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Sommerset Historical Essays

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J. Armitage Robinson, D.D,

Fellow of the British Academy
Dean of Wells


London: Published for the British Academy

By Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press

Amen Corner, E.C.





J 9 2/


The writer of these pages makes no claim to be a historian, but he is concerned with the materials which go to the construction of true history. Occasionally he is led to revise the verdicts of historians on the ground of a renewed investigation of some isolated problem, or in the light of fuller information which has but lately become available. He hopes that he has done this with sufficient modesty.
As a rule he has avoided direct controversy and has preferred a positive presentation of the revised position. He is well aware that when offered thus silently the corrections he desires to make are less likely to attract immediate attention than if he directly challenged fallacies which shelter under honoured names. But he writes from mere love of the subjects to which he has been drawn by the circumstances of his position and by local patriotism ; and he has experienced more than once the temporary blindness pro- duced by the dust of conflict. On the other hand he asks for criticism, conscious as he is of his own limitations and desirous of help from the wider knowledge and more practised judgement of professed students of the very varied matters with which he has had to deal.

Two of the Essays are of much more than local interest. William of Malmesbury's Enquiry into the Antiquity of the Church of Glaston- bury is a byword among the historians. The great Homer is found nodding : his critical instinct has been charmed into slumber by the amenities of the house which has made him welcome : moreover, his work has been falsified by succeeding generations of monks ; so that what is given us under his name is on all accounts a negligible quantity. The application of the ordinary tests of criticism leads to a very different verdict. The accretions can be cleared away with tolerable certainty ; and the book, reduced indeed in bulk, becomes a striking witness to the pains which its author bestowed on the investigation of the muniments of the abbey. Students of the
Arthurian legend will find some of their difficulties removed by the negative results of this discussion. Arthur and Avalon, Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail belong exclusively to the later recensions of the book.


The Essay on Peter of Blois originated in an attempt to straighten out the chronology of the Somerset archdeacons. All who have handled twelfth-century charters know how often their dates must be tested by the years of office of such officials. Peter's tenure of the archdeaconry of Bath is wrongly given by all the modern authori- ties to whom enquirers naturally turn. But there is more here than a correction of dates. For the Letters of Peter of Blois are, if genuine, of high value for the illustration of his time. Unfortunately a cloud of suspicion has so discredited them that the historian of to-day will not so much as look at them. The latest monograph on K. Henry II does not contain Peter's name in the index, notwithstanding his once famous portrait of the king with whom he claimed to have been on most intimate terms. The late Mr. W. G. Searle, of Queens'
College, Cambridge, never published the elaborate dissertation in which he distinguished ' the Epistolary Peter \ as he called him, from ' the Historical Peter ' ; but in the last years of his life, when he found that the present writer had been working at the same subject and had reached a like conclusion to his own in regard to the chief dates of Peter's career, he most generously expressed a wish that the whole of his materials, which he was giving to the University
Library, should be placed at the disposal of one who was directly antagonistic to his own particular theory ; and his wish has received the most indulgent interpretation on the part of the Syndics of the
Library. A plain narrative based on all the accessible evidence will, it is believed, restore the credit of Peter of Blois as a genuine person and an honest writer.

The discussion of the Saxon Abbots of Glastonbury carries on the justification of William of Malmesbury's work, and offers a further contribution to the history of the abbey which has suffered so greatly from an overgrowth of legend. It may also serve to restore some measure of credit to the earliest Glastonbury charters, and to indicate their value for the story of the Saxon conquest of the West.

The Essay on the First Deans of Wells was primarily an effort to rectify chronology. But it offers incidentally a picture of the growth of a Cathedral Church of the Old Foundation. At this moment such a study may not be without its value. It is to be hoped that any new reform of our English Cathedrals will recognise the variety of their history : that it will aim at setting them more free to pursue their own lines of development in accordance with the demands of their


several localities, and will avoid cramping them by uniformity of regulations. In the towns and in the country they have very different services to render : they will adapt themselves gradually to modern needs, if they are freed from restraints which at present, in some instances, hinder them from self-improvement. Above all, the original purpose of their foundation must be borne in mind, and proposals for change must be made in the spirit of Bishop Robert's words, ' that the praises of Almighty God may be the more fully and joyfully rendered in the choir '.

The Early Somerset Archdeacons are here for the first time sorted out and dated with such accuracy as the documents permit. In the course of this somewhat tedious work light is thrown on an important ecclesiastical institution. Moreover, the Somerset archdeacons' of the end of the twelfth century play no small part in English history.
The Appendix on John Cumin's early career is the only portion of the book that has been published before ; it is reprinted with the courteous permission of the editor of the Nineteenth Century.

The Essay on Bishop Jocelin and the Interdict formed the subject of a paper read before the Historical Congress held in London in
1913. To what extent the Interdict affected Church life in England, apart from the monasteries, is a question which needs to be in- vestigated. Our modern historians, following some of the monastic chroniclers, have been too easily satisfied with the assumption that its effect was what Canon Law intended it to be.

The writer's best thanks are due to the Council of the British
Academy for undertaking the publication of these Essays out of the Raleigh Fund for the encouragement of historical research, endowed by Sir Charles Wakefield, Bart., on the occasion of the
Raleigh Tercentenary.

The Deanery, Wells, Somerset.
11 November 1921.


I. William of Malmksbury ' On the Antiquity of Glaston- bury '........

II. The Saxon Abbots of Glastonbury

Appendix A. The Liber Terrarum of Glastonbury
Appendix B. The Two Earliest Glastonbury Charters

III. The First Deans of Wells

IV. Early Somerset Archdeacons

Appendix C. The early career of John Cumin, of Dublin

V. Peter of Blois .....

VI. Bishop Jocelin and the Interdict .

Appendix D. Jocelin of Wells and members of

Index .......


his family









There was a pretty rivalry in mediaeval times between the great abbeys of Westminster and Glastonbury, not unlike the contest for historical precedence between the universities of Oxford and Cam- bridge which j;>roduced less reputable forgeries at a later time. If
Oxford found in Asser's Life of Alfred that Grimbald had kept school in that ancient city, Cambridge made the happy discovery that some seven hundred years before two of her pupils had been sent by K. Lucius to the Pope of Rome to ask for Christian teachers. 1
The great abbeys had at any rate a more solid reason than academic jealousy for insisting on priority of foundation. The precedence of abbots at a General Council was something worth fighting for ; and
Glastonbury's claim was challenged and defended again and again, and notably in 1434 at the Council of Bale, when the Spaniards were asserting priority over England in virtue of the preaching of St James of Compostella. 2

Westminster might at first be content to go back to K. Sebert in
604 ; for the great minster at Glastonbury was known to have been built by K. Ina a century later. But the Glastonbury monks dis- covered that K. Lucius had been left out of account, and they claimed a visit from the missionaries of Pope Eleutherus in 166.
Westminster on enquiry discovered that their church also had been founded in the days of K. Lucius, though after the Diocletian persecution it was turned for a while into a temple of Apollo.
Glastonbury, while insisting on 166 as her own date, allowed that
Westminster followed quickly in 169 : 3 but presently she made a bolder bid for antiquity and took over the legend of Joseph of
Arimathea and the Holy Grail, and so settled her date once and for all as the thirty-first year after the Passion of the Lord and the fifteenth after the Assumption of the glorious Virgin. It was vain for Westminster to plead that the blessed Peter himself had left the gate of heaven and come down to consecrate his new church with

1 Ussher, Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates, c. iv (ed. 1687, pp. 27 f.).

2 Ibid., c. iii (p. 13).

3 Trin. Coll. Camb. MS 724 (in Dr. James's Catalogue), f. 20 b.



his own apostolic hands. For when St David came with his seven bishops thinking to consecrate the church of Glastonbury, the Lord
Himself appeared to him in a vision by night and told him that He the Great High Priest had long ago dedicated the little church of wattles to the honour of His Ever- Virgin Mother.

It might indeed be supposed that of all our English monasteries none had its actual history so thoroughly explored and so well authenticated as Glastonbury Abbey. For early in the twelfth cen- tury its story was written by the famous pen of William of Malmes- bury, and his work was continued by two monks of the house,
Adam of Domerham who brought it down to a. d. 1291, and John of Glastonbury who abbreviated the narratives of both his prede- cessors and carried on the history to the end of the fifteenth century.
But it has become the fashion to throw aside William of Malmesbury's
Enquiry into the Antiquity of the Church of Glastonbury as a careless piece of work hastily put together to flatter the vanity of the Glas- tonbury monks when, for some reason which remains obscure to us, the great historian had for a time taken up his abode in their house.
Nothing that the credulous fathers told him was too puerile for him to record as history while he ate their bread ; and when he was gone they took his book and loaded it up with fresh fictions, so that it has no value left for serious students. This adverse judgement has seemed to be confirmed by the discovery of a tenth-century list of the English abbots of Glastonbury, which cannot be reconciled with
William of Malmesbury's list in the De Antiquitate.

The names and sequence of the early abbots must be reserved for a special investigation. At present we are concerned with the general character of the book, and more particularly with the earlier portion of it. The only edition for critical purposes is contained in the first volume of Hearne's Adam of Domerham, which appeared at
Oxford in 1727. Hearne had already sent to the press the main portion of his John of Glastonbury when through the good offices of
Thomas Parne 1 he was enabled to borrow from the library of Trinity
College, Cambridge, the manuscript of Adam of Domerham — the unique copy, as he says, though large extracts were also contained in Cox Macro's Register which Tanner had borrowed for him. The
De Antiquitate precedes Adam of Domerham's work in the Cambridge manuscript, and had already been edited from it by Gale in his
Scriptores Quindecim (Oxford, 1691). But Gale, as Hearne says, used other people's eyes, and sleepy ones at that. Moreover he had

1 Thomas Parne was fellow of Trinity College in 1720, and University Librarian from 1734 to 1751.


left out much that he saw could not have come from the original author. Yet these were ancient notes, worthy at least of record ; and most of them Heame supposed to have been written by Adam of Domerham to whom the codex had probably belonged. Hearne therefore edited the work afresh as it stood in the manuscript, with the marginal notes in various hands which he endeavoured to dis- criminate : at the foot of the page he gave the variants of Gale's edition and the readings of Cox Macro's Register (M). A glance at the manuscript will show that, if Hearne's edition presents a some- what repellent appearance, this is due to the faithfulness with which the editor has done his work. 1

William of Malmesbury entitled his book De Antiquitate Glasto- niensis Ecclesiae. It is unfortunate that it has come to be commonly described as ' The Antiquities of Glastonbury \ 2 For the author's purpose was plainly indicated by his title. Doubt had been cast on the early date of Glastonbury. The Canterbury Chanter— for
William of Malmesbury will not mention Osbern's name — had actually said in his Life of St Dunstan that the first abbot of Glas- tonbury was Dunstan himself. Our author proposes with the help of documents to show the line of succession from a very early time ; and, after he has recorded the names and dates of some nineteen abbots of the English line alone before the year 940, he says : ' I fancy it will now be clear how far that writer was from the truth who wildly stated that the blessed Dunstan was the first abbot of Glas- tonbury '. 3 Moreover in his Dedicatory Letter,, addressed to Henry of Blois, who held the abbey from 1126 to his death in 1171, he speaks

1 The Trinity College MS is of the middle of the thirteenth century : it is fully described in Dr. M. R. James's Catalogue, ii. 198 ff. Besides the two historical pieces it contains a miscellaneous collection of Glastonbury notes and charters.
Hearne's ' M ' is now in the British Museum (Addit. MS 22934). This is a similar miscellany : the De Antiq. is followed immediately by Adam of Domerham's history, and the narrative is brought down to 1307, which is not far from the date of the manuscript. In Vesp. D 22 (xiv-xv) portions of the De Antiq. are found with other matter, some of which appears also in John of Glastonbury.
Mention may here be made of what Ussher (loc. tit., p. 36) speaks of as ' Glasto- niense Chronicon anno 1259 conscriptum '. This is Cleop. C 10, a paper MS which contains in a completer form the fragment (Addit. Bodl. II D 11 [xiii] ) described by Hardy, Cat. of MSS, iii. 150.

2 The mistake goes back at least as far a3 Pits (cited by Hearne, Ad. of Dom.
I, p. xv), who speaks of the Liber Antiquitatum Glasconiae. In Vesp. D 22 the
Dedicatory Letter is followed, after a gap of a page and a half, by the rubric :
' Incipiunt antiquitates monasterii Glastonie, quomodo xii discipuli sanctorum
Philippi et Jacobi,' &c. And John of Glastonbury in his prologue (p. 6) speaks of William of Malmesbury as having recorded ' nostra cronica et antiquitates ab adventu sancti Josephi '. 3 De Antiq., p. 71.

B 2


of having already written two books on St Dunstan's life, as well as
Lives of SS. Patrick, Benignus and Indractus, and begs now a favourable hearing as he endeavours by tracing the successions of the abbots to rescue from suspicion the antiquity of the church, so far as the existing muniments of the abbey shall enable him to do so. 1
This exactly describes his aim, and throughout the work he seldom fails to cite the authorities on which his statements rest. If for the earlier period his authorities are sometimes weak, that is not his fault. And, though the charters of the Wessex kings are for the most part rejected by the modern critics, we may find reason to think that they contain a good deal of true history, and that the immense pains which he expended on their examination may. even raise his credit as an investigator of the distant past.

The chronology of William of Malmesbury's historical works has been carefully investigated by Bishop Stubbs in the Introduction to the Gesta Regum, which he edited for the Master of the Rolls in 1887.
His conclusions are as follows : the Gesta Begum was completed in the year 1125 : a second and a third edition were issued by the author between 1135 and 1140. The Gesta Pontiflcum was in course of composition concurrently with the Gesta Regum, and came out later in the same year 1125 : this also was to some extent revised before 1140. The later editions of the Gesta Regum expressly refer to the work De Antiquitate Glastoniensis Ecclesiae. As this last- mentioned work was dedicated to Henry of Blois the bishop of
Winchester, who is however not addressed as papal legate, it was probably written between 1129 and 1139. Now the Dedicatory
Letter declares that the author has already completed for the monks of Glastonbury two books on the Life of St Dunstan. When we turn to these books we find that in the former of them he promises to explain the presence at Glastonbury of the bodies of certain northern saints, if he is allowed to complete his proposed work on the antiquity of that church. But in the preface to the second book he says that he has already completed that work. 2 The discrepancy of these statements is not a serious one. The last words of the De Antiquitate show that it was originally addressed to the monks of Glastonbury : the dedication to Henry of Blois, their abbot, was plainly an after- thought, and was written when the second book of the Life of
St Dunstan was completed ; but the De Antiquitate itself was finished before the introduction to that second book was written. In short, the two works were in hand together during the same period of the author's residence at Glastonbury.

1 Ibid., pp. 2 ff. 2 Mem. of St Dunstan, pp. 271, 288.


When we look at the De Antiquitate in the only form in which it has come down to us, we find that not only are its margins crowded with later additions, but the text itself bears obvious traces of having been seriously modified many years after the author's death. It is enough here to mention that in one place it speaks of Henry of Blois, who was still living in 1171, as 'of blessed memory ' ; and that it has several explicit references to the great fire which consumed the abbey in 1184. When we insert the knife of criticism we shall discover that many pages of Hearne's careful edition are filled with inventions of a later date, which must no longer be allowed to blot the reputation of the great historian. It is fortunate for us that the so-called third edition of the Gesta Rcgum contains large insertions which run word for word with passages in the De Antiquitate ; so that, if we accept the view that this edition was made by the author himself between the years 1135 and 1140, a valuable instrument of criticism is at once placed in our hands.

We shall best approach our task by giving an analysis of the book under its existing headings, and with occasional quotations in full, down to the point at which the evidence of charters is called in to trace the successions of the English abbots. The frequent repetitions in the text will at once suggest that it has passed through several stages of correction : and, in particular, the names of St Phagan and St Deruvian meet us so unnecessarily often, that we shall even begin to wonder whether they had any place at all in the original manuscript. How the twelve disciples of St Philip and St James the apostles first founded the church of Glastonbury.

' After the glory of the Lord's resurrection, the triumph of His ascension and the mission of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, who filled the disciples' hearts which still trembled with dread of temporal punishment, and gave them the knowledge of all languages, all who believed were together, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, as Luke the Evangelist narrates ; and the word of God was sown abroad and the number of them that believed increased daily, and they all had one heart and one soul.
Kindled therefore with the torch of envy, the priests of the Jews together with the Pharisees and scribes stirred up persecution against the Church, killing Stephen the first martyr and driving far away almost all the rest. So while the storm of persecution raged, the believers were dispersed and went forth into divers kingdoms of the earth, which the Lord assigned to them, offering the word of salvation to the Gentiles. Now St Philip, as Freculfus declares in the fourth chapter of his second book, came to the country of the Franks, and by his gracious preaching turned many to the faith and baptized them. Then desiring that the word of Christ should be yet further spread abroad, he chose twelve of his disciples and sent them to Britain to


proclaim the word of life and preach the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and on each of them he devoutly laid his right hand ; and over them he appointed, it is said, his dearest friend, Joseph of Arimathea who had buried the Lord.
They arrived in Britain in the sixty-third year frofh the Incarnation of the
Lord, and the fifteenth from the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, and preached the faith of Christ with all confidence.' x

The king gave them an island on the borders of his country, surrounded by woods and thickets and marshes, called Yniswitrin. Two other kings in succession, though pagans, granted to each of them a portion of land : hence the Twelve Hides have their name to the present day. These saints were admonished by the archangel Gabriel to build a church in honour of the Blessed Virgin. They made it of twisted wattles, in the thirty-first year after the Lord's Passion and the fifteenth after the Assumption of the glorious Virgin. Since it was the first in that land, the Son of God honoured it by dedicating it to His Mother. ' Now that all this was so, we learn alike from the Charter of St Patrick and from the writings of the seniors. One of these, the historian of the Britons, as we have seen at St Edmund's and again at St Augustine's the Apostle of the English, begins as follows :

' There is on the boundary of western Britain a certain royal island. . . .
Here the first neophytes of the Catholic law among the English found by
God's guidance an ancient church, built, as it is said, by no human skill, but made ready by God for the salvation of men, which afterwards the
Maker of the heavens . . . shewed that He had consecrated to Himself and to Mary the Holy Mother of God.' 2

After the death of the first settlers the place became a lair of wild beasts, until it pleased the Blessed Virgin that her oratory should come again to the remembrance of the faithful : which happened on this wise :

How St Phagan and St Deruvian converted the Britons to the faith, and came to the Isle of Avalon.

Annals of good authority record (Tradunt bonae credulitatis annates) that
Lucius the king of the Britons sent to Pope Eleutherius asking for Christian teachers. 3 So honourable a request deserves to be compared with the action of K. Ethelbert in later days, who hospitably received the Roman missionaries, though not himself prepared to accept their teaching. There came, then, these two holy men, Phagan and Deruvian, and preached the word in Britain in a. d. 166. When they came to the Isle of Avalon they found the church, ' built, as it is said, by the hands of the disciples of

1 De Anliq., pp. 4 f. So large a quotation has been given at the outset in order that a reader who is familiar with the artistic style of William of Malmesbury may consider whether such writing as this is likely to have come from his pen.
It is tempting to attach a running criticism to this analysis ; but it will be better to reserve what has to be said to a later point.

2 De Antiq., pp. 6 f. The quotation is from the Life of St Dunstan by the
Saxon priest B : Memorials of St Dunstan (Rolls S.), pp. 6 f.

3 An ancient hand has written in the margin : ' For this chapter see the whole of the fourth book and most of the fifth of the Brute (Chronicle).' Another early hand adds a note on Joseph of Arimathea and his son Josephes, referring to the
Deeds of K. Arthur, and mentioning Lancelot of the Lake, the Round Table, and the Holy Grail.


Christ and made ready by God for the salvation of men, which afterwards the Maker of the heavens . . . shewed that He had consecrated to Himself and to Mary the Holy Mother of God V This was 103 years after the coming of the disciples of St Philip. St Phagan and St Dernvian remained here nine years. ' They found in ancient writings the whole story, how when the Apostles were dispersed throughout the world St Philip the
Apostle came with a multitude of disciples to France and sent twelve of their number to preach in Britain. And these by the guidance of an angelic vision built that chapel which afterwards the Son of God dedicated in honour of His Mother ; and to these twelve three kings, though pagans, granted for their sustenance twelve portions of land.' 2

Accordingly St Phagan and St Deruvian chose twelve of their companions and settled them on the island. They dwelt as anchorites in the very spots where the first twelve had dwelt. ' Yet often they assembled at the Old
Church (vetusta ecclesia) for the devout performance of divine worship.
And just as three pagan kings had granted the island with its appendages to the first twelve disciples of Christ in days gone by, so Phagan and Deru- vian sought from K. Lucius that the same should be confirmed to those their twelve companions and to others who should come after them. And in this way many others in succession, always keeping to the number twelve, dwelt in the island throughout all the years, until the coming of
St Patrick the Apostle of the Irish. 3 To this church also, which they had thus discovered, the holy neophytes added another oratory built of stone, which they dedicated to Christ and the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. By their work therefore was restored the Old Church of St Mary at Glastonbury.
. . . There is also that written evidence of good credit, found at St Edmund's, to this effect : The church of Glastonbury did none other men's hands make, but actual disciples of Christ built it ; being sent, to wit, by the Apostle
St Philip, as was said above. Nor is this irreconcileable with truth : for if the Apostle PhiUp preached to the Gauls, as Freculfus says in the fourth chapter of his second book, it may be believed that he cast the seeds of his doctrine across the sea as well.'

We may here pause in our analysis in order to consider the au- thenticity of these first two sections of the book. Before calling in evidence from outside we may observe that the second section
(beginning with the words ' Tradunt bonae credulitatis annales ') tells a complete story which might well have stood as the opening chapter of the whole work. Placed where it is, it gives us over again almost all that has been said in the first section. There are indeed

1 De Anliq., p. 9. Observe the repetition of the words quoted on p. 6 from the
Life of St Dunstan, and the substantial alteration made in this latter place.

2 We seem to have here an earlier and more guarded form of the legend than in the first section. St Patrick's Charter has been used, but Joseph of Arimathea has not yet come on the scene.

3 In the margin is a long insertion by a later hand, with the first part of which should be compared the prologue of John of Glastonbury. It deals with Ralph
Higden's errors concerning the two Patricks, and then goes on to give an outline of the life of the great St Patrick.


some differences : the island is called Avalon, whereas in the first section it is Yniswitrin : stress is laid on the twelve portions of land granted to the earliest settlers, but there is no explicit allusion to the Twelve Hides : and, most noticeable of all, Joseph of Arimathea is not mentioned at all. If William of Malmesbury's hand is to be discovered at all in this mass of legendary narrative, it is in this second section that we shall be inclined to begin to look for it.

Now the first of the Glastonbury insertions in the third edition of the Gesta Begum x (pp. 23-9) is introduced thus :

But since we have touched upon the times of Kenewalch, and the question of the monastery of Glastonbury has come up for consideration,
I will unfold the rise and progress of that church, so far as I shall be able to gather up the facts out of the mass of memorials, setting out the tale from the beginning.

This corresponds with the closing words of the Dedicatory Letter to Bishop Henry of Blois (De Antiq., p. 4) : ' so far as I have been able to gather up the facts out of the mass of your (v. I. our) me- morials '. Earlier in the same Letter we find the words ' the start and progress of that church ', and the same Virgilian tag ' repetens ab origine pandam ' (cf. Aen. i. 372). The insertion at once proceeds as follows :

Annals of good authority record that Lucius king of the Britons sent to
Eleutherius, the thirteenth pope after the blessed Peter, with the prayer that he would enlighten the darkness of Britain by the light of Christian preaching. A high-souled king was he, who essayed a deed worthy of all praise, in that of his own accord he sought after a faith of which he had bvit heard, at a time when well-nigh all kings and peoples were persecuting the very offer of it.

These are the exact words which open the second section of the
De Antiquitate in the form in which we now have it. They are there followed by a passage in which the magnanimity of K. Lucius is compared with the generosity of K. Ethelbert, who long afterwards offered a welcome to another band of missionaries from Rome. This passage is not quoted in G. R. 3 , but it is quite in William of Malmes- bury's manner : it was however no more than a rhetorical patch.
The next sentences in the two books run thus :

Gesta Regum 3 , p. 23. De Antiquitate, pp. 8 f.
There came therefore by the send- There came therefore by the send- ing of Eleutherius preachers to ing of Eleutherius, (as) preachers to
Britain, the effect of zvhose work ivill Britain, these two most holy men, last for ever, though their names have Phagan and Deruvian, even as is

1 It will be convenient to speak of this edition as G. R. 3


perished through the long neglect of time. The work of these men therefore was the Old Church of St Mary in
Glastonbury, as antiquity has not failed faithfully to hand down through the ages of the past. There is also that written evidence of good credit found in certain places to this effect : The church of Glaston- bury did none other men's hands make, but actual disciples of Christ built it.

Nor is this irreconcileable with truth : for if the Apostle Philip preached to the Gauls, as Freculfus says in the fourth chapter of his second book, it may be believed that he cast the seeds of his doctrine across the sea as well. But lest I should seem to cheat the expectation of my readers by fanciful opinions, I zvill leave disputable matters and gird myself to the narration of solid facts.

The church of which we speak . . .

declared in the Charter of St Patrick and the Deeds of the Britons.
[After two pages of their doings we continue :]

By the work of these men there- fore was the Old Church of St Mary in Glastonbury restored, «as antiquity has not failed faithfully to hand down through the ages of the past.
There is also that written evidence of good credit found at St Edmund's to this effect : The church of Glas- tonbury did none other men's hands make, but actual disciples of Christ built it ; being sent, to ivit, by St
Philip the Apostle, as was said above.

Nor is this irreconcileable with truth : for if the Apostle Philip preached to the Gauls, as Freculfus says in the fourth chapter of his second book, it may be believed that he cast the seeds of his doctrine across the sea as well. [After the story of a monk of St Denys, and a legend about the island of Glaston- bury, and a discussion of the mean- ing of its various names, the narra- tive proceeds :]

The church of which indeed we speak . . .

