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The attempt will be made in this chapter to trace the medieval system of Church administration from its beginning in the legislation of the Roman Empire and in the custom of the Teutonic tribes, down to the time of its full development under the great Popes of the thirteenth century. The system was in most ways so uniform, at any rate on paper, that illustrations from one region will serve as well as those taken from another, and for the present purpose English examples will be preferred, where they can be found. For the general course of the history it will be necessary that we should limit ourselves to those central countries of Europe where the scheme of government was worked out under the influence of Carolingian monarchs and of Popes; comparatively few words can be said of the peculiarities of outlying regions. There is, indeed, little that is abnormal in any part of Western Europe. Italy had been under Teutonic influence from the time of the Goths and Lombards. Spain was recovered from the Moors at the very time when the medieval system was reaching maturity, and its institutions were modelled on those of Aquitaine and Provence. The lands to the east of Germany borrowed their Church discipline from that country, and the Scandinavian lands from Germany and England, while Anglo-Norman influence gave a new shape to the Churches of Scotland and Ireland. And, in an enquiry which will concern itself chiefly with revenues and their effect upon organisation, it will be necessary to ignore voluntary and occasional donations, however considerable, and to confine attention to endowments consisting in, or derived from, landed property.

The bishop, under the system of the Christianised Roman Empire, was an autocrat. His position was assimilated to that of the governor of a civil area, and the boundaries of his territory were the same as those of the governor’s. He was regarded as responsible for the discipline, the doctrine, and the administration of his diocese; and often enough if he displeased the Emperor he was dismissed as though he were a secular official. He was the sole dispenser of the revenues of the diocese, and of the liberal imperial benefactions. He was the sole authorised recipient of endowments which soon began to be generously bestowed, often in the form of lands which might lie outside the bounds of the diocese, or even, especially in the case of the Roman see, be in distant provinces. No endowments for local purposes existed; everything passed through the hands of the bishop, the one responsible officer of the Church. To his central fund the clergy looked for subsistence, and were the more tightly bound in that they were confined to the diocese of their ordination. But the bishop was bound to maintain them, though he could at his discretion increase or diminish their allowance, and they had no appeal against his decision. The dependents on the church, widows and virgins and poor persons on its roll, were supported from the same fund, which also paid for the training of the clergy and for the cost of building churches; a heavy burden when Christians were rapidly increasing in number. This episcopal control was explained and justified by the feet that it was the bishop who had admitted every Christian into the Church and so was responsible for him. To this day in many Italian cities no baptism has been administered save in the bishop’s baptistery.

The system might work while Christianity was a religion of the town. It broke down when the faith spread over the country parts, as it did through the efforts of such men as St Martin of Tours in the last generations of the Western Empire. In fact, a complete system of bishoprics had hardly been established in the Western provinces when conditions were altered by the German invasions. When the storm came the bishop might exercise a magnificent liberality, perhaps from accumulated funds, to meet the distresses of the time. He might even, as government grew weak, become practically the ruler of his city. But this could not help him in regard to his rule over the population which lay outside his “ Christianity,” as the city and its environs were sometimes called.

Two partial attempts had been made to meet the need before the invasions. The bishops themselves had raised a certain number of churches at scattered points some distance apart, where priests of their own appointment ministered. Their choice of place was limited to possessions of their own, for such priests received as their maintenance precariae, or revocable grants of land to be enjoyed during their tenure of office; there was no thought of security of tenure. These priests, whose position was that of the clergy officiating at what were called “the old minsters” in the first phase of the conversion of England, were the most important persons, after the bishop, in the work of the diocese; they were often styled “cardinal priests.” For they, as the bishop’s delegates, had the power of baptising, and every official act of theirs was as effective as his; for in fact it was his. But such churches were never numerous. In his diocese of Tours the great missionary St Martin established six, his successor five, and the work afterwards proceeded slowly.

It was hastened, or rather in a sense frustrated, by the independent action of the laity. The possessors took the task in hand. The land within the Empire had fallen into few hands; great estates with almost servile coloni covered the provinces. Some of these had been bestowed on the bishops, and in places outside their dioceses. It was natural that they should promote Christianity; they built churches and maintained the clergy. The question arose in the fifth century as to the jurisdiction over such churches. It was claimed by the bishop in whose diocese they lay. But he had contributed nothing to the building or to the ministry; the bishop who owned the land maintained his rights as possessor. There was no definite solution of the problem. The ultimate result was the existence everywhere of a multitude of “peculiars,” such as those which belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Bishop of Durham till the nineteenth century. Within such areas the bishop whose jurisdiction surrounded them had no authority. The lay possessor claimed no less right than the episcopal. He might be, like Sulpicius Severus or Paulinus of Nola, himself in orders but his patrimony was secular property. He built his church and supported his ministry, and resolutely excluded the bishop from an institution to which he had contributed nothing. A compromise was reached. The bishop insisted on his right of supervision, but the great man might have his church—it is even spoken of as his parochiaon condition that he endowed it, to secure its permanence. Here was a new thing—ecclesiastical property not vested in the bishop, and over the administration of which, provided there were no scandal, he had no control. How numerous such autonomous churches were we do not know; probably they were more in number than the bishop’s own, but they were far from providing a complete parochial system. To these lay foundations we must add those that were erected on the lands with which monasteries were liberally endowed. They had an equal claim to exemption, for it was the generosity of the monks that provided them; and monks as yet were usually laymen, and in any case no monastery was, as such, subject to episcopal authority.

Thus there came to be a great practical diminution of the bishop’s authority: numerous parishes with which he and his central fund had nothing to do. And the popular belief of the time justified this exclusion. The cult of saints became universal in the sixth century, and the saint in the eyes of his votaries was thoroughly alive to his own interests. He was owner of the property dedicated in his honour, and would defend it by miracle against aggression. Thus the local, as against the diocesan, interest was still further fortified. On the other hand, there was the danger that local control might be abused. Pope Gelasius I did his best to secure the authority of the bishops, but his injunctions soon came to be a dead letter; and it was in vain that Gregory the Great insisted that the founder of a private church should have no rights unless he provided an endowment, for the endowment itself often reverted to the descendants of the giver.

There was the special difficulty that there was no uniformity of endowment, no right or property that normally belonged to the clerical incumbent, and from the absence of which it might be presumed that he had been unjustly treated. This normal endowment was bestowed by Teutonic paganism upon Christianity in the form of glebe. The Christian priest is the heir of his pagan predecessor. The evidence is ample that the head of the village community was originally its priest, that the temple was his, that in course of time he delegated his priestly office to a nominee of his own, retaining the ownership and, more notably in Scandinavia than elsewhere, taking a share of the profits derived from the worship. The community was incomplete without priest and temple, and its members were bound to attend the services, just as they were bound to fulfil their other customary duties. Thus when the community, following the example of its lord, became Christian, there was an obvious source of maintenance for the priest of the new worship. Men would not be less generous to him than to his pagan predecessor. They would support him in the same way, and choose him in the same manner. Thus from paganism the Church inherited ecclesiastical patronage and globe land, and also a burdensome load, which gradually dwindled and disappeared, of rights over the church­building and its services. How complete those rights were in the later Anglo-Saxon period in England is shhwn in the alliterative description, handed down in the Textus Roffensis, of the conditions whereby a churl could rise to the rank of thegn. He must have five hides of land, church and kitchen, bell-house and manor-court, seat and office of his own in the king’s hall. The church is his property in the same sense as the kitchen.

In certain regions, however, what seems a more primitive system existed. In Lombardy and also in Norway, regions where there is in various respects a similarity of institutions which must be due to affinity of race, election to the benefice was often, if not always, in the hands of the parishioners; in Norway of the “hundred.” It is quite possible that in the English Danelaw and indeed in other parts where, though the case was exceptional, men not subject to a lord had constituted their community as a parish by means of an endowment contributed by themselves, the same case might be found of a village in which the land-holders elected their priest.

If the priest was normally in many ways in a position of dependence, he had at any rate a definite status within his community. He had a fixed customary proportion of the cultivated area. With the lord’s share he had nothing to do, but while each full member, under the lord, held an equal single share with the others, the priest had a double portion. To take that frequent case in England of a community with five hides, or twenty yard-lands, it had eighteen lay partners, and the two remaining yard-lands were held by the priest. So, when Charles the Great conquered and settled Saxony, it was ordered in his capitulary that the Christian priest should have two hufen, no doubt his pagan predecessor had occupied the same area. The continuity is shown by a strange and general custom, in which there is nothing specifically Christian. The ecclesiastical tenure was burdened with a servitude, universal from Scandinavia to the Tyrol, that is certainly older than the conversion of the Teutonic tribes. The priest was obliged to provide male animals for the service of the docks and herds of his parishioners, though not for those of the lord. In England the rule was that he must furnish bull and boar; elsewhere stallion and ram were often required. Usually two or three of these animals, varying without apparent cause from place to place, were specified, and, as in England, were supplied till quite recent times. But the priest was free from any servile rendering of labour. He was secure in his tenure, the equal of his congregation, and inferior only to his lord, who could exact such share as he would from the offerings of the temple but could not seize upon his priest’s right in fields and commons.

