The Anglo-Saxon Church

R. H. Helmholz

in The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780198258971
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681882 | DOI:

Series: The Oxford History of the Laws of England Series ISBN 0-19-961352-4

The Anglo-Saxon Church

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This chapter gives a striking account of the Anglo-Saxon Church. The church has never been without laws, and in many respects, the Anglo-Saxon church was actually quite rich in them. Canons were known, enacted, and admired among the Anglo-Saxons. Although some of the substantive provisions in these laws later seemed worse than merely unsophisticated, and although much of the church's effort was mixed in with secular law in a way that would come to seem objectionable to the clergy, ecclesiastical law could claim a place in the legal life of the land. It can be said that the Anglo-Saxon church lacked much that would later seem essential — consistory courts and trained lawyers for example. But law had established a place in the English church that it would not lose.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon Church; Canons; clergy; ecclesiastical law; consistory courts

Chapter.  33974 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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