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The Crozier and the Cross: Crusading and the English episcopate, C.1170–1313

Bass, I (2019) The Crozier and the Cross: Crusading and the English episcopate, C.1170–1313. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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The historiography surrounding the English response to the crusades has thus far exclusively focussed on the experience and impact that secular kings, lords, and laymen had on these expeditions. In stark contrast, the medieval bishop has received scant attention in history of the promotion, promulgation, and participation of these campaigns. This thesis investigates the varied roles of the English episcopate in the recruitment, funding, and participation of the crusades between 1170 and 1313. The thesis builds on recent national studies of crusading movements to address an important scholarly lacuna by approaching crusading through the information contained within episcopal acta, registers, and other sources. This thesis seeks to offer a more rounded and comprehensive view on the nature of episcopal involvement in the crusades, and addresses the issue of whether the English episcopate had a cohesive approach to the crusades throughout the period. In order to address this, the thesis will take several thematic strands as individual studies. There will be an examination of the posthumous cults of English bishop-saints, the influence they had on crusaders, and the benchmarks they set for episcopal behaviour regarding the crusades; the use of crusade as ecclesiastical censure; the process of episcopal inquiry into crusaders, their goods and bequests to the Holy Land subsidy; and finally, the bishop-led inquiry in the proceedings against the Knights Templar in Britain. It will argue that although the English episcopate was united in regards to politics, learning, and reform, it was less unified when confronted with the crusades.

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