Here we have at the outset a notable discrepanc} r . The insertion in G. R. 3 tells us that the names of the missionaries sent by Pope
Eleutherus to K. Lucius are lost in the mists of antiquity. But in the De Antiquitate their names are given as Phagan and Deruvian, on the authority of the Charter of St Patrick and the Gesta Britan- norum. Two alternative explanations of this discrepancy are open to us. We may suppose that William of Malmesbury came to mis- trust the Charter of St Patrick which had been shown him at
Glastonbury, and on second thoughts rejected its evidence altogether.
Or we may suppose that the statement that the names of the missionaries were unknown is what he really wrote in the De Anti- quitate ; and that the Charter of St Patrick with all the information derived from it, was a later invention foisted into the original work.

Now William of Malmesbury does not elsewhere in his historical works refer to the mission sent by Eleutherus at the request of
K. Lucius. He found it, of course, in the Chronicle (under a. d. 167),


as also in Bede (H. E. i. 1 and Epit.), who probably got it from the
Liber Pontificalis. He was on firm ground therefore when he spoke of ' annals of good authority '. But in none of these sources are the names of the missionaries given. Geoffrey of Monmouth, however, says (IV, § 19) that their names were Fagan and Duvian ; and he adds the story of the twenty-eight flamens and three arch-flamens, who as the result of their mission were superseded by twenty-eight bishops and three archbishops. After him Giraldus Cambrensis
(Descr. Cambr. i ad fin.) gives their names as Fagan and Damian.
But neither of these writers brings the missionaries to Glastonbury. 1

In the Gesta Pontificum (p. 196) William of Malmesbury had expressed his view that the first founder of the monastery of Glas- tonbury was K. Ina, acting under the advice of St Aldhelm. A like statement is found in the first edition of his Gesta Begum (p. 35, note).
But this does not prevent him from recognising that Glastonbury had long been a sacred spot and that St Patrick at the close of his
Irish mission had died and was buried there. 2 In the insertion into his third edition of the Gesta Regum he goes much further back, and brings the nameless missionaries of Pope Eleutherus to Glastonbury and makes them the builders of the Old Church of St Mary. He has indeed seen some evidence of a yet earlier origin — the building of the church by actual disciples of Christ. He will not deny the possibility of this ; for, if St Philip came to Gaul as Freculfus says, he may well have sent some of his disciples across the sea to Britain. The reader, however, shall not be troubled further with matters of mere opinion.

This is a statement guarded enough, and not unworthy of a cautious historian who at the time of writing was enjoying the hospitality of the Glastonbury monks. But a few strokes of the pen turn it into something very different. The missionaries are identified as
Phagan and Deruvian, of whom much may be learned from the
Charter of St Patrick and the Gesta Britannorum. The addition of the single word ' restaurata ' makes Phagan and Deruvian the restorers, not the builders, of the Old Church. The suggestion that its building by the actual disciples of Christ can be treated as mere matter of opinion is struck out.

We are at a loss to know what written evidence William of Malmes- bury found for the statement that ' the church of Glastonbury did

1 The little Glastonbury Chronicle of 1259, referred to above in the note on
p. 3, makes Fagan and Deruvian found a bishopric for Somerset with its seat at Congresbury : it goes on, as in the Wells ' Historiola ' (Camd. Soc, Ecclesiastical
Documents, p. 10), to bring the bishopric to Wells under Bishop Daniel in K. Ina's time. 2 Gesta Poniij., p. 197.


none other men's hands make, but actual disciples of Christ built it '.
He found it, he says, ' in certain places ' (in nonnullis locis). For these vague words the De Antiquitate gives us ' at St Edmund's ', and it adds a reference to an earlier mention of the missionaries sent by St Philip. When we turn back to the first section we read, after a long account of these missionaries : ' Now that all this was so, we learn alike from the Charter of St Patrick and from the writings of the seniors. One of these, the historian of the Britons (Britonum historiographus), as we have seen at St Edmund's and again at
St Augustine's the Apostle of the English, begins as follows : There is on the boundary of western Britain a certain royal island. . . .'
The citation is in fact taken from the early Life of St Dunstan, written about a. d. 1000 by the Saxon priest known only by his initial B. A copy of this work was, as William of Malmesbury tells us in his own Life of St Dunstan, placed in his hands by the monks of Glastonbury ; x so that in any case this could not be the writing to which he refers. Moreover what we are there told is that ' the first neophytes of the Catholic law found an ancient church, built, as it is said, by no human skill, but made ready from heaven for the salvation of man '. This is in direct conflict with the statement that it was built by actual disciples of Christ. Further, it is not likely that William of Malmesbury could have spoken of this book, as the writer of the first section does, as the work of Britonum historiographus.
It is plain that we have here an ignorant attempt of some later writer to identify the work to which reference had been made.

We must now resume our analysis of the work as it stands, taking it up at the third section (p. 15).

How a certain monk of St Denys discoursed concerning Glastonbury.
The antiquity of the church is shown by the story of a Glastonbury monk named Godfrey, of the time when Henry of Blois was abbot, who visited the monastery of St Denys. ' We have taken both this and the chapter which we shall subjoin from a letter of his.' An old monk there told him that, while both their churches were known to have been dedicated by the
Saviour Himself, Glastonbury had the further distinction of being called
' Roma secunda '.

How a multitude of folk first came to dwell at Glastonbury.
' In the ancient Deeds of the Britons we read that from the northern part of Britain there came to the West twelve brothers.' The last on the list is Glasteing. It was he who passing through the English of the Midlands

1 Mem. of St Dunstan, pp. 6 f., and 252. The citation is not exact, but in general it follows the text of cod. B of the Life. The word Anglorum, used of the
' first neophytes ' in De Antiq., c. i, is not in the original.


followed his sow from Wells along the Sugewege and found her under an apple-tree near the Old Church. Here he settled with his family.

Of the various names of this Island.
The British name Yniszvitrin was translated by the English as Glastin- biry. Or we may take the derivation from Glasteing, as given above.
Avallonia may come from avalla, the British word for apples ; or from
Avalloc, who retired here with his daughters.

Of these three sections the first betrays itself at once as later than the days of Henry of Blois. The other two with their mythological explanations are, in style as well as in substance, such as we could not easily imagine William of Malmesbury to have written. And in fact, if we omit them, the narrative runs on without a break, 1 exactly as in the insertion in G. R. 3

With what devotion divers saints came thither.
The church of which we speak was called by the English the Old Church.
It was at first formed of wattles. Plain as it was, its fame was widespread, and pilgrims came from every quarter.

Of St Gildas.
Gildas the British historian (historicas) spent many years there. ' And there he died in a. d. 512, and was buried in the Old Church before the altar.' With the exception of the last sentence, which is only found in the
De Antiquitate, the narratives thus far are identical. What follows comes at a later point in the insertion in G. R. 3 (p. 26).

Of St Patrick.
St Germanus of Auxerre, having come to the aid of the Britons against
English invaders and Pelagian heretics, on his return took Patrick with him.
Presently he sent him, by order of Pope Celestine, to preach in Ireland.
When his work was done, he came to Glastonbury. There he found twelve brethren living as anchorites : he gathered them into a community and became their abbot, ' as the following writing, which he himself in his own day composed, manifestly declares.'

As far as the arrival of Glastonbury the two narratives run together
(save that the insertion has two citations from the Chronicle) : but in the insertion there is only added : ' and there he became monk and abbot, and after some years paid the debt of nature '. There is no mention of his Charter, which in the De Antiquitate now follows. It is so important for our argument, and in itself so interesting as mark- ing a stage in the Glastonbury tradition, that it may be given here in full.

1 See above, p. 9.


The Charter of St Patrick the Bishop.

1 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Patrick, the humble servant of
God, in the year of His Incarnation 430, was sent into Ireland by the most holy Pope Celestine, and by God's grace converted the Irish to the way of truth ; and, when I had established them in the Catholic faith, at length
I returned to Britain, and, as I believe, by the guidance of God, who is the life and the way, I chanced upon the isle of Ynsgytrin, wherein I found a place holy and ancient, chosen and sanctified by God in honour of Mary the pure Virgin, the Mother of God : and there I found certain brethren imbued with the rudiments of the Catholic faith, and of pious conversation, who were successors of the disciples of St Phagan and St Deruvian, whose names for the merit of their lives I verily believe are written in heaven : and because the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance, since tenderly I loved those brethren, I have thought good to record their names in this my writing. And they are these : Brumban, Hyregaan, Brenwal,
Wencreth, Bamtonmeweng, Adelwalred, Lothor, Wellias, Breden, Swelwes,
Hin Loernius, and another Hin. These men, being of noble birth and wishing to crown their nobleness with deeds of faith, had chosen to lead a hermit's life ; and when I found them meek and gentle, I chose to be in low estate with them, rather than to dwell in kings' palaces. And, since we were all of one heart and one mind, we chose to dwell together, and eat and drink in common, and sleep in the same house. And so they set me, though unwilling, at their head : for indeed I was not worthy to unloose the latchet of their shoes. And, when we were thus leading the monastic life according to the pattern of the approved fathers, the brothers showed me writings of St Phagan and St Deruvian, wherein it was contained that twelve disciples of St Philip and St James had built that Old Church in honour of our Patroness aforesaid, instructed thereto by the blessed arch- angel Gabriel. And further, that the Lord from heaven had dedicated that same church in honour of His Mother ; and that to those twelve three pagan kings had granted for their sustenance twelve portions of land.
Moreover in more recent writings I found that St Phagan and St Deruvian had obtained from Pope Eleutherius, who had sent them, ten years x of indulgence. And I brother Patrick in my time obtained twelve years from
Pope Celestine of pious memory.

' Now after some time had passed I took with me my brother Wellias, and with great difficulty we climbed up through the dense wood to the summit of the mount, which stands forth in that island. And when we were come there we saw an ancient oratory, wellnigh ruined, yet fitting for Christian devotion and, as it appeared to me, chosen by God. And when we entered therein we were filled with so sweet an odour that we believed ourselves to be set in the beauty of Paradise. So then we went out and went in again, and searched the whole place diligently ; and we found a volume in which were written Acts of Apostles, along with Acts and Deeds of St Phagan and St Deruvian. It was in great part destroyed, but at the end thereof we found a writing which said that St Phagan and
St Deruvian, by revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, had built that oratory in honour of St Michael the archangel, that he should have honour
1 Others read ' thirty years '.


there from men, who at God's bidding was to introduce men to everlasting honour. And since that writing pleased us much, we sought to read it to the end. For that same writing said that the venerable Phagan and
Deruvian abode there for nine years, and that they had also obtained indul- gence of thirty years for all Christian folk who visit that place with pious intent for the honour of the blessed Michael. Having found therefore this great treasure of divine goodness, I and brother Wellias fasted three months, engaged in prayer and watching, and controlling the demons and beasts that in divers forms appeared. And on a certain night, when I had given myself to sleep, the Lord Jesus appeared to me in a vision, saying :
Patrick my servant, know that I have chosen this place to the honour of
My name, and that here men should honorably invoke the aid of My archangel Michael. And this shall be a sign to thee, and to thy brethren, that they also may believe : thy left arm shall wither, till thou has told what thou hast seen to thy brethren which are in the cell below, and art come hither again. And so it came to pass. From that day we appointed that two brethren should be there continually, unless the pastors in the future should for just cause determine otherwise.

' Now to Arnulf and Ogmar, Irish brethren who had come with me from Ireland, because at my request they were the first to make their humble dwelling at that oratory, I have entrusted this present writing, keeping another like unto it in the ark of St Mary as a memorial for those who shall come after. And I Patrick, by counsel of my brethren, concede a hundred days of pardon to all who shall with pious intent cut down with axe and hatchet the wood on every side of the mount aforesaid, that there may be an easier approach for Christian men who shall make pious visit to the church of the Blessed Ever- Virgin.'

That these things were truly so, we have proved by the testimony of a very ancient writing, as well as by the narratives of elder men. And so this saint aforesaid, who is the Apostle of the Irish and the first abbot in the Isle of Avalon, after he had duly instructed these brethren in rule and discipline, and had sufficiently enriched that place with lands and posses- sions by the gift of kings and princes, when some years were past yielded to nature, and had his rightful burial, by the showing of an angel, and by the flashing from the spot of a great flame in sight of all who were there present, in the Old Church on the right hand of the altar.

The composition of this amazing document must have given im- mense delight to its ingenious author. But we must turn away from its picturesque details, even from the charming touch which gives to neighbouring Wells an interest in the discovery of St Michael's chapel on the Tor : for there is nothing here to guide us to a date.
Happily there is a business side to the rhapsody which may provide a clue. The isle of Glastonbury, Mother of the Saints, the Second
Rome, had in virtue of this precious charter privileges of indulgence to offer to her pilgrims, worthy of her high antiquity and her divine consecration. Ten years — some said thirty — gained by St Phagan and St Deruvian from Pope Eleutherus ; twelve more gained by


St Patrick from Pope Celestine : while for those who made the toilsome ascent of the Tor St Phagan and St Deruvian had gained thirty more.

The question of Indulgences has been investigated by Dr. H. C. Lea in his great work on Auricular Confession. The earliest grant which he can point to as indisputably genuine is that made by Urban II at the dedication of the church of St Nicholas at Angers in a. d. 1096 : it gave one month's relaxation of enjoined penance for the anniversary
(Lea, iii. 141). At the dedication of Cluny in 1132 Innocent II granted 40 days for the anniversary (ibid. 145). Between these two dates, as I have shown elsewhere, may be confidently placed a grant by the papal legate, Peter of Cluny, to Westminster in 1121 : this gave relaxation of 40 days of criniinalia and a third of enjoined penance for minora to those who visited the church on the festival of the martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul. A more substantial grant to the same church was made much later by Innocent IV (1243-54), namely, of a year and 40 days for the festival of St Edward. 1 Turning back to Dr. Lea's list we find that in 1163 Alexander III, in dedicating
S. Germain des Pres, granted a year on the actual occasion and
20 days for the anniversary. But all these grants fade into in- significance before the benefits provided by St Phagan and St De- ruvian. There is another road by which we may approach our problem.
Hearne has printed in the appendix to his John of Glastonbury a list of charters existing among the abbey muniments in 1247. 2 He has on p. 378 a heading which runs thus : ' Days of Indulgence for
Glastonbury, of which we have not the charters, though we once had them '. This list is just what is needed to tell us what undoubted privileges Glastonbury claimed in the middle of the thirteenth century, a hundred years after William of Malmesbury's death.
Though the monks could not show the charters, they were secure in the confirmation of all these days by a covering privilege of Pope
Innocent III (1198-1216). The first was a grant by St Dunstan of
100 days : this doubtless was a forgery, but it had passed muster at
Rome. The next is Lanfranc's grant of 30 days, which may well have been genuine. The next twelve do not rise in any instance above
40 days. Then Bishop Reginald of Bath grants 100 days, probably when he dedicated the chapel of St Mary at its restoration after the fire of 1184. His successor, Bishop Savary, who made himself abbot of Glastonbury, also granted 100 days. The list ends with Bishop
Jocelin's grant of 30 days.

1 Flete, History of Westminster Abbey, Introd., p. 21. * See below, p. 46.


Thus much for genuine privileges, which are such as we might expect. But just before this list comes a small section to the following effect :

Ancient Indulgence for Glastonbury in a charter without seal.
Pope Eleutherius granted 10 years x of Indulgence at the request of Phagan

and Deruvian.
Pope Celestine granted 12 years at the request of St Patrick.
Item, SS. Phagan and Deruvian obtained 30 years. ^ Torre. 2

We know whence these items come, and we are not surprised that no papal confirmation is claimed for them. We may even doubt whether the Charter of St Patrick which authorised them had seen the light at all in the lifetime of Pope Innocent III. Here at any rate is our earliest evidence of its existence. 3 And this same docu- ment of 1247 mentions it again (p. 379), when under the heading
Antiqua Privilegia it places by themselves the three great forgeries,

Magnum Privilegium Ynae regis
Privilegium Edgari regis
Carta Sancti Patrieii.

The great fire which consumed the abbey on St Urban's day, the
25th of May, 1184, was responsible for several wonderful discoveries at Glastonbury — among others the body of King Arthur. The sore distress of the monks under Bishop Savary's rule and their expensive efforts to regain their freedom after his death must have yet further quickened their imagination ; and we may suppose that the ' very ancient writing ', which St Patrick had providentially deposited in a safe hiding-place high up on the Tor, was a timely find for their empty purse.

Let us now draw together our reasons for thinking that William of
Malmesbury had no knowledge of St Patrick's Charter, and that it was foisted into his work long after his death. In the first place we have seen that the third edition of his Gesta Begum, though it contains passages which appear in identical words in the De Anti- quitate, makes no mention of the Charter or of any incidents for which the Charter is cited as an authority in this latter work in the form in which we now read it. Secondly, whereas the Charter gives the names of Phagan and Deruvian to the missionaries sent by
Pope Eleutherus to K. Lucius, and these names now appear in those portions of the De Antiquitate which correspond to the insertions in

1 It is interesting to find here the more modest reading — 10 years, not 30 years.

2 That is, for the chapel of St Michael on the Tor.

3 It certainly found no place in the ancient Register of the end of the tenth century, called the Liber Terrarum (for which see below, p. 44).


G. R. z , William of Malmesbury expressly declares that their names were unknown in his day. Thirdly, the excessive terms of Indulgence granted in the Charter could hardly have suggested themselves to a forger of any time before William of Malmesbury wrote, and may with much more probability be referred to the period of strain through which the abbey passed in the early part of the thirteenth century. We may add to all this that the first positive indication of the existence of the Charter comes .to us from a record of the year 1247.

We go forward again with our analysis (p. 22).

Of St Patrick's decease.
St Patrick died in a. d. 472, in the 111th year of his age, and the 47th since his mission to Ireland. For in 361 he was born : in 425 sent to
Ireland : in 433 he converted the Irish : after that he dwelt 39 years in the isle of Avalon. ' He rested in the Old Church on the right side of the altar for many ages, even 410 years, until the burning of that church.' He was buried in a stone pyramid, afterwards decked with gold and silver.

A Vision concerning St Patrick.
Long afterwards, when dispute arose concerning him, a monk received a vision which proved that he had been monk and abbot there.

Of St Indract and St Bridget.
Hence Irish pilgrims came to visit the spot. St Bridget dwelt long in the island of Beokery, and returning home left memorials of wonder-working- power. St Indract and his companions were martyred, as elsewhere we have told, and afterwards brought by K. Ina to the church of Glastonbury.

Of St Benignus.
In a. d. 460 came St Benignus, the third successor of St Patrick in his
Irish bishopric. He found St Patrick still there. There are still memorials of his miracles at Feringemere (Meare), where he rested till his translation to Glastonbury in 1091. 1

Of St Columkill.
In a. d. 504 St Columkill came ; but it is uncertain whether he died there.

The first three sections are attested by the insertion in G. R. 3 , though with a few variations. In the first section the mention of the fire of 1184 shows that the story has been worked over. 2 The items given under the dates 425 and 433 appear in G. R. 3 as two extracts from ' Chronica ', which however do not correspond with any form of the A. S. Chron. that we know. 3 The date of St Bridget is an amplification, as also is the statement that she resided in ' the

The text has ' 901 ' : but he was translated by Abbot Turstin, as we learn later (p. 113) ; and John of Glast. (p. 172) gives ' 1091 '.

2 Avalon is not found in G. R. 3

3 There is something parallel in E under 430 : D is wanting at this point.



island of Beokery '. Beokery, as we shall be told later, means 'Little
Ireland , . 1

The information here given as to St Benignus is not in G. R. 3 , save for a brief sentence as to his miracles. But what G. R. 3 does give us corresponds with what comes much later in De Antiquitate
(p. 46). The little section on St Columkill is also wanting in G. R. 3 , which goes on to speak of St David.

Of St David the Archbishop.

In what reverence the place was held by the great St David, archbishop of the Menevensians, is well known. He came with his seven bishops, thinking to consecrate the church. At night the Lord appeared to him and warned him that He Himself had dedicated it in honour of His Mother.
As a sign He pierced his hand, but promised that it should be healed when in the morrow's mass he should reach the words ' by Him and with Him and in Him \ 2 So then he quickly built another church, and consecrated that. Of the Relics of St David.

St David died in a. d. 546. Some say that he was laid with St Patrick in the Old Church ; and this is supported by the pilgrims from Wales, who declare that Bernard, bishop of Rosina Vallis, sought him elsewhere in vain. But how his remains came from Rosina Vallis to Glastonbury we will explain. A matron in K. Edgar's time, named iElswitha, obtained them through a kinsman who was bishop there, when the land was so laid waste that almost all deserted it ; and she bestowed them upon Glastonbury.

Of Relics brought from Wales to Glastonbury.

Welsh pilgrims, on the w r ay to visit Rome, deposited bodies of their saints and other relics at Glastonbury. This translation of St David took place in a. d. 962.

The first of these sections occurs in full in G. R. 3 In the second the date is an amplification, as is the mention of Rosina Vallis in connexion with Bishop Bernard's name. 3 So also is the story about iElswitha. The third section is not in G. R. 3 , which passes on to speak of the mission of St Augustine. What follows in the De
Antiquitate is found much earlier in G. R. 3 (p. 24).

1 A small island in Wexford harbour bears the same name — Begerin or Begery.
A monastery was founded there by St Ibar, and in the Life of that saint it is translated ' Parva Hibernia ' (P. W. Joyce, Irish Names of Places, ii. 415 f.).

2 These words come in the Canon of the Mass after the Consecration and before the Lord's Prayer, in the clause ' Nobis quoque peccatoribus '. The corresponding passage in our Prayer Book is : ' Not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences ; through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom and with whom in the unity', &c.

3 Bernard was bishop of St David's 1115-47. 'Rosina Vallis' does not appear in W. of M. as an alternative to Menevia.


Of the sanctity and dignity of the church of Glastonbury.
This church, then, of all I know in England is the most ancient : hence its name. 1 The place is crowded with the bodies of saints. Under the pave- ment, above and beneath the altars, relics are everywhere. Rightly is it called the heavenly sanctuary on earth and the depository of saints. 2
Happy are they who dwell there ! Who shall fail of heaven, with patrons such as these to plead their cause ? So sacrosanct is the place that none dare profane it, none swear falsely by it. The truth of this finds its support in testimonies of every age. 3

This rhetorical section is the same in both our documents, save for slight displacements. In what follows we go on to p. 28 of G. R. 3

Of St Paulinus the Bishop.
To return to my subject, St Patrick's birth in a. d. 361 preceded St
Augustine's coming by 236 years. Paulinus the companion of the latter, when bishop of Rochester after having been archbishop of York, is said to have covered the wattled church with wooden planks and roofed it with lead. Of the Translation of St Indract and his companions.

Some years afterwards K. Ina translated the bodies of St Indract and his companions from the place of their martyrdom to the church of

Of the Relics brought to Glastonbury from the land of the Northumbrians.

Still later, when the Danes were ravaging Northumbria, a certain abbot
Tica took refuge at Glastonbury, and was made abbot there in a. d. 754.
He brought with him relics of St Aidan, and the bodies of Ceolfrid, Benedict
[Biscop] and other abbots of Wearmouth ; also of Bede the Presbyter and Abbess Hilda. He himself was buried in the right-hand corner of the greater church, near the entrance to the Old Church.

The section on Paulinus is in G. R. 3 , but without the date, and with no mention of the roofing with lead. The next section corre- sponds to a portion of the second insertion in G. R. 3 , under the reign of K. Ina (p. 36).

The section on the Northumbrian saints is not found in G. R. 3
William of Malmesbury's opinion wavered on this matter. In the
Gesta Pontificum (p. 198), writing about Glastonbury, he says that
K. Edmund, when on his northern expedition, sent these relics — namely, Hilda and Ceolfrid and part of the bones of Aidan. But in the first edition of his Gesta Regum (p. 56) he speaks of the destruction

1 Instead of ' antiquissima ' G. R. 3 reads ' vetustissima ', which explains the words, ' hence its name ', sc. ecclesia vetusta.

2 This sentence comes on p. 25 of G. R. 3 , and the next two on p. 29 : what follows is on p. 24 f.

3 The text has ' testimonio ' ; but the MSS show that this is a misprint for
' testimonia '.

C 2


of Whitby by the Danes, and says that bones of Aidan and Hilda were removed to Glastonbury : in the third edition he adds at this point ' Ceolfrid ' and ' many others ', together with the words :
' as I have said in the book which I have lately put forth on the
Antiquity of the church of Glastonbury '. Again, on p. 60 of the first edition he says that Ceolfrid's bones together with Hilda's were taken to Glastonbury at the time of the Danish invasion : here there is no change in the third edition. In speaking of St Indract on p. 36 of G. R. 3 , he says in passing : ' with whom the care of a later age laid the blessed Hilda '. In the first book of his Life of St Dunstan he had promised to tell how these northern saints came to Glaston- bury, if he were permitted to complete his book on the Antiquity of the church of Glastonbury. 1

We may perhaps conclude that he abandoned the view that
K. Edmund brought them in favour of a translation at the time of the Danish invasion ; but, since Abbot Tica's name is not mentioned in G. R 3 , we cannot be confident that is not a later interpolation.

We now come to a solid block of the De Antiquitate which has no attestation at all in the third edition of the Gesta Regum, and is certainly not from the pen of William of Malmesbury. It extends over thirteen pages of Hearne's edition (pp. 30-42), and it will be unnecessary to give an analysis of it here. It will suffice to say that the first section, which is headed ' Of Divers Relics stored at Glaston- bury ', repeats much that has been said before and adds many new names after the manner of a catalogue ; makes reference to the translation of St Dunstan, of which it promises to give a full account ; and ends by saying that ' amongst us ' (apud nos) there is not a complete knowledge of the many saints who are buried here. The remainder of this great interpolation is mainly taken up with an elaborate narrative of the finding of St Dunstan's body when Canter- bury was laid desolate by the Danes, their removal to Glastonbury where they lay hidden for more than a century and a half, and finally their happy discovery after the great fire of 1184. This is followed by short sections on three wonder-working Crosses 2 and an image of the Virgin which miraculously escaped the fire. Finally, we have a section ' On the Altar of St David, which is commonly called the
Sapphire ' : if we could have any doubt as to the date of this, it would be removed by the last sentence which speaks of Henry, bishop of Winchester, ' of pious memory '.

