Religious History

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By Antonia Gransden

St Edmund's Abbey used to be essentially the most hugely privileged and wealthiest spiritual homes in medieval England, one heavily concerned with the imperative executive; its historical past is a vital part of English historical past. This e-book (the first of 2 volumes) bargains a magisterial and entire account of the Abbey in the course of the 13th century, established totally on facts within the abbey's documents (over forty registers survive). The careers of the abbots, starting with the nice Samson, give you the chronological constitution; separate chapters research a variety of points in their rule, resembling their kin with the convent, the abbey's inner and exterior management and its kinfolk with its tenants and neighbours, with the king and the relevant executive. Chapters also are dedicated to the clergymen' spiritual, cultural and highbrow lifestyles, to their writings, ebook assortment and records. Appendices concentrate on the mid-thirteenth century money owed which provide a distinct and unique photograph of the service provider and economic climate of St Edmunds' estates in West Suffolk, and at the abbey's watermills and windmills.

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Extra resources for A History of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, 1182-1256: Samson of Tottington to Edmund of Walpole

Sample text

6, 7. The italics are mine. JB, pp. 4, 48, 64, 145–7. See: JB, ed. Greenway and Sayers, p. 136 and n. 44 where it is suggested that Samson joined the important ecclesiastics and others to whom Henry II gave permission to go to Rome in 1159/60; see Mary Cheney, ‘The recognition of Alexander III: some neglected evidence’, EHR, lxxxv (1969), pp. 474–95 (where the possibility that Samson joined this mission is not mentioned). It was probably as a result of Samson’s mission that Alexander III included in his bull to St Edmunds dated 12 January 1162, the ruling that when the church of Woolpit fell vacant it was to return to the use of the brethren (‘… ecclesiam de Vulpet cum uacauerit in usum fratrum redire statuimus …’: Papsturkunden, iii.

Xi. JB, p. 68; above p. 5. Below pp. 121–30 and nn. SAMSON’S BIOGRAPHER AND HIS WORK 11 Moreover, Samson was very record conscious. 54 Jocelin would have known that his New Year’s Gift to Samson, the list of churches, would have pleased him. It is not inconceivable, therefore, that Samson encouraged Jocelin to write an account of his rule. It is true that Jocelin wrote retrospectively when he was no longer the abbot’s chaplain. But if he used notes or a memoir55 written earlier, this would explain the eulogistic tendency of the first part of the chronicle which contrasts so starkly with the criticisms of Samson which erupt towards the end.

He obviously had a deep veneration for the abbey’s patron saint, St Edmund. 12 He describes in moving terms the monks’ initial despair and their joy that St Edmund’s body and even his cup survived intact. He also describes the grief of those monks whom Samson excluded from the viewing of the body and the community’s tearfulness as it sang the ‘Te Deum’ after the body’s translation. Jocelin’s personal goodness, his warm heartedness, humility and wisdom appear in a number of passages. Clearly he had a strong personal affection for Samson which survived despite the fact that he came to see much deserving criticism,13 and he was fond of others besides Samson.

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