chapter  3
57 Pages

The Practice and Problems of Episcopal Election, c.1214-c.1307

Although the canon law of election has been studied in considerable detail by a range of historians, the custom of election has received considerably less attention, especially within the English context. Nevertheless, the study of the latter is of great importance, for just as the law shaped elections, so too did the requirements of custom: chapters must have considered the opinions given to them at the bishop’s funeral and at court, just as they must have pondered the financial implications of disregarding these opinions and provoking an appeal to Rome. Rituals allowed the participants to display their adherence to the canon law; thus the granting of the licence to elect was accompanied by a declaration of royal respect for the chapter’s right of free election, and the electors might make their choice with floods of tears, in order to demonstrate their purity and sincerity, and the validity of their choice.