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Title: The English Church in the Middle Ages
Author: Hunt, William, 1842-1931
Language: English
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  Epochs of Church History



Edited by Professor MANDELL CREIGHTON.

Fcp. 8vo, 2s. 6d. each.

















  _All rights reserved_

  Ballantyne Press


This book is intended to illustrate the relations of the English Church
with the papacy and with the English State down to the revolt of Wyclif
against the abuses which had gathered round the ecclesiastical system of
the Middle Ages, and the Great Schism in the papacy which materially
affected the ideas of the whole of Western Christendom. It was thought
expedient to deal with these subjects in a narrative form, and some gaps
have therefore had to be filled up, and some links supplied. This has been
done as far as possible by notices of matters which bear on the moral
condition of the Church, and serve to show how far it was qualified at
various periods to be the example and instructor of the nation. No
attempt, however, has been made to write a complete history on a small
scale, and I have designedly passed by many points, in themselves of
interest and importance, in order to give as much space as might be to my
proper subjects. Besides, this volume has been written as one of a series
in which the missions to the Teutonic peoples, the various aspects of
Monasticism, the question of Investitures, and the place which the
University of Oxford fills in our Church's history have been, or will be,
treated separately. Accordingly I have not touched on any of these things
further than seemed absolutely necessary.

I wish that, limited as my task has been, I could believe that it has been
adequately performed. No one can understand the character, or appreciate
the claims, of the English Church who has not studied its history from the
beginning, and it is hoped that this little book may do something, however
small, towards spreading a correct idea of the part that the Church has
borne in the progress of the nation, and of the grounds on which its
members maintain that it has from the first been a National Church, as
regards its inherent life and independent attitude as well as its intimate
and peculiar relations with the State. A firm grasp of the position it
held during the Middle Ages is necessary to a right understanding of the
final rupture with Rome accomplished in the sixteenth century, and will
afford a complete safeguard against the vulgar error of regarding the
Church as a creation of the State, an institution established by the
civil power, and maintained by its bounty. Those who are acquainted with
our mediæval chroniclers will see that I have written from original
sources. I have also freely availed myself of the labours of others, and,
above all, of the works of Bishop Stubbs, which have been of the greatest
assistance to me.



  PREFACE                                                              v

  ARCHBISHOPS OF YORK TO 1377                                       xiii


  St. Augustin's Mission--Pope Gregory's Scheme of Organization--
  Causes of its Failure--Foundation and Overthrow of the See of
  York--Independent Missions--The See of Lindisfarne--Scottish
  Christianity--The Schism--The Synod of Whitby--Restoration of
  the See of York                                                      1


  Archbishop Theodore--His Work in Organization--New Dioceses--
  Wilfrith's Appeals to Rome--Literary Greatness of Northumbria--
  Parishes--Tithes--The Church in Wessex--A Third Archbishopric--
  The Church in Relation to the State--to Rome--to Western
  Christendom                                                         15


  Ruin of Northumbria--Æthelwulf's Pilgrimage--Danish Invasions
  of Southern England; the Peace of Wedmore--Alfred's Work--
  Character of the Church in the Tenth Century--Reorganization--
  Revival--Oda--Dunstan--Seculars and Regulars--Dunstan's
  Ecclesiastical Administration--Coronations--Dunstan's Last
  Days--Ælfric the Grammarian                                         34


  Characteristics of the Period--Renewed Scandinavian Invasions--
  Legislation--Archbishop Ælfheah: his Martyrdom--End of the
  Danish War--Cnut and the Church--The King's Clerks--Spiritual
  Decadence--Foreigners appointed to English Sees--Effect of these
  Appointments--Party Struggles--Earl Harold--Pilgrimages--A
  Legatine Visit--A Schismatical Archbishop--The Papacy and the
  Conquest--Summary: The National Character of the Church before
  the Norman Conquest                                                 55


  The Conqueror and Lanfranc--Canterbury and York--Separate
  Ecclesiastical System--Removal of Sees--Extent and Limits of
  Papal Influence--The Conqueror's Bishops--Change in the
  Character of the Church--An Appeal to Rome--Feudal Tendencies--
  St. Anselm--Struggle against Tyranny--Investitures--Henry I.--
  Councils--Legates--Independence of the See of York--Summary         77


  Stephen and the English Church--Archbishop Theobald and Henry
  of Winchester--Thomas the Chancellor--The Scutage of Toulouse--
  Thomas the Archbishop--Clerical Immunity--The Archbishop in
  Exile--His Martyrdom--Henry's General Relations to the Church--
  Conquest of Ireland--Richard's Crusade--Longchamp--Archbishop
  Hubert Walter--Character of the Clergy                             105


  The Alliance between the Church and the Crown--Coronation of
  John--Quarrel between John and the Pope--The Interdict--
  Vassalage of England--The Great Charter--Papal Tutelage of
  Henry III.--Taxation of Spiritualities--Papal Oppression--
  Edmund Rich, Archbishop--Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of
  Lincoln--Alienation from Rome--Civil War--Increase of Clerical
  Pretensions--The Canon Law                                         135


  Character of the Reign of Edward I.--Archbishop Peckham--
  Statute of Mortmain--Conquest of Wales--Circumspecte Agatis--
  Expulsion of the Jews--Clerical Taxation and Representation
  in Parliament--Breach between the Crown and the Papacy--
  Confirmation of the Charters--Archbishop Winchelsey and the
  Rights of the Crown--The English Parliament and Papal
  Exactions--Church and State during the Reign of Edward II.--
  Papal Provisions to Bishoprics--The Bishops and Secular
  Politics--The Province of York--Parliament and Convocation         161


  Ecclesiastical Character of the Reign of Edward III.--
  Archbishops and their Ecclesiastical Administration--
  Provisions--Statute of Provisors--Statute of Præmunire--
  Refusal of Tribute--Relations between the Church and the
  State--Causes of Discontent at the Condition of the Church--
  Attack on Clerical Ministers and the Wealthy Clergy--Concordat
  with the Papacy--The Good Parliament--Conclusion                   192

  INDEX                                                              219


  |                   | Accession. |   Death. |
  |Augustin           |     597    |      604 |
  |Laurentius         |     604    |      619 |
  |Mellitus           |     619    |      624 |
  |Justus             |     624    |      627 |
  |Honorius           |     627    |      653 |
  |Deusdedit          |     655    |      664 |
  |Theodore           |     668    |      690 |
  |Brihtwald          |     693    |      731 |
  |Tatwin             |     731    |      734 |
  |Nothelm            |     735    |      739 |
  |Cuthberht          |     740    |      758 |
  |Brecgwin           |     759    |      765 |
  |Jaenberht          |     766    |      791 |
  |Æthelheard         |     793    |      805 |
  |Wulfred            |     805    |      832 |
  |Feologeld          |     832    |      832 |
  |Ceolnoth           |     833    |      870 |
  |Æthelred           |     870    |      889 |
  |Plegmund           |     890    |      914 |
  |Athelm             |     914    |      923 |
  |Wulfhelm           |     923    |      942 |
  |Oda                |     942    |      959 |
  |Dunstan            |     960    |      988 |
  |Æthelgar           |     988    |      989 |
  |Sigeric            |     990    |      994 |
  |Ælfric             |     995    |     1005 |
  |Ælfheah            |    1005    |     1012 |
  |Lyfing             |    1013    |     1020 |
  |Æthelnoth          |    1020    |     1038 |
  |Eadsige            |    1038    |     1050 |
  |Robert             |    1051    |     1070 |
  |Stigand            |    1052    |      ... |
  |Lanfranc           |    1070    |     1089 |
  |Anselm             |    1093    |     1109 |
  |Ralph              |    1114    |     1122 |
  |William of Corbeuil|    1123    |     1136 |
  |Theobald           |    1139    |     1161 |
  |Thomas [Becket]    |    1162    |     1170 |
  |Richard            |    1174    |     1184 |
  |Baldwin            |    1185    |     1190 |
  |Hubert Walter      |    1193    |     1205 |
  |Stephen Langton    |    1207    |     1228 |
  |Richard Grant      |    1229    |     1231 |
  |Edmund Rich        |    1234    |     1240 |
  |Boniface           |    1245    |     1270 |
  |Robert Kilwardby   |    1273    |res. 1278 |
  |John Peckham       |    1279    |     1292 |
  |Robert Winchelsey  |    1294    |     1313 |
  |Walter Reynolds    |    1313    |     1327 |
  |Simon Mepeham      |    1328    |     1333 |
  |John Stratford     |    1333    |     1348 |
  |Thomas Bradwardine |    1349    |     1349 |
  |Simon Islip        |    1349    |     1366 |
  |Simon Langham      |    1366    |res. 1368 |
  |William Whittlesey |    1368    |     1374 |
  |Simon Sudbury      |    1375    |     1381 |


  |                   | Accession. |   Death. |
  |Paulinus           |     625    |      ... |
  |Wilfrith           |     664    |      709 |
  |Ceadda             |     664    |res.  669 |
  |Bosa               |     678    |      705 |
  |John of Beverley   |     705    |res.  718 |
  |Wilfrith II.       |     718    |      732 |
  |Ecgberht           |     732    |      766 |
  |Æthelberht (Albert)|     766    |      780 |
  |Eanbald            |     780    |      796 |
  |Eanbald II.        |     796    |      812 |
  |Wulfsige           |     ...    |      831 |
  |Wigmund            |     837    |      ... |
  |Wulfhere           |     854    |      900 |
  |Æthelbald          |     900    |      ... |
  |Redewald           |cir. 928    |      ... |
  |Wulfstan           |cir. 931    |      956 |
  |Oskytel            |     958    |      971 |
  |Oswald             |     972    |      992 |
  |Ealdulf            |     992    |     1002 |
  |Wulfstan II.       |    1003    |     1023 |
  |Ælfric             |    1023    |     1051 |
  |Kinesige           |    1051    |     1060 |
  |Ealdred            |    1060    |     1069 |
  |Thomas             |    1070    |     1100 |
  |Gerard             |    1101    |     1108 |
  |Thomas II.         |    1109    |     1114 |
  |Thurstan           |    1119    |     1140 |
  |William            |    1143    |     1154 |
  |Henry Murdac       |    1147    |     1153 |
  |Roger              |    1154    |     1181 |
  |Geoffrey           |    1191    |     1212 |
  |Walter Gray        |    1215    |     1255 |
  |Sewal de Bovill    |    1256    |     1258 |
  |Godfrey            |    1258    |     1265 |
  |Walter Giffard     |    1266    |     1279 |
  |William Wickwain   |    1279    |     1285 |
  |John le Roman      |    1286    |     1296 |
  |Henry Newark       |    1298    |     1299 |
  |Thomas Corbridge   |    1300    |     1303 |
  |William Greenfield |    1306    |     1315 |
  |William Melton     |    1317    |     1340 |
  |William Zouche     |    1342    |     1352 |
  |John Thoresby      |    1352    |     1373 |
  |Alexander Neville  |    1374    |     1392 |




    OF YORK.

[Sidenote: St. Augustin's landing at Ebbsfleet, 597.]

The Gospel was first brought to the Teutonic conquerors of Britain by
Roman missionaries, and was received by the kings of various kingdoms.
From the first the Church that was planted here was national in character,
and formed a basis for national union; and when that union was
accomplished the English State became coextensive with the English Church,
and was closely united with it. The main object of this book is to trace
the relations of the Church both with the Papacy and with the State down
to the new era that opened with the schism in the Papacy and the Wyclifite
movement. Our narrative will begin with the coming of Augustin and his
companions in 597 to preach the Gospel to the English people. They landed
in the Isle of Thanet. The way had, to some extent, been prepared for
them, for Æthelberht, king of Kent, whose superiority was acknowledged as
far north as the Humber, had married a Christian princess named Bertha,
the daughter of a Frankish king, and had allowed her to bring a priest
with her and to practise her own religion. He had not, however, learnt
much about Christianity from his queen or her priest. Nevertheless, he
received the Gospel from Augustin, and was baptized with many of his
people. By Gregory's command, Augustin was consecrated "archbishop of the
English nation" by the archbishop of Arles. Æthelberht gave him his royal
city of Canterbury, and built for him there the monastery of Christ
Church, the mother-church of our country.

[Sidenote: Gregory's scheme of organization, 601.]

Gregory organized the new Church, in the full belief that it would extend
over the whole island. He sent Augustin the "pall," a vestment denoting
metropolitan authority, and constituting the recipient vicar of the Pope.
Two metropolitan sees were to be established--the one at London, the
residence of the East Saxon King Sæberct, who reigned as sub-king under
Æthelberht, a crowded mart, and the centre of a system of roads; the other
at York, the capital of the old Roman province north of the Humber. Both
archbishops were to receive the pall, and to be of equal authority. At the
same time, the unity of the Church was ensured, for they were to consult
together and act in unison. Both the provinces were to be divided into
twelve suffragan bishoprics, and as the northern province took in the
country now called Scotland, they were of fairly equal size. This
arrangement was not to be carried out until after Augustin's death. As
long as he lived all the bishops alike were to obey him, and he was, we
may suppose, to continue to reside at Canterbury. Moreover, the clergy of
the Welsh or Britons were to be subject to him and to the future
archbishops of the English Church. Augustin endeavoured to persuade the
Welsh clergy to join him in preaching the Gospel to the Teutonic invaders,
and held a meeting with them at or near Aust, on the Severn. But they
refused to acknowledge his authority, or even to hold communion with him,
and would not give up their peculiar usages with respect to the date of
Easter and the administration of Baptism. At Augustin's request, Gregory
sent him a letter of instructions as to the government of the Church. It
bears witness to the Pope's largeness of mind. While morality and decency
were to be enforced, the archbishop was not bound strictly to follow the
Roman ritual; if he found anything that he thought would be helpful to his
converts in the Gallican or any other use, he might adopt it, and so make
up a use collected from various sources.

[Sidenote: Causes of its failure.]

Excellent as Gregory's scheme would have been had Britain still been under
Roman rule, it was unsuited to a country divided as England then was into
several rival kingdoms. London did not become a metropolitan see, probably
because Æthelberht was unwilling that the seat of ecclesiastical authority
should be transferred from his own kingdom to the chief city of a
dependent people, while Augustin had no wish that the church which he had
founded at Canterbury, and the second monastery, now called after him,
which he had begun to build there for a burying-place for himself and his
successors, should be reduced to a lower rank. Other Roman clergy had been
sent by Gregory to reinforce the mission, and of these Augustin
consecrated Mellitus to be bishop of London, Justus to be bishop over Kent
west of the Medway, with Rochester as the city of his see, an arrangement
that marks an early tribal distinction, and Laurentius to be his own
successor at Canterbury. Thus the metropolitan see remained with Kent.
More generally, Gregory's scheme failed because it was founded on the old
division of Britain as a province of the Roman empire, and was not adapted
to the tribal distinctions of the English. Moreover, political
circumstances determined the development of the Church; for the Roman
mission received a series of checks, and the work of evangelization was
taken up by Scottish missionaries. The kingdoms into which the country was
divided were finally converted by efforts more or less independent of the
Kentish mission; the work of evangelization followed tribal lines, and for
sixty years after Augustin's death the tendency of the Church was towards

[Sidenote: Foundation and overthrow of the see of York, 627-633.]

Although the king of the East Angles received baptism in Kent at the
bidding of Æthelberht, he fell back into idolatry on his return to his own
land. And as Æthelberht's son, Eadbald, was a pagan, many of the
Kentishmen and East Saxons also deserted Christianity when he became king.
Eadbald was converted by Laurentius, and did what he could to forward the
cause of Christ. With Æthelberht's death, however, the greatness of Kent
passed away, and Eadbald could not insist on the destruction of idols even
in his own country. While Kent sank into political insignificance the
Kentish mission made one great advance, and then ended in failure. The
Northumbrian king, Eadwine, who reigned over the two Northumbrian
kingdoms, Bernicia and Deira, from the Forth to the Humber, and gradually
established a supremacy over the whole English people except the
Kentishmen, married Æthelburh, the daughter of Æthelberht. She was
accompanied to her new home by Paulinus, who was ordained bishop by
Justus, the successor of Mellitus; and Boniface V. wrote to her exhorting
her to labour for the conversion of her husband, and saying that he would
not cease to pray for her success. His prayers were heard; Eadwine was
baptized, and made his capital, York, the seat of the bishopric of
Paulinus. The people of Deira (Yorkshire) followed their king's example,
while Bernicia, though Paulinus preached and baptized there, remained, on
the whole, heathen; no church was built and no altar was raised. South of
the Humber the authority of Eadwine and the preaching of Paulinus effected
the conversion of Lindsey, and of the king, at least, of the East Angles.
In 633, however, Eadwine was defeated and slain by Penda, the heathen king
of Mercia, and Cadwallon, the Briton. Heathenism was already triumphant in
East Anglia, and on Eadwine's death many of the Northumbrians relapsed
into idolatry. Æthelburh and her children sought shelter in Kent, and
Paulinus fled with them. Only one Roman clergyman, the deacon James,
remained in Northumbria to labour on in faith that God's cause would yet
triumph there. Ignorant of the calamity that had befallen the Church, the
Pope, in pursuance of Gregory's scheme, sent the pall to Paulinus. When
the papal gift arrived in England the Church of York had been overthrown,
and Paulinus had been translated to Rochester.

[Sidenote: Independent missions.]

[Sidenote: Foundation of the see of Lindisfarne, 635.]

After the success of the Kentish mission had received this terrible check,
the work of evangelization was carried on by efforts that were more or
less independent of it. East Anglia was finally converted by a Burgundian
priest named Felix, who was consecrated bishop by Honorius, archbishop of
Canterbury, and fixed his see at Dunwich, once on the Suffolk coast. The
Italian, Birinus, who was consecrated in Italy, brought the Gospel to the
West Saxons, and received Dorchester, in Oxfordshire, for the place of his
see. Northumbria was evangelized by Celtic missionaries who were not in
communion with Rome and Canterbury. About the middle of the sixth century
the Irish Scot, Columba, founded the monastery of Iona. He and his
companions preached the Gospel to the northern Picts and the Scots of the
western isles, and Iona became a centre of Christian light. During the
reign of Eadwine, Oswald and Oswiu, princes of the rival Bernician line,
had found shelter in Iona. Oswald returned to become king of Bernicia
shortly after the death of Eadwine, and before long brought Deira also
under his dominion. As soon as he had gained possession of the kingdom of
Bernicia, he sent to Iona for missionaries to instruct his people. Aidan,
a missionary from Columba's house, came to him, and so it came to pass
that Bernicia received Christianity from Celtic teachers, from Aidan and
his fellow-workers. Oswald warmly seconded their efforts, and fixed the
see of Aidan, who was in bishop's orders, in Lindisfarne, or Holy Isle,
not far from Bamborough, where he resided; for though he ruled over both
the Northumbrian kingdoms, and completed the minster at York, he made his
home in the North, among his own people. Bernicia thus became the
stronghold of Celtic Christianity under the rule of the kings of the house
of Ida, while the Christians of Deira were naturally more inclined to the
Roman usages which had been introduced by Paulinus and practised by
Eadwine and his queen. Aidan built a monastery at Lindisfarne, and peopled
it with monks from Iona. This gave him a good supply of clergy, and the
work of evangelization prospered and took deep root. The greatness of
Oswald provoked Penda to renew his struggle with the northern kingdom, and
the Northumbrian king was defeated and slain at Maserfield. As his foes
closed round him he prayed for their conversion. His words sank deeply
into men's hearts. "'May God have mercy on their souls,' said Oswald, as
he fell to earth," was a line handed down from generation to generation.
From his hermit's retreat on Farne Island, Aidan beheld the thick clouds
of smoke rise from the country round Bamborough, and cried, "Behold, Lord,
the evil that Penda doeth!" Still the work of God went on; and when Oswiu
came to the throne the prayer of Oswald received its answer, for a
marriage between his house and the house of Penda led to the
evangelization of the Mercians and Middle Angles by the monks of Iona.
From them too the East Saxons received the Gospel, and Cedd, an English
monk of Lindisfarne, was consecrated to the bishopric that had been held
by the Roman Mellitus.

[Sidenote: Scottish Christianity.]

By the middle of the seventh century only Kent and East Anglia remained in
full and exclusive communion with Rome; for Sussex was still heathen,
Wini, the West Saxon bishop, acted with British bishops, and Scottish
Christianity prevailed in all the rest of England. The Scottish
missionaries were full of zeal and self-devotion, and were masters of a
considerable store of learning. Their nature was impulsive; while they
were loving and tender-hearted, passionate invectives came as readily from
their lips as words of love. Celtic Christianity was a religion of
perpetual miracles, of deep and varying emotions, and of contempt for
worldly things, that, however noble in itself, was sometimes manifested
extravagantly. While its teachers seldom failed to win men's love, they
were not equally successful in influencing their conduct. It was well that
the English Church turned away from them, for their religious system could
never have produced an organized ecclesiastical society. It was monastic
rather than hierarchical, and a Celtic priest-abbot was a far more
important person than a bishop who was not the ruler of an abbey, though
in England the bishops were probably always abbots. In founding their sees
they sought seclusion rather than good administrative centres, and the
bishop's monastery was less a place of diocesan government than the
headquarters of missionary effort. They had no regular diocesan system,
and bishops and clergy ministered where they would. Their monasticism was
of a specially ascetic character. Both Aidan and Cuthberht loved to leave
the society of the monks at Lindisfarne, and to retire to the barren
little Farne Island, where they could only hear the roaring of the
northern ocean and the crying of the sea-birds. Cuthberht, indeed, even
after he joined the Roman Church, kept the characteristics of the Scottish
monk. He left the duties of his bishopric altogether and ended his days in
his island-hermitage. This love of asceticism was fatal to the well-being
of the Church; the individual soul was everything; the Church was nothing;
and though great victories were won over heathenism, the Scottish Church
remained without corporate life. Lastly, it was not in communion with
Rome, and so lay outside Catholic Christendom. And though it had much to
offer the English both in religion and learning, every gift would have
been rendered fruitless by isolation from the progressive life of Western

[Sidenote: The schism.]

It was, indeed, impossible, from the very nature of things, that Celtic
Christianity should long prevail in England, for its arrangements were
based on the loose organization of the sept, and the English needed
arrangements that suited kingship and tended towards political as well as
ecclesiastical union. Its rejection was, however, determined by questions
of Church order. Up to the middle of the fifth century the Celtic
Christians computed Easter by the Roman lunar cycle, which had gradually
diverged from that of Eastern Christendom. When, however, the Romans
adopted a new system of computation, the Welsh and the Irish Scots adhered
to the old cycle; and they further differed from the Roman Church as
regards the shape of the tonsure and the rites observed in the
administration of Baptism. Unimportant as such differences may seem to us,
they were really no light matters; for, as the Church was engaged in a
conflict with paganism, unity with itself was of the first consequence.
The points at issue began to be much debated in Northumbria when the
gentle-spirited Aidan was succeeded at Lindisfarne by Finan, a man of
violent temper. The Bernician court was divided. Oswiu was attached to the
Scottish communion, and his attachment was strengthened by his regard for
Colman, the successor of Finan. On the other hand, his queen, Eanflæd, the
daughter of Eadwine, belonged to the Roman party; and so it came about
that, while the king was keeping his Easter feast, his queen was still in
the Lenten fast. Oswiu's son, Alchfrith, who reigned as under-king in
Deira, left the Scottish communion and eagerly upheld the Roman party. He
was encouraged by Wilfrith, the abbot of Ripon. Wilfrith, who was the
child of wealthy parents, had been led by the unkindness of his stepmother
to desire to become a monk, and had been sent, when a handsome, clever lad
of thirteen, to Queen Eanflæd, that she might decide what he should do.
Eanflæd sent him to Lindisfarne, and he stayed there for some years. Then
she helped him to visit Rome, and he made the journey, which was as yet
unknown to his fellow-countrymen, partly in the company of Benedict
Biscop, who became the founder of Roman monasticism in the north of
England. While he was at Rome Wilfrith studied ecclesiastical matters, and
especially the subject of the computation of Easter. He returned home
fully convinced of the excellence of the Roman Church, and found in
Alchfrith a warm friend and willing disciple. Alchfrith had built a
monastery at Ripon, and peopled it with Scottish monks from Melrose. When
he adopted the Roman customs, these monks, of whom Cuthberht was one,
refused to follow his example, and accordingly he turned them out, and
gave the monastery to Wilfrith.

[Sidenote: The synod of Whitby, 664.]

Before long Wilfrith, who was a good preacher and charitable to the poor,
became exceedingly popular. The ecclesiastical dispute was evidently
closely connected with the rivalry between the two Northumbrian kingdoms;
the Roman cause was upheld in Deira and by the Deiran under-king, while
the Celtic clergy were strong in Bernicia, and trusted in the support of
Oswiu. A visit from Agilberct, a Frank, who had held the West Saxon
bishopric, and had since returned to Gaul, gave Alchfrith an opportunity
of bringing matters to an issue. Agilberct admitted Wilfrith to the
priesthood, and urged on a decision of the dispute. A conference was held
at the abbey of Strenæshalch, or Whitby. The abbey was ruled by Hild,
great-niece of King Eadwine, who presided over a congregation composed of
monks as well as nuns. Five of Hild's monks became bishops, and the poet
Cædmon was first a herdsman, and then a brother of her house. Hild
belonged to the Scottish party, which was represented at the conference by
Colman, Cedd, and others. The leaders on the Roman side were Agilberct,
Wilfrith, James the deacon of Paulinus, and Eanflæd's chaplain, Romanus.
The question was decided in a synod of the whole Northumbrian kingdom,
presided over by Oswiu and Alchfrith. Oswiu opened the proceedings with a
short speech, in which he urged the necessity of union and the importance
of finding out what the true tradition was. Colman then stated his case,
which he rested on the tradition of his Church and the authority of St.
John. At the request of Agilberct, Oswiu called on Wilfrith to answer him.
Wilfrith spoke in an overbearing tone, for he was of an impatient temper.
He sneered at the obstinacy of "a few Picts and Britons" in setting
themselves in opposition to the whole world, and met Colman's arguments by
declaring that the Celtic Easter was condemned by St. Peter, of whom the
Lord had said, "Thou art Peter," &c. (Matt. xvi. 18). On this, Oswiu asked
Colman whether the Lord had indeed spoken thus, and when he said that He
had done so, further demanded whether his Columba had received any such
power. Colman allowed that he had not. The king then asked whether both
parties were agreed that Peter had received the keys of Heaven. "Even so,"
was the answer. "Then," said he, "I will not go against him who is
doorkeeper, but will do all I know and can to obey him, lest perchance,
when I come to the door of the kingdom of Heaven, I should find none to
open to me, because he who holds the keys is offended with me." The
assembly agreed with the king's decision, and declared for the Roman
usages. James the deacon saw the reward of his long and faithful labour;
he was a skilful singer, and introduced the Roman method of chanting into

The Synod of Whitby is the turning-point in the history of the schism.
Before many years the Celtic party died out in the north, and though the
Celtic customs lingered a little longer among the Britons of the west, the
decisive blow had been struck; the Church of England was to follow Rome.
The gain was great. The Church was to have a share in the progressive life
of Catholic Christianity; it was to have a stately ritual, and to be
adorned by the arts and strengthened by the learning of the west; it
gained unity and organization for itself, and the power of exercising a
determining influence on the lives of individual men, and on the formation
and history of the future State. Nevertheless, the decision of the synod
was not all gain, for it led to the submission of the Church to papal
authority, and in times of national weakness exposed it to papal

[Sidenote: Restoration of the see of York, 664.]

Colman refused to accept the decision of the synod, and left England in
anger, taking several of his monks with him. His departure ruined the
cause of his Church. His successor in the vast Northumbrian diocese died
of the terrible plague that visited England the year of the Synod. Then
the two kings held a meeting of the Northumbrian witan, and Wilfrith was
chosen bishop. The victory of his party was further declared by the
restoration of the see of York. Ever since the flight of Paulinus, York
had remained without a bishop; now, doubtless at the instance of Alchfrith
and the people of Deira, it took the place of Bernician Lindisfarne as
the seat of the Northumbrian bishopric. Wilfrith went to Gaul to receive
consecration, on the ground that there were not three canonically ordained
bishops in England, an assertion which seems to have been hasty and
incorrect. He stayed abroad for three years, and so well-nigh threw away
the victory he had gained, for while he was absent Alchfrith lost his
kingdom, and the rivalry between the two divisions of Northumbria found
expression in a revulsion of feeling in ecclesiastical matters. When he
came back he found that Aidan's disciple, Ceadda (St. Chad), the brother
of Cedd, who had adopted the Roman customs, had been appointed bishop in
his place. He retired to Ripon, acted as bishop in other parts, and helped
forward the introduction of Roman monasticism into monasteries that had
hitherto followed the Columban model.




[Sidenote: Archbishop Theodore, 668-690.]

Among the victims of the plague of 664 was Archbishop Deusdedit, the first
English successor of Augustin. After the see of Canterbury had lain vacant
for three years, Oswiu, who held a kind of supremacy in England, and
Ecgberht of Kent joined in writing to Pope Vitalian, asking him to
consecrate a Kentish priest named Wighard as archbishop. Wighard died of
the plague at Rome before he was consecrated, and the Pope wrote to the
kings that, agreeably to their request, he was looking for a fit man to be
consecrated. As, however, the kings had made no such request, and had
simply asked him to consecrate the man whom they and the English Church
had chosen, his letter was more clever than honest. He made choice of a
Greek monk, a native of Tarsus, named Theodore, who had joined the Roman
Church; and as the Greeks held unorthodox opinions, he sent with him
Hadrian, an African, abbot of the Niridan monastery, near Naples, that he
might prevent him from teaching any wrong doctrines. Theodore was
consecrated by the Pope in 668, and set out for England with Hadrian and
Benedict Biscop, of whom much will be said in the volume of this series on
monasticism. Both Theodore and Hadrian were learned men, and the
archbishop gathered round him a number of students, whom they instructed
in arts and sciences as well as in Biblical knowledge. They also taught
Latin and Greek so thoroughly that some of their scholars spoke both
languages as readily as English, and for the first time England had a
learned native clergy. Many of their scholars became teachers of others,
and in the darkest period of ignorance in Gaul, England, and especially
Northumbria, entered on a period of literary splendour that lasted until
the Danish invasions.

[Sidenote: His ecclesiastical organization.]

As the Church was now rapidly passing from the missionary to the pastoral
stage of its existence, it needed organization as a permanent institution.
This organization was given to it by Theodore. He established his
authority over the whole Church, and, long before any one thought of a
national monarchy, planned a national archiepiscopate. He made a
visitation of every see, and for the first time every bishop owned
obedience to Canterbury; while, as far as the English were concerned, he
virtually brought the schism to an end by enforcing the decision of the
Synod of Whitby. When he came to York he told Ceadda that his consecration
was uncanonical. The saintly bishop declared his readiness to resign; he
had ever, he said, deemed himself unworthy of the episcopal office.
Theodore was touched by his humility, and reordained him; he received the
Mercian bishopric, and lived for a little while in great holiness at
Lichfield. Wilfrith was restored to York, and ruled his diocese with
magnificence. When Theodore had thus established his authority, he
proceeded to give the Church a diocesan system and a means of legislation
in ecclesiastical matters. He called a national council of the Church to
meet at Hertford; it was attended by the bishops and several "masters of
Church," men learned in ecclesiastical affairs, and in it the archbishop
produced a body of canons which were universally accepted. These canons
declared that the Roman Easter was to be observed everywhere; that no
bishop should intrude into another's diocese; that no priest should
minister out of his own diocese without producing letters of
recommendation; that a synod of the whole Church should be held every year
at Clevesho, probably near London; and that more bishops were needed, a
matter which it was decided to defer for the present.

[Sidenote: Creation of new dioceses.]

Instead of the symmetrical arrangement contemplated by Gregory, certain
bishoprics were of immense size, for the diocese in each case was simply
the kingdom looked at from an ecclesiastical point of view, and as the
boundaries of a kingdom were changed by the fortune of war the diocese was
enlarged or diminished. The whole of Central England was included in the
one Mercian diocese, and the whole of Northumbria--for Lindisfarne was now
without a separate bishop--lay in the diocese of Wilfrith. Theodore saw
that it was necessary to subdivide these and other dioceses, and his
intention was approved at Rome. His plan of procedure was first to gain
the approval of the king whose kingdom would be affected by the change he
wished to make, and then to obtain the consent of the witan. Hitherto the
dioceses had been based on political circumstances; the new dioceses were
generally formed on tribal lines. He divided East Anglia into two
dioceses. The North folk and the South folk each had a bishop of their
own, and the new see was placed at Elmham. Mercia was divided into five
dioceses; the Hwiccan, the Hecanan, the Mercians proper, the Middle
Angles, and the Lindsey folk each received a bishop, and the five sees
were respectively at Worcester, Hereford, Lichfield, Leicester, and
Sidnacester. The division of the West Saxon see was put off until the
death of the bishop. In dealing with the Northumbrian diocese King
Ecgfrith and the archbishop seem to have expected opposition from
Wilfrith, for they divided his diocese in a council at which he was not
present. According to the plan then adopted, Theodore consecrated bishops
for Deira, Bernicia, and Lindsey, which, though originally part of the
Mercian diocese, had lately been added to the Northumbrian kingdom and
bishopric by conquest.

[Sidenote: Wilfrith's first appeal to Rome, 678.]

[Sidenote: He is driven from York a second time, 691.]

[Sidenote: Dies bishop of Hexham, 709.]

Wilfrith appeared before the king and the archbishop, and demanded to be
told why he was thus deprived of his rights. No answer was given him, and
he appealed to the judgment of the Apostolic See. This appeal to Rome
against the decision of a king and his witan, and of an archbishop acting
in concert, the first that was ever made by an Englishman, is a notable
event. It was greeted with the jeers of the great men of the court.
Wilfrith went to Rome in person, and Theodore appeared by a proctor. Pope
Agatho and his council decreed that Wilfrith should be reinstated, that
his diocese should be divided, but that he should choose the new bishops,
and that Theodore's bishops should be turned out. Wilfrith returned in
triumph, bringing the papal decrees with their bulls (seals) attached. A
witenagemót was held to hear them, and the king and his nobles decided to
disregard them. Wilfrith was imprisoned, and Theodore made a further
division of his diocese by establishing a see at Abercorn, and appointed
bishops for Lindisfarne, Hexham, and perhaps Ripon without consulting him.
After Wilfrith was released he was forced by the hatred of Ecgfrith to
wander about seeking shelter, until at last he found it among the heathen
South Saxons. He converted them to Christianity, and lived as their bishop
at Selsey. Then he preached to the people of the Isle of Wight, and by
their conversion completed the work that Augustin came to do. The death of
Ecgfrith made it possible for Theodore to come to terms with him. The
archbishop and the injured bishop were reconciled in 686, and at
Theodore's request Ealdfrith, the new king of Northumbria, reinstated
Wilfrith as bishop of York. Nevertheless the division that Theodore had
made was not disturbed, and he only presided over the Deiran diocese.
After some years he and Ealdfrith had a dispute about the rights and
possessions of his see. He was again driven from York, and again appealed
to Rome. Pope Sergius took his part. But Ealdfrith, though a religious
man, was not more inclined to submit to papal interference than his
predecessor. He found an ally in Archbishop Brihtwald, for Theodore was
now dead, and in spite of the Pope's mandates, Wilfrith's claims were
rejected by a national synod of the Church. He again appealed to Rome, and
was excommunicated by the English bishops. Again he journeyed to Rome, and
John VI. pronounced a decree in his favour. Ealdfrith, however, declared
that he would never change his decision for papal writings, and it was not
until after his death that a compromise was effected in a Northumbrian
synod held on the Nidd in 705. The settlement was unfavourable to
Wilfrith, for he was not restored to York, but ended his days as bishop of
Hexham. He was a man of blameless life and indomitable courage. It was
mainly through his efforts that the Church of England was brought into
conformity with the Roman Church. Defeat never made him idle or
despondent, and his noblest triumphs, the conversion of the last heathen
people of English race, were won in exile. At the same time, he was hasty,
impolitic, and perhaps over-jealous for his own honour. In the part that
the two archbishops took against him it is hard not to see some fear lest
the magnificence of the northern prelate should endanger the authority of
Canterbury in Northumbria, though they certainly acted for the good of the
Church in insisting on the division of his vast diocese. He made the first
attempt to control English ecclesiastical affairs by invoking the
appellate jurisdiction of the Pope, and his defeat was the first of the
many checks that papal interference received from Englishmen.

[Sidenote: Literary greatness of Northumbria, 664-782.]

[Sidenote: Cædmon, d. 680.]

[Sidenote: Æddi [Eddius], fl. 710.]

[Sidenote: Bæda, 673-735.]

From the time of its conversion by Aidan to its devastation by the
Scandinavian pirates, Northumbria excelled the rest of England in arts and
literature. Another volume of this series will deal with the famous
monasteries of Lindisfarne, Jarrow, Wearmouth, Whitby, and York, with
their scholar-monks, and with the splendours of Roman and Gallic art with
which their churches were enriched. While Celtic culture was on the point
of yielding to Roman influence, Cædmon, the herdsman, the first of our
sacred poets, began to sing at Whitby. His story illustrates the love of
the English for music; and this national characteristic caused the
introduction of the Roman system of chanting to hold an important place in
the process of bringing the Church into conformity with Rome. This part of
the work of James the deacon was carried on by Æddi, a choirmaster of
Canterbury, whom Wilfrith invited into Northumbria. Æddi became the
bishop's companion, and wrote a "Life of Wilfrith," a work of considerable
value. Shortly afterwards Bæda composed his "Ecclesiastical History." Bæda
was absolutely free from narrowness of mind, and though he held that the
Roman tradition was authoritative, loved and venerated the memory of the
holy men of the Celtic Church. As a story-teller he is unrivalled: full of
piety and tenderness, he preserved through life a simplicity of heart that
invests his narratives with a peculiar grace. At the same time, he did all
in his power to find out the exact truth, and constantly tells his readers
where he derived his information. He was well read in the best Latin
authors, and in patristic divinity; he understood Greek, and had some
acquaintance with Hebrew. Besides his works on the Bible and his
historical and biographical books, he wrote treatises on chronology,
astronomy, mathematics, and music. From boyhood he spent all his life in
the monastery of Jarrow in religious exercises and in literary labours,
that he undertook not for his own sake, but for the sake of others. During
his last sickness he worked hard to finish his translation of the Gospel
of St. John, for he knew that it would be useful to his scholars. His last
day on earth was spent upon it; and when evening came, and the young
scribe said, "There is yet one more sentence, dear master, to be written
out," he answered, "Write quickly." After a while the lad said, "Now the
sentence is written;" and he answered, "Good; thou hast spoken truly. It
is finished." Then he bade him raise his head, for he wished to look on
the spot where he was wont to pray. And so, lying on the pavement of his
cell, he sang the _Gloria Patri_, and as he uttered the name of the Holy
Ghost he passed to the heavenly kingdom.

[Sidenote: Parishes.]

[Sidenote: Tithes.]

One of Bæda's friends was Ecgberht, who was made bishop of York in 734,
and obtained the restoration of the metropolitan dignity of his see. A
year after his election Bæda sent him a letter of advice which tells us a
good deal about the state of the Church. While the work of evangelization
was still going on, monasteries were useful as missionary centres, and a
single church served for a large district. Now, however, men no longer
needed missionary preachers so much as resident priests and regular
services. Accordingly, the parochial system came into existence about this
time, not by any formal enactment, but in the natural course of things.
For, when the lord of a township built a church, and had a priest ordained
to minister to his people, his township in most cases became an
ecclesiastical district or parish. Bæda urges the bishop to forward this
change. He points out that it was impossible for him to visit every place
in his diocese even once a year, and exhorts him to ordain priests to
preach, to consecrate the Holy Mysteries, and to baptize in each village.
The parish priest mainly subsisted on land assigned to him by the lord who
built the church and on the offerings of the people, such as church-scot,
which was paid at Martinmas, soul-scot or mortuary dues, and the like.
These payments were obligatory, and were enjoined first by the law of the
Church, and then by the civil power. It is evident from Bæda's letter
that, even before the parochial system was established, a compulsory
payment of some kind was made to the bishop by all the people of his
diocese. From the earliest times, also, the consecration of a tenth, or
tithe, to the service of God was held to be a Christian duty, and the
obligation is recognized in Theodore's Penitential, and was therefore part
of the law of the Church. It became part of the civil law in 787, for it
was then enjoined by a council presided over by two legates, and the
decree was accepted by the kings and the witan of the kingdoms they
visited. It is probable, however, that payment was not enforced till a
later period. Early in the tenth century the obligation was recognized as
an established law, and a penalty was provided for its non-fulfilment. The
appropriation of the payment long remained unsettled, and was generally
decided by the owner of the land, who in most cases naturally assigned the
tithe to the parish priest, though he sometimes gave it to the head church
of the district, or to the bishop's church, or to some monastery. And
although the right of the parochial clergy to the tithe of increase was
declared in 1200 by the Council of Westminster, the constitution was often

[Sidenote: Restoration of the archbishopric of York, 734.]

Many monasteries had in Bæda's time fallen into an evil condition, and as
the Church needed an efficient diocesan organization, he advised Ecgberht
to strive for the fulfilment of Pope Gregory's scheme as regards the
Church in the north, which provided that the see of York should be
metropolitan, and that the province should be divided into twelve
bishoprics. The new bishops should, he proposed, be supported out of the
funds of monasteries, which were in some cases to be placed under
episcopal rule. In the same year that this letter was written, Ecgberht
received the pall from Gregory III., and this grant, which had not been
made to any of his predecessors since the time of Paulinus, restored the
see to metropolitan dignity. Thus one part of Theodore's work was
frustrated, and Northumbria was withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the see
of Canterbury. The kingdom itself was withdrawing from the contests
between the other English states, and the restoration of the archbishopric
may be regarded as a kind of declaration of its separate national life.
Under Ecgberht and his successor, Æthelberht (Albert), the Northumbrian
Church was famous for learning, and the archbishop's school at York became
the most notable place of education in Western Christendom. Æthelberht's
schoolmaster was Alcuin, who after the archbishop's death resided at the
court of Charles the Great, and helped him to carry out his plans for the
advancement of learning. Alcuin had himself been a scholar at York, and so
the school there became a source of light to other lands. In York itself,
however, the light was quenched before Alcuin's death. Civil disturbances
were followed by the Scandinavian invasions, and the Northumbrian Church
for a long period almost disappears amidst anarchy and ruin.

[Sidenote: Ealdhelm, bishop of Sherborne, died 709.]

In Wessex the work of Theodore was carried on by Ealdhelm, abbot of
Malmesbury, one of his most distinguished scholars. Ini, the West Saxon
king, had conquered the western part of Somerset, and ruled over a mixed
population. The bitter feelings engendered by the schism were an hindrance
to the Church in the west, and Ealdhelm wrote a treatise on the subject in
the form of a letter to Gerent, king of Dyfnaint, which brought a number
of the Welsh within the West Saxon border to conform to the customs of the
Roman Church. This put an end to the schism in the west. In our present
Wales the Roman Easter was universally accepted about a century later.
Ealdhelm, who was a kinsman of Ini, was much honoured by the king, and
used his influence to further the spread of the Gospel. Churches rose
rapidly in Wessex, and he journeyed to Rome to obtain privileges for the
monasteries he had founded, and was received with much kindness by Pope
Sergius. The division of the West Saxon diocese which had been
contemplated by Theodore took place in Ini's reign, and was settled by the
king and an ecclesiastical council. All to the west of Selwood Forest, the
western part of Wiltshire, Dorset, and Somerset formed the new diocese of
Sherborne, and over this Ealdhelm was chosen bishop. The rest of Wessex
remained in the diocese of Winchester, which had now taken the place of
Dorchester as an episcopal see. The labours of Ealdhelm, and the help he
received from his wise and powerful kinsman, brought about the extension
and organization of the Church in the west. After raising Wessex to the
foremost place among the kingdoms south of the Humber, Ini laid down his
crown, made a pilgrimage to Rome, and died there.

[Sidenote: The archbishopric of Lichfield, 786-802.]

In the latter half of the eighth century Offa, king of Mercia, was the
most powerful monarch in England, and, among other conquests, subdued Kent
and added it to his dominions. The course of political events tended to a
threefold division of England into the Northumbrian, Mercian, and West
Saxon kingdoms, and the twofold system of ecclesiastical administration by
the metropolitans of Canterbury and York thwarted the ambition of the
Mercian king. Northumbria had already sealed its policy of separation by
the restoration of the archbishopric of York, and Offa now adopted a
similar course, by persuading Pope Hadrian I. to grant the see of
Lichfield metropolitan dignity. He had a special reason for weakening the
power of Canterbury, for after the extinction of Kentish royalty the
archbishop gained increased political importance, and became the
representative of the national life of the kingdom, which Offa vainly
endeavoured to crush. Accordingly two legates of Hadrian held a synod at
Chelsea in 787, in which Higberht, bishop of Lichfield, was declared an
archbishop. Jaenberht, archbishop of Canterbury, was forced to submit to
the partition of his province, the obedience of the Mercian and East
Anglian bishops being apparently transferred to the new metropolitan.

This arrangement was subversive of a part of Theodore's work that was
specially valuable as regards the development both of the Church and the
nation. Theodore had made ecclesiastical jurisdictions independent of the
fluctuations of political boundaries, and had freed the Church from
provincial influences and from a merely local character. The national
character of the Church was to become a powerful factor in forming the
English nation. In spite of civil divisions, the oneness of the Church was
a strong element of union. Although no lay assembly, no witenagemót, of
the whole nation was as yet possible, the Church met in national councils;
its head, the archbishop of Canterbury, might be a native of any kingdom,
and every one of its clergy, of whatever race he might be, was equally at
home in whatever part of the land he was called to minister. This national
character of the Church and the influence it exercised on national unity
were endangered by creating metropolitan jurisdiction and dignity as mere
appendages to a political division. Happily there was no second archbishop
of Lichfield. Offa's successor, Cenwulf, found Æthelheard, the
archbishop of Canterbury, a useful ally in a revolt of the Kentish nobles,
and joined him in obtaining the restoration of the rights of his see from
Leo III. While the see of York was overwhelmed by political disasters, the
archbishop of Canterbury gained increased importance. Wessex entered on a
career of conquest under Ecgberht, who, in 827, defeated the Mercian king
at Ellandun. This victory led to the conquest of Kent, and in 838
Archbishop Ceolnoth, in a council held at Kingston, made a treaty of
perpetual alliance between his Church and Ecgberht and his son Æthelwulf,
the under-king of Kent. By this alliance the Church pledged itself to
support the line of kings under which the English at last became a united

[Sidenote: The Church in relation to the State.]

No distinct lines divide the area of the Church's work in legislation or
jurisdiction from that occupied by the State. Bishops, in virtue of their
spiritual dignity, formed part of the witan, first of the several
kingdoms, and then of the united nation. In the witenagemóts laws were
enacted concerning religion, morality, and ecclesiastical discipline, as
well as secular matters; for the clergy had no reason to fear lay
interference, and gladly availed themselves of the authority that was
attached to the decrees of the national council. The evangelization of the
people caused some modification of their ancient laws and customs, and
Æthelberht of Kent and other kings published written codes "after the
Roman model," in accordance with the teaching of their bishops. It is
evident that bishops were usually appointed, and often elected, in the
witenagemót. Wilfrith was elected, "by common consent," in a meeting of
the Northumbrian witan, and the election of Ealdhelm by the West Saxon
assembly is said to have been made by the great men, the clergy, and a
multitude of people, though it must not be supposed that the popular voice
was ever heard except in assent. Nor does it seem certain that even the
form of election was always observed; for, to take a single instance,
Ceadda's appointment to Lichfield seems to have been made by Theodore at
the request of the Mercian king. The clergy of the bishop's church,
however, had a right of election, for Alcuin wrote to the clergy of York
reminding them that the election of the archbishop belonged to them.
Episcopal elections were, indeed, the results of amicable arrangement, and
exemplify the undefined condition of the relations between the Church and
the State, and the harmony that existed between them. The Church, however,
had its own councils. These were either national, such as that held by
Theodore at Hatfield, or, after the restoration of the northern
archiepiscopate, provincial, or assemblies of the Church of a single
kingdom, such as the Synod of Whitby. In spite of the canon directing that
national Church councils should meet annually, they were not often held,
owing to the constant strife between the kingdoms. An amendment to one of
Theodore's canons proves the freedom of discussion and voting at these
assemblies. Provincial councils were attended by a few of the principal
clergy of each diocese, who came up to them with their bishop. Kings and
nobles were often present at ecclesiastical councils, and joined in
attesting their proceedings, so that it is sometimes difficult to decide
whether a council was a clerical assembly or a meeting of the witan.

The harmony between Church and State is no less evident in matters of
jurisdiction than it is in legislation. Besides exercising jurisdiction in
his own franchise, the bishop sat with the ealdorman and sheriff in the
local courts, declaring the ecclesiastical law and taking cognizance of
the breach of it. Certain cases touching morality appear to have specially
belonged to his jurisdiction, which was also exercised in the local courts
over criminal clergy. Apart from his work in these courts, he enforced
ecclesiastical discipline, and the rules contained in the Penitentials, or
codes in which a special penance was provided for each sin. These
compilations derived their authority not from any decree, but from their
inherent excellence, or from the character of their authors. Some
Penitentials were drawn up by Scottish teachers, and Theodore, Bæda, and
Ecgberht of York wrote others for the English Church. The bishop had a
court of his own for the correction of clergy not accused of civil crime
and for the administration of penitential discipline. His chief officer,
the archdeacon, first appears under that title, though without territorial
jurisdiction, early in the ninth century. Before that time the bishop was
attended by his deacon, but this office was one of personal service rather
than of administration. No jealousy can be discerned between Church and
State, and though the area within which each worked was not clearly
defined, it is clear that they worked together without clashing.

[Sidenote: The Church and the Papacy.]

While, however, the Church had this strongly national character, it was in
obedience to the Roman see. Archbishops did not consecrate bishops until
they had received the pall from the Pope. At first the pall was sent to
them, but by the beginning of the eighth century they were expected to
fetch it, and this soon became an invariable rule, which strengthened the
idea of the dependence of the Church, and afforded opportunities for
extortion and aggression. No legates landed here from the time of Theodore
until two were sent over by Hadrian in 786. Hadrian's legates held synods
in both the two provinces, and published a body of canons, which the kings
and their thegns, the archbishops, bishops, and all who attended pledged
themselves to obey. By one of these the payment of tithes was, we have
seen, made part of the law of the land. Another illustrates the influence
of the Church on the conception of kingship. Although the crown invested
the king with personal pre-eminence, there was as yet no idea of the
sanctity conferred by the religious rite of anointing, which had taken the
place of the old Teutonic ceremonies. It was now ordained that no one of
illegitimate birth should be chosen king, for none such might enter the
priesthood, and that any one who plotted the king's death should be held
guilty of the sin of Judas, because the king was the Lord's Anointed. The
Church, however, was not to fall into the snare of adulation; bishops were
to speak the word of God to kings without fear, and kings were to obey
them as those who held the keys of Heaven.

For the next three hundred years the Church was almost wholly free from
the direct control of legatine visits. Appeals to the judgment of the
Roman see had for the first time been made by Wilfrith, and the Church, as
we have seen, cordially upheld the resistance offered by kings and nobles
to the Pope's attempts to set aside the decision of national councils.
The compromise that was at last effected was not a papal triumph.
Nevertheless the authority of the Pope was generally acknowledged, and the
most powerful kings thought it needful to obtain the sanction of Rome for
ecclesiastical changes, such as the erection and suppression of the
Mercian archbishopric. Moreover, Englishmen venerated Rome as the
Apostolic See and the mother of Catholic Christendom, and made frequent
pilgrimages thither. First, ecclesiastics journeyed to Rome either for
purposes of business or devotion. Then, towards the end of the seventh
century, Ceadwalla, a West Saxon king, went thither to receive baptism,
praying that he might die as soon as he was cleansed from his sins, and
his prayer was granted. His example was followed by other kings, and among
them by his successor, Ini. Crowds of persons of both sexes and every
condition now went on pilgrimage. In Offa's time there were special
buildings at Rome called the "Saxon School" for the accommodation of
English pilgrims, and the Mercian king obtained a promise from Charles the
Great that they should be free of toll in passing through his dominions.

[Sidenote: The Church and Western Christendom.]

The missionary labours of Willibrord, of Winfrith or Boniface, and other
Englishmen brought our Church into close relationship with other Churches
of Western Europe, for a constant correspondence was kept up between the
missionaries and their brethren at home. The connexion between the English
and Frankish Churches was strengthened by the residence of Alcuin at the
court of Charles the Great, and by the desire of Offa to establish
friendly relations with the Frankish monarch. Alcuin obtained a letter
from the kings and bishops of England, agreeing with the condemnation
which Charles pronounced against the decree of the Second Council of Nice,
re-establishing the worship of images in the Eastern Church, and English
bishops attended the council Charles held at Frankfort, where the action
of the Greeks and the opinions of certain Adoptionist heretics were
condemned. At the close of the eighth century our Church was highly
esteemed throughout Western Christendom, and this was due both to the
noble work accomplished by English missionaries and to the literary
greatness of Northumbria, the home of Alcuin.




[Sidenote: Ruin of Northumbria.]

Before the end of the eighth century the Northmen laid waste Lindisfarne,
Jarrow, and Wearmouth. Civil disorder, however, was well nigh as fatal to
the Church in the north as the ravages of the heathen. In 808 Archbishop
Eanbald joined the Mercian king, Cenwulf, in dethroning Eardulf of
Northumbria. Eardulf sought help from the Emperor, Charles the Great, and
laid his case before Leo III. A papal legate and an imperial messenger
were sent to England to summon Eanbald to appear either before the Pope or
the Emperor. He defended himself by letter; his defence was pronounced
unsatisfactory, and the Emperor procured the restoration of the king. For
the next sixty years anarchy and violence prevailed in the north. Then the
Scandinavian pirates invaded the country and overthrew York. Nine years
later Halfdene desolated Bernicia, so that not a church was left standing
between the Tweed and the Tyne. The bishop of Lindisfarne and his monks
fled from their home, carrying with them the bones of St. Cuthberht. They
found shelter at Chester-le-Street, which for about a century became the
see of the Bernician bishopric. Northumbria became a Danish province, and
when it was again brought under the dominion of an English king it had
fallen far behind the rest of the country in ecclesiastical and
intellectual matters. The Danish conquest had a marked effect upon the
position of the northern metropolitan. Cut off from communication with the
rest of England, the Northumbrians became almost a distinct nation. The
extinction of the native kingship and a long series of revolutions threw
political power into the hands of the archbishops, and when the Church of
York again emerges from obscurity we find them holding a kind of national
headship. Their position was magnified by isolation. While the sees of
Hexham and Withern had been overthrown, and the Church of Lindisfarne was
in exile, the see of York remained to attract the sympathies and, in more
than one instance, direct the action, of the northern people.

[Sidenote: Æthelwulf's pilgrimage, 855.]

During the attacks of the pirates on the south of England the alliance
between the Church and the West Saxon throne was strengthened by the
common danger, and the bishops appear as patriots and statesmen. Æthelwulf
was supported in his struggles with the Danes by Swithun, bishop of
Winchester, and Ealhstan, bishop of Sherborne. Ealhstan was rich, and used
his wealth for the defence of the kingdom; he equipped armies, joined in
leading them in battle, and in 845, in conjunction with the ealdormen of
Somerset and Dorset, headed the forces of his bishopric, and inflicted a
severe defeat upon the invaders at the mouth of the Parret. The resistance
the Danes met with from the West Saxons, which was largely due to the
exertions of these bishops, delivered Wessex from invasion for twenty
years. Meanwhile Lindsey and East Anglia were ravaged, Canterbury was
twice sacked, and London was taken by storm. Everywhere the heathens
showed special hatred to the monks and clergy; monasteries and churches
were sacked and burnt, and priests were slain with the sword. These
calamities were regarded as Divine judgments, and when Æthelwulf had
checked the invaders he made a pilgrimage to Rome. Before he left, and
after his return, he made a series of donations, which have been described
as conveying a tenth part of his own estates to ecclesiastical bodies, and
to various thegns, as freeing a tenth part of the folcland from all
burdens except the three that fell on all lands alike, and as charging
every ten hides of his land with the support of a poor man. Though these
grants have nothing to do with the institution of tithes, they illustrate
the sacredness that was attached to the tenth portion of property.
Æthelwulf carried rich gifts to Benedict III., and while he was at Rome
rebuilt the "Saxon School." This institution was supported by a yearly
contribution from England, which appears to have been the origin of
Peter's pence. The king probably found his youngest son Alfred at Rome,
for he had sent him to Leo IV. two years before. Leo confirmed the child,
and anointed him as king. The Pope did not, of course, pretend to dispose
of the English crown, and probably only meant to consecrate Alfred to any
kingship to which his father as head-king might appoint him.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Wedmore, 878.]

By 870 the whole of the north and east of England had been conquered by
the Danes. In that year Eadmund, the East Anglian king, went out to battle
against them, and was defeated and taken prisoner. His captors offered to
spare his life and restore his kingdom to him, if he would deny Christ and
reign under their orders. When he refused their offers, they tied him to a
tree, shot at him with arrows, and finally cut off his head. In later days
the Abbey of St. Edmund's Bury was named after the martyred king. Wessex
well nigh shared the fate of the rest of the country; it was saved by the
skill and wisdom of Alfred. Through all the bitter struggle the Church
vigorously upheld the national cause; a bishop of Elmham fell fighting
against the heathen host in East Anglia, and a bishop of Sherborne in
Wessex. At last Alfred inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Danish king,
Guthorm, at Edington, and as the price of peace Guthorm promised to quit
Wessex and accepted Christianity. He was baptized at Wedmore, in Somerset,
and a treaty was made by which England was divided into two parts. Wessex
was freed from the danger of conquest, and Alfred's immediate dominions
were increased, while the north and east remained under the Danes. Guthorm
owned the supremacy of the West Saxon king in East Anglia; his people
became Christians, and in the other Danish districts the invaders for the
most part also accepted Christianity when they became settled in the land.

[Sidenote: Alfred's work.]

The Danish wars had a disastrous effect on religion, morality, and
learning. The monastic congregations were scattered, and men did not care
to become monks. Pure Benedictinism was as yet unknown in England, and a
laxer system seems to have prevailed. This system, such as it was, now
gave way altogether, and the monasteries that survived the ravages of the
Danes fell into the hands of secular clergy, who enjoyed their estates
without conforming to any rule, and who were generally married. The
collapse of monasticism entailed the decay of learning, for the monastic
schools were generally closed. Nor were the parish priests capable of
supplying the place of the monks as teachers of the people. The drain of
men entailed by the war made it necessary to confer the priesthood on many
who were ignorant and otherwise unfit for full orders. And it is probable
that the losses which the Church sustained during the war were not
confined to monastic bodies, and that the clergy suffered considerably. A
general decline in their character and efficiency naturally followed; and
Alfred records how England had changed in this respect even within his own
memory. He remembered the time when the "sacred orders were zealous in
teaching and learning, and in all the services they owed to God, and how
foreigners hied to this land for wisdom and lore;" but now, he says, "we
should have to get them from abroad." For "there were very few on this
side Humber who could understand their rituals in English, or translate a
letter from Latin into English, and not many beyond Humber."

There was little difference between the priest and his people; the clergy
shared largely in the national habit of excessive drinking, and many
priests were married. Among the laity morality was at a low ebb; the
marriage tie was lightly regarded, and there was a general return to the
laxity and vices of paganism. Heathen customs gathered fresh strength, and
women dealt in enchantments and called up ghostly forms. Alfred determined
to save his people from barbarism; he set himself to be their teacher, and
sought for others to help in his work. From the English part of Mercia,
where learning was more advanced than in Wessex, he brought Plegmund, who
was afterwards chosen archbishop, and other clerks; Bishop Asser came to
him from Wales; from beyond sea, Grimbold, a monk of St. Bertin's, and
John from the old Saxon land. He desired that every youth whose parents
could afford it should be sent to school till he could read English well,
and those who hoped for promotion till they could read Latin. Accordingly,
he set up a school for young nobles in his palace, and made education the
prominent feature in a monastery he founded at Athelney. He translated
into English such books as he thought most needful for his people to read,
and probably began the national record called the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle"
in the form we now have it. The care with which he fostered vernacular
literature led to the use of English in religious teaching, and to the
composition of books of homilies in that language. His code of laws,
which consists of a selection from earlier laws and the decrees of synods,
contains many ecclesiastical provisions; it treats religion as the
foundation of civil law, and begins with the Ten Commandments and an
account of the precepts of Moses. As the over-lord of Guthorm, he joined
him in publishing a special code for the people of East Anglia, by which
apostasy was declared a crime, negligent priests were to be fined, the
payment of Peter's pence was commanded, and the practice of heathen rites
was forbidden. Alfred brought his kingdom into renewed relations with
Rome, for year after year he sent thither alms from himself and his
people, probably re-establishing the payment of Peter's pence, which had
been interrupted during the period of invasion.

[Sidenote: Character of the Church in the tenth century.]

An increased spirit of worldliness in the Church was one of the fruits of
the Danish invasions. Alfred endeavoured to check this spirit, and bade
his bishops disengage themselves from secular matters and give themselves
to wisdom. Nevertheless the very work that he and his immediate successors
did for the Church tended to strengthen its connexion with worldly
affairs. When it seemed to have lost the power of spontaneous revival, new
energy was imparted to it by the action of the Crown. Its revival was in
the first instance due to external interference, and this naturally led to
the gradual discontinuance of ecclesiastical councils. No decline in
influence or activity is implied by this change. Legislation was frequent,
but it either took the form of canons put forth by bishops or was part of
the work of the witan. The relations between the Church and the State
grew closer. Some witenagemóts almost bore the character of Church
councils, were largely attended by abbots as well as bishops, and were
mainly concerned with ecclesiastical business. During the tenth century
the administration of the kingdom was largely carried on by churchmen; and
though the statesmen-bishops did not, as at a later period, subordinate
their sacred duties to their secular employments, bishoprics came to be
regarded in a secular spirit, and plurality was practised. While it is
evident that the spiritual jurisdiction of the bishops was in no degree
diminished, and, indeed, that it must have gained by the exercise of
judicial functions by archdeacons, the clergy, besides being under the
bishop's law, were subject to the general police arrangements of the
kingdom, and were equally with laymen bound to provide sureties for their
orderly behaviour. In every respect the Church had a national character;
its development was closely connected with the national progress; its
bishops were national officers; its laws were decreed in the national
assembly, and it was free from papal interference; for throughout the
tenth century no appeals were carried to Rome, and no legate appears to
have set foot in the country.

[Sidenote: Reorganization.]

Several changes took place in the episcopate of the southern province
during the period of invasion. Dunwich ceased to have a bishop, and
Elmham, though the succession there was broken, became the only East
Anglian see. Little more is heard of the bishopric of Lindsey, and the
bishop of Leicester moved his see to the Oxfordshire Dorchester, so as to
be within reach of West Saxon help. On the other hand, the renewed energy
of the Church in Wessex led to an extension of the episcopate south of the
Thames. In 909 the sees of Winchester, Sherborne, and South Saxon Selsey
all happened to be vacant, and, according to a story that must certainly
be rejected as it stands, Pope Formosus, who was then dead, reproached
King Eadward the Elder for his neglect in the matter. Eadward had a good
adviser in Archbishop Plegmund; with the consent of his witan, he
separated Wiltshire and Berkshire from the see of Winchester, and formed
them into the new diocese of Ramsbury, and further created two other new
bishoprics for Somerset and Devon, placing the sees at Wells and Crediton.
Five West Saxon bishops, together with two for Selsey and Dorchester,
were, it is said, consecrated at once. The extension of the power of the
English king brought with it an extension of the power of the Church.
South Wales owned the supremacy of Alfred, and accordingly South Welsh
bishops received consecration at Canterbury and professed obedience to
Archbishop Æthelred. Eadward's victories in East Anglia were followed by
the republication of the laws of Alfred and Guthorm, and the diocesan
system appears to have been gradually restored in Mercia. Eadward's son,
Æthelstan, annexed Cornwall, the land of the West Welsh, and this addition
to the English kingdom was added to the province of Canterbury; for
Cornwall was made an English diocese, and its see was placed at St.
German's, or Bodmin. Lastly, the conquest of Northumbria by Æthelstan, who
put the Danish prince Guthred to flight and took possession of York, is
marked ecclesiastically by his appointment of Wulfstan to the
archbishopric. Throughout Æthelstan's reign the influence of churchmen is
clearly apparent. His ecclesiastical laws, enacted along with others on
secular matters in a witenagemót at Greatley, near Andover, for the
Mercian shires, and republished elsewhere for other parts of the kingdom,
were made by the advice of Archbishop Wulfhelm and other bishops. Tithes
both of animals and fruits were to be paid from the king's lands, and his
reeves and ealdormen were bidden to charge those subject to them to make
like payments: the part of the Church in secular jurisdiction was
confirmed by the regulation of ordeals by the hallowed bread (or
"housel"), by water, and by hot iron, and fresh enactments were made
against heathen practices.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical revival.]

Although Alfred and his immediate successors did much for the Church,
especially as regards its external position, the ecclesiastical revival
that distinguished the latter part of the century was primarily effected
by means of a monastic reformation. This reformation was necessary for the
salvation of society; for as long as monks and nuns remained unworthy of
their vocation, the simple priest could never have been brought to live as
he was bound to do; and as long as his life was no higher or purer than
the lives of his flock, there was no means of elevating the people. While
most of those who were foremost in the work of revival were of purely
English descent, the bracing influence of the Danish colonization extended
to the area of ecclesiastical as well as of civil life. As soon as a Dane
was converted he became a member of the English Church, and the Church
thus became a powerful instrument in promoting the amalgamation of the two
peoples. She reaped her reward in gaining the services of the Danish Oda
and his nephew Oswald. At the same time, the reformers of this age, though
aided in their work by the Crown, would not have attained their measure of
success had it not been for the teaching and encouragement they received
from abroad. This connexion between our Church and the monasteries of the
Continent was largely due to the foreign alliances formed by the house of
Ecgberht. Of late years Alfred had given one of his daughters in marriage
to a count of Flanders, and Æthelstan had married his sisters to Otto of
Germany, to Charles, the king of the West Franks, and other princes.
Accordingly, the monasteries of Northern France and Flanders became the
patterns by which our reformers worked; their congregations took deep
interest in the affairs of our Church, received liberal aid from England,
and held our noblest churchmen in high esteem.

[Sidenote: Archbishop Oda, 942-959.]

Oda, the son of one of the fierce band of Ivar, was converted to
Christianity in early life, and was in consequence driven from his
father's house. He entered the household of an English thegn, who had him
taught Latin, and, it is said, Greek also, persuaded him to be ordained,
and took him to Rome. He became one of King Eadward's clerks, and
Æthelstan made him bishop of Ramsbury and employed him in affairs of
state. In 937 Oda, in company with two other bishops, was present at the
battle of Brunanburh, and did the king good service either by
miraculously obtaining a new sword for him when he had broken his own, or
by handing him a weapon as another warrior might have done. Eadmund, who,
like his brother Æthelstan, chose his ministers among ecclesiastics,
offered him the archbishopric of Canterbury. Like his successor, Thomas,
in later days, Oda was by nature a statesman and a soldier rather than a
priest, but, like him, he determined when he accepted the primacy to act
up to the highest standard of ecclesiastical life. He declared that no one
ought to be archbishop who was not a monk, and accordingly received the
monastic habit from the famous abbey of Fleury. As archbishop, he sought
to bring about a reformation of morals. In a pastoral letter he urged all
spiritual persons to purity of life; he insisted on the sanctity of
marriage, and in a witenagemót held at London in 944 took part in making
laws providing for the protection, maintenance, and dower of wives, and
ordering that all marriages should be solemnized by a priest, and that
care should be taken that there was no bar of consanguinity. He probably
found an efficient ally in Ælfheah, or Elphege, the Bald, bishop of
Winchester, who appears to have laboured to bring about a faithful
discharge of monastic vows.

[Sidenote: Dunstan.]

The work of Oda is overshadowed by that of Dunstan, the kinsman and
disciple of Bishop Ælfheah. Dunstan was a West Saxon, and was brought up
partly at Glastonbury and partly at the court of Æthelstan, for he was
connected with the royal house. With a highly strung and imaginative
nature he combined much practical wisdom and determination of character.
Full of piety, skilled in music and the other arts, a cunning craftsman,
and endued with the power of winning the love and influencing the conduct
of others, he was at an early age one of the counsellors of Eadmund. When
he was about twenty-one the king made him abbot of Glastonbury. The abbey
had fallen into decay, and he at once began to restore and reform it,
though not on the Benedictine model. During the reign of Eadred he held
the office of royal treasurer. The king was sickly, and the work of
government was carried on mainly by Dunstan and the queen-mother. Eadred
wished him to accept a bishopric, but he refused, for he would not leave
the king's service, and he evidently considered that a bishopric should
not be treated as a mere provision for an officer of state. As the king's
chief minister, he must have been largely concerned in the reduction of
the north, and it may be inferred, from the policy pursued with regard to
the archbishop of York, that he was by no means an asserter of clerical
immunity. Archbishop Wulfstan had been foremost in the revolt of
Northumbria from the West Saxon king. At last Eadred caught him and put
him in prison; and though, after a while, he was released and again acted
as bishop, he was not allowed to return to his province.

[Sidenote: His banishment, 956.]

[Sidenote: Dunstan archbishop, 960-988.]

Soon after the accession of Eadwig, in 956, Dunstan incurred the wrath of
a powerful enemy. At his consecration feast the boy-king left the hall for
the society of a young lady named Ælfgifu and her mother, Æthelgifu, who
wished to make a match between him and her daughter. The great men were
wroth at this slight on themselves and on the kingly office, and sent
Dunstan to bring Eadwig back to the hall. Now there was some connexion
between Eadwig and Ælfgifu that would have made their marriage unlawful,
and when Dunstan saw them together his zeal for purity was aroused; hot
words passed between him and the girl's mother, and he forced the king to
return to the banquet. In revenge Æthelgifu procured his banishment. He
found shelter in the abbey of St. Peter at Ghent, where for the first time
he saw the rule of St. Benedict fully carried out. While he was there, the
people of the north revolted from Eadwig, and chose his younger brother
Eadgar as king. Oda took advantage of this revolt to separate Eadwig from
Ælfgifu, whom he had by this time married, and it is said that either she
or her mother--the story is late and uncertain--was cruelly slain by the
insurgents. This revolt of England north of the Thames and the division of
the kingdom have little or no ecclesiastical significance, for Oda
continued Eadwig's subject until his death. Eadgar, the "king of the
Mercians," called Dunstan back to England, and he was raised to the
episcopate. The circumstances of his elevation illustrate the unsettled
state of the custom as regards episcopal elections. Although no see was
vacant, the witan decreed that he should be made bishop, and he appears to
have been consecrated accordingly. Shortly afterwards the bishop of
Worcester died, and Dunstan was appointed his successor. A few months
later he received the bishopric of London, which he held along with
Worcester. In 959 Eadwig died, and Eadgar became king south of the Thames.
Then Brithelm, bishop of Wells, who had been appointed archbishop by
Eadwig, was sent back to his old diocese, and by the counsel of the witan
Dunstan was chosen archbishop in his stead.

[Sidenote: Seculars and regulars.]

During the reign of Eadgar the secular clergy were driven out of many of
the monasteries south of the Humber, and their places were taken by monks
who lived according to the rule of St. Benedict. The chief movers in this
change were Æthelwold, who, at Dunstan's request, was made bishop of
Winchester; Oswald, bishop of Worcester, who had been a monk of Fleury,
and had learnt the Benedictine rule there; and the king himself. Dunstan,
though he approved of the movement, did not take any active part in it,
and did not disturb the secular canons of his own church. Pope John XIII.
wrote to Eadgar, expressing his pleasure at his zeal and authorising the
proceedings of Æthelwold. In the north no such change was made, and though
Oswald was elected archbishop of York in 972, he did not attempt to turn
out the clerks there. While the seculars who were expelled from the
monastic churches were, as a rule, married men, no general persecution of
the married clergy took place. It was unlawful for a man in the higher
orders to marry, and if a married man took these orders, he was bound to
put away his wife. But the marriage of the clergy prevailed too widely to
be attacked with vigour or success, and though celibacy was the rule of
the Church, no effectual measures were taken to enforce it. The only
penalty pronounced against the married priest in the canons for which
Dunstan is responsible is, that he should lose the privilege of his order;
he ceased to be of "thegn-right worthy," and had no higher legal status
than that of a layman of equal birth.

[Sidenote: Dunstan's ecclesiastical administration.]

The general character of Dunstan's ecclesiastical administration may be
gathered from the laws and canons of Eadgar's reign. The laws mark a step
in the history of tithes, for they contain the first provision for
enforcing payment by legal process, by the joint action of civil and
ecclesiastical officers, and they declare the right of the parish priest
in certain cases to a portion of the payment made by the landowner,
independently of any distribution by the bishop. When a thegn had on his
estate of inheritance a church with a burying-ground, it was ordered that
he should give one-third to the priest; if his church had no
burying-ground, he might give the priest what he pleased. The payment of
Peter's pence is also commanded. It is evident from the canons that
Dunstan endeavoured to make the clergy the educators of the people;
priests were to teach each his own scholars, and not take away the
scholars of others; they were to learn handicrafts and instruct their
people in them, and to preach a sermon every Sunday. The laity were to
avoid concubinage and practise lawful marriage. And both in continence,
and in every other respect, the necessity of raising the clergy to a
higher level of life than that of the society round them was fully
recognized; they were not to hunt, hawk, play at dice, or engage in
drinking-bouts, and greater attention was to be paid to ritual, especially
in celebrating the Eucharist. While they were thus to be brought, as
regards both their lives and the performance of their duties, to a deeper
sense of the dignity of their calling, they were socially to hold a high
place; a priest engaged in a suit with a thegn was not to be called on to
make oath until the thegn had first sworn, and the quarrels of priests
were to be decided by a bishop, and not taken before a secular judge. In
these and other efforts to raise the character and position of the clergy
Dunstan did not desire to make the Church less national, or to separate
her ministers from the life of the nation and subject them to the
authority of Rome. He worked, as the spiritual ruler of the national
Church, for the good both of the Church and the nation, and evidently
maintained an independent attitude towards the Pope. A noble, whom he had
excommunicated for contracting an unlawful marriage, obtained a papal
mandate ordering the archbishop to absolve him. Dunstan flatly refused to
obey the order, declaring that he would rather suffer death than be
unfaithful to his Lord.

[Sidenote: Coronations.]

As Eadgar's chief minister, Dunstan must have had a large share in
establishing the order and good government that form the special glories
of the reign, and the wise policy of non-interference that secured the
loyalty of the Danish districts was probably due as much to him as to the
king. Cnut seems to have recognized what he had done to make the Danish
population part of the English people, for he ordered that St. Dunstan's
mass-day should be kept by all as a solemn feast. Dunstan saw the fruit of
his political labours. It has been asserted that Eadgar's coronation at
Bath was connected with a penance laid upon him by the archbishop. While
it is not improbable that Dunstan imposed a penance on the king for one
of the sins of his youth, the story that he forbade him to wear his crown
for seven years is mere legend. The coronation at Bath, which was
performed by both archbishops, with all the bishops assisting, was the
solemn declaration that all the peoples of England were at last united
under one sovereign. On Eadgar's death a dispute arose as to the
succession. Civil war was on the point of breaking out between the rival
ealdormen of East Anglia and Mercia; the Mercian ealdorman turned the
monks out of the monasteries and brought the seculars back, while the East
Anglian house, which had ever been allied with Dunstan, and had forwarded
the monastic policy of Eadgar, took up the cause of the monks. In this
crisis the two archbishops preserved the peace of the kingdom; for they
declared for Eadward, the elder son of Eadgar, and placed the crown on his
head. His short reign was filled with the strife between the seculars and
regulars. After his murder the two archbishops joined in crowning
Æthelred. Although the increase in the personal power and dignity of the
king that marked the age is to some extent to be connected with the
teaching of the Church concerning the sanctity of his person and the duty
of obedience, still the Church did not favour absolutism. Indeed, in the
rite of coronation, which seems to have been brought into special
prominence during this period, the king bound himself by an oath to govern
well, to defend the Church and all Christian people, to forbid robbery and
unrighteous doings to all orders, and to enjoin justice and mercy in all
judgments. At Æthelred's coronation Dunstan, after administering this
oath, set forth in solemn terms the responsibilities of a "hallowed" king.

[Sidenote: Dunstan's last days.]

Dunstan's pre-eminent position in the State magnified the political
importance of his see. In his time Kent and Sussex ceased to be ruled by
their own ealdormen, and these shires, together with Surrey, were ruled by
the archbishop with the authority of an ealdorman. With the accession of
Æthelred, Dunstan's influence in the State seems to have ended. During the
early years of his reign the king was led by unworthy favourites to seize
on some of the possessions of the Church, and among them on some lands of
the see of Rochester. The see was in a special manner dependent on
Canterbury, and the archbishop may almost be said to have been the lord of
the bishopric, an arrangement that evidently sprang from the early
dependence of the people of West Kent on the king of the Eastern people.
Dunstan threatened to excommunicate the king. Æthelred, however, paid no
heed to his threats, and sent his troops to ravage the lands of the see
until the archbishop was forced to bribe him to recall them from the siege
of Rochester.

Although he was no longer engaged in political matters, Dunstan's last
days were not idly spent. As a ruler and judge he was diligent and able.
He took much delight in the services of the Church. He corrected and
illuminated manuscripts, and practised the crafts in which he excelled,
and all who came to him for knowledge found him a patient and gentle
teacher. On Ascension Day 988, two days before his death, he celebrated
the Holy Mysteries and preached three times. Then he fell sick, and on
the following Saturday, after commending his soul to the prayers of the
monks of his house, he received the Sacrament, and when he had done so he
gave thanks to God and sang, "The merciful and gracious Lord hath so done
His marvellous acts that they ought to be had in remembrance. He hath
given meat unto them that fear Him"--and with these words he fell asleep.

