Knights of the Realm
The Roman Church first came to Britain when King Lucius invited missionaries to come to Londinium and teach around 150 AD. The priests Faganus and Dyvanus established a church in Londinium, which still stands, and began their teaching. They first confined their preaching primarily in the cities, and many parts of rural Logres have churches with semi-educated priests who allow semi-pagan practices to continue.
Almost 200 years ago, in 306 AD, the greatest Roman Emperor departed from Britain and conquered the corrupt Roman Empire. He was Constantine of Britain, the only Roman Emperor ever titled the Great, who later was made into a saint. He converted his empire to Christianity and gave over much of its administration to the Church. Since that time, their bishops have held political power (especially in the cities) even though the empire has fallen.
The Roman Church holds its own property. They have a separate judicial system called Canon Law, which oversees legal issues within its membership. They hold property that is often in Free Alms, which means they are not responsible to any secular lord for it. They also hold property by the normal Grant of Fief, like lords and knights, and those who do must supply troops for those holdings.
Dubricus, Archbishop of Britain
All the bishops in Britain are under the leadership of Archbishop Dubricus. His own see is outside Logres, in Carlion-on-Usk, but he is as British as a man can be. He oversees ten bishops, each in his own city, who in their turn oversee the priests within their regions. He often travels throughout the realm to check on his flock.
Logres has seven bishops, and three more are outside of the kingdom. Bishops take their titles from the cities in which they rule, hence Bishop of Londinium and so on. The bishops are placed in office by acclamation of the priests of a cathedral, or by a secular lord who has kept the right to appoint the head of an institution he founded (This is called advowson). Either way, the Pope in Rome must affirm the promotion, granting a pallium, which is a special piece of ecclesiastical clothing. Bishops are not necessarily from the area where they work, perhaps coming from as far away as Italy or Africa!
Sometimes regional politics or sufficient bribes convince the Pope to put a specific person in place, as with Huntland, below. Each bishop oversees their own parish and heads an organization of priests. The territory that a bishop controls is his bishopric, or diocese. The city of his residence is called a see, or a cathedral city. Each see has a great church called a cathedral, a ministry for teaching, a hospital, an almshouse, possibly a nunnery for holy women, and similar lesser institutions.
Grants of land, either Free Alms or by fief, are given to the Roman Church from lords and ladies who wish to honor them, to establish memory of some deed, to pray for post mortem life everlasting, or buy their good favor. Whereas the original grants to support the churches and bishops are in the territory they lie in, other lands are often added from other more far-flung areas. Thus like lords, the lands of a bishopric are scattered throughout the counties.
The Roman Church has special privileges which were inherited from the imperial church and are called Canon Law. The church has its own court system to arrest, hold, try, and punish its own people — Roman clerics of all rank and status. In return, no churchordained individual can ever hold a secular title or ownership to land. This prohibition excludes baronial properties, which must maintain baronial obligations.
Roman Churches and Abbeys of Logres
Most of the clerical leaders are obedient, humble, and ordinary. Those few who are not are singled out below with some comments. Several hold enough land from the king to be barons, and since they usually hold that secular title in higher esteem than their ecclesiastical one, they are labelled as such in the list below.
This list places the abbey first and the abbot second in the headers. This is because the institution is more important than the individual. Many of the abbeys are relatively unimportant and their abbots are not named. The individuals are generally addressed as “Abbot.”
The Roman Bishops of Logres
Bishopric of Camulodunum, Baron Dyfan
Dyfan is from Gaul. His see is Saint Julian’s Cathedral, one of the most beautiful in all Logres. He is a stern and severe overseer, hard on his priests and demoting those who displease him to meaningless village churches. He has recently converted his see to be Black Canons, the monk-like order of canons.
Bishopric of Corinium, Baron Decius
Diocese: Clarence, Glevum, Wuerensis, Tribruit, and Summerland
Decius is originally from north Africa. He is dedicated to the church and fights fiercely for every scrap of its rights and properties relentlessly. He keeps two concubines, one in Glevum and one in Corinium; and allows his priests to be married if they wish.
Bishopric of Durnovaria, Baron Mesalla
Diocese: Dorsette, Jagent, Ascalon, Tintagel, Totnes, and Lyonesse
Mesalla is a native Cymru from one of the powerful families of Durnovaria. Though theoretically forbidden, the see has been held by members of this family for more than a hundred years. He keeps tight control over the priests of Dorsette, but is less able to enforce this on the counties outside of his diocese. He dislikes Picts and often abuses his flock in Jagent whose lords are of Pict descent.
Bishopric of Huntsman, Baron Gaius
Diocese: Huntland, Lonazep, Lambor, Linden
This bishop is a famous debauch, and the see has been his family sinecure since before Vortigern. He has never visited his cathedral or city and lives
in luxury in Londinium. His Archdeacon attends for all his baronial responsibilities. Many priests have abandoned him, following their people to join
the British Church, making the abbot of Thorns Abbey rich and politically powerful.
Bishopric of Londinium, Baron Quintus
Diocese: Thamesmouth, Hartland, Berroc
Quintus is from Londinium. He loathes the British Church and everyone in it. Londinium is surrounded by an all-Roman population. Like everything
else in Londinium, the bishopric is held by one of the old Roman senatorial families. The city is so big it charitably allows churches of other denominations within it.
Bishopric of Noviomagus, Bishop Varro
Diocese: Hantonne, Cantium, Regnentium
Most of Varro’s territory has been lost to the Saxons, though he still claims it.
