Petitions for the various processes of filling vacant church and monastic positions: petitions to elect, petitions to gain the king's approval after the election, and petitions for the restitution of temporalities after the appointment.
They relate to the filling of ecclesiastical offices which had become vacant. For the most part the offices are abbacies, priories, or bishoprics, but some relate to deaneries, prebends and other offices in collegiate churches, and others concern the presentation of chaplains to rectories and vicarages. The gift of these lesser offices was often in the king's hands due to the minority of the normal patron or the seizure of the temporalities of an alien priory in time of war.
These petitions were drawn from the Chancery records formerly held in the Tower of London.
Administrative / biographical background:
The filling of these offices normally required a series of petitions, which followed a pattern. First, the chapter or non-exempt monastery notified the king of the death or resignation of the bishop, abbot or prior and requested a licence to elect a replacement. Then, after a candidate had been elected, a second petition was sent begging the king's assent to their choice. Finally, when the election had been confirmed, application was made to the king to order the restitution of temporalities belonging to the office. If these temporalities belonged to a monastery the final petition was sent by the diocesan bishop; if they belonged to a bishopric the petition came from the metropolitan.
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