There were over 600 chapters of cathedrals and collegiate churches in France, with perhaps 12,000 canons, ‘a few very rich, many comfortably off, some living a meagre and threadbare existence’. In most chapters, membership was gained through family and social influence and provided a comfortable position for life. Canons were much criticized for laziness, but most took on administrative or other duties at some time in their lives. Cathedrals and the great collegiate churches attracted a horde of minor ecclesiastical and lay employees, making meagre livings but with some social prestige. The great chapters were proud corporations, jealous of their privileges, and had few friends: townspeople resented them and they were in frequent dispute with both bishops and parish priests.
Keywords: cathedrals; chapters; collegiate churches
Chapter. 15599 words.
Subjects: History of Christianity
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