The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West
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This book examines in what ways and how far medieval churches were treated as items of property. It ranges over most of Western Europe, from beginnings in the late Roman Empire and post-Roman kingdoms, into the Carolingian empire and its neighbours and successor states; and through the Gregorian reform, up to the late twelfth century when property in churches was patchily superseded by the canon-law right of patronage. The approach is as much social and religious as legal and administrative, and explores ideas and assumptions as well as practical exploitation and property dealings.
them often with neighbours or dependants who lived by Roman law, while they themselves were bound by their own norms of right dealing within the family, which surface patchily in their own written laws (themselves much inﬂuenced by late Roman vulgar law).3 Property passed by various inheritance customs, usually to all sons or all children, who would divide it sooner or later; the head of a household was probably not free to dispose of inherited property, although in other respects he had power
Florence, in 10th and 11th cs. (see in index). 71 At Pavia in 762 Alpert disputed his late brother Auripert’s foundation at Pisa because they had agreed to designate each other as heir in the absence of sons. This agreement was judged invalid because not made by the proper formalities, whereas Auripert’s donation pro remedium animae was valid (CDL II no. 163). 72 Guinifrid’s sons explained their alienation of the church they had founded by their having no near kinsmen, not just no sons (above,
founded by three laymen (brothers) and its ﬁrst rector, given to S. Bartolomeo, Pistoia, by a later rector (CDL II no. 180). 104 Bavaria, Alemania, and Lombard Italy 63 Where the founder’s (or a married priest’s) lay heirs did keep control from one occasion to the next, they normally allowed their appointed priest a limited potestas,109 much the same power of rule, usufruct, and almsgiving as might be kept by someone giving his own church to a greater one. By the ninth century and sometimes
than ‘in the vici and baptismal churches’.25 As early as 755, however, legislation that baptism could take place only where the bishop decreed implied that he might allow it to new churches;26 and ninth-century attempts to insist on tithes 20 See Julia Smith’s excellent ‘Religion and Lay Society’. I would therefore dispute Susan Reynolds’s view of the legislation as aiming ineffectually at promoting the rise of small parishes (Kingdoms, 82, 85). 22 See below, p. 464. Cf. Capit. no. 57 (802/13)
than reclaiming shares of agricultural land. Whether or not the Consensoria is itself a pact (all brothers have to subscribe to it), it mentions a pact whereby property was made common: ‘he may not keep as his own what belongs by the pact to everyone and is consecrated to God’. Perhaps some such pact was established by the mutual oath taken at the foundation of a pseudo-monastery, as the Common Rule describes.26 So for Galician monasticism the ‘false monastery’ is only just round the corner: the