This landed right was the origin of what in England has come to be called, by a strange development from the original status, the parson’s free­hold. But the profits of the church itself, its dues and offerings, gave the lord manifold opportunities. The bishop in his own churches had dictated what proportion of such revenue should be transmitted to himself, what retained by the minister of the place. In Gaul in the sixth century the bishop received two-thirds of the oblations, if the canon of the council of Orleans in 511 were observed; but at Braga in 572 this was expressly forbidden. At the same council, held during the brief rule of the Sueves in Galicia and Portugal, it was also enacted that he who builds a basilica not from devotion but from greed, in order to divide the oblations of the people equally with the clergy because he has built it on his own land, shall not have his church consecrated by a bishop.

This is proof that the abuse existed, though the motive of the builder is misrepresented. He was claiming the same right that his pagan predecessor had enjoyed. The evidence from all parts of the Teutonic world for the exercise of this right by the lord is convincing. As the density of settlement increased, the land came to be uniformly studded with churches built on these terms, and the earlier private churches, raised before the barbarian conquest, seem to have fallen into line with the later both as to customary endowment and as to the rights claimed by the lord; in the latter respect, indeed, there was no difference between churches on lay and on ecclesiastical lands. The bishops regarded themselves as landlords, and preferred that the churches on their estates should be held of themselves by the same tenure as the clergy held theirs of lay lords. They would have the customary rights of patronage and superiority rather than the more strictly ecclesiastical authority of an earlier time. Thus the feudal conception, and with it the technical feudal terms benefice and advowson, came into use for the definition of the position of the clergy.

This revenue inevitably had a secular aspect. It was derived from land, and was granted to the beneficiary by the lord of lands on terms that inevitably suggested a feudal relation. How thoroughly this view of the case was accepted in England appears most clearly in the practice whereby all disputes about advowsons fell under the cognisance, not of ecclesiastical, but of royal courts. If the position of the clergy was to satisfy their self-respect, they needed another source of income that should be purely spiritual. Some were to find it in tithe. This among Christians had a double origin, homiletical and e xegetical, of which the latter, and later, came to be the more important. From the beginning attention was drawn to the religious practice among the Jews of paying tithe, and believers were exhorted to follow the example. It was, however, a matter of morals, not of discipline; tithe is never mentioned in the canons of the classical councils, promulgated in the fourth and fifth centuries, though they decide points of every kind that arose in the practical working of the Church. Still, tithe being a matter for the personal conscience, preachers and writers thought well to offer guidance, and it was usual to advise that those who felt the duty to give in this proportion should distribute their alms as the oblations were already given, viz. dividing them between the bishop, the local clergy, the poor, and the building or repair of churches. And this scheme of distribution continued from time to time and in various regions to be inculcated even after the new teaching had come to discredit it.

This teaching was that the Christian ministry in its three grades of bishop, priest, and deacon corresponds to that of the high priest, priest, and levite of the older dispensation, and that it is therefore the duty of the Christian to provide for his clergy by the same charge upon his income as had been paid by the Jew. Tithe is a due which must, at the risk of his soul, be paid by every believer. This piece of exegesis, whoever was its author, began to be generally accepted about the year 400, and St Ambrose was its most impressive advocate. It applied to income from every source; Abraham's offer to the priest Melchizedek of tithe from the spoil of Eastern kings was especially noted. Thus it was not a specifically local endowment, though his local priest was an obvious beneficiary if a rich man were seeking an appropriate person to receive the due proportion of his revenue. But, so long as the recipient was in holy orders, the duty was fulfilled; any cleric, or body of clerics, above minor orders satisfied the condition, and we shall see that in fact a great deal, probably the major part, of tithe failed to reach the hands of the holder of the glebe, or at any rate was in course of time withdrawn from him. But these two sources of endowment exerted a reciprocal influence; on the one hand glebe attracted tithe so that the two in combination came to form the complete benefice of the persona of a church, and on the other when the tithe of the lands of a parish passed to some religious corporation it tended to draw the glebe, at any rate in part, after it, and the vicar had no more than a minor share in either.

The process was gradual by which the earlier conception of tithe faded out and was displaced by the notion of an express obligation towards the clergy. At first the teaching was only homiletical. Preachers like Caesarius of Arles and numerous councils, beginning with that of Macon in 585, impressed the moral duty of obedience and the spiritual danger of defiance. Excommunication was threatened, and Penitentials taught the sinfulness of neglecting the law. Thus the custom of payment became general, and it was an easy step to turn a duty which was generally recognised into a universal obligation. But as yet the earlier conception prevailed; the payment was to be for religious purposes and not specifically for the support of the clergy, nor was attention as yet fixed upon the land and its produce as the source of tithe. Whether or no it could be enforced in practice, on paper all income was equally bound to pay its tenth. So Pepin, the father of Charlemagne, ordained in 765 that “every man, will he or nill he, must give his tithe,” and this example was quickly followed in England, where the Legatine Council of 787 in its seventeenth canon first cites commandments of the Old Testament and then proceeds, “Therefore we earnestly enjoin that all men be zealous to give tithes of all that they possess, for this is the peculiar property of the Lord God; and lot him live for himself on the nine parts and bestow his alms.” The distinction between the two duties of tithe-paying and alms­giving is clearly drawn, and it may be inferred, though it is not said, that tithe has appropriate recipients other than those on whom alms are bestowed. But all is left deliberately vague, and in this ambiguous form the law was accepted for their several kingdoms by the three chief monarchs in England, those of Mercia, Wessex, and Northumbria. It is reasonable to assume that such a law would not have been promulgated, unless it gave voice to a general sense of duty and made universal (at any rate in theory) a practice that was commonly followed. For such a feeling to grow up must have taken time, and it is not unlikely that in England the practice first established itself, and that it was from England that it passed into the Frankish Empire, as a charge on land.

For tithe was, for practical purposes, to take this form, while other tithe was to lapse into insignificance, as having no specific source for assessment or collection. And payment of the fruits of the earth was familiar throughout the Roman Empire. There was a land-tax of a tenth, and a tenth was also a customary rent paid by coloni, the largest class of cultivators under the later Empire. When, in disastrous times, Charles Martel granted out Church lands on military tenure to soldiers whom he could not otherwise remunerate, he softened the blow to injured bishops and monasteries by charging what had hitherto been their own land with a payment of two-tenths to its former holders. They were to receive one-tenth, and also one-ninth of the remaining nine parts. It was a purely secular arrangement, based on the familiar payment of a tenth; but it was paid to clergy and in thought came to be associated with the doctrine of clerical right to tithe, to which precision was given by this specific charge upon land.

From 751 onwards this notion spread, in spite of the fact that the burden lay as yet, not on lands in general but on certain lands only, and as an equivalent for the loss of their enjoyment; and also in spite of the fact that a double tenth was imposed. But Charlemagne was to complete his grandfather’s work, by making tithe from land universal throughout his dominions. The resumption of Church lands into the hands of the sovereign and their grant under military tenure had continued, and become so general, that an equally general compensation had become necessary. It may well be that it was at the suggestion of Alenin and in obedience to English precedent that this provision was made for the clergy; for what clergy was not specified. And when Charlemagne conquered and organised Saxony he extended the law to his new acquisition. Not only did he provide the clergy with glebe on the customary Teutonic scale, as we have seen, but also with tithe. All holders of land, the king included, were to pay tithe ecclesiis et sacerdotibus. Though the clergy who are to benefit are vet undefined, still the tithe is for clergy, and for clergy only. No other recipient is mentioned; the exegesis of St Ambrose has triumphed. From this time tithe, so understood, has a continuous history throughout Western Christendom; it was introduced into the Spanish peninsula as this was gradually recovered from Mohammedan rule, and farther north it was from the first demanded as a right.

We have dealt hitherto with two general sources for the maintenance of the clergy. Neither glebe nor tithe was due to individual gifts; they were a universal provision, and it does not seem that anywhere was there a considerable addition to this revenue. No doubt in the aggregate special benefactions to the local clergy were numerous; in England, for instance, it is not uncommon to find benefices with the additional endowment of a rectory manor, as at Welwyn in Hertfordshire. In such cases, some lord, probably soon after the Norman Conquest, has bestowed a parcel of his own rights, and till quite recently the rector has had copyhold tenants of his own. Yet, in the main, glebe and tithe have been the maintenance of the benefited, and their history is that of a diminution rather than an increase of their rights.

