Adela for death.
This network of spiritual guidance and social intercourse was normal and part of the culture of aristocratic and noble women – indeed,
the women of the Conqueror’s family were particularly prominent as
patrons.23 Adela attracted the attention of important clergy who were
keen to foster relations with her. For example, Baudri abbot of Bourgueil
(1079–1130) wrote a poem of 1,367 lines for Adela which describes
the furnishings and rich decorations of her hall and bedchamber.24 It
used to be thought that the rich visual imagery and the detail in his
shaped the experience of noblewomen, but also to provide a cautionary account of the degree to which such sources present an external
view of the societies in which noblewomen exercised power. Saints’ lives
provide the opportunity to assess the way that the power of noblewomen interacted with, and to an extent drew upon, the authority of
the church – recognising too that these vitae were created by a more or
less misogynist male clergy who yet had to respond to the reality of the
close involvement of their subjects’ interaction with the power of women.
56 Blair, ‘Armorials upon English seals’, p. 258.
57 R. N. Swanson, ‘Angels incarnate: clergy and masculinity from Gregorian reform to
Reformation’ in Hadley (ed.), Masculinity in Medieval Europe, p. 174.
58 For the seals of male ecclesiastics see Heslop, ‘Seals’, in English Romanesque Art, nos
59 Nos 76 (c. 1200), 142 (1150).
60 T. A. Heslop, ‘English seals in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries’, in J. Alexander
and P. Binsky (eds), Age of Chivalry (London: Royal Academy of Arts, in association
with Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987), p. 116; Harvey and
‘must have been less accessible, comprehensible perhaps
only to the educated clergy and a few unusually learned princes
and nobles’ with a more restricted appeal to ordinary pilgrims.80
However, while the Lindisfarne Gospels may have been read
by very few, they did display a visual power. Even if it could not
always be read, the Word of God could still be seen. Hawkes highlights the manner in which the decorated pages (the evangelist portraits, the cross-carpet pages and the initial pages) present complex
visual commentaries on the succeeding Latin text. These pages
John Lydgate’s ‘Soteltes for the coronation banquet of Henry VI’
. In contrast, the rest of the court, clergy, and prominent
London citizenry seated at the tables, and even the common
citizenry assembled to watch from galleries, most probably heard
the verses as they were read aloud, perhaps as the subtleties were
processed into the hall. That reading aloud of the subtleties adds a
vocal aspect to their materiality, one that could intersect with the
acoustics of the hall. In these ways, the materiality of the Great
Hall at Westminster affects the material process of engaging with
the subtleties by creating contexts for reading the
they passed on the
streets. With the sudden change in spirit one could see the Christians
go out as spirited horses, rattle their arms, wave their spears, and
boisterously celebrate with acts and speeches.’21 In his account of the
siege of Antioch, written before 1185 on the eve of the fall of Acre to
Saladin during the Third Crusade, William of Tyre amplifies Raymond’s account to accentuate both the devastating hunger of the
crusaders and the devotion of the clergy attending them: ‘the bodies of
beasts which had died of suffocation or disease were dug up and
Paintings (Oxford, 1963).
41 Rickert, Painting in Britain, pp. 162–3.
42 Caroline Babington, Tracy Manning and Sophie Stewart, Our Painted Past
(London, 1999), p. 30. McKisack lists the wide range of those invited to
attend parliament in the later Middle Ages: ‘lords spiritual and temporal,
certain councillors and officials, proctors for the clergy, and representatives of shires, cities, and boroughs’: The Fourteenth Century, p. 182.
43 Ward, English Noblewomen, pp. 71–3; Parsons, ‘Introduction’, p. 10.
44 W. M. Ormrod, ‘In bed with Joan of Kent’, in Jocelyn Wogan
financing and supporting converts to Christianity.40 This
tendency continued after the thirteenth century, and emerges clearly from
the writings of Pope John XXII during the 1320s, in the wake of severe
harm to the Jews. On the face of it, John XXII protects the Jews and
advises the clergy not to force them to convert, but in the same breath
strengthens the Christianity of those who had converted, even under
duress, and emphasizes that one may not deprive them of their property.
The reason given is that it would be absurd should people who enjoyed
worldly goods and were