The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation

The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation

The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation

The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation

Excerpt

Substantially, if not formally, the Church which the Normans encountered in Wales was a national one. The terms ecclesia Wallie, ecclesia Wallensica, or ecclesia Wallicana, were not as yet in use, as far as is known. Nor is this kind of distinction known to have been officially recorded in any document earlier than the Provinciale of Cardinal Albinus, compiled probably between 1164and 1167. Nevertheless, the Church in Wales undoubtedly seems to have enjoyed that same degree of autonomy which Churches in other independent kingdoms at that period enjoyed. It had, since 768, submitted to the authority of Rome in the vexed question of the date of Easter and, presumably, in the other matters which had been in dispute since the breakdown of the talks between St. Augustine of Canterbury and representatives of the Celtic Church early in the seventh century. But the papal overlordship had been and remained shadowy and remote. Nor did acknowledgement of the authority of Rome carry with it acceptance of the claims to jurisdiction over the Welsh Church put forward by Canterbury. All attempts to enforce such jurisdiction were stubbornly resisted and proved ineffectual. On the other hand, in accordance with its origins and its history, the Welsh Church maintained the closest contacts with the Church in other Celtic lands --Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany--and chose to be cut off, in large measure, from the Church in England and from the main stream of religious life on the Continent. Its discipline, its organization, and its institutions differed widely from those which obtained in England and still more from those prevailing in northern France with which the Normans were familiar. This was a state of affairs which the . . .

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