Monday, 5 August 2013

Anglo-Saxon kings of England presumed right to appoint bishops

On the Anglo-Saxon kings' presumed right to participate in the appointment of bishops:

William Stubbs (8 December 2011). The Constitutional History of England, in Its Origin and Development. Volume I. Cambridge University Press. pp. 134–5. ISBN 978-1-108-03629-0.

In the election of bishops the same uncertainty of both theory and practice exists. In the earliest days the kings of Northumbria and Kent deliberated on the election to Canterbury, as a matter of international interest.
It is probable then that under the heptarchic kings [of Anglo-Saxon England] the action of the churches [to select and elect their own bishops] was comparatively free in this respect, and that the restriction was as a result of the growth of royal power: but that, like all other ecclesiastical business, the appointment of bishops was a matter of arrangement between the parties concerned: the election by the clergy was the rule in quiet times, and for the less important sees; the nomination by the king in the witenagemot was frequent in the case of the archiepiscopal and greater sees, and the consent of the national assembly to the admission of a new member to their body being in all cases implied, on behalf of the most important element in it, by the act of consecration performed by the comprovincial bishops.

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