Interdict on England, 1208–1214’, Studies in Church History 3, 1966, 159–68. For a brief summary of Becket’s life and cult, see D. H. Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 4th edn, Oxford 1997, 472–4. See T. D. Hardy, ‘Itinerary of King John &c.’, in Rotuli Litterarum Patentium in Turri Londinensi asservati. Vol. 1, pt. 1, 1199–1216, ed. idem, London 1835, unpaginated. In 1200, John spent seven months of the year in his continental lands; in 1202 he was there all year. He also spent the first eleven months of 1203 in his overseas territories. The king’s itinerary for 1211 is largely unknown. On the significance of royal itinerant pilgrimage, see N. Vincent, ‘The Pilgrimages of the Angevin Kings of England 1154–1272’, in Pilgrimage: The English Experience from Becket to Bunyan, ed. C. Morris and P. Roberts, Cambridge 2002, 12–45. See B. W. Scholz, ‘The Canonisation of Edward the Confessor’, Speculum 36, 1961, 38–60. Gervase of Canterbury, The Gesta Regum with its Continuation, in The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 73, London 1879–80, ii, 92; Radulfi de Diceto, Lundonienses decani, Ymagines Historiarum, in Radulfi de Diceto decani Lundoniensis Opera Historica, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 68, London 1876, ii, 166; Jocelin of Brakelond.



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as the first British martyr.9 Upon completing his pilgrimage at Canterbury, where St Thomas’s tomb was already the foremost shrine in England, John hastened back to Normandy to secure his continental inheritance. The king repeated some or all of this pilgrimage on two occasions. In 1201, his route south from Yorkshire and Northumberland brought him to Bury St Edmunds on 19 March. Within a week he was at Canterbury, where, on Easter day, he and his queen were crowned by Archbishop Hubert, who went to ‘great, not to say superfluous, expense, in entertaining them’.10 Four days after leaving Canterbury, John was at Westminster.11 Within a fortnight, between Palm Sunday and the first Sunday after Easter, John had visited three of the most important shrine sites in England. This was one of the most important periods in the religious calendar, but there is also a sense that John went to Canterbury to be reconciled with Archbishop Hubert, who had angered John at Christmas, when the royal celebrations at Guildford had been matched by those of the archbishop at Canterbury. The Easter crown-wearing perhaps represented a mutual recognition of the status of both parties. Nonetheless, Ralph Diceto observes that the great men present were there at the invitation of the archbishop.12 A similar pilgrimage occurred prior to Christmas 1203, following John’s return after more than eighteen months on the continent. The king arrived in England on the feast of St Nicholas (6 December), went to St Edmunds on 18 and 19 December, and then to St Thomas’s shrine at Canterbury on Christmas day.13 Visits to Westminster or St Albans are not recorded, but are not impossible.14 These pilgrimages seem as significant as those made after John’s coronation. His return to England in December 1203 created the impression that he had abandoned Normandy to its fate. However, in early 1204, John began preparations to lead an army to the duchy, and was only thwarted by the momentum of Philip Augustus’s successful military campaign.15 This suggests that in December 1203,

9

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Chronicle of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, ed. D. Greenway and J. Sayers, Oxford and New York 1989, 102–3. On St Edmund, see Farmer, Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 151–2. Rogeri de Wendover liber qui dicitur Flores Historiarum ab anno domini MCLIV annoque Henrici Anglorum Regis Secundi Primo, ed. H. G. Hewlett, 3 vols, RS 84, London 1886–9, i, 288. Wendover claims that John visited St Albans the day after his coronation, although this is not corroborated elsewhere. On St Alban, see Farmer, Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 10–11. Rogeri de Wendover i, 311; Radulfi de Diceto ii, 172; Gervase of Canterbury, Gesta Regum, 93. John’s presence at St Edmunds is noted in Annales S. Edmundi a.1–1212, ed. F. Liebermann, Ungedruckte Anglo-Normannische Geschichtsquellen, Strasburg 1879, 139. Roger of Howden records the Easter crown-wearing at Canterbury: Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, ed. W. Stubbs, 4 vols, RS 51, London 1868–71, iv, 160. Hardy, ‘Itinerary’. Radulfi de Diceto ii, 172. Annales S. Edmundi, 143; Hardy, ‘Itinerary’; Rogeri de Wendover i, 320. This assumes that the king’s route from Newbury (Berkshire) to Ongar (Essex) took him through London, and therefore Westminster. There could have been time for a visit to St Albans, but this is entirely speculation: Hardy, ‘Itinerary’. P. Webster, ‘King John and Rouen: Royal Itineration, Kingship, and the Norman “Capital”, c.1199–c.1204’, Cardiff Historical Papers 2008/3, 8–9.

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John’s pilgrimages sought combined saintly intercession to support his renewed campaign: the situation was serious, but with the right backing it was not irretrievable. Whilst John’s combined pilgrimages to Bury, Canterbury, Westminster and, perhaps, other shrines are important evidence of devotional activity by the king, they were not innovative. The saints concerned held an established place in royal religious activity. Henry II had provided crucial backing for the canonisation of Edward the Confessor, made at least two pilgrimages to the shrine of St Edmund (in 1177 and 1188), and made regular journeys to Canterbury between 1174 and 1189.16 The practice of visiting these shrine sites in combination may have begun under Richard I, whose brief visits to England (in 1189 and 1194) were characterised by his desire either to set out on crusade or to launch renewed campaigns on the frontiers of Normandy as soon as possible. Richard made a gift to St Thomas at the time of his coronation, and his first stopping point after this was St Albans.17 Richard also ‘piously sought after St Edmund for the purpose of prayer’.18 The latter pilgrimage took place in November and early December 1189, when the king travelled from Westminster to Bury St Edmunds (where he was probably present on the saint’s feast day), back to Westminster, and then on to Canterbury, where he spent several days.19 Richard went to Canterbury to resolve the dispute between the archbishop and monks over the former’s proposed collegiate foundation at Hackington, but the combination of visits to shrine sites seems significant.20 John was probably aware of this precedent. He does not appear to have accompanied Richard to Bury in 1189, but he was at Canterbury, and had good reason to remember what took place there. Not only did he witness various charters, he was also absolved by the papal legate, John of Anagni, from the interdict imposed on him by Baldwin of Canterbury (archbishop 1184–90) because of his consanguineous marriage to his second cousin, Isabella of Gloucester. In addition, Richard bestowed the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset on his younger brother.21 Richard I’s second visit to England, in spring 1194, produces another example of combined pilgrimage. Within a week of landing at Sandwich on 13 March, Richard had

16

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18 19 20 21

Scholz, ‘Canonisation’, 53–9; A. Gransden, A History of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds 1182–1256. Samson of Tottington to Edmund of Walpole, Woodbridge 2007, 63; A. J. Duggan, ‘Diplomacy, Status and Conscience: Henry II’s Penance for Becket’s Murder’, in Forschungen zur Reichs-, Papst- und Landesgeschichte. Peter Herde zum 65. Geburtstag von Freunden, Schülern und Kollegen dargebracht, ed. K. Borchardt and E. Bünz, Stuttgart 1998, 265–90, at 278–84. L. Landon, The Itinerary of King Richard I with Studies on Certain Matters of Interest connected with his Reign, London 1935, 3–5; Chronicles and Memorials of the Reign of Richard I, vol. 2, Epistolae Cantuarienses, ed. W. Stubbs, RS 38, London 1865, 308. Radulphi de Coggeshall Chronicon Anglicanum, ed. J. Stevenson, RS 66, London 1875, 97. Landon, Itinerary, 13–21. Richard was at Bury on 18 and 21 November 1189. The saint’s feast fell on 20 November. For Hackington and the settlement of November 1189, see J. Gillingham, Richard I, New Haven and London 1999, 110–11. See also Sheila Sweetinburgh’s essay in this volume. Landon, Itinerary, 19, 21.



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visited Canterbury, London and Bury St Edmunds.22 Gervase of Canterbury would have us believe that the king insisted on visiting Canterbury cathedral before any other church in England.23 Both Richard and John travelled to important English shrines at critical moments in their reigns, at times when each had only recently arrived in England. Is there further significance in this? The inclusion of Westminster and Bury St Edmunds, seen in the light of Angevin support for the cults of St Edward and St Edmund, could indicate royal desire to foster a cult of sanctified kingship.24 However, whilst the Canterbury crown-wearing of 1201 suggests that the king was keen to emphasise his royal status and the deference that should be paid to him, he did not prioritise the royal cults. The king’s pilgrimages to Canterbury came at important times in the religious calendar, including the solemnities most closely associated with the life, death and resurrection of Christ. In 1199, John is recorded in the city on 12 June, the eve of Trinity Sunday.25 His later pilgrimages coincided with Easter day in 1201 and Christmas day in 1203. On each occasion, John spent an important religious day at Canterbury, as opposed to the sites of royal shrines, such as that of St Edmund, king and martyr at Bury, or St Edward the Confessor at Westminster. John’s grants to Canterbury cathedral in these early years of his reign further suggest his reverence to the saints buried there. Two confirmation charters, from late September 1199, were issued out of reverence for the Blessed Thomas and all the saints whose relics were buried in the cathedral.26 A grant of October 1204 mentioned the king’s reverence for St Thomas, and shows that such expressions of devotion were not confined to the confirmations of the early months of the reign.27 This is hardly religious giving on the scale of a king such as Henry III, but in terms of the evidence for John’s piety it suggests that the king venerated St Thomas in the early years of his reign. This devotion stands up to comparison with John’s largesse to Bury St Edmunds, and provides more concrete evidence of gifts in honour of the saints than can be found for Westminster abbey.28

22 23 24

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Radulphi de Coggeshall, 63; Landon, Itinerary, 85. Gervase of Canterbury, The Chronicle of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I, in Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury i, 524. On Angevin support for St Edward and St Edmund, see Scholz, ‘Canonisation’, 53–9; Gransden, Bury St Edmunds, 63–4; P. Webster, ‘King John’s Piety, c.1199–c.1216’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cambridge 2007, 74–6. Hardy, ‘Itinerary’. Trinity Sunday was certainly observed in England in this period. Jocelin of Brakelond refers to the ‘office’ observed on the feast day, whilst the Stanley annalist noted this as the day of Stephen Langton’s consecration as archbishop of Canterbury in 1207: Jocelin of Brakelond, 23; Annals of Stanley, in Chronicles of the Reigns ii, 509. Rotuli Chartarum in Turri Londoninensi asservati, Vol. 1, pt 1, 1199–1216, ed. T. D. Hardy, London 1837, 22b, 23a. Ibid., 138a. For St Edmund, see Webster, ‘King John’s Piety’, 74–6. For Westminster, see Rotuli Chartarum, 139b. John was at Westminster on the feast St Edward’s translation (13 October) in 1204 and 1213: Hardy, ‘Itinerary’. Potential evidence of a bond between John and Westminster is provided in Annals of Stanley ii, 522–3.

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It seems, therefore, that Canterbury, and the shrine of St Thomas, occupied a place alongside the royal cults in John’s efforts to secure intercession for his soul. In other words, the king attached as much importance to the veneration of major canonised churchmen as he did to that of important royal saints. Canterbury, as the site of the premier cathedral church and foremost saint’s shrine in England, was an appropriate place for a king to express his devotion to the saints, and to mark major religious occasions. Perhaps this helps to explain John’s strategy in the early years of his reign. He did not intend to pursue one means of possible intercession (and potential salvation) to the exclusion of all others. Thus there was nothing contradictory in venerating St Edmund, St Edward and St Thomas, and in coming to Canterbury in time for major feast days. This conclusion contradicts the suggestion that John sought to foster the cult of sanctified kingship.29 That this comes as a surprise is due to the theory put forward in 1929 by J. C. Russell that St Thomas was the first and foremost of a ‘noteworthy series of contemporary anti-royal leaders who were honored, partially at least, as saints’, in whom ‘resistance to the king had been canonized’.30 Russell argued that as ‘saints ranked higher than kings in the Middle Ages’, the crown might seek to counteract this ‘by weighting the balance of sainthood on their own side’.31 It is certainly true that rebels against the crown might invoke the aid of St Thomas. Furthermore, Henry II sought the benefits of claiming a canonised ancestor when he supported the campaign to make Edward the Confessor a saint.32 And the association between the royal saint and the crown is clear in Henry III’s rebuilding work at Westminster. It is tempting to see John’s actions in a similar way. However, it is important to be wary of attempting to impose unity on these activities: there was no long-term plan to marginalise the Canterbury saints. Bernard Scholz convincingly argues that Henry II’s support for Edward the Confessor’s canonisation (proclaimed in 1161) was linked to Henry’s desire to provide the crown with a ‘halo of inherent sanctity’ in its relationship with the English church.33 But this position was untenable after the murder of Archbishop Becket in December 1170. Henry II recognised this, if not immediately then by the time of his penances at Avranches in 1172 and, in particular, before Becket’s tomb at Canterbury in 1174. Thereafter, he became a regular pilgrim to Canterbury – visiting each time he returned to England from the continent (with the exception of 1188, when the cathedral was under interdict).34 This discussion has shown that there is ample evidence for devotion at Canterbury on the part of Richard I and John. Even Henry III’s commitment 29

30 31 32 33 34

For a similar view, see R. Eales, ‘The Political Setting of the Becket Translation of 1220’, in Martyrs and Martyrologies, ed. D. Wood, Studies in Church History 30, 1993, 127–39, esp. 138–9. Russell, ‘Canonisation of Opposition’, 279–81. Ibid., 256. Scholz, ‘Canonisation’, 53–4, 56–7. Ibid., 53–9. Duggan, ‘Diplomacy, Status and Conscience’, esp. 272–84. See also A. J. Duggan, ‘Henry II, the English Church and the Papacy, 1154–76’, in Henry II. New Interpretations, ed. C. Harper-Bill and N. Vincent, Woodbridge 2007, 154–83.



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to St Edward the Confessor was not pursued to the exclusion of Becket. The compatibility of the two cults had been demonstrated to Henry in 1220 when, within the space of a few weeks between mid-May and early-July, Archbishop Langton masterminded the re-coronation of the king in Westminster abbey, followed by the translation of the relics of St Thomas to their new shrine at Canterbury.35 The possibilities for parallel devotion to the Confessor and Becket were not lost on Henry III in later years. In addition to his lavish patronage of Westminster, he emulated his predecessors in coming to Canterbury as a pilgrim and making offerings there. He celebrated his marriage to Eleanor of Provence at Canterbury in 1236.36 John’s pilgrimages in the early years of his reign demonstrate a similar awareness of the potential for seeking the combined intercession of the saints. This combination of devotion – to St Thomas, St Edmund and St Edward – is of particular importance. The dispute over Hubert Walter’s successor at Canterbury, and the ensuing years of interdict, would have provided John with the perfect excuse to promote sanctified royalty. There is no evidence that he tried to do so. Indeed, in the last decade of his life, his preferred saint was a bishop, St Wulfstan of Worcester, beside whose tomb the king chose to be buried. Whilst John may have invoked Wulfstan’s dispute with Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury over the former’s royal appointment to episcopal office, had John really been set on promoting royal saints over others the interdict would surely have presented a golden opportunity.37

Archbishop Hubert Walter: Spiritual Advisor to the King The pilgrimages of John’s early years as king gave way to a rather different relationship between king and cathedral as his reign wore on. The pivotal event was the death of the archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter, in 1205. The significance of this should not be underestimated. For a man who had allegedly counselled William Marshal that the choice of John as king would become the 35 36

37

Eales, ‘Political Setting’, 127–39. For an indication of Henry III’s devotion to the cult of St Thomas, see A. J. Duggan, ‘The Cult of St Thomas Becket in the Thirteenth Century’, in St Thomas Cantilupe Bishop of Hereford. Essays in His Honour, ed. M. Jancey, Leominster 1982, 21–44, at 31; P. Binski, Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets. Kingship and the Representation of Power 1200– 1400, New Haven and London 1995, 4. For some of Henry’s gifts in honour of Becket, see Calendar of the Liberate Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office. Henry III. Vol. I. A.D. 1226–1240, ed. W. H. Stevenson, London 1916, 356, 404, 488; Calendar of the Liberate Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office. Henry III. Vol. II. A.D. 1240–1245, ed. J. B. W. Chapman, London 1930, 17; Close Rolls of the Reign of Henry III preserved in the Public Record Office. A.D. 1237–1242, London 1911, 175, 181, 208, 227. Webster, ‘King John’s Piety’, 79–82; P. Draper, ‘King John and St Wulfstan’, Journal of Medieval History 10, 1984, 41–50, at 46–7; Annales de Burton (A.D. 1004–1263), in Annales Monastici, ed. H. R. Luard, 5 vols, RS 36, London, 1864, i, 211, 213; E. Mason, ‘St Wulfstan’s Staff: A Legend and its Uses’, Medium Aevum 53, 1984, 157–79, at 159; E. Mason, St Wulfstan of Worcester c.1008–1095, Oxford 1990, 281–3.

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biggest regret of his life, Hubert was nonetheless heavily involved in government, and was a major influence on the king.38 The archbishop’s contribution involved practical achievements, such as chancery reform, and Hubert’s efforts, again alongside William Marshal, in dissuading the king from going to war in the spring of 1205.39 In addition, his influence on the king’s piety should be acknowledged as an important element in the relationship between John and Canterbury. Hubert’s influence can be seen in three ways. First, as a committed supporter of the Cistercians, of whom he became a confrater in 1195, he stood up for the order when it incurred John’s anger in the opening months of the reign. The reconciliation saw the king promise to found a Cistercian abbey, an idea plausibly attributed to Archbishop Hubert.40 The king told the assembled Cistercian abbots that the house would be built ‘for the good of my soul and those of my parents, and for the steadfastness of my kingdom’, adding that he wished to be buried there.41 Although John sought advice over the proposed foundation in February 1201, a papal letter records that a year later the archbishop prompted the king to fulfil his commitment. The letter reveals the second area of Hubert’s influence: that of confessor and spiritual counsellor to the king. Innocent III noted that John had confessed his sins, and that the archbishop had advised him to provide one hundred knights for the Holy Land and to build a Cistercian monastery.42 Clearly, Canterbury’s archbishop was an important influence in bringing about the construction of the Cistercian house of Beaulieu in Hampshire. Nonetheless, John’s commitment to the project survived Hubert, and can be demonstrated throughout the reign.43 Thirdly, Archbishop Hubert attempted to involve the king in his projected refoundation of the secular college at Wolverhampton as a Cistercian monastery. The archbishop promised that the new monks would perform services in perpetuity for the king’s soul and for the salvation of his ancestors and heirs, during his lifetime and after his death.44 King John was occasionally associated with such provision, akin to the chantry foundations that became popular later in the thirteenth century. He was no trendsetter in this regard.45 Nonetheless, in 38 39 40

41 42

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For Hubert’s advice to William Marshal, see History of William Marshal, ed. A. J. Holden et al., London 2004, ii, 93–7 lines 11836–908. C. R. Cheney, Hubert Walter, London 1967, 108; W. L. Warren, King John, London 1974, 111–16. C. Harper-Bill, ‘John and the Church of Rome’, in King John. New Interpretations, ed. S. D. Church, Woodbridge 1999, 289–315, at 300; Radulphi de Coggeshall, 102–10; Cheney, Hubert Walter, 82–4. See also Webster, ‘King John’s Piety’, 62–3. Rogeri de Houedene iv, 145. For February 1201: Rotuli Chartarum, 101a. For the papal letter of March 1202, see Selected Letters of Pope Innocent III concerning England (1198–1216), ed. C. R. Cheney and W. H. Semple, London 1953, 37–9. Webster, ‘King John’s Piety’, 61–72. Rotuli Chartarum, 115a. See, for instance, the commemoration established following the death in 1183 of John’s elder brother Henry the Young King by his widow Margaret of France and his brother Geoffrey of Brittany: D. Crouch, ‘The Origin of Chantries: Some Further Anglo-Norman



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the case of Wolverhampton the promise of prayers for the king appears to have secured some royal support, although the proposed refoundation was abandoned following Hubert’s death.46

King John’s Standpoint during the Canterbury Election and its Aftermath When Hubert Walter died, on 12 or 13 July 1205, John lost a lynch-pin of government and a principal advisor in spiritual matters. However, the king did not anticipate trouble over the vacant archbishopric. He had dealt with vacant bishoprics before. The results were often contentious, but he had a habit of getting his way. The cathedral chapter usually received a royal visit shortly after the bishop’s death.47 In 1205, John was particularly quick off the mark. He made ‘all speed to Canterbury’, apparently covering roughly 120 miles in little more than a day.48 When he arrived, his attitude was conciliatory. He ‘made arrangements concerning the archbishop’s affairs in fatherly fashion’, and ‘said with sufficient kindness many things with the monks concerning the putting in place of another pastor’.49 The implication was that the monks might be allowed to choose one of their own. These kind words were no forecast of the crisis to come. In July 1205 the election was postponed to allow both the cathedral monks and the suffragan bishops of the archiepiscopal province of Canterbury to appeal to the pope over the issue of who held the right to elect the new archbishop.50 Before they dispatched their delegation, the monks conducted a secret archiepiscopal election, choosing Reginald, their sub-prior. He swore an oath only to reveal his election if it appeared that the monks’ claims were about to be thwarted, but when he arrived in Rome he immediately requested consecration. When the bishops’ proctor objected, Innocent III delayed giving confirmation. Meanwhile,

46

47 48

49 50

Evidence’, Journal of Medieval History 27, 2001, 159–80, at 172. I am grateful to Professor Crouch for sending me a copy of this article. See also H. M. Colvin, ‘The Origin of Chantries’, Journal of Medieval History 26, 2000, 163–73. Rotuli Chartarum, 115a, 135b, 152b, 153a, 154a; Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum in Turri Londinensi asservati, Vol. 1, 1204–1224, ed. T. D. Hardy, London 1833, 8a, 20b, 25b, 56a. See also Webster, ‘King John’s Piety’, 41–8. Cheney, Innocent III, 125–6. Radulphi de Coggeshall, 159–61; Knowles, ‘Canterbury’, 215, 216. John is recorded at Brill on 13 and 14 July, and at Canterbury from 15 to 20 July: Hardy, ‘Itinerary’. It is just possible that John could have left Brill early on 14 July and reached Canterbury late on 15 July. To have travelled so quickly, John would have to have known that Hubert was dying. Hubert died at Teynham, some 13 miles from Canterbury: Cheney, Hubert Walter, 173–4. There was barely time for a messenger leaving Teynham on 13 July to reach the king at Brill (some 105 miles). However, Gervase of Canterbury, Gesta Regum, 98, records that Hubert died on 12 July and that John arrived at Canterbury three days later. This would still bring him to Canterbury on 15 July and, at a brisk pace, would make it possible that the king covered the distance in the time available. Radulphi de Coggeshall, 159; Gervase of Canterbury, Gesta Regum, 98. Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum, 56b.

