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Not sure if this is useful or not, but the first dated surviving private seal (i.e. one used usually in a ring, to counterseal the main official seal of office) for a secular clerk is one dated to 1144 and was Theobald's. Unfortunately, the book I took this from (Harvey, P. D. A. and McGuiness, Andrew A Guide to British Medieval Seals Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1996 ISBN 0-8020-0867-4) doesn't describe the seal. Ealdgyth | Talk 21:01, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Only request at this point would be to add a alpha-sorted list of References, and modify that current "References" section to be called "Notes", stating page number and shorthand name of the source. After that I would certainly upgrade to GA status. ≈ jossi ≈(talk) 23:13, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
will do later tonight. Going out for dinner, so that takes precedence over boring clerical work. Thanks! Ealdgyth | Talk 23:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Lead: "After Eustace's death in 1153 Stephen recognised his rival Henry of Anjou as his heir, and named Theobald regent of the kingdom after his own death." ==> Second part should have distinct date, as they describe two different events. It should also be stated, that Theobald's regency apparently was only meant as temporary solution until Henry could take over (it sounds like 2 conflicting decisions at the moment).
Family: "He may have been a distant relative of his successor as archbishop, Thomas Becket, as Becket's family also came from the same part of Normandy." ==> Even sourced, this sounds like a very speculative connection. Is there any more evidence for this or can the conclusion be clarified?
"Theobald entered the Abbey of Bec in Normandy as a Benedictine monk in the late 11th or early 12th century, while William was the third abbot." ==> Which William? Lead introduces two different Williams. Better repeat full name once more for readers unfamiliar with the topic.
Appointment: "Most historians consider that Stephen arranged the election's timing to ensure Henry's absence." - Sounds controversial, do refs 6 and 10 cover the whole preceding text?
"Theobald had no important family connections to advanced his career, and few clerical allies." ==> Are any of the clerical allies especially notable?
Early years: "Theobald attended the council held by Stephen in June 1139 that deprived Roger of Salisbury, Bishop of Salisbury, and his nephews Nigel of Ely, Bishop of Ely, and Alexander of Lincoln, Bishop of Lincoln," ==> Repeating of specific locations makes for a stubby reading (and is not done throughout the rest of the article). Why not just "Roger, Bishop of Salisbury", "Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln" and so on?
"...that Theobald took a more active role in the council." ==> Vague, what did he do specifically? The reader doesn't even learn, which side Theobald supported.
Civil War: "Theobald's actions in the next few years must be seen in light of the history of Stephen's ascension to the throne." ==> "Must be seen" sounds a bit lecturing. Try rewording as a plain matter of fact (f.e. "is closely connected" or something).
"Theobald had sworn fealty to Stephen, but does not appear to have been an active partisan of Stephen's, nor to have felt that his fealty to Stephen required him to recognise any claims of Stephen's heirs to the throne." ==> Source at end of paragraph needed, especially for a challengable statement.
"He claimed that he needed to talk to Stephen before switching his oath of fealty. After consulting with Stephen, ..." ==> Did he "talk" to him (and travelled to Bristol) or consulted with him (by letter or messenger)?
Disputes with Stephen: "..., Stephen gave up." ==> Needs rephrasing for better flow, "to give up" is informal.
"securing for Henry the succession to the throne." ==> trim "securing Henry's succession to the throne."
"who had earlier had difficulties working together" ==> 2 "had", maybe "who had difficulties working together earlier".
Under Henry II: "and Stephen named him as regent until Henry arrived to take up the crown." ==> grammar? "... until Henry would arrive ...".
"After Henry's arrival, Theobald crowned Henry and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine on 19 December 1154 at Westminster." ==> "... at Westminster Abbey." for clarity.
"In January 1155 Theobald helped to secure the Chancellorship for his protege, Thomas Becket, perhaps hoping to secure more influence with the king through Becket, although if this was his hope it did not materialise." ==> Speculation. The whole phrase after ", perhaps ..." could be dropped.
"However, not everything was always smooth ..." ==> colloquial.
Patronage and household ==> "Vacarius", suggest full name at first mention.
"John of Salisbury. John of Salisbury" ==> Second "of Salisbury" close by can be dropped.
