Ecclesiastical Lordship

One PhD-project studies lordship and territorial policies of ecclesiastics in the dioceses of Aberdeen and St Andrews during the late 14th and early 16th century. Thereby, the focus is on the bishops and their chapters. Scottish church history has rarely studied if and how the higher Scottish clergy exercised lordship.

The diocese of St Andrews had the highest income in Scotland and the head of its monastic chapter – the Prior of the Augustinians of St Andrews – held one of the most valuable benefices in the kingdom. The bishopric of Aberdeen and the members of its secular chapter offer a good comparison. Aside from the formal, structural and economical differences, it is probable that regional or (possibly) cultural variances can be detected. Until now, we know next to nothing about strategies and practices of lordship of those prelates.

By evaluating the charters and other surviving documents of the chapters, bishops and the noble regional families they were connected with it can be carved out, how the ecclesiastics consolidated, solidified, and expanded their spheres of interest. They often acted as part of their families and used their position to advance family members or familiars. Through the regional scope of the study it is possible to examine, which strategies and practices clerics exercised in their territories.

Researcher: Sebastian Weil