No Cover Image

Journal article 132 views 34 downloads

THREE SETS OF SHACKLES AT OLD SARUM, THE ‘ARREST OF THE BISHOPS’ IN 1139 AND THE POWER OF SHAMING IN THE ANGLO-NORMAN WORLD

Alexander Langlands Orcid Logo

The Antiquaries Journal, Pages: 1 - 20

Swansea University Author: Alexander Langlands Orcid Logo

  • 64721.VOR.pdf

    PDF | Version of Record

    © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press. Distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).

    Download (697KB)

Abstract

In 1913 a set of leg shackles was recovered among skeletal remains during excavations at the east end of the ruinous cathedral of Old Sarum, Wiltshire. A recent examination of the excavation’s photographic record indicates that two further similar examples were recovered at the same time. Since the...

Full description

Published in: The Antiquaries Journal
ISSN: 0003-5815 1758-5309
Published: Cambridge University Press (CUP) 2023
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa64721
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
Abstract: In 1913 a set of leg shackles was recovered among skeletal remains during excavations at the east end of the ruinous cathedral of Old Sarum, Wiltshire. A recent examination of the excavation’s photographic record indicates that two further similar examples were recovered at the same time. Since the early twentieth century a body of scholarship has refined our understanding of the arrangement of the east end of the cathedral, and a closer examination of the archive in the light of this work allows for both skeletal remains and shackles to be confidently located in an archaeological context related to the tomb of Bishop Roger. This paper explores the value this evidence has for our understanding of the so-called ‘Arrest of the Bishops’, an event of notable constitutional significance in the tumultuous reign of King Stephen. It goes on to examine the shock with which the event was recalled by contemporary writers to reflect on the power of shaming and incarceration as a device of extortion, political manipulation and the infliction of social death. The integral nature of iron bonds in these strategies lends them a socio-symbolic role and the reception of their use in this well-recorded episode may facilitate the interpretation of such items from early and high medieval contexts when, frequently, primary provenance is lacking.
Keywords: Shackles, Old Sarum, constitutional history, Arrest of the Bishops
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Funders: The Society of Antiquaries of London (Margaret and Tom Jones Award, 2016, 2017)
Start Page: 1
End Page: 20