1 Mem. of St Dunstan, p. 271.

2 The story of the Cross which said : ' Now too late, Aylsi ' is definitely placed after the fire by John of Glastonbury (p. 139).


After this interlude we find ourselves again with William of
Malmesbury, though at first only for a single sentence.

Of the Nobles buried at Glastonbury.
How venerable was this church to the great ones of the land, and how desirable as a resting-place, is shown by many proofs with which I will not weary my readers.

This has occurred at an earlier point in G. R. 3 (p. 25). It is there followed quite naturally by the words which in the Be Antiquitate will begin the next section. The present section is filled out by a series of examples which the writer says he will pass over (praeter- mitto . . . praetermitto etiam . . . taceo . . . ). The first of these examples is K. Arthur, of whom a good deal is here said. Yet William of
Malmesbury declares in Gesta Regum (II, p. 342) that his grave is unknown, and recounts no more about him than the little that he found in Nennius : he has no use for ' Britonum nugae ' (G. R. I, p. 11 ).

Of the Two Pyramids.
That which is almost wholly unknown would I gladly tell, if I could shape out the truth of it : namely, the meaning of those pyramids which stand at a few feet from the Old Church in the cemetery of the monks. The nearest to the church is twenty-six feet high, and has a number of names, which perhaps may refer to persons buried beneath. The second is eighteen feet high, and on it can be read ' Hedde episcopus ', ' Bregored ' and
' Beoruuard '. The last of these was abbot after Hemgisl. Of these abbots, and of the whole series of abbots and what gifts they obtained for the abbey from various kings, we propose from this point onward to speak in detail.

The whole of this section is in G. R. 3 (p. 25), where it is followed by : ' And first of the blessed Patrick, from whom the series takes its start '. The story of Patrick we have had at a much earlier point in the De Antiquitate (pp. 18 ff.). But the sequence in G. R. 3 commends itself as far more natural, and more in harmony with the author's declared purpose of proving that St Dunstan was by no means the first abbot of Glastonbury. It was the Canterbury Chanter's error on this point that had moved the historian to write his Enquiry into the Antiquity of the Church of Glastonbury.

We must carry our analysis a little further, until we come to
K. Coenwalch and the Saxon charters and so reach the point at which our documentary evidence begins.

Of Kings, Abbots, and other Founders of the Church of Glastonbury

set out in order.

First it is to be remembered that the twelve disciples of St Philip and

St James. . . . Then next St Phagan and St Deruvian. . . . Then long

afterwards St Patrick. ... To him succeeded St Benignus : his epitaph



was inscribed on his tomb at Ferremere. Then followed British abbots, whose names are lost, save only three — Worgret, Lademund and Bregored.

Of this only the portion dealing with St Benignus is in G. R. z : the rest has been said too often already, except the last sentence which anticipates what is to come.

Of the Illustrious Arthur.

It is told in the Deeds of K. Arthur how he lost a young knight who slew three giants on the Mount of Frogs, otherwise called Brent Knoll, and in sorrow gave this hill to the abbey of Glastonbury.

After all that we have learned of the interpolations in the De Anti- guitate we shall not be disposed to attribute this section to William of Malmesbury. But the next section appears in G. R. z (pp. 28 f.).

Of the land of Yneswitrin, given to Glastonbury in the time of the English who were converted to the Faith.

In a. d. 601 a king of Domnonia granted to the Old Church which was situated there the land called Yneswitrin, at the request of Abbot Worgret, namely five hides. ' I, Mauron the bishop, wrote this charter. I, Worgret, abbot of the same place, have subscribed it.' Who that king was the age of the document prevents us from knowing. That he was a Briton may be gathered from his calling Glastonbury Yneswitrin. Worgret, whose name sounds British, was succeeded by Lademund ; and he by Bregored. Their dates are unknown, but their names are shown by a painting in the great church. Bregored was succeeded by Berthwald.

The strange and apparently inconsistent mention of the conversion of the English which is found in the title is perhaps explained when we find in G. R. 3 , after the date a. d. 610, the additional words :
' that is, in the fifth year of the coming of the blessed Augustine '.
It is plain that William of Malmesbury had seen what purported to be the charter of a British king, whose name could no longer be read : but of this charter we have no further knowledge. In favour of its early date may at any rate be pleaded that it speaks only of five hides, and not of twelve. The next section deals with K. Coenwalch and Abbot Beorhtwald, and is found with some modifications in
G. R. 5 . It closes the first insertion in the third edition of the Gesta
Re gum, bringing us back to the times of K. Coenwalch, whose name had led the historian to introduce the subject of Glastonbury. The succession of the English abbots which begins at this point must be treated in a separate essay.

When we come to sum up the results of our investigation, we recall in the first place the sharp difference between William of Malmesbury's assertion that the names of the missionaries sent by K. Lucius were


lost in the mists of the past, and the frequency with which St Phagan and St Deruvian meet us in the opening sections and at later points in the De Antiquitate as we read it to-day. We remember also that, whereas he attributed to the labour of these missionaries the building of the Old Church at Glastonbury, the De Antiquitate says that by their labour the church was restored, its original building being assigned to actual disciples of the Lord. Moreover we have seen reason for believing that the Charter of St Patrick, on which the
De Antiquitate, as we have it, relies for the information which thus directly contradicts the statements of William of Malmesbury, was not known to the historian, and indeed cannot reasonably be supposed to have been written till many years after his death.

The account which William of Malmesbury, in the great insertion in the third edition of his Gesta Regum, has given us of the earliest history of Glastonbury is exceedingly cautious. ' Annals of good authority ' tell of missionaries sent into Britain by Pope Eleutherus at the request of K. Lucius. Their names we do not know, but tradition assures us that they built the Old Church of St Mary at
Glastonbury. There are indeed writings which take it back still further to actual disciples of Christ : and this is not impossible ; for, if Freculfus was right in saying that St Philip the Apostle preached in Gaul, he may have sent some of his followers across the sea.

It is not conceivable that the man who wrote this non-committal statement, almost all the words of which are found embodied in the second section of the De Antiquitate, could have written only a few years before the remaining portion of that section or any part at all of the first section as it now stands. The words ' Tradunt bonae credulitates annales ' form a perfectly adequate opening to an
Enquiry into the Antiquity of the Church of Glastonbury. The writer courteously refers to the traditional accounts of the origin of the church, but he is anxious to get forward as quickly as possible to the declared purpose of his work. He has been irritated by the monstrous assertion of Osbern, the late precentor of Canterbury, that the first abbot of Glastonbury was St Dunstan in the tenth century. His examination of the abbey muniments has provided him with record evidence, as we call it to-day, of at least nineteen earlier abbots of the English line alone ; he has found the names of three British abbots before their time ; and the grave of St Patrick, still visited by Irish pilgrims, leads him to accept the local belief that the hermits who for many generations had dwelt in the neighbourhood of the Tor were first gathered into community by the Apostle of the
Irish. The abbots of Glastonbury, therefore, though some of their


names can no longer be traced, go back to the first half of the fifth century : St Patrick was the first, and St Benignus his pupil was the second. We may question this to-day, if we will, as Ralph Higden questioned it in the fourteenth century, and suppose that there has been some confusion with a later Patrick. But if we had lived in
William of Malmesbury's time, and seen St Patrick's tomb with the
Irish pilgrims kneeling round it, and had copied the epitaph of
St Benignus at Meare, and visited St Bridget's chapel at Beokery, or Little Ireland, and seen her wallet and her distaff, we should have been sceptical indeed had we accused the historian of excessive credulity. It was left to a later age to take over St Phagan and St Deruvian from Geoffrey of Monmouth or Giraldus Cambrensis, and to invent the Charter of St Patrick which brought them to Glastonbury and made them not only restore the Old Church of St Mary, but also build the chapel of St Michael on the Tor. It was left to a later age still to appropriate the story of Joseph of Arimathea and the legend of the Holy Grail.

Our conclusion is that the whole of the opening portion of the
De Antiquitate as William of Malmesbury wrote it, down to the point at which he begins to treat of the English abbots and the evidence of early charters, is substantially preserved for us in the first and longest insertion which we find in the third edition of the Gesta
Regum. Guided by the context and the style, we have no hesitation in adding to this what we have called a rhetorical patch in which he compares the generous action of K. Lucius with that of K. Ethel- bert in later days. It is just possible that he may have omitted for the sake of brevity another sentence here or there, and that the order of the narrative may have been changed : but I do not think that this is so. I venture to submit that in this great insertion into the Gesta Regum, when we have replaced a single passage, we have the genuine form of the first part of the De Antiquitate. And I would ask any scholar who inclines to question this verdict to set himself the task of translating into English the first few sections of the book as it stands. He will find that his pen runs easily enough as he renders the dull and unidiomatic Latin of the later writers, but that he will have to pause and think before he can do justice to the cultivated and ambitious style of the great historian. It was in fact an attempt to translate the book, which so far as I know has never been presented to English readers, that awoke niy own suspicions in regard to several sections which I had been prepared to leave unchallenged. It is dangerous to argue from style alone, and there-


fore I have left this observation to the last : but the contrast is so marked that I feel no hesitation in adducing it in corroboration of a conclusion reached on other grounds.

Additional Note. — I have spoken throughout of w the third edition ' of the Gesta Regum. Bishop Stubbs followed earlier scholars in recognising three classes of the MSS, and he designated them as A, B, and C. The A
MSS represent the original form of the work. In the B and C MSS there are certain changes which show a tendency to soften some of the harsher judgements of the earlier text. Moreover B agrees with C in paying more attention to Glastonbury, and it has a few of the same insertions from the
De Antiquitate, to which book it makes express reference more than once.
The whole of the first insertion, with which we have been concerned above, is absent from the B MSS ; but at the point at which this insertion comes in C there is a slight deviation in B from the A text ; and such deviations occur, as Bishop Stubbs points out, wherever an insertion comes in C and not in B. I must refer to Bishop Stubbs's Introduction to the Gesta Regum
(I, lviii ff.) for a statement of the main differences between B and C. With evident unwillingness he decides to follow his predecessors in making B the second and C the third edition. To avoid confusion 1 have accepted this arrangement, as it does not affect my argument. But I should wish to record the impression which a study of the various readings in his apparatus criticus has left on my mind. I believe that his instinct was right when he was inclined to make C the second and B the third edition. I should add, however, that the B recension was not due to the historian himself, but was the work of a later editor who had no special interest in Glastonbury, and perhaps even disliked the exceptional prominence given to it. I would invite future students of the problem to observe how frequently throughout the Gesta Regum the changes made in the B edition are tiresome verbal emendations, quite unlikely to have proceeded from the pen of the author himself. I give this only as an impression, but I would point out that this solution would relieve us from the difficulty of supposing that William of Malmesbury having made these Glastonbury insertions in C should afterwards have produced a new edition (B) in which he struck nearly all of them out : for it assigns to him two editions only (A and C), and refers
B to a later editor.



Nothing has done more to discredit William of Malmesbury's work
' On the Antiquity of Glastonbury ' than the discovery of an ancient list of the abbots of that monastery, contained in the Cottonian
MS Tiberius B. 5, and printed by Bishop Stubbs in his Memorials of
St Dunstan, p. Ixxxii. 1 After comparing this list with the series of abbots in the De Antiquitate, Bishop Stubbs says : ' The order and dates of Malmesbury's list seem to be quite at random : yet there is enough likeness between the two lists to show that he had older materials to work upon.'

Now William of Malmesbury puts down no name and no date without telling us the source from which his information Avas drawn.
The discrepancy between the two lists therefore is not to be explained off-hand by attributing gross carelessness to the historian. Nor have we any reason for suspecting that this part of the De Antiquitate has suffered, as we have shown the earlier part to have suffered, from the meddlesomeness of inventive interpolators. William of Malmes- bury worked from the Glastonbury charters. Many of these had no doubt been recopied and partially recast in the tenth century or later : none of them perhaps can claim to be originals or even exact copies of the originals. Accordingly it is quite possible that he was misled on occasion by their testimony. Most of these charters we can read for ourselves in Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus or in Birch's
Cartularium Saxonicum ; others can be shown to have been in existence as late as 1247. The purpose of the present Essay is to consider William of Malmesbury's statements in the light of this evidence. The examination is necessarily minute and somewhat tedious; but the result will, I believe, be found to justify the pains expended on it. For we shall reach the conclusion that the compiler of the tenth-century list, however trustworthy he may be as he nears his own time, did not make use of the charters and so had but little to guide him in collecting and arranging the names of the earlier abbots. On the other hand we shall be rewarded by a growing conviction that the Glastonbury charters, however much they may have been depraved by copying and recasting, contain materials of
1 A more exact transcript will be found below, p. 41.


high value for the history of Wessex, and especially for the progress of the gradual conquest of Somerset by the West Saxons ; x and we shall be even surprised at the patient investigation to which the great historian submitted them : there is perhaps hardly a parallel in mediaeval history to the task which he undertook and carried through. William of Malmesbury tells us that in the Great Church at
Glastonbury there was a painting which gave the names of three
British abbots — Worgret, Lademund, and Bregored. 2 Moreover one of the ' pyramids ' outside the Old Church was inscribed with the names of Hedde episcopus, Bregored, and Beoruuard. He further knew of Worgret from an ancient charter of a king of Domnonia whose name was no longer legible. 3

Haeddi was the bishop of Winchester, who translated the body of St Birinus from Dorchester, and held the undivided episcopate of Wessex from 676 to 705. William of Malmesbury identifies the
' Beoruuard ' of the pyramid with ' Berwaldus ', who, he tells us later, succeeded Abbot Hemgisl and ruled the abbey from 705 till
712. If he is right in his conjecture that the pyramid contained the bones of the persons named thereon, the absence of Beorhtwald and
Hemgisl, Beorwald's predecessors, will be explained by the fact that the former became archbishop and was buried in St Augustine's
Abbe3^ at Canterbury, while the latter rested, as he tells us presently, in the Old Church itself.

The first English abbot, according to William of Malmesbury, was Beorhtwald (Berchtwald, Brihtwald), who afterwards became abbot of Reculver and then succeeded Theodore in the archbishopric of Canterbury. The statement has been questioned, but for reasons which are not convincing. 4 William of Malmesbury had seen a Glastonbury charter in which K. Coenwalch in the 29th year of his reign (i.e. 671 or 672) granted land at Ferramere (i.e. Meare) to
Abbot Beorthwald. A late copy of this charter survives, and it is

1 Many of these charters have been used to good effect, though not always with adequate knowledge or sufficient caution, in Early Wars of Wessex, Major and
Whistler (1913), pp. 49 ff.

s It is possible that we have a trace of Bregored in the ' Bregredeswere ' of the bounds of Butleigh in K. Egbert's grant of 801 (B. C. S. 300).

3 W. of Malm., De antiquitate Glaston. ecclesiae (published by Hearne in his
Adam of Domerham), pp. 48 f. ; cf. p. 46. The passage occurs in the insertion in the third edition of the Gesta Regum (G. R. 3 ), pp. 28 f . : there we find the spelling

1 Cf. Stubbs, Pref. to Gesta Regum, vol. II, p. xxiv : ' His identification of abbot Berhtwald with the archbishop who succeeded Theodore is a mistake of grievous rashness.' f


attested by Theodore, Leuterius (i. e. Hlothere, bishop of Winchester), and the abbots Haeddi and Aldhelm. There is no prima facie reason for not accepting the facts which are thus recorded. The whole question calls for a fresh examination. 1

First, it is desirable to note the political conditions' of Wessex about the year 670. In 658 Coenwalch had defeated the West
Welsh at Pen-Selwood and driven them back as far as the Parrett.
As a consequence of this victory Glastonbury fell into the hands of a Saxon king, who was not only a Christian well-disposed to the
Church, but also, as Bede tells us, the intimate friend of the great monastic leader Benedict Biscop, who visited him (or intended to visit him) shortly before his death in 672. 2 In the spring of 669,
Benedict had returned from Rome in company with Theodore the new archbishop, who retained him at Canterbury for two years in charge of St Augustine's abbey. If Glastonbury fell vacant about that time, by the death of the British abbot Bregored, we may well believe that, on the advice of Theodore and Benedict Biscop, the king may have appointed such a man as Beorhtwald, whom Bede describes as learned in the Scriptures and very highly trained alike in ecclesiastical and monastic disci]3line. 3 The position of Glastonbury would be exceptionally difficult. The introduction of the English customs in regard to the tonsure and the date of Easter, and at the same time, as we cannot doubt, of the Benedictine rule, must have taxed the new abbot's powers to the utmost. But his difficulties were not confined to the internal administration of his house. The distant property of Brent Knoll, a lofty eminence which rises out of the marshes near the point where the Parrett flows into the
Bristol Channel, had been given, so tradition told, to the monastery by King Arthur. It was on the Saxon side of the Parrett, but it may have lain open to the attacks of the British, when the strong hand of Coenwalch was withdrawn and the kingdom of Wessex was divided for a while among a number of petty kings. At any rate
William of Mahnesbury had seen a charter which contained these words : ' which land (of Brent) Abbot Berthwald of his own accord deserted ; and, without violence on our part and without expulsion,

1 De Anliq., p. 49. B. C. S. 25, for which see below in Appendix B.

2 Hist- Abbatum, 4 ' Ingressus Brittaniam ad regem se Occidentalium Saxo- nuin, nomine Connnalh, eonferendnm putavit, cujus et ante non semel amicitiis usus et beneficiis erat adjutus. Sed ipso eodem tempore inmatura morte prae- repto, tandem ad patriam gentem . . . rediit,' &c.

3 H. E. v. 8 ' Scientia scripturarum inbutus, sed et ecclesiasticis simul ac monasterialibns disciplinis summe instructu's ' : the same praise as he had given to Abbot Hadrian : ' sacris litteris diligenter inbutus, monasterialibus simul et ecclesiasticis disciplinis institutus ' (iv. 1).


he gave up the place of his own monastery, and against the prohibition and will of our bishop he took his departure '- 1

The abbey of Reculver in Kent had been founded by Bass the mass-priest in 669, the year of Theodore's arrival at Canterbury. 2
To this new house some years later Beorhtwald was appointed, and the earliest ' land-book ' that has come down to us in its original form is a grant made to him there in 679. 3 Archbishop Theodore died 19 September 690 : Beorhtwald was elected on 1 July 692, and consecrated at Lyons on 29 June 693. The long delay and the consecration abroad may have been partly due to the strained relations between Kent and Wessex, which were not readjusted until
694 ; and if Haeddi, the bishop of Winchester, whose commands
Beorhtwald had disobeyed, was unwilling to take part in the con- secration, this would be a further reason why it may have seemed wise to look abroad. The whole story hangs well together, and we may accept the tradition that Beorhtwald was the first English abbot of Glastonbury.

Beorhtwald was succeeded by Hemgisl. The first of the charters in the Liber Terrarum — a lost Glastonbury chartulary, probably compiled at the end of the tenth century 4 — was entitled ' the charter of Ken win concerning the island of Glastonia '. From a charter based on this William of Malmesbury must have drawn his statement that in 678 K. Centwine granted to Hemgisl ' Glastonbury, free from all service, vi hides ' : also that at the petition of Bishop Haeddi and the monks he appointed Hemgisl abbot. 5 The date agrees well with

1 De Antiq., p. 51 ' sine nostra violentia et sine expulsione locum proprii eoenobii dimisit, et contra interdictum et voluntatem pontificis nostri discessit.'
The charter is lost, but B. C. S. 121, a later compilation, which professes to be
Ina's confirmation of Baldred's gift of Brent, is partly based upon it.

2 A. S. Chronicle.

3 B. C. S. 45. Although in the De Antiquitale (p. 49) W. of M. speaks of Beorht- wald as holding the abbey of Glastonbury for ten years and then becoming- archbishop of Canterbury, in the later edition of his Gesta Begum, c. 1139, when he inserts extracts from the De Antiquitate,he corrects this point and says that, on leaving Glastonbury, ' ad regimen monasterii Raculf secessit ' (G. B. 3 p. 29).

4 John of Glastonbury, ed. Hearne, p. 370. A list of its contents, made in 1247, is there printed : see below, Appendix A.

5 De Antiq., p. 49 : ' Huic [sc. Hemgiselo] anno ab incarnacione domini dclxxviii Kentwinus rex Glastingai liberam ab omni servicio concessit, vi hidas ; quern pro sua fideli conversacione, et episcopi Hedde et monachorum peticione, abbatem ibi constituit : ea tamen condicione quatinus fratres ejusdem loci habeant jus eligendi et constituendi rectorem juxta regulamsanctiBenedicti. munecatone. Et juxta silvam, inquit, quae vocatur Cantucdun xxm hidas, in
Caric xx hidas, et in Crucan in hidas, ad supplementum,' &c. It looks as if
W. of M. found all this in one charter ; if so, it was a composite one. The appoint-


the story of Beorhtwald's retirement. The charter is unfortunately lost, and indeed was already lost in 1247. It cannot have been a genuine document in the form described above, but the facts may have been taken from an earlier charter. The mention of only six hides, and not the usual ' Glastonbury Twelve Hides ', is a very favourable feature.

Rather more satisfactory is a charter dated 681 (or, as William of Malmesbury says, 680), but in the fifth indiction, which would give 677. This is a grant by Bishop Haeddi to Abbot Hemgisl of
Lantocai (i.e. Leigh in Street), together with an island surrounded by the water of Ferramere (i.e. Meare). According to William of
Malmesbury's account Centwine, Baldred and Caedwalla confirmed the grant ; and this suggests a time before the last of these was driven into exile. 1

Baldred was one of the petty kings of Wessex, who held power with or under Centwine, before Caedwalla subdued the latter and acquired supremacy in 685. Baldred gave to Abbot Hemgisl
Pennard 2 and a fishery on the Parrett ; 3 also Logwores-beorh
(Montacute, afterwards lost) ; 4 and he restored Brent which had been lost under Abbot Beorhtwald. 5

Hemgisl was buried, as we have already said, in the Old Church ; 6 and from this we may perhaps conclude that Ina's new church was

ment of the abbot according to the Rule he has probably introduced from the
Great Privilege of K. Ina, which he gives later (p. 57). For the rest we have in the Liber Terrarum two distinct charters of K. Centwine : (1 ) ' de insula Glastoniae ',
(2) 'de Cantucwdu s. Munekaton'. The first is lost: the second is probably represented by B. C. S. 62, in which K. Centwine gives in 682 ' xxiii mansiones ' near 'Cantucuudu' (i.e. West Monkton) and 'in cassatos' on the other side of the river Tone ' ad insulam juxta collem qui dicitur brittanica lingua Cructan, apud nos Cryc beorh ', bounded on the north by the Tone and on the south by the ' Blacan broc'. We thus see that the text of the De Antiq. has two blunders :
(1) ' Cantucdun ' for 'Cantucuudu' (Quantock-wood), and (2) 'Crucan' for
'Cructan'. The names Creechbury (or Creechbarrow) Hill and Black Brook still remain. The twenty hides at Cary do not appear in this charter. The word
' Crucan ' has seriously misled the writers of The Early Wars of Wessex
(pp. 57 f.). This Quantock-wood charter is important as showing that the
Saxons under K. Centwine had reached within three or four miles of what was soon to be known as Taunton.

1 For this charter see below in Appendix B.

2 B. C. S. 61, a tenth-century charter preserved at Longleat.

3 De Antiq., p. 50 ; J. of G., p. 370.

4 De Antiq., p. 50 : he seems to have used a composite charter which included
Pennard, Montacute, and the Parrett fishery.

5 B. C. S. 121.

6 This W. of M. (p. 52) may have got from the closing paragraph of the Privilege of Cathred (B. C. S. 169).


not built in his time. We may provisionally place his death in 705.
The list of abbots, compiled about the year 990, begins with the name of Hemgisl. The absence of Beorhtwald from the first place is probably due to the confusion between his name and that of Hem- gisl's successor Beorhwald. Moreover, if the list was drawn up in part from sepulchral monuments, Beorhtwald's burial at Canterbury would further help to account for the omission of his name. As a matter of fact, ' Beorhtwald ' does appear in the fourth place in this ancient list ; but probably it is only a scribe's error for

When we come to Hemgisl's successor, Abbot Beorhwald, we have for the first time the advantage of evidence from outside, not derived from Glastonbury charters or traditions. About the year 710 some trouble in Wessex led to the meeting of a council of ecclesiastics, who finally sent a trusty messenger to Beorhtwald, the archbishop of Canterbury, to seek his approval of their action. The messenger was Winfrid, afterwards famous as St Boniface, the Apostle of
Germany. He was commended to K. Ina for this purpose by Winbert his own abbot of Nutscelle, Wintra the abbot of Tisbury in Wilts, and Beorhwald the abbot of Glastonbury. 1 We meet with Abbot
Beorhwald again in the Collection of Letters which preserves the correspondence of St Boniface. 2 Archbishop Beorhtwald writes to
Forthere bishop of Sherborne (709-36), requesting him to intercede with Beorhwald the abbot of Glastonbury on behalf of a captive
Kentish girl. This letter must fall between 709, the accession of
Forthere, and 731, the death of Archbishop Beorthwald.

We now come to charters. K. Ina's privilege to the churches of
Wessex (B. C. S. 108) contains a long list of abbots, including Wintra, whom we have mentioned above as the abbot of Tisbury, and
' Beornuuald '. It is dated 704, but no reliance can be placed upon it in its present form. Two charters of K. Ina (B. C. S. 112, 113), one granting land on the Doulting, the other lands there and at other places, are dated 702 and 705 respectively ; but the indiction in both is the fourth, which points to 706. The charters are not genuine in their present form, but the mention of Abbot Beorhwald in connexion with these gifts need not be rejected. William of
Malmesbury has worked from these charters and others, but he adds nothing serviceable in the way of dates. Provisionally we may date

1 ' Beorwald, qui divina coenobium gubernatione quod antiquorum nuncu- patur vocabulo Glestingabury regebat ' : Willibald's Life of St Boniface, Monu- menta Moguntina (P. Jaffe, 1866), p. 439 ; Giles, ii. 153.

