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Pluralism and stability in the close

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  • Da Great Britain
  • Political Science


This thesis examines the careers of the seventy-seven canons, resident and non-resident, appointed to Lichfield Cathedral between 1475 and 1500 and uses them to illustrate the nature of the Church as a whole. The stability there stems chiefly from the long parallel tenures of Bishop Hals and Dean Heywood, between whom there was no conflict since earlier issues had already been resolved, mostly in the Chapter's favour. That there were few changes on the Chapter's personnel further encouraged stability, as did the existence of efficient administrative systems for cathedral and diocese; since buildings were complete, Heywood had freedom to enrich the cathedral. The new shrines he established demonstrate the nature of late medieval piety and practice. Pluralism was very common among all the canons; the non-resident careerists held many more benefices, using Lichfield prebends merely as sources of additional income, often while in royal service. Some famous men were in this group. Most of the eleven residentiaries probably came from the diocese, the non-residents, only three of whom were of noble birth, from elsewhere. Lichfield remained poor in terms of incomes and posts there were not particularly desirable. The political links between many non-residents and the Stanley-Beaufort-Morton-Tudor axis is striking.

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