Freedom and protection

Monastic exemption in France, c. 590-c. 1100

By Kriston R. Rennie

Freedom and protection


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2774-7
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: July 2018
  • BIC Category: History, Medieval History, European history: medieval period, middle ages, RELIGION / Monasticism, HISTORY / Medieval, Christian Institutions & Organizations, Humanities / Medieval history


This book examines the history of monastic exemption in France. It reveals an institutional story of monastic freedom and protection, deeply rooted in the religious, political, social and legal culture of the early Middle Ages. Traversing many geo-political boundaries and fields of historical specialisation, the book defines the meaning and value of exemption to French monasteries between the sixth and eleventh centuries. It demonstrates how enduring relationships with the apostolic see in Rome ultimately contributed to an emerging identity of papal authority, the growth of early monasticism, Frankish politics and governance, church reform and canon law.


'There is much to admire in Freedom and Protection, which offers a welcome recapitulation of a century's worth of highly technical scholarship-in English, French, and German-on the history of the relationship between the papacy and French abbeys in the early Middle Ages, through the lens of monastic exemption.'
Scott G. Bruce, Reading Religion, June 2019

'Rennie has produced a valuable and engaging book that should be of interest to a wide audience. [.] Freedom and Protection sheds new and interesting light on important questions that have not always received, particularly across such a long and early period of study, the scholarly attention they deserve.'
H-France Review

'As Rennie convincingly demonstrates, the symbiotic relationships that the popes developed with individual monasteries through exemption privileges are an important if underappreciated feature of the growth of papal authority over the course of the early Middle Ages.'


1 The road to protection
2 Rome's orbit
3 Traditio Romana
4 Making concessions
5 The 'fetters of feudalism'
6 'Victory of the papacy'?
Appendix: Monastic exemption privileges in France, c. 590-c. 1100


Kriston R. Rennie is Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Queensland

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