CHAPTER XI. THE LAST STAGE OF THE CIVIL WAR
Out of this long period of struggle the crown gained nothing. Out of the opportunity of feudal independence and aggrandizement which the conflict offered them, the barons in the end gained nothing. One of the parties to the strife, and one only, emerged from it with great permanent gains of power and independence, the Church. The one power which had held back the English Church from taking its share in that great European movement by which within a century the centralized, monarchical Church had risen up beside the State, indeed above it, for it was now an international and imperial Church, - the restraining force which had held the English Church in check, - had been for a generation fatally weakened. With a bound the Church sprang forward and took the place in England and in the world which it would otherwise have reached more slowly during the reign of Henry. It had been prepared by experience and by the growth of its own convictions, to find its place at once alongside of the continental national churches in the new imperial system. Unweakened by the disorganization into which the State was falling, it was ready to show itself at home the one strong and steady institution in the confusion of the time, and to begin at once to exercise the rights it claimed but had never been able to secure. It began to fill its own great appointments according to its own rules, and to neglect the feudal duties which should go with them. Its jurisdiction, which had been so closely watched, expanded freely and ecclesiastical courts and cases rapidly multiplied. It called its own councils and legislated without permission, and even asserted its exclusive right to determine who should be king. Intercourse with the papal curia grew more untrammelled, and appeals to Rome especially increased to astonishing frequency. With these gains in practical independence, the support on which it all rested grew strong at the same time, - its firm belief in the Hildebrandine system. If a future king of England should ever recover the power over the Church which had been lost in the reign of Stephen, he would do so only by a struggle severer than any of his predecessors had gone through to retain it; and in these events Thomas Becket, who was to lead the defence of the Church against such an attack, had been trained for his future work.
Monasticism also flourished while the official Church was growing strong, and many new religious houses and new orders even were established in the country. More of these "castles of God," we are told by one who himself dwelt in one of them, were founded during the short reign of Stephen than during the one hundred preceding years. In the buildings which these monks did not cease to erect, the severer features of the Norman style were beginning to give way to lighter and more ornamental forms. Scholars in greater numbers went abroad. Books that still hold their place in the intellectual or even in the literary history of the world were written by subjects of the English king. Oxford continued to grow towards the later University, and students there listened eagerly to the lectures on Roman law of the Italian Vacarius until these were stopped by Stephen. In spite of the cruelties of the time, the real life of England went on and was scarcely even checked in its advance to better things.
 See Roessler, Kaiserin Mathilde, 287 ff.
 William of Malmesbury, sec. 497.
 See the Athenaeum, February 6, 1904, p. 177.
 But see Lot, Fideles ou Vassaux (1904), 205-212.