When we turn to bishops and monasteries we find persons and institutions who have no original share in these revenues, but have in course of time largely engrossed them. The bishop, while the Christian Empire survived in the West, was subsidised by the State, whose minister he was for ecclesiastical purposes. But for an independent income of his own he had to await the generosity, which was for the most part testamentary, of the wealthier members of his flock. Their benefactions in land might, and often did, lie in quarters distant from his diocese, and we have seen the consequence in the origin of peculiar jurisdictions. But the bishops had also exercised a considerable delegated authority on behalf of the. Emperor, and under the disorderly Merovingian rule none could take their place. For civil purposes they were a necessary instrument. Thus it was natural that they should be regarded as royal officers, bearing the same gelation to their king and patron as the priest of the private church bore to his lord; and also, when royal power grew weak, that the same superiority over bishops should be claimed by local magnates. Theodoric V, who died in 534, is the first king who is known to have sold bishoprics. But even if the king did not sell, he habitually gave; and when he allowed canonical election his approval had to precede consecration. The number of sees increased, especially in southern France, though important dioceses, such as Laon, were established elsewhere. These actually received their estates from the sovereign, and it was natural that the older dioceses should be assumed to hold by the same tenure. As the kingdom extended eastward, the bishoprics, designed to fulfil a political as well as a religious purpose, were endowed in the same way; and the feudal conception of the relation of bishop to king, which first established itself in the Gallic provinces, became universal. To this superiority of the king there is one striking exception. In the Laws of Aethelberht, committed to writing soon after the conversion of Kent, the rights of God and the Church receive a twelve-fold protection, those of the bishop are eleven-fold; king and priest must content themselves with a nine-fold. In Kent the highest claim could only be that of Canterbury, and Rochester was the only bishopric. Ninety years later, in 696, the Laws of Wihtred for the same kingdom, and those of his contemporary, Ine, for Wessex, put Church and king on an equality, and afterwards we find no estimation so high set upon the rights of an English prelate. No doubt the enthusiasm of converts led Aethelberht and his Witan to this exaggeration, and the hope that dignity would give strength to enforce Christianity and morality. The Alemannian laws put the bishop on the level of the duke; but though a duke of Swabia was a potentate more important than any English king before Offa, he was definitely subordinate to the Frankish king. English bishops had been reduced to a much lower estate in the days of Alfred. Under 897 the Chronicle records in a disastrous year the deaths of two bishops and of a number of leading laymen, aidermen of shiresand others; they are all classed together as king’sthegns.

The grants of land which led to this dependence on the Crown were given in the Frankish Empire with the express intention that the bishop should administer on the monarch’s behalf a definite portion of his kingdom. On this side of their activities the bishops' status was the same as that of the immediate lay feudatories, and till the French Revolution some of them continued in Germany, as the sole survivors of the class, to exercise their original function within their original bounds. Where royalty was stronger, the bishoprics were less independent. The French kings had more control over the great sees than over the lay fiefs; and in some cases the laity were in actual possession, by grant which cannot have been voluntary, of Church lands. The county of Champagne was to a great extent held, not directly of the Crown, but of a bishop. In Italy, the bishops, while more powerful in government, were poorer in possessions. And in England, while they were well endowed with lands, they held a national rather than a territorial position. There seems no reason to. suppose that their estates were so placed as to facilitate the visitation of their diocese, save in the case of Winchester, where the bishop held manors at the distance of a convenient day’s march westward from Southwark into the county of Somerset. When the diocese was divided these continued to be attached to the original see.

Before considering the relation of the bishops to king and clergy under the Franks, it is necessary to recall the first phase of Teutonic Christianity. This was Arian, not by any preference on the part of the German tribes, but because, at the time of the conversion of the first among them, Arianism was the official creed of the Roman Empire, and the example was followed by others even after the Empire had reverted to orthodoxy. Being out of contact with normal Christianity, the tribes were obliged, even in matters not pertaining to their peculiar doctrine, to work out an ecclesiastical system for themselves. They were unaffected by the momentous decree of Valentinian III in 445 that the whole Western Church must be subject to the authority of the Roman see, and by the vigorous exertion of this authority on the part of Leo the Great, for they did not recognise the Pope, and they had little respect for the canonical legislation of the Empire. They struck out a line of their own, and there is reason to think that they were influenced by their hereditary paganism. We have seen how the pagan priest was the predecessor of the Christian incumbent; in the same way the pagan king seems to have had his chief priest, who represented the sacred aspect of kingship, and in some ways anticipated the office of the Christian bishop who succeeded him. In Bede’s famous story of the conversion of Northumbria, King Edwin has his pagan primus pontificum, who is a member, and so far as we know the only priestly member, of his Witenagemot. In the Anglo-Saxon translation of Alfred’s time he is called the senior, or chief bishop, so close did the analogy seem between his and the Christian office. As religious representative of the king, he would be nominated by him, as the local priest was by the local lord; and it cannot be a mere coincidence that the Arian bishop was the nominee of the Gothic king, and that his attachment was rather to the king than to the diocese. The court bishop of the Middle Ages seems to be following the Arian example. So when the Norwegians were converted, though it was not to Arianism, their bishops were the king’s bishops, and accompanied him on his progresses. Their function was exercised over the whole of his realm, and their position that of the earlier Arian prelates who had been known as “bishops of the Goths.” There was no diocesan system in Norway till Hadrian IV organised the Scandinavian churches in the twelfth century. Similarly, English bishops, by their constant attendance upon him before the Norman Conquest, showed the closeness of their association with the king. This idea, ultimately Arian, was engrafted upon Catholic orthodoxy by Clovis. He found Arianism established in Gaul as a working system, and had no quarrel with its administrative side. In fact, since it was prevalent in the more civilised parts of his kingdom, it was natural that he should extend it to the rest. Its advantages were obvious; the Arian kings had used their orthodox bishops as instruments of government over their Roman subjects, and so might he, and therefore he must control and choose them.

With this Teutonic conception of the relation of bishop to king the orthodox system, accepted on paper at any rate, had to be reconciled. That system had grown up in lands where the church was an institution of the town, and clergy and congregation had jointly chosen their bishop. It was expressed in the canons of councils which, were for the most part composed in Greek, though they were familiar, and regarded as authoritative, in Latin translations throughout the West. Their provision for a share of the laity in election could not have been carried out in dioceses like those of the Franks, where the town was insignificant in comparison with the rural area, and where there was no method of collecting the laity for the purpose. On occasion the laity of the town took matters into their own hands, and acclaimed a candidate who then presented himself for approval to the king. On occasion also the clergy of the town ventured upon the same stop, with or without lay concert. But these were exceptional cases, and when they occurred it was not the clergy of the diocese at large that made the choice, but the bishop's own staff. We meet here with the origin of the chapter's claim to elect the bishop.

But normally the matter lay in the hands of the king. There were two reasons for this. The Byzantine system, with its assumption of divine right for the monarch, was in existence and offered a principle as well as a precedent for imitation, and the Frankish king did so much for the bishop that he expected a corresponding return. Whatever the sees had lost by confiscation had been largely returned; monasteries, which, like those of England in the time of Bede, were fulfilling no religious purpose, were given to the bishops in compensation for their losses. But for this a return was demanded. Lands, if they were not to be secularised, must do service, and especially military service, to the state. So secular did the bishop’s office grow that it became customary, as we shall see, to divide the estates of the diocese that part of them might be devoted to ecclesiastical purposes, while the remainder, under the bishop, served the Crown. The cathedral chapter has its origin in this precaution. But not military service only was required of the bishops. They served as missi dominici. In 819 a capitulary speaks of our missi, whether bishops, abbots, or counts. Bishops thus were in the exact position of the episcopal king’s thegns of Alfred. Cathedrals and great abbeys were regales ecclesiae; during the vacancy of a see its revenues lapsed to the Crown. And as the endowment was magnificent and the terms on which it was held the same as those on which nobles held their fiefs, it was natural that nobles should be chosen for the post and that usually the bishop came not from the cathedral but from the court. Such was the position of the Frankish bishop; a position which Alcuin did not venture to criticise in his correspondence with Charlemagne his master, though he vigorously exhorted English bishops to resist such aggression against the rights of the Church. There is no reason to think that they were less submissive than those of Gaul and Germany. In the following generation Louis the Pious revived, on paper, the right of the clergy and laity to elect the bishop. We need not suppose that this concession had any general effect.

