The underlying ideas::Minster hypothesis


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The underlying ideas John Blair put forward a description of the early Anglo-Saxon Christian church in England in a number of publications.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> He believed that the organisation of the early church was based around minsters staffed by a community of clerics and providing spiritual services within a defined area (known as a parochia). Minsters were established close to royal vills, as part of the process by which pagan communities were converted to Christianity.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> During 10th and 11th centuries, parochial duties were increasingly taken over by estate churches which were the property of local land owners. The diminishing role for minsters and the emergence of estate churches accompanied the fragmentation of the Anglo-Saxon multiple estates that had been common in the earlier landscape.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> The new estate churches were frequently dependent to some extent on the original minster church within whose boundary they were located.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Sonning (Berkshire) is an example of an original minster which by the 12th century had eight dependent churches, four of which had become independent parishes by the 15th century.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Although minsters were in decline by 1086, it is still possible to identify them in Domesday wherever the description goes beyond the purely formulaic. Clues to identification of minsters include references to groups of priests; a church endowment exceeding one hide; tenure by a royal or named clerk; a separate valuation or survey or some additional sign of status.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Minster hypothesis sections
Intro  The underlying ideas  Origin of the term  Areas of dispute  Notes  

The underlying ideas
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