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Title: The origins of the role of Master of the Order of Sempringham, c.1130-c.1230
Author: Sykes, Katharine
ISNI:       0000 0000 5102 8012
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis explores the origins of the role and title of the Master or head of the order of Sempringham from the foundation of the order c.1130 until the final draft of the Institutes of the order in the 1220s. It demonstrates that many of our existing assumptions about this important role in this early period of the order's history are flawed. Firstly, in contrast with previous work on the terminology used to designate the head of the order, it demonstrates that the term 'magister' was in frequent usage during the lifetime of Gilbert, founder of the order and its first head. The use of this particular title was influenced by, but not entirely dependent upon, Gilbert's status as a Master of Arts. This particular title also reflected Gilbert's anomalous role, as the head of an order of which he was not a member, at least until the late 1160s or 1170s. Secondly, the evidence examined in this thesis undermines the portrait of Gilbert as a stereotypical charismatic leader, big on ideas but short on the capacity to provide his followers with effective leadership. On the contrary, much of the structure of the order, from the statutes of the order to an early official account of the foundation of the order, was already in place before Gilbert's death in 1189. Thus, on the one hand, the extent of the changes made to the order by Gilbert's successors has been exaggerated - many trends, such as the shift away from mixed houses, were already underway before Gilbert's death. However, one of the most important issues, the role of the head of the order, was still unresolved. It was up to Gilbert's successors to disentangle the personal role of founder from the institutional role of head of the order, and to set out this role in the order's legislation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available