The clergy concerned in such an election came to be limited, though not universally until the twelfth century, to those who were in the bishop’s immediate service. Early in the Frankish period there seem to be instances in which the clergy of the see-town exercised the right. This would have been natural when the city was the essential or predominant part of the diocese; but where the great majority of the clergy wore not only at a distance from the city, but were dependent, not on the bishop but on their lords, no part in the election of the bishop could fall to them. Not even the bishop’s own clergy, stationed at outlying places to minister baptism and other needs to the people, were called in to share the election. And the city clergy themselves came to be excluded, not only from the election but from any control of the general affairs of the diocese. This was concentrated in the hands of a corporation of the bishop’s own resident assistants, who came to be called the cathedral chapter, and stood to the bishop in the same relation, mutatis mutandis, as the fellows of a college in the older English universities to the head of their house. The other clergy of the city were excluded. This body consisted of clerks and monks. It must be remembered that till the time of Louis the Pious in the Frankish Empire, and even later in England, a monk was not necessarily Benedictine; probably those who followed that rule were a minority among monks. The connotation of the term was vague; it meant that he who bore it professed to be aiming at the perfect life. The clerks of the cathedral were usually canons, so called from the canon, or rotation of the Psalter, which it was their duty to sing; but others had for their function to execute the orders, whatever they might be, of the bishop. Originally, no doubt, they had, whether monks or seculars, for the most part served as missionaries, and all had this in common that their home was within their precinct, away from which they could have no permanent settlement. Thus, when private churches in lay ownership became general, their diocesan usefulness was at an end, and they came to exist only for their cathedral. This did not lessen the closeness of their connexion with the bishop. He and they formed one society. As late as 1020 Aethelnoth, monk and dean in Christ Church, was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. He had been the resident head, as his predecessors had been since the days of St Augustine, of a corporation containing both monastic and secular elements; though by his time the idea of a pure Benedictine community had become prevalent, and it was believed that cathedral bodies of that type had existed from their foundation. We must think of these mixed societies as considerable in the number of their members and loose in their organisation. As one body with the bishop they were partners with him in an undivided estate; the bishop could perform no act of importance in relation to it without the consent of his colleagues. In the old canons the bishop had been bidden to give account of his transactions to his clergy; St Benedict had enjoined upon the abbot that in important matters he should take counsel with the senior monks. Both these precedents carried weight; even afterthe separation of interests, to which we shall come, there were cases, as at Verden and Hereford, where, till the end of the Middle Ages and later, the acts of neither were valid unless confirmed by the seal of the other member of the partnership. Such control was irksome. This was first felt by chapters which found that the burdens, often military, imposed by the state upon their bishop left him without sufficient resources to maintain his cathedral. The only remedy was that there should be a division of properties; the bishop’s promise of a share of the income would have been an insufficient security, for he might have been powerless to fulfil it. The earliest known example of such a division is at Sens in 825; it was copied at Nevers in 849, and at Cologne in 866, where the collegiate churches subordinate to the see, the original baptismal churches or “old minsters” as they were called in England, also received a specific endowment from the properties of the see. In such cases the perpetuity and independence of the foundation was further secured by fixing the number of the beneficiaries and giving them at least the rudiments of a constitution. The separation was welcomed as a measure of religious reformation, since it removed the chapter from the dangers of the world. The development of the cathedral system into its complete shape must be considered hereafter.

In regard to the parishes, the Carolingian period saw a serious encroachment. We have seen that the parish church and the lordship of land hung together. The lords had their churches, the bishop had his, and it came to be usual, if not universal, for the bishop in his capacity as landholder to put himself into a feudal, instead of a directly episcopal, relation to the clergy upon whom he had conferred benefices. But it was a new thing that churches should be separated from the land and bestowed on a bishop or a monastery. They were so given, from the seventh century onwards, in increasing numbers. This was not merely a transference of patronage, creating advowsons in gross, to use the technical English term; the churches, as a source of income, were bestowed. This threw upon the new proprietors the responsibility of providing the local ministrations, together with the enjoyment of the revenues after paying the necessary expenses. As yet there was no thought of vicars with security of tenure. When the see of Wurzburg was founded in 741, the bishop received twenty-five churches situated on royal lands from the king, as well as lands for himself on which churches had been established, or might be as population spread. In the same generation the monastery of St Gall was similarly endowed with churches, and the example was followed in all countries, chiefly in favour of religious houses. They were able to turn such gifts to profit, especially if the tithe were annexed to the benefice, while the donor lost no income by his generosity. But a still more serious obstacle to the establishment of an independent clergy was set up when Otto the Great in 948 endowed the dioceses of Brandenburg and Havelberg, which he was founding with a view to the conversion of the Wends, with the whole of the tithes. This was for the support of the bishops, who were but poorly furnished with lands by the founder. In fact, the whole history, in France to greater excess than elsewhere, was to be one of a steady diminution of the resources available for the parish clergy, and a corresponding lowering of their status.

For the supervision of the clergy the immediate local authority, under the bishop, was the rural dean or archpriest, sometimes also called, in the earliest period, the cardinal priest or the bishop’s dean, or, again, the dean of Christianity. Decanus is a word of general use from the fourth century onwards for the lowest officer, military, monastic, or other, who has men under him. The number ten which it indicates can never have been strictly adhered to when it came into general use. There is reason to think that both in England and in Germany the hundred of civil administration was the area of the original rural deanery, and that the deaneries sometimes retain boundaries older than those of the hundreds of the later Middle Ages. It may be only an accident that no record remains of rural deans in England before the Norman Conquest, but it is perhaps more likely that the office was imported by Lanfranc, for “rural dean” was the name borne in the province of Rouen. In the Frankish kingdom, the office is found even in the sixth century and had become universal in the ninth; and since it was as yet the only local office within the diocese its importance tended to increase till it was eclipsed by the arch­deaconry. The rural dean or archpriest—one or other of these names came to prevail in different regions—had definite duties of supervision over clergy and laity such as were afterwards engrossed by the archdeacon, and he had a seal of office. But his office was never a benefice. It lost its importance because of the inevitable inefficiency of amateur judges in moral and ecclesiastical causes, whose sphere of duty was so narrow that it was impossible for them to provide trained assistance. Yet the deanery as an area of administration was maintained in existence, and it is said that in Germany it had a revival of importance towards the end of the Middle Ages, the bishops favouring officers dependent on themselves as against archdeacons who had attained independence. But there were cases in which there was an interchange of name between archdeacons and rural deans. In the diocese of Halberstadt there were thirty archdeacons, rural deans with a higher title, while the diocese of Grenoble was under four archpriests, archdeacons with a humbler designation.

The name of archdeacon both in Latin and Greek dates from the fourth century. Custom required that every priest, and a fortiori, every bishop, should be accompanied in the discharge of his duties by a deacon. The bishop’s deacon had a position of peculiar importance; he was sometimes specifically called deacon of the town over which his bishop presided. As representative of the bishop he exercised a wide general supervision of the clergy, which the council of Châlon in the middle of the seventh century describes as coercive. He also administered the central finances of the diocese and the bishop, but he did so without security of tenure. He was archdeacon so long as the bishop chose, and no longer. Nor was he locally connected with any part of the diocese, but exercised the functions entrusted to him throughout its whole extent. In spite of these limitations his office was so important that at Rome, where election to the see was a reality, the archdeacon was often chosen as successor to the bishop. He was necessarily in deacon’s orders; it is not till the twelfth century that it became usual for a priest to hold an archdeaconry, and even then protests wore made, though without avail, against the innovation.

In the Frankish period two considerations were effectual to give a new position to the bishop. The Roman imperial idea of the divine right of the monarch was accepted as valid for the Teutonic king; and the Church was regarded as national. From 511, the date of the first council of Orleans, councils were summoned by the king, who presided in them. Archbishops and bishops sat side by side as equals, for all were equally the men of the king by whose grant they held their lands. The arch­bishoprics were but nominal, for they had no provincial jurisdiction, and provincial boundaries were disregarded, as when the historical connexion of Augsburg with Aquileia and of Chur with Milan was disregarded. They were treated simply as bishoprics within the Frankish State, whatever their ecclesiastical associations. Similarly in England, where unity in the Church preceded unity in the State, it is difficult to discriminate between Church and lay assemblies. In the latter, ecclesiastical ordinances were passed, while, in the former, kings and leading laymen were present and attested the record of the proceedings. And both in England and under the Franks, bishops, as royal officers, took an active share in public affairs. In England, from early in the ninth century, bishops fought and fell in battle, and the military duty of Frankish bishops during the same period became one of their most conspicuous functions.

In contrast with this national and feudal conception of the bishop’s office was the papal. The policy of the Popes was to make the provincial system a reality, and to govern the Church through the archbishops. These must be strong, yet not strong enough to claim independence. The ineffectual struggles of Arles against Roman domination, though complicated by the fact that the metropolitan had accepted the office of papal vicar for Gaul, are proof of the seriousness with which this Roman claim was urged, and of success in keeping the archbishops in subjection. But the Popes had as yet no success in raising them to the headship of a subordinate hierarchy. One such attempt, political as well as ecclesiastical, was made when in 716 the Duke of Bavaria undertook to establish an effective province for his dominions, so withdrawing his bishops from the Frankish councils and entering into connexion with Rome, But this was frustrated by Charles Martel. The scheme had papal approval; the next effort was made by a Pope. The English St Boniface was a devoted servant of the Papacy, who regarded his commission from Rome as his authority to preach the Gospel. He received it, before he began his work, from Gregory II, and kept in constant, relation with his papal patrons. The position assigned him was that of an archbishop without a see, but with a general superintendence over his converts to the east of the Rhine. He was never Archbishop of Mayence, an office not created till after his death, but archbishop by papal nomination and papal legate, holding simultaneously the bishopric of Mayence. He made effective use of his authority, assembling synods and making his province a reality. He thus prepared the downfall of the Frankish system, which came as soon as the Empire grew weak and the Pope advanced a theory and established a system which displaced the Carolingian.

But till after the death of Charlemagne the imperial theory and practice held their ground. In a society comparatively simple it seemed possible that one authority, divinely appointed, could regulate all the affairs of men. The tenure by which the Pope held his estates was exactly the same as that of a duke of Aquitaine or Bavaria, and to the monarch he seemed to belong to the same class as other prelates of his dominions. The sovereign held himself the possessor of authority in regard to the administration as well as the doctrine of the Church; and in the eyes of Charlemagne, in whom this phase of ecclesiastical theory found its full expression, papal authority was inferior to his own whenever he chose to exercise his rights.

