Held almost as an article of faith amongst Merovingian historians is a belief in the strength of the bishops’ position in the town in early Frankish society. Passages from the life of bishop Desiderius of Cahors are often used to illustrate the busy bishop at work in his town, responsible, it seems, for maintaining the town’s defences. The assumption of secular duties by the bishop has been charted by a German scholar—Claude—who shows how in many cases the crown’s principal representative in the town—the count—began to reside outside the town, having been deprived of his specifically urban functions by the bishop. The interest shown in the bishops in the town has, however, led to a rather unbalanced picture of the bishop as an urban creature. In contrast, the Merovingian church councils of the sixth and seventh centuries show that the bishops were very much concerned with rural work, and from the legislation which applies to both town and country it could be argued that the distinctions between the two are less clear-cut than a concept such as bischöfliche Stadtherrschaft implies.