Medieval Ecclesiastical Studies in Honour of Dorothy M. Owened. by M. J. Franklin and Christopher Harper-Bill (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 83, Number 2, April 1997
- pp. 301-302
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS301 Medieval Ecclesiastical Studies in Honour of Dorothy M. Owen. Edited by M. J. Franklin and Christopher Harper-Bill. [Studies in the History of Medieval Religion.VolumeVII.] (Rochester, NewYorkThe BoydeU Press. 1995. Pp. xxi, 310. $71.00.) This volume is a most appropriate tribute to its honorée, presenting sixteen essays ranging from the Anglo-Saxon period to the sixteenth century, aU of which pertain to the history ofthe Church in England and focus particularly on the record sources from which that history has been written. Christopher Harper-BUl suggests that Owen's "balance of universal and local concerns, as weU as her indefatigable energy" mirror that of the subject of his essay, John of Oxford (p. 83). One assumes that he refers to John's hard work as a diplomat, judicial officer, and bishop in the late twelfth century, rather than the perjury and dupUcity which may have attended his activity in the Becket controversies. The range and scope of the essays is impressive, and indicative of Owen's contributions over her career, itseU weU documented by Arthur Owen in the bibUography of her works. Some pieces, such as PamelaTaylor's heavUy detaUed discussion of the complexities of establishing Anglo-Saxon estate patterns, and Sandra Raban's treatment of the 1279 hundred rolls, find themselves at the perimeters of Owen's work. C. N. L. Brooke's history of the English Episcopal Acta, and his emphasis on the importance of diplomatic in this project are, however, right at the heart of Owen's endeavors.Three contributions stand out, even in such a strong coUection as this. Harper-BiU's study is a marvelous example ofbiography that is much more than biography, expansive in its content and a model of the use of the genre to understand the people who filled the posts that make up much of administrative history Martin Brett's contribution, reflecting Owen's work in canon law, advances the thesis that local interest Ui canon law, rather than its imposition from without, accounts for much of its growth in the century before Gratian. F. Donald Logan presents a finding unique in EngUsh records: addresses and sermons Ui the canon law faculty at Cambridge .This is perhaps the real gem of the book.Yet there is so much in the remaining pieces. Ralph Houlbrooke, too, presents a new find, a Norwich manuscript that opens up Bishop Nykke's 1532 visitation of his diocese (the last before the break with Rome), and P. N. R. Zutshi has discovered two new collective indulgences dUected to EngUsh beneficiaries. Episcopal officers are the object of two essays: Brian Kemp assesses how archdeacons knew which churches were within their purview, and suggests the existence of twelfthcentury scrutinia; David M. Smith concentrates upon the emergence of the 'official ,' demonstrating that the use of the term in the Twelfth and thirteenth centuries is, to say the least, ambiguous. Local studies are also present, in Mark BaUey's treatment of the account roUs of an Ely manor, R. N. Swanson's case study of the effect of the estabUshment of chapels within long-estabUshed parish boundaries, and M. J. Franklin's discussion of the effect of episcopal acta on Northampton monastic houses (unfortunately encumbered by distracting emboldening for emphasis or reference). Criminous clerks are the object oftwo essays: A. K. McHardy offers a view of the processes of managing such persons, 302BOOK REVIEWS and R. L. Storey analyzes the relationship between anticlericaUsm and the maUcious indictment of clergy. Rosalind HUl offers a brief narrative on Bishop Sutton 's estabUshment of a chantry. The volume is handsome, weU bound and printed, but the too-frequent typographical errors tarnish the whole sUghtly and demonstrate a laxity Ui editorial vigUance that contrasts with the quaUty of the contributions themselves. It is unfortunate to find in Harper-BUl's very fine essay that Celestine II responded to the appeal of the 'minks' of Norwich (p. 100). The coUection is prefaced by three brief and informative reflections on Dorothy Owen's career and contributions at Lincoln, Lambeth, and Cambridge. These, together with the essays and bibUography, constitute for the current academic community a fitting tribute to a respected archivist...