[Sidenote: Ælfric the Grammarian.]

Alfred's attempt to revive learning had met with little success, for no
priest, we are told, wrote or understood Latin before the days of
Æthelwold and Dunstan. Now, however, along with the rule of St. Benedict,
the monastic reformers brought into England the learning of the
Benedictine houses of the Continent, and famous schools were established
at Winchester, Ramsey, and other monasteries. Nor was the work of teaching
confined to the monks; for all parish priests were also schoolmasters, and
though few of them had much learning, what they taught was enough to show
a boy what he could do; and if he wanted to learn more, he would seek
admission into some monastic school. Alfred had taught men that the
education of the people should be carried on in their own tongue, and this
lesson was learnt and enforced by Ælfric, abbot first of Cerne about 1005,
and later of Ensham. Ælfric took much interest in education, and among his
other works compiled a Grammar, which he dedicated to the boys of England,
and from which he is generally called the "Grammarian." He saw that the
people needed religious teaching, and he therefore abridged and translated
some of the books of the Old Testament, and compiled two books of
homilies, in which, as he says, he used "no obscure words, but plain
English, that might come to the hearts of readers and hearers to their
souls' good." These homilies and some of his other writings, which must be
held to express the doctrines of the English Church in his day and on to
the time of the Norman Conquest, differ in some respects from the teaching
of the Church of Rome. They contain many declarations against
transubstantiation. "The holy housel," Ælfric writes, "is by nature
corruptible bread and wine, and is by the power of the divine word truly
Christ's body and blood; not, however, bodily but spiritually." He does
not give St. Peter the pre-eminence among the apostles that is ascribed to
him by Rome, and he refuses to recognize bishops as a distinct order in
the Church. He wrote canons for the bishop of Sherborne, and a kind of
charge for the archbishop of York. These direct that, according to the
ancient custom, tithes should be divided between the repair of the church,
the poor, and the parish priest; and they also show that, while priests
were strongly urged to put away their wives, no means were taken to compel
them to do so. The renewed vigour imparted to the Church by the monastic
revival was further manifested by a fresh outburst of missionary zeal; and
Sigeferth of York and other priests went forth to preach the Gospel in
Norway and Sweden.




[Sidenote: Characteristics of the period, 980-1066.]

From the renewal of the Danish invasions to the conquest of England by the
Normans the Church threw itself unreservedly into the affairs of the
State, and almost lost all separate life. While churchmen directed the
councils of the nation, the conciliar action of the Church ceased
altogether. Bishops took a leading part in politics, and the ablest of the
clergy were employed in secular administration. The Church did the nation
good service during the period of invasion, and finally converted a savage
conqueror into a beneficent king. Nevertheless it became worldly, and
though it exercised vast power, its own life dwindled and sank with the
life of the nation to a lower level. The close union between the Church
and the nation strongly affected the history of both alike. The struggle
against the foreigners who were promoted by Eadward the Confessor to
offices both in Church and State has a strongly marked ecclesiastical
side. Foreign bishops brought the Church into new relations with the
papacy, and impaired its independence and national character. Still, its
close connexion with the State was preserved, and the foreign element
which had been imported into it was for a time forcibly crushed by the
national party in the kingdom. In the hope of bringing the Church into
subjection, Rome blessed the invasion of England, and Church and State
alike were prostrated at the feet of the Conqueror. Yet the English Church
survived the Conquest, and became a powerful agent in preserving the
national life, which before long made the conquerors and the conquered one

[Sidenote: Renewed Scandinavian invasions.]

Dunstan's retirement was soon followed by renewed Scandinavian invasions.
After his death he was succeeded at Canterbury by Sigeric, who in 991 took
a prominent part in purchasing peace from the Norwegian host. Although
this was the beginning of a fatal policy, his action, taken by itself,
seems capable of defence. It was a moment of pressing danger, and there
was no force ready to meet the invader. Sigeric probably hoped that if the
Norwegian fleet received payment it would defend the land from other
piratical attacks. The invaders of England found shelter in the harbours
of Normandy, and this led to a dispute between Æthelred and the Norman
duke. War was prevented by the intervention of the Pope, the proper
mediator between Christian princes. John XV. sent an envoy to England,
and at his request a treaty was made between the king and the duke.
Unfortunately, the peace with the Norwegians was broken. A fleet was
fitted out for the defence of the coast; two bishops and two lay nobles
were entrusted with the command, and, in spite of treachery, it gained one
of the few successes of the reign. Two years later an invasion was made by
the combined forces of Olaf of Norway, who, it is said, had already
received Christianity from English missionaries, and of Swend, the
apostate king of Denmark. After a time, Ælfheah (St. Alphege), bishop of
Winchester, was sent to treat for peace with Olaf, who was with his fleet
at Southampton. The king listened to the bishop's exhortations, and fully
accepted the faith into which he had been baptized. He met Æthelred at
Andover, and there received confirmation, and promised never to return to
England as an enemy. He kept his word, sailed away to evangelize his own
dominions, and became one of the most heroic figures in early Scandinavian
history. This bloodless victory won by the Church gave the land rest for
three years, during which the Bernician see at last found an
abiding-place. Fear of the Northmen drove Bishop Ealdhun and his monks to
flee from Chester-le-Street. Taking the body of their patron with them,
they sought shelter at Ripon, and in 995, when the immediate danger had
passed, settled at Durham. There Ealdhun raised his church on the height
above the Wear, in that strong place that has had so great an influence on
the history of the see. Even in his time the bishopric began to assume
its special character as a march against the Scots.

[Sidenote: The Church and the witan.]

On Ælfric's death Ælfheah was translated to Canterbury. The new archbishop
appears to have laboured to bring about a national reformation. Two
meetings of the witan were held, in which the ecclesiastical element was
evidently strong. During one of these the bishops and abbots met each day
for prayer and consultation, arranging probably the part they would take
in the discussions of the assembly. Decrees were made enjoining acts of
penitence and the observance of the day of the new saint, Eadward the
Martyr. All were to live righteously, were to love one God, uphold one
Christendom, and be true to one lord, the king. Measures were also taken
for the defence of the kingdom. Thus even a strictly ecclesiastical matter
like the observance of a "mass-day" was made a subject of legislation by
the national Council. At the same time the assembly was largely
ecclesiastical in character, and in its efforts after better things,
whether with regard to national unity and defence, or repentance and faith
towards God, seems to have followed the guidance of the rulers of the

[Sidenote: Martyrdom of Archbishop Ælfheah, 1012.]

Efforts such as this, however, were rendered of no avail by the folly of
the king, the treachery of the nobles, and the disorganization of the
country. In 1011 Thurkill, who was then in command of a Danish fleet, was
promised a large sum of money if he would cease from his ravages. Payment
was delayed, and the Danes attacked Canterbury, sacked the city, burned
the cathedral, and carried off many captives, and among them the
archbishop. For seven months they kept Ælfheah in their ships in chains,
hunger, and misery. At first he promised to ransom himself; but he
repented of this, for he thought of the sufferings of the people from whom
the money must be raised. While in captivity he spoke of Christ to those
who guarded him, and his words did not fall to the ground. The fleet lay
at Greenwich, and no money came either as tribute or for the ransom of the
archbishop. On 19th May 1012, the day on which the ransom was due, the
Danes made a feast, and drank deeply of some wine they had brought from
southern lands. Then they brought the archbishop forth and demanded the
ransom. He replied that he would pay nothing, that he was ready to suffer,
and that he commended his soul to God. Thurkill saw his danger, and tried
to save him, offering all he possessed, except his ship, for his life. But
they would not hearken, and pelted Ælfheah with stones and the bones of
the oxen which they had eaten, until at last one who had been converted by
the archbishop, and whom he had confirmed the day before, put him out of
his agony by cleaving his head with his battle-axe. Ælfheah did not die in
vain. Soon after his martyrdom Thurkill, whom we may believe he had
converted, declared himself a Christian, and brought his ships and their
crews to serve the English king. Ælfheah laid down his life for the sake
of the poor, and his death gave England an ally who, during the remainder
of Æthelred's reign, defended her to the utmost of his power against the
attacks of his own countrymen.

[Sidenote: End of the Danish war.]

At last Æthelred was forced to flee from his kingdom, and Swend was
chosen king. His reign was short. He had a special hatred for the memory
of Eadmund, the martyred king of East Anglia, and threatened to destroy
his church and put its priests to death by torture. As he was on his way
thither he was struck by death, and men said that he cried out that the
armed figure of the martyred king appeared to him and smote him with his
weapon. Æthelred returned to his kingdom after Swend's death, and soon
after his return held a witenagemót, by the advice of Archbishop Lyfing.
In the decrees of this assembly the influence of the Church is again
strongly marked; they are mainly expressions of desires for national
repentance, reformation, and unity. One resolution is especially
noteworthy. It seems as if some assemblies had been held which had treated
of secular, or perhaps of ecclesiastical, matters exclusively. This was
declared to be wrong; Christ's law and the king's law were to be declared
together, as in old time. In the struggle between Eadmund and Cnut, which
soon followed, churchmen gave their lives for the national cause; for
after Eadmund's last battle at Assandun the bishop of Dorchester and other
clergy were found among the slain. Some late writers say that they came to
pray, and not to fight.

[Sidenote: Cnut and the Church, 1017-1035.]

In the change that came over the character of Cnut, soon after he ascended
the throne, we may discern that the Church won a spiritual victory of much
the same kind as the conversions of Olaf and Thurkill. The fierce
barbarian became a wise and just ruler. This change was, it may be
gathered, largely due to the influence of Æthelnoth, called the Good,
whom Cnut made archbishop after the death of Lyfing. Cnut's ecclesiastical
laws consist mainly of repetitions from earlier codes: the "mass-days" of
King Eadward and Archbishop Dunstan were to be observed by all, men were
to go to "housel" three times a year at least, and the clergy were to
instruct their flocks diligently. One law declares the liability of the
laity to maintain churches--"all people ought of right to help to repair
the church." Cnut gave largely to monasteries, and, moreover, built at
Assandun, in commemoration of his victory, a secular, or non-monastic,
church which was served by a priest named Stigand. He made a pilgrimage to
Rome in 1026-7, and while he was there wrote a letter addressed to the two
archbishops and all the English people, telling them how honourably he had
been received by the Pope and the Emperor Conrad; how he had spoken to
them of the wants of his people, and Conrad had promised that the
merchants and pilgrims of England and Denmark should not be oppressed with
tolls when they crossed the Alps. To the Pope he said that he was much
annoyed to find that his archbishops had to pay vast sums when they
fetched their palls, and it was decreed that this should be so no longer.
He told his people how anxious he was to rule well, and, among other
matters, charged the bishops and reeves to see that all tithes, Peter's
pence, and church dues were paid up by the time he came back.

This letter was addressed to the archbishops by name, for they were, in
virtue of their office, the recognized heads of the people of England.
The authority of the archbishop of Canterbury was, no doubt, strengthened
by the influence that Æthelnoth exercised over the king. Its extent is
illustrated by the story that after Cnut's death Æthelnoth refused to
crown Harold, declaring that the sons of Emma had a prior claim. Although
this story may not be true, it at least shows that it was held not to be
impossible that the archbishop should have acted thus. The see of
Canterbury gained special splendour from Cnut's policy with regard to the
different kingdoms under his dominion. He treated England as the head of
his northern empire, and carried this policy out in ecclesiastical as well
as in civil matters; for he appointed certain English priests to Danish
sees, and caused Æthelnoth to consecrate them. They must, therefore, have
professed obedience to Canterbury. This roused the anger of the archbishop
of Hamburg, the metropolitan of the North, and Cnut promised that it
should not happen again.

[Sidenote: The king's clerks.]

[Sidenote: Spiritual decadence.]

Although the archbishop of Canterbury, and indeed the bishops generally,
had considerable political influence at this period, Cnut's chief minister
was a layman, and this had an important bearing on the progress of a
change in the administrative machinery of the kingdom that deeply affected
the Church. As long as the chief minister of the king was an ecclesiastic,
the clergy who carried on the routine of government under his direction
naturally had no distinct position. Now, however, the king's clerks or
chaplains begin to appear as a recognized body of officials discharging
the ordinary business of the administration. When Cnut visited different
parts of the kingdom he took four of these clerks with him; for his
journeys were really judicial circuits, and he needed clerks to register
his decrees and other acts. Deeds and charters drawn up by these clerical
secretaries were, when necessary, kept in the royal chapel, of which they
were the priests. In the Confessor's reign it became customary for the
king to signify his will by sealed writs, and an officer was appointed to
keep the king's seal. He was called the chancellor, from the screen
(_cancelli_) behind which the secretaries worked. He was chief of the
royal clerks, and the institution of his office gave further distinctness
to the body over which he presided. The king's clerks were generally
rewarded with bishoprics or other ecclesiastical preferments; and thus,
while the State gained the services of a body of trained officials, the
Church lost much; for the surest path to preferment lay in the discharge
of secular rather than of religious duties, and many of its chief
ministers were servants of an earthly rather than of a Heavenly King.
Indeed, from the death of Cnut to the Norman Conquest, the life of the
Church is marked by increasing worldliness. Bishops played a large part in
the affairs of the nation, but, for the most part, had little regard for
their spiritual duties. Bishoprics were sought after as sources of wealth
and power, and were often obtained by simony and held in plurality. While
Wulfstan of Worcester was a man of holy life, Leofric of Exeter an
ecclesiastical reformer, and Ealdred of York a prelate of conspicuous
energy, most of the bishops of this period were simply greedy, second-rate
men. Nor do the inferior clergy appear to have been better than their
rulers; for baptism is said to have been much neglected, because the
clergy refused to administer it without a fee.

[Sidenote: Eadward the Confessor, 1042-1066.]

[Sidenote: Foreigners appointed to English sees.]

On the death of Harthacnut, in 1042, the line of Danish kings ended, and
Eadward the Confessor, a representative of the old English royal house,
was chosen king, mainly through the influence of Earl Godwine. In spite of
his saintly reputation, Eadward did no good to the Church; for he did not
strive to appoint faithful bishops. He might have done so; for, though the
clergy had a right of election, and appointments were made in the
witenagemót, the king certainly at this time generally gave bishoprics to
whom he would. It rested with him to issue the writ for consecration, and
he invested the new prelate with the temporalities of the see by the gift
of the ring and staff. Eadward, even if guiltless of simony himself, took
no pains to ensure the purity of episcopal appointments, and treated them
simply as a means of gratifying his favourites. His long residence in
Normandy had made him more of a Frenchman than an Englishman. He loved to
have foreigners about him, and promoted Normans to English bishoprics
without any regard for their fitness, giving London to Robert of Jumièges,
a meddlesome politician, who had unbounded influence with him, and setting
Ulf, one of his Norman clerks, who was grossly ignorant of ecclesiastical
things, over the diocese of Dorchester. The Norman party of the court was
opposed by Earl Godwine, the king's chief minister, and it is probable
that the appointment of certain Lotharingians to English sees was due to
his desire to counterbalance the influence of the Norman bishops. That
even Godwine, the head of the national party, should, in the hope of
strengthening his position, have procured English bishoprics for
foreigners seems to prove that native churchmen of learning and high
character were scarce.

[Sidenote: Effect of these appointments.]

All the foreign bishops, Normans and Lotharingians alike, were accustomed
to greater dependence on Rome than had ever been owned in England, and the
effect of their appointment was to weaken the national character of the
Church. We now for the first time find bishops, after they had been
nominated by the king, going to Rome for confirmation, and the Roman court
claiming to have the right to reject a royal nomination. Various matters,
too, were now referred to the Pope for decision, contrary to the custom of
the English Church. Other foreign fashions were also introduced. In
England, any place was chosen for a bishop's see that was a convenient
centre for diocesan work; on the Continent, bishops always had their sees
in cities. Leofric, bishop of Crediton, a Lotharingian by education though
not by birth, naturally had foreign ideas, and wished to transfer his see
from the village of Crediton to the city of Exeter. He did not first apply
to the king for leave to make this change, as any of his predecessors
would have done, but asked Pope Leo IX. for his sanction. Leo wrote to
Eadward expressing his surprise that Leofric should have "a see without a
city," and requesting that the change should be made. At the same time,
the removal was actually effected in virtue of a charter granted by the
king in 1050 with the consent of the witan. When, after the Conquest,
foreigners were dominant in the Church, the translation of sees from
villages to cities was, as we shall see, widely carried out. Leofric also
made the clergy of his cathedral conform to a rule observed by canons in
Lotharingia, called the rule of Chrodegang of Metz; he would not allow
them to live in their own houses, and forced them to sleep in a common
dormitory and eat at a common table. This gave his chapter a character
that was half monastic and half secular, and, of course, prevented the
clergy from living as married men. The system was introduced at Wells by
the Lotharingian bishop Gisa, and, with some modifications, at York by
Ealdred; but it never took root in England. The influence of the foreign
prelates may also be traced in the presence of English bishops at papal
councils. Several attended the council which Leo held at Rheims in 1049,
and also his council at Vercelli the next year. At Vercelli, Ulf sought
the papal confirmation of his appointment to the bishopric of Dorchester,
and, we are told, "they were very nigh breaking his staff," because he
could not perform the Service of the Church. Nevertheless, ignorant as he
was, he was allowed to keep his office; for he spent a large sum in

[Sidenote: Party struggles.]

In 1050 a trial of strength took place between the national and foreign
parties at the court with reference to an election to the see of
Canterbury. The monks of Christ Church chose one of their number, named
Ælfric, a kinsman of Earl Godwine, and their choice was approved by the
clergy. Godwine begged the king to accept Ælfric, but he refused, and
appointed his Norman favourite, Robert of Jumièges, to the primacy, and
Spearhafoc, abbot of Abingdon, an Englishman and a skilful goldsmith, who
was making a crown for him, to the bishopric of London. When Robert came
back from Rome with his pall he refused to obey the king's order that he
should consecrate Spearhafoc, declaring that the Pope had forbidden him to
do so. Spearhafoc, however, though he was not consecrated, kept the
bishopric for some months. Archbishop Robert succeeded in undermining
Godwine's influence with the king, and a quarrel became imminent. Some
attempt at mediation was made by Stigand, bishop of Winchester, originally
the priest of Cnut's church at Assandun, who had been appointed by
Harthacnut to the see of Elmham. He lost this see because some one offered
the king money for it, and regained it probably by giving a larger sum. He
was not consecrated until 1043; then he was deprived by Eadward for
political reasons, but made his peace with the king, and again regained
his bishopric. He belonged to Godwine's party, and was translated to
Winchester while the earl was in power. His attempt at mediation failed;
Godwine and his sons were outlawed by the witan, and the foreigners became
dominant in Church and State. Spearhafoc was now ousted, and the bishopric
of London was given to one of the king's Norman clerks, named William. The
next year Godwine anchored at Southwark with an armed force. When the
Frenchmen found that his restoration was certain they fled. Robert and Ulf
cut their way through the streets of London, and the archbishop "betook
himself over sea, and left his pall and all Christendom here on land, so
as God willed it, as he had before gotten his worship as God willed it
not." He and all his countrymen were outlawed, and Stigand was appointed
archbishop in his stead. William of London was, however, allowed to return
to his see, because he had made himself acceptable to the people.

[Sidenote: Earl Harold.]

The English clergy generally were on the side of Godwine, as the champion
of the national cause; and when his son Harold succeeded to his earldom
and power, they seem to have upheld him also. Harold was a more religious
man than his father, who was greedy and unscrupulous, and laid hands on
some of the possessions of the Church. Unlike the other chief nobles of
England at this time, Godwine was not a benefactor to any religious house.
His son, however, founded a church at Waltham in honour of the Holy Rood.
Contrary to the fashion of the day, he made his foundation collegiate, not
monastic; he did not build his church for monks, whose special aim was to
secure their own salvation, but made it a college of secular clergy or
canons, whose duty it was to do good to others. He intended his college to
be a place of education; for the chancellor of the church was to deliver
lectures, and, as learning was scarce in England, he gave the office of
chancellor to a foreigner, Adelard of Liége. Two Lotharingians were
appointed to bishoprics after Harold became the king's chief minister, so
that in this respect he seems to have followed the ecclesiastical policy
of his father.

[Sidenote: Pilgrimages.]

In addition to the Romanizing influence exercised on the Church during
this reign by foreign prelates, the revival of the custom of making
pilgrimages, due perhaps to the example of Cnut, perhaps to increased
communication with the Normans, with whom this form of devotion was
exceedingly popular, tended to magnify the papal authority in England.
Eadward himself vowed to go on pilgrimage to Rome. The witan, however,
told him that he ought not to leave the country, and, it is said, advised
him to pray the Pope to remit his vow. At all events he sent Ealdred, then
bishop of Worcester, and the bishop of Ramsbury for that purpose to Rome.
Leo granted the king's request, and by his direction Eadward built
Westminster Abbey instead of making the pilgrimage. Harold and his
brothers, Tostig and Gyrth, all visited Rome. Tostig was accompanied by
Ealdred, who in 1061 went to fetch his pall after he had received the see
of York. Ealdred was a notable pluralist; he had administered three
dioceses at once, and was now holding the diocese of Worcester, which he
intended to keep along with York, as had been the custom almost ever since
Oswald's time. Nicolas II. refused to grant him the pall, accused him of
ignorance, simony, and plurality, and of having accepted translation
without his permission, and actually declared him degraded from the
episcopal order. As he and Tostig were on their way home they were robbed
by brigands at Sutri. This was lucky for Ealdred. They returned to Rome,
and the fierce earl rated the Pope soundly. If this, he said, was the
treatment English pilgrims were to expect, he would find that he would get
no more money from England; the king should be told of the whole affair.
The Pope was frightened; he was reconciled to Ealdred, and granted him
the pall on his agreeing to give up Worcester. Besides those who journeyed
to Rome, some English people went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and among
them Ealdred, before he was made archbishop, had journeyed thither, "with
such worshipfulness as none had ever shown before."

[Sidenote: A legatine visit, 1062.]

Soon after Ealdred returned from Rome with his pall two legates landed in
England. This was an unusual event, for the Church had been virtually free
from legatine interference for nearly three centuries, and this visit
marks the change that had been effected in her relations with the Papacy
during the reign of Eadward. By the advice of these legates, Wulfstan was
chosen bishop of Worcester by the "clergy and people" of the city, and his
election was approved by the witan. No better choice could have been made.

[Sidenote: A schismatical archbishop.]

Although the independence of the Church had been impaired, its national
character was still strong. No better proof can be given of this than the
ecclesiastical changes consequent on Earl Godwine's return. Robert and Ulf
were deprived of their sees simply by a decree of the witan, and Stigand
received the archbishopric as a reward for political services. As far as
regards character, he was certainly no better fitted for the office than
his Norman predecessor; for he was worldly and grasping, and retained the
see of Winchester along with the archbishopric. It was obvious that as
long as Robert lived no one could canonically hold his office; and though
Stigand enjoyed the revenues of Canterbury, he was not looked on as a
canonical archbishop, and he had not received the pall. Robert carried his
wrongs to Rome, and his deprivation was pronounced unlawful; so Stigand
could not hope that the pall would be granted him. For some years he wore
the pall which Robert left behind him, but bishops-elect would not receive
consecration at his hands; at last he obtained a pall from Benedict X. As,
however, Benedict failed to make his position good, and was reckoned an
anti-pope, Stigand was involved in the guilt of his schism. Indeed, though
the gift of this pall enabled him to consecrate two bishops, his claims
were still looked on with suspicion, and it is said that when the legates
were in England they pronounced the papal condemnation of his pretensions.
Wulfstan would not be consecrated by him, and he was not allowed to hallow
Harold's church at Waltham, or Eadward's new minister, or to place the
crown on Harold's head. England was held to be involved in his schism.
Robert was not the man to let his wrongs be forgotten, and they were
reckoned among the causes that were alleged in justification of the Norman

[Sidenote: The Papacy and the Conquest.]

When, on Eadward's death, Harold was chosen king, the Norman duke,
William, determined to enforce his claim to the throne. He was careful to
enlist the sympathy of Christendom; he appealed to the religious feelings
of the age by declaring that Harold had forsworn himself on the relics of
saints, and he sent an ambassador to lay his claim before Pope Alexander
II. and ask his approval. He thus constituted the Pope the arbiter of his
claim to the English throne; and he did so at a time when the Roman see
was under the guidance of the mastermind of the Archdeacon Hildebrand,
afterwards Gregory VII. William's ambassador, no doubt, insisted strongly
on his master's declaration that if he was successful he would reform the
ecclesiastical condition of the country. We may gather from later events
that the duke promised that Peter's pence should be paid regularly, and we
are told that he even declared that he would consider the kingdom a grant
from St. Peter. Harold sent no one to plead his cause; nevertheless many
of the cardinals urged that the Holy See ought not to sanction bloodshed.
Hildebrand, however, upheld the duke's request. With him the greatness of
the papacy outweighed all other considerations. England was held to be an
undutiful daughter of Rome. Her king, Harold, had visited Rome in
Benedict's time, and had acknowledged the schismatical Pope, and her chief
bishop had received the pall from him; political interests governed the
affairs of the English Church; the papal authority was lightly regarded,
and prelates whose appointments had been confirmed at Rome were deprived
of their sees by the national assembly. Hildebrand's arguments prevailed;
and in after-days the cardinals blamed him for thus making the Holy See a
party to the destruction of so many lives. Alexander sent the duke a ring
and a consecrated banner, and the conquest of England was undertaken as a
Holy War. This gives special significance to the night spent in prayer by
the invading host, to the presence of many clergy in William's army, and
to the early mass at which he received the Holy Elements. In the battle
the duke wore hanging from his neck the relics to which Harold is said to
have done despite. The Dragon of Wessex sank before the papal banner, and
the standard of Harold was sent to the Pope in exchange for his gift.

[Sidenote: Summary: the national character of the Church before the Norman

Although the close union of the Church with the State during the period
before the Conquest had some ill effects on the character of the clergy,
it gave the Church a firm hold on the people. The use that it made of its
influence on society lies apart from the main purpose of this book; yet
some notices have been given of its efforts for social reformation. From
it came all that there was of purity, gentleness, and humanity in the life
of the people. By example and precept it taught the rich their duty
towards the poor, it educated all who cared to learn, it purified domestic
life, it exalted the position of woman and protected her weakness, it
shielded the helpless from oppression, and proclaimed that the slave was
precious in the sight of God. The clergy recommended the manumission of
slaves as a meritorious deed; the ceremony was often performed at the
altar of a church, and records of such acts are recorded in the
missal-books of minsters. When a king or noble visited some church, it was
held that the visitor paid a high compliment to the clergy if he freed a
slave or a captive before their altar. The national character of the
Church deeply affected the life of the State. Its unity in a large measure
gave unity to the people, and created the nation. Its ministers held each
his recognized place in the national organization; the parish priest, as
the head of the parish, attended the hundred-court with the reeve of the
lord; the bishop was a member of the national council, and sat with the
ealdorman in the local courts. Great as the political power of the bishops
was, they made no attempt to strengthen their temporal position at the
expense of the national system; they did not seek to become territorial
princes, like the bishops of the Continent, who held a position derived
from the arrangements of the Roman Empire. This is true even of the two
archbishops, though the high degree of temporal power attached to their
sees is signified by the right they exercised of coining money. For, while
the archbishops of Canterbury succeeded to much of the power once held by
the under-kings of the Kentish kingdom, they did not use it in attempts to
build up a subordinate princedom; and if the archbishops of York appear
for a season as independent political leaders of the Northern people, they
cease to do so when their province is thoroughly united to the dominions
of the English king. In the midst of the struggles of contending parties
and the treason of ambitious nobles, the English prelates continued
faithfully to fulfil their duties to the State, and the clergy at large
supplied it with a succession of able administrative officials. Churchmen
bore their share of the national burdens. The fleets with which the king
and the witan sought to guard the coasts were raised by levies from every
shire. To these levies the lands of the Church were liable equally with
those of laymen. Accordingly we find that Archbishop Ælfric, at his death
in 1005, was possessed of ships and their equipments, the quota, no doubt,
that he was bound to furnish when the witan decided on gathering a fleet.
His best ship together with armour for sixty men he left to the king, and,
besides this, he gave a ship to the people of Kent, and another to the
people of Wiltshire--probably to help them to bear the burden that the war
laid upon them. Moreover, the Danegeld, which was originally raised for
the purpose of buying peace of the Danes, and was continued as a permanent
tax on every hide of cultivated land until it was abolished by the
Confessor, to be reimposed in a more oppressive form by the Norman
Conqueror, was paid, except in cases of special exemption, on the lands of
ecclesiastics as well as of laymen.

The freedom of the Church kept alive the national spirit in the evil days
that followed the Conquest; it was used to restrain oppression, and the
Church became the bond that united conquerors and conquered in one people.
As regards the Church itself, its national character gave it independence,
and in many ways it acted by itself apart from the rest of Western
Christendom. From the reign of the Mercian Cenwulf to the reign of the
Confessor it was virtually free from papal interference, and the Popes
took little heed of what passed in England. It made saints of those who
were venerated by the English people, and observed their mass-days in
accordance with the decrees of the national council; it constantly used
the tongue of the people in prayers and homilies; its doctrines were held
and advanced with little reference to papal authority, and its rights were
laid down by kings and enforced by civil officers. Isolated from the rest
of Europe, England seemed to men like another world, of which the
archbishop of Canterbury was pope. The isolation and strongly national
character of the Church were not without danger to its well-being. To be
cut off from Rome was to lose all share in the manifold and progressive
life of Western Christendom. Had the Church of England retained its purely
insular character, it would never have risen much above the level of the
nation, nor have been able to elevate society. During the years
immediately preceding the Conquest it sank with the nation. It was a
period of exhaustion both in Church and State; and the time might have
come when the isolation of the Church of England would have ended in a
decay as complete as that of the Celtic Church. From such a danger the
Church was saved by the Norman Conquest. It rested with the Conqueror and
his successors to determine how far the Conquest was to lead to the
fulfilment of Hildebrand's expectations, to decide whether England should
become the submissive handmaid of Rome.




[Sidenote: Deposition of English prelates.]

[Sidenote: Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, 1070-1089.]

In order to ensure the success of his invasion, William had given the Pope
a strong claim on his obedience, at a time when the papal power was
advancing rapidly under the guidance of Hildebrand, who in 1073 became
Pope with the title of Gregory VII. Nevertheless William succeeded in
using the papal pretensions to strengthen his hold on England, and in
disregarding them when they threatened to weaken his absolute sovereignty
in Church and State. In 1070, when he had completed the conquest of the
land, he set about securing the submission of the Church, and invited
Alexander II. to send legates to his court. Accordingly certain legates
visited this country, and deposed Stigand and other bishops and abbots.
Thus the Pope was gratified by the deposition of the uncanonical
archbishop, while the Conqueror, by ousting the native prelates, crushed
the strongest element of national resistance. York, which was vacant by
the death of Ealdred, was given to Thomas of Bayeux, one of the king's
clerks; other Normans were appointed to different sees; and shortly
afterwards Lanfranc was appointed to Canterbury. Lanfranc, a native of
Pavia, a man of great learning and ability, and especially skilled in
civil law, first came to Normandy as a teacher. He suddenly gave up this
work, entered the newly founded monastery of Bec, and devoted himself to
the monastic life. He became prior, and his talents attracted the notice
of the duke, who made him his counsellor, and gave him the abbacy of his
new monastery, St. Stephen's, at Caen. At Rome, Lanfranc was honoured as
the defender of transubstantiation, and his appointment to Canterbury was
warmly approved by the Pope. He was a man on whom the Conqueror could
safely rely for the furtherance of his ecclesiastical policy. Hitherto
there had virtually been only one system of administration for both Church
and State. William's work was to create a separate ecclesiastical system,
carried on by clerical officers. Yet the Church no less than the State was
to be under his own absolute control; and so, while he needed a strong
archbishop, he needed one who would exert his strength to maintain and
increase the royal power. In Lanfranc he found an archbishop after his own
heart, in exalting whose position he strengthened his own.

[Sidenote: Canterbury and York.]

No writ was issued for the consecration of Thomas of York until Lanfranc
had received consecration, and this delay was perhaps intentional; for
when Thomas brought the writ to Lanfranc he was bidden to profess
obedience to the see of Canterbury. He refused to do so, on the ground
that Gregory had instituted two co-ordinate archbishoprics. On the other
hand, the bishops of York, from Paulinus to Ecgberht, had not enjoyed
metropolitan dignity, and even since Ecgberht's time the see had occupied
an inferior position to Canterbury. Lanfranc had papal decrees and other
evidences on his side, and gained the king's support by representing that
an independent metropolitan at York might crown an independent king of
Northumbria. William compelled Thomas to profess obedience to Lanfranc
personally, and, with respect to the future, ordered that the question
should be decided by the Pope. When the two archbishops went to Rome for
their palls, Alexander was about to degrade Thomas and Remigius, bishop of
Dorchester, who went with them, on account of canonical irregularity, and
only forbore to do so at Lanfranc's request. Thomas brought forward the
matter of the profession, and further claimed Dorchester, Lichfield, and
Worcester as subject to York. Alexander referred these matters to the
decision of an English synod, and the case seems to have been heard before
a mixed assembly of clergy and laity, which pronounced against Thomas; he
was forced to make a general profession of obedience, the Humber was
declared the boundary between the provinces, and he was left with only one
suffragan, the bishop of Durham. This disproportion between the
archbishoprics had not been contemplated by Gregory, for his division,
which was based on the assumption that the whole island was under one
rule, included Scotland in the province of York. Under William and
Lanfranc the English Church made its power felt in yet unconquered Celtic
lands. The claim of York was asserted over Scotland. As that country had
no metropolitan and no organized episcopal system, the assertion was
plausible, and a bishop of the Orkneys was certainly consecrated by
Thomas. It is extremely doubtful whether the authority of Canterbury was
in any instance acknowledged in Wales during this reign, though a few
years later it was, as we shall see, successfully asserted. In Ireland the
irregular condition of the episcopacy naturally led kings and bishops to
look up to Lanfranc; he consecrated two archbishops of Dublin, who made
profession to him, and he wrote with authority to two kings on matters of
discipline. An approach was thus made to the ecclesiastical submission of
Ireland, and the primate of Britain was not unreasonably held by Latin
Christendom to be "Patriarch of the nations beyond the sea."

[Sidenote: National synods and ecclesiastical courts.]

Under William and Lanfranc synods were again held frequently, and, in
accordance with the king's policy, ecclesiastical legislation, which had
in the preceding age been provided for in the national assembly, was
confined to them. They were councils of the whole Church; for the
archbishop of Canterbury was acknowledged as primate of all Britain: they
consisted of one house, and such of the inferior clergy as attended them
were little more than spectators, for no one might speak without special
permission save bishops and abbots. Their action was controlled by the
king, and we find them held at the same place as, and immediately after
the close of, one or other of the yearly meetings of the great council.
Episcopal elections seem to have been made in these synods instead of in
the national assembly, though in these, as in all else, the king was
supreme. While the Church thus regained separate synodical activity, the
bishops did not lose their places in the national assembly. Their right,
however, no longer rested simply on the wisdom supposed to be inherent in
their office; they now held their temporalities as baronies, and sat in
the council as barons; for the old witenagemót had been transformed into a
feudal council. A separation was also effected in the judicial system. The
Conqueror declared the union of civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction to
be mischievous, and provided that henceforth no bishop or archdeacon
should sit in the hundred court; that all spiritual causes should be tried
by the bishop in his own court and be determined according to the canons,
and that if any one disobeyed the bishop's summons and remained
contumacious after excommunication, he should be brought to obedience by
the king or the sheriff. This establishment of ecclesiastical courts, with
their own system of law, was doubtless pleasing to the Pope, for the old
English practice was contrary to the spirit of Hildebrand's work. Its
ultimate tendency was to lead men to look to Rome as the supreme court of
appeal in spiritual causes, and to set churchmen in opposition to the
Crown. For some time after the Conqueror's death the separation of the
courts was not fully effected, and this tendency was scarcely apparent.
Nevertheless, his policy raised up a power in England that in later days
greatly hampered the exercise of the royal authority and brought some
troubles on the country.

[Sidenote: Removal of sees.]

Among the more important synodical decrees of this reign is that of the
council held at London in 1075, which ordered that bishops' sees should be
removed from villages to cities. The change begun by Leofric was carried
fully out now that nearly every bishop was a foreigner. The see of
Sherborne was moved by Hermann to Salisbury (Old Sarum), to be moved again
when the present church of the new Salisbury was built in the reign of
Henry III.; the see of Selsey was moved to Chichester; that of Lichfield
to Chester, and a few years later to Coventry, where the bishop seized on
the abbey by force; the see of Elmham was moved first to Thetford, and
then to Norwich; and in the reign of Rufus, the bishop of Wells left his
little city for Bath. While the decrees of ancient Popes and councils were
cited as authorities for this measure, the act of the council, like all
the conciliar acts of the reign, derived its force from the king's

[Sidenote: Extent of papal influence.]

Gregory had reason to congratulate himself on the part he had taken in
forwarding the Conquest. The uncanonical archbishop was deposed, and his
place taken by one who was especially pleasing to the Holy See; insular
peculiarities were removed, the new foreign bishops were far more amenable
to papal influence than the native bishops had been, and the changes
effected in the government of the Church were generally such as he
approved. In these and some other matters his desires were in accord with
the policy of the Conqueror. Where it was otherwise he found that the king
and his archbishop would act according to their own judgment. While
Lanfranc cordially sympathized in Gregory's attempt to root out the custom
of clerical marriage, his action was governed by the circumstances of the
Church over which he presided. In England the custom obtained too widely
to be attacked without discrimination. Accordingly the Council of
Winchester, in 1076, only partially followed the example of the council
which Gregory had held in Rome two years before. It decreed that no canon
should have a wife, that the marriage of priests was for the future
forbidden, and that no bishop should ordain a married man deacon or
priest. On the other hand, priests who were already married were not
called upon to leave their wives. Other decrees of this council insisted
on the sanctity of marriage, and the necessity of obtaining the Church's
blessing in matrimony.

[Sidenote: Its limits.]

The absolute supremacy of the Conqueror in ecclesiastical matters is
expressed in three rules which he is said to have laid down, and which
define his rights in relation to the papacy. He would have no Pope
acknowledged as apostolic without his bidding, and no papal letters
brought into his kingdom unless he approved them. Synodical decrees were
to have no force unless he had first ordained them; and none of his barons
or officers of state were to be excommunicated or subjected to
ecclesiastical rigour without his precept. Nor did he hesitate to return a
flat refusal to a papal demand; for when Gregory sent a legate to
admonish him to be more punctual in forwarding Peter's pence, and to
demand a profession of fealty to the Holy See, he wrote that he admitted
the one claim and not the other. Fealty he would not do, for he had not
promised it, nor did he find that earlier kings had done it. He took his
stand on his position as king of England; that which his predecessors had
done he would do, but he would not grant the Pope any authority over his
kingdom that they had not granted. Even Gregory was forced to suffer this;
he seems to have blamed Lanfranc for the king's independent answer, bade
him come to Rome, and urged him to bring William to obedience. Lanfranc
defended himself in becoming terms, but stayed where he was, and at last
the Pope threatened to suspend him if he did not obey his summons.
Gregory, however, had powerful enemies nearer home, and did not care to
quarrel with a king who steadily refused to take part against him. His
struggle with Henry IV. gave occasion for the exercise, perhaps for the
enunciation, of the first of the Conqueror's rules, and Lanfranc writes
that "our island" had not yet decided between Gregory and the antipope
Clement. Lanfranc's own sympathies, of course, were with Gregory, but he
would not condemn the action of the Emperor; he thought that the proper
attitude for England was one of neutrality.

