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Title: Peacemakers and partisans : bishops and political reform in England 1213-1268
Author: Ambler, Sophie
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the role of bishops in political reform and rebellion in England, beginning with the return from exile in 1213 of Stephen Langton (archbishop of Canterbury 1207-26) and ending with the suspension in 1266 of five bishops for their involvement with the Montfortian revolution. Langton and his successor Edmund of Abingdon (archbishop of Canterbury 1233-40) created a model for episcopal involvement in the affairs of the realm, especially during times of discord between king and barons. Prioritising the peace of the kingdom, they maintained their loyalty to the king as well as his subjects so that they were empowered and incentivised to act as peacemakers. This obligation was developed by Langton’s biblical understanding of the clerical duty to ensure good government. When illegal or destructive royal policies caused baronial discontent that threatened civil peace, the bishops could step in to reform the king’s behaviour. Although they threatened ecclesiastical censure, Langton and Edmund never attacked the foundations of royal power. In contrast, the Montfortian bishops renounced their loyalty to the king. As partisan Montfortians, they were no longer qualified to act as peacemakers. Members of a regime that appropriated the bases of royal power and ruled in the king’s name, they advocated measures that their predecessors would have considered illicit and dangerous. The intellectual conflict created by this rupture is reflected in the actions and justificatory arguments of the Montfortian bishops, who had to construct their case from scratch in the crucible of political crisis. Their story provides an ideal-type for the study of political thought: exothermic ideology. Not the cause but the consequence of events on the ground, their arguments are not coherent as political theory but reveal the effect on the production of ideas exerted by external pressures and the internal conflicts of those who created them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available