One of the main aspects of the ecclesiastical reorganization launched by the Gregorian Reform was the subordination of local churches to the episcopal authority. However, this process was not exempt from difficulties, since the action of bishops was constrained by a series of particular practices and institutions of local societies. In this paper, we will analyse the interaction between bishops and rural elites in the diocese of León in order to demonstrate that the subjection of village churches to the episcopal jurisdiction was a result of transactional processes through which those rural elites tried to preserve some of their prerogatives over local churches.
Historians have largely ignored the diocesan administration of the 13th-century bishop of Lincoln, Richard Gravesend. Rather, he has been considered in the wider context of the baronial rebellion, as a Montfortian bishop among a group of like-minded prelates. Mantello and Goering’s recent discovery of a letter, previously thought to belong to Robert Grosseteste, and now attributed to Gravesend, sheds new light on Gravesend’s fight against clergy abuse within his diocese, and his reforming ideologies. This paper will examine the context in which the letter was written, how Gravesend presented the need for reform, and how it alludes to his involvement in the wider struggle borne by Archbishop Boniface, against Henry III’s oppression of Church liberties. This paper will argue that Gravesend’s theological education and ecclesiastical preferment, which was highly influenced by the ideals of the Franciscan Order, and leading prelates who were associated with it, predisposed him to zealous work fighting against clergy abuse and for Church liberties, which this letter displays abundantly.
This paper uses the earliest Common Fund Accounts of Lincoln Cathedral to explore the nature of charitable giving in the early 14th century. It addresses the importance to the cathedral chapter of the income from donations at shrines and whether a reduction in revenue was governed more by a decline in piety or widespread economic hardship. The paper also considers the accounts’s evidence for the cathedral’s charitable provisions during this period and thus its own approach to almsgiving when faced with economic uncertainty.