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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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The juridical condition of churches

The juridical condition of churches

(p.729) 21 The juridical condition of churches
The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West

Susan Wood

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how the property-right itself was understood and handled with respect to treating churches as property, beginning with the question of whether a church could both have property of its own and be itself the property of its founders or their successors. At a practical level, without meaning anything very precise by ‘property’, it obviously could. However, the classic formulation of the idea of churches as property made them mere things, incapable of having rights at all. By the 12th century, jurisdiction over the possession of churches was being tidied up, falling sometimes to lay rulers, sometimes to bishops and therefore to the Roman curia; but the assumptions behind it were being undermined.

Keywords:   proprietary church, jurisdiction, property, property-right, endowments, grants, donations, litigation

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