Book Series Mediaeval Sources in Translation, vol. 63

The Medieval Clergy, 800–1250: A Sourcebook

John S. Ott, Anna Trumbore Jones

  • Pages: 536 p.
  • Size:152 x 229 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-313-7
  • Paperback
  • Available


“This intelligently compiled and edited collection of sources in translation on the secular clergy in the Middle Ages provides selections that facilitate analyses of individual places and people across key centuries for the development of European society. The source groupings come classroom-ready with questions for students to consider as they read and create opportunities for writing assignments that allow comparisons across time as well as explorations of specific issues. This sourcebook will be a great boon to all those teaching and studying the history of western Christianity in the European Middle Ages.” — Maureen C. MillerUniversity of California Berkeley


John S. Ott is Professor of History at Portland State University, and holds degrees from the University of Puget Sound, Stanford University, and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. He is the author of Bishops, Authority and Community in Northwestern Europe, c.1050–1150 (2015). His publications center on ecclesiastical history and the history of canon law, particularly for northern France.

Anna Trumbore Jones is Professor of History at Lake Forest College, and was educated at the University of Chicago, University College London, and Columbia University. She is the author of Noble Lord, Good Shepherd: Episcopal Power and Piety in Aquitaine, 877–1050 (2009), and numerous essays about secular clergy and religious life in tenth- and eleventh-century southwestern France.


The Medieval Clergy gives voice to the so-called secular clergy in the Central Middle Ages – a group that included priests, bishops, deacons, and canons, whose primary responsibilities included ministering to laypeople. These clerics administered the sacraments, and their churches sheltered the poor, housed the relics of the saints, and offered places of protection and community. The documents collected here, most appearing for the first time in English, allow readers to explore the richness of the lives of these clergy: the ideals they strove to emulate, the complexity of their lived experiences, and the multifaceted roles they played – pastoral, sacramental, familial, social, educational, liturgical, memorial, military, economic, legal, and civic.





Note on Translations, Names, and Placenames

Guide for Students


Part I. Norms and Expectations of Clerical Conduct

Guiding Precepts

Laws and Rules

Models and Exhortations

Part II. The Rhythms of Clerical Life

Sex, Marriage, and Inheritance

Education, Learning, and Friendship

Old Age, Death Rituals, and Episcopal Succession

Part III. Priestly Duties: Ordination, the Liturgy, and the Sacraments

The Priest and His Flock

On Choosing a Suitable Bishop

Ordering the Church: Blessing, Consecration, Protection

The Cult of Relics

Part IV. The Secular Clergy in the Wider World

Recovery, Settlement, and Administration of Church Lands

The Clerical Precinct

Correction, Judgment, and Arbitration

Waging War and Making Peace

Secular Clergy and the Foundation of Religious Communities

Clergy in the Urban Landscape


Select Bibliography