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The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West$
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Susan Wood

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206972.001.0001

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Transition to outside lordship of monasteries

Transition to outside lordship of monasteries

(p.176) 7 Transition to outside lordship of monasteries
The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West

Susan Wood

Oxford University Press

There is little evidence in pre-Carolingian Europe for real long-lasting family control, from outside the community, of the succession of heads of monasteries, such as would demonstrate — or constitute — outside lordship. Many or most heads still designated their successors; in doing this an abbot was with varying degrees of explicitness giving something of his own to an heir of his choice; and for good or bad reasons — which could include political pressure — he might sooner or later choose a pupil or favourite not of his own kin, or give his church away to a greater church. How this power of disposal affected family interests must be examined in detail. Behind it may lie tensions between the ideas of the natural and the chosen heir: tensions that may have been present in the act of foundation, where the founder may be making special arrangements for one of his children, or indeed setting up a holy man from a distant land.

Keywords:   monasteries, outside lordship, proprietary church, property, families, bishops

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