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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1611: The Long Arm of the Law?: The Role of Church and State in Law Enforcement in 12th- and 13th-Century England

Thursday 9 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Christine E. Meek, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin
Paper 1611-aArchdeacons of Somerset in the Employ of King John
(Language: English)
Robin Sutherland-Harris, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, Downtown
Index terms: Administration, Charters and Diplomatics, Ecclesiastical History
Paper 1611-bThe King's Coroner
(Language: English)
Paulette Barton, Department of Modern Languages & Classics / Department of History, University of Maine
Index terms: Administration, Law, Political Thought, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 1611-cBecket's Flight from Northampton (1164): The RĂ´le of the Gilbertines
(Language: English)
Anne J. Duggan, Department of History, King's College London
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Religious Life

Paper -a:
In studying the emergence of a professional class of administrators in England during the late 12th and early 13th centuries, the degree of connection between regional administration and royal, and between developments in ecclesiastical settings and those in secular arenas, has often been difficult for historians to determine. Men who simultaneously held multiple offices in various institutional contexts played an influential role in the changes occurring within medieval English administrative structures, and in many cases served as bridges between the concerns of locality and country, church and lay. Archdeacons in particular found themselves in a flexible situation by the reign of King John, with some acting only locally on behalf of their bishops while others were increasingly involved in royal administration and almost completely removed from diocesan concerns. This paper focuses on the archidiaconal tenure of William de Wrotham at Taunton, taking into account the careers of his more famous Somerset contemporaries, to explore how the multiplicity of roles filled by archdeacons reflects responses by both secular and ecclesiastical authorities to the changing administrative landscape both within Somerset and throughout England.

Paper -b:
The office of the coroner has been an integral part of the English legal system since 1144. In this paper I will examine the development of the office from inception to approximately 1250. This examination includes: appointment of the coroner, the powers of the office, his role in local judicial administration, his role as a king's officer, his role as an investigator of unattended deaths and, finally, what do the coroner's rolls tell us about the office.

Paper -c:
One of the more intriguing episodes in Becket's stormy career is his successful flight from Northampton in October 1164, especially in the light of his two failed attempts to escape from England earlier in the year. This paper discusses the route and examines the crucial part played by the Gilbertine Order in its successful execution. It also challenges Arnulf of Lisieux's claim that Henry II made no attempt to capture him when he learned of his flight some hours after he had left the city.