[Sidenote: Norman bishops.]

With the exception of Worcester, no English see was left in the hands of a
native bishop. They were held either by Normans or by the Lotharingians
who had been appointed in the Confessor's reign. At Worcester, Wulfstan,
though not a man of learning, was allowed to retain his bishopric on
account of his holiness. Among his other good works, he preached in
Bristol against the slave-trade with Ireland that was largely carried on
there, and persuaded the townsmen to give it up. Most of William's bishops
were men of high character, for his appointments were free from simony,
and were, no doubt, suggested by Lanfranc; and the king himself had no
liking for evil men. Some of them were learned; nearly all were
magnificent. They did not play a great part in State affairs, and stand in
some contrast both to the old native bishops, who were leaders of the
witan, and, though several of them had been the king's clerks, to the
bishops of a later period, who were before all things royal ministers.
They generally rebuilt their churches in the Norman style, of which the
Confessor's church at Westminster was the earliest example in England. At
York, Archbishop Thomas did away with the discipline introduced by
Ealdred, and assigned separate prebends to each of the canons, an
arrangement which was gradually adopted in all cathedral churches with
secular chapters. That the chapter of a cathedral church should consist of
monks was extremely rare except in England, but as the Normans generally
were strong supporters of monasticism, this was a peculiarity of which
they approved, and in some churches secular canons were displaced by
monks. Some of the bishops, however, who were not monks, with Walchelin,
bishop of Winchester, at their head, saw that monastic chapters were a
hindrance to the bishop, and were unfitted for their duties. They
conceived the idea of replacing the monks by secular canons even in the
metropolitan church. William is said to have approved of the scheme; but
it was highly distasteful to Lanfranc, "the father of the monks," and he
obtained a letter from Alexander II. indignantly forbidding it. The scheme
was defeated, and Walchelin, who had forty clerks with their tonsure cut
and their dress prepared as canons, ready to take the place of the monks
of St. Swithun's, and to divide the monastic estates into prebends, had to
send them about their business. Although William's Norman bishops were
generally good specimens of continental churchmen, they had no sympathy
with the thoughts and feelings of their clergy and people. Of one only,
Osbern of Exeter, it is said that he adopted the English mode of life.
Lanfranc despised the national saints, and doubted the right of his
predecessor, Ælfheah, to the title of martyr, until he was taught better
by Anselm, abbot of Bec. The admiration of the Normans for monasticism
caused a considerable increase in the practice of endowing monasteries
with tithes and parish churches, and thus in many cases tithes were paid
to abbeys both here and abroad.

[Sidenote: The national character of the Church.]

In every respect our Church lost much of its insular, and something also
of its national, character by the Conquest. Its prelates were foreigners;
it was drawn more closely to Rome, and legates came over, and judged and
deposed her native bishops, not always justly; its councils and courts
were separated from the councils and courts of the nation. There seems to
have been a change made even in doctrine; for the dogma of
transubstantiation, of which Lanfranc was the special champion, was now
universally accepted, and the archbishop's eagerness in this matter is
reflected in the many stories of miracles connected with the Holy Elements
which appear in contemporary literature. Yet the Church remained the
representative of English nationality; her influence at once began to turn
Normans into Englishmen; and it is interesting to find Lanfranc using the
terms "our island" and "we English," and describing himself to Alexander
II. as a "new Englishman." As primate of the English Church, he was the
spiritual head of the nation, of English villeins as well as of Norman
barons. All were Englishmen to him, and all soon became in truth one
people. And while the establishment of a separate system of ecclesiastical
administration tended to destroy the national character of the Church,
this tendency was neutralized by the exercise of the king's supremacy. The
new system worked well; but its success was due to the fact that it was
carried out by a king and a primate at once so strong and so united in
policy as the Conqueror and Lanfranc.

[Sidenote: William Rufus, 1087-1100.]

The first William, if an austere man, was a mighty ruler, who loved order
and valued the services of good men: the second was a braggart and a
blasphemer, whose life was unspeakably evil and whose greediness knew no
shame. In his hands the royal supremacy became a hateful tyranny, and the
relations between the Church and the Crown were disturbed. Early in the
reign the change in these relations was illustrated by an appeal to Rome.
William of Saint-Calais, bishop of Durham, an ambitious and crafty
intriguer, was cited to appear before the king's court on a charge of
treason, and his lands were seized. He complained that his bishopric had
been seized, and Lanfranc, who upheld the king's action, answered that his
fiefs were not his bishopric. Next he pleaded the privilege of his order,
and refused to be judged by the lay barons. "If I may not judge you and
your order to-day," said Robert of Meulan, "you and your order shall never
judge me." If bishops refused the jurisdiction of the king's court, they
should cease to be members of it, they should no longer hold fiefs of the
Crown. Finally, William appealed to Rome. Archbishop Robert had in exile
appealed to the Pope against a decree of the national assembly; Bishop
William, for the first time since the days of Wilfrith, made a like appeal
in the presence of the king and his council. The sole object of Rufus was
to obtain Durham Castle; the bishop surrendered it, and was allowed to go
abroad, but he does not appear to have prosecuted his appeal.

[Sidenote: Feudal tyranny.]

The special danger which threatened the Church in this reign arose from
the attempt to treat it as a feudal society. Ralph Flambard, the minister
of Rufus, raised money for his master chiefly by exaggerating and
systematizing the feudal elements already existing in civil life. The
practice of granting the temporalities by investiture shows that, even
before the Conquest, Church lands were to some extent regarded in a feudal
light, and since then this idea had gained strength. Rufus treated them as
mere lay fiefs, and dealt with the prelates simply as his
tenants-in-chief. No profits could, of course, accrue to the Crown from
Church lands, such as were gathered from lay fiefs in the form of reliefs,
a payment made by the heir on entering on his estate, or from other
feudal burdens of a like kind. When, therefore, a bishopric or royal abbey
fell vacant, the king, to compensate himself for the disparity, instead of
causing the property to be administered for the benefit of the Church,
entered on the lands and treated them as his own. It thus became his
interest to keep sees vacant until he received a large sum for them.
Simony grew prevalent and the character of the clergy declined; they
engaged in secular pursuits, farmed the taxes, and sought in all ways to
make money. After the death of Lanfranc in 1089, the king kept the
archbishopric vacant, and granted the lands of the see to be held by his
friends or by the highest bidder. This was a different matter from his
dealings with other sees; for the archbishop was the spiritual head of the
nation, and constitutionally the chief adviser of the king and the
foremost member of his court, as he had been of the witenagemót.
Accordingly the barons saw the king's conduct with displeasure. Rufus was
not moved by greediness alone. While Lanfranc lived he had been forced to
listen to his remonstrances with respect, and as he hated reproof, he
determined not to appoint another archbishop as long as he could avoid
doing so. He would, he declared to one of his earls, be archbishop
himself. Neither the suffragan bishops nor the monks of Christ Church
dreamed of electing without his order, and each year the state of the
Church grew worse. At last Rufus fell sick and was like to die. Then the
bishops and nobles entreated him, for his soul's sake, to appoint a
primate and do other works meet for repentance. He consented willingly,
and they sent for Abbot Anselm, who chanced to be in England.

[Sidenote: S. Anselm, archbishop, 1093-1109.]

Anselm was a native of Aosta. Born and brought up amid the cloud-capt
Alps, he longed when a child to climb the mountains and find God's house,
which, he had been told, was in the clouds. One night he dreamed that he
had done so and had found the palace of the Great King: he sat at the
Lord's feet and told Him how grieved he was that His handmaids were idling
in the harvest-fields below. Then, at the Lord's bidding, the steward of
the palace gave him bread of the purest whiteness, and he ate and was
refreshed. The dream is told us by his friend and biographer, Eadmer, who
no doubt heard it from his own lips. It was prophetic of his life and
character. He grew up studious and holy; his learning was renowned through
Europe, and by Lanfranc's advice he entered the monastery of Bec, and
became abbot there. He visited England more than once, and men marvelled
to see how the stern Conqueror became gentle when he was by. When he was
brought to the sick-bed of Rufus he received his confession and urged him
to amend his life. The king, who thought that he was dying, promised to do
so, and his lords begged him to begin by naming an archbishop. He raised
himself in his bed, and pointing to Anselm, said, "I name yonder holy
man." There seems to have been no form of election; the king's word was
held a sufficient appointment. Anselm was sorely unwilling to accept the
office; he believed that the king would recover, and he knew his evil
heart. To make him archbishop was, he said, "to yoke an untamed bull and
an old and feeble sheep together." He told Rufus that if he consented, the
grants made during the vacancy of the lands of the see must be revoked,
and that he must take him as "his spiritual father and counsellor;" for
such was the constitutional position of the primate with respect to the
king. Lastly, he reminded the king that he had already acknowledged Urban
II. as Pope; for Rufus had not yet decided between the two claimants for
the papacy.

[Sidenote: The untamed bull and the feeble sheep.]

Before Anselm's consecration the king recovered, and turned back to his
evil ways. He tried to make Anselm promise that he would not reclaim the
lands of the see which he had granted out as knights' fees. To this Anselm
could not agree, for he would not lessen the property of his church.
Nevertheless he was consecrated, and did homage to the king, as the custom
was. Before long Rufus wanted money for an expedition against Normandy.
The archbishop offered £500. Rufus was advised to demand a larger sum, and
sent the money back. His demand was evidently based on the idea that
Anselm owed him much for making him archbishop; and Anselm, though willing
to contribute to the king's need, rejoiced that now no one could assert
that he had made a simoniacal payment, and gave the money to the poor.
When Rufus was about to sail, Anselm asked to be allowed to hold a synod,
and the wrathful king answered him with jeers: "What will you talk about
in your council?" Anselm fearlessly replied that he would speak of the
foul vices that infected the land, and named the special vice of the king
and his court. "What good will that do you?" asked the king. "If it does
me no good," was the answer, "I hope it will do something for God and for
you." He prayed him to fill the vacant abbacies. "Tush!" said the king,
"you do as you will with your manors, and may I not do what I will with my
abbeys?" In his eyes the rights of a patron were merely the rights of a
lord over his lands. He left England in wrath with the archbishop. Anselm
had not yet received the pall, and when the king came back he asked leave
to go and fetch it. "From which Pope?" demanded the king; and Anselm
answered, "From Urban." Now, though Rufus had no objection to acknowledge
Urban, he did not choose that any one should decide the matter save
himself. He took his stand upon his father's rule, and the rule was a good
one, for the acknowledgment of a Pope was a matter of national policy. His
fault lay in refusing to make his choice out of a sheer love of tyranny. A
meeting of the great council was held at Rockingham to decide whether
Anselm could maintain "his obedience to the Holy See without violating his
allegiance to his earthly king." The king most unfairly treated him as
though the question had been decided against him and he was contumacious.
The bishops took part against him, and their conduct shows how deeply the
feudal idea had sunk: they were the "king's bishops," and their counsel
was due to him and not to their metropolitan. William of Saint-Calais, now
in favour again, even advised the king to take away the archbishop's staff
and ring, and at the king's bidding the bishops renounced their obedience
to him. The nobles, however, would not become instruments of a tyranny
that might strike next at themselves. "He is our archbishop," they said,
"and the rule of Christianity in this land is his; and therefore we as
Christians cannot, as long as we live, renounce his authority." The matter
was adjourned; yet it was something that the tyrant had been shown that
men recognized higher laws of action than the feudal principles by which
he sought to make Church and State alike subservient to his caprices.

[Sidenote: Council of Bari, 1098.]

As evil ever strives to master good, so the Red King was set on mastering
Anselm. To this end he acknowledged Urban, persuaded him in return to send
the pall to him, and then offered the legate who brought it a large sum
for the Pope if he would depose Anselm. When the legate refused his offer,
he tried to make Anselm give him money for the pall. In this, of course,
he failed, and the pall was placed by the legate on the high altar of
Canterbury Minster, whence Anselm took it. The next year the king found a
new cause of quarrel; the military tenants of the archbishopric serving in
the Welsh war were badly equipped, and he bade Anselm be ready to answer
for it in his court. Anselm then petitioned to be allowed to go to Rome,
and urged his request in spite of the king's repeated refusals. His case
was discussed at a meeting of the great council at Winchester. In
persisting in his demand against the will of the king he was certainly
acting contrary to the customs of the kingdom, and he was, if not in
words, at least in fact, appealing to the Pope against the king. At the
same time, it must be remembered that he had none to help him, and that he
naturally turned to Rome as the place of strength and refreshment in his
troubles. The bishops plainly told him: "We know that you are a holy man,
and that your conversation is in Heaven; but we confess that we are
hampered by our relations whom we support, and by our love of the manifold
affairs of the world, and cannot rise to the height of your life." Would
he descend to their level? "Ye have said well," he answered; "go, then, to
your lord. I will hold me to God." Nor were the nobles on his side. At
Rockingham his demand was in accordance with the customs of the realm;
here the case was different. Rufus declared that he might go, but that if
he went he would seize the archbishopric. He went, and the king did as he
had said. Urban received the archbishop magnificently, styling him the
"pope and patriarch of another world," and promising to help him. At the
Council of Bari the Pope called on him to defend the Catholic faith
against the Greek heresy. His speech delighted the council; the conduct of
Rufus was discussed, and it was decided that he ought to be
excommunicated. Anselm, however, interceded for him, and his intercession
availed. Although Urban in public spoke severely enough to a bishop whom
Rufus sent to plead his cause, he talked more mildly in private; money was
freely spent among the papal counsellors, and a day of grace was given to
the king. It is scarcely too much to say that Anselm's cause was sold. He
was present at the Lateran Council in 1099, where he heard sentence of
excommunication decreed against all who conferred or received investiture;
his wrongs were spoken of with indignation, but nothing was done to
redress them. He left Rome convinced that he could never return to
England while Rufus lived, and was dwelling at Lyons when he heard of the
king's death.

[Sidenote: Investitures.]

In the first clause of the charter in which Henry I. declared the
abolition of the abuses introduced by Rufus we read that he made "God's
holy Church free;" he would "not sell it nor put it to farm," and he would
take nothing from the demesne of bishopric or abbacy during a vacancy. He
invited Anselm to return, and welcomed him joyfully. When, however, he
called on him to do him homage on the restoration of his lands which Rufus
had seized, Anselm refused; for he had laid to heart what he had heard at
the Lateran council. It is evident that personally he had no objection to
perform these acts, which he had already done to Rufus. His objection
arose from the fact that they were now forbidden. Rome had spoken, and he
felt bound to obey. As the question of Investitures forms the subject of a
separate volume of this series, it will be enough to say here that the
conveyance of the temporalities of a see was regarded in the feudal state
as the chief thing in the appointment of a bishop, who received
investiture of his office by taking the ring and crozier from the hands of
the king--a ceremony which encouraged the feudalization of the Church and
gave occasion for many abuses. At the same time, it was by no means
desirable that a prelate should hold wide lands and jurisdictions without
entering into the pledge of personal loyalty required of other lords. With
the abstract side of the question, however, Anselm was not concerned. With
him it was a matter of obedience, and he held that he was bound to obey
the Pope rather than the law of the land. For the king's demand was
justified by the custom of England, and it was on this that he took his
stand. "What," he said, "has the Pope to do with my rights? Those that my
predecessors possessed in this realm are mine." Anselm would neither do
homage nor consecrate the bishops elect who had received investiture. Yet
the dispute was conducted with moderation on both sides. The archbishop in
person brought his men to defend the king against the invasion of Robert;
he forwarded Henry's marriage and crowned his queen; while Henry, even
during the progress of the dispute, authorized him to hold a synod and
sanctioned its decrees. Stern as the king was, he loved order and justice,
and his conduct presents a striking contrast to the conduct of his

The closer relations with Rome introduced by the Conquest compelled the
king to attempt to gain the Pope's agreement to the English law. Paschal
II., while bound to abide by the decision of the Lateran council, was
evidently unwilling to alienate the king, and seems to have temporized. At
last Anselm went to Rome, at the request of the king and the nobles, who
no doubt hoped that he would learn there that the Pope was scarcely
whole-hearted in the matter. His presence, however, seems to have stirred
Paschal to give the king's envoy a flat refusal. Henry then took the
archbishopric into his hands, and Anselm remained abroad. During his
absence the king embarked on a piece of ecclesiastical administration. His
constant want of money led him to levy a fine on all the clergy who had
disobeyed the decree of Anselm's council by neglecting to put away their
wives; and, finding the sum less than he calculated, he demanded a payment
from every parish church. About two hundred priests, in their robes,
waited on him barefoot, and prayed him to release them from this demand
without success. At last, in 1107, the question of investitures was
arranged between the king and the Pope, and the arrangement was sanctioned
by a great council at London. The king gave up the investiture, and in
return his right to homage was acknowledged. He may be said to have
surrendered the shadow and to have secured the substance. While the
chapters were allowed to choose the bishops, they were to exercise their
right at the king's court, where, of course, they were subject to his
influence. Anselm again received the temporalities, and the vacant
bishoprics were filled up. Throughout the dispute the clergy remained
loyal to the king in his struggle with the feudal lords, and the affairs
of the Church went on as usual. The speedy and satisfactory settlement of
a question that agitated the Empire for half a century, and the moderate
spirit in which it was debated, were mainly due to the character of the
king; for Henry was a statesman of fertile genius, and, unlike Rufus,
acted on well-defined principles. He was willing to grant the exact amount
of freedom of action that seemed necessary to orderly development, while,
at the same time, he kept that freedom in strict subordination to his own

[Sidenote: Synodical activity under Henry I.]

Acting on these principles, he allowed councils to be held, though, like
his father, he made ecclesiastical legislation dependent on his sanction.
At Anselm's synod, held at Westminster in 1102, a return was made to the
old English custom of the joint action of the clergy and laity; for the
nobles took part in it along with the bishops and abbots. The suspension
of synodical action during the reign of Rufus had weakened the authority
of the Church, and it was thought advisable that both orders should act
together in legislation. The first canon marks the growth of
ecclesiastical jurisdiction consequent on the separation of the courts.
Archdeacons had now become judicial officers over distinct territorial
divisions, and as the profits of their courts were considerable, it became
necessary to decree that they should not be farmed. An advance was made on
Lanfranc's legislation on clerical marriage; married priests and deacons
were now ordered to put away their wives, an order which, as we have seen,
was widely disregarded; no married man was to be admitted to the
subdiaconate; tithes were not to be paid except to churches, and several
decrees were made for the maintenance, dress, and general conduct of the
clergy. Another national council, held in 1127, sat in the church of
Westminster while the king held his court in the palace; just as now the
Convocation of the Province of Canterbury and the High Court of Parliament
are summoned to meet at the same time at Westminster.

[Sidenote: Legates.]

Henry, like his father, aimed at establishing perfect harmony between
Church and State, keeping both alike in absolute dependence upon himself.
Accordingly he resisted any unauthorized interference on the part of the
Pope with the affairs of the Church. Early in the reign a Burgundian
archbishop landed here without invitation, claiming legatine authority
over the whole kingdom. His claim was pronounced "unheard of." Although
the Conqueror had invited the Pope to send him legates for a specified
purpose, the archbishop of Canterbury was held to be the permanent
representative of the Holy See in England, a _legatus natus_, whose
authority was not to be superseded by a special legate, or _legatus a
latere_. No one acknowledged the legate's authority, and "he went back,"
Eadmer remarks, "as he came." A more serious attempt to override the
rights of the Church was made in the time of Anselm's successor, Ralph.
The king was in Normandy, and when it became known that a legate, Anselm's
nephew and namesake, was on his way hither, the bishops and nobles of the
kingdom met in council, and sent Ralph over to Henry to request that he
"would bring the innovation to nought," and the king prevented the legate
Anselm from landing. In the time of the next archbishop, William of
Corbeuil, Henry was, for political reasons, anxious to stand well with
Rome, and accordingly admitted into the kingdom a legate from Honorius
II., named John of Crema. Men saw with indignation that this legate sat in
the highest seat in the metropolitan church, and said mass in the
archbishop's stead, clad in episcopal vestments, though he was only a
priest; "for both England and other countries knew that, from St. Augustin
onwards, the archbishops were held to be primates and patriarchs, and were
never made subject to a Roman legate." At the same time, though John
occupied the seat of honour at the council of 1125, the summons ran in
the name of the archbishop and the decrees were confirmed by the king.
While, then, the Crown, the English Church, and the papal representative
acted concurrently, the royal authority was saved. It was not so with the
see of Canterbury or with the national interests it represented, and the
archbishop went to Rome to complain of the injury done to his see.
Honorius silenced his complaints by giving him a legatine commission, a
measure which, while gratifying William personally, lessened the inherent
dignity of his see and the independence of the Church.

[Sidenote: Thurstan, archbishop of York, 1119-1140.]

In spite of various efforts, the archbishops of York had hitherto been
unable to evade the profession of obedience to Canterbury. Thurstan, the
fourth since the Conquest, was a man of different mould from his
predecessors, and refused to make the profession. Archbishop Ralph
accordingly refused to consecrate him, and the king upheld the right of
the primatial see, bidding Thurstan do what was due according to ancient
usage. Thurstan was encouraged in his revolt by Popes Paschal II. and
Calixtus II., who treated it as a good opportunity for a covert attack on
the greatness of the English primate. The see of York remained vacant for
about five years. At last Thurstan obtained leave from the king to attend
the council held by Calixtus at Rheims, promising that he would not accept
consecration from the Pope, while Calixtus undertook that he would do
nothing to the prejudice of the see of Canterbury. Nevertheless Thurstan
received consecration from Calixtus, and so escaped making the
profession. Henry refused to allow him to return to England; and the next
Pope, Honorius II., seems to have actually declared the kingdom under an
interdict, though the sentence was not published here. The dispute went on
for some years, and the old question appears even now to excite the local
patriotism of some of the clergy of York. Yet it can scarcely be denied
that Thurstan sacrificed the interests of the national Church to the
aggrandizement of his see, and that both he and Calixtus got the better of
the king by a somewhat discreditable trick. York was freed for ever from
the obligation of obedience by a bull of Calixtus.

[Sidenote: Scottish and Welsh bishoprics.]

One phase of the quarrel between Canterbury and York concerned the
Scottish bishops. On a vacancy of the see of St. Andrews, Alexander, king
of Scots, was induced to write to Ralph of Canterbury, asking him to
recommend a new bishop, and reminding him that the bishops of St. Andrews
were always consecrated by the Pope or the archbishop of Canterbury, which
was, of course, the reverse of the truth, for they were suffragans of
York. Ralph highly approved of this new doctrine, and in course of time
Eadmer, the historian, a monk of Canterbury, was duly elected. Meanwhile,
however, Alexander had changed his mind, and commanded Eadmer to receive
consecration from Thurstan. This he refused to do, for he was heart and
soul a Canterbury man, and after much disputing, he was forced to return
to his convent unconsecrated. The dispute between Canterbury and York
encouraged some of the Scottish bishops to revolt against Thurstan, whose
authority was upheld by Calixtus. This quarrel is memorable because the
Pope accepted Thurstan's theory that the king of Scots was the man of the
king of England for Scotland, and not, as the Scots held, merely for
Lothian or any other fief: in other words, he declared Scotland a vassal
kingdom, a decision that became of importance later on. The question of
canonical subjection was debated between St. Andrews and York, until, in
1188, Clement III. declared the Scottish Church immediately dependent on
the Holy See. The upshot of these disputes was, that the archbishops of
Canterbury ceased to be the "primates and patriarchs of Britain," for York
was freed from dependence upon them, and their attempt to extend their
jurisdiction over Scotland utterly failed. On the other hand, the
authority of Canterbury was established in Wales by the election to the
see of St. David's of the Norman Bernard, who received consecration from
Archbishop Ralph, and made profession to him.

[Sidenote: Summary.]

The ecclesiastical system of the Norman kings may be summed up as a
generally successful attempt to give the Church power of action apart from
the State, so far as was consistent with the supremacy of the Crown. Under
Rufus this system became a mere means of tyranny; and among the many
glories that attend the memory of St. Anselm, not the least is that he
delivered the Church from the domination of the feudal idea, which would
have destroyed her spirituality and left her helpless before the royal
power. By the Conqueror and Henry I. the supremacy was used to establish
harmony of action between Church and State, and to preserve the national
character of the Church. Nevertheless the new relations with Rome
introduced by the Conquest began to bear fruit in Henry's time, for on all
occasions, both by the grant of legatine commissions and by upholding the
pretensions of York, the Popes strove to depress the primatial see and to
increase their own authority in England.

Although Henry had none of the brutal contempt for law that distinguished
his brother, he was not less despotic, and his policy towards the Church
differed from that pursued by his father in that, while the Conqueror made
her co-ordinate under himself with the State, he degraded her to the
position of a servant. He kept the see of Canterbury vacant for five years
after the death of Anselm; all ecclesiastical matters were governed by
political or personal considerations rather than with an eye to the true
interests of the Church, and Henry was not above making money from
ecclesiastical appointments. His chief adviser was Roger, bishop of
Salisbury, an able minister and a magnificent noble, who owed his
preferment to his administrative talents; for Henry employed clerical
ministers, partly because he was thus enabled to secure men who had
received a regular official training as royal clerks, and partly, no
doubt, because their celibacy made it less likely that they would put
their authority to a dangerous use. He rewarded them with bishoprics and
other preferments, and thus secularized the Church in order to make her
serve the State. At the same time, his reign saw the beginning of a
movement that was destined to revive her spiritual character, and by that
revival to increase her power and dignity. This quickened influence was
due to the higher life that followed the introduction of the Cistercian




[Sidenote: Stephen's accession, 1135.]

Under the Norman dynasty the natural results of the Conqueror's
ecclesiastical policy were controlled by the power of the Crown. Appeals
to Rome were almost unknown; the principles which the Conqueror had laid
down as defining the relations between the Crown and the papacy were
maintained, and the establishment of ecclesiastical courts had not as yet
proved mischievous; for in all serious cases the criminous clerk, after
having been degraded by the spiritual judge, was handed over to the
secular authority. Under a weak king, and then during a period of anarchy,
the Church became invested with extraordinary power; her relations with
Rome were increased, and new privileges were asserted which became
dangerous to civil order. The weakness in Stephen's title was a moral
one, for he and the nobles of the kingdom were pledged by oath to Matilda.
His right then depended on a question that especially concerned the
Church; and though he had received civil election, Archbishop William
hesitated to crown him. His scruples were overcome, and the approval of
the Church was secured by Henry, bishop of Winchester, Stephen's brother.
Stephen was crowned, after swearing to maintain the liberty of the Church,
and put forth a charter promising good government in general terms. The
next year, at Oxford, the bishops swore fealty to him "as long as he
should maintain the liberty and discipline of the Church," a ceremony that
may be described as a separate election by the Church, dependent on the
king's conduct towards her. Stephen, who had received a letter of
congratulation from Innocent II., now put forth a charter in which he
recited his claims. As king by the grace of God, elected by the clergy and
people, hallowed by William, archbishop and legate, and "confirmed by
Innocent, pontiff of the Holy Roman See," he promised that he would avoid
simony, and that the persons and property of clerks should be under the
jurisdiction of their bishops. Thus, in order to strengthen his position,
he not only gave prominence to the assent of the Church, but even cited
the approval of the Pope, as though it conferred some special validity on
the national election. This was, under the circumstances, the natural
result of Duke William's petition that Rome would sanction his invasion,
and justified Hildebrand's policy in espousing his cause.

[Sidenote: The Battle of the Standard, 1138.]

For a while the Church remained faithful to Stephen. The
statesmen-bishops, Roger, the justiciar, and his nephews, the bishop of
Ely, the treasurer, and the bishop of Lincoln, together with Bishop
Roger's son, also called Roger, the chancellor, continued to carry on the
administration. In the north a Scottish invasion was checked by the energy
of the aged Archbishop Thurstan, who from his sick-bed stirred the
Yorkshire men to meet the invaders. He was represented in the camp by his
suffragan, the bishop of the Orkneys. The standard of the English army
bore aloft the Host, and the figures of the patron saints of the three
great Yorkshire churches, and the "Battle of the Standard," in which the
Yorkshire men were completely victorious, had something of the character
of a Holy War, in which the archbishop acted, as of old, as the natural
head of the northern people.

[Sidenote: Stephen's quarrel with the Church.]

The mischievous results of the appointment of Archbishop William as legate
were apparent at his death; for Innocent granted a legatine commission,
not to his successor, Theobald, but to Henry of Winchester. The authority
of the see of Canterbury was thus grievously diminished, and the
archbishop was made second to a resident representative of the Pope, one
of his own suffragans. The abasement of Canterbury naturally drew the
Church into greater dependence on Rome, and appeals, which had hitherto
been almost unknown, became of constant occurrence. Equally unlike the
justiciar, Roger of Salisbury, who devoted himself to secular
administration and ambitions, and the churchmen who, full of the new
fervour of the Cistercian movement, sought to raise the spiritual dignity
of the Church, Henry of Winchester used his vast powers to exalt her
temporal greatness. His jealousy for the privileges of the clergy brought
him into collision with the king, who now by an act of extreme folly
provoked a quarrel with the clerical order. Stephen suspected the loyalty
of the bishop of Salisbury and his house, and caused him and the bishop of
Lincoln to be arrested at Oxford. They were powerful lords and had reared
several mighty castles. These they were forced to surrender by threats and
ill-treatment. Stephen acted with the violence of a weak man; he had
already lost the obedience of the barons, and the people must have learnt
that his promises were not to be relied on; now he ensured his fall by
offending the clergy. The legate summoned him to appear before a synod at
Winchester, and the king of England actually appeared by his counsellor,
Alberic de Vere, who made his defence. When he refused to restore the
bishops' castles there was some talk of laying the case before the Pope.
This he forbade, and yet appealed to Rome himself. At last he appeared
before the legate stripped of his royal robes, and humbly received his
censure "for having stretched out his hand against the Lord's anointed
ones." Nevertheless the Church was alienated from him, and after his
defeat at Lincoln the legate held another council at Winchester, and
announced as its result that the majority of the clergy, "to whom the
right of electing a prince chiefly belonged," had decided to transfer
their allegiance to the Empress. The legate found that Matilda had little
respect for the rights of the Church, and after a while turned against
her. The result of these rapid changes was to destroy the unity of the
clerical party.

[Sidenote: The dispute about the archbishopric of York.]

Hitherto Archbishop Theobald had generally followed the legate's lead, and
had played a secondary part in the affairs of the Church. In 1141,
however, a cause of difference arose between them. The York chapter
elected Stephen's nephew, William, to succeed Archbishop Thurstan. A
minority of the chapter declared that simony and undue influence had been
practised, and Theobald took their part, while Henry consecrated his
nephew in spite of him. Anxious to put his power beyond the reach of
fortune, the bishop of Winchester petitioned the Pope to make his see a
third archbishopric. His request was refused, and his legatine commission
expired in 1143, with the death of Innocent, the Pope who had granted it.
Chief among the opponents of the new archbishop of York were the
Cistercian abbeys of the north; and Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, the head
of the order, who was the guiding spirit of the papacy at this time, threw
all his weight on their side. He disapproved of the diminution of the
rights of Canterbury, and held that, in securing the see of York for their
nephew, Stephen and Henry were injuring the Church to serve their own
ends. Eugenius III. accordingly gave the legatine commission to Theobald.
Enraged at the opposition offered to Archbishop William by Henry Murdac,
abbot of Fountains, his partizans sacked and burnt the abbey. As an answer
to this outrage, Eugenius deprived William, and Murdac was elected
archbishop by his authority, and received consecration from him. Stephen
and Henry made a fatal mistake in matching themselves against the papacy,
with Bernard and the whole Cistercian order at its back. They did not
yield without a further struggle. Stephen forbade Theobald to attend the
Pope's Council at Rheims in 1148. In spite of this prohibition he went to
Rheims. Stephen banished him and seized his temporalities, until an
interdict was laid upon the royal lands, and he was forced to be
reconciled to him. Murdac made his position good at York. His rival,
William, outlived him, was re-elected, and died a month after he had
received the pall. During his retirement he led a holy and humble life,
and after his death became the special saint of his church. Stephen had
one more quarrel with Archbishop Theobald. He desired to have his son
Eustace, an evil and violent man, crowned as his successor. This was
forbidden by the Pope, and the primate and his suffragans refused the
king's request. He tried to frighten them by shutting them in the house
where they were consulting. The archbishop escaped across the Thames in a
boat, and went abroad, and the king again seized the temporalities of the

[Sidenote: Theobald, Archbishop, 1139-1161.]

[Sidenote: Study of civil law.]

Unlike Henry of Winchester, Theobald was guided by the new ideas which
were born of the Cistercian revival. While desire for the secular
greatness of the Church, her splendour and her wealth, led Henry to scheme
and change sides according as he found Stephen or the Empress acting
against her interests, Theobald sought a higher power for her, and
attached himself to Bernard, who ruled Christendom by his sanctity and his
intellectual gifts. Theobald's household was the home of a little society
of men of like mind with himself. One of them was a young clerk of London,
named Thomas, who soon became his chief adviser; another was John of
Salisbury, who held a new office, that of the archbishop's secretary, or,
as he would be called now, his chancellor; for Theobald saw that the
archdeacons were by no means trustworthy officers, and appointed a
secretary to control the administration of ecclesiastical law. This was a
matter in which he took a deep interest, and the frequent appeals that
were now made to Rome gave it a special importance. In 1149 he brought
over from Italy a doctor named Vacarius, and set him to give lectures at
Oxford on the civil law, which supplied the method of procedure in
ecclesiastical cases. In the next reign the study of the canon law, which
was first systematized by Gratian of Bologna, was introduced into England,
and then the clergy had a code as well as a method of procedure of their
own. Stephen sent Vacarius out of the country, probably because he hated
new things; but the study of the civil law could not be stopped so easily.

With aims and interests such as these, Theobald had no desire to see the
anarchy which is generally called Stephen's reign prolonged. How terrible
in some parts that anarchy was, when men "said openly that Christ and His
saints slept," need not be described here. Some of the bishops rode to war
and behaved like lay barons; others were held back by fear from censuring
the ungodly. Nevertheless the Church still exhibited a pattern of order,
and strove to restore peace to the kingdom. Although Theobald entered into
no schemes for dethroning Stephen, he was fully convinced of the
importance of securing the succession for Henry of Anjou. His counsellor,
Thomas, now archdeacon of Canterbury, was urgent on the same side, and
they were at last joined in their efforts after peace by Henry of
Winchester. The chief obstacle was removed by the death of Eustace, and
the Treaty of Wallingford soon followed. Henry II. owed his throne in no
small degree to the support of the clergy.

[Sidenote: Thomas the Chancellor.]

[Sidenote: Taxation of ecclesiastical knights' fees.]

The young king chose for his chancellor Thomas, the archdeacon, to whose
good offices he was much indebted. Thomas's father, Gilbert Becket, a
wealthy trader, had been port-reeve of London. Thomas was sent to school
at Merton priory, and was taken away from the school there while still
young because his parents suffered serious losses. Nevertheless he was
able to study at Paris, and after his return to England was often the
companion of a rich noble named Richer de l'Aigle, who took him out
hunting and hawking. As his father was now badly off, he became clerk to a
merchant, whose name in English was Eightpenny, and after a while was
introduced to the archbishop, entered his household, and soon became his
most trusted adviser. He took orders, and received many rich preferments.
As chancellor, he held one of the most important offices in the kingdom,
and his duties brought him into constant companionship with the king, who
treated him as an intimate friend. He was diligent in his secular work;
he loved magnificence, and lived with grace and splendour. No chancellor
had been so great a man before. He probably had a large share in the
reorganization of the administrative machinery. One change was certainly
due to him--the commutation of military service for a money payment. A
step in this direction was made in 1156, when Henry laid a tax called
scutage on Church lands held by knight's service. Theobald objected to
this imposition, but his objections were fruitless. Three years later,
when the king was undertaking a war in Toulouse, the chancellor advised
him to take money from all who owed him military service, instead of
calling upon them to go to the war. The general importance of this measure
does not belong to our subject; the scutage of Toulouse concerns us here
simply because it was levied on church-lands. It excited far more
indignation among the clergy than the earlier tax, because they saw that
it was the beginning of a system, not an isolated expedient. The
chancellor was held to have done the Church a grievous injury, and even
his friends traced his later troubles to his sin against her.

[Sidenote: Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-1170.]

When, in 1162, Henry bade his chancellor accept the primacy, he hoped to
find him a powerful ally in carrying out the reforms he contemplated.
Thomas assented unwillingly, for he was resolved, if he took the office,
to maintain the claims of the Church to the utmost, and he knew that this
would bring him into collision with the king. Although his life had been
pure, it had not been clerical, and he had not even taken priest's orders
when he was elected archbishop. He now entered on a new life. Everything
that was then held becoming in a churchman and an archbishop he practised
to the utmost. With the whole-heartedness with which he had thrown himself
into his work as chancellor, he now, in a post that must have been less
congenial to his nature, set himself to live up to the highest ideal then
current of what an archbishop ought to be as regards both life and policy.
He had enemies, for some were jealous of him, and some were honestly
scandalized at his appointment. Ever regardless of the fear or favour of
men, he added to their number by prosecuting the rights of his see to
lands that had been alienated from it. In acting thus, his conduct, though
perhaps injudicious, certainly became his office. His position as the head
of the nation first brought him into opposition to the Crown. Henry wished
that a certain tax, probably a survival of the Danegeld, which was paid to
the sheriffs, should be brought into the royal revenue. The archbishop
objected, no doubt because he thought that this would revive the old tax.
"Saving your pleasure, lord king, we will not give it as revenue; but if
the sheriffs and officers of the counties do their duty by us, we will
never refuse it them by way of aid." The king was wroth. "By the eyes of
God!" he cried, "it shall be given as revenue, and entered in the king's
books; and you ought not to oppose me, for I am not oppressing any man of
yours against your will." The archbishop answered, "By the eyes you have
sworn by, my lord king, it shall not be levied from any of my lands, and
from the lands of the Church not a penny!" He seems to have carried his
point, and thus the first successful opposition to the will of the Crown
in a financial matter proceeded from the Church of England. Nor was the
archbishop slack in asserting the spiritual rights of his office; for he
excommunicated one of the king's tenants-in-chief, and when Henry bade him
absolve him, answered that it was not the king's business to say who
should be bound and who unbound. In this matter the king demanded no more
than the observance of one of the Conqueror's rules; the archbishop
asserted no more than one of the eternal rights of the Church, which she
had now become strong enough to claim.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical discipline.]