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John returned to Canterbury in December 1205. The monks denied having held a secret election and proceeded, no doubt under royal instruction, to elect the king’s preferred candidate, John de Gray, bishop of Norwich. Gray’s subsequent arrival in Rome prompted Innocent III to take matters into his own hands. He rejected the claims of the suffragan bishops to a role in the election, quashed the elections of Reginald and of Gray, and summoned new electors from the ranks of the Canterbury monks. At the pope’s prompting, these men elected the English cardinal, Stephen Langton, noted master of the Paris schools and one of the leading theologians of the day, a man who would go on to play a significant role in the issuing of Magna Carta and in supporting the minority government of Henry III.51 King John objected to Langton’s appointment, refused him admission into England, and in 1207 expelled the monks of Canterbury cathedral, driving them into exile on the continent. Innocent III threatened, and then imposed, sentences of interdict on England (1208–14) and excommunication of the king (1209–13). Historical analysis of these events has consistently considered the interdict from the papal perspective.52 However, one important question is worthy of further investigation: how did John justify his actions as the stand-off developed? In many ways, the king met his match in the Canterbury monks, who were used to disputes in the papal curia, and experienced in conducting business there. But in the early phase of the crisis, John might have felt justified in arguing that they were in the wrong – creating a grievance that helps explain his treatment of the monks. King John increasingly sensed that the Canterbury monks had deceived him. Between July and December 1205 the king appears to have been a man of his word. When he came to Canterbury in July, he persuaded the cathedral monks and the suffragan bishops to postpone the election until St Andrew’s day, 30 November. He is not recorded there again until 1 December.53 The time delay to allow for appeals was not unusual.54 It perhaps allowed John to seek a papal order directing the monks to choose a specific candidate. David Knowles describes this as ‘diplomacy and bribery’, arguing that John ‘probably acted in collusion with the bishops’.55 A note of caution is, however, required. If the suffragan bishops supported the king in arguing that the monks should elect a particular nominee, then this would contradict their own petition seeking a part in the election. Nonetheless, John might have sought the security of a papal guarantee that 51

52 53 54

55

Knowles, ‘Canterbury’, 211–20. For a summary of Langton’s career, see C. Holdsworth, ‘Langton, Stephen (c.1150–1228)’, ODNB, Oxford 2004, www.oxforddnb.com/view/ article/16044. For example, Cheney, Innocent III. Hardy, ‘Itinerary’. For the Canterbury elections of 1191 and 1193, see R. V. Turner and R. R. Heiser, The Reign of Richard Lionheart. Ruler of the Angevin Empire, 1189–99, London 2000, 133–5. See also Z. N. Brooke, The English Church and the Papacy from the Conquest to the Reign of John, Cambridge 1952, 224–5. D. Knowles, The Monastic Order in England. A History of its Development from the Times of St Dunstan to the Fourth Lateran Council, 943–1216, Cambridge 1949, 364.



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when royal licence to elect was granted, the chosen candidate would receive Innocent III’s approval.56 The parallel case of the disputed election of Peter des Roches to Winchester – which came to its conclusion in the papal curia in the summer of 1205 – suggests that the king had grounds for thinking that his wish would be granted in the case of Canterbury. Peter was John’s preferred candidate for Winchester and Innocent III’s judgement expressed his willingness to meet the king’s desires. The caveat was that this was to be in so far as was proper, but the king probably saw this as a sign that he would continue to get his way.57 When the Canterbury envoys arrived in Rome in the summer or autumn of 1205, and Sub-Prior Reginald sought confirmation of his election, royal supporters at the papal curia (such as Peter des Roches) are likely to have relayed news of the secret election to the king in England.58 It is unclear when the king received this information, but as he did not appear at Canterbury until shortly after the date that had been fixed in July, this suggests that he had only recently become aware that he had been deceived. The monks proceeded to their second deception – informing John that they had not made an election – clearing the way for the orchestrated promotion of John de Gray, whose career at Norwich suggests that he may have been a suitable choice for elevation to Canterbury.59 At this stage, John might have thought that proceedings were back on track. If so, he would soon have discovered the extent of the monks’ deception – with two candidates in Rome claiming to have been properly elected at Canterbury. Here there is another possible link between the affairs of Canterbury and Winchester. After Hubert Walter’s death, John was told of the ‘noble and distinguished’ chapel furnishings the archbishop had bequeathed to the cathedral community. ‘Amazed at what he saw’, John took the chapel goods and gave them to the bishop of Winchester.60 Gervase of Canterbury makes this sound like a process concluded within a few days in 1205. In fact, the ‘chapel’ is first recorded in John’s possession in January 1206, and was not given to Peter des Roches until late March, just in time for Palm Sunday, the day of the new bishop of Winchester’s enthronement.61 The ‘chapel’ consisted of high status liturgical garments, made of fine cloths and richly decorated.62 They were certainly suitable for use at the enthronement of a bishop. It seems possible that Hubert Walter had intended the vestments for the inauguration of his successor at Canterbury. Indeed, when King John took them 56

57

58 59 60 61 62

C. R. Cheney, ‘A Neglected Record of the Canterbury Election of 1205–6’, BIHR 21, 1946–8, 233–8, at 233. Here, the lack of a royal licence to elect is cited as one reason for the irregularity of the election of Sub-Prior Reginald, albeit one to which Innocent III did not call attention. Harper-Bill, ‘John and the Church of Rome’, 303. On Winchester, see Cheney, Innocent III, 144–7; N. Vincent, Peter des Roches. An Alien in English Politics, 1205–1238, Cambridge 1996, 47–55. See Knowles, ‘Canterbury’, 216–17. Ibid., 216–18; Cheney, Innocent III, 76; Harper-Bill, ‘John and the Church of Rome’, 294. Gervase of Canterbury, Gesta Regum, 98. Rotuli Litterarum Patentium, 58b, 60a–b. Ibid., 58b; Cheney, Hubert Walter, 176.

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into his possession, he perhaps planned to confer them on John de Gray upon the latter’s installation as archbishop. John’s gifts to religious houses sometimes included items borrowed from the community he was supposedly supporting.63 John possibly took Hubert’s chapel in much this manner, intending to return it as a gift to John de Gray upon his investiture as archbishop. But the machinations of the Canterbury monks thwarted his aim, and the royal curialis Peter des Roches, having successfully secured the bishopric of Winchester, returned from Rome early in 1206, when the problems of the Canterbury election would have been prominent in the king’s mind. Hence, it might be argued, the bestowal of the vestments on Bishop Peter. If this hypothesis is correct, there would also be a sense in which John was punishing the Canterbury monks and rewarding Winchester.64 Whether or not the affairs of Canterbury and Winchester were interlinked in this period, John clearly felt deceived by the Canterbury community. Innocent III acknowledged this when he took matters into his own hands in 1206, quashing the election of Reginald and complaining to Prior Geoffrey and the convent of their duplicity.65 Innocent also quashed the election of John de Gray, arguing that it had been made when the problem of Reginald’s election and the issue of the right to elect were still sub judice. The exertion of undue royal pressure when Gray was elected provided a further possible reason for the pope’s rejection of his claim.66 The events that culminated in the election of Stephen Langton, seen from the king’s perspective, caused John to bear a grudge against the Canterbury community. Their secret election, and denial that it had taken place, had resulted in the royal candidate being elected in a manner that would not stand up to papal scrutiny. Successive candidates had appeared at the papal curia, both claiming that the convent had elected them. This caused the pope to take matters into his own hands, robbing the king of what he perceived as his right to be involved in the election. This created a precedent that John felt he had to resist.67 The king regarded the behaviour of the Canterbury monks as treason. A papal letter to Stephen Langton, dated 27 May 1208, summarised John’s atti63

64 65 66

67

John borrowed a silk cloth from the sacrist of Bury St Edmunds for his offering at the abbey in 1199: Jocelin of Brakelond, 103. In 1203, he substituted an annual sum of ten marks in lieu of a ruby and sapphire he had offered to the saint but then decided to keep until his death: Rotuli Litterarum Patentium, 37b; Rotuli Chartarum, 114b. When he visited Worcester in 1204, John borrowed a pall from the cathedral’s sacrist to make his offering: Rotuli de Liberate ac de Misis et Praestitis regnante Johanne, ed. T. D. Hardy, London 1844, 84; The Great Roll of the Pipe for the Sixth Year of the Reign of King John, Michaelmas 1204. (Pipe Roll 50), ed. D. M. Stenton, London 1940, 89. For further royal support for Winchester cathedral and its bishop in this period, see Vincent, Peter des Roches, 53. The Letters of Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) concerning England and Wales. A Calendar with an Appendix of Texts, ed. C. R. Cheney and M. G. Cheney, Oxford 1967, 116. The Deeds of Pope Innocent III, by an Anonymous Author, ed. J. M. Powell, Washington, DC 2004, 238; Knowles, ‘Canterbury’, 218. In December 1206 Innocent cleared John of the charge of intimidation: Cheney, ‘Neglected Record’, 234, n. 1. J. Sayers, Innocent III. Leader of Europe 1198–1216, London and New York 1994, 45.



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tude. The king felt ‘in many ways aggrieved in the business of the church of Canterbury’. He had nonetheless promised that the monks could return from their expulsion, ‘although … he believes that they plotted treasonably against him’.68 This was nearly three years after Hubert Walter’s death, eighteen months after the election of Langton, and almost a year since John had expelled the monks from Canterbury. He clearly still regarded them with loathing. Later, the anonymous Canterbury chronicle, which cannot have been composed before 1213 at the earliest, argued that John judged the Christ Church monks guilty of usurping his rights and disobeying his command.69 The king was not alone in finding the monks difficult to deal with. Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury and his successor Hubert Walter had engaged in lengthy (and unsuccessful) struggles with the cathedral community over the proposed archiepiscopal college foundation at Hackington. In 1198–9, this had led to three instances of the seizure of the monks’ property by royal officials.70 Stephen Langton, once he was accepted by John and admitted to England in 1213, did not spend much time at Canterbury.71 In the 1220s, it was even reported that Innocent III had contemplated replacing the monks with secular canons.72 Finally, in the 1230s, Edmund of Abingdon (archbishop of Canterbury 1234–40) revived the projected collegiate foundation of the late twelfth century. The monks responded by forging an elaborate charter of liberties, which they claimed had been granted by St Thomas Becket. The forgery was detected, and the prior of Canterbury cathedral, John of Chetham, forced to resign.73 Given that John believed that the Canterbury community had committed treason, it is possible to see why he felt justified in reacting against them as the dispute turned into a showdown between king and pope over whether Langton was to be accepted as archbishop. It was unwise to cause King John to bear a grudge – witness the fates of Arthur of Brittany and the Briouse family.74 In 1207, John expelled the monks, determining that ‘not one of them should remain’, and acting as if ‘he neither feared God nor respected men’.75 A year later he ordered that ‘the few blind and lame monks, who remained … should be

68 69

70

71 72 73

74 75

Deeds of Pope Innocent, 240–1. See also Letters of Pope Innocent, 131. Fragmentary Chronicle, with Appendix of Letters, relating to the Events connected with the Election of Archbishop Langton to the See of Canterbury, in Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury ii, lxiii; Knowles, ‘Canterbury’, 212. On the course of the dispute, see Epistolae Cantuarienses; Gervase of Canterbury, Chronicle, 29–68, 337–594; Gervase of Canterbury, Actus Pontificum, in Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury ii, 325–414. See also Sheila Sweetinburgh’s essay in this volume. Cheney, Innocent III, 150–1. Interdict Documents, ed. P. M. Barnes and W. R. Powell, London 1960, 56, n. 1. C. R. Cheney, ‘Magna Carta Beati Thome: Another Canterbury Forgery’, in Medieval Texts and Studies, ed. C. R. Cheney, Oxford 1973, 78–110, at 97–102. See also C. H. Lawrence, St Edmund of Abingdon. A Study in Hagiography and History, Oxford 1960, 164–8. Warren, King John, 81–3. Gervase of Canterbury, Gesta Regum, 99–100.

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expelled and whoever was connected with the monks … [was] a public enemy’.76 These events were linked to the imposition of the interdict and the exile of the bishops. But how did John see his actions? Seizing the lands of bishops and abbots who had chosen exile was one thing: the king presumably regarded them as fair targets, men guilty of dereliction of duty.77 The difference in the case of Canterbury is that the monks were driven into exile. If John believed that they had committed treason, he presumably regarded their presence in his kingdom as unacceptable. The extent of John’s anger is further revealed by the exploitation of the monks’ lands during their exile. Their assets were systematically sold off, particularly crops and animals. The monks’ woodland was treated as a source of revenue, a means of maintaining income after other stocks had been auctioned.78 John ordered all the woods of the archbishopric and priory to be sold.79 The exploitation was severe and sustained. The first custodian, Fulk de Cantilupe, raised some £1,500 between July 1207 and January 1208, whilst the penultimate custodian, John fitz Hugh, accrued around £1,700 between June 1211 and August 1212.80 Although there were some areas of administrative continuity, elsewhere the king did little to keep his men in check.81 The Canterbury monks were to be an example to those who sought to contradict what John perceived as his customary rights. However, contemporary opinion was not universally hostile to the king. He had little trouble finding people to enforce his orders, and to carry out this exploitation. John is renowned for surrounding himself with unscrupulous individuals – not least John fitz Hugh – so this should not come as a surprise. But the custodians had no difficulty finding people to buy the fruits of their despoliation. This suggests a wider dissatisfaction with the Canterbury monks.82

The Canterbury Crisis in the Narrative Sources There is a limit to how far these arguments can be pushed. There is a case that King John justified his actions on the basis that the Canterbury monks had deceived him to the extent of committing treason. But this was not the view of

76

77 78 79 80 81 82

Ibid., 101; Rotuli Litterarum Patentium, 74a. Sixty-four monks were expelled in 1207: Annales Monasterii de Wintonia (A.D. 519–1277), in Annales Monastici ii, 80. For the weak and ill monks expelled in 1208: Annals of Stanley, 509; Annales S. Edmundi, 145. Cheney, ‘John and the Papal Interdict’, 304. Interdict Documents, 48–50. Annales Monasterii de Waverleia (A.D. 1–1291), in Annales Monastici ii, 265; Rotuli Litterarum Patentium, 75b; Cheney, Innocent III, 146–8. Interdict Documents, including the discussion at 48–53. For administrative continuity, see ibid., 46, 48, 52–3, 55. It may not have been uncommon for people willingly to purchase monastic possessions in such circumstances. Helen Nicholson informs me that there was a similar reaction when the lands of the Knights Templar were seized following the dissolution of the order. A further parallel with the behaviour of landowners at the dissolution of the monasteries might also be made.



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Pope Innocent III, nor was it the opinion of contemporary historical commentators. In reconstructing John’s relationship with the Canterbury monks this essay has focused on sources directly relevant to the dispute: papal and royal letters, documents charting the treatment of the Canterbury estates following the monks’ expulsion, and chronicles such as those of Gervase of Canterbury. It is also worth considering how contemporary or near-contemporary narrative accounts reacted to the crisis and the behaviour of the cathedral community. The narratives condemned John for his treatment of the Canterbury monks and the exiles, but nonetheless provide evidence of the arguments put forward by the king. Not everyone joined the Worcester annalist in seeing the king’s reaction as that of a ‘disturbed’ man, or the Stanley chronicler, who regarded the expulsion of the monks as a principal reason for the imposition of the interdict.83 This view was echoed by the ‘Barnwell’ annals, which are in fact likely to have originated at Peterborough abbey, and which have been described as ‘the best, the fullest and most sophisticated’ set of annals of John’s reign.84 This source explored the reasons for the expulsion, explaining that the king reacted badly to the rejection of John de Gray and the choice of Langton. The annals add that, in the eyes of ‘the mob’, the exiles were viewed as outlaws.85 Even Roger of Wendover, indispensable in terms of understanding John’s posthumous demonisation, recorded that the annulment of Gray’s election and Langton’s promotion ‘exceedingly enraged’ the king. He accused the monks of treachery, citing the successive stages of ‘their iniquity’: the election of the sub-prior, the subsequent election of John de Gray, the receipt of money from the crown when they promised to seek approval of Gray’s election, and finally the election of Langton, the king’s ‘public enemy’. Again, there is a sense that John felt betrayed. This is reinforced in the account of the monks’ expulsion. Wendover noted that the king’s orders were issued as if the monks ‘were guilty of a crime against his injured majesty’. The community was ordered ‘to depart immediately from the kingdom of England as traitors’.86 Roger of Wendover has been described as painting ‘the sinister portrait of King John which has passed muster from that day to this’.87 His Flores Historiarum was composed at some point between 1204 and Wendover’s death in 1236, with the account of John’s reign likely to have been written after 1220, when the crises of his rule remained fresh in the memories of the chroniclers.88 So whilst it is not surprising that

83 84

85 86 87 88

Annales Prioratus de Wigornia (A.D. 1–1377), in Annales Monastici iv, 395; Annals of Stanley, 509–10. A. Gransden, Historical Writing in England c. 550 to c. 1307, Ithaca, NY 1974, 318. For detailed discussion of the origins of this chronicle, see R. Kay, ‘Walter of Coventry and the Barnwell Chronicle’, Traditio 54, 1999, 141–67. Annals of Barnwell Priory, in Memoriale Walteri de Coventria, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 58, London 1872–3, ii, 199, 211–12. Rogeri de Wendover ii, 38–9. V. H. Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, Glasgow 1961, 19. On the date of composition of the Flores Historiarum, see Gransden, Historical Writing, 359; Galbraith, Roger Wendover, 9, 16–21. For a summary of Roger’s career, see D. Corner,

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Roger portrayed John in a negative light, it is interesting that he reflects the view of royal policy demonstrated by other sources. The narrative accounts also provide evidence that the Canterbury monks were unpopular amongst their contemporaries. Wendover condemned those who expelled the monks, but observed that John’s ‘knights were not slow to obey the commands of their lord’. There is also a sense that the king’s anger specifically targeted the Christ Church monks. John brought in replacement monks, from St Augustine’s, Canterbury, ‘to perform the duties’ in the cathedral. In fact, he may have brought in substitutes from a range of nearby houses: Rochester and Faversham as well as St Augustine’s.89 This introduces a new element to John’s behaviour. At the time of the expulsion in 1207, it appears that the king was keen to ensure that it should be business as usual in Canterbury cathedral. Again, he apparently found people willing to carry out his will, this time from the ranks of men of religion. There is also a hint that the monks were not united in the face of John’s oppression. Some ‘deserted their brothers’, and were consequently seen as outcasts: ‘in the manner of Cain, wandering and fugitive they dwelt on the earth’.90 The Canterbury monks receive little attention in accounts of the resolution of the dispute. The ‘Barnwell’ annals simply list them amongst returning exiles, before proceeding to an account of John’s absolution.91 The Dunstable annalist is something of an exception, relating that an advance party of monks was sent to recover their possessions, adding that the priory had sustained damages comparable to those of the bishopric of Lincoln during the period of royal exploitation.92 Elsewhere, the monks’ return was barely noted. Wendover, for instance, said nothing about them, by contrast with his detailed account of John’s absolution from excommunication in 1213, in terms indicative of outward contrition on the part of the king.93 One question stands out: why did the reconciliation take place at Winchester rather than Canterbury? Winchester had a tradition of close ties to the crown, and its bishop, Peter des Roches, was one of the king’s closest advisors. Nonetheless, it is interesting that Archbishop Langton was prepared for the ceremony to take place away from the spiritual centre of his archdiocese. Perhaps it reflects the willingness of a man who was ‘fundamentally a mediator’ to accommodate the king’s wishes and bring about reconciliation.94 Langton’s decision that it was better to go to Winchester suggests that the king

89 90 91 92 93 94

‘Wendover, Roger of (d. 1236)’, ODNB, Oxford 2004, www.oxforddnb.com/view/ article/29040. Rogeri de Wendover ii, 39; Annales S. Edmundi, 145. Annals of Barnwell Priory, 199. Ibid., 213. Annales Prioratus de Dunstaplia (A.D. 1–1297), in Annales Monastici iii, 37–8, 39. Rogeri de Wendover ii, 81. See also Annals of Barnwell Priory, 213. J. W. Baldwin, ‘Master Stephen Langton, Future Archbishop of Canterbury: The Paris Schools and Magna Carta’, EHR 123, 2008, 811–46, at 835–6. I am grateful to Nicholas Vincent for discussion of the choice of Winchester, and for drawing Baldwin’s article to my attention.



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had still not forgiven the perceived faults of the Canterbury monks, nearly seven years after they had elected Langton as archbishop at the papal curia. This study has explored two areas of the relationship between King John and the cathedral community at Canterbury. In approaching the early history of John’s reign, it is easy to be influenced by the accumulated crises that began in 1204 with the loss of Normandy and continued until the king’s death. In such an analysis, elements such as the king’s piety can easily be dismissed. However, John’s pilgrimages reveal that devotion to the saints was an important aspect of his religious practice, at least during the period prior to 1205. John came to Canterbury as a pilgrim, and expressed devotion to a series of saints, combining his visits with pilgrimage to Bury St Edmunds, Westminster, and perhaps also St Albans. For a king described as being ‘as close to irreligious as it was possible for a man of his time to be’, this is a surprising conclusion.95 The increasingly hostile disputes that followed Hubert Walter’s death show that this cooperative relationship quickly deteriorated. Since John’s reign itself, historical writing has tended to take sides against the king.96 John’s justification of his actions has been largely overlooked. The king felt deceived by the Canterbury monks, and this is critical to understanding his reaction against them. Evidence for this can be found in sources directly relevant to the crisis, and in the general narrative accounts of the reign. John was not unique in interacting with Canterbury cathedral as a pilgrim. Nor was he unusual in attempting to assert his perceived rights in a disputed election. But where John was distinctive was in his stubborn determination to take a prolonged stand.97 The resultant crisis was one of exceptional scale.

95 96 97

S. Painter, The Reign of King John, Baltimore 1949, 238. With the possible exception of Richardson and Sayles, Governance, 337–63, a standpoint critically discussed in Cheney, ‘Recent View’, 159–68. I am grateful to Carl Watkins for this observation.

