Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/568

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ANGLO-SAXON 508 ANGLO-SAXON in any "township" (tliis, of course, was a rural di- vision) would build a church for his own private convenience, often in contiguity to his own house, and then he would either obtain from the bishop a priest to serve it or, more commonly, would present some nominee of his own for ordi- nation. No doubt the bishop him- self was also ac- tive in providing churches and clergy for note- worthy centres of population. I n- deed, Bede VTiting to Archbishop Eg- bert of York urged that there ought to be a priest in each township {in singulis vicis), and to this day the parishes coincide with the former townships (now known as " civil parishes"), or in more thinly popu- lated districts with a group of town- ships. While, in this way parishes came into being out of the" ora- tories of the lords, a strong effort seems to have been made by the bishops at an early date both to check abuses and to seciu'e some definite provision of a permanent nature for the support of the priest. Tiiis often took the form of lands legally "booked" to the saint to whom the church was dedicated. At first the bishop seems to have been seised of these en- dowments, as also of the tithes and of the general contributions for ecclesiastical purposes known as "Church-shot", but soon the parish priest himself acquired, along with fixity of tenure, the administra- tion of these emoluments. It is quite possible that the general prevalence in England of lay patrons with the right to present to benefices (q. v.) is to be traced to the fact that the parish church in so many cases originated in the private oratory of the lord of the township. It is diflicult to decide at what date the organization of the parochial system should be re- garded as complete. We can only say that the Domesday commission in the reign of William the Conqueror takes it for granted that every township had its o^'n parish priest. The dioceses which were first divided up with some degree of adequacy by Archbishop Theodore were further added to. As time went on, York, as we hae noticed, became an archbishopric under Egbert, but the province of York was always far behind Canterbury in the num- ber of its suffragans. On the other hand, the recog- nition almost universally accorded to Canterbury, and the oaths of fealty taken by the bishops to the archt)ishop probably did much towards developing the idea of the national unity. At the close of the Anglo-Saxon period there were some seventeen bish- oprics, but the numerous subdivisions, suppressions, translations, and amalgamations of sees during the preceding centuries are too complicated to be de- tailed here. The matter has been very fully dis- cussed, in "English Dioceses", by G. Hill, who gives the following list of bishoprics in 1006. I add the date of foundation; but in some cases, indicated in brackets, the see was suppressed or transferred and afterwards refounded. Canterbury, ,597; London, 604; Rochester, 604; York, (62.'j), 664; Dorchester (634), 870 with Leicester; Lindisfarne, 635, later Durham; Liclifield, 6.56; Winchester, Hereford, 669; 662; East Anglia (Elniham), 673; Worcester, 680; Sherborne, 70.5; Sussex (Selsey), 708; Kamsbury, c. 909; Crediton, c. 909; Wells, c. 909; Cornwall (St. Germans), 931. Some of these dioceses after- wards became more famous under other names. Thus Ramsbury was later on represented by Salis- bury or Sarum, which, owing to the influence of St. Osmund (d. 1099), a post-Conquest bishop, acquired a sort of liturgical primacy among the other English dioceses. Similarly, the sees established at Dordies- ter, Elraham, and Crediton were after the Concjuest transferred to the far more famous cities of Lincoln, Norwich, and Exeter. Otlier bishoprics at one time renowned, such as those of Hexham and Ripon, were suppressed or merged into more important dioceses. At the period of the Norman Conquest, York had only one suffragan see, that of Lindisfarne or Dur- ham, but it obtained a sort of irregular supremacy over Worcester, owing to the abuse that for a long time the same archbishop had been accustomed to hold the sees of York and Worcester at once. Un- doubtedly a large part of the chopping and changing which are noticed in the delimitation ot the old Saxon dioceses must be attributed to the effects of the Dan- ish irruptions. The same cause is no doubt mainly responsible for the decay of the older monastic sys- tem; though something should also be laid to the charge of the looseness of organization and the un- due prevalence of family influence in the succession of superiors, which in many instances left to the cloister only the semblance of religious life. The "booking" of land to these pretended monasteries seems in the early period to have become recognized as a fraudulent means of evading certain burdens to which the land was subject. The prevalent .system, of "double monasteries", in which both sexes resided though of course in separate buildings, the nuns under the rule of an abbess, seems never to have been viewed with approval by Roman authorit}-. It is not clear whether the English derived this institu- tion from Ireland or from Gaul. The best known examples are Whitby, Coldingham, Bardney, Wen- lock, Repton, Ely, Wimborne, and Barking. Some of were purely Celtic in origin; others, for ex- ample the last, were certainly founded imder Roman influences. Only in the case of Coldingham have we any direct evidence of grave scandals resulting. When, however, in the tenth century, after the sub- mission of the Danes, the monasteries began to re- vive once more, English monks went to Fleury which had recently been reformed by St. Odo of Climy, and the Fleury tradition was imported into England. (Eng. Hist. Review, IX, 691 sq.). It w;is the spirit of Fleury which, under the guidance of St. Dunstan and St. jEthelwold, animated the great centres of English monastic life, such a-s Winchester, Worcester, Abingdon, Glastonbury, Eynsham, Ramsey, Peter- borough, and many more. We must also remember, as an explanation of the efforts made at this time to dislodge the secular canons from the cathedrals, that these secular canons were themselves the suc<'essors, and sometimes the actual progeny, of degenerate monks. It was felt that all sacred traditions cried out for the restoration of a worthier clergy and a stricter observance. Even during times of the great- est corruption ecclesiastical authority never fully acquiesced in the marriage of the . glo-Saxon Mass- priests, though this was undoubtedly prcalcnt. On the other hand, it should be remenil)crc<l that the word preost (as opposed to mcasf-prcosi) of itself only means cleric in minor orders, and c()<]uently every mention of the son of a priest does not neces-sarily presuppose a flagrant violation of the canons. To the clergy in general, from asocial point of view, great privileges were accorded which the law fully recog- nized. The priest, or, enjoyed a high