Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-mwx4w Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-15T22:54:11.082Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

3 - The Political and Military Agency of Ecclesiastical Leaders in Anglo-Norman England: 1066–1154

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2014

Get access

Summary

The civil war between King Stephen of England (r. 1135–54) and Empress Maud has long been a period of interest for medieval historians. During this violent and destructive time centralized authority largely fragmented and fell into the hands of the local and regional nobility, including ecclesiastical lords. Contemporary observers, such as the compiler of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, complained that God had forsaken England and it was “said openly that Christ and His saints slept.” In the midst of societal and governmental upheaval ecclesiastical lords, primarily bishops, became both protectors and despoilers of the countryside. The author of the Gesta Stephani (himself perhaps a bishop) complained that bishops were behaving in much the same fashion as secular lords in warfare:

Others (but it was no task for bishops) filled their castles full of provisions and stocks of arms, knights, and archers, and though they were supposed to be warding off the evildoers who were plundering the goods of the Church showed themselves always more cruel and more merciless than those very evil-doers in oppressing their neighbours and plundering their goods. Likewise the bishops, the bishops themselves, though I am ashamed to say it, not indeed all but a great many out of the whole number, girt with swords and wearing magnificent suits of armour, rode on horseback with the haughtiest destroyers of the country and took their share of the spoil.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×