Death and legacy: "... troubled by the machinations ..." ==> NPOV (Theobald had his own fair share of intrigues). Just "by the opposition" would sound more neutral.
I should be able to get to most of these Monday morning, as I'm at an art festival this weekend and frankly bushed after 12 hours of selling art. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:47, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Let me cover a couple of these real quick (I took the liberty of changing your bullet points to numbers for ease) - #2 - these events happened at the same time in 1153. Eustace died early in the year, Henry was in England at the time, they made a treaty (the Treaty of Wallingford) and Henry went off to court Eleanor of Aquitaine). #5 Yes, those two refs pretty much are representative. This isn't a controversial point at all among historians ... Barlow, in his ODNB entry says "Stephen had in fact clearly decided to thwart his brother's vaulting ambition..." about the episode. The "most" is actually a sheet-anchor here, I haven't ever read any historian who doesn't think that Stephen arranged matters to keep Henry of Blois from Canterbury, but surely, given historian's love of taking a contrary position, some historian somewhere may have argued the case that it was all an incredible coincidence, so I put in "most historians" to cover my butt. (Its worth noting that Henry of Blois himself felt that his brother had done him in... ) #7. I've listed their names that way because that's how they are generally known and for later discussions I want to not have to explain that "Roger, Bishop of Salisbury" is the same as "Roger of Salisbury". (There are like three episcopal Roger of Salisbury's in medieval English history - and not all of them were bishop OF Salisbury (one at least was not).) #10. I've just removed the uncited sentence ... it's out of place here in this paragraph, quite honestly. #19. Vacarius IS his full name. #20. I prefer to use "John of Salisbury" both places to remove ambiquity (it's not like there aren't a million John's in the middle ages). #22. I have my doubts about whether that's really the great seal or not (I didn't create the image) so I feel safer just going with "seal" without some confirming source I've found myself. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the additional information. Clarifies several points for me. Regarding #2 the treaty happened November 1153, and Theobald was named regent on Stephen's deathbed (supposedly October 1154) according to the main text, start of section "Under Henry". Without a second distinction both events could have happened together in November 1153. GermanJoe (talk) 11:35, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
1. Fixed. 2. Changed to "... recognised his rival Henry of Anjou as his heir, and later Theobald was named regent of the kingdom after Stephen's death." Trying to avoid date overload here. 3. I've clarified taht this is Barlow's thought (although I've seen it elsewhere, it's not in Saltman specifically that I can find easily.) As a personal note, the likelyhood of them being related is pretty high, but not provable at this point in time. 4. Cannot clarify further, as this isn't either of the two William's mentioned before but he's just "William". This is why I generally use a full description on first mention (which you queried in #7.). 5. I got above. 6. None of my sources mention the names of any clerical allies 7. Addressed above. 8. I've tried to clarify this a bit, but too much detail would be undue weight here, as this is very definitely a minority view and most historians don't think Theobald did much to challenge Stephen's actions. 9. Now reads "Theobald's actions in the next few years are intertwined with the history of Stephen's ascension..." 10. Took this out above. 11. In person ... now reads "After consulting in person with Stephen..." 12. I disagree... "give up" is quite correct enough, we don't need to use convoluted language just to sound pretentious. He "gave up", most chroniclers speak of Stephen having just ... collapsed or totally withdrawing from most concerns. He didn't quite turn his face to the wall and ignore the world, but came close. 13. Fixed per your suggestion. 14. Reworked to "Henry of Blois and Theobald, who previously had difficulties working together, managed to secure an end to the disorders in England." 15. Reworded to "...and Stephen named him as regent until Henry could take up the crown." 16. Fixed. (Changed to source that specifically states Westminster Abbey also) 17. Attributed to Barlow (although it's hinted at by other historians, safer to attribute). 18. Changed to "harmonious" (although I really think this is a bit nitpicky - smoth isn't that colloquial). 19. Dealt with above. 20. Dealt with above. 21. Changed per your suggestion but really, Henry of Blois could have taught political intrigue to Machiavelli! 22. Dealt with above. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:00, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for going over the list. As a quick side note no problem, when some points are not changed or solved differently as i certainly don't claim to be an expert in the field. Hope you found some of those suggestions helpful for the article. GermanJoe (talk) 19:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)