chapter  2
21 Pages

The Custom of Election: Ritual and Finance

Over a period of two hundred years, from the mid-twelfth to the mid-fourteenth centuries, the processes by which English bishops obtained office were transformed. Henry II exercised effective rights of nomination over the bishoprics in his kingdom. During the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, European administrations, both secular and ecclesiastical, became increasingly bureaucratic in their nature. Throughout the age of election, chapters and popes considered the wishes of kings, and archbishops and popes confirmed elections that had clearly been made with secular influence. In addition, and despite the fact that cathedral chapters continued to hold elections throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, it is impossible to deny that their level of influence was considerably diminishes the rise of provision. To the modern eye, medieval episcopal appointments may seem a rather arcane topic, the products of a long-past world in which the church exercised immense power and the filling of an episcopal vacancy was a subject worth arguing over.