8 Pages


In 1341, a canon of Lincoln travelled to Avignon to visit the papal curia. The transition from episcopal election to papal provision was one of immense significance for the English Church and, more broadly, for English government and society. In order to discover how the transition to provision came about, it is necessary to look back to the early years of the thirteenth century, at which time election by the cathedral chapter was considered the sole means by which a bishop could be appointed. In the mid-thirteenth century, following the issue of the Freedom of Election charter and the pronouncements of the Fourth Lateran Council, the identities of the core participants in the electoral process, as well as the rights and responsibilities of each of these participants, and had been relatively well defined. Just the rise of papal provision affected the roles played by the core quintet of participants, so too were the customs surrounding the appointment process altered.