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Title: Bastard feudalism and the bishopric of Winchester, c.1280-1530
Author: Brown, Richard Ashely
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 2069
Awarding Body: University of Winchester
Current Institution: University of Winchester
Date of Award: 2003
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This project involves the study of bastard feudalism on the estates of the bishopric of Winchester in the period 1280-1530. Among the many theses and books on late medieval noble families and on county communities none has been so well-documented as the bishopric of Winchester. No county that was dominated by the Church has yet been studied. To date, work on ecclesiastical estates has not concerned itself with their political significance. Yet Winchester was the greatest and best recorded episcopal estate, with many parallels, and there were other counties such as Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and Kent, also dominated by the Church. The thesis builds on modem work on the nobility and bastard feudalism. The ecclesiastical patronage of the bishops has been analysed for the whole of the period covered by this study. The main part of the study, however, is based on the bishops' piperolls and account books, which survive almost without interruption from 1208 and form a resource of unparalleled richness and bulk. The changing nature of the estate administration has been discussed at length. The study has concerned itself with the identity and remuneration of officers, with leaseholders and with annuitants. It suggests that the bishops clearly were bastard feudal lords, even if their use of retaining practices was not quite the same as the lay nobility. This material has been compared with evidence oflocal office-holding in order to build up a picture of the bishops' power in central southern England. The bishops retained many local officers. The records of the central courts have been sampled to establish how frequently the bishop sued offending tenants and officers. The thesis thus contributes to regional history, to the understanding of bastard feudalism itself, and to the role of ecclesiastical landowners. Finally, it tests the hypothesis that bishops evolved during the middle ages, from being major magnates akin to the lay nobility into the renders oflands that were exploited for financial and political gain by the local aristocracy who appropriated the patronage, manpower, and resources for themselves. Such developments are clearly observable on the Winchester estate before the Reformation, and presaged the major changes that were to come during the second half of the sixteenth century.
Supervisor: Hicks, Michael ; James, Tom Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available