12 The English Monasteries and their French Possessions Nicholas Vincent

It is a well-known fact that during the years between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and King John’s loss of much of his continental dominion in 1204, the religious of France came to possess wide estates in England. These English lands, administered directly by French monks or forming the endowment of numerous alien priories, remained in the custody of their French landlords even after 1204, providing an important link between England and the continent for much of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.1 Less familiar than this French acquisition of English lands is the reverse process by which English monasteries came to possess lands in Normandy or elsewhere across the Channel. The present brief survey is intended to draw attention to these French estates and, in particular, to examine the peculiar history of the endowments, at La Rochelle and Lyon, conferred upon the archbishops and the cathedral church of Canterbury. It is to be hoped that such a survey may provide a useful, if minor, counter­point to the better known history of the alien priories in England. In the process, it may throw some light on Anglo-French relations in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest and upon the sense of ‘community’ felt by religious institutions on either side of the Channel. Very few English houses ever possessed lands across the Channel, all but one of them being monasteries in the south of England, for the most part estab-

1

The classic study here remains D. J. A. Matthew, The Norman Monasteries and their English Possessions, Oxford 1962, with important clarifications on the later history by B. Thompson, ‘The Statute of Carlisle, 1307, and the Alien Priories’, JEH 41, 1990, 543–83. For specific studies of Norman and other French houses holding estates in England, see, for example, M. Morgan, The English Lands of the Abbey of Bec, Oxford 1946; V. Gazeau, ‘The Effect of the Conquest of 1066 on Monasticism in Normandy: The Abbeys of the Risle Valley’, and B. Poulle, ‘Savigny and England’, both in England and Normandy in the Middle Ages, ed. D. Bates and A. Curry, London 1994, 131–42 and 159–68; D. Greenway, ‘Conquest and Colonization: the Foundation of an Alien Priory’, in The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey, ed. J. Blair and B. Golding, Oxford 1996, 46–56. The relevant volumes of the Victoria County History provide a county by county survey of alien priories, grouped together amongst the histories of religious houses.

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Map 3. The French possessions of English (and Irish) monasteries 1070–1450

lished on or near to the coast. The first may have been Battle abbey, which as early as the 1090s is said to have been granted a mill at Sangroy near Criel-surMer.2 Nothing further is heard of this mill, and it is not for a further forty years, until 1135, that the second such grant is recorded, when King Henry I gave the abbot of Bury St Edmunds a dwelling place on the banks of the river Seine at Rouen, presumably to facilitate the abbot’s attendance in Normandy at Henry’s ducal court. As with Battle’s mill at Criel, no more is known of Abbot Anselm’s house, which may well have been lost during the ensuing period of civil war.3 However, by 1141 at the latest, the Augustinian canons of Bruton in Somerset had received various Norman possessions from their founder, William de Moyon, including the churches of Moyon and Pierreville in the Cotentin, and of Lionsur-Mer near Caen.4 At much the same time, the monks of Quarr in the Isle 2 3 4

The Chronicle of Battle Abbey, ed. E. Searle, Oxford 1980, 122–3: ‘molendinum iuxta Criuil situm, Sanrei nomine’, i.e. Sangroy (Seine-Maritime, cant. Eu, com. Criel-sur-Mer). Regesta ii, no. 1913, as noticed by D. Bates, ‘England and Normandy After 1066’, EHR 104, 1989, 851–80, at 869. Calendar of Documents preserved in France illustrative of the History of Great Britain and Ireland, ed. J. H. Round, London 1899, nos 487–515, the earliest of these charters to be dated before the creation of William de Moyon as earl of Somerset in 1141. Moyon

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of Wight acquired minor properties in the port of Barfleur, and the canons of Merton priory in Surrey obtained the church and an estate at Cahagnes by gift of Ralph de Cahagnes and Hugh and William his sons.5 In the 1140s, the abbot of Bordesley in Worcestershire acquired an estate at Le Valasse near Lillebonne from the Norman monks of Mortemer, restored to Mortemer by 1157 to serve as the endowment of a new Cistercian foundation at Le Valasse established by the Empress Matilda.6 Grimsby abbey in Lincolnshire seems, by 1158, to have acquired a tithe of the fish caught in the port of Honfleur, perhaps by gift of King Henry II, and, before 1179, William, earl of Gloucester, conferred the church of Ecrammeville upon the Benedictine priory of St James at Bristol, founded as the mausoleum of William’s father, Earl Robert, a bastard son of King Henry I.7 Following in the footsteps of their neighbours at Battle abbey, the Cluniac monks of Lewes in Sussex obtained jurisdiction over cells at Etoutte­ville and at Mortemer in Upper Normandy, still nominally administered by monks of Lewes as late as the 1250s.8 Finally, towards the end of the twelfth century, the two

5

6

7

8

(Manche, cant. Tessy-sur-Vire), Pierreville (Manche, cant. Les Pieux), Lion-sur-Mer (Calvados, cant. Douvres-la-Déliverande). The Charters of Quarr Abbey, ed. S. F. Hockey, Bournemouth 1991, nos 19 (suggesting a date before 1144), 534–5, one of these surviving as an original (BL, MS Harley Charter 50 D 4) written in a hand that looks suspiciously like a sixteenth or seventeenth-century recomposition. For Merton, see The Letters and Charters of King Henry II (1154–1189), ed. N. Vincent et al., Oxford forthcoming, no. 1799; Deux Abbayes de Basse-Normandie: NotreDame du Val et Le Val Richer (XIIe–XIIIe siècles), ed. M. Arnoux and C. Maneuvrier, Le Pays Bas-Normand 237–8, Flers 2000, 54–63 nos 29–33; A. Heales, The Records of Merton Priory, London 1898, 55–7, appendix no. 33, where Cahagnes is misidentified as Cheam in Surrey. Barfleur (Manche, cant. Quettehou); Cahagnes (Calvados, cant. Aunay-surOdon). J. Bouvet, ‘Le récit de la fondation de Mortemer’, Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum 22, 1960, 149–68, at 158–9 lines 299–300, 357–8, and see various charters relating to this transaction, including a confirmation by L., abbot of Cîteaux, addressed to the Empress Matilda: Rouen, Archives départementales de la Seine-Maritime, MS 18HP (Le Valasse) Carton 7. For the abbot of Bordesley serving as a witness to property transactions in Normandy in the 1150s, see Recueil des Actes de Henri II roi d’Angleterre et duc de Normandie concernant les provinces françaises et les affaires de France, ed. L. Delisle and E. Berger, 4 vols, Paris 1909–27, ii, no. 46 (Letters and Charters of Henry II, no. 913), and see Calendar of the Charter Rolls, 1257–1300, London 1906, 64–5 (Letters and Charters of Henry II, no. 267) for a charter of Henry II to Bordesley, of the 1150s, addressed to the king’s ministers in both England and Normandy. Le Valasse (Seine-Maritime, cant. Bolbec, com. Gruchet-le-Valasse). For Grimsby, see Calendar of the Charter Rolls, 1327–41, London 1916, 311 (Letters and Charters of Henry II, no. 1213), ‘totam decimam piscium de portu meo de Houflet’, i.e. Honfleur (Calvados, arr. Lisieux). For St James Bristol, see Earldom of Gloucester Charters: The Charters and Scribes of the Earls and Countesses of Gloucester to A.D.1217, ed. R. B. Patterson, Oxford 1973, no. 38, to be dated before 1183, and confirmed in royal charters, one to be dated 1172×9, the other 1175×9: Monasticon ii, 78 no. 79; iv, 335 no. 1 (Letters and Charters of Henry II, nos 323–4), and cf. Norman Charters from English Sources: Antiquaries, Archives and the Rediscovery of the Anglo-Norman Past, ed. N. Vincent, Pipe Roll Society forthcoming, no. 40. Ecrammeville (Calvados, cant. Trévières). Norman Charters, no. 12. Etoutteville (Seine-Maritime, cant. Yerville); Mortemer (SeineMaritime, cant. Neufchâtel).

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relatively minor Augustinian priories of Bradenstoke in Wiltshire and Southwick in Hampshire acquired churches in Normandy: Bradenstoke at Rogerville in the Pays-de-Caux by grant of William Longespée, earl of Salisbury, at some time between 1198 and 1204; Southwick in the 1190s, at Maisy in the modern département of Calvados, through the patronage of an Anglo-Norman undertenant of the priory’s lay-advocates, the powerful family of Du Hommet, constables of Normandy under King Henry II.9 It is possible that a few more such cases may emerge from unpublished monastic cartularies. The basic picture, however, is unlikely to be altered. In essence, it is apparent that English monastic landholding in Normandy constituted a mere drop in the ocean when compared to the rich English estates conferred after 1066 upon French religious houses, most notably in Normandy, but extending as far south as the abbey of St-Léonard-de-Noblat in the Limousin, or La GrandeSauve not far from the Pyrenees.10 This inequitable distribution of patronage between English and French beneficiaries should serve to remind us that the Anglo-Norman realm was not some joint-stock enterprise on behalf of the landholders of both England and Normandy, but was dominated from the start by Norman interests. After 1066, England served very much as a milch cow for the enrichment of Normandy.11 The influx of wealth to Normandy brought about by the conquest of 1066 is too well known to require analysis here. The award of English estates to Norman and other French monasteries can be seen as part of a wider process in which England and Normandy were bound together as part of an Anglo-Norman realm. It has long been a subject of debate quite how coherent this Anglo-Norman realm became or was ever intended to become. Were England and Normandy effectively welded together into an AngloNorman ‘Empire’, or did they remain independent entities, united only by their dependence upon a single ruling dynasty and by their subjection to a Norman baronage holding estates on both sides of the Channel? Here, the fact that the Norman religious were granted land in England, without any significant reciprocal award of estates in Normandy to the English religious, should remind us that, in the Anglo-Norman economy, wealth travelled very much in one direction only, for the most part into Normandy and away from England. It is apparent that English monasteries experienced considerable difficulties in exploiting their Norman resources, even before 1204. Some, although promised estates in Normandy, seem never to have obtained possession. Thus the abbey of St Mary’s, York, although promised the church of ‘Karkareville’, probably Querqueville, before 1124 by Robert de Brus, a native of Brix near 9

10

11

The Cartulary of Bradenstoke Priory, ed. V. C. M. London, Wiltshire Record Society 35, 1979, nos 503, 565, 643–4; The Cartularies of Southwick Priory, ed. K. A. Hanna, 2 vols, Hampshire Record Series 9–10, 1988–9, ii, 19–21 nos 55, 58, 112–15 nos 324–30. Rogerville (Seine-Maritime, cant. St-Romain-de-Colbosc); Maisy (Calvados, cant. Isignysur-Mer, com. Grandcamp-Maisy). For the dependencies of St-Léonard at Great Bricett in Suffolk, and of La Grande-Sauve at Burwell in Lincolnshire, see D. Knowles and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, 2nd edn, London 1971, 83, 181. For further commentary here, see Bates, ‘England and Normandy’, 851–80, esp. 869–70.

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Cherbourg, seems never actually to have obtained possession.12 The counts of Eu, leading patrons of Battle abbey in Sussex, issued licences to their subtenants, both in England and in Normandy, to grant lands to the monks of Battle, but in Normandy these seem to have borne little or no fruit.13 On a similar note, the plan by Adulph de Brachy to found a daughter house of the English order of Sempringham at Brachy in Normandy, endowed on both sides of the Channel, with lands in England and at least five churches in Normandy, appears to have been stillborn, the English lands passing into the hands of the Sempringhamite house of Malton, and the Norman endowment being entirely abandoned.14 Even when an English house did obtain possession of Norman land, its tenancy might be precarious in the extreme. There is no evidence to suggest that Bury St Edmunds held its property at Rouen for more than a few years in the 1130s, whilst Merton priory, to judge from a complicated legal process at the end of the twelfth century, was constantly harassed for possession of its church and estate at Cahagnes by a local family that claimed to have been unlawfully dispossessed.15 By 1200, the canons of Merton were prepared to enter into an exchange with the Norman monastery of St-Fromond, by which the Norman monks offered Merton a considerable collection of tithes and churches in England, in exchange for Merton’s single estate at Cahagnes.16 Although this exchange seems never to have been implemented, it suggests that, even before the Capetian invasion of Normandy in 1203–4, the religious on either side of the Channel were to a limited extent attempting to rationalise their respective landholdings. It was in precisely this way that the Anglo-Norman baronage, originally the mainstay of Anglo-Norman unity, had by 1204 already divided into distinct Norman and English branches. By 1204, only the king himself and the greatest of the earls and secular baronage continued to hold significant estates on both sides of the Channel, and hence were to be seriously wrong-footed by the gulf which opened up in 1204 between Capetian Normandy and Plantagenet England. Lower down the social scale, through exchange or the settlement of portions upon younger brothers or sons, there were few lay landholders in 1204 who could have had any serious doubt whether their chief interest was

12

13 14 15

16

A. C. Lawrie, Early Scottish Charters prior to 1153, Glasgow 1905, 47 no. 52, from Monasticon iii, 583, with identification of the place-name by G. W. S. Barrow, The Kingdom of the Scots, London 1973, 322–3, and cf. The Register of the Priory of Wetherhal, ed. J. E. Prescott, London 1897, 194–5 no. 106, for a confirmation by Earl David, the future king of Scotland, 1107×24. Querqueville (Manche, cant. Equeurdreville-Hainneville). The cases of York and Battle are both noted by Bates, ‘England and Normandy’, 869. For Battle’s mill at Sangroy, see above n. 2. B. Golding, Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertine Order c.1130–c.1300, Oxford 1995, 256–8; Norman Charters, no. 39. Brachy (Seine-Maritime, cant. Bacqueville). M. Arnoux, ‘Actes de l’abbaye Notre-Dame du Val’, in Deux Abbayes de Basse-Normandie, 54–7 nos 29a–d; Heales, Merton Records, 55–7; Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae sub regibus Angliae, ed. T. Stapleton, 2 vols, London 1840–4, i, 264. Rotuli Chartarum, ed. T. D. Hardy, London 1837, 36, also in Arnoux, ‘Actes de l’abbaye Notre-Dame du Val’, 60 no. 31.

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in England or in Normandy.17 The Norman monasteries, of course, were an exception to this rule, and after 1204 continued to hold significant resources in England. One reason for this may lie in the inequitable distribution of estates that we have outlined above. Before 1204, it would have been difficult for the majority of Norman monasteries to shed their English lands in the same way as secular landholders, precisely because there was so little room for exchange. Secular landholders could quite easily dispose of their resources, by sale, gift or exchange. The English monks, by contrast, held little or nothing worth exchanging in Normandy, and the Norman houses were reluctant to sell their English estates to secular lords. For a monastery to sell an estate, save to another ecclesiastical corporation, was a risky business, both because of the perennial problem of setting a fair price, and because it was unclear whether resources, once granted to the religious, could be sold or restored to secular ownership without breaching the restrictions imposed by the church upon the alienation of ecclesiastical property.18 Hence, the premium placed upon the few Norman resources that remained to the English church after 1204. At Cahagnes, the canons of Merton had hoped in 1200 to exchange their one Norman church for as many as seven Lincolnshire churches held by the Norman monks of St-Fromund. By the 1260s, when Merton did eventually rid itself of its Norman estate, it was able to do so in even more favourable circumstances, in exchange for some ten churches, for the most part in Devon and Cornwall, previously held by the abbey of Le Val Notre-Dame near Falaise, albeit on the understanding that Merton would henceforth pay La Val an annual pension of 13 marks to balance the transaction.19 In the same way, those other English houses which had retained their Norman property after 1204, most notably Bruton priory, were able to strike extremely favourable bargains. In exchange for its property in Normandy, including the church of Lion-sur-Mer, in the 1270s Bruton obtained a rich haul of churches and manors in England from the Norman monks of Troarn.20 The Norman churches belonging to St James’s Bristol, Bradenstoke and Southwick had all of them passed into the hands of Norman patrons by 1300, either by exchange or through a simple process of abandonment and annexation.21 17 18

19

20 21

In general, see D. Crouch, ‘Normans and Anglo-Normans: A Divided Aristocracy?’, in England and Normandy, 51–67. For the concept of inalienability, see M. Cheney, ‘Inalienability in Mid-Twelfth Century England: Enforcement and Consequences’, Monumenta Iuris Canonici Series C, Subsidia 7, 1985, 467–78. Arnoux, ‘Actes de l’abbaye Notre-Dame du Val’, 60–3 nos 32–3c; Heales, Merton Records, 147–9; Registrum Collegii Exoniensis, ed. C. W. Boase, Oxford Historical Society 27, 1894, 322, and for Le Val’s English churches, held by gift of the Pommeraye family, see Letters and Charters of Henry II, no. 2728. For further evidence of Le Val’s west-country holdings, see BL, MS Add. 34792 (Cardinan cartulary), fol. 18v. Matthew, Norman Monasteries, 99–101. Pouillés de la Province de Rouen, ed. A. Longnon, Paris 1903, 21 (Rogerville held by the monks of St-Wandrille), 126 (Maisy held by the local lord), 125 (Ecrammeville held by Henry de Aigneaulx). Bradenstoke exchanged Rogerville with the monks of St-Wandrille, in return for the English churches of Towcester (Northamptonshire) and Burton Bradstock

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This then was the pattern of English monastic landholding in Normandy, vastly overwhelmed by the superiority of Norman interests in England, comprising a few scattered grants of churches and lands, a precarious resource in the twelfth century, but after 1204 transformed into a potentially valuable bargaining counter, to be exchanged with the monks of Normandy in return for the Normans’ own, far more extensive possessions in England. By 1300 at the latest, many years before the Norman monasteries were forced to surrender their own English lands, the monasteries of England had entirely abandoned their holdings in Normandy. Indeed, from 1204 onwards, the history of English landholding in Normandy was effectively brought to an end. Title remained, but in practice there is no evidence to suggest that English monks derived income from Normandy after 1204. This, too, provides a marked contrast to the Normans in England, who continued to receive rents and apports from England late into the fourteenth century. Normandy was seized from the Plantagenets in 1204 by the kings of France. This, however, was by no means the end of the Anglo-French as opposed to the Anglo-Norman realm. After 1204, King John and his descendants retained extensive cross-Channel interests, especially in Poitou, Gascony and the southernmost parts of their continental dominion. Here, both before and after the debacle of 1204, we find a scattering of awards to the English religious, suggesting an attempt to strengthen the previously weak links between England, Gascony and Poitou. The first of these awards may have been made by William Cotrel, a tenant of Richard, duke of Aquitaine, the future King Richard I, who in 1188 conferred a house in the port of La Rochelle upon Garnier de Naplouse and his successors as masters of the order of the Hospitallers in England.22 Some thirty years later, the Poitevin baron Savaric de Mauléon crossed to England to assist King John during the civil war of 1215–17.23 There he made an award, embodied in two separate charters, granting the monks of St Nicholas’s priory, Exeter, a tun of wine each year, to be rendered at ‘Ruperam’, probably La Rochelle, by the

22

23

(Dorset) in 1285: Bradenstoke Cartulary, nos 503–4, 557; Rouen, Archives départementales de la Seine-Maritime, 16H14 (St-Wandrille cartulary), fols 301v, 304r; 16H16 (ibid.), fol. 94r–v. Southwick appears to have lost Maisy to the local lord, Robert de Brucourt, before 1315: Southwick Cartularies ii, 113–15 nos 326, 330. The Norman cells of Lewes priory were, by the 1250s, held on lifetime leases by local clergy who paid only tiny pensions to the two monks of Lewes resident in each place: Norman Charters, no. 12n.; Regestrum visitationum archiepiscopi Rothomagensis, ed. T. Bonnin, Rouen 1852, 354, 381, 432, 473, 518, 549, 565, 601, 630. See Poitiers, Bibliothèque municipale Fonteneau, MS 25, p. 291 for Duke Richard’s confirmation, also in ibid. Fonteneau 27 ter, pp. 231–2; La Rochelle, Bibliothèque municipal, MS 127, fol. 15r; 453, fols 175v–6r. For Savaric, see H. J. Chaytor, Savaric de Mauléon, Baron and Troubador, Cambridge 1939, esp. 27–38, and see a charter of printed by L. de la Boutetière, ‘Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Talmond’, Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de l’Ouest 36, 1872, 427 no. 488, dated to 1217, ‘domino S. de Malleone terram istam gubernante et eo tempore existente in Anglia in seruicio Henrici regis Anglie tunc pueri et iuuenis’. For his lordship at Châtelaillon, see J. Duguet, ‘Observations sur les seigneurs et la châtellenie de Châtelaillon XIe–XIIIe siècles’, Revue de la Saintonge et de l’Aunis 19, 1993, 7–13.