A greater conflict between the claims of the Crown and of the Church was
at hand. The Conqueror had strengthened himself by increasing the power of
the clergy; Henry could only establish the strong and orderly government
he aimed at by lessening it. We have seen how rapidly clerical influence
had grown during the anarchy owing to the suspension of the royal
authority, the multiplication of appeals, the attention paid by Theobald
to ecclesiastical law, and other causes. Clergy guilty of secular offences
were tried solely by ecclesiastical courts; and as the spiritual judges,
after inflicting an ecclesiastical penalty, refused to give up the
clerical offender to a secular court, many gross crimes met with wholly
inadequate punishments. For the number of persons in orders of different
degrees was very large, and all alike claimed immunity from civil
jurisdiction; and it is evident, though this was a matter of less
consequence, that all offences against the clergy were also claimed as
belonging to the province of the ecclesiastical courts.

[Sidenote: Constitutions of Clarendon, 1164.]

At a great council, held at Westminster in 1163, Henry asked if the
bishops would obey the "customs of his grandfather," if they would agree
that clerks convicted of secular crimes should, after degradation, be
punished as laymen. The primate declared that clerks were not subject to
the jurisdiction of an earthly king, and would only agree that a clerk
already degraded should for another offence be punished by a lay judge.
Henry asked the bishops if they would obey the "customs," and their reply,
"Saving our order," was virtually a refusal. At a later interview he
persuaded Archbishop Thomas to promise obedience to the customs
unreservedly. He then summoned a council at Clarendon, and there, under
strong pressure, the primate and his suffragans took the required pledge.
The council then proceeded to inquire what the customs were, and a body of
rules was drawn up called the "Constitutions of Clarendon." By these
Constitutions all cases touching advowsons and presentations were to be
tried in the king's court. The convicted clerk was no longer to be
protected by the Church. Appeals from the archbishop were to be heard by
the king, and were not to be carried further without his leave. Bishops
and all who held of the Crown as by barony were to take part in the
proceedings of the king's court until it came to sentence touching life or
limb. Elections to bishoprics and royal abbeys were to be made by the
higher clergy of the church in the king's chapel and with his assent, and
the elect was to do homage and fealty to the king as his liege lord before
he was consecrated. And the son of a villein was not to be ordained
without his lord's leave. When the primate heard the Constitutions he
refused to set his seal to them, declared he would not assent to them as
long as he had breath in his body, and suspended himself from his sacred
office until he had received the Pope's absolution from his hasty promise.
The Constitutions, which were founded on the relations existing between
the Church and the State in the reign of Henry I., were an attempt to
bring matters back to a stage which had now been passed, to define
relations that had hitherto been continually changing, and to establish a
system which, however generally excellent, was contrary to the spirit of
the age.

[Sidenote: Council of Northampton.]

Archbishop Thomas twice tried to flee to the Pope, and failed through
stress of weather or because the sailors were afraid of the king's anger.
In October he was summoned to appear before the king's council at
Northampton, and there an effort was made to crush him by multiplied
suits. At last the king demanded an account of all the sums that had
passed through his hands during his chancellorship, though he had already
received a quittance. At Westminster and at Clarendon the bishops had
sided, though timidly, with their primate, for the nature of the dispute
forced them to do so. Now, when the whole business was reduced to a
personal attack upon him, they sided with the king, just as their
predecessors had done when Rufus attacked Anselm and Henry disputed with
him. For though the pretensions of the Church limited the power of the
Crown, and though Anselm and Becket each in his own day struggled for
those pretensions, the bishops as a body were always on the king's side,
for he had given them their office either because they had served him
well, or because he expected them to be useful to himself. Accordingly
Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, a churchman of considerable worldly
wisdom, who held that a quarrel with the king would injure the interests
of the Church, advised the archbishop to submit to Henry, and other
bishops said much the same. Thomas forbade them to sit in judgment on him,
and appealed from his lay judges to the Pope. Before long he escaped from
England, sorely against the king's will, and went to Pope Alexander III.
at Sens, who at once condemned the Constitutions.

[Sidenote: The archbishop in exile.]

Alexander III. was in exile in France, for his rival, Victor, who was
upheld by the Emperor Frederic I., was powerful in Italy, and he naturally
held that it was more important to secure his own position than to uphold
the English primate. He could not afford to offend Henry, lest he should
take the side of the Emperor and his schismatical Pope. Accordingly he
bade the archbishop keep silence for a while; and as Thomas did not think
it seemly to stay in the dominions of Lewis of France, who was at enmity
with Henry, he took up his abode in the Cistercian abbey of Pontigny, in
Burgundy. When Victor died, in 1165, the Emperor set up another Pope, and
made alliance with Henry, who was, perhaps, only saved from actively
espousing the cause of the imperialist antipope by the wisdom of his
justiciar, the earl of Leicester. Indeed, the ambassador he sent to the
Emperor's council at Würzburg renounced the Pope in his master's name and
promised that Henry would help Frederic's antipope. That year, however,
Alexander returned to Rome, and felt himself strong enough to send the
exiled primate a legatine commission. In virtue of this commission, Thomas
in 1166 went to Vézelay, and there, in the abbey church, in the presence
of a large congregation, excommunicated all the king's party, both clergy
and laymen. He had heard that Henry was ill, and therefore did not
excommunicate him. Nevertheless, with a voice choked with tears, he
threatened him by name with a like sentence. In return, Henry so
frightened the Cistercians that Thomas was virtually forced to leave
Pontigny. This retaliation was as foolish as it was tyrannical; for the
archbishop took shelter in France, and so gave Lewis a fresh means of
annoying the English king. The details of the quarrel are intricate and
somewhat wearisome. None of those concerned acted with dignity. Henry
weakened his own position by appealing to the Pope to judge between him
and one of his own subjects; he assented to the Pope's decrees when they
were in his own favour, and resisted them when they were against him.
Thomas was violent, and multiplied excommunications. Several efforts were
made to bring about a reconciliation between him and Henry, and a meeting
took place between them at Montmirail in 1169. The archbishop, however,
would not be content with anything less than a complete surrender on the
king's part, and the conference ended fruitlessly. Alexander sometimes
upheld, and sometimes thwarted Thomas, just as his own interests dictated,
and pursued a course that seemed to the stout-hearted archbishop mean and
pusillanimous. "In the Roman court," he indignantly wrote, "Barabbas
escapes and Christ is put to death." Lewis simply used the quarrel to his
own advantage, and supported the archbishop just as he supported the lords
of Henry's vassal states against him.

[Sidenote: The archbishop's martyrdom, 1170.]

A new phase of the dispute arose from Henry's wish to have his eldest son
crowned. The archbishop of Canterbury alone had the right to perform the
ceremony; and when Thomas insisted on this right he was not contending for
an empty honour; for coronation was held to be necessary to kingship, and
it was the archbishop's duty to receive a pledge of good government from
the king he crowned. Alexander first agreed to allow Roger of York to
crown the young king, and, later, sent to prohibit him from doing so.
Henry prevented the prohibition from being brought into England, and Roger
performed the ceremony. Lewis now threatened war, and the Pope's advisers
urged him to vindicate the rights of Canterbury. Henry was thus driven to
a reconciliation, and Thomas returned to his see. He at once suspended the
bishops who had taken part in the coronation, renewed the excommunications
he had already pronounced against some of them, and excommunicated some of
his personal enemies who had annoyed him by violent and brutal acts. The
consciousness that he was endangering his own life had no weight with him,
for he constantly anticipated and even aspired to martyrdom. When the
king, who was still in Normandy, heard of his proceedings he was furiously
angry, and thoughtlessly exclaimed to his courtiers, "Of the cowards who
eat my bread, is there none that will rid me of this troublesome priest?"
Moved by these hasty words, four knights crossed the Channel, proceeded to
Canterbury, and after insulting the archbishop in his palace, broke into
the church where the monks had compelled him to take shelter. One bade him
flee, for else he was a dead man. "I welcome death," he said, "for God and
for the liberty of the Church." They tried to lay hands on him, and then
the feelings of his younger days, long kept down by self-mortification,
asserted themselves. He struggled with the armed men, and threw one to the
ground. He cried to another not to dare to touch him, and called him by a
foul name. The knights shouted, "Strike! strike!" Then he commended his
"soul and the Church's cause to God, to St. Denys of France, to St.
Elphege and all the Saints." His murderers attacked him with their swords,
and he died with holy words upon his lips. He fell a martyr to the
privileges or "liberty" of the Church. That these privileges were not
really beneficial to her is not to the purpose. Men and causes are to be
judged by the standard of their own age, and neither then nor for
centuries later did any doubt that he laid down his life for the cause of
God and His Church.

[Sidenote: Henry's bishops.]

The murder of the archbishop seemed likely to ruin the king. Miracles were
worked at the tomb of the martyr, and he was at once accepted as a saint.
Although his murder did not cause the revolt that followed it, the
disorganization it produced made revolt opportune. The only bishop
concerned in this movement was Hugh Puiset of Durham, a crafty and
powerful prelate, who had some underhand dealings with the Scots, and
whose castles were in consequence seized by the king. Henry renounced the
Constitutions, promised not to hinder appeals, and submitted to a
scourging from the monks of Christ Church. Yet the Church lost much; for
the quarrel put an end to the effort to attain to a higher ecclesiastical
standard that had been made by Theobald and the clerks of his household,
and a fresh wave of secularity swept over the Church. This was largely due
to Henry's policy. He kept sees vacant and took their revenues. "Is it not
better," he would say, "that the money should be spent on the necessary
affairs of the kingdom than on the luxuries of bishops? For the bishops of
our time are not like what bishops used to be; they are careless and
slothful about their office, and embrace the world with all their arms."
He might have made bishops of another stamp, but when, after his
absolution, six vacant sees were filled up, he took care that they should
go to men who belonged to his own party. Lincoln he gave to his natural
son, Geoffrey, who was then a mere lad. The Pope ordered that his
consecration should be deferred; yet he held the see, though he was not
even a priest, for eight years, until Alexander III. commanded him either
to take episcopal orders or to give it up. Then he gave it up, became
chancellor, and on his father's death was elected to York. Towards the end
of his reign Henry insisted on the election of a bishop of nobler
character to the see of Lincoln. This was Hugh of Avalon, the bravest and
noblest churchman of his day, whom the king had brought over from Burgundy
to govern the little monastery he had founded at Witham, and whom, to his
honour, he liked and reverenced. The Lincoln chapter would have preferred
a more worldly bishop, and elected several ministers of state and
courtiers, one after another. Henry would have none of them; he would not,
he said, "for the future, give a bishopric to any one for favour, or
relationship, or counsel, or begging, or buying, but only to those whom
the Lord should choose for Himself." Canterbury remained vacant for five
years after the death of Archbishop Thomas, for some difficulties arose
about the election. At last Richard, prior of Dover, was elected. The
young King Henry, a worthless man and a rebellious son, affected to be
scandalized at his father's interference in episcopal elections, and
declared that he managed matters by saying, "I charge you to hold a free
election, yet I forbid you to elect any one but my clerk Richard." The
archbishop was an easy-going man, and did not please Becket's party.
Neither he nor the bishops caused the king any trouble during the
remainder of his reign.

[Sidenote: His general relations to the Church.]

Although the Constitutions of Clarendon were nominally abandoned, they had
considerable effect on the future relations between Church and State, and
indeed determined their development. Even in Henry's reign the privileges
which Archbishop Thomas had claimed for the Church were slightly
curtailed. With the papal sanction, clerks were made amenable to the
forest laws; for what business had they to hunt? And the murderers of
clerks were given up to the civil courts; for the claim of the Church to
punish them was reduced to an absurdity when it sheltered Becket's
murderers from justice, and they were simply punished by such penalties as
the Pope, the supreme spiritual judge, could inflict. As Henry caused the
lands of the Church, which had hitherto escaped taxation, to bear their
share of scutage, so when, for the first time, he introduced a tax on
movables the clergy were taxed equally with the laity. This tax, called
the Saladine tenth, was granted the king by a great council, and the
property both of clerks and laymen was assessed by a jury.

[Sidenote: Legates.]

After Becket's death Henry took care to keep on good terms with Rome. At
his request a legate named Hugh visited this country, partly, at least, to
settle a new dispute between Canterbury and York, and from him the king
obtained leave to bring the clergy under the forest laws. So far had the
martyrdom of St. Thomas injured the independence of the kingdom that even
a matter of domestic law was submitted to the papal judgment. Hugh's
mission was not successful. At a council held at Westminster in 1176,
Roger of York tried to squeeze himself into a more honourable seat than
the archbishop of Canterbury. This led to a disturbance in which sticks
and fists were freely used. Hugh ran about the chapel in terror, and
finding "that he had no authority in England," soon went his way. A few
months later Henry showed that, in spite of his late humiliation, he was
not prepared to be the Pope's humble servant; for when another legate
landed on his way to Scotland, he sent two bishops, who asked him "by
whose authority he dared to enter his kingdom without his leave," and
exacted a promise from him that he would do nothing here without his will.

[Sidenote: Heresy.]

Early in the reign we find the spiritual and the secular power acting
together in a case that was wholly new to Englishmen. Some thirty
German-speaking heretics, probably natives of Flanders, landed here, and
made one disciple--a woman. No Christian heretics had ever appeared in
England before. Henry summoned a council of bishops to meet at Oxford in
1166; the heretics were found guilty, and were handed over to the
"Catholic king." They were condemned to be branded, flogged out of the
city, and then to be shunned by all men. Left without food or shelter in
the midst of winter, they soon perished. The special action taken with
regard to these heretics illustrates the uncertainty of the law as to the
punishment of heresy. Here as elsewhere the Church kept itself free from
the pollution of blood, and handed the heretic over to the secular power.
Although in the reign of John a clerk who apostatized to Judaism was burnt
at Oxford, burning for heresy had no place in the common law of England,
except such as was given it by writers of law-books, who were under the
influence of the Roman jurisprudence. England was generally free from
heresy until the time of Wyclif; the papal Inquisition, though used to
some extent for the suppression of the Templars, was not introduced into
the kingdom, and the subject of heresy and its punishment is of no
practical importance until the appearance of the Lollards.

[Sidenote: Conquest of Ireland.]

While the Scottish bishops were, as we have seen, released by the Pope
from dependence on the see of York, the influence of the Church of England
was extended both in Ireland and Wales. The Church in Ireland seems to
have done little to civilize the people: it had lost the early glories of
its missionary days, while it retained its lack of order and its inability
to rule itself or others. Almost to the eve of the Conquest it had no
archbishops, and had a crowd of bishops without a regular diocesan system.
These and other irregularities caused some of the bishops of the Ostmen's
towns to seek consecration from Lanfranc and Anselm. St. Bernard and
Eugenius III. tried hard to introduce some order into the Church, and
their efforts were seconded by the Irish bishop, Malachi. Four sees were
raised to metropolitan rank, and some steps were taken towards
establishing an orderly system. Still, much remained to be done, and
Hadrian IV. (Nicolas Brakespear), the only English Pope, willingly
sanctioned Henry's proposal to invade Ireland, and in 1155 sent him the
bull "Laudabiliter," bidding him conquer the land for the increase of the
Church, together with a ring conveying investiture of the country. He did
this in virtue of the forged donation of Constantine, which purported to
put all islands under the lordship of the Pope. Hadrian's answer to
Henry's request was, therefore, a repetition of the answer that Alexander
II. made to the request of William. Both Popes alike sanctioned the
invasion of a Christian land by a foreign enemy in order to spread the
power of the Roman Church. Henry did not take advantage of Hadrian's bull
until after the death of Becket. Ireland was conquered by private
adventurers, and it only remained for him to receive its submission. He
held the land by the Pope's gift, and he was not unmindful of the benefit
he had received, for he called together a synod at Cashel, which passed
decrees bringing the Church of Ireland into conformity with the Roman
order. By far the larger part of the country, however, was virtually
unaffected by the Conquest, and equally unaffected by the Council of
Cashel. Nor did it become thoroughly papal until Henry VIII. quarrelled
with the papacy. Then he disowned the Roman suzerainty by causing himself
to be proclaimed king of Ireland, and the papacy appeared as the champion
of a country which it had given over to foreign invasion. Unfortunately
the bishops that Ireland received from the English kings were often mere
ministerial officials, and sometimes little better than the fierce lords
of the English Pale.

[Sidenote: The English Church in Wales.]

In Wales, Henry used the Church for political ends, and ruled the country
by means of its Norman bishops. The consequence of this policy was, that
the bishops were worldly and greedy men, and were hated by the natives,
the clergy were ignorant and debased, and the people resisted the claims
of the Church. Gerald de Barri, archdeacon of Brecknock, a young man of a
noble Norman house, though on his mother's side of the blood-royal of
Wales, was appointed by Archbishop Richard as his commissioner to reform
the abuses of the Church. He was brave and energetic, very learned and
very witty, and most of his books, and especially his "Topography of
Ireland" and his "Ecclesiastical Jewel," are delightful reading. While
effecting many reforms in the Welsh Church, he seems to have excited the
clergy to attempt to gain metropolitan rank for the see of St. David's.
This would have been wholly contrary to Henry's policy, for it would have
given the Welsh a national leader, and he refused their request. Gerald
spent many years of his life, partly in the pursuit of this object, and
partly in trying to procure his confirmation as bishop of St. David's. He
was twice elected to the bishopric, once in the reign of Henry, and again
at the accession of John; he laid his case before Innocent III., and
engaged in a long suit at the papal court. St. David's, however, never
became a metropolitan see, and he never became its bishop.

[Sidenote: Richard's crusade.]

Among the causes that magnified the papal power here and elsewhere must be
reckoned the crusades. The Pope alone could release from their vow those
who had taken the cross; he became, in a certain sense, the director of
the military force of Christendom, and he gained a new claim to interfere
in the mutual relations of states. England took little part in the first
two crusades, though in Stephen's time our seaport towns joined in a naval
crusade of burghers and seamen, who took Lisbon from the Moors. In 1185
the patriarch of Jerusalem urged Henry to come to the help of the Holy
city. Two or three barons went to the war, and the king thought of going
in person, for he was the head of the Angevin house, to which the kings
of Jerusalem belonged. He did not do so, for the same reason which, it is
alleged, kept the Confessor from making his proposed pilgrimage. A great
council, evidently mainly ecclesiastical in character, reminded him of his
coronation oath, and told him that it was his duty to stay and look after
the interests of his own kingdom. Two years later Christendom was startled
by the news of the fall of Jerusalem. Henry, his son Richard, and many
nobles took the cross, and Archbishop Baldwin, accompanied by Gerald de
Barri, preached the crusade in Wales, and gained a vast number of
recruits. Henry died before he could perform his vow, and Richard
immediately began to prepare for his expedition. It was important alike
for the good of the kingdom and for his own success that he should decide
who should go with him, and accordingly he obtained leave from Clement
III. to dispense with crusading vows for money. Before he sailed he sold
all the lands, jurisdictions, and offices he could find purchasers for.

[Sidenote: William Longchamp, bishop of Ely, 1189-1197.]

Richard left the administration in the hands of churchmen, and all through
his reign the affairs of the kingdom were managed by bishops. William
Longchamp, bishop of Ely, bought the chancellorship; Hugh of Puiset, the
justiciarship, and the earldom of Northumberland; and Richard, bishop of
London, was treasurer. William Longchamp was a man of low birth, lame and
insignificant in person, haughty in manner, of overweening ambition, and
careless of the rights of others, active, able, and faithful to his
master. Hugh of Puiset, who came of a noble house, was stately and
gracious, wary, and full of secular affairs--a rich and powerful
prince-bishop. The two ministers soon quarrelled. Bishop William proved
the stronger, and put Hugh under arrest. "By the life of my lord," he
said, "you shall not go hence till you give me hostages for the surrender
of your castles; for I am not a bishop arresting a bishop, but a
chancellor arresting his rival." He received a legatine commission, and
became sole justiciar. He used his power arrogantly, and so enabled John,
the king's brother, to assume the position of a defender of the rights of
others. His fall was brought about by an act of violence. Geoffrey, the
elect of York, who had met with much opposition from his chapter and from
the bishop of Durham, had at last been consecrated in France by the Pope's
orders. He now returned to England, in spite, it is said, of having
promised the king that he would not do so. An attempt was made to arrest
him when he landed at Dover, and he fled to the priory church for refuge.
The soldiers of the constable of the castle, the chancellor's
brother-in-law, dragged him out of the church by his feet and arms, and he
was imprisoned in the castle. There was great indignation at this act.
Hugh of Lincoln at once excommunicated the constable and all who had
abetted him. Churchmen spoke of Geoffrey as a second St. Thomas, and the
lay barons were wroth at the insult put on the son of the late king. All
parties united against the chancellor; he was deposed from his office and
compelled to leave the kingdom.

[Sidenote: Archbishop Hubert, 1193-1205.]

Richard was made prisoner as he was returning from the crusade, and his
brother John raised a revolt against him. The king committed his interests
to Hubert Walter, bishop of Salisbury. Hubert, as dean of York, had been
one of Geoffrey's enemies; he was made bishop by Richard, and accompanied
him to Acre, where, we are told, he was equally distinguished as a
warrior, a commander, and a pastor. Archbishop Baldwin having died at Acre
in 1190, the suffragan bishops and the monks of Christ Church, in
obedience to the king's will, elected Hubert to the archbishopric in 1193,
and shortly afterwards Richard appointed him chief justiciar. A relation
of Ralf Glanville, the famous justiciar of Henry II., Hubert had been
brought up in a good school for statesmanship, and he did credit to his
training. He excommunicated John, took his castles, and ensured his fall
by raising the money for the king's ransom. On Richard's return Hubert
placed the crown on his head at his second coronation at Winchester, and
the king obtained the legatine commission for him. When Richard again left
England, Hubert virtually became viceroy of the kingdom. He triumphed over
his old enemy, Geoffrey, sent judges to York to decide the dispute between
him and his chapter, allowed them to seize the estates of the see, and
upheld the cause of the canons, who obtained a papal judgment against
their archbishop. Geoffrey left England, and remained abroad for the next
five years. During his absence Hubert visited York both as legate and as

[Sidenote: Bishop Hugh of Lincoln opposes an unconstitutional tax, 1198.]

More honourable to Hubert than this almost personal triumph is his
administrative work. Of this it will be sufficient to say here, that he
had constantly to find large sums of money for the king; that he did so as
far as possible by constitutional methods; that in doing so he accustomed
the people to make elections and act by representatives; and that he
preserved internal order and developed the constructive work of Henry II.
Richard's demands for money were heavy, and though Becket had once opposed
Henry on a fiscal question, no constitutional resistance had ever yet been
made to a tax proposed by the Crown. Now, however, the nation was to
receive from the Church its first lesson in the principle that taxes
should only be imposed with the consent of those who have to pay them. At
an assembly held at Oxford in 1198 the archbishop, on the king's behalf,
proposed to the barons and bishops that they should maintain three hundred
knights for a year to serve across the sea. Then Hugh of Lincoln answered,
that though he had come to England as a stranger, he would maintain the
rights of his church, and that though it was bound to do military service
within the kingdom, the king could not claim such service beyond the sea,
and that he would not contribute to a foreign war. Herbert of Salisbury
also spoke to the same effect. Their answers naturally appealed to the
interests of the lay barons, and the demand was refused, greatly to the
king's annoyance.

Hubert's position was not altogether pleasant. The king was always calling
on him to find fresh supplies, and he was harassed by a suit brought
against him at Rome by his chapter about the college he was building at
Lambeth, a subject that belongs to another volume of this series. A
serious trouble had also arisen in 1196. The taxes pressed heavily on the
lower classes, and a revolt was raised in London, where the richer
citizens were accused of throwing the burden of taxation on the poor. The
leader of the discontented citizens was a demagogue named William
Fitz-Osbert, or William Longbeard, as he was commonly called. Hubert tried
to arrest him, but William fled for refuge to the church of St.
Mary-le-Bow. By Hubert's order the church was set on fire, and William was
smoked out, taken, and hanged. The church belonged to the convent of
Christ Church, and the monks, indignant at this breach of sanctuary,
complained to Pope Innocent III., who in 1198, wrote to Richard urging him
to dismiss his minister, and commanding that for the future bishops and
priests should not take part in civil administration. Hubert was therefore
compelled to resign the justiciarship.

Much was lost by the absorption of the clergy in secular matters, and St.
Hugh did not fail to urge the archbishop to attend less to the affairs of
the State and more to those of the Church. The evils that oppressed the
Church, the debased lives of the clergy, who generally lived in
concubinage, the greediness of the archdeacons and other officials, the
worldliness of the bishops, and the venality of the Roman court, are
exposed in the satires which bear the name of "Bishop Golias," and are
attributed to Walter Map, archdeacon of Oxford. In these poems scarcely a
sign appears of any hope of a higher ecclesiastical life; worldliness and
evil are represented as triumphant in Christendom. Yet there were some
churchmen living noble lives, and the power which St. Hugh exercised in
Church and State shows that matters were not past hope. As far as the
State was concerned, the employment of the clergy in secular matters was
no small gain. Besides providing the country with a succession of highly
trained officers, the Church forwarded constitutional development. Just as
at first she taught the State how to attain unity, so now she afforded it
an example of organization and progress.




[Sidenote: Alliance between the Church and the Crown.]

For nearly a century and a half after the Norman Conquest the Church was
in alliance with the Crown. For, though Anselm and Thomas withstood the
royal power when it threatened to overthrow the liberty and privileges of
the Church, and Theobald, Thomas, and Hugh of Lincoln each opposed demands
that seemed to them contrary to right, the bishops generally were staunch
supporters of the Crown, and their alliance helped the king to triumph
over the baronage. This was for the good of the nation at large; for the
orderly though stern despotism of the king was a source of prosperity to
the country, while feudal anarchy entailed general misery and ruin. The
strength of the Crown, and its general alliance with the bishops, enabled
it to preserve an independent attitude towards Rome, and this secured the
Church from papal oppression. Indeed, it was to Rome that churchmen looked
for help when the law of conscience to which they adhered was in danger of
being trodden down by royal power. As long as the king and the Pope had
separate interests the Church was tolerably secure from wrong. In the
present chapter we shall see how the alliance between the Church and the
Crown was broken by the tyranny of John; how the Church, though she gained
her rights, was not content with a selfish victory, and placed herself in
the forefront of the battle for national liberty; how the Crown stooped to
become the vassal of Rome; and how, throughout the larger part of the long
reign of Henry III., the alliance thus formed between the Pope and the
king caused the Church to be ground between the upper and nether
millstones of royal and papal oppression.

[Sidenote: Coronation of John, 1199.]

While the accession of John was strictly in accordance with constitutional
usage, it brought the elective character of the monarchy into special
prominence; and Archbishop Hubert, at the coronation, while declaring him
qualified for election, asserted the freedom of the people's choice, and
made a special appeal to John to observe the oath which he had taken. It
seems as though, like Dunstan when he crowned Æthelred, he foresaw the
consequences of his act, and strove, as the representative of the English
Church and people, to impress on the new king the duty he owed to both.
Hubert accepted the chancellorship, which was held to be beneath his
dignity as archbishop; he used his power to restrain the king from evil,
and the hatred that John bore to his memory proves that his death, which
took place in 1205, was a national calamity.

[Sidenote: Quarrel between John and Innocent III., 1205.]

Before Hubert was buried the younger monks of Christ Church met by night,
and without waiting for the king's leave, elected their sub-prior,
Reginald, archbishop, and sent him to Rome for confirmation, bidding him
tell no one of his new honour. Nevertheless, as soon as he landed in
Flanders he gave out that he was archbishop-elect. The king was angry with
the convent, for he wished to nominate John de Gray, bishop of Norwich,
one of his ministers; the suffragan bishops complained that they had been
allowed no share in the election, and the elder and younger monks were
opposed to each other. John caused the convent to elect the bishop of
Norwich, and gave him the temporalities, and all the parties appealed to
Innocent III. After considerable delay--for delays were profitable to the
papal court--Innocent declared that the right of election belonged solely
to the monks, and that the suffragan bishops had no claim to share in it.
He annulled the election of Reginald as altogether illegal, and that of
Bishop John, because it was made before the other was declared void; and
then, on the ground that the church of Canterbury should no longer be left
desolate, commanded the monks, whom John had sent over to uphold his
cause, to elect Stephen Langton, an Englishman, and a cardinal of high
position and character. John had given the monks full powers, for he
thought that he could trust them, and after a little pressure they yielded
to the Pope's command. Innocent wrote to John bidding him receive
Stephen. The king answered angrily that he would not do so, that he knew
nothing of Stephen save that he had lived among his enemies, that Rome got
more out of England than any country on this side the Alps, but that he
would narrow the road thither, and that he had plenty of learned prelates
in his dominions, and was in no need of sending to a foreigner for
judgments. Innocent, who had already shown that he was determined to
maintain his authority, as the Vicar of Christ, to judge the kings of the
earth, was not to be frightened, and consecrated Stephen Langton. The king
turned out the monks of Christ Church, seized the property of the house,
and remained obstinate. Meanwhile he quarrelled with the Northern
metropolitan also. Many heavy taxes had been laid upon the country, and
his brother, Archbishop Geoffrey, refused to allow a new subsidy, demanded
from clergy and laity alike, to be levied in his province, and
excommunicated the collectors; he appealed to Innocent, but was forced to
leave the kingdom, and died abroad.

[Sidenote: Interdict, 1208-1213.]

When every attempt to persuade John to receive the archbishop had failed,
the Pope bade the bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester lay the kingdom
under an interdict. No church bells might be rung, no service sung save in
low tones, no sacraments administered save confession and the sacrament
for the dying, and the dead were buried in unconsecrated ground like dogs,
without prayer or priest. In answer, John confiscated all the goods of the
clergy and sealed up their barns; the women who lived with them as their
wives (_focariæ_) were seized, and they were forced to ransom them, and
were ill-used and robbed of their horses as they rode on the highways by
the king's men. Several bishops fled the kingdom. This state of things
went on for about four years. It was not an unprosperous time with John;
he got a great deal of money out of the revenues of the Church and out of
the Jews, and made some successful expeditions. At last, in 1212, the Pope
published his sentence of special excommunication against him, and
absolved his subjects from their allegiance. Men began to say that it was
not well to associate with an excommunicated king; and for words like
these the archdeacon of Norwich, one of John's fiscal officers, was put to
death, partly by starvation, and partly by being weighed down by a massive
cloak of lead. Philip II. of France was charged by the Pope to carry out
the sentence of deposition, and threatened to invade England.

[Sidenote: John becomes the Pope's vassal.]

John now found himself in evil case. Wherever he turned there was, or
seemed to be, danger; the Welsh rose in rebellion, and word was brought
him that his barons, many of whom he had deeply injured, were conspiring
against him. Besides, he was much frightened by the prophecy of a certain
hermit of Wakefield, who in 1212 declared that on the next Ascension Day
he would no longer be king, a prophecy that was repeated from mouth to
mouth all through the land. He now gave way entirely; he agreed to receive
the archbishop, and to recompense the exiled prelates and the Canterbury
monks. On 15th May, 1213, he made submission to the Pope in the person of
his legate, a sub-deacon named Pandulf, placed his crown in Pandulf's
hands at Dover, did liege homage on receiving it again, and promised the
payment of a yearly tribute of 1000 marks for the kingdom of England and
the lordship of Ireland. Thus the king of England declared himself the
Pope's vassal, and it became the interest of the Pope to uphold his
authority. The ecclesiastical difficulty was over, and the victory lay
with the Church. Nevertheless the Church, in the person of the primate,
now dared to strive against both Pope and king for the liberties of the

[Sidenote: The primate and the barons.]

The barons, who had stood by quietly while John plundered the Church, felt
that it was time to take measures to check his tyranny, for they were
disgusted at his pusillanimous submission to the Pope. At a council held
at St. Alban's, the justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, spoke of the oath the
king had taken at his absolution to govern well, and referred to the
charter of Henry I. as a standard of good government. He died soon after,
and Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester, a Poitevin, whom John chose as
his successor, was no friend to English freedom. The archbishop then came
to the front; he held a council of clergy and nobles at St. Paul's, and
produced Henry's charter, which seems to have been lost, and had it read
before them. The barons were exceeding glad when they heard it, and all
took an oath before him that they would fight to the death for the
liberties it contained. He promised that he would help them, and so they
made a league together. John turned for help to his liege lord, sent a
large sum to the Pope, begging him to "confound" the archbishop and
excommunicate the barons, and renewed his submission to the papal legate,
Nicolas of Tusculum. This Nicolas filled up the many ecclesiastical
offices that had fallen vacant during the interdict without regard to the
rights of patrons or electors, ordained unfit men, and set at nought the
authority of the bishops. They appealed to Innocent, but no good came of
it. Meanwhile the northern barons maintained an attitude of opposition to
the king, and refused to take part in his war with Philip of France.
Moreover, the barons of Poitou would not follow him, his army was defeated
at Bouvines, and he came back to England in the autumn of 1214 utterly
discredited. During his absence the compensation he had promised had been
paid to the bishops and the interdict had been removed, so that his peace
with Rome was now firmly secured. On the other hand, the barons,
considering that the peace which the king had made with Philip left them
exposed to his vengeance, entered into a fresh bond of confederation.
Accordingly John endeavoured, with some skill, to divide his enemies, and
above all to persuade Stephen Langton to desert the common cause. He
issued a charter granting full freedom of election to the Church. When a
bishopric or abbacy fell vacant the royal license to elect was to be
granted without delay; and if this was not done, the chapter might proceed
to make a canonical election without it, and the royal assent was not to
be refused unless a sufficient reason could be proved. This was no small
boon, for the system of holding elections in the royal court or chapel put
the choice of the chapters virtually under the king's control; and as the
king received the revenues of vacant bishoprics, it was his interest to
prolong the period of vacancy by delays and objections. Nevertheless the
archbishop was not to be won over.

[Sidenote: The Great Charter, 1215.]

A list of demands, based on the charter of Henry I., and evidently the
result of the conferences between the archbishop and the barons, was
presented to the king. He asked for time, for he dared not refuse flatly,
and pretended that he only wanted to uphold his dignity by appearing to
yield of his own will. The archbishop arranged a truce, which John only
employed in endeavours to strengthen himself. Stephen Langton therefore
gave his full sanction to the assembling of the barons in arms at Stamford
in Easter week, 1215, immediately after the conclusion of the truce. John
was forced to yield to their demands, and the terms of peace between him
and his people form the Great Charter, to which he set his seal at
Runnymead on 15th June. On that memorable day the archbishop and several
bishops stood by the king as his counsellors, for they had not withdrawn
themselves from him, and took no part in the warlike proceedings of the
baronial party. Two of them, Peter, the bishop of Winchester, and Walter
de Gray, bishop of Worcester, the nephew of John de Gray, for whom the
king had tried to gain the primacy, and, like him, one of John's
ministers, were decidedly on his side. But the bishops, with Stephen
Langton at their head, were as a body in accord with the nation at large
in its successful struggle to compel the king to grant this acknowledgment
of national liberties. Like the charter of Henry I., the Great Charter
opens with the declaration that the "English Church should be free," and
should enjoy its full rights and liberties; and it refers to the special
charter on this subject granted the year before. It provides for the
rights of all classes, for it bound the barons to extend the same
liberties to their tenants that they had obtained from the king; and this
and other clauses of general importance are, it is safe to assume, in part
at least to be attributed to the influence of the bishops, who thus appear
as the champions of the people in the struggle for common rights.

[Sidenote: Annulled by the Pope.]

Innocent came to the help of his vassal, and, at John's request, annulled
the Charter and pronounced sentence of excommunication against the barons.
Peter des Roches and Pandulf were sent to the archbishop to order him to
publish this sentence, and on his refusal suspended him. Stephen thereupon
left the kingdom and went to Rome. His absence was a great loss to the
national party, for the barons held him in awe, and he kept them together.
After he left they no longer acted with the same wisdom, unity, or
national feeling as before, and a large section joined in inviting Lewis,
the eldest son of the French king, to assume the crown. When the
archbishop reached Rome his suspension was confirmed by the Pope, and
excommunication was pronounced against the barons by name and against the
Londoners. This sentence greatly embarrassed the baronial party, though in
London it was openly set at nought. The relations between the Pope and the
king were fraught with mischief to the Church as well as to the national
cause. Besides depriving her of the presence of the primate, Innocent and
John combined to confer the see of Norwich on Pandulf, a third-rate papal
emissary, who was not even consecrated bishop until about seven years
after he had begun to draw the revenues of the bishopric, and never
resided in, perhaps never visited, his diocese. And they set at nought the
rights of the church of York, which had been left without the presence of
an archbishop ever since Geoffrey's departure in 1207. The chapter
received leave to elect in 1215, and chose Simon Langton, the brother of
the archbishop of Canterbury. John urged the Pope not to confirm the
election of the brother of a man who was, he said, his "public enemy," and
Innocent accordingly forced the representatives of the chapter to
recommend the king's friend, Walter, bishop of Worcester, who received the
pall, after binding himself to pay no less than £10,000 to the Roman court
for his office. Greatly to the Pope's chagrin, he was unable to prevent
Lewis from invading England; and although his legate, Gualo,
excommunicated the invader, the king's party dwindled. The tidings of
Innocent's death were received in England with joy; he had done all he
could to sacrifice the liberties of the nation and the welfare of the
Church to the aggrandizement of the papacy, and it was generally believed
that his successor, Honorius III., would not follow in his steps. In a
few weeks his vassal, John, likewise died.

[Sidenote: Papal tutelage of Henry III.]

Honorius was a wise and careful guardian to the young king, Henry III.,
and his legate, Gualo, upheld the government of the earl-marshal; the
Great Charter was twice reissued, the French were got rid of, and peace
was restored. On the other hand, Gualo dealt hardly with the bishops and
clergy of the baronial party. He deprived many of the clergy of their
benefices and gave them to his own friends; and he compelled the bishops
to pay large sums to the Roman court, and to give him considerable gifts
also, that they might be allowed to retain their sees. He was succeeded by
Pandulf. Stephen Langton had now returned, and was helping Hubert de Burgh
to give a thoroughly national character to the administration. The
presence of a Roman legate, which had certainly done much, during the
early years of the reign, to forward the well-being of the kingdom, became
needless. Pandulf was overbearing, and thwarted the archbishop and Hubert.
Accordingly the archbishop, who himself had a legatine commission, went to
Rome, and obtained a promise from the Pope that no other legate should be
appointed as long as he lived, and Pandulf soon afterwards left England.
The position of these legates was extraordinary. They controlled the
ordinary course of government, directed foreign politics, and continually
brought the spiritual power of the papacy to bear on the affairs of the
country. Through them their master acted as the guardian of the young king
and the suzerain of the kingdom. It is to the credit of Honorius that he
willingly brought to a close the period of the tutelage of Henry and of
the government of England by foreign legates. From this date the legatine
authority of the archbishops of Canterbury was always recognized at Rome,
though legates _a latere_ were still sent over to England from time to
time on special errands.

Henry owed much to the Pope's care, and the gratitude he consequently felt
towards the Roman see brought evil on the Church and nation. He became a
tool in the hands of successive Popes, who used the wealth of the country
for their own purposes. Ecclesiastical preferments were lavishly conferred
on Italian adventurers, who were ignorant of the language of the people,
and utterly unfit to be their spiritual guides; and the clergy were
heavily taxed, sometimes for the Pope's immediate use, and sometimes, by
his authority, for the use of the king, though the money thus raised often
found its way into the papal treasury. Resistance was difficult, partly
because it was widely held that the Pope, as the spiritual father of
Christendom, had a right to the goods of the Church, and partly because,
even when the king was angry at the papal demands, the bishops dared not
reckon on his support, for his heart was of wax, and never bore the same
impression long.