Nothing but continuous success could have made such claims plausible. When the Carolingian Empire began to be overwhelmed by calamity and incompetence, it was inevitable that papal claims to occupy the vacant seat of authority should be put forward. This was done, when the Empire was at its lowest point in efficiency and morality, by Nicholas I (858-867). Profoundly convinced of the justice of his claims, he asserted that he was a divinely appointed autocrat over the Church, from whose judgment there is no appeal. Bishops bear rule as his delegates, and when the great Hincmar of Rheims showed signs of independence which might have made his metropolitan office a reality he was promptly humiliated. Metropolitans were to be the Pope’s agents for the supervision of their provinces and nothing more. Councils were only to be held when sanctioned by the Pope; thus the Frankish system of councils of the Empire, held by the Emperor’s authority, was condemned. Charged with functions so high the Pope could have no earthly superior, nor even equal, and therefore (though this conclusion was not so bluntly drawn as in later times) the Emperor must be subordinate to him. In the development of this argument the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals are quoted for the first time. It must remain an open question whether Nicholas knew that they were forgeries; their primary purpose was certainly rather that of weakening the French metropolitan than of magnifying the office of the Pope. But they served the Pope’s purpose, and there is no reason to think that his standard of honesty was higher than that of his and the succeeding centuries. Every important church constructed or profited by forgeries such as were produced by Lanfranc in the strife between Canterbury and York, and at an earlier date by Bremen to the prejudice of Cologne. The authors, rightly or wrongly, were convinced of the justice of their claim, and counted it no wrong that they should take a short cut towards their end by advancing pleas likely to satisfy those whom it was their object to persuade.

But as yet such claims could not be made effectual. They were not to be withdrawn, but in rivalry with them the Empire, when new and stronger dynasties arose, was to maintain its ascendancy, and in time was to develop a theory of its own in justification of its practice. Meanwhile under the Ottos the Crown recovered its position in Germany. Like Charles the Great the kings chose the bishops, the semblance of canonical election being maintained but the reality frustrated, for the election was held either in the monarch’s presence or at his court. The bishops did service for their fiefs by an active life of statesmanship; one Archbishop of Cologne was also Duke of Lorraine. All sees were held directly from the Crown, in contrast to the practice of France, where the great nobles, such as the Duke of Normandy, were patrons of bishoprics in their dominions as fully as the king was in his. To this rule there were, however, exceptions, and the fact that among the twelve traditional peers of France were six bishops, whose sees in some cases lay outside the direct domain of the king, is evidence of a special connexion between him and them. But the sovereign not only wielded authority over existing sees. The extension of German influence was promoted under the Ottos by the foundation, without reference to Rome, of sees in Denmark and to the east of the Elbe. Imperial control of the bishoprics was maintained till Frederick Barbarossa gave the patronage of those in Lower Saxony to Henry the Lion, with the view of strengthening the defenders of the north-eastern frontier. After Henry’s fall the immediate authority of the Emperor over those sees was resumed and maintained. As the Empire grew weaker several of the eastern sees fell under the control of local princes; and when some small dioceses were carved out of Salzburg the advosonw of them was vested in the archbishop. But in Germany the general tendency was an increase of secular independence on the part of the bishops. In France the appointment of see after see passed by conquest or inheritance to the king, the process not becoming complete till in 1714 Louis XIV deprived the Duke of Nevers of his patronage of the small see of Clamecy, on no other ground than that it was unfitting that a French bishopric should be in other hands than those of the king. In England, some attempts were made by marcher lords to obtain control of the Welsh bishoprics by entry on their possessions during vacancy or by efforts to dictate elections, but they had no success; and the last traces of the ancient superiority of Canterbury over Rochester disappear in the thirteenth century. Mediate bishoprics never existed in England.

This feudal relation of bishop to king carried with it incidents of feudal tenure. Royal investiture, and the struggles against it, are part of general history, as is the compromise bv which an apparent, victory was won by the Pope, while substantially kings and Emperors lost nothing of their practical influence over the choice of bishops. Standing in feudal relation to the grantor of their lands, these were bound to fulfil the duties, whether of giving counsel or military support, in return for which the grant was made. If the office were vacant, the service could not be rendered, and it seemed equitable that, as with a lay fee when the heir was a minor, the revenue should lapse to the Crown till a successor capable of discharging the duty should be appointed. Hence the abuse of prolonged vacancies, as in the time of William II in England. But a reasonable interval was assumed, as in the Statute of Westminster of 1275. The right included, and still includes, that of presentation to benefices in the gift of the vacant see, which the new occupant recovers after paying homage. In England this is the sole right now exercised by the Crown. Elizabeth was the last sovereign to abuse the traditional privilege. In France the royal right to the profits of the see was exercised till the Revolution, though in certain dioceses the claim to patronage was unsuccessfully disputed. In Germany the power of the Crown was insufficient to maintain such a claim.

If the Papacy failed to detach the bishops from their dependence on the sovereign, it was successful in establishing a system of provincial and diocesan councils which were effective in creating uniformity and centralisation, and also in averting the danger of national Churches. In England it was only on the rare occasions of a legatine council that the two provinces met together, while in France the assembling of the first States General in 1302, at which the whole clergy of France was represented, was one of the measures of opposition to Boniface VIII taken by Philip the Fair. This provincial system, completed for Western Europe by the Scandinavian legation of the future Pope Hadrian IV and by the Synod of Cashel, drew the Church together, promoted uniformity and the corporate sense, and also linked the several provinces with Rome. Thus accustomed to act as a class, the clergy withdrew from secular courts and organised an exclusive system of their own. This was sanctioned for England by the undated ordinance of the Conqueror, which forbids a bishop or archdeacon to hold pleas concerning “episcopal laws” in a hundred court. The bishop is to hear the case and pass judgment at the seat of his bishopric or other place of his choice, in accordance with the canons and episcopal laws. No sheriff or other officer of the king nor any layman is to intrude in the matter, but contempt of the bishop’s court is to be punished by the king or sheriff.

Thus the clergy tended to become a close corporation, the constitution of which inevitably became feudal. The relation of the beneficed clergy to the bishop resembled that of the bishop to the king. No longer is the parish priest the man of the lord who appointed him; he becomes the bishop’s man. Perhaps Lanfranc’s canon of 1076, whereby no more service is to be rendered for a benefice than had been paid in the time of King Edward, is evidence that patrons (to use the later term) were giving a feudal interpretation to their relation to the beneficed, for the wording of the canon is so general that it can hardly be limited to endowments granted on a secular tenure. But in any case it is a reference to an expiring conception. After the Conquest the tenure was so thoroughly feudalised that the essential element in institution to a benefice was an act of homage followed by a grant. And the same obligation lay upon the grantee as in the case of a lay fee. The beneficed clergy had on special occasions, such as a visit of the bishop to Rome, to defray his necessary expenses, just as the tenants of a lay lord gave an aid on such occasions as the knighting of his eldest son. This burden survived the Reformation, for under Elizabeth bishops such as Aylmer of London and Bentham of Lichfield demanded it with success. It must be borne in mind that this feudal duty was compensated by a feudal protection. The security of tenure was actually increased by the obligation laid upon the bishop of maintaining the rights of his man.

But the medieval bishop too often neglected his duties. A substitute was found in the chorepiscopus, a title found in the Eastern canons and adopted though not always understood in the West. The office seems to have been introduced from the East by Theodore of Canterbury as a regular institution. In England it did not gain much importance, though “county bishops” without diocese are found in the tenth century who are exactly what “chorepiscopus” indicates, and though archbishops of Canterbury had assistants, sometimes called by this name, down to the reforms of Lanfranc. But on the Continent, when the work of such men as Willibrord and Boniface spread, they were faced by the difficulty that the canons, framed in a town-bred Christianity, made no provision for dioceses in townless lands. So where sees could not be founded, chorepiscopi were multiplied. They were kept in subordination; a diocesan would speak of “my bishop,” and as a sign of inferiority such assistants were usually, and not only in cases of necessity, consecrated by the diocesan alone. But useful as they were in the missionary stage, they became an abuse when secular bishops, even in regions of established Christianity, employed them to discharge their proper duties, and when sees were left indefinitely vacant for a monarch’s profit, with the excuse that a chorepiscopus was doing what was needful. Thus there was a serious evil, which was combated by the usual method of forgery. Beside the respectable chorepiscopi whom Theodore had brought in, there had been in the East ambiguous officers bearing the same name, against whom many canons had been framed. They had not been bishops, but delegates for quasi-episcopal functions, who had often exceeded their commission. It was now assumed that the Western chorepiscopi were of this unsatisfactory class, and a campaign was started against their very existence, as condemned by the canons. Pseudo-Isidore and his predecessors made early Popes denounce them, and Nicholas I assented, though somewhat faintly. The result was a compromise at a Council at Metz in 888. They were recognised as bishops, but must not take the place of a diocesan. They might not consecrate a church, though they might ordain a priest. An absentee bishop was not tempted to employ an assistant so limited, and the class died out, surviving last in England. Such assistant bishops as subsequently appear are absentees from dioceses of their own, and they are nowhere numerous. But with the failure of the Crusades a multitude of sees in the East became nominal, yet it seemed unworthy of Christendom to confess to failure. The occupants found work as assistants to European diocesans, and as they died out the names of their sees were bestowed on men who were never expected to visit their diocese. But the forms were scrupulously carried out. A bishop would be consecrated to Gallipoli, for example, and would promise canonical obedience to his Metropolitan of Heraclea, whose see was as shadowy as his own. He would then, as if with surprise, discover that the unbelievers made it impossible for him to live at Gallipoli, and that no income could be drawn from that place. He would therefore petition the Pope to let him retain the abbey or other preferment he had held, and this would be granted; and till he could obtain possession of his see he was allowed to assist any Catholic bishop who desired his aid. He would then, if he were well endowed, settle down for life as assistant bishop in the diocese whence his revenues were drawn; if he were less fortunate, he might live a wandering life as temporary helper in several successive dioceses. Unsatisfactory as this system was, it was a real and practical reform, for from the latter half of the thirteenth century onwards there was no failure of consecrated bishops to perform the spiritual functions of the office according to the standard of the age.

