By Mary Frances Giandrea
This primary full-length examine of the Anglo-Saxon episcopate explores the actions of the bishops in a number of arenas, from the pastoral and liturgical to the political, social, criminal and monetary, so tracing the improvement of a very English episcopal id over the process the 10th and 11th centuries. It makes exact use of the modern proof, formerly unexploited as diffuse, tricky and mostly non-narrative, instead of that from after the Norman Conquest; simply because this avoids the existing monastic bias, it exhibits as an alternative that alterations so as (between secular and monk-bishops) had virtually no impact on their attitudes towards their episcopal roles. It accordingly offers a way more nuanced portrait of the episcopal church at the eve of the Conquest, a church whose individuals continuously labored to create a well-ordered Christian polity during the stewardship of the English monarchy and the sacralization of political discourse: an episcopate deeply dedicated to pastoral care and in-step with present continental liturgical and theological advancements, regardless of later ideologically-charged makes an attempt to signify another way; and an establishment intricately woven, due to its large financial and political strength, into the very cloth of English neighborhood and local society. MARY FRANCIS GIANDREA teaches at George Mason college
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1070). 43 Brett, “John of Worcester,” 125. See also F. Tinti, “From episcopal conception to monastic compilation: Hemming’s Cartulary in context,” EME 11 (2002), 233–62 and P. Geary, Phantoms of Remembrance: Memory and Oblivion at the End of the First Millennium (Princeton, 1994). 16 (Re)Writing History traditions. 47 At smaller houses all over England, generally anonymous monks were busy doing what William of Malmesbury was doing, only on a smaller scale. Because they had greater access to genuine pre-Conquest material than the universal chroniclers, their histories can be reliable witnesses to the Anglo-Saxon past.
93 This is William at his rhetorical and imaginative best, but it serves a greater purpose than just the opportunity to display his disappointment. Recalling what happened the last time the English let their hair down, so to speak, one expects God’s retribution in the form of yet another invasion to follow. It does not happen, of course, but the warning seems clear enough. Most scholars would agree that, on the whole, William’s extreme pessimism was unwarranted. And even he had trouble fabricating sins to attach to many prelates, even secular ones.
91 “And although at first he had shown great austerity at almost all points he had shown himself insensitive and unreliable, he began and carried through a notable programme at Bath in the field of decoration and books, and particularly in building up a monastic community notable for their learning and devotion. All the same, he could never, even on his deathbed, be softened as with true generosity to give them free access to the income from their lands, thus leaving his successors a precedent that should not be followed” (GR, §340).
Episcopal Culture in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Anglo-Saxon Studies) by Mary Frances Giandrea