The Kings and the Church, 1042–1066
DOI link for The Kings and the Church, 1042–1066
The Kings and the Church, 1042–1066 book
Kings were unique amongst laymen because their office was divinelysanctioned. Others had land, money and followers, but the king alone became God’s deputy when he was consecrated with holy oil at his coronation. In return for elevating him above ordinary men, the Church expected to be protected and defended by the king against exploiters and enemies of Christ. The king and his Church were therefore supposed to work in harmony with each other so as to allow God’s work in the world to be done in peace and without disruption. In practice, however, the archbishops, bishops and abbots of pre-conquest England were often figures of political rather than religious significance. They were appointed by the king and many came from the ranks of the royal household and advised him closely on political events. Once in their dioceses, they controlled land and had financial, judicial and military obligations to their royal lord. The kings of late Anglo-Saxon England governed the Church largely unimpeded, therefore, and, in their turn, leading churchmen played an essential role in the government of the kingdom. So, after a general assessment of the condition of the English Church under the last two Anglo-Saxon kings, it is from a political and governmental perspective that their relationship with that Church will be analysed.