There had been no failure in regard to the business side of the episcopal office, but it largely passed into new hands. The archdeacon ceased to be the servant of the bishop; his office became a benefice. It seems impossible to fix the dates or to discover the process by which this change was effected in the various countries; it was, to the thought of the times, a natural development. It began, about the tenth century, in the assignment to the archdeacon of a definite region in which he should represent the bishop. This grant was regarded as for life: and so a new authority, independent in practice, came into being. In the thirteenth century archdeacons in Germany were describing themselves as “archdeacon by the grace of God.” Being no longer in that relation to the bishop which had been indicated by their membership of the order of deacons, they regarded themselves as released from limitation to that order. From the tenth century archdeacons in priest’s orders are to be found; yet as late as St Anselm’s council of Westminster in 1102 a canon was passed that archdeacons should be deacons. This however was only a protest, and an ineffectual one, against a well-established practice. By his time most of the English counties had their archdeacons, though local archdeaconries had been unknown here before the Conquest. In England, as elsewhere, archdeaconries varied widely in importance. The larger they were, and the more remote from an episcopal centre, the greater their powers. For instance, in the immense archdeaconry of Richmond the institution to benefices and the nomination of rural deans belonged to the archdeacon, not to the Archbishop of York. The value of an archdeaconry consisted largely in legal profits, drawn chiefly from the proving of wills. It needed therefore, as soon as canon law developed, a legal training. But since archdeacons were often appointed without regard to this, and were frequently absentees, they came to delegate their work to expert officials. The bishops took the same step, regularly appointing vicars-general and officials commissioned to discharge their administrative and litigious tasks. These officers, who never obtained a benefited position, and therefore were dependent on the bishop, maintained his interest in the rivalry which inevitably rose between him and the archdeacon. The latter, however, was made conscious of his subordination by the power of visitation which the bishop regularly exercised over him, in person or by proxy, and during which the archdeacon was suspended from the exercise of his office.

A reason for the archdeacon’s independence was that he belonged to a corporate body from which it was the desire of the bishop to detach himself. We have seen that a division of interests between bishop and chapter Was earned out in the Frankish Empire in the interest of religious observance. The group of men who were charged with the maintenance of cathedral worship could not be assured of continuity except by a complete separation from the bishop; his revenues were charged with political and military burdens, and he could only provide for his cathedral by detaching a definite proportion of his revenues, and also of his rights; for he could riot maintain his control, if he wished it, over a corporation whose finances were no concern of his. Thus his concern with the internal affairs of the cathedral were limited to a visitation, not regularly performed and often disputed. Since there were no diocesan duties, except for archdeacons, when the diocese was fully provided with clergy, the great church came to exist for its own services as much as did that of any monastery. Only when the bishop used it on official occasions did it serve the purpose for which it had been founded; though traditional visits to the mother church by its parochial daughters were prescribed, they were not always fulfilled. This detachment from the diocese was encouraged by benefactions which often were extradiocesan. To take an English example, Salisbury was endowed with churches and estates scattered over the country from Grantham to the neighbourhood of Plymouth, and few cathedrals had no distant sources of income. In England the separation from the bishop was accomplished soon after the Conquest; in some cases the deed of severance has been preserved, the most noteworthy being that executed by St Osmund of Salisbury. In the division of interests the bishop usually surrendered not only estates and churches but jurisdictions. The cathedral body received episcopal rights, such as that of institution and deprivation, over specified places. Jurisdiction was regarded as a source of income; a striking parallel is to be seen in the creation in 1098 of the Apostolic Legateship for the Count of Sicily by Urban II.

So complex a property as that of a well-endowed cathedral could not be managed by medieval methods of accountancy, and the major part was broken up into separate prebends, each member of the corporation having his separate revenue. In great cathedrals these might number fifty or more. To a few prebends definite duties were attached. As for the remainder, they became simply sources of income without cure of souls. Originally the members had performed every function, but, when they came to regard their office as a sinecure, inferior officers were introduced, to sing the services and serve as choirmen, who were not members of the corporation, but often formed subsidiary corporations of their own, so gaining in their turn a secure tenure. But the feeling arose that some of the large number of prebendaries should be resident, to attend the services and conduct the affairs of the cathedral. This smaller number, usually elected from their own ranks by the prebendaries, themselves nominated by the bishop, received a further endowment. This was just, for they had not the same liberty as their brethren, who might be royal clerks, Italian absentees, or otherwise employed. But a further custom arose that the residentiaries should reside in turn, it being regarded as sufficient that one should be on duty at a time. Furthermore, the whole body, now that the bishop had left it to its own devices, heeded a head. This was the dean, who was elected by the body over which he was to preside. In some of the greatest German cathedrals there was also a provost, who superintended the secular affairs of the foundation, and tended to become a magnate without part in its inward life.

The history of the cathedrals was also that of the larger collegiate churches. That in neither case was there any hostile criticism appears from the frequent foundation of additional prebends by benefactors who knew that they would be an endowment charged with no duties. On the constitutional, and administrative side the history of the monasteries was similar to that of the great secular churches. No distinction need be drawn between those of the Benedictine and the Augustinian rule. Both had begun as congeries of isolated houses, only connected in so far as they followed the same rule; though joint houses of monks and regular canons are found abroad in the ninth century, nor is it likely that in England this combination was confined to the cathedrals. All, till some gained exemption, were subject to the bishop. They stood also in a permanent subordination to the founder and his successors. This might be a bishop who had dedicated certain of his lands to the purpose; it might be a sovereign whose ancestors had founded it, or to whom the fundatorial rights had fallen by escheat or forfeiture; it might be some private nobleman. The rights, like any other advowson, might be sold or otherwise transferred. They passed with the rest of the estate to a new purchaser, or might be given to some religious house, perhaps of a different order. Thus the Benedictines of Durham held the patronage of more than one house of canons. The founder’s power included that of granting congé d'élire on a vacancy of the headship, though this was not usually, at least in England, accompanied by a letter nominating the successor. During the vacancy the founder’s officers entered into possession of the revenues, though in practice this came to be limited to those which were appropriated to the headship. And, finally, the founder had the right of charging the monastery with pensioners, who held for life “corrodies” within it. The division of the abbot’s interest from those of his convent began at the same time, and with the same motive, as that between bishop and chapter. The abbacy was so wealthy a post, and one so detached from the daily life of the community, that it tended to become secularised. This was less the case in England than elsewhere, though abbots, as great tenants-in-chief, sat in Parliament. But in France the system of commendams made many abbotships purely nominal, while in Germany, when ecclesiastical principalities arose, the feudal bond, being personal, brought the military tenants into relation with the abbot, not with the abbey, as their lord.

As a means of reform it came to be desirable that abbeys should be released from the control of military bishops. In the long run this meant that they would become immediately subordinate to the Pope, or, if he failed to supervise them, that they would be left to their own devices. The remedy for the last evil was to be sought in the concentration of authority, and three great experiments were to be made, starting from Cluny, Citeaux, and Premontré, the last being an effort to organise regular canons, while the other two were reformations of Benedictine monachism. Cluny had been founded in 910 by William, Duke ot Aquitaine, who granted all his rights over it to the Church of Rome. Thus the house had no patron, and by an extension this was also a privilege of all monasteries which joined the Cluniac congregation. For under the rule of strong and saintly abbots Cluny became not only a pattern, whose peculiarities in life and worship were widely followed in monasteries which maintained their independence, but also the head of a multitude of dependencies. These were under the autocratic rule of the abbot of Cluny, who appointed their abbots or priors, and sent visitors to them at his discretion. Moreover, a monk could not become a full member of the corporation unless he were admitted at Cluny, and by the abbot himself. English and other distant Cluniacs rarely made the journey, and so wore excluded from the privilege. The permanent success of this reform depended on the standard maintained by Cluny and its abbots, and the fierce attack of St Bernard shows that by 1125 there had come a certain decline, which must have affected the dependent houses, the legal status of which in England was that of alien cells. During the Hundred Years’ War with France they were compelled to purchase denization in order to escape suppression. The Cistercians combined unity with equality; all their houses were abbeys with full rights, whose heads wore summoned to the annual chapter at Citeaux. But there was a further bond of mother and daughter houses, those which had swarmed off in the days of original enthusiasm from an older abbey remaining under its supervision. No patrons were recognised, and the whole Order became directly under the Pope and exempt from episcopal jurisdiction. The contemporary Order of Premontré followed the same lines, and in its turn was to be copied by the Dominicans. These three Orders were international, and all were to have difficulty in maintaining the central control over the more distant abbeys. The Premonstratensians, especially, tended to division. It may be noted that the purely English Gilbertine Order was also centrally governed, the rule and the property throughout the Order being vested in the Master of Sempringham.

