By the end of the first decade after his conquest, William I had imposed upon several monastic houses of England a new obligation for military service. The establishment of these 'feudal' tenures with the duty of providing knights to the king brought the religious in to a new realm of lay military responsibilities, including the convening of an honor court. The honor court, presided over by the abbot and consisting of his tenants and the brethrenof the convent, answered questions of tenure and service, assessed and enforced military obligations, and resolved disputes. Abbots were more than leaders of religious houses, protecting the interests and prerogatives of their communities: they became honorial lords, meeting out justice, and tryingto fulfill their secular obligations to the king. From the 1070s onward, the monastic lords of England looked to the king for support and assistancein the protection of their jurisdiction as seignorial lords, and the kings of Anglo-Norman England responded by injecting themselves into the affairsof their courts. The legal and administrative reforms of the Angevin kings gradually changed the balance of power within the honorial court however, shifting the advantage away from the abbot and toward the tenant, and eventually leading to the deterioration of the monastic honorial court.ContentsThe Monastic Honour Court; Monasteries and the County Courts; The Monasteries and the Curia Regis: The Anglo-Norman period, 1066-1154; TheMonasteries and the Curia Regis: The reign of Henry II, 1154-1189; The Monasteries and the Curia Regis: The reigns of Richard I and John, 1189-1216; Conclusion.
Historians working in a variety of fields within the Anglo-Norman and Angevin periods will find it valuable and stimulating. HISTORY
A welcome addition to the historiography of post-Conquest English monasteries and will be of particular value to those with an interest in the history of the Anglo-Saxon foundations of southern and central England. SOUTHERN HISTORY (2005)
A succinct and clearly-argued book, which will provoke debate. JOURNAL of ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY