Henry of Blois: New Interpretations

William Kynan-Wilson (Editor), John Millington Munns (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthologypeer-review


First modern study devoted to one of the twelfth-century's most enigmatic, infuential and fascinating figures.
Henry of Blois (d. 1171) was a towering figure in twelfth-century England. Grandson of William the Conqueror and brother to King Stephen, he played a central role in shaping the course of the civil war that characterized his brother's reign. Bishop of Winchester and abbot of Glastonbury for more than four decades, Henry was one of the richest men in the kingdom, and effectively governed the English Church for a time as Papal Legate. Raised and tonsured at Cluny, he was an intimate friend of Peter the Venerable and later saved the great abbey from financial ruin. Towards the end of his life he presided, albeit reluctantly, over the trial of Thomas Becket. Henry was a remarkable man: an administrator of exceptional talent, a formidable ecclesiastical statesman, a bold and eloquent diplomat, and twelfth-century England's most prolific patron of the arts.

In the first major book-length study of Henry to be published since 1932, nine scholars explore new perspectives on the most crucial aspects of his life and legacy. By bringing ecclesiastical and documentary historians together with archaeologists and historians of art, architecture, literature and ideas, this interdisciplinary collection will serve as a catalyst for renewed study of this fascinating man and the world in which he operated.

Contributors: Martin Biddle, Barbara Bombi, John Crook, Claire Donovan, M.J. Franklin, Edmund King, William Kynan-Wilson, Matthew M. Mesley, John Munns
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWoodbridge
PublisherBoydell & Brewer
Number of pages320
ISBN (Print)9781783275748
ISBN (Electronic)9781800100725
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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