[Sidenote: Taxation of Spiritualities.]

The demands made on the clergy in this reign have an important bearing on
the history of the Church. Although the movables of the clergy had been
taxed for the Saladine tithe and for King Richard's ransom, these were
occasions of a special character, and the taxation of spiritualities, or
tithes and ings, for national purposes cannot be said to have begun until
the Crown and the papacy had become allies. When the Popes demanded money
of the clergy for their own use, they did so on the pretext of needing it
for the crusades, an object which had an overwhelming claim on
Christendom; when they authorized the king to ask for tenths, they acted
as protectors of the kingdom. These demands were considered in
convocation, and were not granted without the discussion of grievances and
petitions for redress. And as the levying of scutage on episcopal lands
was an evidence of the right of the bishops to have an equal share with
the barons in the deliberations of the great council, so the taxation of
clerical movables brought about the secular work of convocation. An
example was thus set for the guidance of the future parliament, and the
clergy were prepared to take their place as one of the estates of the
realm. The payment of tenths to the Pope, while nominally dependent on the
consent of the clergy, was virtually compulsory, and was constantly
demanded from the middle of this reign. The king did not care to quarrel
with the papacy on the matter, and sometimes obtained the papal authority
to demand them for his own use.

[Sidenote: Papal oppression.]

Among the evils that the Popes brought upon the Church at this period,
none were so serious as those that proceeded from their interference with
the rights of patronage. This was ordinarily effected by "provisions" or
simple announcements that the Pope had provided a person, named or
unnamed, for a vacant benefice. The light in which English benefices were
regarded at Rome was shown as early as 1226, when Honorius sent a demand,
not indeed confined to England, that two prebends in every cathedral
church should be made over to the papacy. This demand was rejected by the
bishops. While Honorius and his legates did not watch over the young king
for nought, the relations between England and the papacy entered on a new
and darker phase with the accession of Gregory IX.; for he used this
country to supply him with money for his war with the Emperor Frederic II.
Moreover, the death of Stephen Langton in 1228 deprived the Church and
nation of one of the ablest champions of national rights. Stephen, the
papal collector--there was now always an officer of this kind resident in
England--roused general indignation by his conduct. He had brought over
with him a tribe of usurers, and fear of papal censure drove men to have
recourse to them; so the collector and the money-lenders played into one
another's hands. The rights of patrons were set aside, and many livings
were held by Italians, who never came near them, and farmed them out to
others. The wrath of the people broke forth in 1332. A secret league was
formed under the direction of a Yorkshire knight, named Robert Twenge, who
called himself William Wither. Letters were sent to the bishops and
chapters warning them against obeying provisions; and bands of armed
knights, with masks on their faces, burst open the granaries of the
Italian clerks, distributed their corn among the people, and robbed and
beat the foreigners on the highways. Hubert de Burgh, the chief justiciar,
was said to have been concerned in the movement, and the accusation
hastened his fall. Still, the Pope saw that it was advisable to give way,
and sent letters confirming the rights of private patrons. On the death of
Stephen Langton the Pope took a further step towards the enslavement of
the English Church by treating the course taken by Innocent III. with
reference to Langton's election as a precedent for future action. At the
request of the king, who offered Gregory the bribe of a tenth on all
movables throughout his kingdom, he set aside the choice of the chapter
and nominated Richard Grant to the archbishopric.

[Sidenote: Edmund Rich, archbishop, 1234-1240.]

[Sidenote: Council of Merton, 1236.]

When Richard died in 1234, Gregory confirmed this precedent by quashing
three successive elections of the chapter, and compelling the monks to
accept Edmund Rich. Edmund had been famous as a teacher at Oxford; he was
pious, and had considerable political talent. He saw with indignation the
overwhelming influence exercised by the Poitevin and other foreign
favourites of the king, against which the bishops as a body were steadily
working. He at once took the headship of the national party, and though
the Pope favoured the foreigners, compelled the king by a threat of
excommunication to dismiss Peter des Roches and his adherents.
Nevertheless no permanent reform was effected, and the king's marriage was
followed by a fresh influx of foreigners, many of whom were provided for
at the expense of the Church. Appeals to Rome were multiplied, and efforts
were made to displace the common law for the canon law. These efforts
caused much displeasure; and when it was proposed at the Council of Merton
to bring the law of legitimacy into conformity with the law of Rome, the
barons answered, "We will not suffer the laws of England to be changed."
The archbishop's authority was weakened by the arrival of the legate Otho,
who, in 1237, held a council at London, in which he caused a large body of
constitutions to be accepted. Fresh demands were made by Gregory both for
money and patronage, and against these the archbishop and clergy protested
in vain, for the Pope was upheld by the king. Nevertheless Henry now and
then grew restive under the papal yoke, for he knew that he and his
kingdom were being ruined, and once, when an unusually large demand was
made upon him, told the legate, with oaths and bitter words, that he was
sorry he had ever allowed him to land in his kingdom. Edmund found himself
set at nought by the legate, thwarted by the king and the Pope, and
utterly unable to check the evils by which the Church was oppressed. His
troubles reached a climax in 1240, when Gregory, in order to bind the
Roman citizens to his side, determined to distribute the benefices of
England among their sons and nephews, and ordered the archbishop and two
of the bishops to provide benefices for as many as three hundred Roman
ecclesiastics. Edmund left the kingdom in despair, and died the same year,
and Henry procured the election of Boniface of Savoy, the queen's uncle, a
man of worldly mind and small ability, who, though not without some sense
of duty, was chiefly guided by his own interests.

[Sidenote: Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, 1235-1253.]

The noblest figure in the history of the Church at this period is that of
Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, and master of all sciences, as
Roger Bacon declared him to be. He was also a man of action; his life was
holy and his courage invincible. He was a warm friend of the mendicant
friars, the Franciscans and Dominicans, who were established in England in
the early part of this reign. The work of these Orders, which will be
described in another volume of this series, produced a vast effect on the
Church, not merely by moving the laity of every class, especially in
towns, to repentance and confession, and by imparting new life to Oxford,
but also by stirring up the clergy to efforts after better things. A new
light was shining; and children of the light, such as was Robert
Grosseteste, were glad to walk in it, while even others were conscious
that it would be well to prevent men perceiving that they loved darkness.
Grosseteste was anxious for the reformation of his diocese, the largest
and most populous in England, and was active in the work of visitation.
His canons refused his visitation, and he had a long suit with them, which
established the right of bishops to visit their chapters. He endeavoured
to enforce celibacy on his clergy, for clerical marriages seem to have
been common, and ordered them to prevent excessive drinking and feasting,
the practice of sports and plays in churches and churchyards, and all
private marriages. He took part in a movement from which the Church still
reaps benefit, the erection of vicarages, setting apart in rectories
subject to monastic appropriation a sufficient portion of land and tithe
for the perpetual and independent endowment of the vicarage. The king
sometimes yielded to his influence; but Henry never remained long under
one influence, especially if it was for good. Grosseteste always acted
under a strong sense of spiritual responsibility; he held that the Pope,
when he was in need, had a right to the goods of the clergy, and did not
shrink from carrying out his demands. Nor did he raise any objection to
the appointment of papal nominees to English benefices on the ground of
their foreign birth, or even their ignorance of English. If, however, they
were unfit for their duties, either spiritually or canonically, his
reverence for the Pope did not blind him, and he refused to present them.
Nor did he ever hesitate to resist the king's unrighteous oppression of
the Church. Henry's demands on both clergy and laity in 1244 brought about
an attempt at combined resistance by the bishops and barons. He met the
resistance of the clergy by producing letters from the Pope, Innocent IV.,
bidding them support his "dearest son." Some of the clergy and laity alike
wavered. "Let us not be divided from the common counsel," Grosseteste
said, "for it is written, If we are divided we shall all straightway
perish." Unfortunately the two orders had not yet learnt the necessity of
standing by each other, and the alliance failed.

[Sidenote: Extortion and remonstrance.]

Innocent IV. made at least as large demands on England as Gregory had
done, and treated her with more cynical insolence. His envoy, Martin, was
like him, and at last goaded the long-suffering nation to violence. Fulk
Fitz-Warin came to him with the short message, "Leave England, and begone
forthwith." "Who bids me? Did any one send you?" asked the legate. Fulk
told him that he was sent by the baronage assembled in arms at a
tournament, and warned him that if he delayed to depart till the third day
he and all his "would be cut to pieces." The trembling legate complained
to the king. Henry, however, told him that he could not restrain his
barons. "For the love of God and the reverence of my lord the Pope, give
me a safe-conduct!" the legate prayed. "The devil give you a safe-conduct
to hell, and all through it!" was the answer of the perplexed and petulant
king. A strong remonstrance, in the form of a letter from the people of
England, was read by the English representatives at the Council of Lyons,
in which it was stated that Italian ecclesiastics drew over 60,000 marks a
year from the country. For a while Henry, who was thoroughly alarmed at
the state of affairs, wished to check the drain of money to Rome, and
wrote to Grosseteste complaining that the bishops had undertaken to
collect a tallage which the Pope had laid on the clergy. Grosseteste
replied that they were bound to obey their spiritual father and mother
(the Pope and the Church) then in exile and suffering persecution, for the
papal court was still in exile at Lyons. This view was taken by many
noble-minded churchmen, and especially by the friars, who, though they
proved themselves the friends of constitutional freedom, strongly
maintained the duty of supporting the Popes in their struggle with the

[Sidenote: Robert Grosseteste's letter to Innocent IV., 1253.]

Henry soon returned to his old relations with the Pope, and matters went
from bad to worse. A grant of the tenths of spiritualities was made him
by Innocent in 1252. His proctors appeared before an assembly of bishops,
and without asking them to allow the tax, proposed its immediate
collection. The bishop of Lincoln rose in anger. "What is this, by our
Lady?" he said. "You are taking matters for granted. Do you suppose that
we will consent to this cursed tax? Let us never bow the knee to Baal."
The king tried in vain to frighten some of the bishops by threatening them
separately. The next year he obtained a grant, and in return confirmed the
Great Charter and the Forest Charter. Special solemnity was given to this
act by the bishops. Excommunication was pronounced against all who broke
the charters, and when it had been read they dashed the candles which they
carried to the ground, saying, "So let those who incur this sentence be
quenched and stink in hell;" while the king swore to observe the charters
"as a man, a Christian, a knight, a king crowned and anointed." Robert
Grosseteste died soon after this ceremony, lamenting with his latest
breath the oppressions of the Church, and declaring that her deliverance
would only be effected by the sword. Shortly before his death he showed
how greatly his feelings had been changed towards the papacy by the
troubles that it had brought upon England. Innocent ordered him to induct
one of his nephews into a prebendal stall at Lincoln, adding a clause by
which the Popes used to override all law--_Non obstante_, any privilege of
the church notwithstanding. He refused in a letter in which he speaks
plainly of the Pope's conduct, saying that it was not apostolic, and
reminding him that there was no sin so hateful to the Lord Jesus Christ as
that men should take the milk and the wool of Christ's sheep and betray
the flock. When Innocent heard this letter read, he declared that the
bishop was a "deaf old dotard," and that his "vassal," the king, ought to
imprison him. Here, however, the cardinals interfered, and told the Pope
that that might not be, for the bishop was better and holier than any of
them, a great philosopher and scholar.

[Sidenote: The English Church alienated from papacy.]

[Sidenote: Death of Sewal de Bovil, archbishop of York, 1258.]

Matters were brought to a crisis by the offer of the crown of Sicily to
Henry for his younger son, Edmund, first made by Innocent IV., and
confirmed by his successor, Alexander IV., in the hope of using the wealth
of England to crush Conrad, and afterwards Manfred, the sons of Frederic
II. Henry greedily swallowed the bait, and incurred an enormous debt to
the Pope for the war in Apulia. By the advice of Peter, the Provençal
bishop of Hereford, he tried to satisfy the Pope by the shameful trick of
attaching the seals of the bishops, without their knowledge, to blank
bonds, to be filled up as the Pope chose. Alexander IV. treated the
English Church as insolently as his predecessor. Soon after the
appointment of an Englishman to the deanery of York in 1256, an Italian
cardinal appeared in the church, and was installed as dean by his
companions; he had been "provided" by the Pope. The archbishop, Sewal de
Bovil, had been a pupil of Edmund of Canterbury, by that time canonized,
and was a friend of the famous Oxford Franciscan, Adam Marsh. He
successfully resisted the intrusion. His courage brought excommunication
on him and an interdict on his church, and he died broken-hearted, after
sending a letter to the Pope bidding him remember that the Lord's charge
to Peter was to "feed His sheep, not shear them or devour them." In 1256,
Alexander's envoy, Rustand, pressed the bishops for a tenth for three
years for the Sicilian scheme. Fulk, bishop of London, declared that he
would sooner lose his head; and Walter of Cantelupe, bishop of Worcester,
that he would sooner be hanged. Henry, as his wont was, abused Fulk, and
threatened that the Pope should deprive him. "Let them take away my mitre,
I shall still keep my helmet," was the bishop's answer. The clergy
remonstrated against the envoy's proposal in their diocesan synods, and,
thanks to the opposition offered by the lay barons, the Pope and the king
were defeated. The reverence which Englishmen formerly had for the Roman
Church had now disappeared, and bitter and contemptuous feelings had taken
its place. The venality of the papal court and the wrongs of the Church
were the favourite themes of the ballad-singer; and English monks loved to
tell of visions which represented Innocent as dying struck by the spear of
the glorified bishop of Lincoln, and of the sentence pronounced against
him by the Eternal Judge on the accusation of the Church he had persecuted
and degraded.

[Sidenote: The Church and the Barons' War.]

The evil and wasteful administration of the king led the barons, in 1258,
to place a direct check on the executive, and force Henry to accept the
Provisions of Oxford. Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, the greatest
of the baronial party, had been an intimate friend of Grosseteste, who had
consoled and striven to help him in a time of trouble, while Adam Marsh
had been his spiritual adviser. Simon was anxious for the welfare of the
Church; and the patriotic party among the bishops and the clergy as a body
clung steadfastly to him to the last. The national cause, which was
already weakened by disunion, received a severe blow in 1261, when the
Pope absolved the king from his promises, and annulled the Provisions of
Oxford. Two years later the civil war began. After doing all he could to
make peace, Walter of Cantelupe threw in his lot with Earl Simon. Before
the battle of Lewes, he and Henry, bishop of London, brought to the king
the terms offered by the baronial leaders; and when they were rejected,
Bishop Walter absolved the barons' soldiers, and exhorted them to quit
themselves manfully in the fight. The alliance between the Church and
Simon de Montfort is manifest in the legislation that followed the earl's
victory: the sphere of ecclesiastical jurisdiction was enlarged, and three
bishops were appointed to inquire into grievances. Guido, the legate of
Urban, was refused admission into England; he excommunicated the barons,
ordered Walter of Cantelupe and other bishops to meet him in France, and
sent them back to publish the sentence in England. Their papers were
seized and destroyed, probably not against their will, by the people of
the Cinque Ports. The next year, when the earl found himself in the power
of his foes at Evesham, the aged bishop of Worcester again shrived his
host before the battle. After the defeat and death of Simon, Clement IV.,
the Guido who had been Urban's legate, sent Ottoboni over to England as
legate. Ottoboni suspended the five bishops who had upheld the cause of
freedom; the bishop of Worcester died the next year, and the others
journeyed to Rome, and there purchased their reconciliation. He also did
what he could to bring the rebellion to an end by ecclesiastical censures.
Peace was completely restored in 1267; the king's elder son, Edward, went
on a crusade to Syria, and the Church and the country had a period of

To speak only of the ecclesiastical consequences of the Barons' War, it
may be said in a great measure to have reversed the policy of Innocent
III., in that it did much towards freeing England from vassalage to the
papacy; for the Popes were no longer able to enforce their claim to
interfere as suzerains in her affairs. Further, it taught Edward the
importance of adopting a national policy, of giving each order in the
kingdom a definite place in the constitution, and thus strengthening the
national character of the Church; while it also showed him that if he
would rule the Church and make its wealth available for his own purposes,
he would gain nothing by seeking papal help, and should rather enlist the
services of churchmen as his ministers.

[Sidenote: Higher idea of the clerical office.]

[Sidenote: Rival systems of law.]

The magnificent pontificate of Innocent III. did not fail to affect the
spirit of the English Church and its relations towards the State; it
naturally led to a higher idea of the dignity of the clerical office.
Partly from this cause, and partly owing to the religious revival effected
by the friars, the feeling gathered strength that it was sinful for
ecclesiastics to hold secular posts, a point for which Grosseteste
contended with much earnestness. With the growth of the papal power there
grew up also a desire among the clergy to liberate the administration of
ecclesiastical law from the control of secular courts, and the spirit of
Innocent may be discerned in Grosseteste's argument, that it was sinful
for secular judges to determine whether cases belonged to an
ecclesiastical or a secular tribunal. The study of the civil and canon
laws was eagerly pursued; it was stimulated by the influence of the large
number of foreign ecclesiastics, and even common lawyers found in it a
scientific basis for their own law. Clerical jurists were naturally
aggressive, and the party devoted to the increase of clerical dignity and
power strove to displace the national by the foreign system. The nation at
large, hating the foreigners who preyed upon the country, was strongly
opposed to the introduction of foreign law, and this opposition prompted
the reply of the barons to the proposal made at Merton in 1236, when an
attempt was made to change the law of England, which was, on the point in
question, held by Grosseteste and the clergy generally to be sinful, and
to bring it into accordance with the law of Rome. And the same feeling had
led, not long before, to the compulsory closing of the schools of civil
and canon law in London. On the other hand, the authority of these laws
was upheld by the policy of Gregory IX. A code of papal decrees was
compiled with his sanction, and he was anxious to procure its acceptance
throughout Latin Christendom. What may almost be described as a
corresponding step was taken in England by the publication of a series of
constitutions which formed the foundation of our national canon law--the
constitutions of Stephen Langton, of the legates Otho and Ottoboni, of
Boniface of Savoy, and other archbishops. In some of these a considerable
advance in the pretensions of the clergy is evident. The work of Edward I.
in assigning the clerical estate its place in the scheme of national
government, in forcing it to bear its own (often an unduly large) share in
the national burdens, and in limiting and defining the area of clerical
jurisdiction and lawful pretensions so as to prevent them from trenching
on the national system, will form the main subject of the next chapter.




[Sidenote: Edward I., 1272-1307.]

In the reign of Edward I. the relations between the Church and the Crown
were defined and settled on a constitutional basis, and the clergy were
assigned their own place in the national system. The king was a great
lawgiver, and out of a chaotic mass of customs and institutions chose
those best adapted to create an orderly polity, in which every class of
men fitted for political purposes had its own share both of rights and
duties. At the same time, he had no intention of giving up any of the
prerogatives of the Crown, for he both loved power for its own sake and
was in constant need of money. His reign was, therefore, full of
struggles with those to whom he was giving ascertained rights to share in
the government. He met with considerable opposition from the clergy, for
the influence of the mendicant revival was directed to uphold the papal
pretensions, and as far as possible to render the Church independent of
the State. The main history of his struggles with the clergy assumes two
distinct phases during the periods of the archiepiscopates of Peckham and
Winchelsey. Peckham contended chiefly for the privileges of the National
Church; and the king, who still remained in accord with Rome, got the
better of him, and prevented clerical privilege from hindering his scheme
of national government. Fortunately for the Church and the nation, the
hold of the Pope upon the country was loosened by the breach of the accord
between the papacy and the Crown which had existed ever since the
submission of John. This breach was brought about by the extravagant
pretensions of Rome. During the latter part of the reign, Winchelsey
endeavoured to uphold these pretensions, as he was to some extent bound to
do by his office. He did not, however, confine himself, as Peckham had
done, simply to an ecclesiastical policy; for he took a leading part in
various attempts to diminish the power of the Crown, and sought to secure
a separate position for the Church, with the Pope instead of the king as
her ruler, by allying himself with the party of opposition. Edward was
forced to yield to the political demands made upon him; but he
successfully maintained the rights of the Crown over the Church, and
punished the archbishop for the part he had taken against him. The clergy
equally with the laity had to bear their share of the national burdens;
the claims of Rome were defeated, and the parliament set out on the course
of resistance to the papal usurpations which found its completion in the
sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: Archbishop Kilwardby, 1273; res. 1278.]

[Sidenote: Archbishop Peckham, 1279-1292.]

During the early years of Edward's reign matters went on smoothly between
the Church and the Crown. Gregory X. was the king's friend, and had
accompanied him on his crusade; and his chief adviser and chancellor was
Robert Burnell, a churchman of great ability and wisdom, who thoroughly
understood how to forward his master's ecclesiastical policy. Before
Edward became king he had endeavoured to prevail on the monks of Christ
Church to elect Burnell to succeed Archbishop Boniface. Nevertheless they
chose another as archbishop; the king refused his assent to the election,
and Gregory, to put an end to the vacancy, appointed Robert Kilwardby, a
Dominican friar. Kilwardby, however, was by no means sufficiently vigorous
in asserting the rights of the Church to satisfy Nicolas III., and allowed
the privileges of the clergy in matters of jurisdiction to be curtailed by
statute. Nicolas accordingly raised him to the cardinalate in 1278, called
him to Rome, and thus forced him to resign the archbishopric. Edward
secured the election of his friend and minister, Burnell, then bishop of
Bath and Wells, and urged the Pope to confirm it. He was again foiled; for
Nicolas, after causing inquiries to be made as to the fitness of the
archbishop-elect, informed the king that he could not assent to his
request, and appointed John Peckham, the provincial of the English
Franciscans, laying down the rule that, as the death of a prelate at Rome
had long been held to give the Pope the right of appointing a successor, a
resignation, which was, he declared, an analogous event, had the same

Robert Burnell and the new archbishop were extreme types of two opposite
sorts of churchmen. The chancellor, who was wholly devoted to the king's
service, was a statesman of high order. He was magnificent in his tastes
and expenditure, held many rich preferments, and took care that his
relations also should be enriched out of the wealth of the Church. His
mode of life was secular, and the grand matches that he arranged for his
daughters created no small scandal. Peckham, on the other hand, was a
model friar, pious and learned, with exalted ideas of the rights of the
papacy and the privileges of the clergy. He was fearless and
conscientious, unwise and impracticable. Between him and Bishop Robert and
the other clerical advisers of the king there was, of course, no sympathy.
He was anxious that the dignities and benefices of the Church should be
worthily bestowed, and laboured to carry out the injunctions of Nicolas
III. against the prevalent abuse of pluralities. On this matter Peckham
wrote plainly to Edward that he would oblige him as far as he might
without offending God, but could go no further, and that he was already
sneered at for "conniving at the damnable multitude of benefices held by
his clerks." Nicolas strove to check the promotion of secular-minded
bishops, and when Edward procured the election of Burnell to the see of
Winchester, ordered the chapter to proceed to another election. Peckham
was blamed for this, and it was also alleged that he had used his
influence at Rome against another of the king's ministers, Anthony Bek,
afterwards the warlike bishop of Durham. However, he denied that he had
said anything to hinder the promotion of either.

Almost immediately on his arrival in England in 1279, the archbishop came
into collision with the king. He held a provincial council at Reading, in
which, besides publishing the canons of the Council of Lyons against
pluralities, he decreed that excommunication should be pronounced against
all who obtained the king's writ to stop proceedings in ecclesiastical
suits against any royal officer who refused to carry out the sentence of a
spiritual court, and against all who impugned the Great Charter; and
further ordered that the clergy should expound these decrees to their
parishioners, and affix copies of the Charter to the doors of cathedral
and collegiate churches. These decrees were a direct challenge to the
king, and Edward treated them as such; for in his next parliament he
compelled Peckham to revoke them, and to declare that nothing that had
been done at the council should be held to prejudice the rights of the
Crown or the kingdom.

[Sidenote: Statute of Mortmain, 1279.]

Edward further rebuffed the archbishop by publishing the statute "De
Religiosis" or "of Mortmain." This statute, though, as regards the date of
its promulgation part of Edward's answer to Peckham's assumption, was
directed against an abuse of long standing, and was in strict accordance
with the king's general policy. It forbade, on pain of forfeiture, the
alienation of land to religious bodies which were incapable of performing
the services due from it. Land so conveyed was said to be in _mortmain_,
or in a dead hand, because it no longer yielded profit to the lord, who
was thus defrauded of his right of service, escheat, and other feudal
incidents. Besides the vast amount of land that was held by the Church,
estates were often fraudulently conveyed to ecclesiastical bodies, to be
received again free of services by the alienor as tenant; and thus the
superior lord, and the king as capital lord, were cheated, and the means
for the defence of the realm were diminished. These evils were partially
checked by Henry II., who levied scutage on the knights' fees held by the
clergy, and the practice of conveying lands in mortmain was prohibited by
one of the Provisions of Westminster in 1259. Edward's statute gave force
to this provision by rendering it lawful, in case the immediate lord
neglected to avail himself of the forfeiture, for the next chief lord to
do so. Moreover, the king still further showed his discontent at the
attitude of the clergy by demanding an aid from them. In spite of these
rebuffs, Peckham pursued his policy of attempting to enlarge the sphere of
spiritual jurisdiction at the cost of the jurisdiction of the Crown, and
proposals were made in a council which he held at Lambeth in 1281 to
remove suits concerning patronage and the goods of the clergy from the
royal to the ecclesiastical courts. Here, however, the king interfered,
and peremptorily forbade the council to meddle in matters affecting the
Crown. Peckham was forced to give way, and shortly afterwards sent Edward
a letter asserting in the strongest terms the liberties of the Church as
agreeable to Scripture and the history of England, pointing out that it
was his duty to order his conduct by the decrees of the Popes and the
rules of the Church, referring the oppressions under which, he said, the
clergy were suffering to the policy of Henry I. and Henry II., and
reminding the king of the martyrdom of St. Thomas of Canterbury for the
Church's sake.

[Sidenote: Conquest of Wales, 1282.]

When Edward invaded Wales in 1282, Peckham, moved with a desire for peace
and with compassion for the Welsh, endeavoured to persuade Llewelyn to
submit to the English king, and, contrary to Edward's will, went alone to
Llewelyn's fortress of Aber, and tried to arrange terms. When his efforts
proved in vain, he wrote an angry and irritating letter to the Welsh
prince. Nevertheless he exerted himself on behalf of the Welsh clergy,
prayed Edward to allow the clerks in Snowdon to leave the country with
their goods, wrote indignantly to Burnell to complain that some clerks had
been hanged at Rhuddlan, "to the reproach of the clergy and the contempt
of the Church," and exhorted the king to restore the churches that had
been destroyed in the war. The backward and disorderly condition of the
Welsh Church caused him much concern, and he urged the bishops of Bangor
and St. Asaph's to put a stop to the concubinage or marriage of the
clergy, their unseemly dress, and their neglect of their duties, to insist
on the observance of the decrees of Otho and Ottoboni, and to do all in
their power to overcome the angry feelings of their flocks towards the
English, so that the very word "foreignry" might no more be used among
them. Moreover, he was anxious to see the Welsh become civilized, and
wrote to Edward advising him to encourage them to settle in towns and
follow industries, and, as there were no means of education in Wales, to
make the Welsh boys come to England and be taught there, instead of
entering the household of a native prince, where they learnt nothing but
robbery. Indeed, it would have been well for Wales had Peckham's wishes on
these and other matters been carried out. The war taxed the king's
resources severely, and, towards the end of it, Edward ordered the seizure
of the money that, in accordance with a decree of the Council of Lyons,
had been collected for a crusade, and stored in various great churches in
England. This brought an indignant letter from Pope Martin IV. Before its
arrival, however, the king had promised that the money should be refunded.
Not content with a promise, the archbishop went off to meet Edward at
Acton Burnell, and prevailed on him to make immediate restitution.

[Sidenote: Limits of spiritual jurisdiction defined.]

Undismayed by his previous failures, Peckham, in 1285, made another
attempt to secure the independence of the Church in matters of
jurisdiction; and a series of articles was drawn up by the bishops of his
province in convocation, and presented to the king. The most important of
these urged that a check should be put on the issue of prohibitions from
the king's court staying proceedings in ecclesiastical courts. The
articles were answered by the chancellor; some concessions were made
which failed to satisfy the bishops, and a reply was sent criticizing the
chancellor's answers. Edward was determined to settle the relations of the
Church and the Crown in these matters. He had, perhaps before receiving
the articles, caused an inquisition to be made into suits brought by the
clergy against laymen, had imprisoned all the judges and officers of the
ecclesiastical courts who were convicted of having fined laymen too
heavily, and had declared that these courts could not claim as of right
the cognizance of any save matrimonial and testamentary causes. This
violent curtailment of the rights of the Church was maintained during the
dispute with the prelates. It was modified shortly afterwards by a writ,
addressed to the bishops by the king in parliament, and called
"Circumspecte agatis." By this writ, which had the force of a statute,
ecclesiastical jurisdiction was defined as extending to cases of deadly
sin which were visited by penance or fine, and offences as regards things
spiritual, such as neglect of churches, to suits about tithes and
offerings, assaults on clerks, defamation, and perjury which did not
involve a question of money. This writ, then, ascertained the limits
between the areas proper to the secular and the ecclesiastical courts,
settled the relations between Church and State in England as far as
jurisdiction was concerned, and declared the triumph of the principles
which Henry II. had laid down in the Constitutions of Clarendon. The
punishments inflicted by spiritual judges for the correction of the soul
put a salutary check on violence and debauchery; and if sometimes the
clergy used their spiritual power to defend their temporal rights, they
executed justice on offenders against morality without respect of persons.
Peckham gave a signal instance of this by condemning Sir Osbert Giffard,
who had carried off two nuns from Wilton, to nine public floggings, to
fasting, and to put off the dress and accoutrements of a knight and a
gentleman until he had made a three years' pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
And as an ecclesiastical judge had a right to a writ committing any
excommunicated person to prison until satisfaction was given to the
Church, an offender was forced to submit to the penance imposed on him.

[Sidenote: Expulsion of the Jews, 1290.]

Although the expulsion of the Jews is chiefly a matter of economic and
constitutional importance, it has also an ecclesiastical bearing. In spite
of Edward's policy in Church matters, he was a religious man. When he was
in trouble or danger he made vows which he always performed: he often
passed Lent to some extent in retirement, and he seems to have been
pleased to attend religious ceremonies. Apart, therefore, from worldly
reasons, he must have felt--for such was the general feeling of the
day--that the protection afforded to the Jews by the Crown and the profit
they brought to the Exchequer were alike ungodly. Besides, as a crusader
he was bound to hate the enemies of the cross. The Jews were wealthy, and
did no small harm by their usurious practices. Although Edward forbade
them to carry on usury, the law does not seem to have been enforced; and
the rich, and among them even the excellent Queen Eleanor, profited by
their extortions. While the king treated them with much severity, he
seems to have been anxious for their conversion, though the means adopted
to bring this about were not always judicious. They were compelled to
attend and listen diligently to sermons preached against their faith; the
Converts' House in London was re-endowed, and Peckham was careful to
prevent them from building any new synagogues in the city. Edward, who,
soon after he had taken a second crusading vow in 1287, had ordered the
Jews to leave his continental dominions, at last, in 1290, greatly to the
delight of all classes, expelled them from England. Both clergy and laity
testified their approval of the measure by making him a grant.

[Sidenote: Clerical taxation.]

[Sidenote: Archbishop Winchelsey, 1294-1313.]

During the early part of Edward's reign, the clergy had no reason to
complain of excessive taxation. Some discontent was, indeed, felt at the
new and more stringent valuation of clerical property which was made after
Nicolas IV. had, in 1288, granted the king a tenth for six years for the
purpose of a new crusade. This valuation, called the "Taxation of Pope
Nicolas," took cognizance of both the temporalities and the spiritualities
of the clergy, and was used as the basis for ecclesiastical taxation until
the sixteenth century. In 1294, however, Edward was in great straits for
money, for he was forced into a war with France. Robert Burnell was dead,
and the measures Edward adopted to raise money probably show how much he
lost by his minister's death. Among other unconstitutional acts, he seized
the money and treasure stored in the cathedrals and abbeys. He called an
assembly of the clergy of both provinces and demanded a grant. The clergy
had no head; for Peckham died in 1292, and Robert Winchelsey, who had been
elected as his successor, was still at Rome, whither he had gone for
consecration. They failed to appreciate the urgency of the crisis, and
offered a single grant of two-tenths. Edward was indignant, and declared
that they should give him one-half of their revenues, or he would outlaw
them. The dean of St. Paul's, who went to court hoping to pacify him, was
so frightened at his anger that he fell down dead. Finally, Edward sent a
knight to the assembled clergy; his messenger bluntly stated the king's
demand, and added, "Whoever of you will say him nay, let him stand up that
he may be known." They tried to make conditions, and prayed for the
abrogation of the Statute of Mortmain. To this the king would not consent,
and they were forced to yield to his grievous demand.

[Sidenote: Parliamentary representation.]

Edward's need of money led him to perfect the organization of parliament
as an assembly of estates competent to speak and act for the nation. In
this assembly the estate of the clergy was to have its place. National
councils of the Church, though held on the occasion of legatine visits,
consisted only of bishops, and had fallen into disuse; and the clerical
grants were made by the convocations of the two provinces separately.
Besides these provincial convocations, the clergy met in diocesan synods,
and also in assemblies of archdeaconries or other districts. The diocesan
synods, the cathedral chapters, and sometimes the smaller clerical
assemblies, were consulted as to proposed grants, and acted independently
of each other. In the last reign, for example, the rectors of Berkshire
drew up a remonstrance against a grant to help the Pope in his war with
the Emperor. Inconvenient as it was, the practice of seeking the assent of
local synods to taxation was necessary so long as the whole body of the
beneficed clergy was not systematically represented in convocation. The
principle of clerical representation had gained ground during the reign of
Henry III., and in 1283 Peckham confirmed it by fixing the manner in which
it was to be carried out. Two proctors were to be chosen by the clergy of
each diocese of the southern province, and one for each cathedral and
collegiate chapter. In the northern province the custom of choosing two
proctors for each archdeaconry appears to have obtained somewhat earlier.
Edward, when settling the representation of the clergy in Parliament,
adopted Peckham's system, and in summoning the bishops to the parliament
of 1295, which has served as a model for all future parliaments, caused a
clause, called the "_præmunientes_" clause, to be inserted in the writs,
directing each bishop to order the election of two proctors for the clergy
of his diocese and one for his cathedral chapter, who should attend
parliament with full power to "discuss, ordain, and act." Thus the clergy
became one of the parliamentary estates, and, like the other estates, made
their grants independently, and possibly deliberated apart. As, however,
their tendency was at this time towards the assertion of a separate
position in the State, they did not value this change, and, as we shall
see, soon succeeded in establishing the custom of making their grants in
their own convocations.

[Sidenote: Breach between the Crown and the Papacy.]

The submission of John to Innocent III. had established an accord between
the Crown and the papacy that had in the last reign been fraught with evil
to the Church. It came to an end because Edward, who was determined that
the Church should be national in the fullest sense, and should take its
place in the national system with clearly defined rights and with a
liability to public burdens, found his plans opposed by a Pope who would
recognize no limit to his authority, or to the immunities of the clergy.
This Pope was Boniface VIII. Forgetful alike of the spirit of resistance
to papal interference that had lately been exhibited in England, of the
increase of independent thought that had arisen from the influence of the
universities, and of the effect of the doctrines of the civil lawyers in
magnifying the authority of the king, and equally forgetful of the rapid
advance of the power of the French monarchy, Boniface attempted to usurp
the rights of the Crown in both countries. In February 1296 he published
the bull "Clercis laicos," forbidding, on pain of excommunication, the
clergy to grant, or the secular power to take, any taxes from the revenues
of churches or the goods of clerks. In the October parliament the laity
made their grants; but the clergy, after a debate led by Winchelsey, which
lasted several days, informed the king that they could grant him nothing.
Edward would not accept this answer, and ordered Winchelsey to let him
know their final determination the following January. The archbishop
accordingly held a convocation at St. Paul's on St. Hilary's Day, to
decide whether there was any middle way between disobeying the Pope and
disobeying the king. Hugh Despenser and a clerk, who attended as the
king's proctors, set forth the dangers of foreign invasion that threatened
the kingdom. By way of reply, Winchelsey caused the Pope's bull to be
read. Despenser then plainly told the clergy that unless they granted the
sum needed for the defence of the country the king and the lords would
treat their revenues as might seem good to them. They persevered in their
refusal; and on the 12th of February the king, who was in urgent need of
supplies for the war against France, outlawed the whole of the clergy of
the southern province, took their lay fees into his own hand, and allowed
any one who would to seize their horses. Meanwhile Winchelsey
excommunicated all who should contravene the papal decree. The clergy of
the northern province, however, submitted, and received letters of
protection. Edward's difficulties were increased by the refusal of his
lords, led by the Constable and Marshal, the Earls Bohun and Bigod, to
make an expedition to Flanders whilst he went to the army in Gascony.
Winchelsey, though not wavering himself, was unwilling to expose any of
his clergy to further danger, if they could find a way of escape, and held
another convocation, in which he bade each "save his own soul." Many of
them accordingly compounded with the commissioners whom the king had
appointed for that purpose.

[Sidenote: Winchelsey and the Charters.]

In spite of the threatening attitude of the malcontent lords, Edward could
not refuse to fulfil his engagements to his allies. He raised supplies
and a force by means which, though unconstitutional, were justified by
necessity, was reconciled to the archbishop, and took a solemn leave of
his people from a platform in front of Westminster Hall, telling them that
he knew that he had not reigned as well as he ought, but that all the
money that had been taken from them had been spent in their defence, and
requesting them, if he did not return from Flanders, to crown his son
Edward. Winchelsey wept at the king's words, and all the people shouted
assent. Nevertheless, the barons remained rebellious, demanded that the
king should confirm the Great Charter and the Forest Charter, and
presented a petition of grievances. Nor was the ecclesiastical matter
settled, though the clergy offered to ask the Pope's leave to make a
grant. Before Edward left he taxed the temporalities of the clergy, for he
evidently suspected them of acting with the malcontents. Soon after he had
set sail, the barons came up armed to a council at London, which was
attended by the bishops, though not by the inferior clergy. Winchelsey
seems to have presided at this council; and apparently by his advice the
young Edward, whom his father had left as regent, was required to confirm
the charters with certain additions. He assented, and sent the charters to
his father, who confirmed them along with the new articles. These articles
may be said to have declared it illegal for the Crown to levy any taxes or
imposts, save those anciently pertaining to it, without the consent of

In November the ecclesiastical dispute was brought to an end. Early in
the year Boniface, to satisfy Philip of France, declared that he did not
forbid the clergy to contribute to national defence or to make voluntary
grants; and Winchelsey took advantage of a Scottish invasion to recommend
the clergy to tax themselves. The dispute had been independent of the
rebellious behaviour of the Constable and Marshal, who had taken advantage
of it to put pressure on the king. Winchelsey's conduct with regard to the
proceedings of the earls seems to prove that he had an enlightened desire
for constitutional freedom; and the Church in his person again appeared,
as she had appeared so often before, as the assertor of national rights.
Nor did the Church fail to gain much by the issue of the ecclesiastical
dispute. The victory lay with the Crown; the national character of the
Church was established, and it was saved from the danger of sinking into a
handmaid of Rome, which would probably have come to pass if the papacy and
the Crown had remained at one. From henceforth the Church generally found
the State ready to protect her liberties from papal invasion.

