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Carnal Lust In The 1300's!

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Wade Hampton III

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Carnal Lust In The 1300's!

PostMon Feb 18, 2019 3:52 am

Medieval nun fakes death to escape convent and enjoy a life of carnal lust.
Sounds like the basis for a juicy novel, but this really happened during
the 14th century in England. Archivist and historian Sarah Rees Jones
discovered the real-life tale while investigating the Registers of the
Archbishops of York, which recorded the business of archbishops from 1304
to 1405, as part of a project to make the contents of the documents accessible
online. In a letter (in the registers) dating to 1318, Archbishop William
Melton describes a "scandalous rumor" he heard, detailing the blasphemous
behavior of a nun named Joan to the Dean of Beverley, who was responsible
for an area of Yorkshire some 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of York, said
Rees Jones, a medieval historian at the University of York and principal
investigator on the project.
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The letter requests the dean's help in finding Joan and demanding that
she return to her convent in York, Rees Jones told Live Science. "It is
copied into the archbishops' registers, which are the main focus of our
project," she added.

To try to get away with her escape, Joan apparently created some kind of
body double that the other nuns would bury as her own. "My speculation
is that she used something like a shroud and filled it with earth, hence
its dummy-like appearance," Rees Jones said. "People were commonly buried
in shrouds." As for what Joan was escaping to, described in the letter
as her "carnal lust," Rees Jones can only speculate. "This may mean no
more (in modern terms) than enjoying the material pleasures of living
in the secular world (abandoning her vow of poverty), or it may mean
entering into a sexual relationship (abandoning her vow of chastity),"
Rees Jones wrote in an email to Live Science. "We do know that other
religious [people] abandoned their vocations either to marry or to
take up an inheritance of some kind."

The registers are sure to contain other fascinating tales, according
to a statement from the university. Not only have they been little
studied, but the registers chronicled the day-to-day activities of
archbishops, who at the time had pretty interesting lives. "On the
one hand, they carried out diplomatic work in Europe and Rome, and
rubbed shoulders with the VIPs of the Middle Ages," she said in a
statement. "However, they were also on the ground resolving disputes
between ordinary people, inspecting priories and monasteries and
correcting wayward monks and nuns."

The devout job also would have been a dangerous one, as the Black
Death was sweeping through Europe at the time (from 1347 to 1351).
And the priests were the ones who would visit the sick and administer
last rites, she noted.

Rees Jones and her colleagues hope to find out more on some of the
most compelling archbishops, including Melton, who led an army of
priests and everyday residents in a battle defending the City of
York from the Scots in 1319. Another archbishop, Richard le Scrope
joined the so-called Northern Rising against Henry IV, for which
he was executed in 1405. The records, Rees Jones said, may reveal
his motivations for getting involved. They might even uncover the
rest of the story of the escapee nun and whether she was returned
to the convent.

The registers themselves, tucked into 16 heavy volumes, had what
the university called a "perilous existence." Officials of the
medieval archbishop would have carried the parchment volumes on
his travels. And after the English Civil War, in 1600s, they were
stored in London, before being brought, in the 18th century, to
the Diocesan Registry in York Minster. The University of York
project to put the registers online will run for 33 months in
partnership with The National Archives in the United Kingdom,
and with the support of the Chapter of York Minster.

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