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The hospitallers in medieval Britain

Nicholson, Helen J ORCID: 2020. The hospitallers in medieval Britain. Sarnowsky, Jurgen, Kwiatkowski, Krysztof, Houben, Hubert, Posan, Laszlo and Barany, Attila, eds. Studies on the Military Orders, Prussia, and Urban History: Essays in Honour of Roman Czaja on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday / Beiträge zur Ritterordens-, Preußen- und Städteforschung. Festschrift für Roman Czaja zum 60. Geburtstag, Debrecen: University of Debrecen, pp. 41-55.

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Of the three leading international medieval military-religious orders, only the Templars and Hospitallers held property in Britain. Despite their much longer history in Britain and the survival of many of their churches and houses to the present day, the Hospitallers have received less attention than the Templars. However, recent research by scholars of medieval Britain and the Hospitallers has expanded our knowledge of certain aspects of Hospitaller history in Britain. This chapter seeks to draw some of these recent findings together to produce a broad picture of the Hospitallers’ activities in Britain, considering the Hospitallers’ foundations and patrons in Britain, their political involvement, their work in spiritual care, hospitality and hospitals, and the impact of their privileges and exemptions on wider society, including a summary of Shannon McSheffrey’s findings on the Hospitallers’ right to give sanctuary to felons. This chapter argues that the Hospitallers’ history in Britain was not simply a story of royal service or of exploitation of estates and privileges for the benefit of their headquarters in the eastern Mediterranean. They also took advantage of local need to expand their services, meeting local demand for spiritual provision, charity, burial of those outside the law, and sanctuary. Exploiting every opportunity to draw in additional funds did not necessarily win them friends among the ecclesiastical establishment or the secular authorities tasked with maintaining law and order, but at the local level these services were embraced and must have made a positive contribution to the wider population of Britain.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Publisher: University of Debrecen
ISBN: 9789634902621
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 09:56

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