MISSED OPPORTUNITIES? Religious Houses and the Laity in the English “High Middle Ages”

David A. Postles
New Academia Publishing, 2009
316 Pages
ISBN 9780982386750 Paperback

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About the Author

David Postles is University Fellow in the Department of English at the University of Leicester.  For many years, he was Marc Fitch Research Fellow in the School of Historical Studies in the same university. He was formerly a medievalist with a strong publication list in that area, but recently he has converted to early-modern English history, publishing in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, in Social History, and in the Journal of Historical Sociology. His books include Social Proprieties: Social Relations in Early-Modern England (1500-1680) and Social Geographies in England (1200-1640).

About the book

Although there have been some recent overviews of religious houses and the relationship between the religious and the laity in the late eleventh to early fourteenth centuries, none has contained a really coherent theme.  This volume offers an overarching theme which gives cohesion to the collection of essays: missed opportunities and disappointment. The efflorescence of foundations of religious houses in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in England offered the prospect of religious revitalization.  Those opportunities are recounted and examined in detail. Ultimately, however, it all ended in disappointment as the religious failed to fulfill both their obligations and the expectations of them, so that the affective relation between the enclosed religious and the laity was eclipsed by the early fourteenth century.