The abbots and priors of late medieval and Reformation by Martin Heale

By Martin Heale

The significance of the medieval abbot wishes no specific emphasis. The monastic superiors of past due medieval England governed over hundreds of thousands of priests and canons, who swore to them vows of obedience; they have been fashionable figures in royal and church executive; and jointly they managed homes worthy round double the Crown's annual usual source of revenue. additionally, as guardians of normal observance and the primary Read more...


the 1st prolonged historical past of the boys who presided over medieval England's monasteries, studying monastic constructions, life, and public family members. Heale explores how monastic roles evolved Read more...

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238r. 11 Cust. Cant. & West. i. 71, ii. 8. g. BL, Add. MS 14,848, fos 24r–v. 12 For descriptions of these installation rituals, see inter alia: Cust. Cant. & West. i. 71–3, ii. 6–9; Officium Eveshamensis, 154–6; Chron. York, 80–1; Cust. Eynsham, 130–1. OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 23/7/2016, SPi 18 Abbots and Priors feast for the community and local worthies. The rule of the new superior could now begin. These formal rituals and procedures, recorded in considerable detail in countless registers, however provide only a partial picture of what took place in religious houses at monastic elections.

26 Instances where a patron refused to confirm an abbot-elect were rare, but not unknown. In 1442, the patron of Hartland Abbey, Sir John Dinham, withheld his confirmation of the election of Richard Tawton, on the grounds that he (Dinham) had not granted his licence to elect; and the 1334 election of Simon of Walton as abbot of Bourne was opposed by the house’s patron, Sir Thomas Wake, apparently for the same reason. 28 Bishops therefore often delegated to a commissary their power to confirm elections and receive the elect’s oath 23 Chron.

Abbatial voidances for monasteries of these orders, therefore, were relatively straightforward. 22 15 CAC 17–18; CBM i. 9, 16, 233. Reg. Whethamstede, i. 102–35; TNA: C 1/426/49. For similar episodes, see Jocelin of Brakelond, 7–11; St Augustine’s Cant. iii. 1667–73. 17 Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, i. 504–5. g. DEC i. 246; Genesis 49:27. 19 CPR, 1281–1292, p. 104. 20 Thompson, Carthusian Order, 111–12. 21 New Carthusian priors were likewise expected to travel to the Grande Chartreuse, where they swore obedience to the general chapter itself: Thompson, Carthusian Order, 112.

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