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bailiffs of Savaric’s castle at Châtelaillon (‘castellum de Allum’) in the modern département of Charente-Maritime, to be used by the monks at their masses; and a further measure of wine from Savaric’s wine-press at La Flotte in the Ile-de-Ré, also in the département of Charente-Maritime.24 Exeter during these years was a major royalist stronghold, and the monks of St Nicholas’s benefited from the largesse not only of Savaric, but of King John’s widow, Isabella of Angoulême, who abandoned to them various rights in the fair of Exeter.25 There is no further evidence of the receipt, as opposed to the award, of Savaric’s rent, which nonetheless points to the keen interest taken by English monks in the French wine trade. The most famous example of such an interest occurs in the award, made as early as 1179, of a considerable quantity of French wine granted by King Louis VII to the monks of Christ Church Canterbury in honour of the recently martyred St Thomas.26 Louis’s award, which was renewed by successive kings of France and which continued to be paid well into the fourteenth century, was rendered not in kind, but through the conversion of the wine into cash, by sale at Paris, and the transfer of these credits to Canterbury.27 This in itself suggests that the monks of Canterbury had other means of obtaining wine for their masses, which in turn throws some light on a peculiar award made by King John of England in October 1204, by which the king granted Archbishop Hubert Walter of Canterbury and his successors the service and homage of Aimery de Caurceis (?Cahors), burgess of La Rochelle, free from any obligation to pay tallage or toll throughout the king’s lands.28 It seems probable that Aimery and his heirs were intended to serve as privileged merchants of Canterbury, most likely with some responsibility for the wine trade passing through La Rochelle. In August 1224, a day or two after the fall of La Rochelle to the French, the French King Louis VIII confirmed John’s earlier award to Canterbury: a confirmation that may have owed much to the presence at Louis’s court of Master Simon Langton, brother of the then archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.29 24 25 26 27 28 29

Below appendix, nos 2–3. I am indebted to Georges Pon for his identification of Châtelaillon. N. Vincent, ‘Isabella of Angoulême: John’s Jezebel’, in King John: New Interpretations, ed. S. D. Church, Woodbridge 1999, 65–219, at 217–18. Norman Charters, nos 66–110. Ibid., introduction. Rotuli Chartarum, 138. Layettes du Trésor des Chartes, ed. A. Teulet et al., 5 vols, Paris 1863–1909, ii, 37–8 no. 1664; iv, 481 no. 2932a, with a further copy in Paris, Archives nationales JJ30a (Register of Louis IX), fols 144v–5r, printed in Veterum scriptorum et monumentorum amplissima collectio, ed. E. Martène and U. Durand, 9 vols, Paris 1724–33, i, col. 1191. For Master Simon Langton, exiled from England after 1217 for his support of Louis and the rebels, and thereafter granted an estate south of Paris by the monks of St-Florent-de-Saumur, see N. Vincent, ‘Master Simon Langton, King John and the Court of France’, forthcoming. Canterbury’s participation in the wine trade may also lie behind an otherwise unexplained journey up the river Garonne from Bourg to Blaye, made by Nicholas of Sandwich, monk and subsequently prior of Christ Church, at some time in the 1230s or ’40s: CCAL, MS Chartae Antiquae B393, no. 10, letters to Abbot Richard of Cerne requesting assistance

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As the awards by Louis VII and his successors should make plain, Christ Church Canterbury was the one and only English church whose reputation was sufficient to draw extensive patronage from across the Channel. Indeed, as we shall see, it was also the one religious corporation in England which retained property in France late into the fourteenth century. In January 1223, in the aftermath of the Lateran Council of 1215 that had summoned thousands of clergy to Rome, and specifically in order to facilitate communications between the more far-flung parts of the British Isles and Rome, we find the archbishops of Dublin acquiring land in the Burgundian town of Beaune, to be held by the abbot of Cîteaux for the use of the archbishops or canons of Dublin when visiting these parts of France.30 In establishing a ‘use’ vested in a third party, the transaction was a precocious one, reminiscent of contemporary strategies adopted by the new orders of friars, whose abhorrence of money forbade them to own property save through trustees. The ‘use’ at Beaune, however, was intended not so much to evade restrictions on property ownership as to protect the true owners, the archbishop and canons of Dublin, against political circumstances that might lead to the confiscation of ‘foreign’ property held by the enemies, or by subjects of the enemies, of the kings of France. Precocious though it was, this was not a strategy adopted by other monastic communities under English or Plantagenet rule. The new French monastic orders of the twelfth century, the Cistercians, the Premonstratensians, and even such minor orders as those of Tiron, Fontevraud, Arrouaise or the Benedictine affiliations of La Grande-Sauve and St-Léonard-de-Noblat, had by 1200 obtained at least a foothold in England, and often far more. Even after 1204, the Grandmontines, established in southwestern France in the early twelfth century but previously reluctant to cross the Channel, were persuaded to accept endowments in England.31 By contrast, we have already seen that the English monasteries received little reciprocal property, even in Normandy. The only indigenous English order to be founded during these years, that of Sempringham, failed in its one attempt to establish a house in Normandy, and elsewhere was restricted almost exclusively to the eastern counties of England. In the late eleventh century, reflecting contacts stretching back well beyond the Norman Conquest, the monks of Evesham had been asked by the kings of Denmark to establish the first monastic community at Odense, and in the thirteenth century it is well known that Matthew Paris, monk and

30

31

for Henry of Margate, a mariner, who had carried Nicholas on his journey in France. I am currently preparing an edition of the letter-book from which this letter is taken. Dublin, Representative Church Body Library, MS D 6.1 (Crede Mihi), fol. 92r–v; D.6.3 (Register Alani), fol. 60v: letters of Guichard abbot of Cîteaux, (January) 1223, whence Crede Mihi, ed. J. T. Gilbert, Dublin 1897, 58–9 no. 65; Calendar of Archbishop Alen’s Register c.1172–1534, ed. C. McNeill, Dublin 1950, 44. R. Graham, ‘The Order of Grandmont and its Houses in England’, in idem, English Ecclesiastical Studies, London 1929, 209–46. The first of the English foundations, at Eskdale (c.1205), was due to the patronage of Robert of Thurnham, formerly seneschal of Poitou, whose foundation charter was witnessed by Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester. Both of these men possessed a keen vested interest in maintaining links between England and southern France: Monasticon vi, 1025–6.

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chronicler of St Albans, was sent to Norway, in yet another English initiative to the religious of Scandinavia.32 In France, however, and leaving aside Lewes’s cells staffed at most by a couple of Lewes monks, after 1066 no monastery was founded in Normandy with affiliation to an English mother-house. Although various English monasteries entered into confraternity with the great religious houses of northern France, the one, clear example of English influence over French monasticism lies in the extraordinary speed with which the cult of St Thomas Becket and the reputation of his cathedral priory at Christ Church Canterbury were exported to the continent after 1170.33 Here, beyond the dedication of large numbers of French churches to St Thomas, and beyond the award of trading privileges and quittances from customs by kings and magnates, including Louis VII and the counts of Boulogne, Ponthieu, Guînes and Flanders, we find at least one, extraordinary grant of French land to Canterbury, made at some time in the late 1170s.34 Before his martyrdom, Becket had stayed for much of his exile from England at the Cistercian abbey of Pontigny in Burgundy. The then abbot of Pontigny, Guichard, is mentioned several times in the letters composed by members of Becket’s circle, even after his election and consecration as archbishop of Lyon in 1165.35 Guichard’s successor as abbot of Pontigny, elected archbishop of Bourges, is said to have experienced a vision in which St Thomas appeared as a ghostly sponsor to his ceremony of consecration.36 Lyon already enjoyed links to Canterbury, not surprisingly perhaps given that both cathedrals claimed precedence as respectively the most senior metropolitan churches of France and England. Hugh of Die, papal legate and archbishop of Lyon (d.1106), was commemorated with obit celebrations at Canterbury and, on 3 October each year, the Canterbury monks were accustomed to commemorate the obits of recently deceased canons of Lyon in the same way that they celebrated for canons of Amiens, for the Benedictines of St-Loup and St-Martin on the Ile-Barbe in the Saône at Lyon, for monks of Bec and for those of St-Maurice-d’Agaune, the Alpine shrine of St Maurice and the Theban Legion.37 As archbishop of Lyon, at some time after April 1174, Guichard granted Archbishop Richard and the monks of 32

33

34 35

36 37

For Odense and England, see BL, MS Cotton Vespasian B xxiv (Evesham cartulary), fols 19r–v, 20v, 22r; R. Vaughan, Matthew Paris, Cambridge 1958, 201–3. For Matthew Paris’s mission to Nidarholm in Norway, see Vaughan, Matthew Paris, 4–7, 18–19, 205–6. In general, see R. Foreville, ‘Le Culte de Saint Thomas Becket en France’, in Thomas Becket: Actes du Colloque international de Sédières 19–24 Aôut 1973, ed. R. Foreville, Paris 1975, 135–52. The grants from northern French magnates, for the most awarding quittance from toll, are now edited in Norman Charters, nos 66–1110. For Guichard, see P. Pouzet, ‘La Vie de Guichard abbé de Pontigny (1136–65) et archevêque de Lyon (1165–1181)’, Bulletin de la Société Littéraire, Historique et Archéologique de Lyon 10, 1926–8, 117–50; MTB v, 113, 200, 437; vi, 279; LJS ii, 37 n. 12. MTB i, 533. R. Fleming, ‘Christchurch’s Sisters and Brothers: An Edition and Discussion of the Canterbury Obituary Lists’, in The Culture of Christendom: Essays in Medieval History in Commemoration of Denis L.T. Bethell, ed. M. A. Meyer, London 1993, 115–53, at 142 (commemorating archbishop Hugh sub 7 October), also in BL, MS Arundel 68, fol. 44r,

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Canterbury a substantial estate within the archbishopric of Lyon, comprising a house and living quarters within the precinct of Lyon cathedral, and an estate at Quincieux, to the north of the city, on the banks of the river Saône, which the archbishop of Canterbury was expected to fortify as a castle.38 Like the later acquisitions by the church of Dublin, of property at Beaune, these arrangements were no doubt intended to facilitate communications between Canterbury and the wider world, especially across the Alps with Rome. At much the same time, in the 1170s or ’80s, the dean of Lyon founded a chapel within his cathedral, dedicated to the cult of St Thomas. In 1192, the obligation to celebrate masses in commemoration of St Thomas was transferred from the cathedral to the nearby collegiate church of Fourvière.39 Although distant from England, Quincieux and the Lyon house were to remain in the possession of the archbishops and monks of Canterbury for nearly two hundred years. The connection here can be traced via a series of documents preserved in Canterbury, Paris and at Lyon itself. To begin with, it is likely that the links between Canterbury and Lyon were fostered by the appointment of the Englishman, John aux Bellemains, closely associated with Canterbury and rector of Eynsford in Kent, as Guichard’s successor in the archbishopric of Lyon, and thereafter greatly strengthened during the time of Archbishop Boniface of Canterbury (1241–70), a native of Savoy, uncle to the wife of King Henry III of England and brother of Philip of Savoy, himself elected archbishop of Lyon at the prompting of Pope Innocent IV.40 It was Philip, the brother of Archbishop Boniface, who was to be instrumental in reforming the collegiate church of Fourvière at Lyon, centre of the city’s cult to St Thomas of Canterbury.41 Presumably, it was Canterbury’s house at Lyon which served as the dwelling place of Archbishop Boniface throughout the Council of Lyon in 1245 and for

38 39 40

41

this later also recording the confraternal celebrations on 3 October, including those for the ‘monachi Barbare Insule’. Below Appendix, no. 1. Foreville, ‘Le Culte de Saint Thomas’, 173; J. Beyssac, Les Prévôts de Fourvière, Lyon 1908. For John aux Bellesmains, alias John of Canterbury, treasurer of York, bishop of Poitiers 1162–81 and archbishop of Lyon 1181–93, see Walter Map, De Nugis Curialium: Courtiers’ Trifles, ed. M. R. James et al., Oxford 1983, 136 and notes; Fasti I, 15, 69. As archbishop of Lyon, John received at least two letters from Alan of Tewkesbury, prior of Christ Church Canterbury, concerning his attempts to retain the revenues of Eynsford church in the face of complaints from the monks, describing John as ‘Cantuariensis ecclesie filius et alumnus’: Alani prioris Cantuariensis postea abbatis Tewkesberiensis scripta quae extant, ed. J. A. Giles, Caxton Society 6, 1846, 51–4 nos 11–12. In 1188, John’s support was requested by the monks in their disputes with archbishop Baldwin, and, in September 1194, after his resignation as archbishop of Lyon, John made a pilgrimage to St Thomas’s relics at Canterbury: Chronicles and Memorials of the Reign of Richard I, vol. 2, Epistolae Cantuarienses, ed. W. Stubbs, RS 38, London 1865, 244–6 nos 262–3; Radulfi de Diceto decani Lundoniensis Opera Historica, ed. W. Stubbs, 2 vols, RS 68, London 1876, ii, 120, and cf. ibid. i, 5–6, for correspondence between Ralph of Diss, dean of St Paul’s, and Archbishop John of Lyon over Lyon’s claim to precedence over the other metropolitans of France, from BL, MS Cotton Claudius E iii, fol. 3v. For Philip of Savoy and his reforms at the church of Fourvière made in 1263, see Beyssac, Prévôts de Fourvière, 29–31.

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several years thereafter, at a time when Boniface is said deliberately to have lingered at the papal court, then established at Lyon, rather than take up his duties in England.42 The Lyon house appears previously to have been leased to a man named William de la Palud, prévôt of Fourvière. At his death in 1243, William endowed various obits to be overseen by his nephew Guy, almost certainly the same Guy de la Palud (d.1256) who from 1241 appears as a Savoyard clerk, beneficed in England, canon of Chichester, keeper of the queen’s household and, like his uncle, prévôt of Fourvière.43 On 3 July 1243, presumably at the prompting of Archbishop Boniface, although claiming to act during the prolonged vacancy in the see of Canterbury, King Henry III commanded that the house at Lyon and the estate at Quincieux be awarded to Guy de Rossillon (d.1254), a Savoyard kinsman of Boniface and hence of Queen Eleanor, future archdeacon of Lyon and dean of St Martin-le-Grand at London.44 Shortly afterwards, on 24 November 1243, Quincieux was transferred from Rossillon to Guy de la Palud at the king’s orders.45 Thereafter, it is possible that both properties, at Lyon and Quincieux, passed to one or other of Archbishop Boniface’s Savoyard familiars: perhaps to Master Stephen de Montluel, canon of Lyon and archdeacon of Canterbury from 1248 until his death in July 1269.46 As a member of the ruling house of Savoy and as a former bishop of Belley, Archbishop Boniface himself continued to own property in France up to the time of his death, including estates at Rossillon in Bugey, and the Alpine lordship of Ste-Hélène-des-Millières.47 In the same way, others of the Frenchmen

42

43

44

45 46 47

Boniface remained overseas, for the most part at Lyon, between December 1244 and 1249. On 30 August 1249 he visited Pontigny, where he confirmed earlier awards made by his predecessor St Edmund, and he first appears at the English court on 27 September 1249, at Windsor; Le Premier Cartulaire de l’abbaye Cistercienne de Pontigny (XIIe–XIII siècles), ed. M. Garrigues, Paris 1981, 276–7 no. 245; TNA: PRO, C53/41 (Charter Roll 33 Henry III), m. 2; Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. H. R. Luard, 7 vols, RS 57, London 1872–83, iv, 403–4. For William, canon of Lyon 1209–43, archdeacon of Vienne from 1217 and prévôt of the collegiate church of Fourvière, see Obituaires de la Province de Lyon, ed. G. Guigue and J. Laurent, 2 vols, Paris 1951–65, i, 97; J. Beyssac, Les chanoines de l’église de Lyon, Lyon 1914, 46; Beyssac, Les Prévôts de Fourvière, 9–15, and for Guy see ibid., 16–21; Calendar of the Patent Rolls, 1232–47, London 1906, 355–6, 371, 377, 379, 385, 475; Fasti I, 35; Fasti V, 59; Beyssac, Les chanoines, 53. Calendar of the Patent Rolls, 1232–47, 388; Rôles Gascons, ed. F. Michel, vol. 1 (1242–54), Paris 1885, 144 no. 1092 (misdated July 1242), and for Guy, see Beyssac, Les chanoines, 54; idem, Prévôts de Fourvière, 14, 19. Calendar of the Patent Rolls,1232–47, 407. Obituaires de Lyon ii, 152; Fasti II, 15. Dijon, Archives départementales de la Cote-d’Or, B864 paquet 12, partially printed by M.-C. Guigue, Cartulaire Lyonnais, 2 vols, Lyon 1883–93, ii, 32–3, 45–6 nos 529, 537; E. L. Cox, The Eagles of Savoy, Princeton 1974, esp. 16–19, 389–90. For a further catalogue of Boniface’s French estates, including Rossillon (Ain, cant. Virieu-le-Grand), Tournon (Savoie, cant. Grésy-sur-Isère), Ugine (Savoie) and Le Châtelard-en-Bauges (Savoie), see his will of 1264, printed by L. Wurstemberger, Peter der Zweite, graf von Savoyen, markgraf in Italien, sein haus und seine lande, 4 vols, Bern/Zurich 1856–8, iv, 342–4 no. 665, of which I am currently preparing a new edition.

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elected to English bishoprics in the thirteenth century retained personal, landed interests across the Channel. Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester (1205– 38), bequeathed money if not land in western France to endow the Cistercian abbey of La Clarté-Dieu close to his birthplace north of Tours, and in the 1230s was active in purchasing English estates from the religious of northern France, used to establish yet another of the bishop’s Cistercian foundations, at Netley on Southampton Water.48 A successor in the see of Winchester, Aymer de Lusignan, bishop-elect (1250–60), inherited the lordship of Couhé in Poitou from his father, Hugh de Lusignan, count of La Marche.49 Similarly, long after his emigration to England, the Savoyard bishop of Hereford Peter de Aigueblanche (1240–68), a native of the Tarentaise south of Lyon and a member of the ruling house of Briançon, continued to control extensive interests in his homeland, including the lordship of Ste-Hélène-des-Millières held from Archbishop Boniface, lordship of the priories of Innimond and Ste-Hélène, and houses at Lyon and at Paris in the Rue St-Jacques.50 Boniface, Des Roches, Aymer de Lusignan and Peter de Aigueblanche, however, were amongst the last in a long line of Frenchmen promoted to bishoprics in England. This tradition of French bishops had already come under strain after the loss of Normandy in 1204, and was openly challenged by the hostility stirred up against Bishop des Roches as a Frenchman and alien, as early as 1214.51 By the 1260s, during the period of baronial rebellion against the crown, when Aymer, Boniface and Aigueblanche were all forced to flee into exile, it is evident that foreign appointments to English bishoprics were viewed with distaste by a substantial constituency of opinion in England. The potential hostility to such appointments is said to have inspired the Italian St Bonaventure to refuse promotion as archbishop of York in 1265.52 In these circumstances, even the private landed interests which had continued to bind the aliens at the Plantagenet court to their homelands in France began to wither away, in tandem with the institutional ties that bound such corporations as Canterbury cathedral, or several of the monasteries of southern England, to their French estates. 48 49

50

51 52

N. Vincent, Peter des Roches: An Alien in English Politics 1205–1238, Cambridge 1996, 20–1, 478. Chartes et Documents pour servir à l’histoire de l’abbaye de St-Maixent, ed. A. Richard, 2 vols, Archives Historiques de Poitou 16, 18, 1886, ii, no. 452, and see Poitiers, Archives départementales de la Vienne, G836 pièce non coté, recording a dispute between Aymer and the canons of St-Hilaire at Poitiers over property at Couhé (Vienne). ‘The Will of Peter de Aqua Blanca, Bishop of Hereford (1268)’, ed. C. E. Woodruff, Camden Miscellany XIV, Camden 3rd series 37, 1926, 1–13; F. Mugnier, ‘Les Savoyards en Angleterre au XIIIe siècle’, Mémoires et Documents Publiés par la Société Savoisienne 29, 1890, 288, appendix no. 3; L. Vercoutère, ‘A propos de la découverte d’une colonne féodale du XIIIe siècle aux Avanchers (Savoie): les seigneurs de Briançon et d’Aigueblanche en Tarentaise du Xe au XIVe siècles’, Recueil des mémoires et documents de l’Académie de la Val d’Isère, n. s. 8 pt. 2, 1936. Briançon (Hautes-Alpes); Innimond (Ain, cant. Lhuis); Ste-Hélène-des-Millières (Savoie, cant. Grésy-sur-Isère, com. Ste-Hélène-sur-Isère). Vincent, Peter des Roches, 34–5, 89, noting the nine alien bishops in 1204, set against the lone figure of des Roches by the 1230s. Annales Monastici, ed. H. R. Luard, 5 vols, RS 36, London 1864–9, iv, 184.

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It is from this point, from the 1260s onwards, that we first receive indications that the archbishops of Canterbury were experiencing difficulty in the control of their distant French property. Towards the end of his life, Archbishop Boniface seems to have promised the lease of his estate at Quincieux to a man named Master John de Porogiis, probably yet another of the archbishop’s fellow Savoyards. However, Master John, who also received promotion to the church of Charing in Kent, proved reluctant to acknowledge his obligations to Canterbury. After the death of Boniface, the new archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Kilwardby, may have attempted to recover both Quincieux and the church of Charing, perhaps during his time at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274. Certainly, Robert’s successor, Archbishop Peckham, considered it necessary to justify his decision, made against Kilwardby’s urging, once again to lease the estate at Quincieux to John de Porogiis, subsequently canon of Lyon and Besançon, on the basis of the letters of presentation which Porogiis claimed to have received from Archbishop Boniface. By a contract arranged in May 1279, Porogiis was to resume possession of Quincieux in June 1280, and to pay an annual render of 100 sous Vienne to the church of Canterbury. Meanwhile, between May 1279 and June 1280, he was to allow the estate to remain in the custody of officials appointed by the church of Canterbury.53 As Peckham explained in letters addressed to Kilwardby, recently promoted cardinal bishop of Porto, this arrangement was intended to make good Canterbury’s title without infringing the canon law restrictions upon the alienation of church property, and without admitting liability for a sum of more than 1000 livres Vienne which Porogiis claimed in damages sustained in the defence and improvement of the Quincieux estate.54 As for the archbishop’s house in the cloister at Lyon, in 1283 this was granted by Peckham, following the death of Chatard dean of Lyon, to a canon named Guichard, described as a benefactor of Peckham’s own Franciscan order, subsequently prévôt of the church of St Thomas at Fourvière. In making this appointment, Peckham had to disappoint both the abbot of Cluny and the bishop of Autun, who had written to England requesting the house at Lyon on behalf of their own particular candidates.55 Thereafter, we hear nothing of the Lyon property until 1304 when Archbishop Winchelsea wrote to the then archbishop of Lyon, recommending a man named Aymo de Iovenzano, rector of Moulton in Norfolk, to serve as Canterbury’s proctor over the houses and the Quincieux estate. As canon of Aosta, Iovenzano was reappointed as Canterbury’s agent on similar terms in 1312.56 Ten years later, the prior and convent of Christ Church, acting on behalf of

53 54 55

56

Registrum epistolarum fratris Johannis Peckham archiepiscopi Cantuariensis, ed. C. T. Martin, 3 vols, RS 77, London 1882–5, i, 7, and for Charing, see ibid. ii, 591, 631; iii, 954, 1056. Ibid. i, 64–6. Ibid. ii, 614–17, and for Chatard and Guichard de St-Symphorien, canon of Lyon 1269– 1302, canon of Vienne from 1288, and, like William and Guy de la Palud before him, prévôt of Fourvière, see Beyssac, Les chanoines, 55, 62; idem, Prévôts de Fourvière, 38–52. Registrum Roberti Winchelsey Cantuariensis archiepiscopi A.D.1294–1313, ed. R. Graham, 2 vols, Canterbury and York Society 51–2, 1952–6, ii, 790–1, 1254–5.

