Thrice to Rome – play at the Temple Church

November 30, 2023

THRICE TO ROME: Gerald of Wales before the Papal Court of Innocent III 1201-1203

A Play by Norman Doe
The Temple Church, London
6.30 pm Tuesday 5 March 2024

This new community play is about the three appearances of Gerald of Wales in Rome before the court of Pope Innocent III in 1201-03. Gerald’s account of the trials is re-cast, as a dramatised reading, by Professor Norman Doe, Director, Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University, and Bencher, Inner Temple.

Gerald is most famous for his books on Wales. But this play re-imagines Gerald as a canon lawyer of European stature. The trials took place when Gerald appealed to the Pope to confirm his election as Bishop of St Davids and to recognise the independence of the church in Wales from the church in England – both opposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the King of England.

Following the 800th anniversary of Gerald’s death (1223), the performers include current canon lawyers joined by staff of the Temple Church. The play features Gerald, Pope Innocent III, Cardinal Hugolinus (later Pope Gregory IX), and Gerald’s opponents: Buongiovanni, Reginald Foliot, and John of Tynemouth. It is narrated in retrospect by the medieval canonist William Lyndwood, assisted by two remarkable sisters, Novella and Bettina, canon law teachers at medieval Bologna and Padua.

This is a tale of canonical intrigue, Church and State in conflict, and an epic clash between St Davids and Canterbury. It also raises issues with contemporary resonances, about nationhood, justice, and law.

The play will be advertised, with details of ticket prices and booking, on the website of the Temple Church, London:

Please note this event is not organized by the ELS, and all queries should be directed to the Temple Church, via the link above.