Petitions and Strategies of Persuasion in the Middle Ages
Title Details

234 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Imprint: York Medieval Press

Petitions and Strategies of Persuasion in the Middle Ages

The English Crown and the Church, c.1200-c.1550

Edited by Thomas W. Smith and Helen Killick

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
An important new contribution to the emerging field of late medieval supplicatory cultures.

Late medieval petitions, providing unique insights into medieval social and legal history, have attracted increasing scholarly attention in recent years. This wide-ranging collection brings two approaches into dialogue with each other: the study of royal justice and secular petitions presented to the English crown, and the study of papal justice, canon law and ecclesiastical petitions (emphasising the international dimension of petitioning as a legal device exercising authority across Latin Christendom). In so doing, it crosses the traditional demarcation lines between secular and ecclesiastical systems of justice, of particular importance, given the participation by many litigantsand legislators in both of those legal spheres.
A major focus is the mechanics of petitioning - who were the intermediaries in this process, and what were the "strategies of persuasion" they employed? The essays also re-examine the relationship between petitioners and their advisors, and the specific legal, rhetorical and linguistic choices they made in the composition of these texts. In so doing, the volume makes an important new contribution to theemerging field of late medieval supplicatory cultures.

THOMAS W. SMITH is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Leeds; HELEN KILLICK is a post-doctoral researcher at the ICMA Centre, University of Reading.
Foreword - W. Mark Ormrod
Introduction: Medieval Petitions and Strategies of Persuasion - Thomas W. Smith and Helen Killick
Blood, Brains and Bay-Windows: The Use of English in Fifteenth-Century Parliamentary Petitions - Gwilym Dodd
Petitioners for Royal Pardon in Fourteenth-Century England - Helen Lacey
The Scribes of Petitions in Late Medieval England - Helen Killick
Patterns of Supplication and Litigation Strategies: Petitioning the Crown in the Fourteenth Century - Anthony Musson
Petitions of Conflict: The Bishop of Durham and Forfeitures of War, 1317-1333 - Matthew Phillips
A Tale of Two Abbots: Petitions for the Recovery of Churches in England by the Abbots of Jedburgh and Arbroath in 1328 - Shelagh Sneddon
'By Force and Arms': Lay Invasion, the Writ de vi laica amovenda and Tensions of State and Church in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries - Philippa M. Hoskin
The Papacy, Petitioners and Benefices in Thirteenth-Century England - Thomas W. Smith
Playing the System: Marriage Litigation in the Fourteenth Century - Frederik J G Pedersen
Killer Clergy: How did Clerics Justify Homicide in Petitions to the Apostolic Penitentiary in the Late Middle Ages? - Kirsi Salonen

Thomas W. Smith gained his PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London; he is presently Keeper of the Scholars and Head of Oxbridge (Arts and Humanities) at Rugby School.

"Overall, the collection's strength lies not just in the individual chapters-all of which are well researched and effectively argued and, as I hope I have shown, thought provoking-but in the sum effect of the volume. It brings the technical, theoretical and practical aspects of both secular and ecclesiastical petitioning together in a very effective package." James Bothwell, Journal of British Studies



December 2018


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Title Details

234 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Imprint: York Medieval Press