Bishopric of Silchester, Baron Metellus
Diocese: Silchester, Salisbury, Gentian, and Rydychan
Metellus is from southern Gaul, called Occitania. He is righteous and just, but very severe on his people because of the presence of British and Pagan
alternatives in his diocese.
Bishopric of Venta, Baron Andronicus
Andronicus “the Bishop of the Mace” is originally from Cappadocia. A previous Pope sent him to Britain as a punishment, thinking the remoteness
would be enough to calm him down, but he has not repented of his ways. He loves to lead his troops in battle, and often squeezes his own peasants to pay for extra troops when the occasion of war arises.
Vassals of Bishops
Knights on church lands are no different than knights elsewhere. They do not need to be particularly religious to hold these lands. (God knows many bishops are not!) Church lands are organized into manors and estates exactly the same as for any lords. Troops are led by other knights.
The Bible forbids any man of God to shed blood. Nonetheless in Britain at this time a number of clergy either disobey this deliberately, or just as likely are ignorant of it. Those who willingly disobey use maces, not swords, because a mace is less likely to draw blood. Those who don’t know any
better bear swords if they have them, or any other weapon they have laid their hands upon. These men tend to be found in groups. Bishops and abbots generally disallow this practice within their fellowship. If they turn a blind eye then their institution would attract those priests and monks who bear arms. A couple of bishops, singled out in the text, bear arms themselves and likely have fighting followers who do likewise.
Foreign Roman Bishoprics
Only a few other Roman bishops exist outside of Logres, and bear mentioning.
Archbishopric of Carlion-on-Usk, Dubricus
Located in Escavalon, this is the see for the Archbishop, who is the head of the Roman bishops in Britain. Archbishop Dubricus is sometimes to be found here, but is often on his own progress visiting his bishops and other church lands.
Bishopric of Fort Gwent, Gwengad
Dioceses: Southern and central Cambria This see is in Escavalon. Gwengad is a kindly leader, encouraging more than punishing, believing that kindness will bring more to his flock that harshness. His diocese is relatively poor due to its impossible task of converting the hill people to the Church of Rome.
Bishopric of the City of Legions, Deesmouth, _Bishop Julius _
Dioceses: Deesmouth, Lancacounty, Pase, Amans, Cameliard, Galvoie, and Orofoise
Julius is from Italia. He is a relatively impoverished bishop, with a diocese that has turned largely to British and Pagan ways.
Roman Clerical Orders
Monastic Roman orders developed from anchorites in the eastern desert areas who set up rules for their followers. These are based on desert conditions and are often inappropriate to the temperate ways of Britain. These hardships have caused the first monastic orders to alter their strict adherence to them and led to lax ways for some.
The Black Monks began in the Mediterranean, and men inspired by them have joined into abbeys all over the former Roman Empire. Members are
drawn from the noble class, are well educated, and they are often found as advisors to the nobles.
Black Monks of both religious traditions live in respectful harmony with each other, although in separate monasteries. While they may hold the usual political grudges, they have no spiritual strife. The Black Monks have been around long enough to have acquired lands and wealth, which separates them from their more humble brethren.
White Monks are found only in the Roman Church. It is a relatively new order and was founded by men who thought the black monks had become too worldly. They avoid noble offices and loyalties; instead they favor working with their hands, often seeking and obtaining land in waste places of no
value to commoners. This provides them with isolation and a measure of security.
These are the priests of the Roman Church. Every cathedral has a school to train them, called a minster, and most Roman church positions are filled by them. They are called “regular canons.”
King Uther dislikes churchmen so much that he issued an order that no new monasteries may be founded in his kingdom. In response to this prohibition, this order was established which follows monk-like rules even though they are not monastics, but canonical.
Curtal means “short,” and they got their name from their founder who once tore his rich cloak in half to help a poor man. Their tradition continues this emphasis of assisting the needs of the many poor, providing food, shelter, clothing, and hospital care. Monasteries are found only in Londinium, Glevum, Silchester.
These abbeys hold land from the king, including grants in fief, for which they owe troops.
Abbot of Riverford Abbey, Baron Valerius
Valerius hails from Armenia. This is the richest house of Roman Monks in Britain, thanks to grants by kings and nobles. The monks are renowned as
philosophers, intellectuals, and teachers.
Abbot of Bladud’s Mound Abbey, Baron Cadfael
This is one of the oldest abbeys in Britain, as evidenced by its extensive holdings which include even a castle that protects the abbey. Cadfael is originally from Cambria.
Abbot of Westminster Abbey, Baron Palladius
Palladius is originally from Gaul. The abbey is located on the Thames River west of Londinium, and has been a favorite abbey for lords since the
Other Significant Roman Abbeys
These are not baronies, since they contribute no troops. The abbots’ names are listed for convenience.
- Black Abbots Abbey, Sextus
- Corinium Abbey, Corvinus
- Clearstream Abbey, Collen
- Huntsman Abbey, Dylan
- Sarum, Canegunis
- Venta Abbey, Domitianus
- Abraham’s Abbey, Avital
- Bran’s Abbey, Cerwyn
- Durnovaria Abbey, Septimus
- Guinnon Abbey, Meredydd
- St Peter’s Abbey, Malachai
- Spearshaft Abbey, Arvel
- Glevum Abbey, Vitellius,
- Longridge Abbey, Derwyn
- Sarum, Moriad
- Wetwood Abbey, Adon
- St Martin’s (Londinium), Lleufer
- St Martin’s (Glevum), Anwyl
- St Martin’s (Silchester), Meriawn
- St Arius (Londinium), Beranel
- Donatus (Londinium), Gildun