Between the years of 1113-1116, Prior Nicholas and the monks of St. Mary’s, Worcester, petitioned Eadmer of Canterbury to re-write the vita of their monastic founder St. Oswald. The years preceding this request were a period of hardship for the community of St. Mary’s, as the brethren coped with the burning of their church, the death of monastic elders, and the installation of a royal clerk as bishop of Worcester. In the face of such trials, the monks of Worcester turned to St. Oswald to justify their continued existence and consolidate their corporate identity. Yet, their decision to solicit Eadmer raises questions about the devotional function of the new Vita S. Oswaldi for the brethren of Worcester. While Eadmer modelled his text on Byrhtferth of Ramsey’s eleventh-century biography, he altered the nature of St. Oswald’s sanctity by subordinating the saint’s virtuous development to the leadership of the archbishops Oda and Dunstan of Canterbury. Eadmer incorporated St. Oswald into a new sacred hierarchy, whereby the saint’s virtuous life served to support Canterbury’s contemporary claims to English episcopal primacy. The monks of Worcester had maintained an amiable relationship with Canterbury since the Norman conquest, and Nicholas’s decision to commission Eadmer likewise reflects how the chapter of St. Mary’s perceived itself in relation to Canterbury. Nicholas and the monks of Worcester hoped to benefit from Canterbury’s predominance in the English Church, especially regarding the preservation of their corporate rights and influence in future episcopal elections. This article explores the reception of sacred history in the community of St. Mary’s, Worcester, and the manner in which the brethren used the memory of their corporate past to reaffirm their place, identity, and continuity as a monastic body. It further argues that the episcopal priories of Worcester and Canterbury maintained a historical support network, in which members of each community recast information about St. Oswald and England’s ecclesiastical past to reaffirm bonds of monastic friendship and share in sacred prestige.
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Amanda Racine (PhD student, Medieval History) has received a Fulbright Fellowship to France for 2020/21. She will be affiliated with Centre d’études supérieueres de civilization médiévale (CESCM) at the Université de Poitiers working with Professor Martin Aurell. Over the course of the year she plans to study extant oaths and customs spread across several archives in France: the Société Archéologique de Montpellier in Montpellier; the Archives départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône, the Archives municipales de Marseille, and the Bibliothèque municipale d’Arles, all in and around Marseille; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris. Amanda has also been awarded a grant from the American Numismatic Society for the 66th Annual Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar in 2020 (delayed due to COVID-19). She plans to study the text and iconography of Frankish, Fatimid, Ayybuid, and Mamluk coins from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @AMNerbo.
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Rachel Podd (PhD candidate, Medieval History) received the NACBS-Huntington Library Fellowship for British Studies to conduct research at the Henry Huntington Library in San Marino, California. During her time there she plans to photograph and transcribe a variety of medieval medical manuscripts, including regimens for health, medical recipes and charms, as part of her larger research project focused on medieval ideas about health management. She will draw on these materials for her Ph.D. thesis on “Health in Late Medieval England: The Impact of Age, Sex, and Income on the Lived Experience.”
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Tobias Hrynick has been awarded a Shallek Grant from the Medieval Academy of America, co-funded with the Richard III Society, American Branch. The fellowship will fund travel to the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham in the UK to work on a project related to his Ph.D. thesis, on “According to the Law of the Marsh”; Medieval Wetland Drainage, Environmental Crisis, and the Invention of the Customs of Romney Marsh.” He will be examining normative texts on marsh law, as well as the manorial records of marsh land-holders, to understand the ways medieval communities responded to environmental crisis.
You can follow Tobias Hrynick on Twitter @elmermalmesbury.
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Douglass Hamilton is one of fifteen faculty and advanced graduate students at U.S. and Canadian colleges awarded a grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to participate in a three-week Mellon Summer Institute in French Paleography program at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The course covers the history of French handwriting and will emphasize hands-on training with facsimiles and manuscripts of the late medieval and early modern periods. This training will allow Douglass to gain critical experience with archival material and manuscripts written in the French language, which will be essential for my research on Old French literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Because of the coronavirus, the seminar has been moved to the summer of 2021.
You can follow Douglass Hamilton on Twitter at @SacreDoog.
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Ronald Braasch has been awarded an Omar N. Bradley Historical Research Fellowship from the Omar N. Bradley Foundation to conduct archival research at The National Archives in the U.K. He will focus on Exchequer wardrobe accounts of the king, which include extensive details on military expenses during royal campaigns. The most important of these accounts is the Wardrobe Book of William de Farley for King Edward III’s 1359-1360 campaign in France during the Hundred Years War, which has never been edited or translated. Ron will draw on these accounts for his doctoral thesis on combat support personnel in the English army during the Hundred Years War.
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We are pleased to announce that graduate student Tobias Hrynick, who received a Distinguished Research Fellowship for his research on medieval environmental history.
Bravo and congrats to graduate student Nicholas DeAntonis, who received an Alumni Dissertation Fellowship for his research on human rights and U.S. diplomatic history! His dissertation is entitled, “The Struggle to End the Suadi Arabian Slave Trade: The United States, the United Nations and Transnational Non-Governmental Organization, 1953-1963.”
Many congratulations to graduate student Rachel Podd, who received an Alumni Dissertation Fellowship for her research on health and disease in medieval England! Her dissertation is entitled, “Health in Late Medieval England: The Impact of Age, Sex, and Income on the Lived Experience.”
You can follow Tobias Hrynick on Twitter @elmermalmesbury
You can follow Nicholas DeAntonis on Twitter @NDeAntonis
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