* Mon. Mogunt., p. 48 (Ep. 7) ; Giles, i. 275 (Ep. 144).


Beorhwald between 705 and 731 : but these limits are probably much too wide.

In connexion with Abbot Beorhwald it is interesting to note the following entries in the Index charlarum of 1247 : *

(1) Among the charters of lands no longer held by Glastonbury

the following still existed at that date :
' Carta Kenelmi de Wethmor facta Wilfrido episcopo '
' Carta dicti Wilfridi de eodem facta Beorwaldo abbati '.

It is obvious that Kenelmi is a mistake for Kenwini (Centwine).

(2) Among charters then existing of lands still held we have :
' Cenewre rex de Clifwere '

' Wilferfus rex de Clifwere. inutilis '.

These are ascribed to the time of Abbot Albert, Cenewre is probably meant for Cenwine (Centwine), and the impossible Wilferfus rex must be meant for Wilfridus eipisco^us ; for in the list of charters in the
Liber Terrarum we find : ' Wilfridus episcopus de Clifuuere '.

' Clif-wara ' (Clewer in Wedmore parish) was held by the bishop of Coutances at the time of the Domesday Survey, having previously been held by Turchil : later, however, it was held by the abbey.
Wedmore was held by Bishop Giso of Wells. The charters mentioned above have disappeared : they were ' inutiles ' — a term used of books worn to pieces or illegible (J. of G., pp. 425. i.). Wilfrid's friendship with Caedwalla is mentioned by his biographer Eddi, who says (c. 42) that he gave him innumerable tracts of land. It is quite possible that Centwine, who yet earlier befriended Wilfrid, may have given him Wedmore and Clewer ; and that at the end of his life ("j"709)
Wilfrid may have given them over to Beorhwald the abbot of
Glastonbury. 2 William of Maimesbury had these charters before him ; for he says in his account of Beorhwald : ' Bishop Wilfrid gave the island of Wethmor, lxx hides, given to him by K. Centwine, and the vill of Cliwere, I hide '. 3

At this point it wiil be useful to set side by side the order of the earliest English abbots, as derived from the statements of William of Maimesbury, and the list drawn up at the end of the tenth century.

1 J. of G., pp. 370 ff.

2 Cf. Eddi, V. Wilfridi, c. 40 (after Wilfrid's ejection from Mercia, c. 681) :
' Deinde cum odio pontifex noster expulsus, manentibus tamen iilic monachis sviis, regem Occidentalium Saxonum adiit, nomine Centwine ; per parvumque spatium pro subsequente persecutione ibi manebat. Nam illic regina, soror Irminburgae reginae, odio oderat eum, uti propter amicitiam regum supradictorum trium dehinc fugatus abscessit.'

3 De Antiq., p. 53. .


We must however premise that a list printed by Hearne on p. 103, and taken from the Cambridge MS of the De Antiquitate, is quite untrustworthy. It frequently differs from the statements made earlier in the book, in spelling and order and dates. It is not found in the MS quoted as M by Hearne. 1

Be Antiq., pp. 49-61. Tib. B. 5.
66S Berthwaldus

678 Hemgisel Hemgils

705 Berwaldus Wealhstod

712 Albert Coengils

719 Etfrith Beorthwald
729 Cengisle

We need not go further at present. We have seen how William of Malmesbury constructed his list, and our examination of such charters as are still available gives ample proof of the care which lie devoted to his task. 2 The tenth-century compiler probably pro- ceeded in a different way, and made the best list that he could from names which he read on sepulchral monuments and in the book of commemorations called the Marty rology. Accordingly it is not until we get near to his own time that we can feel confident that the order which he gives us will be the more accurate of the two.

If now we follow William of Malmesbury in putting Beorhwald next to Hemgisl, what are we to make of Wealhstod in the rival list '? Bede mentions that in 731 Ualcfistod was bishop of Hereford : and William of Malmesbury in his Gesta Pontificum quotes some ancient verses which tell how he began the erection of a cross, but did not live to finish it. It was completed by his successor Cuthbert, who afterwards was archbishop of Canterbury. 3 Wealhstod may have been bishop of Hereford as early as 727, and have died as late as 736.
No Glastonbury charter mentions him as abbot, and therefore
William of Malmesbury has no knowledge of him. 4 If he were an abbot, he must come in somewhere before 731, when Bede speaks of him as bishop of Hereford : and, if William of Malmesbury is

1 That is, Cox Macro's MS, now in the British Museum, Addit. MS 22934.

2 He seems, however, in calculating the length of an abbot's rule, occasionally to have made the unwarrantable assumption that the year in which mention is first made of him in a charter was the year of his accession.

3 Bede, II. E. v. 23 ; W. of M., G. P., p. 299.

4 In the curious and much altered charter (B. C. S. 168 : ' a. d. 744 ') by which
Lulla grants Baltonsborough to the abbey we find ' Walcstod the priest ' among the witnesses : so the name at least seems to have been known at Glastonbury, and the compiler of the tenth-century list may have mistaken him for an early abbot. D


right in putting ' Kemgisel ' (i. e. Coengisl) in 729, it is clearly possible to find a place for Wealhstod just before that date.

William of Malmesbury does not recognise Wealhstod, but he gives us two other abbots between Beorhwald and Coengils. The first is Albert, or Aldbeorth, whom he places in 712, on the ground of a charter by which Bishop Forthere gives one hide at Bledenhithe on the river iEsca (Axe), at a small island and at the church of
St Martin (i.e. Martineseye). 1 The indiction given in the charter is the first ; which points rather to 718 or 723. The charter has features which suggest genuineness : unfortunately only a late and imperfect copy of it exists, though it was still preserved in 1247.

The other abbot is Echfrid, or jEtfrith. 2 The name comes from the grant of a hide of land with a fishery on the Axe, given by
K. Ina in 719. This we cannot further trace, unless perchance it be the same as a charter, still preserved in 1247, by which K. Ina gives
4 land at the foot of Munedup ' : but that is ascribed to the time of
Abbot Beorhwald. 3

We can, if we will, find a place for the three abbots — Aldbeorht,
^Etfrith, and Wealhstod — especially if the last of the three was only in office for a brief period before his removal to Hereford c. 729.

We must now take another glance at the political conditions of
Wessex. We saw that in 658 Coenwalch drove the West Welsh as far as the Parrett, and that thus Glastonbury fell into his hands.
It does not follow that the whole of Somerset east of the Parrett was at once occupied and helcL-:by the English : indeed the failure of
Glastonbury to retain Brerit Knoll suggests that at any rate the district near the sea was still debated territory. The death of Coen- walch was followed, as we have said, by a period of unsettlemeiit
(672-85), in which the kingdom was more or less divided among several members of the royal stock, Centwine however achieving a pre-eminence in 676. No progress westwards was made until 682, when, as the Chronicle tells us, ' Centwine drove the Britons to the sea '. This vague expression suggests that the coast-line east of the
Quantocks was henceforth in English hands : Centwine's grant of land near Quantock-wood (West Monkton) indicates an advance at least to this point. 4 Then in 685 the vigorous Caedwalla made himself

1 De Antiq., p. 53 ; B. C. S. 128. The charter looks genuine : it is short and somewhat ungrammatical : but the signature is abbreviated and the year of the Incarnation is appended. It is a grant to the abbot himself with power of disposal : the only other instance of this among the copies preserved to us is
K. Coenwalch's grant of Ferramere to Abbot Beorhtwald (B. C. S. 25).

2 De Antiq., p. 53. 3 J. of G., p. 375.
4 B. C. S. 62, a late form : dated Indict, 10, i.e. 682.


supreme in the kingdom ; but his arms were turned chiefly against
Sussex, Kent, and the Isle of Wight.

Ina's long reign (688-726) raised Wessex to an unexampled height : but, though he did much for its consolidation, we cannot be sure that he carried its frontier far to the west. In 710 the Chronicle says :
' Ina and Nunna his kinsman fought with Geraint the king of the
Welsh '. It has sometimes been assumed that the conquest of
Somerset was now completed, but this is unlikely. The rich lands round Taunton were indeed protected by a fortress erected about this time ; but under 722 we read : ' ^Ethelburg the queen destroyed
Tantun which Ina had built '. The immediate cause of this was the revolt of Ealdbriht, who may have made common cause with the
Welsh. But a fortress so far advanced — if we suppose this to have been the frontier line — might be an actual source of danger, if it could not be strongly held.

It is Ina's glory that in his famous code of laws he dealt out justice to the conquered Britons of the lands he ruled. Their ancient monastery rose to new glory under his fostering care. Gifts of land enriched it, and the king built the Great Church of SS. Peter and
Paul, east of the venerable wooden shrine which still treasured the memories of the past. 1 Glastonbury necessarily came under English abbots with the Benedictine rule ; but it never ceased to be a centre of Celtic pilgrimage, and as a temple of reconciliation it must have played no small part in the blending of the two races. Under Ina the great Wessex diocese was divided, and Aldhelm, the learned abbot of Malmesbury, who had corresponded with K. Geraint on the debated subject of the date of Easter, became the first bishop of the new diocese 'west of Selwood '. He may have helped to keep the peace during his episcopate (705-9), for we note that it was in 710 that Ina had to call his kinsman Nunna, ruler of the South Saxons, to his aid to meet the forces of Geraint. Under Aldhelm's guidance
Ina is said to have built the first church at Wells, where he is com- memorated as founder, even as his splendid gifts to the neighbouring abbey gained him the less merited title of the founder of Glastonbury.

When Ina retired to die at Rome, his successor was J^thelheard
(726-40). Already the growing power of Mercia had begun to threaten Wessex. Ceolred, the Mercian king, had fought with Ina himself at Woddesbeorge (or Wodnesbeorge) in 715 : but the next year Ceolred died. He was succeeded by ^Ethelbald, who reigned

1 In one of the genealogies in Tib. B. 5 we read of K. Ina : ' He getimbrade pact beorhte mynster get glsestinga byrig ' : see further on this note The Saxon Bishops of Wells, p. 14, n. 2.

D 2


with growing might from 716 to 757. The new king of Wessex,
^Ethelheard, had trouble at the outset with a rival named Oswald, who however died in 730. Then in 733 iEthelbald descended on him, forced his way far west and ' harried Somerton '. Cuthred succeeded
^Ethelheard in 740, and we are told that he ' fought boldly ' with iEthelbald : and again in 752 ' he fought at Beorgfeorda against iEthelbald, king of the Mercians, and put him to Ilight '. The next year he fought with the Welsh, but whether Taunton was now rebuilt we cannot tell. The Glastonbury lands never extended beyond West Monkton, which lies just outside it to the north-east : but it is significant that in the future the rich township of Taunton fell not to Glastonbury, but to the lordly bishopric of Winchester.

iEthelbald's successor was the great Offa, who ruled Mercia for thirty-nine years, and held paramount sway over the whole of
England. So Wessex till the days of Egbert had to submit to the
Mercian overlordship.

We now return to our abbots. The next abbot is Coengisl (c. 729-
44). Here we have again the testimony of the Boniface corre- spondence ; but we get his name only, and no clear indication of his date. 1 We must therefore turn back to the charters. William of
Malmesbury found a charter by which K. JEthelheard granted to
Abbot Coengisl land at Pouholt in 729. The form of the charter as we have it is suspicious, but its statements may be provisionally accepted. 2 We also find ' Cynegysli abbatis ' in the attestation of a charter of K. iEthelheard. by which in 737 he confirms Q. Frido- gyda's gift of land at Taunton to the church of Winchester. 3 This charter would be of historical importance if we could trust it. But it comes to us from a most suspicious source, the great Winchester chartulary, which is almost unrivalled as a collection of discreditable forgeries. The most we can say, therefore, is that the names of the witnesses may have come from a genuine charter of the date in question. Next to Coengisl William of Malmesbury places Abbot Tumbert. 4
He found him in a charter of K. Cuthred, granting three hides at
Ure in 745. This charter we have not now got. He found him again in the much manipulated charter of the lady Lulla, granting Baltons- borough. 5 Once more he found him in a charter by which ^Ethelbald, the Mercian king grants four hides in two places, Jecesig 6 and

1 Mon. MogunU, Ep. 46 (p. 126) ; Giles, i. 148.

2 B. C. S. 147. 3 B. C. S. 158. 4 pp. 62 ft

5 B. C. S. 168 ; dated 744, indict. 12.

6 Also given as Gassig by a later hand. Comp. the entry in the index of the
Liber Terrarum (J. of G., p. 371) : ' ^Ethelbaldus de Seaceset et Bradenleag'.


Bradanleghe (West Bradley) at the price of 400 shillings. This is the earliest charter in which we hear of a price paid for a gift to
Glastonbury. 1 This detail may be the sign of a genuine document ; and the charter, had it come down to us, would have been of historical interest as an illustration of the Mercian overlordship in these parts. 2

After Tunbert William of Malmesbury gives us Abbot Tica,
a.d. 754, from a charter by which K. Sigebert for 50 golden solidi granted him xxn hides in Poholt : for a like sum the king also gave him vi hides in the western part of the same. In the Liber
Terrarum the 63rd entry was : ' Sigebeorth de Poolt dat. G.' ; but we have no further trace of this charter. These are fresh acquisitions on the Poldon range ; for we have already had notices of gifts in that district from Ina (xx hides) and iEthelheard (lx hides). K. Sige- beorht, the successor of Cuthred, is said to have reigned in 756 and part of the following year. The signature of ' Tyccaean abbatis ' occurs in an original charter of 757, dealing apparently with land in
Wessex. 3

At an earlier point in the De Antiquitate (p. 29) we have had Tica mentioned as a Northumbrian abbot, driven out by the Danes, who took refuge in the west and became abbot of Glastonbury. 4 He was said to have brought with him relics of St Aidan and the bodies of
Ceolfrid, Benedict Biscop and other abbots of Wearmouth, as well as those of the Venerable Bede and the saintly Hilda of W T hitby.
Tica was buried in the right-hand corner of the Great Church, near the entrance to the Old Church.

Offa came to the Mercian throne in 757 and reigned till 796. The subject kings of Wessex were Cynewulf, 757-86, and Beorhtric,
786-802. Then under K. Cenwulf the Mercian supremacy quickly began to fall. Wessex under K. Egbert, 802-39, recovered and presently dominated the whole of England.

Next to Tica we have Abbot Guba, to whom in 760 K. Cynewulf gave v hides at Wootton, and also Huneresburg on the east bank of the Parrett : but these charters are lost. 5

1 The Baltonsborough charter mentions * pretium muneris ', but its evidence is too uncertain to be regarded.

2 Tumbert does not appear in the tenth-century list of abbots, where however at a much later point we find the name of Hunbeorht. A forged Winchester charter (B. C. S. 102) gives ' Tunbeort abbot ' in an attestation which includes both Ina and Cuthred ; the names having been carelessly taken over from genuine charters. 3 B. C. S. 181.. K. /Ethelbald and K. Cynewulf attest together. The charter is discussed by Mr. Stenton in E. II. R. xxxiii. 44:3.

4 See above, p. 19.

5 De Antiq., p. 63. In the Liber Terrarum we have ' Cynewifus de. V. hidis. G.'


After this comes Abbot Waldun, who in 762 receives from K. Cyne- wulf v hides at Cumtun. William of Malmesbury makes him rule for 32 years. 1

Then in 794 Abbot Beadewulf receives from K. Offa x hides at
Ineswurth. 2 The Liber Terrarum had a charter described thus :
1 Offa de Inesuuyrth juxta Hunespulle. S. qui G.' The ' serviens ' here is perhaps Ethehnund, who, as William of Malmesbury goes on to say, 'assensu regis Offae dedit Hunespulle, i hidam'. Beadulf is given as one of the abbots who attest K. Cenwulf's confirmation of the privilege granted by Leo III to K. Kenelm in 798. 3

1 De Antiq., p. 64. The Liber Terrarum had ' Cyneuulf de Cumtone. G.' ; but the charter is lost. 2 De Antiq., p. 64 ; cf. p. 98.

3 These documents were found by W. of M. in English, and he translated them back into Latin (pp. 65 ff.). The Privilege of Leo III grants Glastonbury to
K. Kenelm and his successors : it is followed by the Confirmation of Coenwulf,
k. of Mercia (796-821), subscribed by Abbess Kinedrip, with her kinsfolk Ethel- burh and Cefled, stipulating that if the territory of Glastonbury should pass into the power of a man ' alterius progeniei', yet the rights of Kenelm and his successors should be preserved. There is a further attestation by Ethelard abp. of Canter- bury, Higbert abp. of York (a mistake for Lichfield), nine bishops and thirteen abbots. W. of M. confesses that he does not know who K. Kenelm was, since
Kenelm, the son of K. Coenwulf, was killed at the age of seven years (f821). The privilege runs : ' . . . confirmamus tibi, Kenelme, et successoribus tuis : monasterium scilicet libere in perpetuum habendi cum omnibus villis,' &c, 'hac condicione '
(lights — psalms — masses) : no king, archbishop, bishop or prince to infringe this decree. The attestation of the notaries Eustachius and Paschalis is closely parallel to that of Jaffe 2498 (20 Apr. 798) : the differences may well be due to translation and retranslation. Jaffe dates our privilege 8 Mar. 798. The character of the privilege seems in harmony with the date. It defends the abbey only from attack on its temporalities, and says nothing of exemption from the spiritual control of the bishop. It stands thus in sharp contrast with the privilege which K. Coen- wulf is said to have obtained from the same pope for Abingdon (Hist. Abingd. i. 20).

The abbess Cynedritha recovers her monasteries of Coccam (Cookham, Berks.) and Pectaneye at the Council of Clovesho in 798 (B. C. S. 291: Haddan and Stubbs,
Councils, iii. 512). Was she the daughter of K. Coenwulf, and the abbess of
Winchcombe who was said to have murdered St Kenelm ?

The documents may be accepted as substantially genuine. 'Rex Kenelmus ' is not a serious difficulty at a time when the title of king was freely used in
Wessex and other kingdoms for members of the royal house who were given some share of authority (Chadwick, A.S. Institutions, pp. 296-307). ' Cenelm filius regis ' attests a Canterbury grant of K. Coenwulf in 799 (B. C. S. 296). He may be the same as ' Kynehelm dux' whose last signature is in 811 (B. C. S. 339).
He may have died before the birth of the younger Kenelm in 814.

We have here historical material which illustrates the overlordship of Mercia shortly before it began to break down : and this may have been an arrangement under sanction of the ecclesiastical authorities, by which if the Mercian lordship over Wessex ceased, yet Glastonbury should remain in the hands of the Mercian royal house.


Next to Beadewulf William of Malmesbury gives us (p. 68)
' Cuman ', who ruled two years, or according to the other manuscript
(M) twenty-two years. He dates his accession in 800, but gives us no authority for him. Probably ' Cuman ' is a ghost- word ; for the next abbot is called Muca.

Abbot Muca, we are told, received in 802 from K. Egbert v manses- on the river Torric. 1 Moreover iEdgisilius with consent of the same king gave Budecleg (i.e. Butleigh) xx hides. K. Egbert's grant of
Butleigh to Eadgils his 'minister' is attested by 'Muca abbas'. 2
Muca is among the signatories of the decree of the Council of Clovesho in 803, which in accordance with Leo Ill's precept to Archbishop iEthelheard forbids the appointment of laymen as ' domini ' over monasteries. Under the attestation of Wigbert bishop of Sherborne come the names of ' Muca abbas : Eadberht abbas : Berhtmund abbas '. 3

After Muca comes Abbot Guthlac, who in 824 grants to a certain
Eanulf i cassate in Brunham for 500 shillings, of which 200 were to go to the abbot and 300 to the monks. 4 There is no further record of this transaction ; but there is an Eanwulf who attests Wessex charters, c. 833-75, as ' dux ', ' princeps ', ' minister ' ; and ' iEnulfus comes' appears presently as the donor of Ditcheat and other lands.
Guthlac's name appears at a late point in the tenth-century list of abbots. ' K. Egbert died in 839, and was succeeded by his son iEthelwulf, whose eldest son, JEthelstan, died before him. Four sons survived, of whom .Ethelbald reigned in Wessex from 856 to 860, ^thelbert till 866, and ^thelred till 871 . Then in April 871 Alfred, the youngest, came to the throne. In iEthelwulf's reign the Danish raids, of which
Egbert had some experience, became a constant terror ; and in the last days of iEthelred Wessex was in great jeopardy.

To return to our abbots : Abbot Elmund, we are told (p. 69), in
851 with consent of K. iEthelwulf transferred Doulting to the jurisdiction of the monastery (' Dulting in jus monasteriale trans- tulit '). The meaning of the phrase is not clear ; but it looks like a second indication that the abbot and the monks were dividing the properties. The king added xx hides ' ad supplementum vitae

1 In the Liber Terrarum were two charters : ' ^Ethelardus de Torric. G.' (cf.
De Antiq., p. 61) ; and ' Ecgbirhtus de libertate ejusdem. G.'

2 B. C. S. 300.

8 B. C. S. 312 : Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, iii. 546.

1 De Antiq., p. 68. The principal MS has ' Cuthlac ', but M has ' Guthlac '.

5 De Antiq., p. 69 : cf. B. C. S. 438.


regularis \ 1 Other gifts are enumerated, apparently in connexion with iEthelwulf's famous ' Donation \ 2

Abbot Hereferth, we are next informed, received from K. ^Ethel- bald, son of iEthelwulf, x hides at Brannucmunster, in the year 867.
There is some error here, as K. iEthelbald died in 860. Herefyrb' appears in the tenth-century list of abbots ; but there he succeeds
StiSheard whom William of Malmesbury puts after him, as we shall presently see.

But at this point William of Malmesbury's story gets into con- fusion. He has no gift of K. Alfred to record, except ' lignum
Domini ' which Pope Martin gave him. Then he suddenly goes on to speak of K. Athelstan, mentioning incidentally Abbot iElfric as ruling at that time for fourteen years. He speaks of Athelstan's gifts of relics, and then as suddenly he returns to his list of abbots (p. 71).

Abbot Stithherd, he tells, succeeded in 991 (cod. M has 981 : probably for 891). He can say no more about him than that the severity of his character corresponded to his name (for stith is equivalent to ' stiff '), and that it is illustrated by his pictures which invariably represent him with a scourge or a broom.

After him Abbot Aldhun appears in 922 (992 M) as receiving back
Cumtone from K. Edward. 3 After this we are told about St Dunstan.
. The figures have got wrong : we may correct Abbot Stithheard's date to 891, and put Abbot Aldhun in 922 : then Abbot .Elfric will get his fourteen years under K. Athelstan from 926 to 940. But we can have no confidence in these dates, especially as we shall presently see that the tenth-century list of abbots places iElfric next after
Dunstan, and at this point we can hardly set aside its authority which is almost contemporary.

William of Malmesbury proceeds to say (p. 71) that now we shall know what to think of the writer who said that St Dunstan was the first abbot of Glastonbury. He is referring to the Life of St Dunstan by Osbern, the precentor of Canterbury, whom he severely criticises in the preface to his own Life of the saint. 4

Dunstan is said to have been abbot in 940, when several estates were granted to him by K. Edmund (p. 72). In 956, when Dunstan has been driven into exile, K. Edwy makes grants to Elsius, who is stigmatised as ' pseudo-abbas '.

1 For this phrase cf. B. C. S. 61, 62, 142 ; and Mem. of St DunsL, p. 25.

2 Cf. B. C. S. 472.

3 A charter entitled ' Edwardus de Cumptone ' still existed in 1247 (J. of G.,
p. 375), but we have no further knowledge of it.

1 Mem. of St Dunst., p. 250.


In 963 Abbot Egelward (p. 84) receives a grant from K. Edgar of five estates. Separate charters of two of these estates are known
— Middetone in 966, and Stoure in 968 : but neither of them mentions the name of an abbot. 1 The charter of 963 on which
William of Malmesbury relied must have been a composite charter and of no historical value. He found his name again, as it would appear, attached to a Privilege of Pope John : but, when this
Privilege appears in some MSS of the Gesta Regum, the name given is not Egelward but iElfward. 2 We shall find that iElfward is the last name in the tenth-century list of abbots.

After Egelward Ave are given Abbot Sigegar, who is made to rule from 965 to the end of the century, being succeeded in the year 1000 by Abbot Beorhtred. Abbot Sigegar happily we know, for he was bishop of Wells from 975 to 997. He stands last but one in the list of abbots in Tib. B. 5, which was probably drawn up in his lifetime. 3

We need not pursue William of Malmesbury's list any further.
It will suffice to say that after Abbot Beorhtred he gives us Brithwi
(1017), another Egelward (1027), Egelnoth (1053), and then the first
Norman abbot, Turstin (1082).

We may now set the list which we have constructed from the De
Antiquitate side by side with the ancient list preserved in TiberiusB. 5.

