Papal relations with Scotland and Northern England, 1342-70
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In the period 1342-70 there were many points of contact between the Papacy and northern Britain. Papal taxes were numerous. Annates came to be the main source of revenue collected locally, but were hard to levy on account of difficulties in establishing liability; other taxes were paid with greater despatch. Examination of the careers of the papal collectors indicates both their power and the awkwardness of their position. Papal provisions were also numerous and affected a wide range of benefices. Expectative graces are examined, and success for a considerable number can be inferred. Some provisions led to bitter disputes, but many passed off smoothly, despite the existence in England of anti-papal statutes. These laws were all different in scope, but were enforced only where this suited leading laymen. Parliament was much more anti-papal than the government, even though in the 1340s diplomatic relations between England and the Holy See were poor on account of the king's actions against aliens beneficed in England. Although the powers of the royal courts were protected by this legislation, many benefice cases were heard at Avignon, and other disputes were settled by judges-delegate appointed by the pope. Analysis of papal contacts with the bishops shows how closely they were connected to the Holy See: most were appointed by the pope; they petitioned the pope for favours and were given many tasks to do in return. Even the regular clergy did not escape papal attention, although often the initiative came from monasteries who wanted confirmation of agreements or grants, or from individual religious who needed papal favour. Licences and dispensations were sought also by laymen, but more especially by clerks who were illegitimate, under-age or wanted to hold benefices in plurality. There is, however, little evidence of wantonness in the exercise of the papal dispensing power.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy