About this blog

I study and teach medieval history at the University of Sheffield (here’s my staff page). This blog is the home for a research project that I’m working on, called ‘Turbulent priests: the problem of royal jurisdiction over the religious, 500-1215′. The research for this project was partly funded by the AHRC.

At various times and in different ways across the Latin West during this period, many clerics of different status refused to attend certain kinds of court. Historians often talk about this as the privilegium fori, or ‘privilege of clergy’.  The extent and nature of this privilege was seldom clear, even to those claiming it.

I want to use the debates and disputes that ensued to understand better how the boundaries between the secular and the religious were negotiated in the European Middle Ages.  (Almost all these concepts – secular, religious, European, Middle Ages – are problematic in one way or another. That is of course all part of the fun!).

Over the next few months, I shall be posting comments on my research progress. Other elements of the project include a monograph, a series of public talks in Sheffield Cathedral (autumn 2016), and an academic conference, again in Sheffield (April 2016).

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A research project blog by Charles West (Department of History, Sheffield)