W. ofM. Tib. B. 5

670 Berthwaldus

678 Hemgisel Hemgils

705 Berwaldus Wealhstod
712 Albert

719 Echfrid Coengils

729 Cengisle Beorhtwald

745 Tumbertus Cealdhun

754 Tican Luca

760 Guban Wiccea

762 Waldunus Bosa
794 Beadewlfus

800 Mucan Stiolieard

824 Cuthlac HerefyrS

851 Elmund Hunbeorht

867 Hereferthus ^Endhun

891 Stibherd Guolac

1 B. C. S. 1188 and 1214. 2 De Antiq., p. 84 ; G. R., p. 169.

3 For further information as to Sigegar, or Sigar, reference may be made to
The Saxon Bishops of Wells, p. 48.


W. of M. Tib. B. 5.

922 Aldhunus CuSred

926 Elfricus Ecgwulf

940 Dunstanus Dunstan

956 Elsius ps. -abbas

963 Egeluuardus JElfric

965 Sigegarus Sigegar

1000 Berthredus ^lfweard

1017 Brithwius
1027 Egelward
1053 Egelnoth
1082 Turstinus

In comparing the two lists it will be well to work backwards, beginning with the latest names of the tenth-century list. For that list is here contemporary and may be accepted without misgiving, whereas for the whole of the tenth century William of Malmesbury is in difficulties owing to the rarity of charters containing abbots' names. As Abbot Sigegar became bishop of Wells in 975, we may assume that ^Elfward succeeded him at Glastonbury in the same year. The date of Abbot Sigegar's accession is not clear. William of Malmes- bury used a composite charter by which K. Edgar granted to Sigegar three estates in 965. The first of these is Hamme : but the Hamme charter x was granted in 973, and it does not mention the abbot's name. Sigegar's first attestation as abbot seems to be in 974, 2 but he may possibly have been abbot as early as 965. iElfric fills the gap, whatever it may have been, between Dunstan and Sigegar. Dunstan was consecrated bishop in 957 and became archbishop in 960 : we do not know at what precise date he ceased to be abbot of Glaston- bury. It is perhaps useless to speculate as to the reasons which led
William of Malmesbury to make iElfric Dunstan's predecessor and not his successor. But we may note that a group of four or five abbots attest K. Athelstan's charters between 931 and 934 ; though after this no abbots attest either in his or in K. Edmund's reign.
This group is regularly headed by ' ^Elfric abbas ' ; and the first of the charters in question is a grant to an Abbot iElfric. 3 It is possible that William of Malmesbury saw some charter of K. Athelstan's

1 B. C. S. 1294 : the attestation is not given in full.

2 Ibid. 1303.

3 Ibid. 674 ; from the untrustworthy Winchester chartulary.


of that period at Glastonbury, and, having reasons for believing that there was at some time an Abbot iElfric at Glastonbury, made this precarious identification. In his Life of St Dunstan 1 he further says that it was iElfric's elevation to the episcopate which had made the vacancy at Glastonbury which Dunstan was unexpectedly called to fill. As an iElfric became bishop of Hereford in 940, and another citric became bishop of Ramsbury in 942, the suggestion was a tempting one.

But when we turn to our tenth-century list we find that iElfric comes after Dunstan instead of before him, and we are unable to accept this explanation of the vacancy. In this list the two names which precede Dunstan's are Cuthred and Ecgwulf. Of the latter we know nothing : but there is a possible trace of the former. For in the St Gall Confraternity Book the list of English names entered on the occasion of Bishop Kynewald's visit in 929 mentions after the bishops two abbots, ' Kenod abb. Albrich abb.' : then follow names with no distinctive designations and first among these is
' Cud ret '. Bishop Stubbs assumed that this Cudret was the abbot of Glastonbury who appears in the ancient list as Cuthred. 2 It is however to be observed that, though he stands next to the abbots, he is not described as an abbot. Now in a charter of K. Athelstan of three years later 3 we find the attestation of ' CuSercS minister '
If the ' royal island ' of Glastonbury were at this time in the king's hand and ruled by a lay ' abbot ', we could understand that he would not be styled ' abbas ' in the St Gall Confraternity Book ; and if his successor Ecgwulf were also a king's thegn we could understand that he should be removable at pleasure, and so present no obstacle when K. Edmund suddenly resolved to place Dunstan in the abbot's seat. But this is mere conjecture : the evidence does not warrant us in calling it more. And William of Malmesbury's example warns us of the danger of Writing down conjecture as history. 4

Guthlac, the name which precedes Cuthred in the tenth-century list, is placed at a much earlier point by William of Malmesbury, who dates him between 824 and 851. Here the balance of probability on the available evidence is against the tenth-century list ; and possibly we are no longer justified in looking to it for the proper

1 Mem. of St DunsL, p. 270.

2 Ibid., p. lxxvi. 3 B. C. S. 689 : a. d. 932.

4 The ' Cuthred minister ' to whom land is granted by ' K. Edred's ' charter of
' 948 ' (B. C. S. 873) is shown by the signature to be the Cuthred of K. Ethelred's time (866-75). Similarly the ' Ecgulf minister ' of the Sherborne charter of
K. Edgar (B. C. S. 1308) occurs in a mixed signature which belongs mainly to the ninth century.


sequence of the names which it records. Names could be gathered from tombs and from martyrological entries : but exact dates for the most part would be impossible of recovery, unless the compiler made a close study of the charters as William of Malmesbury himself did. The two lists need no further comment : they speak for themselves.
We need only note certain possible identifications. Luca may be a mistake for Muca. Wiccea is probably a mistake for Ticcea, which we have found as an alternative spelling of Tica. Hunbeorht may be the same as Tumbert or Tunbeorht. Perhaps less probable is the identification of Cealdhun with Waldunus. On the other hand iEndhun looks like a misspelling of Aldhun. In all these instances except the last it is the initial consonant which seems to have gone wrong. As our list comes to us in a Winchester manuscript of about a century after the compiler's date, it is possible that at some stage in its transmission the initials were left to be inserted by a rubricator, who made the best attempt he could at putting them in. There are actual examples of lists of bishops in which absurd errors have been intro- duced in this way. 1


The Liber Terrarum of Glastonbury

The manuscript at Trinity College, Cambridge (no. 724), from which
Hearne printed the De Antiquitate and the History of Adam of Domerham, contains various pieces which bear on the story and life of the monastery.
Some of these Hearne printed in his Adam of Domerham, others in his
John of Glastonbury.

On f. 101 of this MS there is a Catalogue of Books which were in the
Library in the year 1247. This is given by Hearne (J. ofG., p. 423), who notes that a later hand has changed the date to 1248, and has cancelled certain entries and inserted fresh ones : the former class Hearne indicates by a dotted line, the latter by square brackets. Thus on p. 435 we have the following interesting entries in succession.

Liber terrarum Glaston. vetust. set leaibilis.

Lib. de consuetudinibus. n°. unus editus sub Edgaro, de racionali observancia. legibilis. [alius de Cadomo.l

Taking the second entry first, we note that there were in the Library two Books of Customs. One is described as legible, though put forth in
K. Edgar's time. This would be an early copy of the famous Regularis

1 Thus in the Lambeth MS of Florence of Worcester we find Bodeca and
Bisa among the bishops of Wells, for Dodeca (Dudoc) and Gisa.


Concordia, drawn up probably by St Ethelwold under St Dunstan's guid- ance, and beginning with the words ' Gloriosus etenim Edgarus '. The other is described by the later hand as ' of (or ' from ') Caen '. It is possible that these were actually Caen Customs, brought over by the Norman abbot
Turstin, who came, as did his successor Herlewin, from Lanfranc's old abbey of St Stephen at Caen : x or else they were the ' Constitutiones
Lanfranci ', which the archbishop drew up for his own church at Canter- bury, and which found their way into most of the great monasteries, some- times as the ' Bee Customs' and sometimes as the ' Canterbury Customs '. 2

The Liber Terrarum, described as ' ancient but legible ', is struck out of the catalogue in 1248 : perhaps it had left the library for its more appro- priate place among the muniments. This book is now lost, but fortunately we learn its contents from an earlier section of our MS (ff. 77 ff.). For here we find, written by the first hand of the codex (the hand that wrote the library catalogue in 1247). a list of charters actually preserved in the abbey. 3 Just before the list of the extant charters comes a separate list, or calendar, of charters contained in the ancient Liber Terrarum. i These are 136 in number, and are given under the heading : ' Carte contente in libro terrarum Glaston..' The latest of them are two granted by K. Ethel- red : the former is a grant of Stoke to a certain Godric ; the latter a grant to Glastonbury of an estate at Wilton, made according to William of
Malmesbury (De Antiq., p. 87) in 984. It is tempting therefore to suppose that this Liber Terrarum was drawn up at the end of the tenth century, perhaps even before St Dunstan's death in 988. 5 But we must be careful not to identify it with the ' Liber Sancti Dunstani ' mentioned by the compiler of the Glastonbury Feodary in the fourteenth century as the oldest authority on which he relied. For this book got its name from its handsome binding of silver-gilt, with an ivory crucifix of St Dunstan's handiwork : its alternative title was, ' Liber Domusday ', and it included notices of the enfeoffment of Norman knights. 6

There are however two references to the Liber Terrarum in another fourteenth-century book, the Secretum of Abbot Monyngton (1341-74). 7
The first occurs in the calendar or table of contents prefixed to the volume. 8
Here we find among Privilegia region a heading which tells us that K. Cnut's charter was written in the beginning of the Land Book : ' Carta Knoutonis

1 For Customs introduced by Turstin and Herlewin see De Antiq., pp. 118-20
(ending ' de minutis quaere in texto ').

2 See ' Lanfranc's Monastic Constitutions ', Journ. of Theol. Studies, x. 375
(April 1909).

3 Hearne attributes this section to the time of Abbot John of Taunton (1274-
90). Dr. M. R. James however attributes the writing to the first half of the thirteenth century. Both this and the library catalogue doubtless belong to the vigorous period of Abbot Michael of Amesbury (1235-52).

4 Hearne, J. of G., pp. 370 ff.

5 This may however be too early for the inclusion of B. C. S. 61, to which reference will be made below.

6 Cf. Somerset Record Soc, vol. 26, p. 2.

7 Wood empt. I, in the Bodleian Library.

8 This useful calendar has been printed in the Somerset and Dorset Notes and
Queries, vols, xii, xiii.


sicut scribitur in principio de Landeboc' This spurious charter of privi- leges, granted (it was said) by K. Cnut on his visit to the tomb of Edmund
Ironside, 30 Nov. 1033, formed no part of the original book — it is not mentioned in the calendar of 1247 — but was written in on a fly-leaf at the beginning. The second reference occurs at the end of a charter of K. Edred (B. C. S.
867), granting Idmiston in Wilts to the thegn Wulfric. Here we find a note appended to say that, as there are three charters for this property, so there are three records of the bounds which may be read ' in libro qui dicitur land bok '. This ancient book, then, was still extant and in occasional use in the fourteenth century. 1

Two other references to the Liber Terrarum are worth noting. They are found in the endorsements of Glastonbury charters preserved at Longleat.
One is on Baldred's charter granting Pennard in a. d. 681 (B. C. S. 61), and runs thus : ' Carta Baldredi de Pennard et est septima in landbok.'
This charter is a document written at the end of the tenth or the beginning of the eleventh century — probably an expansion of an earlier charter.
The second is on a genuine charter of K. Edred (a. d. 955 : B. C. S. 903) :
' Carta Edredi regis de Pennard minster et est lxviii in landeboke.'

Each of these endorsements is in a hand of the thirteenth century. When we turn to the calendar of the Liber Terrarum, we find these two charters as the sixth and sixty-seventh entries respectively. The apparent dis- crepancy is explained by the fifth entry : ' Hedda episcopus de Lantokay,
i. Leghe, dat. Glast. II.' The numeral at the end indicates that there were two charters in the book which referred to Bishop Haeddi's gift : these would be numbered v and vi, and so Baldred's charter would be no. vii and Edred' s no. lxviii, as stated in the endorsements.

At the end of the titles of the 136 charters contained in the Liber
Terrarum stands another title : ' Nomina diversorum maneriorum perti- nencium Glaston.' Possibly this pointed to an index locorum at the end of the volume. After this there follow in the Trinity MS Lists of Ancient
Charters still existing at that date, and stated to be (as all the Saxon charters were) ' without seals ' :

1. Of lands granted direct to Glastonbury and still retained by the

abbey (20).

2. Of lands granted to subjects in the first instance, and still retained by

the abbey (12).

3. Of lands granted direct, but no longer retained (15).

4. Of lands granted to subjects and believed to have been given to the

abbey, but no longer retained (22).

In these lists the latest charters are eight of K. Ethelred, six of which

refer to properties no longer held. A later heading, Antiqua Privilegia,

introduces the titles of three spurious documents : the Great Privilege of

1 The three Idmiston charters appear in the calendar of the Liber Terrarum

together thus :

Edgar de Yfemestone dat. ^Elfswid.
Eddred de eodem dat. Wlfrico.
Idem de eodem dat. eidem.

The spelling of the place-name suggests that the scribe did not find the book very
' legible ' after all.


K. Ina, the Privilege of K. Edgar, and the Charter of St Patrick. The lists which follow are of charters of the Norman period and later.

It is of some importance to observe that, with two exceptions, all the charters up to the end of the tenth century, which are found in Monyng- ton's Secretum, are discoverable either in the calendar of the Liber Terrarum or in the Lists of Ancient Charters above described. The exceptions are :
(1) a brief Privilege of K. Ina (B. C. S. 109), which might have been copied for Monyngton from the De Antiquitate (p. 51) ; and (2) a charter of K. Edgar granting Buckland to ^Elfthryth his queen, which may have escaped the eye of the compiler or of some copyist of these lists.

Part of the value of the titles thus preserved to us in the Trinity MS lies in the fact that, though they present many instances of misspelling, they not infrequently enable us to correct mistakes in charters which have been printed from Monyngton's Secretum. One example, which is of some interest in itself, will sufficiently illustrate this. There has been much discussion as to the name of the father of Duke Athelstan, the ' Half- King ' as he was called, who ultimately became a monk at Glastonbury. The sole evidence hitherto has been a note appended to the Wrington charter of K. Edward the Elder (B. C. S. 606), where we find the words : ' Athel- stan dux Alius Etheredi.' They are thus printed by Birch from MS Bodl.,
Wood A. 1, f. 206 6 (i. e. the Secretum) and the Glastonbury MS at Longleat,
f. 341. ' Etheredi ' has been supposed to be a scribe's error for ' Ethelredi ', and the historians have sought without success to identify this Ethelred.
The editors of the Crawford Charters (1S95) conjectured (p. 83) that the
' Ethelfrith dux ' to whom the charter was granted was himself Duke
Athelstan's father : in other words that ' Etheredi ' is a corruption of
' Ethelfredi '. The conjecture becomes a certainty when we read the title of the charter as recorded in the calendar of the Liber Terrarum :

Edwardus de Wring. [Uurinton. supra tin.] dat. iEthelfritho, quam ejus
Alius Ethelstanus dux ded. G.


The Tzvo Earliest Glastonbury Charters

The early Glastonbury charters have never been systematically examined.
The texts are readily accessible in Birch's Cartularium Saxonicum ; and, though it is possible that further research might add to their number or improve their quality, we have enough material already to challenge the attention of the diplomatic expert whose trained experience would enable him to discern the precious from the vile and establish for the historian and the topographer the reasonable certainty of facts which at present they must needs view with suspicion. We are being taught in other directions that it is not enough to say that a charter is genuine or spurious. Frag- ments of genuine charters are embodied in late copies which have been remodelled for reasons often hidden from us. The compiler of a chartulary will sometimes abbreviate his documents, change the spelling of place- names, recast the bounds, add the date of the Christian era — all for practical purposes and with no fraudulent motive of any kind. The Glastonbury


charters offer several examples of the combination of two charters in a single document in the tenth century, perhaps for mere convenience of use in the coui'ts of law. Fraud is a motive which seldom can be proved, though there are a few undoubted instances, where privileges are claimed or where legendary history called for corroboration. The critical study of our early
English charters has been worthily initiated by the able editors of the
Crawford Charters : already it has begun to bear fruit of historical value here and there. But Glastonbury is neglected still, and the purpose of this
Note is to call attention to some exceptional features in two charters which suggest that its ancient muniments are peculiarly worthy of investigation.
The two earliest of the Glastonbury charters are grants of land by
K. Coenwalch and Bishop Haeddi, bearing the dates 670 and 680 respec- tively. It will be well to take the latter first, as there is reason to think that it is a more faithful representative of its lost original. Both charters are printed by Birch from the fourteenth-century Secretum of Abbot
Monyngton in the Bodleian Library.

B. C. S. 47.

Bishop Haeddi grants to Abbot Hemgisl Lantokai (Leigh in Street) and an island : 680 (for 677).

Regnante ac gubernante nos domino nostro Jhesu Christo : mense Julio, pridie nonas, indictione quinta, anno incarnationis ejusdem.DCLXXX.

Nichil intulimus in hunc mundum, verum nee auferre possumus : ideo terrenis caelestia et caducis aeterna comparanda sunt.

Quapropter ego Eddi episcopus terram quae dicitur Lantokai, tres cassatos, Hemgislo abbati libenter largior : nee non terram in alio loco, duas manentes, hoc est in insula quae giro cingitur hinc atque illinc pallude cujus vocabulum est Ferramere.

Denique solerter peto ut nullus post obitum nostrum hoc donativum in irritum facere praesumat. Si quis vero id temptaverit, sciat se Christo rationem redditurum.

Ego Eddi episcopus subscripsi.

Let us begin by looking at our earliest evidence as to the gifts of Bishop
Haeddi, who ruled the undivided see of Winchester from 676 to 705. In the
Liber Terrarum (J. of G., p. 370) the fifth entry runs thus :

Hedda episcopus de Lantokay, i. Leghe. dat. Glast. II.

This indicates that there were two charters dealing with this property which were copied into this ancient Land-book. One of these no doubt was the charter used by William of Malmesbury, who in the De Anti- quilate (p. 50) writes thus, under the heading De Leghe :

Eodem anno Hedde episcopus Lantocay vi hidas, Kentuino eciam et
Baldredo consencientibus, dedit Glastoniae : quam donacionem Cedualla confirmavit, et propria manu, licet paganus, signum crucis expressit.

This is plainly not the charter which we have before us, for it grants six hides at one place, as against three cassates in one place and two manses in another. William of Malmesbury has placed it ' in the same year ' with
Baldred's grant of Pennard, that is, in 681. This is probably an error, for it seems that this was the year in which Caedwalla was in exile and came


into contact with Wilfrid : but it is possible that his confirmation was obtained later.

Our charter is probably that which is mentioned in the list of charters still preserved in 1247 (J. of G., p. 375) :

Hedde episcopus de Lantokay et Ferremere. Hemgillo abbati.

Here we have the same combination of properties. When we look at the map we see that Leigh in Street is two miles south of Glastonbury, whereas Meare is nearly four miles to the north-west. It is possible that two grants are here combined in one charter : this would account for the different designations (' tres cassatos ' and ' duas manentes ') occurring in the same charter.

Nevertheless our charter presents very primitive features. Its first eight words are, as we shall see, identical with those of K. Coenwalch's charter (B. C. S. 25), and are such as we might expect. The addition of the year of the Incarnation may have been made when the charter was remodelled, say in the tenth century ; or it may have been inserted by the compiler of the fourteenth-century Secretum. It agrees neither with
William of Malmesbury's date (681), nor with the indiction, which points to 677. The brevity of the proem (Nichil intulimus, &c.) is in its favour, and the closer examination of it which we shall presently make will suggest that it retains its original form. This again is a point which links this charter to the charter of K. Coenwalch. There are other parallels of language between the two charters — such as ' libenter largior ' and ' hoc donativum", though K. Coenwalch's charter is elaborate and fanciful where Bishop Haeddi's is brief and plain. But it is time to read what claims to be the earlier document.

B. C. S. 25.

K. Coenwalch grants to Abbot Beorhtwald Ferramere and two islands :

670 (for 671).

►5* Regnante ac gubernante nos domino nostro Jhesu Christo.

Nichil intulimus in nunc mundum, verum nee auferre quid possumus : ideo terrenis caelestia et caducis aeterna mercanda sunt.

Quapropter ego Ceduualla terrain quae dicitur Ferramere, unum cassa- tum, Beorhtuualdo abbati libenter largior ; nee non duas parvas insulas ; hoc est cum captura piscium in utraque parte stagni, cum paludibus, silvis, pascuis apium, et omnibus ad se pertinentibus dabo ei, ut habeat diebus vitae suae et post obitum suum cuicumque voluerit derelinquat.

Corroboravimus nunc crucisque signo confirmato hoc donativum stabili jure gratum et ratum decerno durare quamdiu vixero poli terras atque aequora circa aethera siderum jusso moderamine volvet. Si quis autem nisus fuerit hujus meae donacionis testamentum confringere aut adimere conatur, ipse acrius multatus sit infernalis ergastuli poena demersus, quern eo daemon vel diis dampnatorum paravit.

>Z* Ego Coenuualla basilleos Westsaxonum propriae manus subscripcione sanctae crucis designavi effigiem, ut nemo qui se regeneratum in Christo noverit hujus largicionis donum mutare praesumat.

►£< Signum manus Theodori archiepiscopi.

*h Signum manus Leuteri episcopi.



►|« Signum manus Hedde abbatis.
4" Signum manus Aldhelmi abbatis.
Scripta est haec cartula privilegii anno incarnacionis Christi dclxx.

We must begin by attempting some emendation of this very corrupt text, which suggests that the charter from which this copy was made was in parts wellnigh illegible. First of all, ' Cenuualla ' must be read for
' Ceduualla ' : the signatures make this plain. Then ' pascuis apium ' presents a problem : I have nothing better to suggest than ' pascuis, aquis ', a sequence which is found in some charters. For ' confirmato ' in the last paragraph we must read ' confirmatum '. This we discover when we turn to K. Cuthred's confirmation of privileges (B. C. S. 169), which enables us to restore sense to the remainder of the sentence by emending the impossible
' vixero ' to ' vertigo '. The whole passage from K. Cuthred's charter must be quoted :

. . . sicque propriae manus subscriptione crucisque signo confirmatum hoc donativum stabili jure gratum et ratum regum praedictorum decerno durare, ' quamdiu vertigo poli terras atque ecora circa ethera siderum jusso moderamine volvet '. Si quis autem hujus meae donacionis testamentum visus fuerit confringere vel gressum pedis nobis Hengissingum traditum urbemque glebam extra terminos prefixos vel definitos limites seu consti- tutes adimere, ipse acrius multatus sit infernales ergastuli in pena demersus violentiae suae presumpcionem luat in evum. Amen.

*i* Ego Cudredus rex Westsaxona propriae manus subscripcione sanctae crucis designavi efligiem, ut nemo qui se regeneratum in Christo noverit presumat mutare hanc donacionem.

Here we have an almost equally corrupted text, but the blunders of the one charter can to some extent be set right from the other.

We must now look to see what our earlier authorities have to tell us.
The Liber Terrariim had a charter which is thus described (J. of G., p. 370) :
Carta Cenuualli de Ferramere dat. Glastoniae.

This may point to a grant of Ferramere only. 1 No charter of K. Coen- walch is recorded as existing in 1247. We turn, therefore, next to William of Malmesbury (De Antiq., p. 49) :

Anno dominicae incarnacionis sexcentesimo septuagesimo Cenwald, qui et Kenuualchius, qui a Cerdicio septimus apud Westsaxones et per beatum
Birinum in Christum credidit, anno regni sui xxix , Berthwaldo abbati, interveniente Theodoro archiepiscopo, dedit Ferramere II hidas. ' Ego
Theodorus subscripsi.' Dedit eciam idem rex Beokerie, Godenie, Mar- tynesye et Andreyesie. 2

Here again we seem to have evidence of a charter granting Ferramere only. It was dated in the 29th year of the king's reign : this no doubt

1 The ' two islands ' are perhaps regarded as a part of Ferramere. This would explain the calculation of Ferramere as n hides in what seems to be a confirmation of this grant by Bishop Haeddi under K. Centwine in the charter already discussed.

2 In G. R. z (p. 29) the passage appears in a shorter form : ' Anno dominicae incarnationis sexcentesimo septuagesimo, Ceonwalh, regni sui vicesimo nono, dedit Bertwaldo Glastoniensi abbati Ferramere, duas hidas, archiepiscopo
Theodoro interveniente.'


was the original dating, and the year a. d. 670 is prefixed by William of
Malmesbury, probably on his own calculation ; for he used a D E type of the A.S. Chron., which placed the accession of Coenwalch in 641 (not in
643 as in A). The signature 'Ego Theodorus subscripsi ' further shows that his form of the charter differed from ours, which has ' signum manus '
— itself an early feature.

He may have seen a separate charter which granted Beokery, Godney,
Martinseye and Andredseye. The ' two small islands ' of our charter would be two of these. Among the earliest requirements of the monastery would be the security of its fishing rights in Meare and the ' islands ' of this marshy region.

Looking now at our charter again, we observe that it opens with the same words as B. C. S. 47 (Bishop Haeddi's grant), and has the same proem with but two variants — the insertion of ' quid ' and ' mercanda ' for
' comparanda'. Other parallels have already been noted.

Its most striking feature is the parallel with K. Cuthred's privilege
(B. C. S. 169). From that or some similar charter the elaborate attestation of the king has been taken over, with the addition of ' basileus ', which suggests the tenth century. The contrast with the primitive attestations which follow (' signum manus . . . ') is noteworthy.

We conclude that we have here fragments preserved of an original charter of the seventh century, which has undergone more than one modification.
William of Malmesbury saw a form which recorded a grant made by
K. Coenwalch to Abbot Beorhtwald in the 29th year of his reign. Accept- ing 643 as the year of the king's accession, we may date the grant in 671 or 672. There seems no reason to doubt the historical fact which is thus recorded. We have now to consider a feature of these two charters which is of uncommon interest. The proem runs thus :

Nichil intulimus in hunc mundum, verum nee auferre [+ quid B. C. S. 25] possumus : ideo terrenis caelestia et caducis aeterna comparanda [mercanda
B. C. S. 25] sunt.

The quotation from 1 Tim. vi. 7 does not, as we might have expected, follow the text of the Vulgate. For there we read :

Nihil cnim intulimus in hunc mundum : haul dubium quia nee auferre quid possumus.

On the contrary, we have here an ancient form of the Old Latin version.
Three times St Cyprian, who died in 258, quotes the text exactly as we have it in B. C. S. 47 :

Nihil intulimus in hunc mundum, verum nee auferre possumus.
Twice it is quoted in the same way by St Paulinus, bishop of Nola, who died in 431. The fact is so curious, and the variants that we shall find in other charters so interesting, that it is worth while to add some further pre-Vulgate evidence. 1

Pelagius : Nihil intulimus in hunc mundum, verum quia nee auferre possumus. 1 I have to thank my friend Professor Souter for the correct texts of Pelagius and ' Ambrosiaster ' .

E 2


Ambrosiaster : Nihil enim intulimus in mundum, verum quia nee auferre

possumus quicquam.
Cod. Clarom. (d 2 ) : Nihil enim intulimus in hunc mundum, verum

quoniam nee efferre (sic) possumus.
Cod. Boern. (g 2 , connected with St Gall) : Nihil enim intulimus in hunc

mundum, quod (' vel quoniam ' added above the line) nee auferre

aliquid poterimus.
Book of Armagh (a. d. 807) : Nihil enim intulimus in hunc mundum,

verum quia nee auferre quid possimus.

How are we to account for the presence of a very ancient form of Old-
Latin text in a West-Saxon charter of the seventh century '? 1 The liturgical books of the Church even at the present day retain Old-Latin texts in certain passages which have never been assimilated to the Vulgate. But I am not able to find that this particular verse has been anywhere so preserved in ordinary use. Others may perhaps be able to supply my defect of know- ledge, and in that case our question would find a ready answer. Otherwise we must suppose the existence in Glastonbury or elsewhere in Wessex of a copy of the Pauline Epistles with a ' Celtic ' or a ' mixed ' text, which presented the verse in this ancient form. I can but put the matter forward tentatively, in the hope that it may receive attention in the proper quarter. We may however regard the presence of this primitive reading in our two charters as prima facie evidence of an early date. 2

The interest of our proem is not yet exhausted. The same text and the same moral drawn from it appear in many other charters, though never again with the same simplicity of form. Thus the Pagham charter
(B. C. S. 50), notorious for its unique phrase trimoda necessitas, has been fully discussed by Mr. W. H. Stevenson in the English Historical Review for Oct. 1914 (xxix. 689 ff.). It is written in what appears to be a Canter- bury hand of the end of the tenth century ; but it purports to be a grant made by Caedwalla, king of Wessex, to Bishop Wilfrid in a. d. 680. It begins thus :

>i» In nomine salvatoris nostri Jhesu Christi.

Nihil intulimus in hunc mundum, verum nee auferre quid poterimus : idcirco terrenis et caducis aeterna et caelestia supernae patriae premia mercanda sunt.

This may very well be an amplification of our proem, and derived ulti- mately from a genuine seventh-century Wessex charter. We have seen that ' poterimus ' occurs in the ' Celtic ' Cod. Boernerianus. It offers an

1 We might have supposed that the Vulgate, introduced by St Augustine and his companions, would have reigned without a rival in the Anglo-Saxon Church.
But this was so far from being the ease that we find almost at once the phenomenon of ' mixed ' texts : that is, either copies fundamentally Vulgate but with a large admixture of ' Celtic ' (Irish) readings, or copies fundamentally ' Celtic ' but corrected largely from the Vulgate. Professor Souter writes to me : ' With regard to mixed Celtic texts, I hold the view that they are Old-Latin revised here and there from Vulgate, and not Vulgate into which Old-Latin readings have been put by substitution.'

2 The addition of ' quid ' in B. C. S. 25 is perhaps due to familiarity with the
Vulgate on the part of a copyist.


unfavorable contrast to the terseness of the clause : ' ideo terrenis caelestia et caducis aeterna mercanda sunt.'

Exactly the same opening is found in B. C. S. 64 (except that it has
' possumus ', not ' poterimus '), another grant by Caedwalla to Wilfrid, a. r>.
683. This is a Chichester charter, drawn up in much the same language as the Pagham charter, but with an obviously impossible signature. Two
Worcester charters (B. C. S. 187, 218) have the same amplification of the moral, but in a corrupted form : the former of these was supposed to be a contemporary document of a. d. 759, but it is now regarded as of later date (see Stevenson, loc. tit., p. 695 n.) ; the latter also claims to be of the middle of the eighth century, but we have only a copy of it in Hemming's chartulary. Malmesbury has a special form of the text and its moral. Thus B. C. S.
58 (dated 681) begins thus :

In nomine domini dei nostri Jhesu Christi salvatoris.

Nichil intulimus (ut apostolicum confirmat oraculum) in hunc mundum, nee auferre quid possumus : iccirco terrenis ac caducis aeterna ac mansura mercanda sunt.

We note here the omission of ' verum '. B. C. S. 59 (680 for 681) has the same form, save that it does not omit ' verum '. Variations of the same form, with * verum ' omitted, are found in B. C. S. 70 and 279. The
Malmesbury charters are for the most part quite untrustworthy.

There are three Worcester charters in which 'verum ' is omitted (B. C. S.
164, 216, 701) ; but the omission does not seem to occur anywhere else.
In these three charters the text is not followed by the moral : and this is the case with those to which we now go on to refer.

Abingdon, another home of forgery, has a peculiar form of the text.
It prefixes Job i. 21 : ' Nudus egressus sum,' &c, and for our text it reads :

. . . verum nee ab eo auferre quid poterimus.

This is found in B. C. S. 680 (Athelstan) ; 1058, 1080, 1169, 1171, 1172
(all Edgar).

Winchester occasionally has this form (B. C. S. 1114, 1149, 1230) ; but it occurs nowhere else. We have noticed that 'poterimus' is found in
Cod. Boern.

We may add two isolated forms : B. C. S. 182, which has ' sed ' for
' verum', and B. C. S. 206, which has 'veruntamen' (cf. Cod. Fuldensis).

The perusal and classification of these various forms may perhaps be of service to students of the chartularies in which they occur. I shall not venture to comment on them further than to say that we turn back with relief to the simple form in our two Glastonbury charters, confirmed in our belief that here more surely than in any of the rest we have the language of the seventh century.



St Osmund was the nephew of the Conqueror. He became bishop of Salisbury in 1078, three years after the united sees of Sherborne and Ramsbury had been removed to Old Sarum. His first task was the building of his cathedral church in the grand Norman fashion : his next was to provide for a large body of clergy to offer a splendid worship to God day and night. In earlier days the clergy of the bishop's church were called his family : the endowments of the see were common to him and to them, and he was directly responsible for their bodily needs. But the Normans brought new ideas in this and in other matters. They moved the bishop's seat from the country to the town : they built new churches on an unexampled scale : they assigned part of the estates to the cathedral clergy, as prebends for individual canons and as a common fund to be divided among those who were actually in residence. An independent corporation was thus created, with a dean at the head as president of the chapter and ordinary of the church, a precentor to look after the services and the music, a chancellor to rule the schools and provide the books, and a treasurer to care for the vestments and other valuables.

This was the system which was transplanted from Normandy to
England, and appears simultaneously at York, Salisbury, and Lincoln about the year 1091. St Osmund seems to have been the leading spirit : at any rate he wrote down his brief Institution, and Salisbury became the pattern church to which almost every other looked for guidance. Wells was slow in following, and for a good reason.
Giso was an excellent bishop, brought from Lorraine by Edward the
Confessor. He had already reformed his church, not on Norman but on Lotharingian lines, bringing his canons together in a semi-monastic life, with a common dormitory, refectory and cloister. He therefore would not move his see from the country to the town as the Norman bishops were doing. He survived the Conqueror, and died in 1088.
Then John of Tours, his successor, deserted Wells and took the abbey church of Bath as his cathedral, and the monks became his chapter. Wells was desolate for the next fifty years. The bishop of Bath, as he was now called, gave its estates to his nephew under


the title of provost, and the canons left their new home to live in separate houses on the pittances provided by the provost : the buildings fell into ruin and Giso's work was all undone. At last, about 1140, under Bishop Robert, Wells revived : the church was restored or rebuilt : the Salisbury system was introduced, the chapter was reconstituted under a dean, and the right of election of the bishop was henceforth shared with the monks of Bath, although it was not for a hundred years more that the bishop began to use the double title of Bath and Wells.

Such is the story in brief : but we must look back for a moment to the dark period under Bishop John of Tours (1088-1122). In
Bishop Giso's time the estates of the canons had been managed by a provost chosen by themselves out of their own number. 1 But they were handed over by Bishop John in the first instance to his steward
Hildebert, who assigned but a meagre allowance to the canons. 2
Nor were matters improved when John, the bishop's nephew and archdeacon, became their provost. He claimed that the lands were his by hereditary right, subject only to a charge for the support of the canons. The next bishop, Godfrey (1122-35), disputed the claim and sought to restore the alienated property ; but John, the archdeacon and provost, had friends at court, and no redress could be obtained while K. Henry lived. Bishop Godfrey died, 16 Aug.
1135, leaving matters in this deplorable condition. Soon afterwards
John the archdeacon fell sick, and repented of his usurpation. On his death-bed he charged Reginald, his brother and heir, to see to it, for the eternal welfare of them both, that restitution was duly made. 3

Robert, the next bishop, had been a monk of the first Cluniac foundation in England, the priory of Lewes. Henry of Blois, the brother of K. Stephen, who had himself been trained at Cluny, was now holding the abbacy of Glastonbury together with the bishopric at Winchester : he had discovered merit in the young monk of
Lewes and had called him to preside over his monastery of St Swithun

1 Our information is mainly drawn from the so-called ' Historiola ' {Ecclesias- tical Documents, Camden Society, 1840), of which we shall say more presently.
There (p. 19) we read of their provost ' Ysaac nomine '. The Gheld Inquest
( Vict. Co. Hist., Som., i. 531) mentions ' Isaac the prepositus of the canons '. The name ' Isaacsmede ', which occurs in Wells documents from 1176 onwards, may have come from him.

2 Hildebert dapifer attests charters in 1100 and 1106 : Bath Chartul. (Som. Rec.
Soc, vol. 7), i. 41, 53. It is nowhere stated that he was Bishop John's brother, but this inference has been drawn from the fact that John the archdeacon claimed to inherit the estates from his father ; and this John and his brother Reginald were certainly the bishop's nephews.

3 ' Historiola,' p. 23.


at Winchester ; he had also employed him in the affairs of Glaston- bury. Stephen was wholly in Bishop Henry's hands when he came to claim the crown of England, and there can be no doubt that
Robert's election to the see of Bath was brought about by this powerful patron. At K. Stephen's Easter court of 1136 the bishopric was granted to Robert, who had already been canonically elected. 1

Bishop Robert's first years were full of storm and stress. A con- siderable part of Somerset was ravaged by K. Stephen's enemies, and in the spring of 1138 the bishop was himself captured while defending the king's interests near Bath. Moreover in the preceding year a fire had broken out in Bath and had destroyed the monastery, seriously damaging the great church which had only just been completed. Accordingly it was probable that some time would elapse before the new bishop could turn his attention to Wells.
Whilst he was at Glastonbury, indeed, he must have heard the bitter cry of the misused canons ; and we may well believe that on becoming bishop he at once laid his plans, if he could do no more, for the reconstitution of the cathedral church on the new system which York, Lincoln, and Salisbury had already borrowed with excellent results from the great churches of Normandy.

It has been assumed, on the authority of a note appended to the
Ordinance in which Bishop Robert records the outlines of his new constitution, 2 that the abolition of the provostship, the appointment of a dean, the recovery of the estates and their distribution into prebends, all took place within the first year of his episcopate.
The note indeed plainly states that ' this was transacted in the presence of Henry bishop of Winchester, and afterwards confirmed by the witnesses following ; namely, the archbishops, William of
Canterbury and Thurstan of York, and the bishops, Roger of
Salisbury, William of Exeter, Simon of Worcester, and others '.
The archbishop of Canterbury died, as is well known, within a year of his crowning of K. Stephen, on 21 Nov. 1136. William Warelwast, the bishop of Exeter, survived till 27 Sept. 1137 ; but he was blind for some time before his death, and he was not present at K. Stephen's great Easter court of 1136.

To accept this note as giving the true date of the Ordinance would

1 ' Canonica prius electione precedente' (Bath Charlul. i. 60). As much stress has been laid by historians on this clause in Bishop Robert's grant, it may be worth while to call attention to a similar statement in a charter of Bishop Godfrey
{ibid. i. 57), in which he speaks gratefully of K. Henry, ' qui mihi gratuita munifi- centia sua post canonicam electionem episcopatum dedit.'

2 Wells Registers, R. i. 36, R. iii. 9 (with further witnesses). It is printed by
Canon Church, 'Early History of the Church of Wells, App. A, p. 352.


require us to compress what in the most favourable circumstances must have been the labour of years into the brief and troubled period of Bishop Robert's first six months. Moreover the chief seat of the bishopric was not then Wells, but Bath ; and it is not reasonable to suppose that the new bishop's attention should at first be wholly concentrated on a church which for nearly half a century had fallen from its high estate.

The form of the appended clause is in itself unusual. If it comes from Bishop Robert himself, and not from a scribe of later date, it must be intended to mean that Henry bishop of Winchester had been consulted at an early stage, and that the archbishops and bishops had given a general approval to Bishop Robert's proposal to introduce the new cathedral system at Wells. But that the
Ordinance itself in the form in which we have it was thus approved by them is demonstrably untrue. 1

One clause suffices to show that it ca-mot have been written before the end of the year 1159. After enumerating the prebends into which he had distributed the earlier possessions of the canons, the bishop proceeds to speak of two new prebends which he has added of his own benefaction. The first is Yatton : the second is described in these words : ' Huish in Brentmarsh and the church of
Compton, which we have given to the same St Andrew to be held in entire and peaceable possession as a perpetual patrimony, we have united to form one prebend '. Fortunately for our purpose we have in the Liber Albus (R. i. 26) an elaborate charter, in which the bishop relates that Huish in Brentmarsh, a member of his manor of Banwell, had been granted by his predecessors to various persons, lay and clerical, and by himself to Master Alured and then to Master
Richard de Montacute ; and that he feared lest some powerful layman who could hardly be refused should petition for it in the future and so it should pass altogether into lay hands. He proceeds to say that he has determined to secure it by making it a perpetual prebend of the church of Wells, in order that the number of the canons may thereby be increased and the praises of God be the more fully and joyfully rendered in the choir. This charter is dated at Wells, 4 Nov. 1159.

If any doubt could be raised as to the meaning or validity of this charter, it would be set at rest by a comparison of the bull directed

1 The late Canon Church in his Early History of the Church of Wells, while accepting the date 1136 for the Ordinance, was too good a historian not to recog- nise that it could not have come into effect so soon on account of the alienation of some of the properties : accordingly he regarded it (p. 18) as giving the outline of the bishop's plan.


to Ivo dean of Wells by Adrian IV on 22 Jan. 1158 with the bull directed to Richard his successor by Alexander III on 15 June 1176. 1
For in the later bull Huish and the church of Compton duly appear among the possessions confirmed to the dean and canons, whereas they are not named in the earlier bull which was issued, as we have seen, in the year before the new prebend was created.

We are now in a position to review Bishop Robert's record of his new institution without being hampered by the supposition that the statements which it contains must all be referred to the first six months of his episcopate. 2 He begins by declaring that after the divine mercy had raised him to the bishop's seat he had anxiously striven to banish all abuses from the churches committed to his care, and to root out all causes of contention. Accordingly, finding the church of Wells crushed by the wrongful exactions of the provost- ship, he had taken counsel with the archbishops, bishops, and other religious persons of England, and then at the request of the canons themselves had appointed a dean of Wells, to whom he had granted such dignities, liberties, and canonical customs as were usual in the well-ordered churches of the land.

This is not properly speaking a foundation charter, but a record under the bishop's seal of the more important points of his action.
It was probably suggested by Bishop Giso's account of his institution of canons and distribution of properties, which closes, as does
Bishop Robert's, with an appeal to his successors to secure the stability of his work. 3

The dean alone is mentioned at the outset, but in a later paragraph there is an incidental notice of the precentor ; and there can be no doubt that the constitution was framed on the pattern of Sarum and provided also for a chancellor, treasurer, subdean, and succentor.
To the dean and chapter of Salisbury Dean Ivo and his chapter had already applied for guidance some years before this Ordinance of Bishop Robert was drawn up, and we have the answer of Robert dean of Salisbury (who in 1155 became bishop of Exeter), in which he describes the dignitas decani so far as it relates to archidiaconal jurisdiction. 4

The distribution of the common estates of the canons into separate

1 R. ii. 45, 46 : the former is misdated in the Cal. of Wells MSS, i. 533.

2 The appended note is probably due to some copyist who in ignorance referred the Ordinance to the early part of Bishop Robert's episcopate, and desired to give the names of the archbishops and bishops alluded to in the text of the document. 3 See below, p. 60.

4 R. i. 29. The next dean of Salisbury also wrote to Ivo, and afterwards to
Ivo's successor, with regard to certain Sarum customs.


prebends is the next topic of the Ordinance ; and when the bishop comes to speak of the large estate of Combe we pick up again the story of Reginald, the brother and heir of John the archdeacon and provost. We learn from another source that in pursuance of his brother's injunction Reginald had come to Bath and surrendered into the new bishop's hands the lands and rents of the canons which his father and brother had unjustly usurped, and that he became precentor of Wells and received in addition to the precentorship the prebend and whole manor of Combe. 1 This is in harmony with the statement of the Ordinance : ' We have granted Combe as a single prebend to Reginald the precentor for his life, mindful of the benefits conferred on our church by his uncle, Bishop John of good memory '. After Reginald's decease five prebends were to be made out of Combe.

After reciting his new gifts of Yatton, and Huish with the church of Comjjton, the bishop grants and confirms (1) half a hide in Wotton and a virgate of land which Giso of happy memory gave to the chapel of St Mary, (2) half a hide which Godfrey gave to St Cuthbert's church at its dedication, and (3) the tithe of his own wine. Lastly, he provides a special solatium for the canons who attend the night offices. He ends with an appeal to his successors to preserve and confirm his work.

It is not possible to fix the exact year in which the constitution thus briefly outlined had actually come into being. It was clearly in full play before June 1155, as is shown by the correspondence of
Dean Ivo with the chapter of Salisbury to which we have already referred. A charter of Bishop Robert preserved in the Bruton chartulary 2 takes us back with reasonable security another eight or nine years : for the bishop thereby confirms a gift made in 1146 to the church of St Mary at Bruton by Alexander de Cantelupe, and it is likely that this confirmation would be speedily obtained : the bishop's confirmation is witnessed by Ivo the dean and Reginald the precentor. 3

1 ' Historiola', p. 24. 2 Som. Rec. Soc, vol. 8, p. 11.

3 The attestation is of interest not only as giving us the names of the three archdeacons who constantly meet us in the period before 1159, but also as placing them before the precentor ; the two archdeacons of the later period, Robert and
Thomas, do not (unless quite exceptionally) take precedence of the precentor.
The witnesses are thus given :

' Testibus : Communitate ejusdem ecclesie [i. e. St Mary of Bruton]
Ivone decano,

Eustacio, Hugone, Martino archidiaconis,
Reginaldo cantore et toto capitulo.'


If we could fix the date of Bishop Robert's ' Donation ' to the monks of Bath, 1 we might perhaps get earlier evidence for the new chapter at Wells ; for Ivo attests it as dean. But this charter, like the ' Ordinance ' for Wells, is a record of the bishop's actions, and its date demands a special investigation. Meanwhile we may consider one further source of information, which must not be left out of account, though its evidence is somewhat indirect and confused. In 1840 Dr Hunter edited for the Camden Society a brief narrative contained in a Bath chartulary which by some unexplained process had found its way into the library of Lincoln's Inn. 2 The writer seems to have been a member of Bishop Robert's new chapter, who survived the eight years' vacancy of the see which was closed by Bishop Reginald's consecration on 23 June 1174. The heart of the document is a brief record from the pen of Bishop Giso, which describes how he came to his see and what pro vision he made for the canons of his cathedral church. It is almost of the nature of a charter, and it closes with an appeal to his successors to cherish his new foundation and a warning against any violation of the dispositions he had made. It is not unlikely that Bishop Giso foresaw the removal of the see to Bath, which under his successor brought about the very violation which he deprecated. The writer who has embodied this valuable record then proceeds to narrate the misfortunes which befell the canons under Bishop John of Tours and Bishop Godfrey. We have drawn upon him already for the story of the repentance of John the archdeacon and the restitution made by his brother Reginald. We now learn further that, after
Bishop Robert had peaceably held the restored estates ' for some twenty years or more ', Stephen being dead and Henry II upon the throne, the nephews of Reginald endeavoured to disturb the settlement, and forced the church into a lay court contrary to ecclesiastical law. 3 We seem in this to hear an echo of the con- troversy between Becket and the king. Happily however the matter was compromised, and the claimants were bought off at a meeting at Bath on 14 March 1165. 4

1 Bath Chartul. i. 61.

2 Dr Hunter gave this narrative the title ' Historiola de primordiis episcopatus
Somersetensis '. The volume in which it is published is called Ecclesiastical Docu- ments : the narrative is found on pp. 189-95 of the Lincoln's Inn MS (see Bath
Chartul. ii. 105).

3 ' Eos [sc. ecclesiam et episcopum et ipsum precentorem] ad capitulum in curiam laycam coram judicibus contra canones traxerunt ' : "Historiola', p. 26.

4 R. i. 36.


The question which immediately interests us is the limit of the period, here vaguely described as ' viginti fere annos vel ultra ', during which Bishop Robert had quiet possession of the disputed properties. The revived controversy began, we are told, in Dean
Ivo's time and after K. Henry II had come to the throne ; and the church was troubled for a considerable time (' diutine vexata ') before the settlement was arrived at under Dean Richard in 1165.
We may perhaps infer from this narrative that Bishop Robert had recovered the properties about 1143 ; but if other evidence should be found pointing to a rather earlier date, say 1140, it would not be inconsistent with the story we have been considering.

We may also note that the author of this narrative states at an earlier point (p. 24) that in regaining the estates Bishop Robert was aided by Henry bishop of Winchester, who was at the time legate of the Holy See. Now Bishop Henry's legatine commission dated from 1 March 1139, but he did not immediately make it known : it lapsed with the death of Innocent II on 24 September
1143. Thus we are again pointed to the years 1140-3 as the probable period of the re-foundation of the chapter at Wells.

If we have been obliged to reduce Ivo's tenure of the deanery by cutting off five or six years at the beginning, we shall make some compensation by adding three or four years at the end. It has been generally assumed that Richard ' de Spakeston ' succeeded him as dean in 1160 : . but the Bruton chartulary (p. 29) contains a confirmatory grant by Thomas archbishop of Canterbury, made in presence of the king and his court at Woodstock, and followed by a royal confirmation which is attested by Ivo dean of Wells. 1
Another witness is Richard archdeacon of Poitiers. This is Richard of Ilchester, who afterwards became bishop of Winchester. He does not appear to attest charters as archdeacon of Poitiers until about March 1163. W T e may take it therefore as practically certain that the occasion here referred to was the famous council held at
Woodstock in the first week of July 1163.

Our earliest charter evidence for Richard as dean of Wells is the composition made with the precentor's nephews at Bath on 14 March
1165. But we have a letter addressed to him as dean by Henry de
Beaumont the dean of Salisbury, which perhaps belongs to the preceding year. 2 Philip de Harcourt bishop of Bayeux died 7 Feb.
1164 : Henry de Beaumont attests a charter as ' elect of Bayeux '

1 An inspeximus of this charter occurs on 1 March 1314 (Cal. of Patent Rolls),
With the addition of ' Nicholas chaplain ' after ' Adam de Gernemue '.

2 R. i. 29.


c. Sept. 1165 ; 1 but it appears that he was elected before the death of Hugh archbishop of Rouen (f 11 Nov. 1164), 2 and that his con- secration was delayed. As far then as our knowledge at present extends, we seem to be justified in placing Dean Ivo's death towards the end of 1163 or in the course of 1164.

The first dean of Wells, then, held office for nearly a quarter of a century (c. 1140-64). In the early years of his rule much must have been doing on the fabric of the church. It is probable that the church of Bishop Giso's time was sadly out of repair, and had to be almost, if not altogether, rebuilt. The ' Historiola ', 3 after speaking of Bishop Robert as having rebuilt the church of St Peter at Bath at great expense, says : ' Nor should it be forgotten that the church of Wells was built by his counsel and assistance '. It goes on to say that at its consecration three bishops were present, namely,
Jocelin of Salisbury, Simon of Worcester, and Robert of Hereford.
Jocelin became bishop of Salisbury in 1141 : Robert of Bethune died at Rheims during the council, 16 April 1148 : we can thus give the ceremony an approximate date. But we are quite in the dark as to the nature and extent of the work that had been done : we only know that within forty years it was determined to build anew from the foundations, and we cannot point to much more than a single stone of Bishop Robert's church : this is part of the base of a Norman pier, dug out of a wall some sixty years ago, and now lying on the stone bench in the north aisle of the choir. A century later it was still remembered that Bishop Robert had given lands at Dultingcote ' at the dedication of the old church ' ; 4 the grant thus referred to is preserved, and also a lease of the lands made by Dean Ivo and the chapter, which has a special interest as giving us the names of a number of the canons. 5

There is little that we can tell of Dean Ivo's personal story. On
14 Nov. 1148 he and two of the canons, Master Alfred (Aluredus) and Edward, accompanied their bishop on the occasion of the
Translation of St Erconwald at St Paul's. 6 On 13 Dec. 1157 Ivo

1 Eyton, Itinerary of Hen. 11, p. 84. The reference in Le Neve (ii. 613) to the
Gloucester Chronicle is an error : the passage to which he refers is from Robert of Torigny's Chronicle (Domit. 8, f. 78 b) and is in itself inexact. This error has led the compiler of the Saturn Fasti into a further mistake as to the charter cited by Eyton, which has nothing to do with Gloucester.

2 A letter was written by Archbishop Hugh to the bishop-elect of Bayeux : see
Gallia Christ, xi. 864 (ed. Paris, 1874).

3 pp. 24 f. 4 R. iii. 3 ff. 5 R. i. 46.

6 Inspeximus in Charter Roll, 12 Edw. Ill, no. 40 (cf. Patent Roll, 6 Hen. VI, pt. 1, m. 21).


was at Gloucester, where he attested in presence of the king a composition between the abbey and Roger the archbishop of
York. 1

Four letters from the dean and chapter of Salisbury are preserved in the Liber Albus I. 2 Two of them are addressed to Dean Ivo, and relate to the rights of the dean and canons in their own churches and estates, setting forth how they are ' wholly emancipated from the vexation and servitude of archdeacons '. The other two belong to the period of his successor, and deal with various points on which guidance was sought from the usage of the church of Sarum.

