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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  March 2008

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION March 2008

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Subject:

Re: Sufragan Bishops

From:

Rosemary Hayes-Milligan and Andrew Milligan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 22 Mar 2008 15:57:56 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

I am sure you are right Tom.

Re the question of how many were friars: of the  bishops 'in partibus' 
acting as suffragans 1259-1551, listed in HBC

49 active 1259-1544 were not noted as belonging to a religious order - 
although some of them may have done
15 active 1326-1533 were Franciscans
3 active 1360-1535 were Cistercians (incl abbots of Thame 1493-1512 and 
1527-35)
7 active 1353-1532 were Dominicans
1 active 1400-1424 was Carmelite
1 active 1402-1432 was Gilbertine
15 active 1457-1551 were Austin canons (incl 9 priors or abbots between 1504 
and 1551)
2  active 1492-1515 were of the Order of St John of Jerusalem
4 active 1492-1553 were Benedictines (incl prior of Avecote 1521-24, prior 
of Tynemouth, abbot of Pershore 1524-33
1 active 1508-1534 was Cluniac (prior of Kerswell)
1 active 1518-1535 was of the order of Bonhommes (prior of Edington)
3 active 1519-1537 were Premonstratensians (all abbots)
1 active 1532 was described as 'prior S Velini'

It is not clear whether we can assume that those not assigned to a religious 
order were seculars (I rather doubt it as very few ordination lists say that 
the bishop presiding was a Franciscan when we know from other records that 
he was) but John is quite right to say that I was oversimplifying. From this 
list it seems that, the early Cistercian apart, monks and canons were later 
choices than seculars and friars and heads of houses later still.  I wonder 
whether there is any connection with the choice of those who were licensed 
to preach, particularly after 1401.  As it was a major part of a bishop's 
calling to preach, and he had the power to license others to do so, he may 
well have chosen the same kind of men both to preach and be suffragan - but 
this is pure supposition on my part.

The lists in HBC are just a gathering of what was known in 1986 and so 
should be seen as a starting point for the research that needs doing rather 
than a last word.  The authors there refer to Eubel, W. Stubbs, Registrum 
Sacrum Anglicanum, (2d edn, Oxford, 1897), A Hamilton Thompson in Yorkshire 
Archaeological Journal, vol 24, pp248 ff; and David Knowles, The Religious 
Orders in England, vol 2 (1955), 373-75 and vol 3 (1959), 493-95.

I think John is absolutely right in thinking his example is an exception 
rather than the rule, but until the further research needed is done, we 
cannot be entirely sure ...

Rosemary Hayes



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Izbicki" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2008 10:39 AM
Subject: Re: [M-R] Sufragan Bishops


> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>
> I was told many years ago that the practice presupposes that you cannot be
> a    bishop without a see. In the Middle Ages, the pope would have
> authorized naming a bishop to a see in partibus.
>
> Tom Izbicki
>
>> I do wonder if it is an oversimplification to say that most suffragans
>> were
>> friars (just as I thought that most suffragans held Irish sees).
>> Certainly,
>> friars would be the cheapest (in theory!) to employ, but glancing at the
>> lists suggests that at least some of the obvious Religious were priors or
>> abbots.  I do wonder if some people constructed "portfolio careers", and
>> becoming a bishop was just another aspect to it.  Which raises at least
>> one
>> question: how did one become consecrated to a see in partibus infidelium?
>>
>> An even more basic question is, why?  Why did you need to be a bishop of
>> a
>> titular see to be a suffragan?  Could you only be consecrated a bishop if
>> there was a "spare" see?  If so, did you need to retain it in order to
>> "practise" as a bishop?  What happened if you resigned your see - could
>> you
>> still practise as a suffragan?  (I suppose, this raises the whole
>> question
>> of 'episcopi vagantes'...)
>>
>> John Briggs
>>
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