Worship and Authority
A bishop is the head of a diocese, a geographic province
with a number of subservient churches. The seat of a bishop is a cathedral,
from the Latin word, cathedra, meaning seat. Archbishops had authority
over of a number of dioceses and over the bishops who presided over them.
York and Canterbury that Margery Kempe visited were seats of Archbishops.
In the Middle Ages the bishop/archbishop was a secular landholder, as well
as spiritual authority. He therefore behaved like a noble, which he
invariable was, enjoying a separate palace, distinctive clothing, and prescribed
ritual. Clerical courts were distinct from secular courts, and the
clergy were exempt from prosecution by lay jurists.