The original endowment of the deanery is of sufficient interest to detain us for a few moments. It is called by Bishop Robert
Wedmoreland, and is the high ground which separates the marshes of the rivers Axe and Brue. Wedmore itself is eight miles due west of Wells. Its name recalls historical memories of Alfred and the
Danes. This territory was part of the ancient demesne of the Saxon kings. Glastonburyin deed showed charters which recorded that
K. Centwine (676-85) gave it to Bishop Wilfrid, who in turn gave it to Abbot Beorhwald (c. 705-9). 3 But the abbey failed to hold it, and we find K. Alfred in his will granting it to Edward his eldest son. In later days it was given to Bishop Giso by K. Edward the
Confessor, whose queen Edith gave Merk and Mudgeley as well.
Out of this great property the new deanery was endowed by Bishop
Robert, and six prebends also were created. Four of these consisted of yearly payments by the dean of 100 shillings each : another was the church of Wedmore, which was the rjortion of the subdean : the sixth was Biddisham, which (with the exception of one virgate) was constituted ' a prebend for the repair of the church of St Andrew and the purchase of ornaments for the same ', with the obligation however of providing a vicar. Besides Wedmore and the excepted virgate at Biddisham the dean held Merk and Mudgeley, and also the church of Wookey. The prebend of Litton was also assigned by Bishop Robert to the deanery. 4 Dean Ivo re- ceived from K. Henry II a grant of free warren on his lands at
Wedmore. 5

1 Gloucester Chartulary (Rolls S.), ii. 106.

2 R. i. 29. 3 See above, p. 32.

4 In Bishop Jocelin's time the subdean was given the church of Wookey, and the dean obtained the church of Wedmore, thus consolidating his property. The prebend of Litton became separated from the deanery, and it was held (c. 1240) by the celebrated Master Elias of Dereham (R. i. 96).

5 R. i. 58 : given at Pacey (ad Pacem), probably in November 1158 (Eyton,
Itinerary, p. 42).


Richard, the second dean of Wells, c. 1164-89.

It has been usual to speak of the second dean of Wells as Richard de Spaxton, and to date his accession in 1160. But we have seen that Dean Ivo was at the king's court at Woodstock at some time after 25 Jan. 1168, the day on which the king crossed to Southampton ; and that the occasion probably was the council held there in the first week of July, when Becket quarrelled with the king over the pay- ments made to the sheriffs. The year 1160 was tentatively suggested by Archdeacon Archer, the learned investigator of the Wells records in the first part of the eighteenth century. He based his conjecture on Bishop Robert's confirmation of a grant made by Robert the archdeacon to Gilbert Cawete (R. i. 20) : but as this is attested by
Richard archdeacon of Poitiers it is almost certainly not earlier than March 1168. Our first certain notice of Richard as dean is, as we have said, on 14 March 1165 ; but he may have come into office in the preceding year. His designation as ' Richard de
Spaxton ' has led to needless confusion. This name occurs twice in Wells charters and once in a charter of Buckland Priory. In
R. i. 37 b (cf. R. hi. 187 b) we have Bishop Reginald's confirmation of a grant concerning the church of Stowey made by Maud de Chandos : it is attested by Master Ralph de Lechlade, Master Robert de
Gildeford, Jocelin the chaplain, Herman de Wivelscombe, Richard de Spackestona dean, and others. If the dean of Wells were here intended, some explanation would be required of his attesting after two at least of his canons. Again, in R. hi. 250 Maud de Chandos confirms a gift to the church of St Mary of Stowey at its dedication, and the attestation includes, after the names of several canons of
Wells, '#. decano de Spackestun et de Modiford'. Finally, we have the Buckland charter of Simon le Bret, attested by Master Robert archdeacon, Richard de Spaxton dean, and others : . this bears date
17 Nov. 1195, several years after Dean Richard had been succeeded by Dean Alexander. 1 It is plain therefore that we must distinguish between Richard dean of Wells and Richard de Spaxton who was rural dean of Spaxton and Mudford. 2

The year in which Richard ceased to be dean of Wells is commonly given as 1180 : but this again is certainly wrong for we have an

1 ' Richard de Spakest[on] then dean ' attests a grant to St Andrew of Stoke
(Stogursy) in a charter at Eton College (Hist. MSS Comm., 9th rep. i. 354 a).
An earlier charter of Bishop Robert now at Eton College (ibid. 9th report, i.
353 b) is attested by Hugh dean of Spaxton.

2 It is much to be wished that the old spelling of this place-name (Modiford, or Mudiford) might be restored.


award x given by R. abbot of Ford, W. abbot of Binedon and R. dean of Wells, who had been appointed commissioners by Urban III in a bull dated at Verona, ' xii kal. Septembr.' This date can only mean 21 August in 1186 or 1187 : and in deference to the current view the editor of the Calendar of Wells MSS (1907) has obelised the dean's initial and appended a note in which he says : ' Dean
Alexander seems to have been contemporary with Pope Urban III '.
But the correctness of the copy in Liber Albns I has since been demonstrated by the recent publication of the chartulary of Buckland
Priory : for there we find Bishop Reginald's confirmation of
K. Henry II's grant placing sisters at Buckland instead of the ejected canons. This grant is attested by Richard dean of Wells, and it is dated 8 November 1186. 2

It is plain from these two documents that Dean Richard's decease has been considerably antedated ; 3 and we must prefer the wiser judgement of Archdeacon Archer, who placed it conjecturally in
1188. Even this is probably too early, as appears when we try to date the appointment of his successor.

The Buckland charter of 8 Nov. 1186 is attested by Master
Alexander ; and this is the earliest date at which his appearance in documents connected with Wells can be fixed with certainty.
But there are three charters which he attests as subdean, and one of these is witnessed also by Robert fitz Paine as sheriff of Somerset, an office which he held from Mich. 1184 to Mich. 1188. 4 Therefore
Alexander must have become subdean at some time between
Nov. 1186 and Mich. 1188. With our present knowledge it is reasonable to suppose that he was subdean in 1187-8, and became dean in 1189 or 1190.

Accordingly we date Dean Richard's tenure of the deanery
.provisionally as c. 1164-89. Of himself we know but little.
The Pipe Roll for 1169-70 tells us that he was fined ten marks for having imprisoned one of the king's Serjeants. More to his credit is that in the last years of his life he co-operated with Bishop Reginald in his preparations for the rebuilding of the church of Wells. But, strangely enough, his real interest as a builder lay elsewhere : for the Evesham Chronicle gratefully records that the completion of the cloister and the nave of the abbey church under Adam the abbot was chiefly due to the assistance of Richard the dean of

1 R. i. 37. s Som. Rec. Soc, vol. 25 (1909), pp. 7 f.

3 Further evidence is given by a charter in Round's Doc. pres. in France, p. 320.

4 (1) R. i. 35 b ; (2) and (3) Wells charter no. 10, an inspeximus of the charter attested by the sheriff, and probably made soon afterwards.



Wells. 1 We search in vain to discover the reason of this interest in
Evesham Abbey. Dean Richard appears once as attesting an
Evesham charter ; 2 but no abbot or monk of Evesham appears in the Wells documents of the period.

We have noted already that not long after Dean Richard's entry upon his office the long-drawn controversy with the nephews of the precentor found its close and the threatened estates of the dean and chapter were finally secured. This was in March 1165. Some eighteen months later the good Bishop Robert, the founder of the new regime, passed away on the last day of August 1166. The bishopric remained vacant owing to the quarrel between Becket and the king : the new bishop Reginald, appointed in May 1173, was consecrated abroad on 23 June 1174 and enthroned at Bath on
24 November.

Thus for spiritual purposes the bishopric was vacant for eight years. To this period belongs an undated letter of Alexander III to the dean, precentor, and chapter of Wells, in which he requires them to assign a prebend wrongfully usurped by Thomas the arch deacon and his brother Stephen to Master E., a canon appointed by the late bishop with promise of a prebend when a vacancy should occur. 3 The prebend in question would seem to have been Whit- church (in Binegar), and if so it is clear that the pope's order was not carried out (cf. R. iii. 370) : as Archdeacon Thomas was high in the king's favour, it is likely that nothing happened to disturb him or his brother. Master E. is possibly to be identified with
Master Eustace, who attests Bishop Robert's charter concerning fairs at Wells, and some others which belong to the years 1163-6.
The incident is of interest as showing that a canon might have to wait some time before he could become a prebendary. And the pope's letter to Dean Richard became famous for the obiter dictum that no one could hold two prebends in the same church : it was added to the Decretals and became part of the Canon Law.

1 Chron. Evesh. (Rolls Ser.), pp. 101 f. ' Claustrum etiam, quod Mauritius et Reginaldus abbates pro parte fecerant, et navis ecclesiae cum adjutorio decani de Welles maxime et aliorum bonorum virorum ejus [sc. Adami] tempore perfecta sunt. . . . Ejus tamen tempore fuit Rieardus decanus de Welles, qui acquisivit redditum quindecim marcarum de ecclesia de Ambresleia [v. I. Ombresleye] ad opera ecclesiae istius, et optimas confirmationes earundem, et qui fecit aulam quae nunc est abbatis. Iste enim decanus pensionem ecclesiae de Baddebi et quosdam alios redditus acquisivit ; unde cereus ante magnum altare et corpora sanctorum perenniter ardens appositus est. Cujus etiam maxime auxilio et ecclesia et ornamenta et omnia predicta perfecta sunt.'

2 Monasticon, ii. 19.

3 Jaffe-Wattenbach, ii. 397. See below, p. 80.


Alexander, the third dean of Wells, c. 1189-1213.

We ha ve said that it is reasonable to suppose that Master Alexander, the canon who held the prebend of Hengstridge, became subdean in 1187-8, and succeeded Richard as dean in 1189 or 1190. The earliest clear evidence of his attesting as dean is in a charter of
Bishop Reginald's which is also attested by Savary archdeacon of
Northampton. This charter must have been issued before Savary left England to go to K. Richard at Messina, where he seems to be in the first months of 1191 : from Messina he went to Rome, where he was consecrated as Bishop Reginald's successor in the see of
Wells in 1192. It is thus practically certain that Alexander was dean in 1190 : and the fact that we can still point to twenty-three charters which are attested by him as dean under Bishop Reginald, before Dec. 1191, makes it not unlikely that his accession should be dated in 1189.

When did he cease to be dean ? The last dated document which he attests is the ordinance made by Bishop Jocelin at Wells on
3 June 1209, by which the dean obtained the church of Wedmore and the subdean received in exchange the church of Wookey. 1
The country had then been under interdict some fourteen months, and before the end of the year 1209 Bishop Jocelin, who had remained at the king's side till his personal excommunication, was in exile in France. It is almost certainly during this period of exile that
Dean Alexander died. Bishop Jocelin returned in Jufy 1213, and at the Michaelmas chapter of that year, at which several acts of importance were passed, Alexander's place as dean is found to be filled by Leonius.

It has been suggested that Dean Alexander was, like Bishop
Reginald and Bishop Savary, a member of the Bohun family. Some plausibility was given to this suggestion by the fact that a brother of
Engelger de Bohun was called Alexander : but as he attests a charter of their father, Richard de Meri (c. 1105), 2 we can only say that the name Alexander occurs in the family. The ground of the theory would appear to have been that on two occasions we have mention of Roger, nephew of the dean of Wells ; 3 and that about the same time, we find a Roger de Bohun. 4 But the former is styled ' Master
Roger ', and is almost certainly to be identified with Master Roger de Sandford, a canon of this period. 5

1 R. i. 58. 2 Round, Doc. in Fr., no. 669.

3 Adam of Domerham, ii. 368 (Feb. 1197) ; Close Rolls, 4 Nov. 1205.
* R. i. 45 (1190-1) ; Close Rolls, 20 Jan. and 20 Apr. 1206. s Close Rolls, 19 Jan. and 20 Apr. 1206 ; R. i. 11 (6 June 1205), Wells charter 37
(c. 1209).

F 2


The first two or three years of Alexander's tenure of the deanery were the closing years of Bishop Reginald's episcopate. The building of the new church had begun about the year 1186, and Alexander who then held the prebend of Hengstridge, on the Dorset border near Templecombe, made a generous grant towards the work. 1 We may be confident that as dean he did his utmost to further it, and that to him it was mainly due that the dark days of Bishop Savary's episcopate are not marked by any break in the continuity of the building. Of this gloomy period we must now give some account, as their loyalty to the bishop brought the dean and many of the canons into painful conflict with the monks of the great neighbouring abbey. 2
On 29 Nov. 1191 Bishop Reginald was elected to the archbishopric of Canterbury ; but within a month he* died (26 Dec). Savary his cousin was consecrated to the see of Bath at Rome, 20 Sept. 1192.
At this time K. Richard was a prisoner in Germany, and Savary who claimed kinship with the emperor Henry VI was engaged in the negociations for the king's release. He persuaded the emperor to insist on K. Richard's assent to an arrangement by which the abbey of Glastonbury should become like the abbey of Bath a cathedral monastery with the bishop as the abbot, the city of Bath being given to the king in exchange. To further this end he also arranged that the abbot of Glastonbury, Henry de Sully, should at once be promoted to the vacant see of Worcester. Savary proceeded to
England and took possession of the abbey ; but the king on his return made him surrender it until the pope's decision should have been received. On receiving the bull of Celestine III Savary, who was then at Tours, requested Dean Alexander to go to Hubert
Walter, the archbishop of Canterbury, taking the letters executory addressed to the archbishop by the pope, and entreat him to act upon them.

The archbishop delayed, and at length in the autumn of 1196 the dean went with the envoys of Savary to Glastonbury to present a letter from the bishop declaring the contents of the papal bull.
He was refused admittance into the chapter house, but in the prior's chamber the dean opened the letter and read it out in the presence of some eight of the monks, one after another of whom slipped away as the reading went on. The dean then departed, and on the morrow the subprior and others came over to Wells, and read in the dean's presence an appeal to the pope.

Thereupon Bishop Savary went to Rome and obtained a prohibition
1 R. iii. 383 b. 2 See Ad. of Dom. ii. 352 ff.


to the monks that they should not elect an abbot. This he forwarded to Dean Alexander, and in the first week of February 1197 the dean sent it by Master Roger his nephew and others to Glastonbury.
The prior could not be found, but they met with the subprior and two of the monks who were engaged in the ' new work ' of the monastery. Master Roger handed them the document, but they said they could not receive it in the prior's absence. Some six monks now came out from the mass in St Mary's chapel, and Master
Roger read the prohibition aloud.

At length the archbishop, who could delay no longer, required the monks to admit the bishop's proctors. These were accompanied by Dean Alexander and five of the canons of Wells : they presented their credentials in chapter, and were received, the king's proctors retiring. The monks now appealed to K. Richard in Normandy, and on
29 Aug. 1197 the abbey was again taken into the king's hands.
Hereupon once more the dean of Wells went to Glastonbury on
8 Sept., in company this time with the prior of Bruton, to prevent a letter from the bishop warning them against disobedience. Then about Michaelmas the monks sent envoys to the king, at the request of William Pica, one of their n amber who was returning from the
Roman court. They returned with the news that the abbey was entrusted to them and that there was to be a free election of an abbot. The king was to write to the new pope, Innocent III, to explain that he had been forced by Bishop Savary and the emperor to grant away the abbey at a time when he could not refuse. This he had already explained to the late pope (t 8 Jan. 1198) and to some of the cardinals.

On 25 Nov. 1198 William Pica was elected abbot in the king's exchequer. The bishop replied by excommunicating him and his supporters. On 6 April in the next year K. Richard died. Savary having obtained the consent of K. John, the archbishop sent Bernard archbishop of Ragusa and Henry archdeacon of Canterbury to enthrone him at Glastonbury on Whitsunday (6 June 1199). On the day before William of St Faith the precentor of Wells — William of no faith (' Willelmus sine fide dictus '), as the monks called him in the letter which they wrote to their absent abbot — went to Glastonbury and obtained by violence the key of the gate. On Bishop Savary's arrival the monks appealed to the pope : but the bishop broke open the doors of the church, and ' having indecently arrayed the canons of Wells and other seculars in the vestments of the abbey ' he entered in procession. Some eight ' traitor ' monks met him,


and the ceremony was performed. The recalcitrants were im- prisoned in the infirmary, but next day they bowed to the inevitable and signed a document of submission with their own hands. This was signed and sealed, among other witnesses, by Alexander dean of Wells and William the precentor.

But it was a consent under duress, and soon revolt broke out,: and thereupon William of St Faith the precentor of Wells, Thomas
Dinant the subdean, Jocelin ' afterwards bishop ', John de Bohun, and a band of lay folk came to Glastonbury on 25 Jan. 1200, and after a scene of violence in the church carried off five monks as prisoners to Wells, where they were incarcerated for eight days, after which they were dispersed among various monasteries.

Innocent III heard William Pica and Bishop Savary in Rome, and quashed the abbot's election on 23 June 1200. The poor man and three of the monks died almost at once, poisoned (said some) by
Savary : after further delays a division of the abbey properties, by which the bishop received one-fourth, was made by papal com- mission, 8 Sept. 1203. The pope's confirmation of this bears date
17 May 1205. Within three months Bishop Savary died (8 Aug.) in Italy.

The monks now raised again their lamentable cry. The king, several of the bishops, and various monasteries and chapters petitioned the pope to restore the abbey to its ancient independence ; and we are glad to have a letter from Dean Alexander and the canons of
Wells, of whom Jocelin the future bishop was one, assuring the pope that Bishop Savary's scheme, however well-intentioned on the part of those who had carried it through, had proved a disastrous failure. We need not follow the story, for it no longer concerns the dean of Wells. But before the matter was settled the Interdict had come and gone, and the great pope was dead. It was not until 17 May 1219 that Bishop Jocelin abandoned the double title of Bath and Glaston- bury, and the twenty-six years of distressful conflict came to an end.

The accession of Bishop Jocelin in 1206 had given to the church of Wells a bishop who was a native of the city and a former member of the chapter. Like his brother, Hugh of Wells, who presently became bishop of Lincoln, he had been employed in the king's chancery ; and when he determined to make Wells his principal seat of residence and build a noble palace there, K. John favoured his design, made him a present of deer, and authorised him to divert the road from Wells to Shepton Mallet, sending it upon the hill and down again, in order that he might enclose his park. When


the Interdict came he still held by the king as long as was possible, and endeavoured to negociate terms of peace : only when after eighteen months the king was personally excommunicated, did he join his brother Hugh in France. 1

What the practical effect of the Interdict upon the dean and canons was we are unable to ascertain : nothing in the records throws any light on the matter. Before its removal and the bishop's return it would seem that Dean Alexander had passed away.

In conclusion something must be said of the relation between the two chapters of Bath and Wells in the episcopal elections, subsequent to the time of Bishop Robert who had reconstituted the chapter of Wells on a new footing. When after the lapse of nearly seven years the election of a new bishop was at last possible, the dean and chapter of Wells, having obtained the king's licence, elected Reginald, son of Jocelin de Bohun the bishop of Salisbury.
Owing to political complications it was not until a year later (18 Apr
1174) that Pope Alexander Ill's confirmation of the election was obtained. The document is addressed to the dean, archdeacons, and chapter of Wells, and makes no mention at all of the church of
Bath. Whether a similar document may have been addressed to the prior and monks we do not know : but it is unlikely that they should have taken no part in the election. Indeed from the silence of the Wells documents it seems probable that, since the removal of the see from Wells to Bath under Bishop John, they alone had been the electors. When Bishops Godfrey and Robert were appointed the canons of Wells had as yet no dean, and were in no position to make good their claim.

There is no direct evidence that Bishop Robert had attempted to make provision for future election. What we know is that Dean
Richard and his chapter asserted their right with success. Either immediately before or shortly after their action had been confirmed by the papal decree, Alexander III wrote to the dean, precentor, archdeacons, and chapter of Wells, confirming their right of episcopal election, as they had held it ' for two hundred years down to the time of Bishop John, who set his seat in the church of Bath '. To avoid controversy in the future they and the monks are ordered to meet and arrive at a common choice, which the dean of Wells is to declare in accordance with the ancient custom of his church, and the elect is thereupon to be presented to the archbishop of Canterbury.
The letter is dated at Anagni on 8 January : the year may be 1174,
1176, or 1178.

1 See below on Bishop Jocelin and the Interdict, pp. 141 ff.


Notwithstanding this decree the monks of Bath at the next vacancy elected Savary without notice given to the canons of Wells : the election was confirmed and he received consecration at Rome.
It was probably after this miscarriage that Dean Alexander yielded the point of precedence as to the declaration of election, and made an agreement to the effect that on a vacancy both parties should meet and the prior of Bath should declare the election, unless it should happen that he himself should be chosen, in which case the dean of Wells should declare it : it was further agreed that the bishop should be enthroned first at Bath and then at Wells. 1

Bishop Jocelin's election was duly made by both chapters ; but on his death the monks again forestalled the canons in electing
Roger as his successor. A costly litigation followed, and in the end it was arranged that the election should be held by both parties, alternately at Bath and at Wells, that the bishop should be enthroned first at Bath and then at Wells, and that he should henceforth use the double title of Bath and Wells.

1 The documents are contained in the Wells charters 40 and 45, and are printed by Church, pp. 397 ff. The miscarriage concerning Bishop Savary's election is mentioned in R. i. 93-5.


Archdeacons reappear in England after the Conquest. In the period immediately preceding it the very title had almost died out : but the new Norman bishops introduced the foreign custom by which a diocese was divided into three or four archdeaconries. 1 Although
Giso (1061-88), the Lotharingian bishop brought over by K. Edward, was an ardent reformer, we do not find an archdeacon in the diocese of Wells until 1084. In that year the Gheld Inquest mentions
Benselin the archdeacon as holding a hide and a half under Bishop
Giso. Two years later the Domesday Survey says that Benthelin
(designated archdeacon in the Exeter Book) holds the church of
Yatton. 2 And Benzelin the archdeacon attests a Bath charter of
Bishop John, which appears to belong to the early years of his episcopate. 3 It appears therefore that Benselin was Bishop Giso's archdeacon, appointed in all probability after K. William's decree of 1076 enforcing the distinction between the ecclesiastical and civil jurisdictions, and maintained in office during the early years of
Bishop John, when the see was transferred from Wells to Bath.

The next name we meet with is that of Girbert, who attests the
Dunster charter of William de Moion in the time of William Rufus.
This charter was confirmed by Archbishop Anselm, and should perhaps be assigned to 1094-7. 4 In 1106 Girbert attests Bishop
John's record of his gifts to the church of Bath. 5 Here he is preceded by two other archdeacons, Walcher (' Walkerius ') and Robert, who perhaps were senior to him in appointment ; but they do not occur again. Girbert however is at the bishop's court at Bath on 30 June
1120 (?), where again we find three archdeacons : ' cum archidiaconis tribus, Johele Salisberiensi et Girberto Bathensi et Araldo '. 6 It

1 The subject is carefully treated by Dr Frere in his Introduction to Eliza- bethan Articles and Injunctions (Alcuin Club Collections, 1910), i, pp. 35-53.

2 Victoria County History, Somerset, i, pp. 458, 351.

3 Bath Chartularies (Som. Rec. Soc, vol. 7), i. 51.

4 Ibid. i. 34 ; cf. 65. 5 Ibid. i. 53.

« Ibid. i. 49. This is the record of a case which opened by the recitation of a writ from William, the king's son. As Prince William was drowned in the
White Ship near the end of 1120, the date given in the chartulary (1121) is probably a mistake.


may be that Johel was acting in a temporary capacity : he attests a Salisbury charter of about the same date. 1 We shall find that somewhat later archdeacons of other dioceses not unfrequently are employed in Somerset. We must not hastily draw a conclusion from the descriptions of Johel and Girbert as archdeacons of Salisbury and Bath respectively : they bear the titles of the dioceses, not necessarily of their particular archdeaconries.

Arald who was present at this court at Bath appears again on
4 April 1122 in a group of witnesses : ' archidiaconi et capellani episcopi, Johannes, Araldus, Atselinus, Vitalis, Osuuardus '. 2 As
Atselin occurs elsewhere as bishop's chaplain, we may assume that the archdeacons here are two only, John and Arald. John, who attests first, was the bishop's nephew, of whom we have spoken elsewhere. 3 Bishop John died 29 Dec. 1122 : Bishop Godfrey was consecrated 26 Aug. 1123, and he died 16 Aug. 1135. In the Bath
Chartulary (i. 57) Bishop Godfrey's gift to the church of Bath is placed under 1136 : though this is obviously wrong, we may suppose that the charter was granted towards the end of his life. It is attested by John and Arald archdeacons, who are followed by
William prior of Taunton and three canons of Wells.

To sum up for the first period, we find that in Bishop Giso's time there is but one archdeacon, and that he continues in office for a while under Bishop John. Soon afterwards however there are three archdeacons, a usual number under the Norman bishops. No local title has so far appeared, except Bathensis (c. 1120) ; but it is pro- bable that the diocese was already divided into three archdeaconries, as it certainly was a little later.

The next period comprises the episcopate of Robert and the eight years' vacancy which followed. There is an unfortunate lack of evidence for Bishop Robert's first ten years, and we cannot be sure that we have any charter of his earlier than 1146. 4 No earlier archdeacon reappears under Bishop Robert ; but we frequently meet with a new group of three — Eustace, Martin, and Hugh : the order varies, but Eustace is generally first. The first to drop out is Martin, and his place is taken by Robert (Ath. 87). It is a curious fact that not one of these three persons occurs as archdeacon in any

1 Reg. Osm. i. 381. The charter of Hen. I whicli confirms this charter must be dated 1121-2 (not c. 1109) : see Round, Geoffrey de Mand., p. 433.

2 B. i. 54. 3 See above, p. 55.

4 Two charters have been assigned to his first year : one the Ordinatio preben- darum (R. i. 31), by a note at the close ; the Bath Donation (B. i. 61), by a note at the beginning. But internal evidence is decisive for a later date in each case : see above, pp. 56 f., 60.


of the Wells charters : our knowledge of them comes entirely from other sources. 1 The three occur together in five charters : Br. 51
(c. 1146), B. i. 61, Ath. 187, Br. 54, and another to be described presently. The first of these confirms a grant made in 1146 : the second, the Bath Donation, is attested by Simon abbot of Athelney whereas Ath. 187 is a charter of Benedict his successor. These four charters may be assigned conjecturally to 1146-8.

