University Education of the Parochial Clergy in Medieval England: The Lincoln Diocese, C. 1300-C. 1350

By Swanson, R. N. | The Catholic Historical Review, April 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

University Education of the Parochial Clergy in Medieval England: The Lincoln Diocese, C. 1300-C. 1350


Swanson, R. N., The Catholic Historical Review


University Education of the Parochial Clergy in Medieval England: The Lincoln Diocese, c. 1300-c. 1350. By F. Donald Logan. [Studies and Texts 188.] (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. 2014. Pp. xiv, 197. $80.00. ISBN 978-0-88844-181-1.)

In this short volume, Donald Logan provides a compact but comprehensive analysis of the licenses for nonresidence to attend university that were granted to parochial rectors in the English Diocese of Lincoln during the first half of the fourteenth century. The voluminous episcopal registers for those decades record thousands of administratively ephemeral documents not normally preserved elsewhere, including more than 1200 licenses allowing parish rectors to be nonresident so they could pursue study yet retain their ecclesiastical incomes. Many of the licenses were issued in accordance with the papal constitution Cum ex eo, promulgated by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298. This permitted absence for up to seven years by rectors who might initially be merely acolytes or subdeacons. Other licenses of shorter duration were granted by the bishops on their own authority to rectors who were usually priests. (Incumbent vicars were denied such opportunities: their cures required permanent residence.)

The book divides almost exactly into two halves. The first segment offers analysis and commentary, and is short enough to be read (but perhaps not fully digested) at one sitting. The second half consists of an alphabetical register of the recipients of the nonresidence licenses, detailing the grants, adding occasional further references, and providing cross-references to Alfred Brotherton Emden's Biographical Registers for the few recipients (under 5 percent) who appear in them. That percentage alone suggests the value of this study for future work on university attendance in pre-Reformation England.

Logan's first-half commentary is essentially a quantitative dissection of the information provided by the licenses, preceded by an introduction and an initial chapter offering orientation on "Canon Law and Clerical Learning." Chapters 2 to 4 offer a chronological analysis, its periodization shaped by episcopates. …

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