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The bishops in 13th-century England have often received individual historiographical attention as key figures; the likes of Stephen Langton and Peter des Roches as major political actors, or Robert Grosseteste and John Pecham as intellectuals and ecclesiastical administrators.
The life and writings of Aelred of Rievaulx (1110–67) provide some of the most important material for the study of Cistercian monasticism in 12th-century England, Cistercian teachings and beliefs, and the relationship of the order with other ecclesiastical and secular bodies.
The medieval English parish was a fiendishly complex organism, whose intricacies become increasingly brain-frazzling as their microscopic analysis advances.
It is the title which gives away a great deal about this very fine book, and should alert us to Tom Lambert’s ambition for this project, which has grown out of a University of Durham PhD thesis. ‘Law’ positions it as a work of legal history, but it is the component of ‘order’ which offers the second and bolder half of Lambert’s argument.
When it comes to Scotland, English historians are often still guilty of presuming that, before the Wars of Independence at least, the government of their northerly neighbour was unsophisticated and in desperate need of the help of English institutions in becoming an effective state. This sort of speculative thought is of course one of the more myopic pillars of English exceptionalism.
This book focuses on the records of the Privy Wardrobe, a department of state that was responsible for supplying the king with arms and armour in the Middle Ages. The accounts of the keepers of the Privy Wardrobe survive from the 1320s to the early 15th century and contain a wealth of information about arms, armour and other items in their possession.
As a concept and as a practice, the provision and reception of counsel was a crucial cornerstone of the polities of medieval and early modern Britain. Those in positions of authority, whether king, regent, ruling council or mayor, were expected to hear virtuous advice. This would, it was fervently hoped, guide the course of governance and ensure just rule.
As Martin Heale states at the very beginning of The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England, ‘the importance of the late medieval abbot needs no particular emphasis’. This was a group of men with responsibility for the spiritual and material wellbeing of thousands of monks and canons.
I knew David Hey for 30 years, and it is with great sadness that I offer this review of his last and posthumous book. I recall well how I first met him. It was Easter 1985 and I was on my way to the British Agricultural History Society conference to give a paper. I hadn’t been to that conference before, nor had I ever given a paper to a conference (as opposed to a seminar).
Manuscripts Online: Written Culture 1000–1500 is an online gateway to digitised primary sources on medieval written culture. The website collects existing resources behind an interface similar to that of a library catalogue.