Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-vpsfw Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-18T15:38:12.860Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Uncertainties of Reformers: Collective Anxieties and Strategic Discourses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2019

Amanda Power
Affiliation:
St Catherine's College, University of Oxford
Get access

Summary

Discontent with the existing terminology, narratives and concepts of reform is widely felt among medievalists, although most of the discussion has been focused on the period from c. 800 until 1150 or, at the latest, 1200. In contrast, reform in thirteenth-century England is still generally treated as a stable conceptual category, a predominantly insular phenomenon, and as a popular activity among both laity and clergy, who, it would appear, spent much of their time either pursuing or resisting something called reform. Renewed interest in the relationships between secular and ecclesiastical reformers seems to have resulted in the convergence of previously distinct historiographies of reform: those of the kingdom's governance and of the implementation of the constitutions of Lateran IV. Since both have long been established in their separate spheres as significant instances of reform, and the terminology has not been revisited, ‘reform’ has become even more capacious and inexact in its meaning. The term reformatio is certainly present in the documents, although not necessarily with the frequency or wide scope of meaning with which it appears in translations and interpretations of those documents. Magna Carta spoke of an emendatio, not reformatio, of the kingdom, while the documents produced by the baronial ‘reformers’ used a mixture of terms to describe what ought to be done: ordino, rectifico, correctio and reformatio, and, in the vernacular, refurmement, amendement and releuement. Among ecclesiastical ‘reformers’, the use of the term was closely connected to the wording of the constitutions of Lateran IV, which spoke of reform solely as an ‘office of correction and reform’ that belonged to prelates, abbots and their assistants, who should scrutinise morals, especially those of the clergy and religious: ‘otherwise the blood of such persons will be required at their hands’. The Franciscan, Adam Marsh, usually described as a reformer, hardly used the word himself and when he did, it was in the same very restricted sense, interchangeable with emendatio, of correcting individuals. It seems likely that people who are not viewed as reformers also used this conventional language of scrutiny, discipline and improvement in a range of contexts.

Type
Chapter
Information
Thirteenth Century England XVI
Proceedings of the Cambridge Conference, 2015
, pp. 1 - 20
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

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
×