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Archbishop Walter Reynolds, issued further letters of attorney appointing the papal penitentiary, John of Wrotham, and Master Richard of Sulbury to act in a dispute against the chapter of Lyon over Canterbury’s stable and kitchen within the cathedral cloister, and over damages inflicted upon their estate at Quincieux.57 By this stage, it is clear that Canterbury’s rights were being threatened by local influence. In December 1326, according to a tithe settlement preserved at Lyon, the Quincieux estate was in the hands of the brothers Peter and Humbert de La Ville, the latter a canon of Troyes, described as proctors of the archbishops of Canterbury, who sought the acknowledgement of their lordship over woods and rents at Quincieux held by a local knight, Henry de Marzé.58 Peter and Humbert, however, seem to have been acting here very much as private entrepreneurs, employing their position as Canterbury’s proctors for their own personal gain. At some time between 1326 and May 1333, what may well have been an attempt by Canterbury to dislodge them was met with violent resistance. Accompanied by a considerable band of supporters, Peter de La Ville is said to have broken into the archbishop of Canterbury’s house at Quincieux, which was systematically pillaged. Peter and his men then forcibly detained the archbishop’s servant, Bernard de Maçon. Bernard dislocated his shoulder in the ensuing struggle, before being abandoned in a ditch a mile or so outside Lyon. For this, Peter and his accomplices faced a protracted series of hearings before the Parlement of Paris, brought to an end in August 1338, when Peter and Humbert were ordered to surrender their own castle of Rochefort and various other lands, so that the sale price might go to the archbishop of Canterbury in damages.59 This is almost the last we read of any practical control exercised by Canterbury over its property at either Lyon or Quincieux. According to much later testimony, with the outbreak of the Hundred Years War, Canterbury’s property was seized by King Philip VI, who at some time before his death in 1350 came to an arrangement intended to ensure that Quincieux revert to the canons of Lyon, pending a life award to the king’s squire, John de Nanteuil.60 By 1353, however, the canons of Lyon had still to obtain possession, whilst the property itself had by this stage come into the possession of the king’s secretary, Master William de Savigny.61 Five years later, the French crown once again acknowledged the dean and canons’ rights, whilst at the same time reserving a life interest at Quincieux for yet another royal pensioner, Master Girard de Thury, marshal of Burgundy, who was to receive 200 livres a year as a pension from Quincieux: an indication

57 58 59

60 61

CCAL, MS Chartae Antiquae A25, with a further copy in ibid. L399. Lyon, Archives départementales du Rhône, 10G1956 (2121), no. 8. Paris, Archives nationales, JJ71 (Register of Philip VI), fols 203v–8v no. 296, an extremely complicated process, incorporating a judgment of August 1338, briefly calendared in Registres du Trésor des Chartes, ed. R. Fawtier et al., Paris 1979, iii, 92 no. 3777. For various subsidiary documents, see Actes du Parlement de Paris: Jugés (1328–1350), ed. H. Furgeot and J.-P. Laurent, 3 vols, Paris 1920–79, i, nos 739, 1184, 1294, 1878, 2337, 2338. Lyon, Archives départementales du Rhône, 10G1986 (2151), nos 3–8, 12, esp. no. 8 which refers specifically to a compact between the canons of Lyon and King Philip. Ibid., no. 3.

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of the manor’s considerable value.62 In 1353, the canons of Lyon had written to the prior and monks of Canterbury, thanking them for the gift of a window which the then prior of Canterbury had paid for at Lyon when returning from a council at Pisa, promising the continuation of Lyon’s ties of friendship with Canterbury, and offering to support the monks should they seek the restoration of Canterbury’s lost estates.63 However, although as late as 1368 Archbishop Langham of Canterbury was still appointing proctors to represent his interests at Lyon and Quincieux before the Parlement of Paris, it seems that the only effective litigation henceforth was fought out between the pensioners of the kings of France established at Quincieux, and the canons of Lyon.64 In July 1389, more than a decade into the Great Schism, the French anti-pope, Clement VII, granted the revenues of Quincieux to a priest named William Emoyn, described as sacrist of Lyon, for so long as the archbishop of Canterbury should remain schismatic.65 Although thereafter there is evidence to suggest that Canterbury continued to press its claim, when next we hear of the lands, in 1411, they had been awarded by the chapter of Lyon to Master Girard Pebrière, a lawyer who had previously acted as Canterbury’s proctor at Paris.66 Contacts with Canterbury were maintained as late as August 1412, when the prior of Christ Church dispatched letters of commendation for Peter Correry, a scholar of Lyon who had previously resided with the Canterbury monks and who was forced to return home by the renewed hostilities between France and England.67 But by 1415 Canterbury’s estate had come to be regarded as a permanent possession of the dean and chapter of Lyon, used thereafter to reward various royal counsellors considered useful in the dean and chapter’s affairs.68 In the meantime, Canterbury’s house in the cloister at Lyon had been taken over by the canons of Lyon. The house itself was ordered demolished in 1382, but its site appears to have served as the dwelling place of successive prévôts of Fourvière and canons of Lyon, from at least 1362 until after 1407.69 Thus ended the last experiment in French landholding by the monasteries of England, an experiment that had long outlasted the history of the AngloNorman realm and even the ties that after 1204 continued to bind England to 62 63 64 65

66 67 68

69

Paris, Archives nationales, JJ86 (Register of Jean II), fol. 159r–v no. 150. Lyon, Archives départementales du Rhône, 10G1986 (2151), no. 3: ‘ vitream unam sumptuoso opere construxit’. Registrum Simonis Langham Cantuariensis archiepiscopi, ed. A. C. Wood, Canterbury and York Society 53, 1956, 215–16. Original papal letters dated at Avignon 26 August yr 11: Lyon, Archives départementales du Rhône, 10G1986 (2151), no. 16, with a further copy ibid., no. 17: ‘archiepiscopus Cantuarien’ scismaticus et nobis rebellis existat’. Ibid., no. 11, and cf. Beyssac, Prévôts de Fourvière, 156. BL, MS Royal 10 B ix (Formulary), fols 44v–5r. Lyon, Archives départementales du Rhône, 10G1986 (2151), nos 9–15, including an award (no. 13) by the dean and chapter of life possession of Quincieux to John Tasson, chancellor of Paris, and Gerard Matheo, ‘professor regis’, dated March 1424/5, and a mandate (no. 14) of Charles VII, dated 23 June 1445, demanding that the dean and chapter show their title to the disputed estates. Beyssac, Prévôts de Fourvière, 109, 175.

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the Plantagenet dominions in Poitou and Gascony. Of all the religious houses of England, it was only Canterbury which effectively established a European-wide reputation, through the glory of its saintly archbishop, Thomas Becket. It is therefore only fitting that it should have been Canterbury, with its distant estate at Quincieux on the Saône, that should have been the last of the English monasteries to relinquish its claims on the continent. From the final loss of Quincieux through to the Reformation, it was to be little more than a century until the monks of England were once again active in Europe, no longer as landlords, but as wandering exiles, attempting to rebuild their shattered monastic communities in such places as Douai and St-Omer. The story of their continental possessions in the three centuries after 1066 has proved a brief but an intriguing one. Not only does it alert us to one further point of contact between medieval England and the continent of Europe, even with such distant French provinces as Burgundy and Savoy, but in its very sparseness, it suggests that the Norman Conquest of 1066 did far more to enrich the monasteries and landholders of France and Normandy than ever it did to bring prosperity to the English.

Appendix 1. Grant by Guichard, archbishop of Lyon, to Archbishop Richard of Canterbury of the land of Quincieux (Rhône, cant. Neuville-sur-Saône) and of a house in the cloister of Lyon cathedral purchased from William, bishop of St-Jean-de-Maurienne, [April 1174×81] and Bernard his nephew. A = CCAL, MS Chartae Antiquae A25. Endorsed: de societate canonicorum Lugdun’ ecclesie (s.xii/xiii). Approx. 149×108mm. Originally sealed sur double queue, fold now flattened out, seal impression missing. B = Ibid. L399, copied together with letters of Henry, prior of Christ Church, appointing proctors to deal with the Lyon property, with a note sub duobus sigillis dict(orum) archiepiscoporum, s.xiv med. C = Ibid. Register A, fol. 273v (345v), copy, s.xiv. Printed (part only, from A) Fifth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, London 1876, appendix, 448–9. After the consecration of Archbishop Richard (7 April 1174, cf. Fasti II, 4) and before the death of Archbishop Guichard of Lyon (d.1181). Refers to William (II), bishop of St-Jean-de-Maurienne (1162–76). Guischardus Dei gratia Lugdunensis archiepiscopus et apostolice sedis legatus universis sancte matris ecclesie filiis salutem. Notum sit universitati vestre nos assensu totius capituli nostri concessisse venerabili fratri nostro Ric(ardo) Cantuarien(si) archiepiscopo et omnibus successoribus eius canonice substituendis et ecclesie Cantuarien(si) terram de Quinciaco cum omnibus pertinentiis

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suis et domum in claustro nostro emptam ab episcopo Morianen’ Guillelmo et Burn(ardo) nepote ipsius. Ipse autem dominus Cantuarien(sis) singulis annis faciet servicium refectorii honorifice diebus quattuor, incipiens a quinto die Natalis Domini. Postquam vero beatus martir Thomas Cantuar’ translatus fuerit, quarti diei servicium in die translationis eius transferetur, et si forte dominus Cantuarien(sis) in terra de Quinciaco castrum firmauerit, erit canonicis et militibus et hominibus eorum ad refugium sine incommoditate ipsius archiepiscopi. Terram eandem nullatenus absque assensu capituli alienabit, et si aliquam terram in partibus vicinis adquisierit, eam cum terra predicta sub servicio pretaxato tenebit. Anniversarium suum ei in ecclesia nostra concessimus annuatim faciendum, et ipse nobis similiter nostrum in ecclesia Cantuar(iensi). Pro defunctis ecclesie sue faciemus annuatim servicium in conventu nostro infra xv. dies post festum sancti Michael(is) et ecclesia Cant’ similiter faciet pro nostris. 2. Grant by Savaric de Mauléon to St Nicholas’s priory, Exeter, of a tun of wine each year at La Rochelle, payable by the baillifs of Châtelaillon (Charente-Maritime, cant. [1215×24, ?1216–17] Aytré, com. Châtelaillon-Plage) BL, MS Cotton Vitellius D ix (Cartulary of St Nicholas’s Priory, Exeter), fol. 58v, s.xiii. Omnibus sancte matris ecclesie filiis ad quos presens scriptum pervenerit S(avaricus) de Maloleone salutem in domino. Noverit universitas vestra me intuitu Dei et in honore beate Marie et beati Nicholai et omnium sanctorum et sanctarum Dei pro salute anime patris mei et animarum antecessorum meorum et pro salute mea et matris mee et omnium successorum meorum dedisse et concessisse et hac presenti carta mea confirmasse Deo et ecclesie beati Nicholai de Exon’ in puram et perpetuam elemosinam ad missas celebrandas unum tonellum vini de tribus modiis annuatim percipiendum de me et heredibus meis in perpetuum apud Ruperam ad festum sancti Michaelis per manus ballivorum castelli Allum et tradend(um) illis quos conventus dicte ecclesie ad hoc singulis annis mittere voluerit. Quod ut ratum sit et inconcussum in perpetuum permaneat presenti carte sigilli mei robor apposui et munimen. T(estibus) Americo de Forz, Willelmo Talebot, Baldrico, Willelmo de Burgonovo, Helia coco meo. 3. Grant by Savaric de Mauléon to St Nicholas’s Priory, Exeter, of a measure of wine each year at La Flotte in the Ile de Ré (Charente-Maritime, cant. St-Martin-de-Ré). [1215×24, ?1216–17] BL, MS Cotton Vitellius D ix (Cartulary of St Nicholas’s Priory, Exeter), fol. 59r, s.xiii. S(avaricus) de Maloleone omnibus presentes litteras inspecturis salutem in eo qui est vera salus omnium. Universitati vestre presentis carte testimonio notum

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fieri volumus quod nos dedimus in puram et perpetuam elemosinam Deo et ecclesie beati Nicholai de Exon’ ad missarum solemnia ibidem celebranda unum dolum vini annuatim in perpetuum vindemiarum tempore percipiendum in nostro torculari de La Flote quod est in insula de Re. Per manum vero illius qui ibidem nostros recipiet redditus vin(i) persolvetur illi videlicet qui a priore illius ecclesie cum litterarum suarum testimonio transmittetur. Quod ne in posterum quod absit a successoribus nostris valeat infirmari, donum nostrum dedimus priori supranominate ecclesie litteras sigilli nostri munimine roboratas in testimonium veritatis.

Index of People and Places

Aachen, 3 Aaron, martyr, 110 n. 48 Aberdeen, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Abingdon, Oxfords. abbey of, 45, 54 abbot of, see Æthelwold Abingdon, Edmund of, archbishop of Canterbury, 215, 232 n. 42 Abraham, bishop of St Davids, 99, 110 n. 48 Acaster Selby, Yorks., 144 Adelelm, probable son of Roger, bishop of Salisbury, 17 Ælfgar, hermit of Bardsey Island, 106, 107 n. 32, 108, 114 Ælfgifu, queen of England, 50 Ælfheah, archbishop of Canterbury, 27–9, 31, 32 and n. 20, 33, 34 and n. 28, 35–9 Ælfhun, bishop of London, 31, 38–9 Ælfmær, 31, 35 Ælfmær, abbot of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, 31 Ælfsige, archbishop of Canterbury, 173 Ælfweard, king’s reeve, 31 Ælfwold, bishop of Crediton, 46 Æthelred II ‘the Unready’, king of England, 27 n. 2, 32, 34, 38–9, 47 Æthelstan ‘Ætheling’, 38 Æthelwig, abbot of Evesham, 34 n. 31 Æthelwold, abbot of Abingdon, 45, 54 Agnani, John of, papal legate, 206 Aigneaulx, Henry de, 226 n. 21 Aigueblanche, Peter de, bishop of Hereford, 233 Alan, earl of Richmond, 160 Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, 16–17, 145 Alexander III, pope, 179 Alfred, the Atheling, 47 Alfred the Great, king of England, 44 Allen, Richard, 24–5 Amalarius, 58 Amiens, Somme, 189, 230 bishop of, see Enguerran Amon, father of St Samson of Dol, 110 n. 48 Amundeville, William de, 163 Angers, Maine-et-Loire, 178 Angilrammus, abbot of St-Riquier, 89 Angles, 182

Anjou counts of, see Geoffrey, and England, kings of county of, 119–20 Anna, mother of St Samson of Dol, 110 n. 48 Anonymous I, biographer of Thomas Becket, 171 and n. 13, 179 Anonymous II, biographer of Thomas Becket, 173 and n. 21 Ansbertus, bishop of Rouen, 86, 87 n. 45 Anselm, abbot of Bury St Edmunds, 172, 222 Anselm, abbot of Bec, archbishop of Canterbury, 10, 16, 23, 33, 64, 172, 174 Ansfredus, vicomte, 81 n. 15 Anti-pope, see Clement VII Aosta, Italy, 16 cathedral, canon of, see Iovenzano, Aymo de Aquitaine, duke of, see Richard I Arcellis, Saher de, 157 Arden, Hugh de, 155 Ardenne, Calvados, 128 Argyll, bishopric of, 1 Arnoul, bishop of Lisieux, 118, 122 Arnulf, archbishop of Tours, 95 Arnulf the Falconer, 158–9 Arthur, duke of Brittany, 215 Arundel, 160, 165 earl of, see William Asgarby, Lincs., 156–7, 161 Ashbourne, Alan of, 70 Asher, Old Testament figure and eighth son of Jacob, 110 n. 48 Ashford, Kent, 202 Ashurst, Devon, 56 Assandun (Ashingdon, Essex), battle of, 34 Asser, bishop of St Davids and Sherborne, 44–5, 59, 110 n. 48 Athelheard, king of Wessex, 46 Athelstan, king of England, 7, 44–5, 47, 49–54, 56–7, 59 d’Aubigny, Nigel, 133 Augustine, prior of Hood, 145 Aumale, Seine-Maritime, abbot of, see Noel count of, see William Autun, bishop of, 234 Avranches, Manche, 81, 94, 208

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INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES

bishop of, 93 n. 86, and see Michael bishopric of, 1 cathedral of, 1, 15–16 d’Avranches, Hugh, earl of Chester, 62, 64, 71–4, 165 Bacon, Roger, 126 Balliol, Bernard de, 163 Bangor, Gwynedd, 9 n. 48 bishopric of, 108–9, 111 bishops of, 9 n. 48, see also David, Deiniol cathedral of (St Deiniol’s), 99, 108 Bardsey, Gwynedd, 106 Barfleur, Manche, 223 Barlow, Frank, 1 n. 1, 49 Barnwell annals, 217–18 Barrow, Julia, 151–3, 167 Bartholomew dapifer, 199 n. 66 Bartlett, Robert, 4 Barton, Jun of, 196 n. 46 Basset, family of, 157 Bates, David, 4–5, 10–11 Bath, Somerset abbey of, 8, 65 bishop of, see Villula, John de bishopric of, 7 n. 33, 8, 46, 65, 69 cathedral of, 11, 158–9, 161 Battle, Sussex, 118 abbey of, 153, 222–3, 225 abbot of, 153 Bavaria, duke of, see Henry the Lion Bayeux, Calvados, 95 and n. 100, 96, 118–20, 121, 123, 126–7, 129 bishopric of, 1, 25, 118, 119 and n. 11, 120, 123–5, 129 bishops of, 118, 125, and see Douvres, Richard de; Harcourt, Philip of; Henry; Hugh; Odo; Richard, son of Robert earl of Gloucester cathedral of, 1, 11, 19, 25, 95 and n. 96, 117 and n. 1, 121 n. 28, 122, 124–7 priory of, see St-Vigor Bayeux, Osbert of, 160 Bayeux, Ranulf of, 162 Bayeux, Thomas of (Thomas I), archbishop of York, 24, 96, 143 Baylé, Maylis, 87 Baynard, family of, 165 n. 116, 166 Baynard, William, 165 Beatrix, niece of Philip of Harcourt, 126 Beaulieu, Hants., abbey, 210 Beaumont, Eure, church of, 119 Beaumont-en-Auge, Calvados, religious house of, 89 n. 66 Beaune, Côte d’Or, 229, 231

Bec-Hellouin, Eure, abbey of, 16, 33, 71–2, 117, 230 abbots of, see Anselm, Lanfranc, Theobald Bechetune, Robert de, canon and parson of Hackington, 196 Becket, Ralph, nephew of Thomas, 196, 200 and n. 70 Becket, Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, 14–15, 21–3, 37, 169–73, 185, 193, 195, 196 n. 48, 197 and n. 56, 198–9, 201, 203–9, 215, 228, 230, 231 n. 40, 237 Bede, 65 Beket, William, 166 Bella Aqua, Robert de, 143 Belley, bishop of, see Savoy, Boniface of Belmais, John of (John aux Bellemains, John of Canterbury), archbishop of Lyon, bishop of Poitiers, treasurer of York, 170, 179, 231 and n. 40 Beorhtred, abbot of Glastonbury, 27 Berkshire, county of, 30, 46, 70 Bernard, bishop of St Davids, 10, 103 and n. 17, 105 and n. 24, 107 n. 32 Bernard, nephew of William, bishop of St-Jean-de-Maurienne, 237 Bernay, Eure, abbey of, 87, 94 n. 90 Bertram, author of vita of St Mildryth, 30 Besançon, Doubs, cathedral, canon of, see Porogiis, Master John de Bessin, 89, 120, 124, 129 Beverley, Yorks., minster of, 3 Bigod, Roger, 157 Bishops Tachbrook, Warws., 70 Bisson, Thomas, 192 Blair, John, 44 Blanche-Herbe, Calvados, 128 Blaye, Gironde, 228 n. 29 Bloet, Robert, bishop of Lincoln, 148 Blois, Henry of, abbot of Glastonbury, 28 Bodmin, Cornw., 47 Boethius, 58 Bohon, Enjuger, 130 n. 69 Bohun, Humphrey de, 162 Boleslav Mieszko, duke of the Poles, 32 n. 17 Bona Anima, William, archbishop of Rouen, 78, 96 Bordesley, Worcs., abbey, abbot of, 223 and n. 6 Bosham, Herbert of, clerk, 172–5, 177–9, 181–3, 185 Boüard, Michel de, 79 Boulogne, counts of, 230 Boulogne, Eustace of, 165 Bourg, Haute-Garonne, 228 n. 29 Bourrienne, Valentin, 118–20



Boxley, Kent, abbey of, 194 Brachy, Seine-Maritime, 225 Brachy, Adulph de, 225 Bradenstoke, Wilts, priory of, 224, 226 and n. 21 Brakelond, Jocelin of, 207 Brechin, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Bredgar, Kent, rectory of, 199, 201 Brett, Martin, 157, 162 Briançon, Hautes-Alpes, 233 and n. 50 Bricett, Great, Suff., 224 n. 10 Bridlington, Yorks., priory of, 155 Brihtric, brother of Eadric Streona, 35 Brill, South Holland, 211 n. 48 Briouse, family, 215 Briouze, Orne, 119 Bristol, Glos., St James’s priory of, 223, 226 Britons, 182 Brittany, 107 dukes of, see Arthur, Geoffrey and England, kings of Brix, Manche, 224–5 Broc, family, 183 Broc, Ranulf de, 178, 185 Broc, Robert de, 185 Brooks, Nicholas, 52 Brown, Elizabeth, 188 Brown, Warren, 188–92, 202 Brucourt, Robert de, 226–7 n. 21 Brus, Robert de, 224–5 Bruton, Som., priory of, 222, 226 Buckingham, Bucks., 155 Buildwas, Shrops., Savignac abbey of St Mary and St Chad, 75 Bullington, Lincs., priory of, 166 Burgundy, marshal of, see Thury, Master Girard de Burton, Janet, 139, 140, 142 Burton Bradstock, Dorset, 226–7 n. 21 Burwell, Lincs, 224 n. 10 Bury St Edmunds, Suff., 203, 205, 206 and n. 19, 207, 219 abbey of, 14, 65, 166, 214 n. 63, 222, 225 abbot of, see Anselm Butler, Samuel, 39 Byland, Yorks., abbey of, 144, 163–4 Caen, Calvados, 86–8, 89 and n. 70, 92–3, 94 n. 90, 96, 126, 129 abbeys of La Trinité, 87 and n. 50, 88, 94 n. 90 St-Etienne, 86–7, 88 and n. 58, 89 and n. 70, 90, 92 and n. 76, 94 n. 90 count of, see Ranulf Caen, Paul de, abbot of St Albans, 92 Caernarfon, Gwynedd, 112

