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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  January 2001

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION January 2001

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Subject:

Abbatial "households" [<Bajulus]

From:

Christopher Crockett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 2 Jan 2001 13:27:36 MST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (179 lines)

"B.M.COOK" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>...It is possible that the Abbot and his entourage were riding along the
river bank, but...it is more likely (especially in view of what followed) that
he was travelling in his barge. 

sounds good to me.

river travel (when the sometimes shallow Loire allowed) would certainly have
been preferable --in comfort, speed and safety-- to the road, i 
would think.

>The donation was witnessed thus "Donationis hujus testes sunt Dominus Abbas
Bernardus & bajulus ejus..."
>It is clear that the Bajulus had accompanied the Abbot on his journey. 

agreed.

>This would lead me to suspect that he was a senior member of the Abbot's
household rather than a monastic official 

literally, "ejus" might be so construed.

>if it is possible to make the distinction. 

i believe that, theoretically, such a distinction could be made --providing
the documents survive.  

a word about where i'm comming from here would probably be helpful, since it
envolves some pretty "creative" thinking on my part about the evolutionary
structures of certain institutions and i'd welcome some correction from anyone
who might actually happen to know anything about these matters.

when i think about the origins of the offices of the "Dignataries"
(_personae_) in a cathedral chapter like that of, say, Chartres, it seems to
me that what i'm looking at by the 11th century (or well before, but the sun
hardly comes up over the historical horizon before that late 
date) is the chrystalisation of a long process of development in which 
the whole of the chapter might be seen as having begun its institutional life
as the ecclesiastical "household" of the Bishop.  

within this household certain "canons" (clerics attached to the Mother Church
of the diocese and enjoying prebends therein) were delegated certain duties
and responsibilities and given certain powers, e.g.:

--the diocese was divided up into administrative units, both ecclesiastical
(deaconries) and fiscal (prévotés), under the direction of appropriate
"officers" (Archdeacons and Provosts);

--the direction of the liturgical performances was placed under the control of
a _Cantor_;

--the responsibility for litterary matters --including, ultimately, the
direction of a school-- fell to a Chancellor;

--the physical fabric of the Mother church was under the care of a
_capicerius_;

etc.

because the chapter was, by its nature, an on-going, morte-mainable sort of
institution, it would have, early on, established its own perogatives more or
less independant of whatever particular Bihsop might be occupying the Cathedra
at any particular time; and these perogatives might --or might not-- have
included the right to elect their own Dean.

but, whatever independance the Chapter and its Dignataries might have 
had, the poor Bishop --whoever he was, and at whatever period-- would still
have had need of a "household" to take care of his personal (and professional)
needs.

i.e., he needed a secretary --with clercs under him-- to keep track of 
his correspondance; _nuncii_ to carry his messages all over the diocese and
beyond; a _marescallus_ to keep his horses in good order; a private chaplain;
a cook or two; a "butler" to keep his cellar stocked and open his wine; a
_panetarius_ to distribute his pans; shucks, perhaps even a _bajulus_ to carry
his stuff around and pay his tolls, _et alii ministeriales Episcopi_, as they
say.

in short, he had a _familia_ (the word which is used) of folks, who make
occasional --usually shadowy-- appearances in the charters from time to time
(an exception is the detailed record of a dispute between the Bishop of
Chartres and the Abbot of Morigny [near Etampes] over the former's supposed
rights to _procuration_ in that abbey, which was carried to the court of the
Archbishop of Sens in 1224; testimony was taken from a 
number of folks from the Bishop's personal household --i'll be glad to attach
a rough copy of this charter to anyone who might be interested, *off list*).

to return, belatedly, to the subject at hand, i would submit that a similar
situation would prevail in the case of a Major Monastery like Marmoutier
--i.e., the *Institution* of the chapter of abbey itself would have developed
offices according to the Rule and local custom (e.g., a "panetarius" [a
significant fellow at MM in the late 11th c.] and a _bajulus_) which were, to
some extent, independant of the Abbot, who 
might --surely did, in the case of MM-- have his own personal 
"household" of fellows who may have carried the same titles as those of the
chapter.

>Additionally, since I doubt that the Lord Abbot actually carried any money on
his own person, 

no more than the President.

>I would also suggest that the Bajulus was responsible for the financial and
other arrangements for the journey and indeed it had been he personally who
had actually paid the river tolls to the agents of Daniel and Roger. 

i entirely agree with these reasonable suppositions.

>Thus his role as witness to the donation would have been doubly 
important because he would have seen the implementing of it.

yes.

seen and *been responsible* for his part of the implementation of it.

the more i look at them, the fewer occasions i find that witnesses to charters
were "just" some guys who happened to be around when the thing was drawn up. 
more often than not, where i've been able to run the fellows to earth, i can
make a good case for their being there because they had a direct interest
--personal (including familial) or professional-- in the matter which
generated the charter.

>This is one of those charters where it is possible to piece together a bit of
the background to make a nice little vignette.

yep.

fun, isn't it?

>The second quotation ...provides less useful background, but the Bajulus is
listed "de monachis"

>"De monachis, Garnerius abbas majoris Monasterii, Reginaldus abbatis
bajulus, Bartholomeus prior Nannetensis [= prior of Ste Croix, a priory 
of Marmoutier in Nantes], Guillelmus notitiarius[sic]. De laicis .... [&c
&c.]

>so in 1143x47 he was a monk and therefore by implication his predecessor
would have been one in 1096 as well.

not necessarily.

the _Bajulus_ of the abbey (an office mentioned in the Rule??), like all the
other "Dignataries" of the monastic chapter, would surely(?) have 
been a monk.

but the _bajulus_ in the Abbot's _familia_ (_bajulus ejus_) might or 
might not have been.

>It also seems clear that he was the Abbot's bajulus and not the abbey's.

thought you were heading for the other conclusion.

you're probably right --would the B of the abbey have gone off on a trip with
the Abbot?

in the case of a smaller house, perhaps; but MM was second only to Cluny at
this date in the size and importance of its "order," the Abbot was a Rich and
Powerful fellow, and the _Bajulus_ of the Mother House was, in his own way,
probably one as well.

technically too close to call, in this case, i'd say.

>Hope this isn't too long ....

ditto.

best to all from here,

christopher





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