This book is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. The themes and concerns include a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. Reynolds has written her own Middle Ages, especially in her innovative book Kingdoms and Communities whose influence can be seen in so many of the essays. Collectivities, solidarities and collective action are everywhere in these essays, as Reynolds has shown us to expect them to be. Collective action was carried out often in pursuit of social peace, but it existed precisely because there was discord. Of the narratives and interpretative frameworks with which Reynolds's work has been concerned, the book has least to say directly on the debate over feudalism. The book engages many of the themes of Reynolds's work and pursues some of the issues which are prominent in re-examinations of the medieval world and in studies of the medieval laity. It discusses secular aristocratic attitudes towards judicial combat within the broader setting of fictional 'treason trials' of the later twelfth century. Although kinship did not start out as an explicit and overt theme of the book, it emerges as a leitmotiv, perhaps in part because when feudalism is removed, kinship is thrown into sharper relief.
This volume’s title, Law, Laity and Solidarities in Medieval Europe, reflects three of Susan Reynolds’s chief interests, which she has treated singly and commingled. 1 Here, in homage to a valued friend and intellectual companion, I shall approach the topics from a somewhat different perspective from hers, a perspective that is inspired by her methodological admonitions and that I hope complements her broad vision of medieval society. The chief purpose of this essay is to question the appropriateness of distinguishing sharply between lay (or secular and
The differentiation between the laity and those who have received ordination in a religion is not characteristic of all religions. In some it is demarcated, in some it is not to be found, and in yet others the differentiation is blurred. I would like to contrast the recognition and concern for the laity in Buddhism with the other major religion of early India, Hinduism, which tends either to leave it fluid or as in some sects, gives it no recognition. Votive inscriptions from Buddhist sites in the Deccan, the northern part of the Indian peninsula, during the
Pauline Stafford, Janet L. Nelson and Jane Martindale
This collection of essays is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to recent reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. It is arranged chronologically but is bound together by a series of themes and concerns. Those themes and concerns are hers: a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. For her
the wergild system for which it served as a sanction had disappeared at least by the mid-twelfth century, however it may have been in earlier times.
Thus medieval kinship structures varied according to period and region. In the course of the Middle Ages, however, a unitary kinship system was increasingly imposed on the laity by the church. Jack Goody’s con troversial study 11 of medieval kinship has the great merit of recognising that the kinship system which bound together Western Europe as a whole was the set of rules about consanguinity and affinity
began with the ‘youthful ignorance’ charters. Returning to them now suggests how far the ideals of the 990s, albeit recorded in clerically drafted documents, should be seen as shared values, or ones which at least had strong resonance for the laity. In the context of debates which utilised the values of kinship and family, and in which the king was made to place himself and his actions within a dynastic past, a metaphor of the king’s reign drawn from his human life-cycle was a very apposite way of presenting what was claimed as a shift in direction and a king
the Church of England. Were they those who
attended church, or did the individual have to pass some stiffer test
– such as confirmation, baptism or regular communion –
before they could call themselves an Anglican? The Cornwall episode also
shows how differently the ministry and the laity could view the Church.
While Rudd saw it as an English transplant, his flock seem to have
regarded the church as
The judicial duel under the Angevin kings (mid–twelfth century to 1204)
historians to pursue traces of such Values’ and ‘assumptions’ wherever these can be found – even though the laity often expressed their views in a less articulate or systematic fashion than the more intellectual and literate clergy. 7 Judicial combat was in theory only employed as a method of legal proof in lay courts, and was in any case restricted to the laity – so reflections on the judicial duel should provide an interesting topic to offer to a scholar who has emphasised that ‘we . . . need to discuss both ideas and practice, distinguishing them from each other, but
Urban History in England’, Theoretische geschiedenis/ Historiography and Theory 19 (1992), 43–57; reprinted in eadem, Ideas and Solidarities of the Medieval Laity : England and Western Europe (Aldershot, 1995), p. 45.
2 S. and B. Webb, English Local Government , 10 volumes (London, 1906–29).
3 S. Reynolds, An Introduction to the History of English Medieval Towns (Oxford, 1977), p. 119.
4 S. Reynolds, The Rulers of London in the Twelfth Century’, History 57 (1972), 337–57, p. 339 and n.
5 H. W. C. Davis, ‘London Lands and Liberties of St Paul
An inquiry into the decline of pilgrimages and crusading
Charles T. Wood
26 Clermont speech of Urban II in Robert the Monk’s version as translated in Edward Peters, ed., The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and Other Source Materials , 2nd edn (Philadelphia, 1998), pp. 27–8.
27 Robert the Monk’s version, with last sentence slightly modified for clarity, from Peters, First Crusade, p. 29.
28 Translation, slightly modified for accuracy and style, from Sir Frank Marzials, ed. and trans., Memoirs of the Crusades (London, 1908), p. 277. Note, incidentally, the extent to which Joinville’s carpetless