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Grant number: FT-59840-12

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Janelle Werner
Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, MI 49006-3295)

Priests and Concubines in England, 1375-1559

This book project--the first in-depth analysis of clerical concubinage in medieval Europe--examines the lived experiences of priests, concubines, and their children as well as cultural perceptions of clerical sexual behavior. While much has been written on the imposition of priestly celibacy in England during the Gregorian reforms, and on its rejection during the Reformation, the history of clerical concubinage between these two watersheds has remained largely unstudied. This study combines the quantitative analysis of documentary evidence with a close reading of literary source material, and suggests both that clerical concubinage occurred more frequently than historians have recognized, and that notions of clerical sexuality were a significant element of medieval society and culture. While rooted in a specific time and place, this study also addresses broader issues in the fields of religious studies, English history, and gender studies.

Project fields:
British History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 8/31/2012