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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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Courtiers, Bureaucrats, and Hell

Courtiers, Bureaucrats, and Hell

Chapter:
(p.117) 6 Courtiers, Bureaucrats, and Hell
Source:
The Secular Clergy in England, 1066–1216
Author(s):

Hugh M. Thomas

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702566.003.0006

One crucial development of the long twelfth century was the rise of royal and ecclesiastical administration. As scholars have long been aware, the secular clergy played an important role in these developments. Building on earlier scholarship, this chapter explores the service of secular clerics in the households of prelates, secular magnates, and above all the king. The service of clerics, paid for by church office, made possible the rise of royal government. Clerics performed many of the same functions as lay administrators, but they also had distinctive roles. Though lay literary was starting to emerge, clerics were crucial to the growing use of the written word in secular administration. Clerical command of numeracy also made the key innovation of the exchequer possible. Clerical service at court, however, produced fierce debate, and many feared that clerical courtiers were destined for hell.

Keywords:   secular clergy, government, administration, bureaucracy, literacy, courtiers

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