18 Jul 2014 All day CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT - SG1&2


Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been cancelled. 



Erik Niblaeus (CRASSH)


This discussion-based conference aims to reconsider the growth of a parish system in the Latin West in the middle ages. We will confront and contrast disciplinary traditions and create unexpected encounters between different narratives of parish formation. The perspective will be consciously transregional: discussants should represent different European traditions. The papers should be a mixture of broader re-evaluations and more specific case studies. The objective is to get a fuller picture of the early parish, not only as an abstract institution or a legal phenomenon, but as a community and a bounded territory, as well as a centre of local pastoral, liturgical, and even political activity.

The questions to be considered include the following:

  • How do we recover the reality of the local secular church when the written sources are so dominated by the perspectives of higher churches and the religious orders?

  • Is the idea of ‘parish formation’ in itself an obfuscating teleology? Is there a methodological danger in conflating changes in religious organisation with demographic change or the fragmentation of lay political power?

  • How do the parrochiae of early medieval Francia relate to the European parishes of the central and later middle ages?

  • What implications did the growth of a parish system have for relationship between the church and the laity?

  • How homogenous was the European parish system? Can we even speak of a system at all? How does parish formation relate to processes of cultural transformation and Christianisation at the European ‘peripheries’?



Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), University of Cambridge.

Accommodation for non-paper giving delegates

We are unable to arrange accommodation, however, the following websites may be of help.

Visit Cambridge
Cambridge Rooms
University of Cambridge accommodation webpage

NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of accommodation.


Administrative assistance: events@crassh.cam.ac.uk

Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk