Conclusions: Spatial Analysis
The primary fact demonstrated by the spatial representation of Foigny’s social network is of the difference in reach between lay and episcopal networks.
The lay networks – Blois, Chimay, and Ploiart – are each contained within a relatively small geographic space, and all are the product of feudal ties. At first, this seems like a relatively obvious tautology, a feudal system finding support along feudal lines. However, what we do not see is also interesting, namely the absence of any network among the lay nobility among anything other than feudal ties. Noble lords, we can assume, were not friendless, but nonetheless support for activities requiring a charter comes from either family or feudal sources.
In contrast, the episcopal networks – Laon, Liège, and Reims – are geographically widespread, disregarding the traditional constraints of diocesan or archdiocesan divisions. They also appear to be the preferred form of support for those who wished to have interactions with Foigny. Yet it is no accident that these three episcopates, along with that of Cambrai, part of the Chimay network, are the sees in closest geographic proximity to the abbey. It was obviously imperative that the source of ecclesiastical support be close to the one receiving, rather than the one giving.