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Cnut And The English Church

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Chapter Summary

A study of Cnut the Greats interaction with the ecclesiastical aristocracy in England reveals a subtle politician, who gradually extended his authority over the Church, while using it for his own ends. In the archiepiscopal see at York Cnut inherited Archbishop Wulfstan, who had held the office since 1002 in plurality with that of Worcester. Similar to his counterpart in Canterbury, Wulfstan appears to have enjoyed a close working relationship with the new regime. In Wessex he appears initially to have been more cautious, holding back from any direct assertion of his will, and using the Church to defuse political tensions. Cnuts interaction with the Church in western Mercia is of a different form from that found in the eastern Danelaw or Wessex. It appears that Cnut almost ignored the churches in this region.

Keywords: Canterbury; Cnut the Great; eastern Danelaw; English Church; Wessex; western Mercia; York



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