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Cahagnes, Calvados, 223, 225–6 Cahagnes, Ralph, Hugh and William de, 223 Caithness, bishopric of, 1 and n. 3 Calixtus II, pope, 103–4, 107 Cambremer, Calvados, 121 n. 31, 125 Cambridge, Cambs., 46, 171 Camille, Michael, 20 Campeaux, Hervey de, 143 Campeaux, Robert de, 143 Canterbury, Kent, 21, 30, 35–6, 38–9, 52, 77, 96, 163, 193–4, 195 and n. 43, 196–8, 199 and n. 66, 201–2, 205 n. 10, 206–7, 228 archbishopric of, 10, 34, 70, 103, 108, 180, 185, 211, 216 archbishops of, see 1, 9, 10 and n. 52, 22–4, 180, 199, 200, 202–3, 214, 221, 234–5, and Abingdon, Edmund of; Ælfheah; Ælfsige; Anselm; Becket, Thomas; Ceolnoth; Corbeil, William of; Dover, Richard of; Dunstan; Escures, Ralph d’; Ford, Baldwin of; Jumièges, Robert of; Kilwardby, Robert; Lanfranc; Langham, Simon; Langton, Stephen; Oda; Peckham, John; Plegmund; Reynolds, Walter; Savoy, Boniface of; Sigeric; Stigand; Walter, Hubert; Winchelsea, Robert churches of St Gregory, 30 St Mildred, 35 n. 35 parishes of St Alphage, 198 St Dunstan, 194 St Lawrence, 202 St Margaret, 198–9 St Mary Bredman, 198 St Paul, 202 St Stephen, see Hackington religious houses of abbey of (St Augustine’s), 30 and n. 10, 96 and n. 106, 170–4, 180, 182–3, 185, 187, 189, 191–5, 199–200, 201 and n. 73, 202–4, 211–15, 216 and n. 76, 217–19, 228 and n. 29, 231, 236 abbots of, see Ælfmær, Clarembald, Wulfric cathedral of (Christ Church Priory), 2, 11–16, 21–2, 28, 30, 35–7, 88 n. 57, 94 n. 90, 96, 104, 169–86, 190, 194, 196 and n. 48, 197, 199 n. 66, 200–19, 221, 228 n. 29, 229–30, 233–7 archdeacons of, see Becket, Thomas; Montluel, Stephen de; Pont l’Evêque, Roger de; Ridel, Geoffrey

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priors of, 194–5, 197, 234–6, see also Chetham, John of; Dover, Richard of; Geoffrey; Henry; Sandwich, Nicholas of; Tewkesbury, Alan of sub-prior of, see Reginald hospitals of St James’s, 187, 189–90, 192, 196, 199, 200 and n. 67, 201–2 masters of, see Feramin, Simon St Lawrence’s, 201, 202 n. 78 St Thomas’s 200 and n. 70 master of, see Becket, Ralph priory of (St Gregory’s), 193, 201 n. 73 streets and places in archbishop’s palace, 197 Bullstake, 196 n. 48 Hollow Lane, 196, 202 Lyon inn, 201 Northgate, 196 n. 48 Stone Street, 202 Stour Street, 196 n. 48 Wincheap, 202 Worthgate ward, 196, 202 Canterbury, Gervase of, 12, 172–3, 186, 192, 195 n. 43, 196, 200, 206, 211 n. 48, 213, 217 Canterbury, William of, 171–3, 179–81, 183, 185 Cantilupe, Fulk de, 216 Canwell, Staffs., priory of, 155 Caradog ap Gruffudd, king of Glamorgan, 100 Caradog Fynach, hermit, 105, 107 n. 32 Carlisle, Cumb. bishopric of, 8 and n. 41 cathedral of, 8 and n. 41 Carlson, Eric, 87–9, 92 Carthage, bishop of, see Cyprian Caurceis, Aimery de, burgess of La Rochelle, 228 Cennrígmonaid (see also St Andrews), 105 Ceolnoth, archbishop of Canterbury, 59 Ceredigion, 100 Cerisy-la-Forêt, Manche, abbey of, 89 and n. 64, 90–2 abbot of, see Durundus Cerne, Dorset, abbot of, see Richard Certeau, Michel de, 188 Chad, bishop of Lichfield, 65, 68–9, 75 Chandos, family of, 159 Channel, English, 124 Charing, Kent, church of, 234 Charles VII, king of France, 236 n. 68 Chartres, 15 Chatard, dean of Lyon, 234 and n. 55

Châtelaillon, Charente-Maritime, 227 n. 23, 228, 238 Cheney, C. R., 204 Chesney, Robert de, bishop of Lincoln, 163 Chester, Chesh., 62–4, 66, 68, 70–3, 75, 157, 162 bishopric of, 6–7 n. 33, 7, 63, 65–7, 71–3, 75 bishops of, 67, see also Lichfield cathedral of, 66, 73, 75–6 churches of St John, minster of, 61–2, 70–3 St Werburgh, minster of, 71–3 earls of, see d’Avranches, Hugh; Ranulf II Chesterfield, Thomas (Lichfield chronicler), 70 Chesterton, Warws., 155 Chetham, John of, prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, 215 Chibnall, Marjorie, 88 Chicheboville, Richard de, 123 Chichester, Sussex, 153, 160, 165 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 65 bishops of, see Hilary, Seffrid II cathedral of, 153, 160, 165 Christ, 25, see also Canterbury Chrodegang, bishop of Metz, 3, 8, 67 Cîteaux, Côte d’Or, abbey, abbots of, 229, see also Guichard, and L. Clanchy, Michael, 41 Clare, Earl Roger of, 176–7 Clarembald, abbot of St Augustine’s, 176 Clarendon, Oxfords., 170–1, 176 n. 34, 178, 185 Clayton, Mary, 44 Clement VII, anti-pope, 236 Clermont, Puy-de-Dôme, 127 Clinton, Geoffrey de, 75 Clinton, Roger de, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, 67, 71, 75 Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, abbey, abbot of, 234 Clynnog Fawr, Gwynedd, church of, 112, 114 Clyst, Devon, 53 Cnut, king of Denmark, king of England, 32 and nn. 17–18, 34 and n. 28, 38, 46 Colombières, family of, 126 Colombières, Philip of, 126 Conan, bishop of St Germans, 47, 59 Condet, Robert de, 166 Conner, Patrick, 50 Conques, Aveyron, abbey of Ste-Foy, 140 Conversano, Sybil of, 154 n. 21 Corbeil, William of, archbishop of Canterbury, 172, 193 Cormeilles, Eure, religious house of, 89 n. 66



Cornwall bishop of, 47 county of, 43–4, 46–8 Cornwall, Samson of, 164 Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 46 Correy, Peter, 236 Cotrel, William, 227 Couhé, Poitou, 233 Coutances, 94 bishop of, see Geoffrey bishopric of, 1 cathedral of, 1, 19, 86 Coventry, Warws., 62–4, 66–7, 72–6 abbey of (St Mary’s), 8, 62, 65–7, 73, 74 and n. 69 abbot of, see Leofwine prior of, see Laurence bishopric of, 7 and n. 33, 8, 61, 64–7, 71–2, 74–5 bishops of, 67, 74, see also Lichfield cathedral of, 66, 74–6, see also Coventry, abbey of Cowdrey, H. E. J., 2 Cowley, F. G., 102 Craon, Alice de, 162 Crediton, Devon, 7 n. 34, 43, 46–8, 57, 68 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 7, 43, 45–8, 53, 57, 59, 65 bishops of, 47, 52, see also Ælfwold, Eadnoth, Eadwulf, Leofric, Lifing, Sidemann monastery of, 45 Crèvecœur, 125 Croc, Thomas, 196 n. 46 Croc, William, 155 Croc the Huntsman, 158–9 Crouch, David, 108, 119 and n. 19, 120 Crowland, Lincs., abbey of, 155 n. 32 Croyer, Richard, 163 Culmstock, Devon, 49, 56 Cumbria, county of, 16 Curcy, Matthew de, 159 Curthose, Robert, duke of Normandy, 129 Cynewulf, king of Wessex, 46, 59 Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, 181 Dalton, Paul, 26, 77 Daniel, bishop of Bangor, see Deiniol Daniel, bishop of St Germans, 47 Daniel, Old Testament figure, 110 n. 48 David, bishop of Bangor, 106, 109 David I, king of Scots, 1, 105, 225 n. 12 Davies, John Reuben, 9 Davis, Natalie Zemon, 187, 192 Davis, R.H.C., 149

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Dawlish, Devon, 51 Deheubarth, king of, see Rhys ap Tewdwr Deiniol, bishop of Bangor, 108–10 Denmark, kings of, 229, see also Cnut, Swein ‘Forkbeard’ Devizes, Wilts., 124, 162 Devon, county of, 43, 46–7, 56, 107, 158 Diceto, Ralph (Ralph of Diss), dean of St Paul’s, London, 176 n. 35, 205, 231 n. 40 Die, Hugh of, papal legate, archbishop of Lyon, 230 Dijon, abbey of St Bénigne of, 4 Dinuurium, bishops of, see Kenstec Diocletian, emperor of Rome, 110 n. 48 Domesday Book, 48 Doncaster, Yorks., 137 n. 24 Donnay, Calvados, 126 Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfords., 68 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 65, 70 bishops of, 52, see also Eadnoth Dornoch, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Dorset, county of, 46 Douai, Nord, abbey of, 237 Douvres, Richard de, bishop of Bayeux, 127 and n. 55 Dover, Kent, St Martin’s priory, 193 Dover, Richard of, archbishop of Canterbury, prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, 184–5, 193, 231, 237 Drage, Elaine, 55 Drax, Yorks., 135, 138 and n. 31, 147, 161 Du Hommet, family, 224 Dublin archbishops of, 229 bishops of, 10, see also, Dunan, Gilla Pátraic cathedral of, 231 Duggan, Anne, 177 Dunan, bishop of Dublin, 10 n. 52 Dunblane, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Dunkeld, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Dunstable, Beds., annalist of, 218 Dunstan, abbot of Glastonbury, archbishop of Canterbury, 3, 27 and n. 1, 28–9, 32–3, 37–8, 47 Durand, the canon, 165 Durham, Co. Durham, 12, 54 bishopric of, 65 bishops of, 1, see also Flambard, Ranulf; St Calais, William of; Walcher cathedral of, 8, 11 n. 61, 12–13, 15–16, 21, 94 n. 90 prior of, see Roger Durundus, abbot of Cerisy-la-Forêt, 89

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Eadmer of Canterbury, 16, 28, 29 and n. 7, 30, 37, 39 Eadnoth, bishop of Crediton, 46 Eadnoth, bishop of Dorchester-on-Thames, 31 Eadric Streona, ealdorman of Mercia, 31, 34 and nn. 29, 31, 35 Eadwig, king of England, 54 Eadwulf, bishop of Crediton, 46, 59 Ealdred, abbot of Tavistock, 46 Ealdred, archbishop of York, 3 East Anglia, 12, 166 king of, see Edmund Ecgberht, king of Wessex, 47 Ecrammeville, Calvados, 223, 226 n. 21 Edgar, king of England, 45, 69 Edith, queen of England, 48 n. 48, 53 Edmund, king of East Anglia, 203, 205–9, 214 n. 63 Edmund, king of England, 27 Edmund ‘Ironside’, king of England, 27 n. 2, 38 Edward IV, king of England, 112 Edward the Confessor, king of England, 4, 6, 47, 48 n. 48, 49, 53, 57, 70, 203–4, 206–9 Edward the Elder, king of England, 50, 52 Edward the Martyr, king of England, 45, 50 Edwards, Kathleen, 152 Eleanor of Provence, queen of England, 209, 231–2 Eliud, bishop of Llandaf/Llandaff, see St Teilo Eliud the Canaanite, Old Testament figure, 110 n. 48 Ely, Cambs., 7, 65 bishopric of, 8 and n. 41 bishops of, see Nigel Emma, queen of England, 32 n. 18, 38 Emoyon, William, priest, sacrist of Lyon, 236 England, kings of, 176, see also Æthelred II ‘the Unready’; Alfred the Great; Athelstan; Cnut; Eadwig; Edgar; Edmund; Edmund ‘Ironside’; Edward IV; Edward the Confessor; Edward the Elder; Edward the Martyr; Godwineson, Harold; Harthacnut; Henry I; Henry II; Henry III; Henry the young king; John; Richard I; Stephen; William I; William II queens of, see Ælfgifu, Edith, Eleanor of Provence, Isabella of Angoulême Enguerran, bishop of Amiens, 189 Enoch, Old Testament figure, 110 n. 48 Erik, Jarl of Hladir (Norway), 38 Escures, Ralph d’, archbishop of Canterbury, 106, 172 Escures, Seffrid d’, abbot of Glastonbury, 28 Eskdale, Cumb., 229 n. 31

Étampes, Guy of, 16 Etoutteville, Seine-Maritime, cell of Lewes at, 223 Eu, Seine-Maritime, 160 counts of, 225, see also John Eugene III, pope, 121 Evans, J. Wyn, bishop of St Davids, 100, 101 n. 8 Evesham, Worcs, abbey of, 229 Évreux, Eure, 119 and n. 19 abbey of, see St-Taurin bishopric of, 1 cathedral of, 1, 94 and n. 94, 95 archdeacon of, see Harcourt, Philip of viscount of, see Waleran Exe, river, 46, 49 Exeter, Devon, 7 and n. 34, 43 and n. 12, 44 and n. 17, 45–6, 48–51, 52 and n. 72, 53–60, 152 n. 6, 157, 163, 193, 228 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 7, 43–6, 48–60, 65 bishops of, see Leofric; Warelwast, William de cathedral of, 8, 41, 43, 55, see also Exeter, monastery of St Peter and St Mary minster of, 50, 52, 56 monastery of St Peter and St Mary, 7, 43–5, 49–54, 56, 59 abbots of, see Sidemann, Wulfheard priory of (St Nicholas’s), 227, 238–9 Eynsford, Kent, church of, 231 n. 40 Eynsford, William de, 176 Ezekiel, Old Testament figure, 58 Farndon, Chesh., 70 Faversham, Kent, abbey of , 218 prior of, 195–6 Fécamp, Seine-Maritime, abbey of, 94 Fentress, James, 41, 55 Feramin, master of St James’s hospital, Canterbury, 187, 189, 191–2, 195, 196 and n. 48, 197–9, 200 and n. 67, 201–2 Fernie, Eric, 93 Finucane, Ronald, 14 Fitz Ansketill, Ralph, 165 Fitz Clarembald, William, 157 Fitz Gerold, family of, 161 Fitz Gerold, Roger, 160–1 Fitz Gilbert, Constance, 144–5 Fitz Gilbert, Ralf, 144, 162 Fitz Goer, William, 155 Fitz Hamon, Robert, 124 Fitz Herbert, William, archbishop of York, 160, 167 Fitz Hugh, John, 216



Fitz Hugh, Robert, 162 Fitz Osbert, William, 159–60 Fitz Richard, Robert, 166 Fitz Urse, Richard, 160 Fitz William fitz Osbert, Philip, 159–60 FitzStephen, William, 172, 176–80, 182–5 Flambard, Ranulf, bishop of Durham, 54 Flanders, counts of, 230, see also Philip Fleury, abbey of, 3 Foliot, Gilbert, bishop of London, 15, 24, 176, 178, 182–3 Foliot, Payn, son of William Foliot, 140–1 Foliot, William, 141 Folkingham, Lincs., 135 Ford, Baldwin of, archbishop of Canterbury, 21, 187, 189, 192–7, 199–202, 206, 215, 231 n. 40 Formosus, pope, 52, 59 Forthhere, bishop of Sherborne, 45, 59 Fosse-Luchon, 125 Fountains, abbey of (Yorks.), 163 Fourvière, Rhône, near Lyon, St Thomas’s collegiate church of, 231 prévots of, 236 see Palud, Guy de la; Palud, William de la; St-Symphorien, Guichard de France, kings of, see Charles VII, Louis VII, Louis VIII, Philip II, Philip VI France, Margaret of, wife of Henry the young king, 210 n. 45 Fraser, James E., 104 Freising, cathedral of, 2 n. 6 Freeman, E.A., 34 Fryston, Yorks., 136 n. 18, 143 Furness, Jocelin of, 111 Gaimar, Geffrei, 145 Galloway, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Gameson, Richard, 51, 54 Gant, Alice de, 135 n. 11, 144, 161 Gant, family of, 135 n. 11, 161–2 Gant, Gilbert II de, 135 and nn. 11, 13, 137, 144, 148, 160–1, 164 and n. 105 Gant, Hugh de, 161 and n. 79 Gant, Robert de, dean of York, 144, 160–1 Gant, Robert de, 135 and nn. 11, 13, 137, 144, 148, 161–2 Garonne, river, 228 n. 29 Gazeau, Véronique, 77 Geary, Patrick, 41–3, 190–1 Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, 4 Geoffrey, count of Anjou and duke of Normandy, 119–21, 124–5, 129 Geoffrey, duke of Brittany, 210 n. 45

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Geoffrey, prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, 214 Gerald of Wales, 102, 105, 113 Giffard, Elias, 162 Gilbert the clerk, 196 n. 48 Gilla Pátraic, bishop of Dublin, 10 and n. 52 Ginsburg, Carlo, 187 and n. 1, 192 Giric, bishop of St Andrews, 104 Giso, bishop of Wells, 3 Gisors, near Paris, 178 Glamorgan bishopric of, see Llandaf/Llandaff kings of, see Caradog ap Gruffudd, Rhydderch ap Iestyn Glasgow, bishopric of 1 n. 3 Glastonbury, Som., 52 abbey of, 27–8, 29 n. 73, 33, 37–9, 103 abbots of, see Beorhtred; Blois, Henry of; Dunstan; d’Escures, Seffrid de; Herluin; Turstin Gleason, Sarrell, 118, 122 and n. 32 Gloucester, Glocs., 117, 120 and n. 24, 123–4, 127 and n. 55, 129, 156, 165 and n. 117 abbey of, 163–4, 165 and n. 117 earls of, see Robert, William Godefrid the baker, 196 n. 48 Godiva, wife of Leofric, earl of Mercia, 73 Godwine, bishop of Rochester, 31, 35 and n. 35 Godwineson, Harold, king of England, 3 Goffman, Erving, 126 Górecki, Piotr, 188–92, 202 Grandis, William, monk of Selby, 138, 141–2 Gratian, 24, 181–2 Gray, John de, bishop of Norwich, 212–14, 217 Greenwich, Kent, 31 Gregory I, pope, 181, 183 Gregory VII, pope, 5 Grelley, Albert, 157 Grim, Edward, 171 and n. 12, 179 Grimsby, Lincs., abbey of, 223 Gruffudd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd, 100, 102, 105, 109 and n. 46, 114 Guernes (Garnier), clerk, 171 and n. 12, 179 Guichard, abbot of Cîteaux, 229 n. 30 Guichard, abbot of Pontigny, archbishop of Lyon, 230 and n. 35, 231, 237 Guildford, Surrey, 205 Guînes, counts of, 230 Gundulf, bishop of Rochester, 65 Guyotjeannin, Olivier, 130 Gwynedd, kings of, see Trahaearn ap Caradog Hackington, St Stephen’s, Canterbury, Kent canon of, see Robert de Bechetune

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parson of, see Robert de Bechetune projected college of, 21, 187, 193–4, 197, 206, 215 Hambleton, Yorks., 142 Hampshire, county of, 30, 46, 144 Hanmer, Chesh., 70 Harbledown, Kent, hospital of (St Nicholas’s), 202 n. 78 parish of St Michael and St Nicholas, 202 Harcourt, Philip of, bishop of Bayeux, 25, 117, 118, 119 and nn. 10–11, 17, 19, 120 and nn. 24–5, 121, 122 and n. 32, 123 and n. 37, 124–7, 128 and n. 60, 129–30, 160 Harcourt, William of, 130 Harthacnut, king of England, 47 Haskins, Charles, 118, 122 n. 32 Hedd, son of Bishop Abraham of St Davids, 110 n. 48 Hemming, monk of Worcester, 34 n. 31 Hen Fynyw, Ceredigion, church of, 101, 107 n. 33 Henocus, man named in Life of St Samson of Dol (see Enoch), 110 n. 48 Henry, bishop of Bayeux, 122 Henry, earl of Northumberland, 105 Henry I, king of England, 17, 63, 97, 105, 124, 129, 157–8, 161–2, 165–6, 176 n. 34, 180, 222, 223 Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, 32 n. 17 Henry II, king of England, 14, 22, 24, 117, 121, 125–6, 147, 156–7, 159, 164 n. 105, 176 n. 34, 177, 179 n. 56, 180, 182, 194–9, 200 n. 67, 201, 204, 206, 208, 223 and n. 6, 224, 227 n. 23 Henry III, emperor of Germany, 5 Henry III, king of England, 207–9, 212, 231–2 Henry IV, emperor of Germany, 5 Henry, prior of Christ Church cathedral, Canterbury, 237 Henry the Lion, duke of Bavaria and Saxony, 194 Henry the young king, son of King Henry II, 154, 175–6, 179, 181–2, 184–5, 210 n. 45 Hereford, Herefs., 156 n. 38, 158–9, 163 bishopric of, 3 bishops of, 180, see also Aigueblanche, Peter de; Reinhelm cathedral of, 71, 107 n. 36, 158, 163, 165, 167 earl of, see Roger, 163 Herefordshire, county of, 155 Heremann, bishop of Ramsbury, 53 Herfast, bishop of North Elmham and Thetford, 65 Hérils, Calvados, 129

Herluin, abbot of Glastonbury, 28 Hervey, bishop of Bangor, 109 n. 43 Hexham, Northumb., church of (St Andrew’s), 104 Heytesbury, Wilts., 162 Hilary, bishop of Chichester, 160 Hillam, Yorks., 136 n. 18, 143 Hoddnant, Ceredigion, 101 Holcombe, Devon, 51 Holt, Sir James, 146 Hommet, Richard du, 125 Honfleur, Calvados, 223 and n. 7 Honorius II, pope, 102, 103 Hood, Yorks. priory of, 145 prior of, see Augustine Hooker, John, 55 Hooton Pagnell, Yorks., 135, 138 Howden, Yorks., 136 Howden, Roger of, 205 n. 10 Hugh, abbot of Selby, 138 n. 30 Hugh, archbishop of Rouen, 118–19, 124, 129–30 Hugh, bishop of Bayeux, 121 and n. 28 Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, 154 Humber, estuary/river, 16 Hunmanby, Yorks., 135 Huntingdon, Henry of, 64, 155 n. 32 Hythe, Kent, 177 Innes, Matthew, 41 Innimond, Ain, priory of, 233 and n. 50 Innocent III, pope, 22–3, 203–4, 210–13, 214 and n. 66, 215, 217 Innocent IV, pope, 231 Insley, Charles, 7 Iovenzano, Aymo de, canon of Aosta, rector of Moulton, 234 Isaac, Old Testament figure; Welsh cleric, 110 n. 48 Isaac, son of Bishop Abraham of St Davids, 110 n. 48 Isabella of Angoulême, queen of England, 205 n. 228 Isabella of Gloucester, 206 Isaiah, Old Testament figure, 58 Ishmael, Old Testament figure; Welsh cleric, 110 n. 48 Isidore, 58 Isigny, Calvados, 130 Isles, the, bishopric of, 2 n. 1 Ithamar, bishop of Rochester, 110 n. 48 Ivo, bishop of Sées, 4 Ivry, John of, archbishop of Rouen, 78, 79 and n. 14, 81, 86–7



