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About this book

From 1095 to the end of the thirteenth century, the crusades touched the lives of many thousands of British people, even those who were not crusaders themselves. In this introductory survey, Kathryn Hurlock compares and contrasts the crusading experiences of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Taking a thematic approach, Hurlock provides an overview of the crusading movement, and explores key aspects of the crusades, such as:

- where crusaders came from
- when and why the papacy chose to recruit crusaders
- the impact on domestic life, as shown through literature, religion and taxation
- political uses of the crusades
- the role of the military orders in Britain

This wide-ranging and accessible text is the ideal introduction to this fascinating subject in early British history.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
Crusading was a popular and widespread activity in the Middle Ages. Intended to appeal to the military elite who could fight on behalf of Christianity, crusading attracted a wide swathe of the European population, from emperors and kings to tanners and prostitutes. Not everyone who made a crusading vow could or would take part, but the effects of the crusades touched more than simply those who went on crusade. Recruitment efforts were felt by people who never took the Cross, as the message of helping fellow Christians under threat was preached from market crosses and church pulpits. Funding the crusades, something that became more centralised as time went on, touched non-crusaders, as general taxes, levies on wool and movables, and levies on church income were gathered to pay for those who went on crusade. Returning crusaders brought information back from their adventures, whether the details of battles or knowledge of building techniques. Many monastic scribes who never left the confines of their religious houses, let alone went to the Holy Land, were well informed on crusading events and included them in their histories, while even those living in the remotest parts of Britain and Ireland might have come into contact with land and property owned by one of the military orders. In some cases, these orders played a part in local religious life, administering the sacrament or providing hospitality and care for the sick.
Kathryn Hurlock

Chapter 1. Britain and Ireland before and during the Crusades

Abstract
In the period before and during the crusades, Britain and Ireland were going through a period of significant change. By 1000 the kingdom of England, largely unified long before its smaller neighbours, was ruled by the House of Wessex, which had held sway since 871. Upon the death of Edmund Ironside in 1016, power shifted to the Dane, Sweyn Forkbeard; England was then under Danish rule until the accession of the Anglo-Saxon Edward the Confessor in 1042. When Edward died without direct heirs, in 1066, he was succeeded by Harold of Wessex, who was defeated in October of the same year by William, duke of Normandy. After William’s accession, some part of England still resisted his rule, but by the end of the eleventh century England was a largely unified and stable country. Whereas links to Scandinavia had previously been prominent, the arrival of the Normans meant that links across the Channel to France became prominent. The exceptions to this stability were the border areas facing Scotland and Wales that were still subject to land disputes and territorial attacks; but for the most part the kings of England were dominant.
Kathryn Hurlock

Chapter 2. Recruitment and Funding

Abstract
Throughout the twelfth century, recruitment and funding were only occasionally organised by the papacy on a European scale, as matters were usually left to monarchs, churchmen and those who intended to lead a crusade party. In the thirteenth century, and particularly with the pontificate of Innocent III (1198–1216), recruitment and funding became more formalised and centrally organised. The pontiff would appoint preachers, decide on the key areas of recruitment, and send out letters and bulls with information and instructions. As time went on, manuals for preaching and a growth of papal authority meant that the whole process became increasingly systematic.
Kathryn Hurlock

Chapter 3. Participation

Abstract
When Urban II preached at Clermont in November 1095, he asked for assistance for the Holy Land. His intended target audience consisted of the nobles of Europe, those men whose violence the Church had been trying to regulate through the Peace and Truce of God Movements. For the nobility, a military caste for whom fighting was a pastime as well as a necessity, the crusade offered an ideal opportunity to engage in violence without earning the censure of the church; indeed, they would be rewarded for it. It is not surprising then that hundreds, if not thousands, of nobles from across Europe heeded Urban’s call and set out for the East. According to Sigebert of Gembloux (c.1030–1112), the first crusaders
came together from all sides with a single spirit and without animosity, from Spain, Provence, Aquitaine, Brittany, Scotland, England, Normandy, France, Lorraine, Burgundy, Germany, Lombardy, Apulia, and from other lands; and armed with virtue and signed with the Holy Cross, they set out for the injuries of God against the enemies of the Christians.1
Over the next two hundred years, groups from across Europe continued to go on crusade, funding and leading campaigns, recruiting men and supplying retinues.
Kathryn Hurlock

Chapter 4. Political Crusades

Abstract
The definition of what constitutes a crusade is open to debate. Different groups of historians, admittedly artificially defined for ease of comparison, take different views, believing that the location, target or motivations of a war determined its suitability for being defined as a crusade. Traditionalists see only campaigns launched to recover Jerusalem as true crusades; generalists argue that any Christian war fought for God was a crusade; popularists claim that crusading came out of popular, peasant movements; while pluralists argue that any war in which the participants took a vow and gained spiritual rewards could be seen a crusade.1 These definitions, put forward by Giles Constable in 2001, are not satisfactory and are sometimes controversial, but at present they are the clearest definitions in place, and they do help to distinguish between varying approaches to crusading amongst modern historians.2
Kathryn Hurlock

Chapter 5. Domestic Impact

Abstract
The crusades affected even those who did not take the Cross. Those who went on crusade mortgaged, leased or sold land, which had an impact on family members, while those who made mistakes when doing so often left their families with a legacy of debt and legal problems. The recipients of these lands — as well as those who received gifts and grants from grateful crusaders — were clear beneficiaries of crusading activity, as were those who were able to capitalise on the absence of someone on the crusade. Although measures were put in place to protect family members while a relative was on crusade, some women were abused during their husband’s absence and these protections were often ignored.
Kathryn Hurlock

Chapter 6. The Military Orders

Abstract
One part of the crusading movement that had a direct impact on Britain and Ireland was the military orders, religious orders of fighting monks whose central aim was to defend the Holy Land. The two major orders were the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, more commonly called the Hospitallers, and the Knights Templar. The Hospitallers predated the First Crusade, forming a monastic order before the 1090s to assist pilgrims to the Holy Land. Their origins lay in a grant of some land in Jerusalem in c.1070 to merchants from the Italian city of Amalfi; the merchants had requested the land in order to build a house where their visiting compatriots could stay.1 By 1113 some of its members had separated themselves under their leader, Gerard, and this group developed from caring for sick pilgrims to offering armed assistance. At the same time Pope Paschal II (1099–1118) formerly recognised the order. They began to use mercenaries to protect pilgrims in the 1130s and had become a militarised order by the 1160s. The order was divided into knights, sergeants and chaplains, and there was a strict hierarchy and obedience to the Grand Master.2
Kathryn Hurlock

Conclusion

Abstract
When Matthew Paris was thinning out his Chronica Majora in order to produce his Historia Anglorum, he made a conscious decision to leave out information that he felt was not relevant to English history. He went through the text of the Chronica, highlighting the parts he felt were of no use and commenting that they were ‘irrelevant to the history of the English’.1 This included his information on crusading, most of which did not make it into his shorter work. Crusading was, however, relevant. From the time of the First Crusade, it had an impact on finance in England, as money was raised to pay for the mortgage of Normandy. A few men took part at the same time, many of whom were fleeing domestic problems after a failed rebellion against the king; England itself was still unsettled, so most landowners chose to stay at home. In the twelfth century the number of participants, both male and female, increased. Although civil war under Stephen, whose own father had been on the First Crusade, meant that crusading for most magnates was not practicable at the time of the Second Crusade, those from lower down on the social scale were able to contribute to the conquest of Lisbon, the only success of that particular crusade.
Kathryn Hurlock
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