Kings and Bishops in Medieval England, 1066-1216

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The relationship between kings and bishops in Medieval England could be tricky. Thomas Becket summed it up succinctly when he said to Henry II, 'You are my lord, you are my king, you are my spiritual son.' Bishops were the king's greatest subjects, and yet no man could be secure as King without being crowned and anointed by a bishop. For much of the period, kings and bishops worked harmoniously to shape England into a country with one of the most sophisticated governments in Western Europe. Yet sometimes, as in the case of Henry II and Becket, there was conflict between them. This introductory text explores the central relationship between the kings of England and their bishops, from the Norman Conquest to Magna Carta. Wickson provides an approachable overview of the key scholarship on this subject, from historical to contemporary viewpoints. He also draws readers to the major primary sources, such as monastic chroniclers, making this an ideal starting-point for anyone studying high medieval England.