Why was the Church so powerful in the Middle Ages?
Bishops and abbots were used to power in the Middle Ages. By 1150 the church in Britain was huge and very rich organization.it owed its power and wealth to that fact almost everyone in Britain was a Christian and there was only one church – the Roman Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury was the leading priest in the church in England. He looked for spiritual guidance to the Pope in Rome-the head of western Christendom.
You can get some idea of the power of the Church if you visit a great Cathedral like Ely. A building like this would be a magnificent achievement if built today with the aid of modern machine, but medieval cathedrals were built by hand. The cost was enormous.
The church was immensely rich. It wealth came from different sources. As you have seen, the peasants paid tenth of their produce to the Church as a tithe. Rich people gave money and sometimes property when they died. These funds paid for new cathedral and met the cost of running the church. Great wealth gave the abbots and bishop great power. They were treated as they were early and barons.