But outside orders or congregations which had been deliberately centralised lay the great mass both of monks and canons, though certain efforts had been made to organise them in part. It remained for Innocent III in the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 to model them after the Cistercian pattern, and for Benedict XII by bulls of 1336 and 1339 to complete the task. They were to be grouped together by ecclesiastical provinces—in England the Benedictines of Canterbury and York formed separate bodies, the Augustinians of both formed one—and were to hold regular assemblies and arrange for visitation by members of their Order. They had power of taxing themselves for corporate purposes, But the plan was imposed from above and was not heartily accepted. Obscure houses were often overlooked, important houses resisted visitation, abbots refused to attend the general chapters, and taxes remained unpaid.

It remains to notice monasteries which were cathedral. The case of England is exceptional. Save Monreale in Sicily, where the Normans were under English influence, there was no Benedictine chapter outside this country. But cathedrals of regular canons were numerous in France and Spain, while to the east of Germany Premonstratensian chapters at Riga and elsewhere did much to extend Christianity and civilisation. These last, though with some desire of a release from Premontré, were effectually members of their Order, but many of those which belonged to the later union of Austin Canons instituted by Innocent III may have held but loosely to the association. The Chapter of Carlisle, however, established by Henry I when he founded the. see, was represented at the assemblies of the English Austin Canons. In Scotland St Andrew’s, on the reconstruction of the see under Norman influence, was made Austin. There were no other cathedrals of the Order in Great Britain. It must be mentioned that St John Lateran, the true cathedral of the Popes, became in the eleventh century the head of a congregation of Austin Canons, which still subsists, though the Lateran has left it. Here again the earlier associations, though weakened by the attempt of Innocent III to force all Austin Canons into an effectual Order, succeeded in thwarting his purpose. These congregations, two of which, the French Arroasians and Victorines, had English members, were unable in face of the Order created in 1215 to maintain a vigorous existence of their own, though they checked its vitality.

The twelfth century saw the general assignment of tithe to permanent owners. We have seen that, when the doctrine prevailed that tithe must be paid to persons in orders, among whom nuns ranked for this purpose, the payers still had liberty to choose their beneficiaries, and if they chose to make the benefaction permanent it rested with themselves to do so. No episcopal sanction was as yet required. Though in England this process did not go so far as in other countries, a proportion of tithe passed thus to monasteries soon after the Norman Conquest, for the invaders were little disposed to sacrifice the lands they had won. Tithe they must pay, and they had the gratification of endowing some favourite shrine, often in France, without increased expense to themselves. This went on till the middle of the twelfth century. And meanwhile, as was natural, in most places the lord had given his tithe to the parish of which he was patron. Hence a new problem arose. The tithe was now annexed to the glebe, and equally attached to the benefice; so much so that the idea spread that the incumbent was of right the possessor, and held tithe by the same tenure as glebe.

But the desire still prevailed to benefit the monasteries, and where this annexation had taken place it could only be done by a grant of the church. The monastery should be patron and incumbent, with power to receive the whole revenue in return for a performance of the services. This performance was usually by a hired chaplain, without security of tenure and often ill-paid; though the Austin and Premonstratensian canons had, and used, the right of settling members of their houses as “revocable” incumbents in churches which they held. While there, they enjoyed the revenue, and in their later years often retired to their abbey. The Benedictines and Cistercians of Germany followed the same practice, but it never seems to have prevailed among them in England. Here also the reform by which perpetual vicarages were instituted, was earned out more fully than elsewhere. There are instances earlier than 1200, but the thirteenth century was the period when, by the energy of such bishops as Grosseteste of Lincoln, vicarages became the rule. In France the old abuse continued, and the poverty-stricken parish clergy only gained security of tenure in the eighteenth century, to lose it again by the concordat of 1802. Scotland, before the Reformation, seems to have followed, the French example, the abbeys doing little, or even nothing, for the parishes of which they held the endowments. In Italy the strength of the communal movement was such that it involved the parish. The priest came to be regarded as the servant of the community, and it might enter into contract with him for his services, with provision for his dismissal at its will. This was probably better for the parish clergy than the French portio congrua, doled out by the appropriator.

The division of interests, as carried out in England, between the monastic patron and the vicar, allotted the great tithes, those on corn, to the former, and the small tithes, on wool, orchards, and the like to the latter. Often there was also a division of the glebe; sometimes the whole of this was taken, leaving but the house and the small tithe to the vicar. But the variations are infinite from place to place, though the maintenance of the chancel by the appropriator of the great tithe is universal. Minor burdens, pensions or portions, were often laid upon a benefice without altering its status. Nothing was more common than for a bishop, as the price of his consent to the conversion of a rectory into a vicarage, to impose a small annual pension for his own benefit upon it. Still, the lot of the beneficed clergy was happier in England than in other countries, for the inroads of the monasteries were fewer and the proportion of benefices with an income above the level of the peasant’s was much larger; and this in spite of the fact that there were other than monastic encroachments on the rectories. Bishops would find a revenue for their personal officers by instituting a vicarage in a benefice of their gift, and creating a sinecure rectory out of the residue. And when Henry I founded the see of Carlisle he endowed it with valuable rectories in Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, which the bishop could turn to account by ordaining vicarages; there was, however, the justification that border revenues, which also were supplied, were precarious.

At the head of the whole system was the Pope, confronted in his claim to universal authority by a rival claim to unlimited rule. Both drew from Justinian, and each borrowed arguments from the other. As the Emperor, derived strength from the feudal theory of a single head under God, so did the Pope; each made the same demand for military support to be rendered as a duty, claimed the same power of taxation in accordance with his need, exercised the same prerogative of bestowing dominion, the strife the papacy was inevitably secularised, and the turning-point towards decay may be dated from the reign of Innocent IV. The most prominent symptom, perhaps the principal cause, of this decay was the canoil law as it developed from the Decretum of Gratian to the books of the Decretals. The attempt to arrange a chaotic and often inconsistent mass of existing practices into a coherent legislation opened the way to profitable abuses which were too attractive to be resisted. But always there was a theory to explain and justify the procedure, and to base further claims upon it. An example of aggrandisement attempted through inference is that of Peter’s Pence in England. Whatever was the origin of this payment to Rome, whether it began with Ine or Offa, at any rate Aethelwulf made a donation of the annual sum of 500 marks, which became traditional. In the laws of Alfred every Christian throughout England must pay the Romfeoh. Naturally in troubled times the payment was made irregularly, though it was never forgotten at Rome. But its voluntary character was forgotten, or ignored. It was assumed on feudal principles that a regular payment was a confession of inferiority, the acknowledgment for a favour conferred. When the Pope in 1059 made Robert Guiscard Duke of Apulia, he was granted a payment from every yoke of oxen in those lands. This was not only a return for the gift of territory, but a public admission of the lord’s rights over his tenant. So Gregory VII interpreted the Peter’s Pence which William the Conqueror was ready to pay; but William denied the inference that he or his predecessors held England by papal grant. To follow on with the history, the Pence were regularly collected. If a legate were in England (and a legate always had a financial side to his commission) he received them; at other times the Archbishop of Canterbury or some bishop nominated by the Pope; Henry II sometimes bade his sheriffs collect. But the sum of 300 marks was stationary, though wealth and population might increase. It was vain for Popes to protest, or complain that more was levied than was remitted; Innocent III charged the English bishops with collecting 1000 marks and sending 300. This sum, reduced in practice to 299, perhaps on the analogy of forty stripes save one, was distributed between the dioceses in a traditional proportion, from Lincoln which paid £42 to Ely which paid £5. In the later Middle Ages, when a resident papal collector received the Pence, the cost of collecting from house to house, if it was ever earned out, must have been too expensive, and probably the payment was made by bishops out of their own revenues. The antiquity of the charge appears from the exemption of Durham, Carlisle, and the Welsh dioceses from the impost. This was laid, after the English pattern, by the English Cardinal Nicholas, afterwards Hadrian IV, upon Sweden and Norway when he organised those Churches. It was unknown in the rest of Western Europe.