[Sidenote: Winchelsey's policy of opposition.]

After Edward's return fresh demands were made upon him, and a long
struggle ensued between him and the parliament on the subject of
disafforestation, or the reduction of the royal forests to their ancient
boundaries. Winchelsey evidently continued in opposition, partly with the
view of increasing the papal authority by embarrassing the king. His
desire to uphold the Pope's authority led him at last to commit the fatal
error of opposing a cause of national concern. Edward's claim to the
crown of Scotland was alternately admitted and rejected by the Scottish
lords, who submitted to him when he overawed them by appearing in Scotland
at the head of his forces, and rebelled when he returned to England.
Finding themselves unable to resist him, they appealed to Boniface to help
them. Accordingly, in 1299, Boniface published a bull asserting that the
kingdom of Scotland was a fief of the Holy See, and ordering Edward to
submit his claim to the decision of Rome. On receiving this bull
Winchelsey journeyed to Galloway, where Edward then was, and in August
1300 appeared before him, in company with a papal envoy, presented the
bull, and added, it is said, an exhortation of his own on the duty of
obedience and the happiness of those who were as the people of Jerusalem
and as Mount Zion. "By God's blood!" shouted the indignant king, "I will
not hold my peace for Zion, nor keep silence for Jerusalem, but will
defend my right that is known to all the world with all my might." The
archbishop was bidden to inform the Pope that the king would send him an
answer after he had consulted with his lords, for "it was the custom of
England that in matters touching the state of the realm all those who were
affected by the business should be consulted."

Acting on this principle, Edward, early the next year, laid the bull
before his barons at a parliament held at Lincoln, and bade them proceed
in the matter. Accordingly they wrote to the Pope, on behalf of themselves
and the whole community of the realm, briefly informing him that the
feudal superiority over Scotland belonged to the English Crown; that the
kings of England ought not to answer before any judge, ecclesiastical or
secular, concerning their rights in that kingdom; that they had determined
that their king should not answer concerning them or any other of his
temporal rights before the Pope, or accept his judgment, or send proctors
to his court; and that, even if he were willing to obey the bull, they
would not allow him to do so. This letter was signed by the lay baronage
only, not by the bishops. At this parliament the barons requested the king
to dismiss his treasurer, Walter Langton, bishop of Lichfield, and
presented certain petitions for reform. Most of these petitions were
granted, and among them the demand for disafforestation; the last, that
the goods of the clergy should not be taxed against the will of the Pope,
evidently bears witness to the terms of the alliance between Winchelsey
and the barons. This article was rejected by the king, who thus further
separated the baronial from the clerical interest. Nor did he dismiss
Langton, who was soon afterwards suspended from his bishopric on charges
of adultery, simony, homicide, and dealings with the devil; he was
acquitted by the Pope, and probably owed his suspension to Winchelsey's

[Sidenote: Clement V., 1305-1316.]

[Sidenote: Winchelsey suspended.]

The overthrow of Boniface by the French king, Philip IV., involved the
failure of his attempt to establish the dominion of the papacy over
national churches. Clement V., the next Pope but one, was a Gascon, and
settled the papal court at Avignon, where it remained for seventy years, a
period called the "Babylonish captivity." During this period the papal
court became a French institution. This caused Englishmen to be very
jealous of the Pope's interference; and when the king was at one with his
people the Popes were not allowed to exercise much authority here, and the
national character of the Church was effectually defended. Clement was
anxious to oblige Edward. As a Gascon noble, and as archbishop of
Bordeaux, he had been his subject, and as Pope he was not willing to
become the tool of the French king. Edward took advantage of his goodwill.
He considered that his people had dealt hardly with him, and had forced
him to give up his just rights, and he obtained a bull from the Pope
absolving him from the oaths which he had taken. In doing so he simply
acted in accordance with the ideas of his time, and this is the one excuse
that can be made for him. Nor was he content with thus providing for the
repair of his royal dignity; he took vengeance on the man who had done as
much as any one to lessen it. In 1305, when the old baronial opposition
had wholly ceased, he accused Winchelsey of having engaged in treason in
1301, and added other causes of complaint against him. Edward submitted
the charges against him to the Pope, who suspended him, and summoned him
to Rome. He did not return to England until after the king's death.
Although the Pope took the administration of the see of Canterbury into
his own hands, the king, of course, seized the temporalities. Clement
complained of this; and Edward, in order to ensure the continuance of his
triumph over the archbishop, allowed the Pope's agents to receive the
profits arising from them.

[Sidenote: Remonstrance of parliament against papal exactions, 1307.]

While, however, the king and the Pope were thus obliging one another, the
papacy had nevertheless lost ground in England. For full eighty years its
power here had depended mainly on its alliance with the Crown; and now
that Boniface had shown that this power, if unchecked, would destroy the
rights of the Crown over the Church, the king was prepared to join with
his people in resisting it. Winchelsey's absence afforded an opportunity.
In a parliament held at Carlisle in 1307, statutes were published
prohibiting the taxation of English monasteries by their foreign
superiors; and while much debate was being held on the oppression of Rome,
a letter was found, written under an assumed name and addressed to the
"Noble Church of England, now in mire and servitude," which set forth in
terms of bitter sarcasm the evils she suffered from her "pretended father"
the Pope. This letter was read before the king, a cardinal-legate who was
visiting England to arrange the marriage of the Prince of Wales, and the
whole parliament. A document was then drawn up enumerating the
encroachments of Rome which were carried out by the papal agents and
collectors. These were the appointment of foreigners to English benefices
by provisions; the application of monastic revenues to the maintenance of
cardinals; the reservation of first-fruits, then a novel claim; the
increase in the amount demanded as Peter's pence, and other oppressions.
The cause of complaint with reference to Peter's pence arose from an
attempt of William de Testa, the Pope's collector, to demand a penny for
each household, instead of the fixed sum hitherto paid. The articles were
accepted and forwarded to the Pope, and Testa was examined before
parliament, and ordered to abstain from further exactions. Edward,
however, was hampered by his need of Clement's co-operation. After the
parliament was dissolved, he was persuaded by the cardinal to allow Testa
to proceed with the collection of first-fruits; and when the papal agents
appeared before the council to answer the charges made against them in
parliament, they took up an aggressive position, and complained that they
had been hindered in the execution of their duty. Before these matters
were brought to a conclusion the king died.

[Sidenote: Edward II., 1307-1327.]

Immediately on his accession, Edward II. recalled Winchelsey, and
imprisoned his father's minister, Walter Langton. The resistance to papal
exactions was renewed in a parliament held at Stamford in 1309, where the
king gave his consent to a petition presented by the lay estates for the
reformation of civil abuses. At this parliament the barons sent a letter
of complaint to the Pope of much the same character as the document drawn
up at Carlisle. Clement, by way of answer, complained that his collectors
were impeded, that his briefs and citations were not respected, that
laymen exercised jurisdiction over spiritual persons, and that the tribute
granted by John to the See of Rome had not been paid for some fifteen
years. Here the matter seems to have ended, and the chief features of our
Church history during this wretched reign are closely connected with the
quarrels and general disorganization that prevailed in the kingdom. For a
time Winchelsey acted with the king, but Edward's carelessness and evil
government drove him into opposition. While the country at large had much
to complain of, the Church had her special grievances. In 1309 the
archbishop held a provincial council to decide on proceedings against the
Templars; for the king had promised the Pope that the English Church
should take part in attacking the Order. At this council gravamina were
adopted which show that constant encroachments were made on the sphere of
ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The next year the archbishop and six of his
suffragans were chosen as "Ordainers," the name given to a commission
appointed by a council of magnates, lay and spiritual, to carry out a
system of reform. Winchelsey and the bishops of his province pronounced
excommunication against all who hindered the ordinances, or revealed the
secrets of the Ordainers. First among the objects which the Ordainers
swore to promote was the increase of the honour and welfare of the Church;
and the interference with the spiritual courts which had been complained
of the year before was forbidden by one of their ordinances. As Winchelsey
thus joined the party of opposition, the king, in 1312, released Langton,
and appointed him treasurer; for, in spite of all that had passed, the old
servant of Edward I. upheld the cause of the Crown. The earl of Lancaster,
the head of the opposition, seems to have been regarded as favourable to
the claims of the Church; for in 1316, when he had virtually obtained the
complete control of the kingdom, the estate of the clergy presented, in a
parliament held at Lincoln, a series of complaints called "Articuli
Cleri." The royal assent was given, and the "articles" became a statute.
By these articles the rules laid down in the writ "Circumspecte agatis"
were re-enacted, and various rights and liberties, touching matters of
jurisdiction and sanctuary, were acknowledged. Among these, it was allowed
that it pertained to a spiritual, and not to any temporal judge, to
examine into the fitness of a parson presented to a benefice, and that
elections to dignities should be free from lay interference.

[Sidenote: Bishops appointed by provision.]

Throughout the whole reign elections by capitular bodies were constantly
set at nought. Sometimes the Pope appointed to a bishopric on the king's
recommendation, and sometimes in spite of his wishes. From the time of
Stephen Langton onwards, the Popes had so often interfered with the
appointment to the primacy, either, as in the case of Peckham, acting in
opposition to the Crown, or, as in that of Winchelsey, in unison with it,
that their claim was now tacitly admitted. As regards suffragan
bishoprics, their interference was often exercised owing either to the
death of a bishop at Rome, or to appeals. Besides, it seems to have been
laid down in this reign that the right of appointing to a see vacant by
translation belonged to the Pope, who alone had the power to sanction the
divorce between a bishop and his diocese. The embarrassments of Edward II.
encouraged a still greater encroachment on the rights of the Church and of
the Crown; and Clement simply appointed bishops by reservation and
provision, declaring that he had during the lifetime of the last bishop
reserved the appointment for himself, and that as a vacancy had occurred,
he had found a fit man, and provided him accordingly. In some cases the
bishop thus provided had been nominated by the Crown and elected by the
chapter; in others the wishes of both were set aside out of the fulness of
the Pope's power.

The bishops of this reign were as a body, though with some exceptions,
worldly and self-seeking. On the death of Winchelsey, in 1313, the monks
of Christ Church chose a new archbishop of high repute for learning and
character. At the king's request, Clement set aside their election and
appointed Edward's old tutor, Walter Reynolds, bishop of Worcester, the
son of a baker, and a man in all respects unworthy of such an office.
Before he came to the throne Edward had found him useful to him, and when
he became king he made him treasurer and chancellor. During the troubles
of the reign, Reynolds adhered to the king until he began to suspect that
it was no longer his interest to do so. An election made by the chapter of
Durham was set aside by John XXII., who provided Lewis Beaumont, an
ignorant man, and lame in both his feet, so that it was said in England,
that the Pope would never have appointed him if he had seen him. Beaumont,
however, was a connexion of Edward's queen, Isabella; and John, who was a
Provençal, was willing to do anything to oblige the French court. The same
year the Pope disregarded both the choice of the chapter of Hereford and
the earnest request of the king, and appointed Adam Orlton to the see.
Utterly unscrupulous, and at once bold and subtle, Orlton was the worst of
all the bad bishops of his time. About two years later, Edward tried to
obtain the appointment of Henry Burghersh, the nephew of Lord Badlesmere,
who was at that time useful to him, to the see of Winchester. Pope John
reserved the see, and appointed an Italian. However, in 1320, the Lincoln
chapter elected Burghersh in order to please the king; and Badlesmere, who
was then at Avignon, is said to have spent a vast sum of the king's money
in procuring the papal assent, for Burghersh was under the canonical age.

[Sidenote: The Bishops and secular politics.]

When the barons formed a league against the king's favourites, the
Despensers, in 1321, they were joined by Burghersh, who followed his
kinsman Badlesmere, by Orlton, and John of Drokensford, bishop of Bath.
The victory of Boroughbridge gave the king supreme power, and he caused
Orlton to be arrested, and charged with treason before the peers. Orlton
declared that his metropolitan was, under the Pope, his immediate judge,
and refused to plead without the consent of the archbishop and his
suffragans. The primate and his suffragans then rose and prayed the king
to have mercy on the bishop. Edward refused, and they then pleaded the
privilege of the Church, and claimed him as a clerk. He was accordingly
delivered over to the custody of the archbishop. Nevertheless the king
caused a jury to try him in his absence, and obtained a verdict against
him. But the archbishop would not give him up. Edward sent to Avignon to
complain of the conduct of the three bishops who had sided with the barons
against him, and requested the Pope to deprive them of their English sees.
He did not turn his victory to good account. In 1325 two of the bishops
who had obtained their sees from the Pope against the king's will, John
Stratford of Winchester and William Ayermin of Norwich, while on an
embassy to France, entered into a plot against the Despensers. By their
advice the queen was sent into France, and there Mortimer joined her. The
king in vain urged her to return, and the bishops, at his request, sent a
letter to the same effect. She came back at last with an armed force, and
Orlton, Burghersh, and Ayermin raised money for her from their
fellow-bishops. When she came to Oxford, Orlton expounded the reason of
her rebellion to the university in a sermon, taking as his text the words,
"Caput meum doleo" (2 Kings iv. 19). Reynolds and some of the bishops
remained for a while in London, trying to quiet matters. While they were
there, Bishop Stapleton of Exeter, who had been one of the king's
ministers, and remained faithful to him, was slain by the citizens. His
murder caused them to flee, and Stratford, and at last Reynolds, joined
the queen's party. The king was now a prisoner, and Reynolds, who owed
everything to his favour, Stratford, whom he had forgiven and trusted in
spite of his having deceived him, and Orlton, his avowed enemy, took
active part in his deposition.

[Sidenote: The Battle of Myton, 1319.]

[Sidenote: The Sherburn Parliament, 1321.]

Meanwhile the province of York had been exposed to the ravages of the
Scots. Edward prevailed on John XXII. to command a truce and send over
legates with authority to excommunicate Bruce. The legates' envoys were
robbed and ill-treated, and the sentence was accordingly pronounced. It
had no effect on the war, and in 1318 the Scots broke into Yorkshire. They
made a savage raid, and did much damage to churches and ecclesiastical
property. Ripon paid them £1000 for its safety. A new archbishop, William
Melton, had lately been consecrated. He had served the king and his
father well, and Edward, after some trouble, had obtained the Pope's
confirmation for him. He was made one of the wardens of the marches, and
at once arrayed his tenants for military service. There was little help to
be obtained from the king, and when the Scots came down the next year most
of the fighting men of the north had been called away to Edward's army at
Berwick. Melton, however, raised what local force he could, and led a
large and undisciplined host to meet the Scottish army at Myton. The
archbishop's army was routed, and so many clerks were slain in the battle
that it was called the "chapter of Myton." The absence of any united and
vigorous action for the defence of the country was largely due to the
disloyalty and selfishness of Thomas, earl of Lancaster. The earl was
powerful in Yorkshire, and after making a league for mutual support with
the lords of the north, he summoned a meeting of the estates at Sherburn,
near Pomfret, in 1321. To this northern parliament he called the
archbishop and prelates of the province, and Melton and the clergy obeyed
his summons, evidently with the hope of making peace. Lancaster's
parliament met in the parish church, and after the schedule of grievances
and the lords' bond of association had been read, the earl bade the
prelates consult apart, and give him their answer; for all was done as
though in a legal and national parliament. The clergy debated in the
rectory, and sent a reply in to the earl that was wise and worthy of their
profession. They petitioned for a cessation of hostile movements, and for
concord in the next parliament, so that, by God's favour, parliament might
find remedies for the grievances expressed in the articles. In other
words, they exhorted the earl to abandon his isolated position, and seek
the good of the country by peaceful and constitutional means. Their answer
was received graciously, but their advice was not followed. The archbishop
took no part in the disloyal conduct of the majority of the bishops; he
and his suffragan of Carlisle, and two bishops of the southern province,
protested against the deposition of Edward II., and he abstained from
attending the coronation of the young king.

[Sidenote: Parliament and convocation.]

During the reign of Edward II. the clergy showed their unwillingness to
attend parliament, and their decided preference for voting their grants in
convocation. When, for example, they were summoned to the parliament in
which the work of the Ordainers was published in 1311, they sent no
proctors. Before the meeting in the autumn the king wrote to the
archbishops, calling on them to urge the attendance of the clergy.
Winchelsey objected to the writ, and the king issued another, promising
that if it contained any cause of offence it should be remedied. Again, in
1314 Edward ordered the archbishops to summon the convocations of their
provinces to treat about an aid. The clergy, however, declared that this
was an infringement of the rights of the Church, and departed without
further discussion. Before the next parliament, besides the regular writ
with the "præmunientes" clause, he sent a special letter to the
archbishops, urging them to press the attendance of the clergy; and this
double summons was thenceforth sent regularly until 1340. Nevertheless in
1318 the clerical estate in parliament refused to make a grant without
convocation. When the matter was referred to the convocation of
Canterbury, the answer was returned that the grant must depend on the
Pope's consent, and a messenger was sent to Avignon to obtain it. The
position of the clerical estate in Parliament was peculiar, for it is
certain that its consent was not necessary to legislation. At the same
time, when, as in 1316, a petition of the clergy touching spiritual
matters received the royal assent, it was with that assent accepted as a
statute. In convocation the action of the clergy was perfectly free; they
made what grant they would without lay interference, though they had no
means of appropriating the supplies they voted. While they withdrew as far
as possible from parliament, they did not do so altogether, and in
critical times their attendance was specially insisted on, in order that
the consent of parliament might be general. Even at the present day they
are summoned to every parliament by the "præmunientes" clause, and it is
by their own act, by their preference for taxing themselves in their own
assembly, that they have lost the right of obeying the summons.
Convocations were summoned by the archbishops for other purposes besides
taxation, and the ordinary legislative business of the Church was carried
on in them. When a convocation met for self-taxation, it did so in
consequence of a royal request for money, though it was summoned, as on
other occasions, by the archbishop, not by the king. As the king made a
like request to the lay estates at the same time, it naturally came to
pass that convocation and parliament met about the same date. Nevertheless
it would be easy to give many instances which show that meetings of
convocation for purposes of taxation were not necessarily concurrent with,
nor in any way dependent upon, the parliamentary session, as they became
at a later period.




[Sidenote: Character of the period.]

The fifty years of the reign of Edward III. are of special importance in
the history of our Church; for they witnessed the restriction of papal
authority by parliament, and the rise of a spirit of discontent at evils
which existed in the National Church. From the time of John's submission
the Popes had constantly treated England as a never-failing treasury, and
had diverted the revenues of the Church to their own purposes. The breach
between the papacy and the Crown in the reign of Edward I. had been
followed by the expression of the national sense of injury in the
parliament of Carlisle. The war with France caused the anti-papal feeling
to grow and bring forth fruit. It was intolerable that the wealth of the
country should go to enrich its enemies, and that French Popes should
exercise jurisdiction here in defiance of the will of the king and to the
subversion of the common law. The victories of England find their
ecclesiastical significance in the legislation against papal oppression,
in the statutes of Provisors and Præmunire. Within the Church several
causes combined to give rise to an anti-clerical feeling. While the nation
suffered severely from the expenses of the war, the Church was rich, and
might, so men thought, well be forced to bear a larger share of the
general burdens than the clergy were willing to lay upon themselves. The
bishops filled all the chief administrative offices, and enjoyed their
revenues in addition to the wealth of their sees. The inferior clergy were
as a rule careless and ignorant. The Church, though it jealously watched
over its rights of jurisdiction, found itself powerless to enforce needful
discipline on the clergy, while the abuses of the ecclesiastical courts
were a continual source of irritation to the laity. An attempt was made to
debar the prelates from political offices, and an attack on the wealth of
the Church was threatened. Then came the papal Schism, and new ideas were
openly expressed concerning the papacy itself, the position and rights of
the clergy, and the relations between Church and State. With these ideas
we have nothing to do here. But as we follow the ecclesiastical history of
the reign we shall see how the way was prepared for them; how it was that
Wyclif, a strenuous upholder of the rights of the National Church, was led
to form a spiritual conception of the Church Universal, to declare that a
Pope who was not Christ-like was Antichrist, and to teach that it would
be well for the Church to strip herself of her endowments and to become
independent of the State; why it was that the bulwarks already raised
against papal interference were strengthened, and why for a season there
were from time to time evidences of a spirit of revolt against the
ecclesiastical system. It will perhaps be convenient to divide the Church
history of the reign into two unequal parts at the return of the Prince of
Wales and the meeting of the anti-clerical parliament in 1371, and after
some notices of the archbishops and their ecclesiastical administration
down to the consecration of Whittlesey in 1368, to take a survey of the
relations, first, between the papacy and England, and, secondly, between
the National Church and the State during that period, and to end with some
account of the anti-clerical movement of the last years of the reign.

[Sidenote: Simon Mepeham, archbishop of Canterbury, 1328-1333.]

On the death of Reynolds in 1327, the Canterbury chapter elected Simon
Mepeham, and at Queen Isabella's request, and after receiving a gift from
the convent, John XXII. confirmed the election. Mepeham was a scholar and
a theologian. He held councils, published canons, and did what he could to
rule well. Conscious of the necessity of reform, he set about a provincial
visitation, and fined and excommunicated the bishop of Rochester for
non-residence, neglect of duty, and laxity of government. When he came to
Exeter, Bishop Grandison, who built a large part of the cathedral there,
refused to receive him, and drew up his men under arms to oppose his
entrance. Grandison, who claimed a papal exemption from metropolitan
visitation, appealed to the Pope, and the king ordered the archbishop to
desist from his attempt. This seems to have brought his efforts for
reformation, which excited much ill-will among his suffragans, to a
premature end. He was involved in a quarrel with the monks of St.
Augustine's, who also resisted his authority. They appealed to the Pope,
and Mepeham, who refused to give way, died under excommunication.

[Sidenote: John Stratford, archbishop of Canterbury, 1333-1348.]

[Sidenote: His controversy with the king.]

[Sidenote: A lay chancellor, 1340.]

John Stratford, bishop of Winchester, of whom we have heard before, was at
the king's instance elected to succeed him, and the Pope provided him, not
in virtue of the postulation of the chapter, but "of his own motion."
Although the chapter of Winchester elected, and the king recommended, the
prior of Worcester as Stratford's successor, Orlton, who happened to be at
Avignon, was, on the recommendation of Philip of France, provided by the
Pope to the vacant see. The king was indignant, and called on Orlton to
answer for thus procuring the papal brief against his will, but let the
matter drop. Edward's ministers were mostly churchmen, and for about
eleven years after the fall of Mortimer, Stratford, or his brother, the
bishop of Chichester, generally held the office of chancellor, and exerted
themselves to raise money for the French war. For some years Edward made
no progress in the war, and was generally unsuccessful except at sea.
Stratford, who belonged to the old Lancastrian party, disapproved of the
constant waste of money, and recommended peace. Money on which the king
reckoned was not forthcoming, and in 1340, excited probably by the
misrepresentations of the court party, and especially by Bishops
Burghersh and Orlton, he returned suddenly to England, turned Stratford's
brother, the chancellor, and other ministers out of office, and imprisoned
some of his judges and other officers. Stratford was summoned to appear at
court, but retired to Canterbury, and there preached some sermons, the
character of which may be judged by the text of one of them: "He was not
moved with the presence of any prince, neither could any bring him into
subjection" (Ecclus. xlviii. 12). He further excommunicated all who
offered violence to clerks or accused them falsely to the king. Edward
replied by putting forth a pamphlet containing his complaints against the
archbishop. In this pamphlet, which is called the _famosus libellus_, he
charged Stratford with being the cause of his want of success by keeping
him short of funds in order to gain profit for himself, and added several
accusations which were mere abuse. Although Orlton denied it, this
discreditable document was probably drawn up by him. Stratford answered it
point by point, and complained that the king was condemning him, one of
the chief peers of the realm, without trial. Edward carried on this paper
war with another weak letter, and wrote to Benedict XII., complaining of
the archbishop, and hinting that he wished the Pope to suspend him. When
parliament met in the spring of 1341, various attempts were made to
prevent the archbishop from taking his seat, and the king began
proceedings against him in the Exchequer. Stratford persisted in appearing
in parliament, and offered to plead before his peers. The lords thereupon
declared that no peer should be brought to trial except before his peers
in parliament. Edward found it advisable to be reconciled to the
archbishop, and the struggle ended. The archbishop's persistence thus led
to the establishment of the most important privilege of the peerage, and
the result of the controversy illustrates the constitutional position of
bishops as of equal dignity with the temporal lords. Meanwhile the king
appointed Sir Robert Bourchier chancellor, the first layman who ever held
that office. After a little time, however, the office was again held by

[Sidenote: His constitutions.]

Stratford desired good government, and the clergy under his rule on one
occasion joined the other estates in demanding redress of grievances,
asking, for their part, that the charters should be confirmed, as well as
that their own privileges of jurisdiction should be better observed: yet
he made no real effort to secure constitutional liberty. Although more of
a statesman than an archbishop, he was fully alive to the evils arising
from the oppressions of the ecclesiastical officials and the secular lives
of the clergy, and held two councils, in which he regulated the officials'
fees, forbade bishops and archdeacons, when on a visitation, to quarter a
large retinue on the clergy, ordered that archdeacons should not make a
gain of commutations for corporal penance, and that clerks who concealed
their tonsure, had long curled hair, and imitated the dress of laymen by
wearing knives, long shoes, and furred cloaks, should be suspended.

[Sidenote: Battle of Nevill's Cross, 18th October 1345.]

Meanwhile William Zouche, archbishop of York, was engaged in the defence
of his province. In October 1345, while Edward was absent in France,
David of Scotland led a large army into the bishopric of Durham, wasting
the country as he advanced. Archbishop William and the lords Nevill and
Percy raised a force, in which, along with knights and men-at-arms, were
many of the northern clergy, the archbishop in person leading one of the
divisions. The English gained a signal victory at Nevill's Cross; the
Scottish king was taken prisoner, and the "chapter of Myton" was amply

[Sidenote: John of Ufford, archbishop-elect of Canterbury, 1348.]

[Sidenote: Thomas Bradwardine, archbishop of Canterbury, 1349.]

On Stratford's death in 1348 the monks of Christ Church, thinking to
please the king, and doubtless also to found a precedent, elected Edward's
chaplain, Thomas Bradwardine, without waiting for the _congé d'elire_.
Bradwardine, the _Doctor Profundus_, as he was called, a famous
philosopher and theologian, was the champion of the Augustinian doctrine
of predestination against the Scotists. He had accompanied the king in his
victorious campaigns against France, and had been employed by him to treat
of peace. Edward, though he was willing enough that he should be
archbishop, would not allow the chapter to act independently, and so
caused Clement VI. to provide his chancellor, John Ufford, who was an aged
man. The pestilence now reached England, and Ufford died of it before he
was consecrated. Bradwardine was then raised to the archbishopric by the
common action of the king, the chapter, and the Pope; for after the
English victories Clement was ready to oblige Edward, declaring that "if
the king of England asked a bishopric for an ass he could not refuse
him." His subservience to Edward displeased the cardinals, and at the
consecration feast of the great English doctor at Avignon one of them sent
into the hall a buffoon mounted on an ass, with a petition that the Pope
would make him archbishop of Canterbury. A week after Bradwardine came to
England he too died of the pestilence, which both now and in its later
outbreaks fell as heavily on the clergy as on the laity, carrying off four
bishops in a single year.

[Sidenote: Simon Islip, 1349-1366.]

[Sidenote: Simon Langham, 1366-1368.]

[Sidenote: William Whittlesey, archbishop, 1368-1374.]

Simon Islip, Bradwardine's successor, endeavoured to remedy ecclesiastical
abuses. He founded Canterbury Hall at Oxford, to enable the clergy to
receive a better education, and published some excellent constitutions in
convocation. Clerical offenders claimed by the Church from the secular
courts, and committed to the custody of the bishops, were often kept in
comfort; they sometimes escaped from their prisons, and sometimes were
released without good cause. This was no longer to be; and imprisonment
was to be made a real punishment. The archbishop also decreed that
chaplains who were engaged to perform commemorative masses should, if
required, be bound to do parochial work at a fixed stipend of one mark
beyond their ordinary pay, which he fixed at five marks. A long-standing
dispute between the sees of Canterbury and York as to the right of the
northern metropolitan to carry his cross erect in the southern province
was at last settled by an agreement between Islip and John Thoresby,
archbishop of York. When the king and the parliament checked the papal
aggressions Islip abstained from interference; for, while he could not
quarrel with the papacy, he would not uphold it against the will of the
nation. While, however, he was prudent and moderate in temper, he did not
shrink from speaking plainly on behalf of good government, and wrote a
strong remonstrance to the king about the oppression of the people by the
royal purveyors. On Islip's death Simon Langham, bishop of Ely, was raised
to the primacy. He was chancellor when he was translated, but did not hold
the office long afterwards. By the command of Pope Urban V. he instituted
an inquiry into cases of plurality, and found that some clerks held as
many as twenty benefices by provisions, with license to add to their
number. After he had held the archbishopric two years, Urban made him a
cardinal. The king was displeased at this, and seized his temporalities.
Langham resigned the see and went to Avignon, and was succeeded at
Canterbury by his kinsman, William Whittlesey, who took little part in the
affairs either of Church or State, for he soon fell into ill health.

[Sidenote: The Church and the Papacy, 1327-1371.]

[Sidenote: Reservations and provisions.]

[Sidenote: Resisted by the king and parliament.]

There was comparatively little direct taxation of the clergy by the Popes
during this reign, though first-fruits were still demanded, and the
frequency with which promotions were effected by provision probably led to
a growing compliance with the demand. At the same time, the Church was
wronged in a more mischievous manner by the Popes' usurpation of
patronage. English bishoprics, dignities, and cures were conferred without
regard to the fitness of the person promoted, and simply as a matter of
policy, or a means of providing for the friends and advisers of the Pope.
The first decided check that was administered to this abuse arose from the
war with France; for it was felt to be intolerable that the wealth of the
country should be handed over to the French cardinals and other members of
the papal court at Avignon. During the early years of the reign little
resistance was offered to the system of appointment by provision, though
two sees, Exeter and Bath, which had been reserved, were filled up by the
joint action of the Crown and the chapters. The abuse grew rapidly, until,
in 1343, Clement VI. declared that he had reserved benefices, not
including bishoprics, as they fell vacant, to the annual value of 2000
marks for two cardinals, who sent their agents to England to carry out
their claims. These agents were ordered to depart, on pain of
imprisonment, and a complaint was made to the Crown by the lay estates in
parliament that the richest benefices in the country were bestowed by the
Pope on foreigners, who never came near it, or contributed to its burdens,
and who abstracted the wealth of England to the prejudice of the king and
his kingdom, and, above all, of the souls of his subjects. The bishops did
not dare to join in this complaint, and wished to withdraw, but the king
made them stay during the proceedings. In answer to this complaint, a
royal ordinance was published that any one who brought bulls or
reservations into the kingdom should be imprisoned. Moreover, the king
wrote a letter to the Pope representing that provisions led to the
promotion of unfit persons, who did not understand the language of the
country or reside on their benefices, and that they robbed patrons and
chapters of their rights, and removed cases of patronage from the royal to
the papal courts. A vigorous letter of remonstrance was also sent by the
parliament by the hands of John of Shoreditch, a famous lawyer, who
presented it to the Pope in the presence of the cardinals. Clement was
angry, and declared he had only provided two foreigners. "Holy Father,"
John replied, "you have provided the Cardinal of Perigord to the deanery
of York, and the king and all the nobles of England know him to be a
capital enemy of the king and kingdom." High words passed; the cardinals
left the court in some confusion, and John departed from Avignon in haste,
lest mischief should befall him.

[Sidenote: Statute of Provisors, 1351.]

These remonstrances had little effect, and at last, in 1351, the statute
of Provisors was enacted, on the petition of the lords temporal and the
commons. By this statute any collation made by the Pope was to escheat to
the Crown, and any person acting in virtue of a reservation or provision
was, after conviction, to be imprisoned until he had paid such fine as the
king might inflict, and had made compensation to the party aggrieved. To
this statute the bishops, who were, of course, hampered by their position
as regards the Pope, did not assent. Its immediate effect was rather to
strengthen the hold of the king upon the Church than to increase its
liberty. Edward connived at its evasion whenever it suited him to do so,
and infringed the rights of patrons by a writ called "Quare impedit,"
while the concurrence of the Popes, who took care to keep on good terms
with the victorious king, enabled him to do much as he liked. The Popes,
moreover, still continued to provide to sees vacant by translation, and
accordingly multiplied translations to the hurt of the Church. It was
found necessary to re-enact the penalties of the statute fourteen years
later, and, as we shall see, fresh efforts were made against the abuse
towards the end of the reign.

[Sidenote: Statute of Præmunire, 1353.]

The system of provisions increased the number of appeals to Rome, and
matters that were determinable at common law were carried to the Pope's
court, much to the inconvenience of the parties concerned, and to the
profit of the papal officers. In 1353 a check was given to the appellate
jurisdiction of the curia by the Statute of Præmunire, which, without
verbal reference to the Pope, made it punishable with imprisonment and
forfeiture to draw one of the king's subjects out of the kingdom to answer
in a foreign court, the offender being compelled to appear by a writ
beginning "Præmunire facias." This statute was re-enacted in 1365, with
distinct mention of the Roman court; the prelates protesting, evidently
for form's sake, that they would assent to nothing that was injurious to
the Church. Although the Pope still granted dispensations from the canon
law, and his jurisdiction might still be invoked in cases for which no
remedy was provided at common law, papal interference in legal matters of
importance now became rare. New statutes of Provisors and Præmunire were
promulgated in the next reign.

[Sidenote: Repudiation of vassalage, 1366.]

The victories of Edward and the Prince of Wales rendered the Popes
powerless to resent anti-papal legislation. France was no longer able to
protect them at Avignon. During their residence in that city the papacy
had become French, and had consequently in a large measure lost its hold
upon England. Urban V. unwisely provoked a declaration that bore witness
to this decline of influence. He wrote to Edward demanding the arrears of
the tribute promised by John, and threatened to cite the king if he
neglected payment. Edward laid the demand before the parliament that met
in May 1366, and requested the advice of the estates. The prelates,
speaking for themselves, asked for a day for deliberation. The next day
the three estates separately and unanimously declared that John had no
power to bring his realm and people under such subjection, and repudiated
the vassalage and tribute that the Pope demanded. For a short time Edward
stopped even the payment of Peter's pence.

[Sidenote: The Church in relation to the State, 1327-1371.]

[Sidenote: Taxation.]

[Sidenote: Legislation.]

[Sidenote: Jurisdiction.]

Early in the reign the Pope granted the king a clerical tenth for four
years, and later, during the French war, the clergy taxed themselves
heavily. All attempt to induce them to make their grants in parliament was
discontinued, and they settled the amount of their contribution in their
provincial convocations. In convocation they legislated without
interference on spiritual matters, including those which concerned their
jurisdiction. Parliament, however, did not allow them to enact anything
that should bind the laity without its consent. Accordingly, when
Stratford published a constitution on the right to the tithe of underwood,
a petition was the next year presented by the commons, praying that the
Crown would not grant any petition of the clergy that might prejudice the
laity without examination; for, though the clergy legislated on the
process for recovery of tithes, parliament claimed to determine their
incidence. This distinction found its counterpart in jurisdiction; for the
common law courts decided questions of right to tithes, while the
spiritual courts enforced payment. In matters affecting temporal
interests, parliament legislated for the Church. This legislation was
during this period generally of a favourable character, and was founded on
petitions from the clergy. Parliament, for example, declared by statute
that the temporalities of bishops were not to be seized except according
to the law of the land and after judgment, and that during a vacancy they
were to be carefully and honestly administered. Again, as the pestilence
raised the price of clerical as well as of all other labour, parliament in
1362 represented that chaplains had become scarce and dear, and prayed
that they might be compelled to work for lower pay than they were in the
habit of receiving. The king ordered the bishops to find a remedy; and
they reported Islip's constitution, which was thus turned into a
parliamentary statute, a kind of "Statute of Labourers" for the
unbeneficed clergy. Disputes still went on as to rights of jurisdiction,
and in 1344, after the grant of a clerical tenth, it was enacted, with the
assent of the lay estates, that the ecclesiastical courts should not be
subject to unfair interference either by writs of prohibition or by
inquiry by secular judges; the whole statute forming a kind of reading of
"Circumspecte agatis" in the clerical interest.

[Sidenote: Discontent of the laity.]

[Sidenote: Non-residence.]

[Sidenote: Secular employments.]

Nevertheless the nation regarded the condition of the Church with growing
discontent. The papal interference with the rights of patrons, besides
grievously wronging the bishops and chapters, irritated the people at
large, for they saw ecclesiastical offices and revenues held by foreigners
who never set foot in England, and were in many cases their enemies. Of
this perhaps enough has been said. Non-residence and plurality, however,
were not confined to foreigners. All the great offices of State were, as a
rule, held by bishops and other dignified clergy, who neglected their
ecclesiastical for their civil duties; and the inferior clergy followed
their example, and engaged in secular employments of all kinds.
Non-residence was increased by the pestilence. Much land fell out of
cultivation, and so ceased to yield tithes, and parsons left their
parishes whenever they could obtain some profitable work to do elsewhere.
So the poet of Piers Ploughman records how--

  Parsons and parisshe preestes
  That hire parisshes weren povere
  To have a licence and leve
  And syngen ther for symonie;

  Somme serven the kyng
  In cheker and in chauncelrie
  Of wardes and of wardmotes
  And somme serven as servauntz
  And in stede of stywardes

  Pleyned hem to the bisshope,
  Sith the pestilence tyme,
  At London to dwelle,
  For silver is swete.

  And his silver tellen
  Chalangan his dettes
  Weyves and streyves.
  Lordes and ladies,
  Sitten and demen.

In the absence of the parish priests, or while they were immersed in
worldly affairs, the churches fell into decay, and the people were
neglected. Wyclif tells us that secular employment was the only road to
ecclesiastical preferment. "Lords," he says, "wolen not present a clerk
able of kunning of God's law, but a kitchen clerk, or a peny clerk, or
wise in building castles or worldly doing, though he kunne not reade wel
his sauter." Clergy such as these held a vast number of preferments, for
the Pope readily granted dispensations for plurality. William of Wykeham,
the king's architect, afterwards bishop of Winchester, held at one time,
while Keeper of the Privy Seal, the archdeaconry of Lincoln and eleven
prebends in various churches.

[Sidenote: Lack of discipline.]

[Sidenote: Oppression of the spiritual courts.]

[Sidenote: Decline in the general character of the clergy.]

[Sidenote: Efforts to raise their character.]

