English Episcopal Acta, 19: Salisbury, 1078-1217

Article excerpt

English Episcopal Acta, 19: Salisbury, 1078-1217. Edited by B. R. Kemp. (New York: Oxford University Press, for The British Academy. 1999. Pp. cxxiii, 213. $74.00.)

Episcopal acta are the documented decisions of medieval bishops regarding a variety of administrative concerns encompassing both the temporal and spiritual arenas of diocesan government. Typically, they include such things as land grants, episcopal court decisions, disciplinary actions following a visitation, and the disposition of church income such as occurred in the appropriation of parochial benefices by religious corporations. Inevitably some acta were copied into episcopal registers, but many more survive scattered in the archives of beneficiary organizations such as cathedral chapters, religious houses, and collegiate churches. This excellent edition by B. R. Kemp for Salisbury takes its place among other fine volumes for other English dioceses, but the Salisbury material is especially welcome to church historians and students of medieval diplomatic. The years embraced by this collection, 1150 to 1228, spanned the pontificates of six bishops of unusual administrative and pastoral skill in the English church. Osmund, Roger, and Hubert Walter exerted tremendous influence on the development of the royal chancery and the central administration of the realm; Jocelin de Bohun put his stamp on the diocese during his forty-two years as bishop; Herbert Poore began the process of moving the site of Salisbury's cathedral, and his yovinger brother, Richard, helped among other significant developments to realize that vision. The younger Poore is also known as one of the great pastoral reformers in England following the Fourth Lateran Council. …


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