Going Medieval

Medieval adventures without a TARDIS

Power of the Bishop IV: Bishop as Patron [2019]

It has been a pleasure to organise the fourth in our biennial series, Bishop as Patron, held at Sarum College, Salisbury. This was the first year we have moved out of Cardiff for the event, and feedback indicates that it was a good choice!

Sarum College is situated in the Cathedral Close, directly opposite Salisbury Cathedral. Speakers and delegates were able to book on-site accommodation and this year, with our generous private sponsors [Prof. Em. Peter Coss, Dr Angelo Silvestri, Dr Melissa Julian-Jones and Dr Robert E. Mitchelmore, who also supplied wine and beer for the wine reception on Friday afternoon] and funders including Medium Aevum, Cardiff University and Elon University, we were able to cover catering costs and room hire and waive all conference fees. We were also joined this year by Evan Gatti of the Episcopus Society as our co-organiser, and we hope that this will be the first of many future endeavours with Episcopus! We also linked with the Canterbury & York Society whose representative, Rosemary Hayes, attended as a delegate with relevant material for the conference folders. We are looking into continuing our relationship with the Canterbury & York Society going forward into the fifth conference, Bishop as Spiritual Leader, to be held in 2021 [location tbc – we may link with the University of York as our colleagues there, two of whom attended this conference, have offered to co-organise it with us].

Once more we attracted international interest, and although we were sorry that three speakers were unable to attend due to illness/family commitments, we had a productive and fruitful time with 13 out of 16 speakers and our delegates. Due to some delegates also being unable to attend last minute we had around 7 spaces free on the first day, which we opened up to Sarum College students and faculty.

It was a real pleasure to welcome back several ‘old faces’ who attended conferences in 2013 and 2017 as speakers, including John Jenkins, University of York (speaker in 2013 and chapter author in Volume 1), Edward Coleman, University College (speaker in 2017, keynote this year), Shaun McGuinness (speaker in 2017, delegate this year) and James Barnaby (speaker in 2017, delegate this year).

Speakers and delegates attended from the United States of America, Canada [based in Belgium], Argentina, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Germany and Spain. Our speakers were from a range of international institutions, including Ivy League and Russell Group Universities. All speakers consented to have their papers live-tweeted, which is part of our open access policy along with keeping costs to below £20 and free whenever we can.

In an environment where budgets are squeezed, casualization is an issue very close to home for members of our steering committee, and ECRs struggling to find bursaries they are eligible to apply for, our ethos is to not charge for conference speakers and to keep costs as low as possible, if not free, for delegates too. We are also happy for non-specialists to attend our conference if of interest. This year it was advertised in the Salisbury Cathedral newsletter and around Sarum College itself, with some interest from the Cathedral Chapter.

We have collated our live-tweet threads into a Twitter Moment where we can review engagement statistics more accurately, and posted links to it and the individual threads themselves to our blog, at http://powerofthebishop.blogspot.com/2019/06/power-of-bishop-iv-bishop-as-patron.html.


Thursday 30th May

Panel 1: Hagiography and History

Jean-Noël Rolland, Université de Montréal: Hagiography and Episcopal Authority in Merovingian Gaul: The 6th-8thC Bishops’ Lives as Specimen

Ian Patrick McDole, University of Oxford: Appropriating History and Hagiography: Bruno of Toul’s Patronage of Monastic Foundations

Panel 2: Patterns of Episcopal Patronage and Support

Beate Umann, Universität Leipzig: Episcopal Patronage in early medieval Naples according to the Gesta Episcoporum Neapolitanorum

Adam J. Davis, Denison University: Bishops as Patrons of Hospitals during the Charitable Revolution

Susana Guijarro, Universidad de Cantabria: The Jewish-converso Pablo de Santamaria, Bishop of Burgos (1415-1435): a Model of Episcopal Patronage for the Ecclesiastical Reform and Church of Late Medieval Castile

KEYNOTE: Edward Coleman, University College Dublin: Problems with Patronage: The Clergy, the Laity and the Relics of San Gimignano of Modena


We enjoyed a floor tour of the Cathedral this afternoon before the Sung Eucharist service, and are very grateful to Salisbury Cathedral guides and outreach officers for the opportunity to explore!

Friday 31st May

Panel 1: Patrons of the Arts I: Art and Architecture

Mariel Pérez, Universidad de Buenos Aires: Bishops, Cathedrals and Power in Medieval Iberia: Pelayo of León and the Restoration of St Mary’s Cathedral (1065-1085)

Angelo Silvestri, Cardiff University: Art and Architecture of Lincoln Cathedral in the thoughts and deeds of Hugh of Avalon and Robert Grosseteste

Panel 2: Patrons of the Arts II: Art, Text and Commemoration

John Jenkins, University of York: Archbishop Thomas Arundel: Politics, Patronage and the Creation of a 15thC Reliquary

Burt Westermeier, Yale University: The Liber Septenarius de visitatione prelati as a case study of episcopal patronage in Late Medieval Castile

Julia Faiers, University of St Andrews: For the Glory of God? The art patronage of Bishop Louis d’Amboise of Albi

Panel 3: Patrons of the Arts III: Art and Text, an Angevin Case Study

Philippa Byrne, University of Oxford: Presents from that old seductor of Winchester: patronage, redemption and commemoration after the death of Henry of Blois

David Runciman, University of Cambridge: Bishops’ patronage of writers in Angevin England

Our roundtable was accompanied by the wine reception with soft drinks provided by Sarum College and wine and beer provided by Dr Robert E. Mitchelmore.

We publicly thanked our sponsors, including Medium Aevum whose logo appeared on our programme header, at the Roundtable.

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