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The Canonisation Of The Medieval Past: England And The Continent Compared

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Chapter Summary

Most medieval English churches display on their walls a proud list of all the incumbents that served the parish, from the times that historical record-keeping began, usually the twelfth or thirteenth century, till the present day. Scottish enlightened philosophers, such as William Robertson, developed a genetic model of the sequence of societies. In that scheme the Middle Ages no longer were an unfortunate interval in history between Rome and the Renaissance; the medieval period became a painful, yet necessary stage in the growth of the states of Europe to free and enlightened nation. The arguments of the Whigs about the ancient English Constitution were historical nonsense; royalists such as Henry Spelman and Robert Brady had been much the better historians.

Keywords: ancient English Constitution; medieval English churches; Middle Ages

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