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Fifteenth-century clergy in the diocese of Norwich : a study of clerical calling, career and culture

posted on 2023-05-27, 15:05 authored by Underwood, Emese Caroline Kathleen
This thesis is a study of the late medieval clergy in the diocese of Norwich. The inquiry examines the career-paths of individual clerks from their schooling through their ordination and appointment to livings and to their achievements. Special attention is paid to patterns of advancement in the Church and to the differences between the career-paths of clerks from diverse educational backgrounds and aspirations, The work is divided into four major parts; each but the last consists of three chapters which deal with topics relevant to the principal theme. As education was a prerequisite for ordination the initial questions are directed towards the problems of schools and schooling. An examination of all known schools and educational benefactions aims to determine the number and type of schools and the range of provisions available to the region. The inquiry next focusses on the availability of patronage and its significance in the lives of the young aspirants who needed moral and financial support to set out on the road to a clerical career. Was there a shortage of priests or was there an oversupply? To find answers to this question the size of the clerical population and the number of benefices and other livings are surveyed and analysed. Attention is next turned towards the manifold nature of clerical careers. This part of the study examines the parish priests at work. It looks at their pastoral and temporal duties, at their finances and living standards, and at their activities at home and within the community. An analysis of book ownership seeks answers to questions touching the cultural interests and development of the clergy. The pastoral duties of the parish priests included extra responsibilities during the time of Lollard infiltration. From the first isolated cases, through the heresy trials of the period and until the end of the century clerks in the diocese were instructed to be alert to beliefs contrary to the Church's teaching and to attempt to eliminate such beliefs in any way they were able. The last part of the dissertation considers the career achievements of the clerks of the diocese during the century and beyond. It is contended here that higher offices in the church were reached by only a few but that for many moderate wealth, influence and learning still meant a significant upward movement socially. The thesis is based on a thorough examination of the Norwich diocesan records and other relevant materials. The methods applied for the analysis of these documents are described in the introductory chapter preceding the main parts of the thesis.


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Copyright 1993 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1994. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 648-688)

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