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Episode 2522             Episode 2524
Episode 2523

Order of Brothelyngham
Mon, 2024-Apr-01 00:44 UTC
Length - 2:53

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Monday, 1 April 2024 is Order of Brothelyngham.

The Order of Brothelyngham was a group of men who, in the mid-14th century, formed themselves into a fake religious order in the city of Exeter, Devon. They may well have been satirising the church, which was commonly perceived as corrupt. Tales of priests and nuns not living according to their religious vows were widespread. The group appears to have named itself after a non-existent place, "Brothelyngham". Such a name would have suggested chaos, wretchedness or some similar context to contemporaries, rather than its modern connotation with a brothel. The men of this fake order dressed as monks, and supposedly elected a madman to rule them as their abbot, possibly from a theatrical stage or throne.

The Brothelynghamite Order caused much trouble in Exeter, regularly emerging from their base—which may have been some form of medieval theatre, or other area of public entertainment—and terrorising the citizens. Bearing their "Abbot" aloft before them, on a mockery of a cathedra, they kidnapped locals whom they held for ransom. They also practised extortion. It is possible that, notwithstanding these activities, they saw themselves as theatrical players rather than criminals. The Bishop of Exeter, John Grandisson, in nearby Chudleigh, issued instructions to his agents to investigate and if they deemed it necessary, to condemn and excommunicate the Order, although the end result remains unknown. The bishop clearly expected to find evidence of disobedience and debauchery.

As one of the few such gangs known to modern historians, the Order of Brothelyngham is considered historiographically significant for what it suggests of anti-clerical activities and attitudes in England during the period. The name is generally considered a word play on the Order of Sempringham, which was the target of contemporary gossip and rumour on account of its policy of enclosing both monks and nuns on the same premises.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:44 UTC on Monday, 1 April 2024.

For the full current version of the article, see Order of Brothelyngham on Wikipedia.

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