The spiritual jurisdiction for which churchmen contended so jealously had
altogether failed to preserve discipline. The secularization of the clergy
rendered this failure specially disastrous; for a clerk, who had laid
aside everything clerical except the tonsure, and had perhaps concealed
that, if accused of any crime, however grave, was immediately claimed by
his order, and was only amenable to a law that was powerless to inflict an
adequate punishment for the worst offences. Nor were clerical offenders
rare, for the number of those in orders of one kind or another was very
large. Many of them had little to do, their duties merely consisting in
the performance of anniversary services, and so, being idle, they were
prone to self-indulgence and mischief. Several of the archbishops of
Canterbury endeavoured, as we have seen, to restore discipline, but the
spiritual courts were corrupt, and their efforts were of little avail.
Yet, while the laity saw discipline utterly broken down, they found the
spiritual courts strong enough to oppress them with heavy fees, especially
in testamentary cases, and in various other ways, and the cost and
vexation entailed by ecclesiastical processes were a constant source of
irritation. At the same time, high as the pretensions of the clergy were,
there can be no doubt that the clerical standard was lowered by the
pestilence. Many benefices were suddenly vacated, and there were few to
fill them. The ranks of the clergy must have been recruited with men of
inferior education, and it was by them that the vacant cures were
supplied. Some efforts were made to remedy the ignorance of those who
should have been the teachers of the people. Islip's foundation at Oxford
has already been noticed; it was soon to be followed by the more
magnificent foundations of William of Wykeham. Meanwhile, in the north,
the most backward part of the kingdom, Archbishop Thoresby, a prelate of
noble character, laboured to bring about a better state of things. He
constantly visited different parts of his diocese, teaching, and
correcting abuses, and in order that his people might know the elements of
Christianity, he published a kind of catechism in two versions, one in
Latin for the clergy, whose ignorance and carelessness he severely
reprehended, and the other in English verse for the laity.

[Sidenote: Attack on the clerical ministers and the wealthy clergy, 1371.]

Discontent at the condition of the Church grew bitter as the people at
large felt the burden of a war that had ceased to be glorious, and the
general decline in prosperity aggravated the religious disaffection. Men
saw with anger that, while the nation groaned under heavy taxation, the
greater ecclesiastics held all the richest offices in the State as well
as in the Church, and that, large as their revenues were, the country was
misgoverned and the war mismanaged. An anti-clerical party arose, and an
attack was made on ecclesiastical ministers and the wealthier churchmen.
When the Prince of Wales returned from Aquitaine, in January 1371, fresh
supplies were demanded of parliament. In reply, the lay estates presented
a petition complaining that the government had too long been in the hands
of the clergy, who could not be called to account, and requesting that the
king would consider that laymen were fit to be employed in offices of
state. In consequence of this petition, the chancellor, William of
Wykeham, and the treasurer, the bishop of Exeter, resigned, and their
places were taken by laymen. An attempt of the monastic orders to claim
exemption from the payment of subsidies led to some bitter words
concerning the wealth of the greater churchmen. A lord compared the Church
to an owl that was unfledged until each bird gave it a feather to deck
itself with; suddenly, he said, a hawk appeared, and the birds demanded
back their feathers in order that they might escape. The owl refused; so
they stripped him, and flew away in safety, leaving him in worse plight
than he was before. Even so, he continued, in this dangerous war ought we
to take back from the wealthy clergy the temporalities which belong to us
and to the realm, and defend the realm with these our own goods rather
than by increased taxation. The clergy took the hint, and promised the
Prince of Wales in convocation to grant £50,000, a sum to which even
those whose endowments had hitherto escaped on account of their smallness
were obliged to contribute. John of Gaunt returned the next year, and
probably took the lead of the anti-clerical party, in opposition to the
Prince of Wales, who upheld William of Wykeham. Although this year an
attack was made in parliament on the lawyers, the abuses of the Church did
not escape. Petitions were presented requesting that the king would
confiscate the revenues of foreign beneficed clergy who did not live in
the kingdom--this was refused; that bishops' officials should demand less
exorbitant fees in testamentary cases--in this matter the bishops were
ordered to find a remedy; and that the benefices of clergy who lived in
open concubinage should, if the bishop neglected to act, become _ipso
facto_ void, and that the Crown should present--to this no answer was

[Sidenote: Concordat with the Pope.]

[Sidenote: Conference at Bruges, 1374-1375.]

When John of Gaunt came back from his unsuccessful campaign in 1373 his
influence in parliament was lessened. Nevertheless a petition was
presented against the encroachments of the clerical courts. A strong
remonstrance was also made on the subject of reservations and provisions
and on the withdrawal of money from the country by foreign ecclesiastics.
To this the king replied that he had already sent an embassy to the Pope
to represent these grievances, probably in consequence of the petition of
the year before, and the matter was referred to a conference about to be
held at Bruges. When the king's demand for a tenth was laid before
convocation by Archbishop Whittlesey, the clergy declared that they were
undone by the exactions of the Pope and the king, and that they could
better help the king "if the intolerable yoke of the Pope were taken from
their necks;" and Courtenay, bishop of Hereford, protested that he would
not consent to the grant unless some remedy were devised for these evils.
The tenth was, however, granted, and all looked for what the negotiations
at Bruges would bring forth. To this conference, which met the following
year, Edward sent the bishop of Bangor, Dr. John Wyclif, and others, as
his representatives to arrange a concordat with Gregory XI. The immediate
results, which were declared in 1375, were unsatisfactory, for they were
merely temporary in their application. However, in 1377, the king's
jubilee year, Edward announced that the Pope had promised that he would
abstain from reservations; that he would not provide to any bishopric
until sufficient time had elapsed for him to hear the result of the
capitular election; that he would respect the elective rights of other
capitular bodies; that he would diminish the number of foreign
ecclesiastics; that though he would not give up his claim to first-fruits,
which were still held to be an innovation, he would see that they did not
press too heavily on the clergy; and that he would be moderate in issuing
expectatives and provisions.

[Sidenote: The Good Parliament, 1376.]

No parliament met from 1373 until the Good Parliament of 1376. In this
parliament the party of reform was upheld by the Prince of Wales and the
bishop of Winchester. The Prince of Wales died during the session of the
parliament, and left the leaders of the party exposed to the vengeance of
John of Gaunt. A series of accusations was brought against Wykeham, his
temporalities were seized, and he was forbidden to come near the court.
Accordingly, he did not come up to the convocation of 1377, and Simon
Sudbury, the archbishop of Canterbury, refused to specially request his
attendance. His opposition was overruled by Courtenay, now bishop of
London, who dwelt on the injustice that had been done Wykeham by the
Crown, and urged the clergy to make no grant until he joined them. Wykeham
came up to convocation, and the king promised to redress his wrongs. And
here, at the point at which the quarrel assumes a new phase, when the
clergy were about to aim a blow at their enemy, John of Gaunt, by
attacking his ally, John Wyclif, at the opening of strife between Lollardy
and the Church, and at the beginning of a new era in the relations between
Rome and the English and other national Churches, brought about by the
papal Schism, this narrative reaches its appointed limit.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Summary, 601-1066.]

[Sidenote: 601-664.]

[Sidenote: 663-829.]

Each period of the history we have been studying has some special
characteristics, and it may be convenient to sum them up briefly. The
partial failure of the Kentish mission and the break-down of Gregory's
scheme of government left the English Church in a disorganized condition,
and Rome had to win a second victory to save it from Celtic customs and
separation from the rest of Christendom. The hero of that victory was
Wilfrith, its token the restoration of the see of York. A new period opens
with the work of Theodore, and extends from the victory of the Roman
party at Whitby to the end of the greatness of the Northumbrian Church,
and the establishment of the sovereignty of Wessex. The diocesan scheme of
Theodore succeeded, and is the basis of our present arrangement. His
attempt to bring the whole Church under the rule of a single metropolitan
failed, for the northern Church was for a season more advanced than the
rest of the land in religion and culture; and its failure is marked by the
restoration of the see of York to metropolitan rank. From the first the
Church was national in character, independent of the rise and fall of the
petty kingdoms into which the land was divided, and it became a powerful
agent in the accomplishment of national unity. Nor was it by any means a
handmaid of Rome, for the attempt of Wilfrith to regain his position by
invoking the papal authority met with derision and defeat. From the first,
too, the Church and the civil power worked in complete harmony, and when
national unity was attained, the Church bore its own share in every
department of the polity it had done so much to create. For a moment,
indeed, its work in teaching the lesson of union was threatened by the
baleful predominance of Mercia; for the foundation of the Mercian
archiepiscopate was an attempt to make the Church minister to the
greatness of a single kingdom; its failure saved her from degradation, and
probably saved the nation from prolonged division. By Archbishop
Ceolnoth's alliance with Ecgberht, the Church adopted the interests of the
line of kings under whom the unity of the nation was accomplished.

[Sidenote: 829-988.]

[Sidenote: 988-1066.]

While the invasion of the Northmen completed the ruin of the northern
church, Alfred and his son imparted new vigour to the life of the southern
province, and their work was carried further forward by the great
churchmen whose names are connected with the monastic revival of the tenth
century. This period of recovery may be said to close with the death of
Dunstan. Although the relations between England and Rome became more
intimate under the immediate successors of Ecgberht, and especially under
Alfred, the work of restoration was not due to direct Roman influence; it
was effected mainly through intercourse with France, Flanders, and
Germany. Throughout the period the unity of action of the Church and State
is strongly marked; separate conciliar action became rare, and both
spiritual and secular affairs were administered by statesmen-bishops.
During the first part of the eleventh century this union became even more
intimate, greatly to the loss of the Church; for the bishops were absorbed
in worldly matters and party strife. Freedom from Roman interference and a
long course of independent and purely national life, however good in
themselves, proved dangerous, for the Church had not yet attained any
widespread culture.

[Sidenote: Summary, 1066-1135.]

The conquest of England may be regarded as a papal triumph over a Church
and a nation which had stood apart from Roman Christendom and followed
their own devices. Both before and after his victory the Conqueror availed
himself of the help of Rome. Nevertheless he was strong enough to hold his
own even against Gregory VII., and refused to allow the Pope any
authority in his kingdom excepting within limits of his own appointment.
The Church equally with the nation was conquered, and tasted the
bitterness of defeat, but there was no break in the continuity of its
life. Each Norman or French bishop who succeeded to the see of an English
predecessor looked on himself as an English bishop, and the Church of the
conquered people united conquerors and conquered in one English nation.
William strengthened the Church as a means of strengthening himself, and
his policy of separating the spiritual and secular courts was followed by
few signs of coming conflict during the strong rule of the Norman kings.

[Sidenote: 1139-1205.]

The conflict came after a suspension of the royal authority. The immunity
of the clergy from secular jurisdiction confronted Henry II. as a
dangerous obstacle to the success of his designs for the foundation of a
strong and orderly government. His strife with Archbishop Thomas ended in
his humiliation, but it left in the Constitutions of Clarendon the
groundwork of a system to which the future relations between Church and
State made continual and progressive approaches. The Church lost by the
dispute; for the energy that might have been devoted to producing a higher
clerical standard was frittered in a somewhat ignoble quarrel. Yet it also
gained something besides a victory of doubtful benefit. Anselm, in a
better cause, had already resisted despotism; and Thomas died for what he
believed to be the rights of the Church over which he had been called to
rule. Both alike asserted the sacredness of spiritual things. Neither
Anselm nor Thomas received any hearty support from Rome; in both cases the
action of the Popes appears to have been governed by motives of
expediency. Nor was it in the Church's quarrel alone that churchmen dared
to encounter the wrath of kings. Thomas of Canterbury, Hugh of Lincoln,
and Geoffrey of York each opposed the undue exercise of the royal power in
secular matters, and were the earliest assertors of constitutional rights.
At the same time, under both the Norman and the first two Plantagenet
kings, the Church at large was on the side of the Crown, and did the
nation good service by maintaining its authority against the feudal

[Sidenote: 1205-1265.]

The quarrel between John and Innocent III. introduces a new period in our
history, during which the Church was in opposition to the Crown, and was
contending for national liberties against the king and his suzerain, the
Pope. Although, as the vassal of Innocent, the king was upheld by all the
power that the greatest of the Popes could exert, the Church cast in its
lot with the nation, and took a foremost part in winning the Great
Charter. It paid dearly for its self-devotion. Innocent had, however,
overreached himself, for his attempt to uphold his vassal against the
liberties of the country roused a bitter feeling against the papacy; and
this feeling was deepened as succeeding Popes took advantage of the
weakness of Henry III. to grind down the Church and oppress the country in
order to raise funds for their war with the Hohenstaufen house. In the
resistance that was at last made to the king's misgovernment the Church
was again foremost in the cause of liberty, while the Pope again upheld
his vassal against his people. The barons' war, however, virtually brought
the papal suzerainty to an end.

[Sidenote: 1272-1307.]

[Sidenote: 1307-1327.]

A decisive blow was given to the power of the Popes in England by the
folly of Boniface VIII., who forced Edward I. into hostility, and so made
the Crown at one with the people in resisting papal pretensions. Nor were
the clergy whole-hearted on the Popes' side, for they had learned by
bitter experience that they would at least gain nothing by the victory of
Rome. Almost as soon, then, as the machinery for the expression of the
national will was perfected, the king and the nation used it to express
their indignation at the usurpations of the papacy. The reign is further
memorable in ecclesiastical history for the king's work in defining the
position of the Church in relation to the State. The policy of making the
clergy a parliamentary estate so far failed that they succeeded in
withdrawing themselves from parliament and making their grants in
convocation, yet the attempt to secure their attendance brought their
action in fiscal matters into correspondence with, though not into
dependence upon, the action of the other estates of the realm. In matters
of jurisdiction, Edward's rule contained in the writ "Circumspecte agatis"
was founded on clear and well-considered principles, and became the
groundwork of all future legislation on the subject in mediæval times. In
all points the Church was given an ascertained place in the national
system, and while the king exacted many heavy taxes from the clergy, and
occasionally, when it suited his convenience, made use of the papal
authority, he never gave way to any attempt of Pope or archbishop to act
as though the clergy had separate interests from the nation at large. For
our purpose, the reign of his unhappy son is important mainly as
exhibiting how entirely the success of the policy of Edward I. was the
result of his personal character. The weakness of Edward II. gave the
Popes a chance of which they did not fail to avail themselves. While
wholly under French influence, they did not hesitate to treat the English
Church as arrogantly as they had treated it in the days when the papacy
was strong. Under Edward I. the chapters virtually lost the power of
electing bishops; during the reign of his son the will of the Crown was
constantly set at nought, and the introduction of the system of
reservation and provision as applied to bishoprics indicates the utter
disregard with which the rights both of the Church and the king were
treated at Avignon.

[Sidenote: 1343-1377.]

A new and powerful motive for resistance was supplied by the French war of
Edward III. Parliament and the Crown were at one in refusing to yield to
papal pretensions, and the first statutes of Provisors and Præmunire,
though they by no means put a stop to the evils at which they were aimed,
at least taught the Popes the necessity of moderation. We leave the Church
in the midst of a struggle. Exhausted with the burden of the French war,
and disappointed at the change from victory to defeat, the nation was
inclined to find fault with existing institutions. The wealth and power of
the Church provoked envy; its abuses were regarded with indignation. The
earliest phase of the struggle, the attack made in Parliament upon the
clerical ministers and the richer clergy, brings this volume to a close.
The work and theories of Wyclif and his followers, and the effects of the
papal schism on the relations between England and Rome, are reserved for
another volume of this series.


  Abercorn, see of, 19.

  Adam Marsh, 155, 157.

  Adoptionists, 33.

  Æddi (Eddius), 21.

  Ælfgifu, wife of Eadwig, 46, 47.

  Ælfheah the Bald, bp. of Winchester, 45.

  Ælfric, archbp.-elect, 67.

  Ælfric the Grammarian, 53, 54.

  Æthelberht, king of Kent, 2-4, 28.

  Æthelburh, queen, 5.

  Æthelred the Unready, king, 51, 56, 57, 59.

  Æthelstan, 42, 43, 44.

  Æthelwold, bp. of Winchester, 48.

  Æthelwulf, king of W. Saxons, 35, 36.

  Agatho, pope, 19.

  Agilberct, bp., 11, 12.

  Aidan, St., 7, 9, 14.

  Avignon, 179, 199, 201.

  Alchfrith, king, 10-14.

  Alcuin, 25, 29, 32, 33.

  Alexander II., pope, 71, 77, 79, 86, 87.

  Alexander III., pope, 118-122.

  Alexander IV., pope, 155.

  Alfred, king, 36, 40, 43, 44, 214.

  Andover, 57.

  Andrews, St., see of, 101.

  Anselm, archbp., _see_ Canterbury, archbps. of.

  Anselm, legate, 99.

  Appeals to Rome, 18-20, 31, 81, 88, 93, 105, 107, 131, 137, 149.

  Archdeacons, 30, 41, 98, 111.

  Assandun, battle of, 60, 61, 67.

  Asser, bishop, 39.

  Augustin, St., _see_ Canterbury, archbps. of.

  Aust, conference at, 3.

  Ayermin, William, bp. of Norwich, 186, 187.

  Bæda, 21-23, 30.

  Bari, council of, 94.

  Bath, 50, 51, 82.

  Beaumont, Lewis, bp. of Durham, 185.

  Benedict, Biscop, 10, 16.

  Benedict III., pope, 36.

  Benedict X., antipope, 71.

  Benedict XII., pope, 196.

  Bernard, St., of Clairvaux, 109, 111, 126.

  Bernicia, kingdom of, 5, 7, 10, 11, 35.

  Bertha, queen, 2.

  Bigod, Roger, earl of Norfolk, 175, 177.

  Bishops and archbps., election of, 28, 29, 64, 65, 70, 81, 90, 141, 149,
        184, _see_ Provisions.

  Birinus, bp. of Dorchester, 6.

  Bodmin, see of, 42.

  Bohun, Humphrey, earl of Hereford, 175, 177.

  Boniface V., pope, 5.

  Boniface VIII., pope, 174-179, 217.

  Boniface (Winfrith), 32.

  Bourchier, Sir Robert, chancellor, 197.

  Bristol, 85.

  Brithelm, bp. of Wells, 47.

  Bruges, conference at, 211.

  Brunanburh, battle of, 44.

  Burnell, Robert, bp. of Bath and Wells, 163, 164, 171.

  Burghersh, Henry, bp. of Lincoln, 185, 186, 195.

  Bury St. Edmund's, 37, 60.

  Cadwallon, British king, 5.

  Cædmon, 11, 21.

  Calixtus II., pope, 100-102.

  Canterbury, see of, 2-4, 15, 16, 24, 26-28, 36, 42, 52, 58, 62, 74, 79,
        80, 89, 100-102, 107, 120, 124, 146, 199.
    Archbishops of--
      Augustin, 1-3.
      Laurentius, 4.
      Mellitus, 4, 5.
      Justus, 4, 5.
      Honorius, 6.
      Deusdedit, 15.
      Theodore, 15-20, 23, 27, 29, 30.
      Brihtwald, 20.
      Jaenberht, 27.
      Æthelheard, 27.
      Ceolnoth, 28, 213.
      Æthelred, 42.
      Plegmund, 39, 42.
      Wulfhelm, 43.
      Oda, 44, 45, 47.
      Dunstan, 45-53, 61, 214.
      Sigeric, 56.
      Ælfric, 74.
      Ælfheah (St. Alphege), 57-59, 86.
      Lyfing, 60, 61.
      Æthelnoth, 61, 62.
      Robert of Jumièges, 64, 67, 68, 70, 71, 88.
      Stigand, 61, 67, 68, 70, 71, 77.
      Lanfranc, 78-80, 82-87, 89.
      Anselm, 86, 90-98, 117, 215.
      Ralph, 99-101.
      William of Corbeuil, 99, 106.
      Theobald, 107-112.
      Thomas (Becket), 111-123, 216.
      Richard, 123, 127.
      Baldwin, 129.
      Hubert Walter, 131-133, 136, 137.
      Stephen Langton, 137-145, 149, 160.
      Richard Grant, 149.
      Edmund Rich, 149, 150.
      Boniface, 150, 160, 163.
      Robert Kilwardby, 163.
      John Peckham, 162, 164-173.
      Robert Winchelsey, 162, 172-185.
      Walter Reynolds, 185, 187, 194.
      Simon Mepeham, 194, 195.
      John Stratford, 186, 187, 195-198, 204.
      Thomas Bradwardine, 198, 199.
      Simon Islip, 199, 205.
      Simon Langham, 200.
      William Whittlesey, 200.
      Simon Sudbury, 212.

  Captivity, the Babylonish, 179.

  Carlisle, parliament of, 181, 192.

  Cashel, council of, 127.

  Ceadda, _see_ York, bps. and abps. of.

  Ceadwalla, king of W. Saxons, 32.

  Cedd, bp., 8, 11, 14.

  Celtic Christianity, 8-14.

  Cenwulf, king of Mercia, 27, 28.

  Chancellor, office of, 63, 112, 113;
    a lay, 197.

  Chaplains, stipendiary, 199, 205.

  Charles the Great, king and emp., 25, 32, 33, 34.

  Charter of Henry I., 95, 240, 342;
    of John to Church, 141;
    the Great, 142, 143, 154, 165;
    the Forest, 154.

  Charters, confirmation of the, 176.

  Chester-le-Street, 35, 57.

  Chester, see of, 82.

  Chichester, see of, 82.

  Chrodegang of Metz, rule of, 66, 85.

  "Chronicle," the "Anglo-Saxon," 39.

  Churches, liability of laity to repair, 61.

  Circumspecte agatis, writ of, 169, 184, 204, 217.

  Clarendon, constitutions of, 116, 117, 123, 215.

  Clement, anti-pope, 84.

  Clement III., pope, 102, 129.

  Clement IV., pope, 157, 158.

  Clement V., pope, 179, 180, 184.

  Clement VI., pope, 198, 202.

  Clericis laicos, bull, 174.

  Clerks, the king's, 62, 103.

  Clevesho, 17.

  Cnut, king, 50, 61-63.

  Colman, bp., 10-12.

  Columba, St., 6, 12.

  Concordat with Rome, 210, 211.

  Conquest, Norman, 71, 72, 76, 214.

  Conrad of Germany, 155.

  Convocation, 98, 172-174, 189, 191, 204.

  Cornwall, 42.

  Coronation, 50, 120, 136.

  Courtenay, William, bp. of Hereford and London, abp., 211.

  Crediton, see of, 42, _see_ Exeter.

  Crusades, 128, 158.

  Cuthberht, St., 9, 35, 57.

  Danegeld, 56, 75, 114.

  Danes, 35-38, 43, 57, 64.

  Deira, kingdom of, 5, 10.

  Dioceses, organization of, 2, 17-20, 41, 42.

  Dorchester, see of, 6, 26, 42.

  Disafforestation, 177, 179.

  Drokensford, John, bp. of Bath and Wells, 186.

  Dunstan, _see_ Canterbury, abps. of.

  Dunwich, see of, 6, 41.

  Durham, see of, 57, 58.

  Eadbald, king of Kent, 4, 5.

  Eadgar, king, 47-50.

  Eadmer, 90, 101.

  Eadmund, king, 46.

  Eadmund (St. Edmund), king of the E. Angles, 37, 60.

  Eadmund Ironside, king, 60.

  Eadred, king, 46.

  Eadward the Confessor, king, 64, 69, 129.

  Eadward the Elder, king, 42.

  Eadward the Martyr, king, 51, 58.

  Eadwig, king, 46, 47.

  Eadwine, king of Northumbria, 5, 6, 11.

  Ealdfrith, king of Northumbria, 19.

  Ealdhelm, bp. of Sherborne, 25, 26.

  Ealhstan, bp. of Sherborne, 35.

  Eanflæd, queen, 10.

  Easter, date of, 3, 9-14, 16, 25.

  East Anglia, conversion of, 4, 5, 6, _see_ Dunwich.

  East Saxons, conversion of, 2, 4.

  Ecgberht, king of W. Saxons, 28.

  Ecgfrith, king of Northumbria, 18, 19.

  Edward I., 158, 160-182, 217, 218.

  Edward II., 182-189, 217.

  Edward III., 189, 192, 204, 218.

  Edward, the "Black Prince," 194, 203, 209-211.

  Eleanor, queen, 170.

  Ellandun, battle of, 28.

  Elmham, see of, 18, 37, 67, 82.

  English used in prayers and homilies, 39, 54, 75.

  Evesham, battle of, 157.

  Eugenius III., pope, 109, 126.

  Eustace, son of Stephen, 110, 112.

  Exeter, see of, 65.

  Farne Island, 9.

  Felix, bp. of Dunwich, 6.

  Festivals, ecclesiastical, decreed by the king and witan, 50, 58.

  Finan, bp. of Lindisfarne, 10.

  First-fruits, 181, 182, 200, 211.

  Flanders, 44, 47, 214.

  Fleury, abbey of, 45, 48.

  Formosus, pope, 42.

  Frankfort, council of, 33.

  Frederic I., emperor, 118, 119.

  Frederic II., emperor, 148, 155.

  Fulk, bp. of London, his mitre and helmet, 156.

  Fulk, Fitz-Warin, threatens a papal envoy, 152, 153.

  Gerald de Barri (Giraldus Cambrensis), 127-129.

  Gerent, king, 25.

  Ghent, 47.

  Gilbert Foliot, bp. of London, 118.

  Gisa, bp. of Wells, 66.

  Glastonbury, 45, 46.

  Godwine, earl, 64-67.

  Grandison, John, bp. of Exeter, 194.

  Gratian of Bologna, 111.

  Greek, knowledge of, 16, 22, 44.

  Gregory the Great, pope, 2-4, 17, 79, 212.

  Gregory III., pope, 24.

  Gregory VII., pope, 72, 76, 77, 82-84, 106, 214.

  Gregory IX., pope, 148-150, 159.

  Gregory XI., pope, 211.

  Grimbold, 39.

  Grosseteste, Robert, bp. of Lincoln, 151-157, 159.

  Gualo, legate, 144, 145.

  Guthred, 42.

  Guthorm, king, 37.

  Hadrian, abbot, 15, 16.

  Hadrian I., pope, 26, 31.

  Hadrian IV., pope, 126.

  Harold I., king, 62.

  Harold II., king, 68, 69, 71-73.

  Harthacnut, king, 64.

  Hecanan in Herefordshire, bishopric of, 18.

  Henry IV., emperor, 84.

  Henry I., 95-101.

  Henry II., 112-129.

  Henry III., 145-158, 216.

  Henry, bp. of London, 157.

  Henry, bp. of Winchester, 106-112.

  Henry, son of Henry II., 120.

  Herbert, bp. of Salisbury, 132.

  Hereford, see of, 18.

  Hereford, synod of, 17.

  Heretics, 125.

  Hermann, bp. of Salisbury, 82.

  Hexham, see of, 19, 20, 35.

  Higberht, archbp. of Lichfield, 27.

  Hild, abbess, 11.

  Honorius II., pope, 99-101.

  Honorius III., pope, 144-146, 148.

  Hubert de Burgh, 145, 148.

  Hugh, bp. of Lincoln, 123, 130, 132, 133, 216.

  Hugh Puiset, bp. of Durham, 129.

  Hwiccan in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, bishopric of, 18.

  Ida, founder of line of Bernician kings, 7.

  Ini, king of the W. Saxons, 25, 26, 32.

  Innocent II., pope, 106, 109.

  Innocent III., pope, 128, 133, 137-144, 155, 158, 159, 216.

  Innocent IV., pope, 152-156.

  Inquisition, the, 125.

  Investiture, episcopal, 64, 94-97.

  Iona, 6-8.

  Ireland, Scots of, 6;
    relations with Canterbury, 80, 126;
    slave-trade with, 85;
    conquest of, 126, 127.

  James, the deacon, 6, 12, 21.

  Jarrow, 21, 22, 34.

  Jerusalem, 70, 128, 129.

  Jews, 170, 171.

  John, king, 130, 131, 136-144, 204.

  John VI., pope, 20.

  John XIII., pope, 48.

  John XV., pope, 57.

  John XXII., pope, 185, 187, 194.

  John de Gray, bp. of Norwich, 137.

  John of Crema, legate, 99.

  John of Salisbury, 111.

  John of Shoreditch, 202.

  John, the old Saxon teacher, 39.

  Jurisdiction, ecclesiastical, 30, 43, 81, 88, 98, 115-117, 124, 160,
        165, 166, 168, 169, 184, 193, 197, 205, 207, 210.

  Kent, conversion of, 2-5;
    overthrow of kingship in, 27;
    end of ealdormanship of, 52.

  Kingship, 31, _see_ Coronation.

  Kingston, council at, 28.

  Lambeth, Archbishop Hubert's foundation at, 133;
    council at, 166.

  Lancaster, John of Gaunt, duke of, 210.

  Lancaster, Thomas, earl of, 188.

  Langton, Walter, bp. of Lichfield, 179, 182.

  Lateran council of 1099, 94.

  Law, canon, 111, 149, 159;
    civil, 111, 125, 159;
    common, 125, 149.

  Legates, 23, 27, 31, 70, 77, 84, 93, 98-100, 103, 107, 124, 125, 140,
        144-146, 150, 157, 158.

  Legislation, ecclesiastical, 17, 28, 29, 40, 41, 43, 49, 58, 60, 80, 82,
        83, 98, 160, 197, 203, 204.

  Leicester, see of, 18, 41.

  Leo III., pope, 28, 34.

  Leo IV., pope, 36.

  Leo IX., pope, 65, 66.

  Leofric, bp. of Exeter, 63, 65, 66.

  Lewes, battle of, 157.

  Lewis VII. of France, 118-120.

  Lichfield, see of, 17, 18;
    made metropolitan, 26-29;
    removals of, 82.

  Lincoln, parliaments of, 178, 183.

  Lindisfarne, see of, 7, 13, 17, 19, 35.

  Lindsey, conversion of, 5;
    bishopric of, 18.

  Lisbon, taking of, 128.

  Llewelyn, prince of Wales, 167.

  London, proposed as a metropolis, 2, 3;
    see of, 4.

  Lotharingian bishops, 64-66, 68, 84.

  Lyons, council of, 165, 168.

  Manfred, 155.

  Manumissions, 73.

  Marriage, the Church and, 45, 49, 151, 169;
    clerical, 39, 45, 48, 82, 96, 98, 151, 167, 210.

  Martin, papal envoy, 152.

  Martin IV., pope, 168.

  Maserfield, battle at, 7.

  Matilda, empress, 106, 108.

  Melrose, 11.

  Mercia, conversion of, 8;
    diocese of, divided, 17, 18;
    predominance of, 26, 213.

  Merton, council of, 150, 159.

  Missionaries, early English, 32, 54.

  Monasticism, Celtic, 8, 14;
    Benedictine, 38, 43, 46, 47, 53.

  Montmirail, conference at, 119.

  Mortimer, Roger, 187.

  Mortmain, statute of, 165, 166, 172.

  Myton, the chapter of, 188, 198.

  Nevill's Cross, battle of, 198.

  Nice, second Council of, 33.

  Nicolas of Tusculum, 141.

  Nicolas II., pope, 69.

  Nicolas III., pope, 163, 164.

  Nicolas IV., pope, taxation of, 171.

  Nidd, the, council held near, 20.

  Northampton, council of, 117.

  Northumbria, conversion of, 5, 6;
    two kingdoms, 6;
    division into dioceses, 17-20;
    literary splendour, 21, 33;
    ruin of, 34, 35;
    conquest of, 42;
    revolt of, 46.

  Norwich, see of, 82.

  Oath, coronation, 51, 120, 129, 136;
    in suits, 50;
    a false, taken cognizance of by spiritual courts, 169.

  Offa, king of Mercia, 26, 27, 32, 33.

  Olaf, king of Norway, 57, 60.

  Ordainers, the lords, 183.

  Ordeals, 43.

  Orkneys, bishopric of the, 80, 107.

  Orlton, Adam, bp. of Hereford and Winchester, 185, 187, 195, 196.

  Osbern, bp. of Exeter, 86.

  Oswald, bp. of Worcester, _see_ York, abps. of.

  Oswald, king of Northumbria, 6, 7.

  Oswiu, king of Northumbria, 6, 7, 10-12, 15.

  Otho, legate, 150, 160.

  Otto the Great, king and emperor, marries a sister of Æthelstan, 44.

  Ottoboni, legate, 158, 160.

  Oxford, 106, 108, 125, 149, 151.

  Pall, archiepiscopal, 2, 6, 24, 30, 61, 71, 93.

  Pandulf, legate, 140, 144, 145.

  Parishes, 23.

  Parliament, clerical representation in, 172-174, 189, 204.

  Parliament, the Good, 211.

  Paschal II., pope, 96, 100.

  Paulinus, _see_ York, bps. and abps. of.

  Peerage of bishops, 197.

  Penda, king of Mercia, 5.

  Penitentials, 23, 30.

  Peter des Roches, bp. of Winchester, 140, 142, 143, 149.

  Peter's pence, 36, 40, 49, 61, 84, 181, 204.

  Philip II. of France, 139, 141.

  Philip IV. of France, 177, 179.

  Pilgrimages, 25, 32, 36, 69, 70.

  Plague, the great, 198, 199, 205, 208.

  Plurality of benefices, 41, 63, 164, 206.

  Pontigny, 118, 119.

  Præmunientes clause, 173, 189, 190.

  Præmunire, statute of, 193, 203, 218.

  Provisions, 147, 150, 184, 201, 202, 210, 211, 218.

  Provisors, statute of, 193, 202, 218.

  Quare impedit, writ of, 202.

  Ralph Flambard, bp. of Durham, 88.

  Ramsbury, see of, 42.

  Reading, provincial council at, 165.

  Reginald, abp.-elect, 137.

  Regulars and seculars, struggles between, 48, 51, 85.

  Remigius, bp. of Dorchester, 79.

  Reservations, 184, 201, 202, 211.

  Rheims, council of, 110.

  Richard I., 129-133.

  Ripon, 10, 19, 57, 187.

  Rochester, see of, 4, 6, 52.

  Rockingham, council of, 92.

  Roger, bp. of Salisbury, 103, 107, 108.

  Rome, "Saxon school" at, 32, 36.

  Rustand, papal envoy, 156.

  Sæberct, king of the East Saxons, 2.

  Saladine tenth, 124.

  Salisbury, see of, 82.

  Scandinavian invasions, 34, 56, _see_ Danes.

  Schism, the Celtic, 8-14, 16, 17, 25, 212.

  Schools, 21, 25, 49, 53.

  Scotland, relations with York, 3, 80, 101;
    papal dictum concerning, 102;
    Church freed from dependence, 102;
    a fief of Rome, 178;
    wars with England, 107, 178, 187, 197.

  Scottish missionaries and clergy, 4, 6, 8, 9.

  Scutage, 113, 146, 147.

  Sees, removals of, 65, 82.

  Selsey, see of, 19;
    removed, 82.

  Sergius, pope, 19, 26.

  Sherborne, see of, 26;
    removed, 82.

  Sherburn, northern parliament of, 188.

  Sidnacester, see of, 18.

  Simon de Montfort, earl, 156-158.

  Simony, 63, 64, 67, 89, 144.

  South Saxons, conversion of, 19.

  Spearhafoc, bp.-designate, 67.

  Standard, battle of the, 107.

  Stapleton, Walter, bp. of Exeter, 187.

  St. David's, see of, 128.

  Stephen, king, 106-112.

  Stephen, papal collector, 148.

  Swend, king of Denmark, 57, 60.

  Swithun, bp. of Winchester, 35.

  Synods and ecclesiastical councils, 11, 17, 29, 31, 55, 80, 91, 97, 98;
    _see_ Whitby, &c., also Convocation.

  Taxation, ecclesiastical, 74, 75, 113, 124, 146, 147, 152-154, 171,
        174-177, 200, 205, 209.

  Templars, suppression of the, 125, 183.

  Tenths, 147.

  Testa, William de, 181, 182.

  Thurkill, 58, 59.

  Tithes, 23, 24, 43, 49, 61, 98, 169, 204, 205.

  Tostig, earl, 69.

  Transubstantiation, 54, 86, 87.

  Translations, episcopal, rule concerning, 184.

  Tribute, papal, 140, 182, 204.

  Ufford, John, archbishop-elect, 198.

  Ulf, bp. of Dorchester, 64, 66, 67, 70.

  Urban, II., pope, 91-94.

  Urban IV., pope, 157, 158.

  Urban V., pope, 200, 204.

  Vacarius, 111.

  Vercelli, council of, 66.

  Vézelay, abp. Thomas at, 119.

  Vicarages, erection of, 151.

  Victor, anti-pope, 118.

  Walchelin, bp. of Winchester, 85, 86.

  Wales, church of, not in communion with Canterbury, 3, 8, 10;
    joins communion, 25;
    in S. Wales bishops profess obedience, 42;
    independence of church, 80;
    dependence, 102;
    character, 127, 177, 168.
      Alfred's power in, 42.
      Conquest of, by Edward I., 167.

  Wallingford, treaty of, 112.

  Walter Map, 133.

  Walter of Cantelupe, bp. of Worcester, 156-158.

  Waltham, 68, 71.

  Wedmore, peace of, 37.

  Wells, see of, 42, 82.

  Wessex, conversion, 6, 8;
    diocesan division of, 18, 26, 42;
    gains supremacy, 28.

  Westminster abbey, 69, 71, 85;
    councils at, 24, 98, 116, 124;
    convocation of Canterbury meets at, 98, 191.

  Whitby, synod of, 11-13, 16, 29, 213.

  Wighard, abp. designate, 15.

  Wight, Isle of, conversion, 19.

  William the Conqueror, 71, 72, 77-87, 92, 105, 215.

  William Rufus, 87-95.

  William, bp. of London, 67, 68.

  William Fitz-Osbert, 133.

  William Longchamp, bp. of Ely, 129.

  William of Saint-Calais, bp. of Durham, 87, 88, 92.

  William Wither, 148.

  Winchester, see of, 26, 42;
    councils at, 83, 108.

  Wini, bp. of W. Saxons, 8.

  Witchcraft, 39.

  Worcester, see of, 18;
    held with York, 69.

  Wulfstan, bp. of Worcester, 63, 70, 71, 84.

  Wyclif, John, 193, 211, 212.

  Wykeham, William of, bp. of Winchester, 207-212.

  York, see of, founded, 2, 5;
    overthrown, 6;
    restored, 13;
    metropolitan dignity restored, 22, 24, 212;
    period of greatness, 25;
    of obscurity, 34, 35;
    special position of, 35, 46, 74, 79;
    claim to obedience of Scottish bishops, 80, 101, 102;
    disputes with Canterbury, 79, 100, 101, 199.

  York, bps. and abps. of--
    Paulinus, 5, 6, 12, 13, 24.
    Wilfrith, 10-14, 17-20, 31, 213.
    Ceadda, 14, 16, 17, 29.
    Ecgberht, 22, 24, 25, 30.
    Æthelberht (Albert), 25.
    Eanbald, 34.
    Wulfstan, 43, 46.
    Oswald, 44, 48.
    Ealdred, 63, 66, 69, 78.
    Thomas, 78-80, 85.
    Thurstan, 100, 101, 107.
    William, 109, 110.
    Henry Murdac, 109, 110.
    Roger, 120, 124.
    Geoffrey, 122, 130, 131, 138, 216.
    Walter Gray, 144.
    Sewal de Bovil, 155.
    William Melton, 187.
    William Zouche, 197.
    John Thoresby, 199, 208.



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