Jacob, Old Testament figure; Welsh cleric, 110 n. 48 Jaeger, C. S., 175 n. 32 Jocelin, bishop of Salisbury, 153 n. 14 John, count of Eu, 160 John, king of England, 14, 22–3, 203–4, 205 and n. 9, 206, 207–19, 221, 228 John the cook, 196 n. 48 Jordan, chancellor of David I, 105 Joseph, Old Testament figure; Welsh cleric, 110 n. 48 Jumièges, Seine-Maritime, abbey of, 85 and n. 33, 94 Jumièges, Robert of, archbishop of Canterbury, bishop of London, 4 Kells, Ireland, abbey of, 10 Kelly, Susan, 54 Kenilworth, Warws., priory of, 155 Kenstec, bishop of Dinuurium, 59 Kent, county of, 27, 30 earl of, see Odo, bishop of Bayeux Kilpeck, Herfs., 156 Kilpeck, Hugh of, 163–4 Kilwardby, Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, cardinal bishop of Porto, 234 Kirkstead, Lincs., abbey of, 162–3 Knowles, David, 212 Kyme, family of, 166 Kyme, Philip of, 162 L., abbot of Cîteaux, 223 La Charité-sur-Loire, Nièvre, priory of, 92 n. 76 La Clarté-Dieu, Saint-Paterne-Racan, Indre-et-Loire, abbey of, 233 La Croix-St-Leufroy, Eure, religious house of, 89 n. 66 La Flotte, Ile-de-Ré, Charente-Maritime, 228, 238–9 La Grande-Sauve, Gironde, abbey of, 224 and n. 10, 229 La Marche, count of, see Lusignan, Hugh de La Rochelle (Ruperam), Charente-Maritime, 221, 227–8, 238 burgess of, see Caurceis, Aimery de La Val Notre-Dame, Calvados, 226 La Valasse, Seine-Maritime, 223 abbey of, 223 Lacy, family of, 138 and nn. 30, 33, 141–2, 145–6, 147 and n. 84, 148 n. 89, 149 Lacy, Henry de, 135–7, 138 and n. 30, 139, 142–4, 146, 147 and n. 84, 149 Lacy, Ilbert I de, 143 and n. 55

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Lacy, Ilbert II de, 135 and n. 11, 138 and n. 33, 147 Lacy, Robert I de, 131 Lambert medicus, 142, 143 and n. 59 Lambeth, Surrey, 21, 197 Lambeth Anonymous, see Anonymous II, 173 Landévennec, Finistère, 50, 52 Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, 10–12, 15, 24, 31, 63–4, 74, 81, 88 n. 57, 94 n. 90, 96, 177, 209 Langham, Simon, archbishop of Canterbury, 236 Langton, Master Simon, 228 and n. 29 Langton, Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, 203–4, 207 n. 25, 209, 212, 214–15, 217–19 Laon, Aisne, 15–16, 20 n. 108 bishop of, 20 n. 108 Laurence, prior of Coventry abbey, 67 Le Châtelard-en-Bauges, Savoie, 232 n. 47 Le Mans, Sarthe, 79 n. 14 Ledsham, Yorks., 145–6, 147 n. 84 Leeds, Yorks., 138 n. 33 Leicester, Leics., 160 earl of, see Robert Leland, John, 55 Lemarignier, Jean-François, 121 Leo IX, pope, 4–5, 53, 57 Leofric, bishop of Crediton, St Germans, and Exeter, 3, 7 and n. 34, 43, 44 and n. 17, 48 and nn. 48–9, 49–58 Leofric, earl of Mercia, 73–4 Leofrun, abbess of Minster-in-Thanet, 31, 35 n. 35 Leofwine, abbot of Coventry and bishop of Lichfield, 74 Lessay, Manche, church of, 88, 94 n. 90 Lewes, Sussex, priory of, 223, 227 n. 21, 230 Lewis, Chris, 7–8 Lichfield, Staffs., 61–2, 66–9, 75, 155 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 7, 61–70, 74–5 bishops of, 67, 74, and see see Chad; Clinton, Roger de; Leofwine; Limesey, Robert de; Peter; Wynsige cathedral of, 62, 66–71, 75–6, 112 churches of St Chad, 68 St Michael, 68 Liège, 15 Lifing, bishop of Crediton, Worcester and St Germans, abbot of Tavistock, 3, 46, 48, 59 Lifris of Llancarfan, 113 Lifshitz, Felice, 41, 79 Limesey, Ralph de, 73–4 Limesey, Robert de, bishop of Chester and Coventry, 61–4, 66, 71–5

250  

INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES

Lincoln, Lincs., 154–64, 166–7 battle of (1141), 135 n. 11 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 7, 65 bishops of, 63, and see Alexander; Bloet, Robert; Chesney, Robert de; Hugh; Remigius cathedral of, 11 n. 61, 16, 94 n. 90, 154–63, 164 and n. 105, 166–7 dean of, see Harcourt, Philip of hospital of the Holy Sepulchre, 164 Lincolnshire, county of, 144, 156, 161 n. 86, 162, 164, 166–7 Lindsey, Lincs., 70, 154 Lion-sur-Mer, Calvados, 222, 226 Lisieux, Calvados, 95 and n. 100, 122 abbey of (Notre-Dame-du-Pré), 95 and n. 99 bishop of, see Arnoul bishopric of, 1, 125 cathedral of, 1 Little Selby, Yorks., 136 n. 18 Llanasa, Flints., 110 Llanbadarn Fawr, Ceredigion, church of, 100–1 Llancarfan, Glamorgan, church of, 112–14 Llandaf/Llandaff, Glamorgan, 9 n. 48, 156 bishopric of, 108 and n. 39, 110–11, 113 bishops of, 9 n. 48, see also Urban, 103–6 cathedral of (St Dyfrig, St Teilo, St Euddogwy and St Peter’s), 99, 104–7, 107 n. 32, 107 n. 34, 108 n. 38, 112–14 Llanddewi Brefi, Ceredigion, church of, 101 Llandeilo Fawr, Ceredigion, church of St Teilo, 69, 108, 112 Llanelwy, Denbighs., 9 n. 48 bishops of, 9. n. 48, see also Monmouth, Geoffrey of; Richard bishopric of, 62, 109–11 cathedral of, 111, 113 Loire, river, 83 London, 30, 32 n. 17, 63, 155, 165–6, 205 n. 14, 207 bishopric of, 3, 172 bishops of, 165–6, and see Ælfhun; Foliot, Gilbert; Jumièges, Robert of cathedral of (St Paul’s), 9 n. 45, 21, 155, 160, 165–6 dean of, see Diceto, Ralph churches of St Martin-le-Grand, 232 St Paul’s, 31, 73 Longespée, William, earl of Salisbury, 224 Lonlay, Orne, abbey of, 87, 94 n. 90 Losinga, Herbert, Bishop of Thetford and Norwich, 65

Louis VII, king of France, 178, 228–30 Louis VIII, king of France, 228 and n. 29 Lusignan, Aymer de, bishop of Winchester, 233 Lusignan, Hugh de, count of La Marche, 233 Lyon, Rhône, 221, 230–1, 232 and n. 42, 233–5, 236 and n. 68 archbishopric of, 231 archbishops of, see Belmais, John of; Die, Hugh of; Guichard; Savoy, Philip of cathedral of, 231, 234, 236–7 archdeacons of, see Rossillon, Guy de canons of, 230, 234–5, 236 and n. 68, see also Montluel, Master Stephen de; St-Symphorien, Guichard de; Porogiis, Master John de dean of, 231, 236 and n. 68, see also Chatard sacrist of, see Emoyon, William Lyon, Constantius of, 140 Maccabee, Judas, 120 n. 25 Maccabees, 58 Maçon, Bernard de, 235 Magna Carta, 212 Maidencastle, in Saxton, Yorks., 146 Maine, county of, 79 n. 14 Maisy, Calvados, 224, 226 n. 21 Malcolm III, king of Scots, 105 Malling, Godefrid de, 199 and n. 64 Mallonus, archbishop of Rouen, 78, 79 n. 12 Malmesbury, Wilts., 68 Malmesbury, William of, 27, 29, 38–9, 44 n. 17, 45, 52, 65, 68–9, 74, 103, 105 Malton, Yorks, priory of, 225 Margaret, queen of Scots, 105 Margate, Henry of, mariner, 229 n. 29 Marmoutier, Indre-et-Loire, abbey of (St Martin’s), 95, 140 Marritt, Stephen, 18, 77, 130 Marshal, William, earl of Pembroke, 209–10 Martel, family of, 157 Martin, armigeris, 141–2 Marzé, Henry de, 235 Masson, André, 83, 92 Matheo, Gerard, 236 n. 68 Matilda, empress of Germany, 124, 162, 223 and n. 6 Matilda, queen of England, wife of Henry I, 105 Matthew, the priest, 128 Mauléon, Savaric de, 227 and n. 23, 228, 238–9 Maurilius, archbishop of Rouen, 81, 86 Meaux, Peter de, 163



Meilir ap Rhiwallon, king of Powys, 100 Mellifont, Ireland, abbey of, 10 Menevia, bishops of, see St Davids Mercia, earls of, see Eadric Streona, Leofric Merseberg, Thietmar of, 31, 32 and nn. 17–19, 33, 38–9 Merton, Surrey, priory of, 226, 223, 225–6 Messina, archbishop of, see Palmer Metz, bishop of, see Chrodegang Meulan counts of, see Robert, Waleran county of, 119, 165–6 Michael, bishop of Avranches, 81 Middlethorpe, Yorks., 133, 143 Minster-in-Thanet, Kent abbess of, see Leofrun church of (St Mildryth’s), 30, 35 n. 35 Monkton, Devon, 49, 56 Monmouth, Geoffrey of, bishop of Llanelwy, 103 n. 15, 110–11, 182–3 Mont-St-Michel, Manche, abbey of, 94 Montebourg, Manche, religious house of, 89 n. 66 Montgomery, Roger de, earl of Shrewsbury, 71 Montivilliers, Seine-Maritime, church of, 94 n. 90 Montluel, Master Stephen de, archdeacon of Canterbury, canon of Lyon, 232 Montmartin, 130 n. 69 Montmartre, near Paris, 178 Moray, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Morgeneu, bishop of St Davids, 99 and n. 1 Mortain, John, count of, 23 Mortemer, Seine-Maritime, cell of Lewes at, 223 Moulton, Norf., rector of, see Iovenzano, Aymo de Mowbray, Robert de, 161, 164–5 Mowbray, Roger de, 133, 135 n. 11, 137, 143–5, 147 n. 84 Moyon, Manche, 222 Moyon, William de, earl of Somerset, 222 and n. 4 Much Wenlock, Shrops., priory of, 75 Müller, Harald, 123 Murdac, Henry, archbishop of York, 142, 161 Musset, Lucien, 87–8 Mynydd Carn, battle of (1081), 100 Mynyw bishops of, see St Davids cathedral of (St Andrew’s and St David’s), 102, see also St Davids Nantcarfan, see Llancarfan Nanteuil, John de, 235

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Naplouse, Garnier de, 227 Netley, Hants., abbey, 233 Newburgh, William of, 180 Newbury, Berks, 205 n. 14 Nicasius, bishop of Rouen, 78, 79 and n. 12 Nicholas, abbot of St-Ouen de Rouen, 78, 83 and n. 24, 86–7, 90, 93–7 Nicholson, Helen, 216 n. 82 Niermeyer, Jan Frederik, 85 Nigel, bishop of Ely, 16–17 Nigel, provost of the archbishop of York, 143 Noel, abbot of Aumale, 145 Normandy, 79 n. 14, 86–90, 92–3, 96, 118–19, 121, 122 and n. 32, 123–4, 127, 129 dukes of, see Geoffrey; Curthose, Robert; and England, kings of North Elmham, Norf., bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 65 Northampton, Northants., 170 Northampton, Ælfgifu of, 32 n. 18 Northumbria, king of, see Oswald Nortier, Geneviève, 78 Norton, Christopher, 160 Norway, king of, see Olaf Norwich, Norf., 20, 164, 167 bishopric of, 7 n. 33 bishops of, 63, 184, see also Gray, John de; Losinga, Herbert cathedral of, 8 and n. 41, 11 n. 61, 12, 20, 164, 167 Nostell, Yorks., priory of, 136, 146 Nowell, Paulinus, son of Ralph, bishop of Orkney, 143 Nowell, Ralph, bishop of Orkney, 143–5 Oda, archbishop of Canterbury, bishop of Ramsbury, 3, 51 Odense, Funen, Denmark, cathedral of, 229 Odo, bishop of Bayeux, earl of Kent, 11 and n. 58, 15, 24, 95, 121, 129 O’Donovan, Mary Ann, 52 Offamil, Walter, archbishop of Palermo, 4 Olaf, king of Norway, 36 and n. 37, 38 Old Sarum, Wilts., 7, 65 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 65 cathedral of, 8 n. 41, 94 n. 90, 154 Olson, Lynette, 48 Ongar, Essex, 205 n. 14 Orkney, bishopric of, 2 n. 1 bishops of, 63, 146, see also Nowell, Ralph Orléans, Loiret, 15 bishopric of, 95 n. 101 Orme, Nicholas, 44 Osbern, monk of Canterbury, 33 and nn. 24, 26, 34 and n. 29, 35–9

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INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES

Osbert, sheriff of York, 156 Oserius, 58 Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, 16 Oswald, archbishop of York, bishop of Worcester, 3 Oswald, king of Northumbria, 28 Ottarr Svarti, skald, 36 and n. 37 Oxford, Oxfords., 16 n. 87 bishop of, 184 Oxfordshire, county of, 51 Palermo, archbishop of, see Offamil Palmer, Richard, archbishop of Messina, 4 Palud, Guy de la, canon of Chichester, prévot of Fourvière, 232, 234 n. 55 Palud, William de la, archdeacon of Vienne, prévot of Fourvière, 232 and n. 43, 234 n. 55 Paris, 11, 15, 16 n. 87, 212, 231, 235–6 chancellor of, see Tasson, John Rue de St-Jacques in, 233 Paris, Matthew, monk of St Albans, 229–30 Parvus, family of, 159 Passau, cathedral of, 2 n. 6 Pavia, Italy, 15 Paynel, Alice (wife of Robert de Gant), 135 n. 13 Paynel, Elias, abbot of Selby, prior of Holy Trinity, York, 135, 137, 138 and nn. 30, 33, 139–40, 141 n. 50, 142 Paynel, family, 135, 138, 142, 149 Paynel, Jordan, 138 n. 33 Paynel, Ralph, 138 n. 33, 140 Paynel, William, 135 n. 13 Pebrière, Master Girard, 236 Peckham, John, archbishop of Canterbury, 234 Peltzer, Jörg, 120 Pembroke, Pembs., earl of, see Marshal, William Penally, Pembs., 108 Percy, Gerbert de, 158–9 Percy, William de, 158 Peter, bishop of Lichfield and Chester, 61–4, 66, 68, 70–1, 73–5 Peterborough, Cambs, abbey of, 90 n. 72, 94 n. 90, 217 Peterborough, Benedict of, 170–1 Peverel, Ranulf, 166 Philip, count of Flanders, 194 Philip II, king of France, 194 Philip VI, king of France, 235 Pierreville, Manche, 222 Plantagenet, family of, 118–20, 123 Plegmund, archbishop of Canterbury, 52–3, 57 Plessis-Grimoult, Calvados, priory of, 126

Poitevin, Robert the, 136, 146 and n. 76 Poitiers, Vienne, bishops of, see Belmais, John of Poitou, seneschal of, see Thurnham, Roger of Pommeraye, family of, 226 n. 19 Pont l’Évêque, Roger de, archbishop of York, 15, 146–7, 148 and n. 84, 171, 176, 178–81, 184 Pontefract, Yorks., 131, 135, 137, 145 priory of (St John the Evangelist), 131, 133, 135, 137, 144–7, 148 and n. 89 prior of, see Walter, abbot of Selby Ponthieu, counts of, 230 Pontigny, Yonne abbey of, 177, 230, 232 n. 42 abbot of, see Guichard Pontigny, Roger of, 171 n. 13 Popes, 195–6, 199, see also Alexander III, Calixtus II, Eugene III, Formosus, Gregory I, Gregory VII, Honorius, II, Innocent III, Innocent IV, Leo IX Porogiis, Master John de, canon of Lyon and Besançon, 234 Porphyrius, 58 Porth Clais, Ceredigion, 100–1 Porto, cardinal bishop of, see Kilwardby, Robert Postles, David, 153 Powys, king of, see Meilir ap Rhiwallon Prees, Shrops., 70 Prestatyn, Flints., 110 Prosper, 58 Prudentius, 58 Puiset, Hugh de, 161 Quarr, Isle of Wight, abbey of, 222 Querqueville (Karkareville), Manche, 224–5 Quincieux, Rhône, 231–2, 234–5, 236 and n. 68, 237 Ralph son of Drogo, 157 Ramsbury, Wilts., 52–3 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 46, 53, 65 bishops of, 52, see also Heremann, Oda Ranulf, count of Caen, 129 Ranulf II, earl of Chester, 124, 135 nn. 11, 13, 160, 164 and n. 105 Ráth Bressail, Ireland, 10 Redvers, Adeliza de, 157 n. 49 Regensburg, cathedral of, 2 n. 6 Reginald, sub-prior of Canterbury cathedral, 211–12, 213 and n. 56, 214 Regnier, Louis, 94 n. 94 Reinbald, son of Peter, bishop of Lichfield, 70 Reinhelm, bishop of Hereford, 165 and n. 117



Remensnyder, Amy, 41–3, 55–6, 190 Remigius, bishop of Lincoln, 154, 159 Revesby, Lincs. abbey of, 144–5 abbot of, see Rievaulx, Ailred of Reynolds, Walter, archbishop of Canterbury, 234–5 Rheims, Marne, 4, 15, 103, 106 Rhydderch ap Iestyn, king of Glamorgan and Dyfed, 108 Rhygyfarch ap Sulien, 101–2 Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of Deheubarth, 100, 102 Richard, abbot of Cerne, 228 n. 29 Richard, bishop of Bayeux, 127 Richard, bishop of Llanelwy, 110 Richard I, king of England, 14, 23, 197, 206 and n. 19, 207–8, 227 Richard, son of Robert earl of Gloucester, bishop of Bayeux, 120 n. 24, 124, 127 and n. 55, 129 Richardson, H. G., 204 Richmond, Yorks., 160 earl of, see Alan Ridel, Geoffrey, archdeacon of Canterbury, 176 Rievaulx, Yorks. abbey of, 144, 163–4 abbot of, see Rievaulx, Ailred of Rievaulx, Ailred of, abbot of Revesby and Rievaulx, 144–5 Ripon, Yorks., 161 cathedral of (St Peter’s and St Wilfrid’s), 104, 161 Robert, archbishop of Rouen, 93 n. 86 Robert, count of Meulan, 165–6 Robert, earl of Gloucester, 117, 120 and nn. 24–5, 123–5, 127 and n. 55, 129, 156, 165, 223 Robert, earl of Leicester, 160 Robert, parson of Hackington, see Robert de Bechetune Robert sacerdotus , 142, 143 and n. 59 Rochdale, Lancs., 70 Roche, Thomas, 25 Rocheforte, Namur, 235 Roches, Peter des, bishop of Winchester, 23, 213–14, 218, 229 n. 31, 233 Rochester, Kent, 19, 31 n. 14, 177, 194, 218 bishopric of, 104 bishops of, 194, see also Godwine, Gundulf, Ithamar cathedral of (St Andrew’s), 8, 19, 94 n. 90, 104 Roger, bishop of Salisbury, 16 and n. 87, 17 and n. 90, 119 Roger, bishop of Worcester, 180

INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES  

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Roger, earl of Hereford, 164 Roger, prior of Durham cathedral, 145 Roger, son of Roger, bishop of Salisbury, 17 Rogerville, Seine-Maritime, 224, 226 n. 21 Rome, Italy, 3–4, 21–2, 25, 46, 57, 121–4, 127–9, 187, 194, 197, 212–13, 219, 229, 231–2, see also Popes Ros, William de, 177 Rose-Troup, Frances, 44 Rosemarkie, Ross., church of St Peter, 104 Ross, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Rossillon, Ain, 232 Rossillon, Guy de, archdeacon of Lyon, dean of St Martin-le-Grand, London, 232 Rouen, Seine-Maritime, 1, 25, 86, 89 and n. 66, 92–7, 118, 127, 129–30, 154, 222, 225 abbey of, see St-Ouen archbishopric of, 1, 78 archbishops of, 1, 93 n. 83, 95, see also Hugh; Ivry, John of; Mallonus; Maurilius; Robert; William Bona Anima bishops of, see Ansbertus, Nicasius cathedral of, 24, 77–81, 83, 87, 93 and nn. 83, 86, 93–7 Rouen, Stephen of, 179 n. 56 Roumare, William de, 160, 164 Rouse, Mary, 117, 120–3 Rouse, Richard, 117, 120–3 Rufford, Notts., abbey and abbot of, 144 Rumilly, Avice de (wife of Robert de Gant), 135 n. 13 Russell, J. C., 208 St Ælfheah, archbishop of Canterbury, see Ælfheah St Æthelwold, see Æthelwold St Alban, 204–5 St Albans, Herts., abbey of, 85 and n. 34, 90, 92 and n. 76, 204, 205 and nn. 9, 14, 206, 219 abbots of, 184 see also Caen, Paul de monks of, see Paris, Matthew; Wendover, Roger of St Alphage, 198 St Andrew, 102, 104–5, 114, see also Hexham, St Andrews, St Davids St Andrews, Fife bishopric of, 1 n. 3, 105 bishops of, see Giric, Turgot cathedral of, 104–5, see also Cennrígmonaid St Anselm, abbot of Bec, archbishop of Canterbury, see Anselm St Asaph, 110–11, 114

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INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES

