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The Secular Clergy in England, 1066–1216$
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Hugh M. Thomas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702566.001.0001

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The War against the Monks

The War against the Monks

(p.343) 15 The War against the Monks
The Secular Clergy in England, 1066–1216

Hugh M. Thomas

Oxford University Press

As brethren devoted to advancing a shared religion, monks and secular clerics should in theory have worked harmoniously together. Instead, there was a bitter rivalry, marked by diatribes and insults and played out in a variety of specific disputes, including violent confrontations. In part, the rivalry was over resources, since throughout the long twelfth century monks were taking over collegiate churches, siphoning off income from many parish churches, and in some cases refusing to pay tithes. However, claims by secular clerics to superior authority within the church and by monks to superior morality also fostered conflict. Naturally enough, many monks and clerics opposed the rivalry, but it was still going strong in the early thirteenth century. On the whole, the secular clergy had the worst of the conflict, but the reputations of both sides were damaged, thus paving the way for the success of a new group, the friars.

Keywords:   secular clergy, monks, conflict, violence, Cistercians, Canterbury Cathedral, regular clergy

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