We have seen that, on the evidence of the Pence, superiority over England had been claimed. Had it been admitted, it would have enabled the Pope to call on the king for aid against his enemies; and doubtless this, and other claims of the same kind, were designed to enlist worldly aid against the Emperors. In some cases the condition was clear, as when Urban II confirmed Apulia to Duke Roger and Sicily to Count Roger, and Hadrian IV consolidated these grants in 1156 in favour of King William I. Feudal service was recognised as due. So in Spain, when the Count of Barcelona recovered Tarragona from the Moors, he offered his conquest and also his inheritance to the Pope, and received both back as fiefs; though it is very doubtful whether for Barcelona he was not bound to do service to the King of France. When Spanish princes wished to secure their position, it was to the Popes that they surrendered their crowns; other instances can be adduced from Poland, Hungary, and Denmark. Always the grant was made on condition of an annual tribute (census), small in itself, but significant of the claim upon loyalty of which the proffer and acceptance of the tribute were tokens. The bargain made between John of England and Innocent III was more substantial. On the surrender of his kingdom of England and lordship of Ireland to the Pope, he received them back on feudal terms, binding himself and his successors to pay annually 700 marks for the one and 300 for the other, and taking as full an oath of fealty as any tenant would take to him. It is needless to say that payment was irregularly made, certainly by Edward I, and that in 1366 Parliament repudiated the transaction. But at first it was a solid and valuable gain, and Pandulf, the legate who carried the transaction through, seized the opportunity of a minor profit of the same kind. Reginald, King of Man, also surrendered and received back his kingdom, over which he declared that there was no earthly superior; an assertion which the Kings of Norway and Scotland, and perhaps the King of England, would have denied. Reginald may have thought that if his assertion were registered at Rome and remained, as it might well do, uncontradicted, it would gain validity from its presence in so respectable a record; and the Pope might gain a little dignity, and possibly some advantage, from a speculative transaction, the financial gain of which was twelve marks a year. So eager was the papal search for such acquisitions that the legislators of Castile and Jerusalem thought it necessary in their codes to assert that the Pope had no temporal authority in those kingdoms. The last victory of Boniface VIII, won in the year of his death, was the surrender of Albert of Austria, who admitted those full papal claims to superiority against which his predecessors in the Empire had been striving for two centuries.

Papal superiority was not limited to secular sovereignties. The Popes became supreme lords of religious houses and their lands, which became detached portions of their territory. When the abbey of Vezelai in Burgundy was founded in the time of Charles the Bald, the founder, with the Emperor’s consent, gave full possession to the Pope. In the weaker days of Charles the Simple the founder of Cluny gives, and the Pope accepts, the abbey, free from all royal or other power. The grant stood, though the consent of Charles had not been asked. In such a case the Pope did not expect to draw more than a moderate census from the monastery, but he was rewarded by its loyalty for his protection; a protection which was usually extended to its spiritual condition, for he would relieve it from episcopal control. Where, as in England, full sovereignty could not be secured, an exempt abbey, such as St Edmunds, would be free from the bishop, having its own archdeacon; it would also be free not from the king but from the king’s officials. Its own officers would execute the writs which elsewhere were sent to the sheriff, and would receive the profits of the king’s jurisdiction exercised upon its exempt lands. As to its relation to the local bishop, this might be null as in the rare case of an abbatia-nullius, like Monte Cassino, where the abbot kept a bishop under his orders to perform any episcopal office; more often he might call in any bishop he would; in other cases he was obliged to request the diocesan to consecrate churches, confirm, and give the annual chrism. In England the fullest exemption released an abbey from visitation, not only from the archbishop as such, but also from him in his capacity of legate. St Augustine’s at Canterbury and others must open their doors to a legate a latere and to none other. The question might even be raised whether they need admit him if their name were not explicitly mentioned in his commission. Glorious as this exception was, it had one onerous consequence. None but a Pope could admit the abbot of such a house to his office, and the costs of his confirmation were enormous.

All dioceses which lay outside recognised provinces, such as those of Scotland and the isolated diocese of Man, enjoyed the privileges and bore the burdens of immediate subjection to the Pope. He also had power where Christendom was expanding, as in Spain, of shaping new provinces at his will, and retaining such portions as he would under himself. At the other end of Christendom he exercised a special authority. The bishops of the mission which grew into the province of Riga were exempted from the authority of Bremen by Innocent III, and were to hold the temporalities of their sees from the Pope. There was even an attempt to impose the rule of a legate upon the Knights of the Teutonic Older and of the Sword, and so to give the Popes a sovereignty that should threaten Germany. But little came of all this. There were also cases of isolated dioceses which enjoyed exemption, more or less complete, from the authority of metropolitans, with the symbol of the pallium, though they were not archbishoprics. The most conspicuous of these were Pavia in Italy and the royal foundation of Bamberg in Germany. There was none in England. Political considerations prompted these exemptions, but there was also the motive that a census was the recompense, as in the case of a privileged abbey. And to the abbeys which were granted exemption were soon added a number which the Pope could not profess to regard as exempt from territorial or ecclesiastical superiority, but to which he granted his special protection, always in return for a census. This was also paid by many ambitious houses which asked and received the honour of the mitre for their heads. It was granted with various restrictions in place and time of wearing; and in England mitred abbots must not be confused with the smaller class of abbots summoned to Parliament.

In 1192 the Papal Chamberlain (i.e. Treasurer) Cencio, the future Pope Honorius III, compiled the Liber Censuum, a business-like account of all these payments that were due up to that date; a list more important as a record of claims the Pope could make upon loyalty than as a statement of the income he enjoyed. It was a catalogue of tributes, not of the ordinary sources of revenue, feudal or ecclesiastical. The latter was of ever increasing importance, since fees for the confirmation of bishops and abbots, varying according to the value of the benefice, were being systematically collected, and the profits of litigation, always a chief source of medieval revenue, were steadily increasing. At the same time Honorius III himself was the first to use ecclesiastical revenues throughout Europe as a means of relieving himself of the cost of administration. His officials held benefices everywhere, and needed no salary from their master. By an improvement on this, Innocent IV was to use such benefices for the endowment of his family and friends, and so to set a standard from which Rome was rarely to fall during the following centuries.

This claim to benefices abroad might be justified on two grounds. If the patron were a bishop or an abbey whose head had been admitted by the Pope, he was the Pope's man, and bound to recognise the fact by submitting to a demand of his lord, just as an English bishop, after taking the oath of canonical obedience to the archbishop, showed that he was his man by giving up to him as his “option” the first benefice—not necessarily the first that fell vacant—that the archbishop should choose out of the bishop’s patronage. But Popes were not content with one option; bishops like Grosseteste were broken-hearted at the unworthy or illiterate or youthful presentees whom they might not reject, and who were forced upon them in spite, not only of remonstrances, but of definite promises, such as that one Italian should not immediately follow another in the same post. The Pope was justified, not only feudally but canonically, for canon law was regarded as of papal origin, and an equal authority might override it. It was not contrary to the laws of God or of nature that a child should hold a benefice, and therefore the Pope could admit him. But lay patrons were less submissive. Matthew Paris tells with pride how Robert Thweng, a northern knight, when a foreigner was intruded into his Yorkshire rectory of Upleatham, raised a riot, burned the barns of alien ecclesiastics, rifled their, goods and gave them to the poor. Henry III refused to convict him, and sent him to Rome with letters of commendation from himself and his brother Richard of Cornwall, where Gregory IX admitted the justice of his claim to the patronage, deprived the intruder, and promised in future to respect lay rights.

But the Crusades first gave the Popes occasion to tax Christendom at large. At first kings taxed their realms for this purpose, and with the consent of the Pope taxed their clergy. Direct papal taxation begins with 1199, when Innocent III issued his mandate to all bishops to levy a fortieth of their year’s income from all the beneficed of their diocese. The exempt Orders were also assessed. For the carrying out of this taxation it was necessary that benefices should be valued. For England the first valuation of which some fragment remains was made in 1217. It was followed by another in 1229, of which also not many details are known. Then came the Norwich valuation of 1254, of which large portions survive, and finally in 1291 that of Pope Nicholas III, which remains complete, and was the standard by which the clergy were assessed on their official revenues for both papal and royal taxation till the time of Henry VIII. The tax consisted of firstfruits and tenths, the former being the assumed annual value, which was due on entry into the benefice, the other being the annual payment of one tenth of the same sum. In each of these successive valuations the income had been assessed at a higher level; yet there is no reason to doubt that, decided as it was by the oath of neighbours, it was equitable. Small benefices were exempt, so that in the taxation of Pope Nicholas they are unfortunately not recorded, unless the holder were a pluralist, in which case all the items of his revenue are entered. In the bitter strife between Frederick II and successive Popes, he was denounced as worse than a Muslim, and taxation was levied against him on the plea that a crusade was being waged. This was first done by Gregory IX in 1225. The frequency with which the clergy had been taxed for crusading purposes rendered them, and the Popes, so familiar with such imposts, that in the fourteenth century firstfruits and tenths became regular and undisputed sources of papal revenue throughout the West.

For the purpose of gathering in the manifold sums drawn from each country, there had come to be resident papal collectors before 1300. These not only received money, but had power to grant dispensations of many kinds in return for payments. In England, where the Popes were carefully watched, they were obliged on entering upon their office to take oath of fealty to the king. Yet of all countries England was the most carefully observant of ecclesiastical rules. For instance, by canon law tithe could not be redeemed nor alienated from Church uses. Only in England was this obeyed. On the Continent men were less scrupulous. In Germany land was often given in redemption of tithe, and in France it was often in the market and in lay hands. St Louis was a tithe-owner. But everywhere, when the high ideals of the Middle Age became tarnished and distorted by the financial interests which came to dominate the Papacy and, through it, the Church, there was the same spirit of revolt, not to be satisfied till the old system had been purged in the lands of the Counter­Reformation as well as in those which rejected the authority of Rome.