Chapter 2 Dominicans in England and Their Relations with the Crown

In: A Companion to the English Dominican Province  
Jens Röhrkasten
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By the mid-thirteenth century, while the creation of the English Dominican province was still under way, members of the Order of Preachers had gained access to the royal household, and their province received substantial material help from King Henry III, the first English king to have a Dominican confessor. This proximity of Dominican friars to the royal court was to continue into the second half of the fourteenth century. This relationship was important for the development of the order’s English province. In return, friars took on the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of Edward I and his three successors. There was also a significant political dimension, with four prominent English Dominican friars becoming cardinals. This close co-operation was at its peak in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II who became particular patrons of the order. Edward II planned to create a large convent on the royal manor of King’s Langley in Hertfordshire as well as a Dominican nunnery. When his government fell and he was made a prisoner, prominent Dominican friars were instrumental in the attempts to set him free and help him back to power. Although Edward II’s plans received a serious setback after his deposition, they were not abandoned altogether but continued to receive attention by his son and successor.

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