St Asaph, Denbighs., see Llanelwy bishopric of, see Llanelwy bishops of, see Llanelwy cathedral of, see Llanelwy St Augustine, 96 and n. 106, 180, see also Canterbury St-Barbe-en-Auge, Calvados, 117, 122 prior of, 122 St Bede, 58 St Bénigne, 4 St Bertin, 29 St Bertin, Goscelin of, 29 St Beuno, 108, 112 St Bonaventure, 233 St Boniface, 43–4, 46, 50–1, 59 St Cadog of Llancarfan, 112–14 St Calais, William of, bishop of Durham, 16, 22 and n. 120, 65 St Caradog of Llancarfan, 102, 114 St Chad, bishop of Lichfield, see Chad St Cuthbert, 13, 15 St David (Dewi Sant), 99, 100–2, 107 n. 33, 108, 109 n. 45, 113, see also St Davids St Davids, Pembs., 9 n. 48 bishopric of, 10, 99, 101, 105 and n. 24, 111 bishops of, 9. n. 48, and see Abraham, Asser, Bernard, Morgeneu, Sulien cathedral of (St Andrew and St David), 9, 10 n. 50, 35, 99 n. 1, 100–5, 114 St Deiniol, bishop of Bangor, see Deiniol St Denis, near Paris, abbey of, 11 St Dunstan, abbot of Glastonbury and archbishop of Canterbury, 194, see also Dunstan St Dyfrig, 103–8, 111 St Edmund, see Abingdon, Edmund of St Edmund, king of East Anglia, see Edmund and Bury Se Edmunds St Edward the Confessor, king of England, see Edward the Confessor St Erkenwald, 160 St-Etienne, see Caen St Euddogwy, 104, 106 St Evroul, abbey of (Orne), 72 St-Florent, 228 n. 29 St Foy, 140 St-Fromond, Manche, abbey of, 225–6 St-Georges de Boscherville, church of, 88, 94 n. 90 St Germans, Cornw. bishopric of, 43, 45–8, 57, 59, 65 bishops of, see Conan, Daniel, Leofric, Lifing, Wulfsige Cemoyre St Germanus, 139–42, see also Selby St Gilbert of Sempringham, see Sempringham

St Gildas, 108, 113 St Gregory, 30, see also Canterbury Ste-Hélène-de-Millières, Savoie, 232, 233 and n. 50 priory of, 233 St Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, see Hugh St James, 223, 226, see also Canterbury St James of Compostella, 139 St Jean, 126 St-Jean-de-Maurienne, bishop of, see William St John, see Chester St John the Evangelist, see Pontefract St Kentigern, 62, 110–11 St Lawrence, 201, 202 and n. 78 St Leonard of Noblat, 139 St-Léonard-de-Noblat, Haute-Vienne, abbey of, 224 and n. 10, 229 St-Loup, Ile-Barbe, Saône, abbey of, 230 St Mallonus, archbishop of Rouen, see Mallonus St Margaret, 198–9 St-Martin, Ile-Barbe, Saône, abbey of, 230 St-Martin de Sées abbey of, 94 abbot of, 79 St Martin of Tours, 95, 140 and n. 42, 141 n. 50, 193, 232 St Mary, 13, 43, 44 and n. 17, 56, 59, 75, 96 n. 110, 106, 167, see also Coventry, Exeter, Selby St Mary Bredman, 198 St-Maurice-d’Agaune, abbey, monks of, 230–1 St Michael, 68, 94, see also Harbledown St Mildred/Mildryth, 30, 35 n. 35, 201 St Nicasius, bishop of Rouen, see Nicasius St Nicholas, see Exeter, Harbledown St Olaf, king of Norway, see Olaf St-Omer, Pas-de-Calais, cathedral of, 237 St Osburga, 73 St Oswald, archbishop of York and bishop of Worcester, see Oswald St Oswald, king of Northumbria, see Oswald St Ouen, 79, 86 and n. 45, 93 n. 83 St-Ouen de Rouen abbey of, 24–5, 77–9, 81–4, 85 and n. 33, 86–8, 89 and n. 69, 90, 92, 93 and n. 83, 94 and n. 88, 95, 96 and n. 110, 97 abbot of, see Nicholas St Paul, 9, 21, 104, 160, 165–6, 175, 202, see also Canterbury, Diceto, London St Peter, 3, 43, 44 and n. 17, 56, 86 n. 45, 104, 114, 156–7, see also Exeter, Llandaf/Llandaff, Ripon, Rosemarkie, St Peter’s, York St Peter’s, Ghent, abbey of, 3 St Petroc, 45, 47–8, 59



St-Pierre-sur-Dive, Calvados, religious house of, 89 n. 66 St-Riquier, abbey of, see Angilrammus St Romanus, 96 and n. 110, 97 St Samson of Dol, 110 n. 48 St Sidwell, 50 St Stephen, 193, and see Hackington St Swithun, 23 St-Symphorien, Guichard de, canon of Lyon, canon of Vienne, prévot of Fourvière, 234 and n. 55 St-Taurin d’Évreux, Eure, abbey of, 94 and n. 93 St Teilo, bishop of Llandaf/Llandaff, 104, 106, 108, 110–12, 114 St Thérèse of Lisieux, 114 n. 68 St Thomas Becket, see Becket, Thomas St-Trinité de Rouen, Seine-Maritime, religious house of, 89 n. 66 St Twrog, 112 St-Vedast, Pas-de-Calais, monastery of, 89 n. 69 St-Victor-en-Caux, Seine-Maritime, religious house of, 89 n. 66 St Vigor, 89 and n. 69, 125 St-Vigor de Bayeux, Calvados, priory of, 89 n. 70, 95 and n. 98 St-Wandrille, Seine-Maritime, abbey of, 94, 226 n. 21 St Werburgh, see Chester St Wilfrid, see Ripon St William, archbishop of York, see Fitz Herbert St Wulfstan II, bishop of Worcester, see Wulfstan II Salisbury, Wilts., 119–20, 153 n. 14, 154–6, 157 and n. 49, 158–9, 162, 164 bishops of, see Osmund, Roger cathedral of, 8 n. 41, 11, 13, 16 and n. 87, 21, 154–5, 157 and n. 49, 158, 164 earl of, see Longespée, William Salisbury, John of, 170, 172–4, 182 Salisbury, Walter of, 164 Salt, William, 56 Saltwood, Kent, 177, 185 Salzburg, cathedral of, 2 n. 6 Samson, Old Testament figure; Welsh cleric, 110 n. 48 Sancto Martino, Alwredo de, 199 n. 66 Sandwich, Kent, 30, 183, 206 Sandwich, Nicholas of, prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, 228 n. 29 Sangroy, Seine-Maritime, 222 Saumur, Maine-et-Loire, abbey of St-Florent, monks of, 228 n. 29

INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES  

255

Savigny, Manche, abbey of, 73, 127 abbot of, see Vitalis Savigny, Master William de, 235 Savoy, Boniface of, archbishop of Canterbury, bishop of Belley, 231, 232 and n. 42, 233–4 Savoy, Philip of, archbishop of Lyon, 231 Saxony, duke of, see Henry the Lion Saxton, Yorks., 136, 146 Sayles, G. O., 204 Scholz, Bernard, 208 Scots, kings of, 2 n. 1, see also David I, Malcolm III Scott, Sir George Gilbert, 92 Searby, Lincs., 157 Sedulius, 58 Sées, Orne, 94, 95 n. 100 bishopric of, 1 bishop of, see Ivo cathedral of, 1 Seffrid II, bishop of Chichester, 199 n. 66 Seine, river, 222 Selby, Yorks., 133, 135, 137 and n. 24, 139–40, 142, 145, 149 abbey of (St Mary and St Germanus), 131, 133, 135, 136 n. 18, 137 and n. 28, 138–44, 146–9 abbots of, see Paynel, Elias; Walter Selsey, Sussex, 52 bishop of, 52 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 65 Sempringham, Lincs., priory of, 162–3 prior of, see Sempringham, Gilbert of Sempringham, Gilbert of, 163 Senlis, Simon de, 160 Serlo the Collector of Devon, 158–9 Severus, Sulpicius, 140 Sewald, 32 and n. 17 Shagan, E. H., 192 Sharpe, Richard, 30, 101 Sherborne, Dorset, 52–3, 59, 68–9 bishopric of, 6 n. 33, 44–7, 52–3, 59, 65 bishops of, 52, see also Asser, Frothhere cathedral of, 2, 8 n. 41 Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorks., 131, 136 and n. 18, 137 n. 24, 143, 145, 147 Shobrooke, Devon, 49 Shrewsbury, Shrops., 70 churches of, St Chads, 70–1, 75 earl of, see Montgomery, Roger de Sicily, king and queen of, 194 Sidemann, abbot of Exeter, bishop of Crediton, 45–6, 59 Sigeric, archbishop of Canterbury, 3

256  

INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES

Sighvatr, see Thorðarson Sigillo, Baldric de, 161–2 Simon, master of St James’s hospital, Canterbury, 198 n. 58 Sixle, Lincs., priory of, 155 Skipton, Yorks., 157 Smith, Julia M. H., 107 Solomon, Old Testament patriarch; Welsh cleric, 110 n. 48 Somerset, county of, 46, 70 earl of, see Moyon, William de Sompting, Sussex, 119 South Ferriby, Lincs., 144 Southern, Sir Richard, 33 Southwark, Surrey, 31 Southwell, Notts., minster of, 3 Southwick, Hants, priory of, 224, 226, 227 n. 21 Spear, David, 1 n. 1, 17 Stafford, Staffs., 56, 68, 70 Stanley annals, 207 n. 25, 217 Statius, 58 Staunton, Michael, 15 Stephen, king of England, 17, 23, 25, 117, 119 and nn. 10, 17, 120, 131, 133, 135 and n. 11, 137, 138 and n. 31, 139–43, 145–6, 147 and n. 82, 148–9, 155, 157–8, 160–5 Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, 173, 180 Stoke Canon, Devon, 49, 56 Stour, river, 196 n. 48 Stubbs, William, 197 Sturry, Kent, 196 n. 48 Stuteville, family of, 161 Stuteville, Robert de, 157, 160 Sulbery, Master Richard of, 235 Sulien, bishop of St Davids, 99, 100 and n. 2, 101, 102 and n. 13 Sussex, county of, 30, 119, 160 Sweetinburgh, Sheila, 21 Swein ‘Forkbeard’, king of Denmark, 32 nn. 17–18, 34 Symeon, of Durham, 54 Tadcaster, Yorks., 137 n. 24 Tallaght, Co. Dublin, martyrology of, 108 Tasson, John, chancellor of Paris, 236 n. 68 Tavistock, abbots of, see Ealdred, Lifing Teilo, bishop of Llandaf/Llandaff, 104, 106, 108 and nn. 38–9, 110–13 Templars, the, 163, 167 Tewkesbury, Alan of, prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, 231 Teynham, Kent, 211 n. 48 Thacker, Alan, 54 Thames, river, 30

Thanington, Kent, 199 Thaon, Calvados, 127–8 Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, 16, 136, 146, 148, 161, 163, 171–2, 174, 177 Thetford, Norf. bishopric of, 6–7 n. 33, 65 bishops of, see Herfast; Losinga, Herbert Thomas, Hugh M., 140 Thomas, priest, 196 Thorðarson, Sighvatr, skald, 36 and n. 38 Thorkell (the Tall), 30 and n. 10, 32, 34, 35 and n. 35, 38 and n. 36, 39 Thrym, killer of Archbishop Ælfheah, 34 n. 28 Thurnham, Robert of, seneschal of Poitou, 31 Thurstan, archbishop of York, 137, 147 Thury, Master Girard de, marshal of Burgundy, 235 Tiron, Eure-Loir, abbey of, 125 Tison, William, 162 Tonbridge, Kent, 176–7 Topcliffe, Yorks., 158, 163 Topsham, Devon, 49, 56 Torigni/Torigny, Robert of, 61, 89, 117, 122 Tournebu, Simon de, 130 and n. 67 Tournebu, William de, 130 Tournon, Savoie, 232 n. 47 Tours, Indre-et-Loire, 95, 179, 233 archbishops of, see Arnulf bishopric of, 95 n. 101 cathedral of, 95 Towcester, Northants, 226 n. 21 Trahaearn ap Caradog, king of Gwynedd, 100 Travers, Ralph, 126 Tréport, religious house of, 89 n. 66 Trie, Hautes-Pyrénées, 178 Troarn, Calvados, abbey of, 226 Troyes, Aube, cathedral, canon of, see Ville, Humbert de la Turgot, bishop of St Andrews, 105 Turstin, abbot of Glastonbury, 28 Tuschet, Simon, 167 Ugé, Karin, 41, 43 Ugine, Savoie, 232 n. 47 Ulleskelf, Yorks., 147 Urban, bishop of Llandaf/Landaff, 103–6, 107 and n. 34, 113, 156 Urry, William, 196 n. 46 Val-Richer, Calvados, abbey of, 126 Ver, Wido de, 163 Vercelli, 3 Vernun, Robert, 162 Vienne, archdeacon of, 232 n. 43, see also Palud, William de la



Vienne, cathedral, canon of, see St-Symphorien, Guichard de Ville, Humbert de la, canon of Troyes, 235 Ville, Peter de la, 235 Villula, John de, bishop of Bath and Wells, 65, 69 Vincent, Nicholas, 6, 14 Violette, Louis, 85 Vitalis, abbot of Savigny, 73 Vitalis, Orderic, 81 n. 18, 83, 88–9, 173 n. 23 Walchelin, bishop of Winchester, 8, 11 Walcher, bishop of Durham, 37 n. 44 Waleran, count of Meulan, viscount of Évreux, 119 and n. 19, 120 Wales, Gerald of, 154, 159, 166 Walter, abbot of Selby, prior of Pontefract, 137, 138 and n. 30, 142 Walter, Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, 21–2, 197, 203, 205, 209–10, 211 and n. 48, 213, 215, 219, 228 Waltham, Hamps., 3 Warelwast, Robert de, bishop of Exeter, 163 Warelwast, William de, bishop of Exeter, 163 Warter, Yorks., priory of, 163 n. 102 Waterford, Ireland, 10 Webster, Paul, 14, 22 Wells, Som., 52, 69, 159, 161 bishopric of, see Bath bishops of, 52, see also Giso; Villula, John de cathedral of, see Bath Wendover, Roger of, monk of St Albans, 205 n. 9, 217–18 Wessex kingdom of, 46, 59 kings of, see Athelheard, Cynewulf, Ecgberht Westgate, near Canterbury, Kent, manor, 194 Westminster, Middx, 170, 176, 179 abbey of, 14, 203–4, 205 and n. 14, 206–9, 219 Westminster Hall, 197 White, Geoffrey, 119 and n. 19 White, Stephen, 188, 191, 202 Whitelock, Dorothy, 36 n. 36 Whithorn, bishopric of, 1 n. 3 Wickham, Chris, 41, 55 Wightman, W. E., 137–8 Wiliems, of Trefriw, Sir Thomas, 109, 112 William, archbishop of York, 144, 147 and n. 84, 148 n. 86 William, bishop of St-Jean-de-Maurienne, 237 William, count of Aumale, earl of York, 133, 135 and n. 13, 136–7, 139, 141, 145, 160 William, dean of York cathedral, 136, 145

INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES  

257

William, earl of Arundel, 160, 165 William, earl of Gloucester, 223 William I, king of England, 4–6, 13, 24, 64, 73, 75, 79 n. 14, 81, 93 and n. 83, 100, 102, 129, 131, 177, 180 William II (Rufus), king of England, 22, 64, 75, 107, 129, 137 William, precentor of York cathedral, 147 William the gatekeeper, 196 n. 48 Williams, Ann, 13 Willibald, 43–4, 50, 59 Wiltshire, county of, 46, 162 Winchelsea, Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, 234 Winchester, Hants., 46, 52–3, 184, 193, 218 bishopric of, 46, 52–3 bishops of, 52, 184, see also Lusignan, Aymer de; Roches, Peter des; Walchelin cathedral of (St Swithun’s), 2, 8, 11, 23 Winfrith, 50 Wingham, Kent, 194 Wolverhampton, Staffs. abbey of, 210–11 college of, 210 Wood, Michael, 56 Woodstock, Oxfords., 156, 165, 172, 176 Worcester, Worcs., 19–20, 217 bishopric of, 24, 46–7 bishops of, 20, 184, see also Lifing, Oswald, Roger, Wulfstan II cathedral of, 2, 11 n. 61, 16, 107 n. 34, 209, 214 n. 63 Worcester, John of, 32 n. 20, 34 nn. 28–9, 35–6, 38, 45, 52, 59, 73 Wrotham, John de, 235 Wulfheard, abbot of Exeter, 44, 50 Wulfnoth Cild, 35 Wulfric, abbot of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, 4 Wulfsige Cemoyre, bishop of St Germans, 47 Wulfstan II, bishop of Worcester, 6, 19, 24, 63, 209 Wynsige, bishop of Lichfield, 69 York, Yorks., 19, 96, 133, 143, 155–7, 160–1, 163–6 archbishopric of, 10 n. 55, 103, 136, 137 n. 28, 146, 160, 179 archbishops of, 1, 10, 18, 24, 176, 180, 233, see also Bayeux, Thomas of; Ealdred; Fitz Herbert, William; Murdac, Henry; Oswald; Pont l’Evêque, Roger de; Thurstan; William earls of, see William, count of Aumale religious houses of abbey of (St Mary’s), 22

258  

INDEX OF PEOPLE AND PLACES

cathedral of (St Peter’s), 3, 16, 21, 63, 131–2, 136–7, 143–6, 147 and n. 84, 148 and n. 86, 156, 160–1, 163–5 deans of, see Gant, Robert de; William precentor of, see William provost of, see Nigel treasurer of, see Belmais hospital of (St Peter’s; later St Leonard’s), 131, 133 and n. 5, 136, 137 n. 24, 143, 146–8

priory of (Holy Trinity), 137–8, 140 and n. 43 prior of, see Paynel, Elias Yorkshire, county of, 133, 135, 160–1, 164–5 sheriff of, see Osbert

Other Volumes in Studies in the History of Medieval Religion I: Dedications of Monastic Houses in England and Wales 1066–1216 Alison Binns II: The Early Charters of the Augustinian Canons of Waltham Abbey, Essex, 1062–1230 Edited by Rosalind Ransford III:  Religious Belief and Ecclesiastical Careers in Late Medieval England Edited by Christopher Harper-Bill IV: The Rule of the Templars: the French text of the Rule of the Order of the Knights Templar Translated and introduced by J. M. Upton-Ward V: The Collegiate Church of Wimborne Minster Patricia H. Coulstock VI:  William Waynflete: Bishop and Educationalist Virginia Davis VII:  Medieval Ecclesiastical Studies in honour of Dorothy M. Owen Edited by M. J. Franklin and Christopher Harper-Bill VIII: A Brotherhood of Canons Serving God: English Secular Cathedrals in the Later Middle Ages David Lepine IX:  Westminster Abbey and its People c.1050–c.1216 Emma Mason X: Gilds in the Medieval Countryside: Social and Religious Change in Cambridgeshire c.1350–1558 Virginia R. Bainbridge XI:  Monastic Revival and Regional Identity in Early Normandy Cassandra Potts XII: The Convent and the Community in Late Medieval England: Female Monasteries in the Diocese of Norwich 1350–1540 Marilyn Oliva XIII:  Pilgrimage to Rome in the Middle Ages: Continuity and Change Debra J. Birch XIV:  St Cuthbert and the Normans: the Church of Durham 1071–1153 William M. Aird XV: The Last Generation of English Catholic Clergy: Parish Priests in the Diocese of Coventry and Lichfield in the Early Sixteenth Century Tim Cooper XVI: The Premonstratensian Order in Late Medieval England Joseph A. Gribbin

XVII:  Inward Purity and Outward Splendour: Death and Remembrance in the Deanery of Dunwich, Suffolk, 1370–1547 Judith Middleton-Stewart XVIII: The Religious Orders in Pre-Reformation England Edited by James G. Clark XIX: The Catalan Rule of the Templars: A Critical Edition and English Translation from Barcelona, Archito de la Corona de Aragón, ‘Cartes Reales’, MS 3344 Edited and translated by Judi Upton-Ward XX:  Leper Knights: The Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem in England, c.1150–1544 David Marcombe XXI: The Secular Jurisdiction of Monasteries in Anglo-Norman and Angevin England Kevin L. Shirley XXII: The Dependent Priories of Medieval English Monasteries Martin Heale XXIII: The Cartulary of St Mary’s Collegiate Church, Warwick Edited by Charles Fonge XXIV:  Leadership in Medieval English Nunneries Valerie G. Spear XXV: The Art and Architecture of English Benedictine Monasteries, 1300–1540: A Patronage History Julian M. Luxford XXVI: Norwich Cathedral Close: The Evolution of the English Cathedral Landscape Roberta Gilchrist XXVII: The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History Edited by Philippa Hoskin, Christopher Brooks and Barrie Dobson XXVIII: Thomas Becket and his Biographers Michael Staunton XXIX:  Late Medieval Monasteries and their Patrons: England and Wales, c.1300–1540 Karen Stöber XXX: The Culture of Medieval English Monasticism Edited by James G. Clark XXXI: A History of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, 1182–1256: Samson of Tottington to Edmund of Walpole Antonia Gransden XXXII: Monastic Hospitality: the Benedictines in England, c.1070–c.1250 Julie Kerr

XXXIII: Religious Life in Normandy, 1050–1300: Space, Gender and Social Pressure Leonie V. Hicks XXXIV: The Medieval Chantry Chapel: An Archaeology Simon Roffey XXXV:  Monasteries and Society in the British Isles in the Later Middle Ages Edited by Janet Burton and Karen Stöber XXXVI: Jocelin of Wells: Bishop, Builder, Courtier Edited by Robert Dunning XXXVII: War and the Making of Medieval Monastic Culture Katherine Allen Smith

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DALTON, INSLEY, WILKINSON (eds)

Reuben Davies, Charles Insley, C. P. Lewis, Stephen

Cathedrals, Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World

Contributors: Richard Allen, Paul Dalton, John

Cover: Canterbury Cathedral Priory in the twelfth-century Eadwine Psalter, Trinity College Cambridge MS R.17.1, fols 284v–285r. Reproduced with the permission of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College Cambridge.

Cathedrals dominated the ecclesiastical (and physical) landscape of the British Isles and Normandy in the middle ages; yet, in comparison with the history of monasteries, the history of cathedrals has received significantly less attention. This volume helps to redress the balance by examining major themes in the development of cathedrals between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. These include the composition, life, corporate identity and memory of cathedral communities; the relationships, sometimes supportive, sometimes conflicting, that they had with kings (for instance King John), aristocracies, and neighbouring urban and religious communities; the importance of cathedrals as centres of lordship and patronage; their role in promoting and utilising saints’ cults (such as that of St Thomas Becket); episcopal relations; and the involvement of cathedrals in religious and political conflicts, and in the settlement of disputes. A critical introduction locates medieval cathedrals in space and time, and against a backdrop of wider ecclesiastical change in the period.

Cathedrals,

Communities and Conflict in the Anglo-Norman World Edited by Paul Dalton, Charles Insley, & Louise J. Wilkinson