From the earliest days of the organized Christian community, the bishop was the most important local official, a pivotal figure who discharged both secular and spiritual functions. As in most political arrangements, his appointment meant a transfer of power from one position of authority to another, while his tenure in office revealed the different ways in which his influence could be felt. The King's Bishops is the first detailed comparative study of patronage as an instrument of power in the relations between kings and bishops in England and Normandy after the Conquest. Esteemed medievalist Everett U. Crosby considers new perspectives of medieval state-building and the vexed relations between secular and ecclesiastical authority. Through a rich and detailed examination of the background and career of each of the bishops in the seventeen sees in England and in the seven sees in Normandy, this study re-considers the fundamental assumptions and practices - including royal prerogative, clerical independence, papal authority and family claims - underlying the structures of power in the period.