The fifth charter is Bishop Robert's confirmation of W. de Falaise's grant of St Andrew of Stoke (Stoke Curcy, now Stogursy) to the monks of St Mary of Lonlay. 2 Its first witness is Ivo dean of Wells ; then follow Martin archdeacon of Bath, Eustace archdeacon of Wells, 3
Hugh de Turnay 4 archdeacon de ultra Ferret, Samuel vice-archdeacon of Wells. The special interest of this charter lies in its mention of the three Somerset archdeaconries : that ' beyond the Parrett ' was afterwards called the archdeaconry of Taunton. 5 It is also interesting to find for the first time a vice-archdeacon.

We have no record of any of these persons as archdeacons after
1159 ; 6 but Master Eustace and Master Martin are found in charters after this date, 7 and it is just possible that these are the archdeacons retired from office. 8

A fixed date is given us by the Huish charter (R. i. 26), which is

1 Chiefly from the chartularies published by the Somerset Record Society :
Bath (referred to as B.), Bruton (Br.), Athelney (Ath.).
1 Hist. MSS Comm., 9th rep., i. 253 6 (Eton College).

3 Eustace attests what seems to be a later charter (Reg. Osm. i. 245 : c. 1157) as archdeacon of Bath. This is a composition between Salisbury and Bath, and the matter concerns the Bath archdeaconry (see below, p. 76). We may suppose therefore that, when Martin ceased to act and Robert came in (Ath. 87), Eustace had taken the archdeaconry of Bath and left Wells to the new archdeacon.

4 Hugh is described as ' de Turnai ' in Ath. 87, where he occurs with Eustace and Robert.

5 Robert [of Gildeford] is archdeacon de ultra Perret in Sarum Charters (Rolls
Ser.), p. 58, lxx [? 1196-1205].

6 Eustace and Martin appear in B. ii. 273 ; Eustace and Hugh (with Robert) in Ath. 87 ; Eustace in B. i. 66, 70, Reg. Osm. i. 269 (1151) and 245 (c. 1157 : in this, which is a composition between Salisbury and Bath, he is styled arch- deacon of Bath) ; Martin in B. i. 67 (1153) ; Hugh in Br. 52, Ath. 149.

7 Wells ch. 5 ( = R. iii. 245 b) has Master Eustace. Master Eustace and Master
Martin attest R. i. 20 (1163-6), Br. 182, and a Kenilworth charter printed in
Hearne's Ad. of Dom. i. 295. On 14 Mar. 1165 (R. i. 36 b) they do not appear ; nor after this date.

8 In the case of Master Martin this is not unlikely. He has the title of Master in Ath. 187, though it is not given to his fellow-archdeacons Eustace and Hugh.
Moreover, the letter from Salisbury (R. i. 29, before 1155) mentions Master Martin ; and if he had just ceased to be archdeacon, he would have been a suitable envoy in the dispute which apparently had arisen between Dean Ivo and the new archdeacons. 76 EARLY SOMERSET ARCHDEACONS

attested at Wells at what appears to be a full synod, 4 Nov. 1159.
Besides the chapters of Wells and Bath we have here the abbots of
Mechelney and Athelney, the priors of Glastonbury, Montacute,
Taunton, and Bruton ; and then at the end Robert and Thomas archdeacons. Robert and Thomas are again together without local designation in the Wells charter 6 and R. i 46, both c. 1160-4.

As archdeacon of Wells Robert attests three of Bishop Robert's charters, 1 and one in the vacancy after his death (f 31 Aug. 1166). 2
Moreover in R. i. 20 Bishop Robert confirms a lease made by Robert
* our archdeacon ' of land in Wells, the profits to go to the archdeacon
[of Wells] perpetually. In five other charters he occurs without local title. We may place him conjecturally c. 1155-69. Thomas occurs as archdeacon of Bath, 14 March 1165 : 3 we cannot trace him later than this. It would appear then that towards the end of Bishop
Robert's life two archdeacons only are in office : but it must be remembered that the evidence is of a fragmentary and incidental kind, and our results may be modified if further charters become available. Our enquiries thus far have thrown no light at all on the actual work that archdeacons were called upon to do : we have merely seen them attending the bishop's court and attesting his charters. The nature of our documents is such that the functions of an archdeacon are only quite exceptionally referred to. One of the charters however
{Reg. Osm. i. 245) happens to mention the archdeacon's chapter.
This is a composition between the churches of Salisbury and Bath, about the year 1157. There had been a controversy of long standing in regard to the chapel of Alveston. This chapel was now surrendered to Bath, subject to a payment to be made annually to Salisbury through the canon who held the church of Bedminster, which though in the diocese of Bath was a prebend in the church of Salisbury.
There is a further clause to the effect that, ' in view of the good fellowship and fraternal charity which has long existed and, please
God, will continue to exist between the two churches, the bishop of
Bath with consent of his clergy allows this liberty to the prebend of
Bedminster : viz., that the vicars of the canon there should come to the chapter three times a year, or four times in case of necessity, and not oftener, and that on the archdeacon's summons ; but should never go to the chapter of the [rural] dean : and, if it should happen that the vicars are impleaded, they shall not answer to a charge except in the presence of the canon of Bedminster, and in some fit spot that has been duly appointed '. There is just enough here to

1 R. i. 23 bis, Br. 182. 2 Br. 105. 3 R. i. 36 6.


give us a glimpse of the archdeacon of Bath summoning the clergy to some central place of meeting three or even four times in the year to transact the business of an archidiaconal chapter. 1

The kindly relation between Salisbury and Bath, and the desire of the clergy to escape from archidiaconal jurisdiction, both find illustration in a correspondence between the dean and chapter of
Wells and the dean and chapter of Salisbury, which took place a few years earlier. In order to understand its bearings something must be said as to the constitution of the cathedral chapter and its relation to the archdeacons of the diocese. A new cathedral system was brought into England by some of the Norman bishops after the
Conquest. Almost simultaneously (1090-1) Thomas of Bayeux,
Remigius of Fecamp, and Osmund of Seez established chapters after the Norman model at York, Lincoln, and Salisbury. These were bodies of secular canons, consisting of four principal ' persons ' or
' dignities ' — dean, precentor, chancellor, and treasurer ; next to whom ranked the three or more archdeacons, then the subdean and succentor, and after these the ordinary canons. At Lincoln and
Salisbury the change coincided with the removal of the see and the building of a new church in the grand style. In Somerset there was indeed a removal of the see from Wells to Bath ; but this removal, so far from producing a similar result, was the very reason why the formation of a secular chapter on the new lines was delayed for half a century. 2 It was to Bishop Robert in the middle of K. Stephen's reign, that the honour fell of reconstituting Wells after the fashion, as he said, of ' the well-ordered churches of England '. It was natural that Bishop Robert should look to the neighbouring diocese for guidance. The fame of Osmund's constitution was in all men's mouths, and we have documentary evidence that two or three times in Robert's episcopate the dean and chapter of Salisbury were consulted on points of order.

The first matter of enquiry directly concerns us here. It was pro- bably in the early part of 1155 that Reginald the precentor and Master
Martin were sent to Salisbury on behalf of Dean Ivo and the chapter of Wells to enquire what was the ' dignity ' and privilege of the dean

1 For the archidiaconal chapter compare a later document, R. i. 35 b (1238) :
' And further that the rector and parishioners of Suthbarwe shall attend the chapters of the archdeacon of Wells like the other rectors and parishioners of that archdeaconry, and be subject to that archdeacon, and the church shall answer to that archdeacon touching the cathedralicum and every other right of the arch- deacon.' South Barrow church had been given to the common fund, but was not a prebend.

2 See above, pp. 54 f.


of Salisbury, and in particular what ' dignity ' and authority he had in the city of Salisbury. The answer was given in a letter of Robert
Warelwast, then dean of Salisbury, who was consecrated to the see of Exeter on 5 June 1155. The dean is said to be in the first place archdeacon of the city and suburb, and then of all prebends within the Salisbury diocese ; and to be answerable in no way for this archidiaconate to the bishop, except it be in the matter of Peter's pence, which however the bishop or archdeacon must receive through the dean. 1

It is interesting to trace the source of this reply. It is plain that in making it Robert the dean of Salisbury referred directly to the
Institutio Osmundi, that is, the charter granted by Bishop Osmund in 1091. 2 There we read that 'the subdean is to hold from the dean the archdeaconry of the city and suburb ' ; and, in an earlier passage, that the dean and all the canons are ' to have their own court in all their prebends within the diocese, together with the dignity of archdeacon '. Here the language is somewhat vague. It might niean that each canon had his own court and his own archidiaconal dignity in his particular prebend ; and we shall find it so interpreted in a later Salisbury letter. Or it might mean that the dean and chapter conjointly exercised authority in all prebends : which would be as much as to say that the dean was the archdeacon as representative of the chapter ; and so Dean Robert of Salisbury interprets it. Such was the case at Lichfield c. 1190 ; whereas at
Lincoln, and afterwards at Wells, each canon had separate juris- diction. 3 We may fairly conclude from the nature of the reply that the dean and canons of Wells had not at this time a copy of Osmund's
Institutio which they could consult for themselves, though at a later period it formed the basis of their Statuta Antiqua.

It would appear that the archdeacons were still irrepressible ; for the next dean of Salisbury, Henry de Beaumont, writes on behalf

1 R. i. 29.

2 See Frere's Use of Sarum, i. 259 ff. ' Dignitas decani est, et omnium canoni- eorum, ut episcopo in nullo respondeanl, nisi in capitulo, et juditio tantum capituli pareant. Habent etian* curiam suam in omnibus prebendis suis, et dignitatem archidiaconi ubicunque prebende assignate fuerint in parrochia nostra, sive in ecclesiis, vel decimis, aut terris ; ita quidem quod nulla omnino exigentia in dono vel in assisa, aut aliqua alia consuetudine ab episcopo, vel a quolibet alio, fiat in prebendis eorum ' : and lower down, ' subdecanus a decano archi- diaconatum urbis et suburbii (possideat)'. The portions italicised occur in Dean
Robert's letter.

3 See Lincoln Statutes (H.B.S.), ii. 27 ' Decanus jurisdictionem archidiaconalem habet in prebendis canonicorum et in ecclesiis ad communiam pertinentibus '
(Lichf. c. 1190) : and for Lincoln, ibid. 154.


of his chapter to Dean Ivo as follows : ' As to the question at issue between you and your archdeacons, the law and custom here is this.
Archdeacons have no power in prebends over canons or their clerks or parishioners : for the canons themselves are archdeacons in their own prebends, and they must present their clerks to the dean for orders, and the dean must present them to the bishop. Hence it is plain that it is quite contrary to our customs that priests or clerks of canons should be summoners or apparitors to archdeacons, since they owe them no kind of subjection : but the churches and chapels which are in our diocese, whether on our own estates or not, are entirely free from the vexation and servitude of archdeacons. Our subdean holds from the dean the archdeaconry of the city and suburb, in regard to all persons to whomsoever they appertain.' 1

Immediately after this letter there follows in the Wells register a letter from the dean and canons of Salisbury to R. bishop of Bath ; and this is followed by a letter from Henry dean of Salisbury to
Richard dean of Wells. 2 From its position we may assume that in the former letter Robert (not Reginald) is the bishop addressed : it is a reply to certain questions raised under seven heads, of which one only concerns us here : ' Each of the canons ', it declares, ' is archdeacon over his own men in his prebend, and the churches of prebends are in no way subject to the archdeacons '.

We must now return to our series of archdeacons. We saw that
Robert and Thomas appear together in 1159, but with no local designations. Robert however is frequently styled archdeacon of
Wells, and Thomas occurs by himself as archdeacon of Bath in 1165.

We have reached the period in which the king makes promising young men archdeacons in consideration of services rendered or to be rendered in the administration of royal affairs. Somerset will be found to provide conspicuous instances of this practice in the years which follow. Some of the archdeacons will be absentees, who are hardly ever in their archdeaconries and must have done their work by deputy. The result is confusing. Documents indeed are more numerous than before ; but it is more difficult, as from the historical point of view it is more important, to ascertain the dates of their tenure of office. Archdeacons of other dioceses are found acting in Somerset, and sometimes we are tempted to suppose that an archdeacon who appears for a short period is in reality a deputy who signs with the style of his principal. If the investigation on which we must enter is minute and tedious, it has more than an

1 R. i. 29 b : the date may be anywhere between 1155 and 1164.

1 Henry of Beaumont was ' elect of Bayeux ' in Sept. 1165 : see above, pp. 61 f.


antiquarian value. The charters of K. Henry II are with few exceptions undated, and the years in which archdeacons come and go are among the materials which historians must use in order to date them. Hardy's edition of Le Neve's Fasii is the standard book to which they naturally turn : so much of the documentary material which the Somerset Record Society has recently made available was unknown sixty years ago, that it is no discredit to the editor of that great work to say that its tables of Somerset archdeacons in the twelfth century are altogether untrustworthy. 1

The king's hand soon makes itself felt, as we learn from two letters of Pope Alexander III. From one of these letters we learn that there was a vacancy in the archdeaconry of Bath before the death of
Bishop Robert (f 31 Aug. 1166). The pope writes to John Cumin, an active agent of the king, requiring him at once to surrender the archdeaconry of Bath, which he had presumed to claim for himself on the ground of a lay appointment, having dared to take it away
' from the bishop of Worcester, in the person of Master Baldwin, to whom we had confirmed it by our formal writ while the bishop of Bath was still alive '. John Cumin is required to surrender it at once to the bishop of Worcester on pain of excommunication. The letter is conjecturally dated in May 116S. 2 We shall deal with the matter more fally elsewhere, and show from the evidence of the
Pipe Rolls that John Cumin was holding the archdeaconry from
1166 to 1172. 3 Indeed he attests as archdeacon of Bath c. 1170. 4
He may have got his position regularised by the pope ; for it is probable that he did not abandon it until he became archbishop of
Dublin in 1182.

We cannot identify Master Baldwin ; but as the pope confirmed him in his office we must find him a place in our list c. 1165.

We have next to consider a more perplexing person, Thomas archdeacon of Wells, who is also frequently known as Thomas archdeacon of Bath. We begin his story by turning again to the correspondence of Alexander III. The pope writes to the dean, precentor, and chapter of Wells to the following effect. ' We have learned from Master E. that he was appointed canon with your consent by the late bishop R., who undertook on ordaining him deacon to provide him in the name of a prebend with an annual

1 The same must be said of the table of the deans of Wells for the same period.
* Jaffe-Wattenbach, Regesta Pontificum (1886), ii, p. 208. The letter is printed in Memorials of Thomas Becket (Rolls Ser.), vi. 422.

3 See below, Appendix C.

4 Delisle, Notes sur les chartes originates de lien. II, p. 15 ; cf. p. 30. See also
Eyton, Itinerary, 158 n.


pension of forty shillings until a prebend should fall vacant. When the bishop was dead and the revenues of the see were diverted to the public purse, a prebend did fall vacant ; but the king conferred it on Thomas his clerk, to whom he afterwards gave another prebend as well, with the archdeaconry to which it is attached, though no one is permitted to hold two prebends in one and the same church.
Thereupon Thomas, relying on the royal authority, presumed to confer on Stephen his brother the fruits of the former prebend.
Since therefore it belongs to us to correct ecclesiastical abuses of this kind, we require you at once to assign to Master E. that prebend with its fruits which Thomas after obtaining the archdeaconry is said to have conferred on his brother Stephen : for that is held to be not given, which is given by one who has not the right to give it.' x

We cannot with certainty identify Master E., nor tell whether the pope's interference enabled him to get a prebend. But it seems unlikely that Thomas the archdeacon modified the comfortable arrangement which with the king's consent he had made with his brother Stephen. A charter of about 1190 shews us the two brothers acting conjointly in regard to the prebend of Whitchurch (in Binegar).
It is an agreement between Thomas archdeacon of W T ells and Stephen de Tornaco canon of the prebend of Whitchurch and Roger de Palton, whereby the said Thomas and Stephen his brother grant to the said
Roger a watercourse, &c, in exchange for land in Wells. 2 Stephen de Tornaco presents to the parsonage of Binegar a few years later, apparently in the vacancy of the see after Bishop Reginald's death : 3 and we find him as a canon at the election of Bishop Jocelin in 1206.
It looks as though Thomas kept his hold on the prebend in conjunction with Stephen de Tornaco, who may have retained it in his own right at a later date. 4

We now look again at the Pipe Rolls. In the year from Mich. 1170 to Mich. 1171 arrears are entered against Thomas archdeacon of
Wells, viz. £7 for that year and £7 for the year before. It appears

1 Jaffe-Watt. ii. 397. The letter is printed in Mansi's Concilia, xxi. 1090, but with serious mistakes, from Antonii Augustini archiep. Tarracon. opera, iv. 205 a.

2 R. iii. 370. 3 R. i. 101 b.

4 Thomas the archdeacon of Wells is never called Thomas de Tornaco : but there is a Thomas de Tornaco who frequently attests with Stephen de Tornaco, sometimes before but generally after him. This Thomas de Tornaco becomes succentor and then precentor (c. 1209-16). Hugh de Turnay, of whom we have spoken above, may have been of the same family ; as no doubt was William de
Tornaco, who had at one time the parsonage of Binegar (R. i. 101 b), then became archdeacon of Stowe and afterwards of Lincoln, then dean of Lincoln (1223) : suspended in 1239, he became a monk at South Park. He was one of several
Somerset men who followed Bishop Hugh de Welles to Lincoln.



from this that Thomas had become archdeacon of Wells about
Mich. 1169. In 1171-2 a like sum is debited against Thomas arch- deacon of Bath. But clearly the same person is meant ; for the debt is now reckoned as £21, and it stands against Thomas archdeacon of
Bath until it is finally paid off by him in 1179-80. We might imagine from this that Thomas was archdeacon of Wells from Mich. 1169 to
Mich. 1171, and then became archdeacon of Bath. But the following facts are sufficient to shew that he was known by both titles.

(1) A charter of K. Henry II given at Feckenham, and placed by
Eyton c. March 1170, is attested by Thomas archdeacon of Wells. 1
(2) Early in June 1170 the king sent to the archbishop of Rouen
Thomas ' the new archdeacon of Bath ', in the matter of the young king's coronation which took place soon after on 14 June. 2 (3) A charter of the young king, issued at Winchester before the end of
1170, is attested by Thomas archdeacon of Wells. 3

It would seem therefore that, whde he himself attests charters as archdeacon of Wells, he was known to the world outside as archdeacon of Bath, the designation being taken from the diocese to which he belonged : the greater celebrity of Bath would fully account for this.
He attests numerous charters as archdeacon of Wells until c. 1192, 4 and we still find him in office c. 1195. 5

In 1173, as we learn from a letter of Arnulf bishop of Lisieux, he

1 Eyton, Itinerary, p. 1.35. Possible dates for this charter seem to be : May-
June 1165, Sept. 1165-Mar. 1166, Mar. -1 June 1170. The last is the most likely ; for the church of Birling in Kent, which this charter confirms (Monast. v. 101), was given according to the Bermondsey Chronicle in 1168.

2 Mem. of Th. Becket, vii. 311, a letter to St Thomas from ' amicus quidam '
c. June 1170, says : The archbishop of Rouen and the bishop of Nevers had been commissioned by the pope to stop the coronation : the bishop of Nevers reached
Caen just as the prince left, and it was now impossible for him to cross : ' de cetero sciatis Thomam novum archidiaconum Bathoniensem nuper a rege ad archi- episcopum Rothomagensem venisse, et a Nivernensi episcopo transeundi inducias impetrasse usque ad sequentem dominicam : publice enim Thomas ille clamavit, et mult] alii quotidie clamant, regem in proximo esse venturum : quod penitus est falsissimum.' The king in fact did cross c. 24 June.

3 Cat. of Charter Rolls, 6 Mar. 1318 ; inspeximus of charters of St Augustine's
Bristol (no. 2).

4 Cf. R. i. 101 b, an institution by Dean Alexander to the parsonage of Binegar, apparently sede vacanle. Once we find him as archdeacon of Bath attesting with
' Ralph archdeacon of Wells ' : but as Ralph [de Lechlade] regularly attests as archdeacon of Bath, we must suppose an error of inversion on the part of the copyist of this charter (Buckl. 11 : 8 Nov. 1186) : cf. the signatures of the nearly contemporaneous charter, R. i. 35 b.

5 In the Pipe Roll of 6 Ric. I (1194-5) we read : ' De hidagio de Somerseta assiso ad redemptionem domini regis per Tomam archidiaconum de Welles et
Alexandrum decanum de Welles,' &c. (Madox, Exchequer, 411).


was charged with a mission to the papal court to plead for the consecration of Bishop Reginald ; but the mission was frustrated by the opposition of the young king who would not let it proceed. 1
Some two years later we have a charter of K. Henry II [May 1175-
June 1176] which records that Thomas archdeacon of Wells had renounced his right, real or supposed, over ten churches belonging to the abbey of Glastonbury, and that henceforward the archdeacons of Wells were to hold the church of South Brent as a prebend in the church of Wells. 2 It is interesting to find him again as Thomas
Agnellus archdeacon of Wells, the writer of a eulogistic homily on the death of the young King Henry (f 11 June 1183), part of which is printed in the appendix to the Rolls Series edition of Ralph of
Coggeshall. 3

We have still to deal with a mysterious Thomas de Erlegh, who appears now as archdeacon of Wells and now as archdeacon of Bath.
We find him (1) attesting William de Malreward's grant of the church of Tiverton to the nuns of Kingston St Michael : 4 the witnesses are Thomas de Erlega archdeacon of Wells, Richard arch- deacon of Bath, and Ubert precentor of Wells — an attestation which points to the period 1175-84 : (2) attesting Alexander de Pirou's grant to Athelney ; witnessed by Reginald bishop of Bath, Thomas de Erleghe archdeacon of Bath, and Master Walter prior of Buckland. 5
Walter was prior of the canons of Buckland who were finally sup- pressed in 1186. (3) In a Bruton charter Bishop Reginald's con- firmation of the church of Perreton 6 is notified by him to his ' very dear kinsman Thomas de Erlega, his archdeacon '. K. Henry's gift of this church is dated by Maxwell- Lyte at the end of 1181 or the

1 Arnulfi Episiolae (ed. Giles), no. 85, p. 238.

2 R. i. 25, printed in Hearne, Ad. of Dom. i. 229. The attestation is ' T. Roberto cancellario ', &c. Ralph de Warneville is doubtless meant, who was chancellor from May 1173 till he became bishop of Lisieux in 1182. He is miscalled ' Robert de Warnevilla ' in a chartulary of S. Georges cited by Delisle, Mem. sur les charles de Hen. II, p. 21. In each case the scribe has wrongly expanded an original ' R '.

The date of the charter is arrived at thus : Bishop Reginald was consecrated in
June 1174 : K. Henry returned to England in May 1175 : the churches of Pilton and S. Brent were confirmed to the dean and chapter of Wells by Alexander III on 15 July 1176.

3 The ' Historia Norwegiae ', a brief sketch of the introduction of Christianity into Norway by an anonymous writer of the end of the twelfth century, is dedicated to Agnellus. See Monum. Historica Norvegiae (ed. Gustav Storm, 1880), p. 72 :
' Tu igitur, o Agnelle, iure didascalico mi praelate, utcunque alii ferant haec mea scripta legentes non rhetorico lepore polita, immo scrupulosis barbarismis impli- cita, gratanter ut decet amicum accipito.' It is held that the person here addressed is Thomas Agnellus archdeacon of Wells : cf. Eng. Hist. Rev., Apr. 1921, p. 304.

4 Monasticon, iv. 400. 5 Ath. 33. 6 Br. 146.

G 2


beginning of 1182 : and it would seem that Bishop Reginald's confirmation was itself confirmed by Archbishop Richard who died in Feb. 1184. We thus get 1182-3 as the date of this reference to
Thomas de Erlegh as Bishop Reginald's kinsman and archdeacon.
(4) Br. 123 is a confirmation of Bishop Reginald's attested by
' Thomas de Erleia, &c.' We cannot be sure whether the word
' archdeacon ' was added in the original or not.

The Buckland chartulary will show us that William de Erlegh had an uncle Thomas who was an archdeacon ; and to that source we must now turn. A priory of canons was founded at Buckland by
William de Erlegh at some date subsequent to the coronation of the young Henry (14 June 1170). The founder speaks in his charter of introducing ' religionem canonicam ' by the hand of Thomas the archdeacon, his uncle. In consequence of a scandal which occurred in the lifetime of the founder, it was decided that the foundation should be changed into a house of sisters of the Order of St John at
Jerusalem. William of Erlegh died, as we gather from the Pipe Rolls, in or before the year 1177. The transfer was not formally completed until 1186. At this latter date the Buckland charters mention 'Thomas the archdeacon ' several times (Buckl. 11, 330, 331). It is natural to think that the Thomas here spoken of as archdeacon is Thomas de
Erlegh, though he is never so named in the Buckland chartulary.

We find ' Thomas de Erlega clerk ' in an Athelney charter (no. 65) which is earlier than 1159 :« so that his clerical career in Somerset had begun long before the episcopate of his kinsman Bishop Reginald.
He may well have become archdeacon in 1169. As William de Erlegh claimed in virtue of his fee to be the king's chamberlain, 1 his family would be known at court, and his uncle might come at an early age under the royal notice and thus obtain the archdeaconry during the vacancy of the see.

On the whole it appears reasonable to identify Thomas of Erlegh with Thomas the archdeacon of Wells whom we have traced from
1169 to c. 1195.

We must now retrace our steps and return to the beginning of
Bishop Reginald's episcopate ; for our investigation of Thomas the archdeacon of Wells has carried us over more than twenty- five years.
Reginald, the son of Bishop Joscelin of Salisbury, was elected in
May 1173, consecrated abroad on 23 June 1174, and then enthroned at Bath on 24 November. Who were his archdeacons ?

It is now plain that one of them was Thomas archdeacon of Wells.

1 See Buckland Chartulary, p. xix : from the Red Book of the Exchequer,
a. d. 1166.


In Bishop Reginald's first year we find that Thomas has a colleague named Richard, and both of them are described as ' archdeacons of
Bath , . 1 We have moreover some reason to believe that John Camin was at this time archdeacon of Bath. This bears out the conclusion to which we have been gradually led, that archdeacons not unfre- quently were known by the name of the diocese, irrespective of the particular archdeaconries which they administered. The charter just referred to is of an unusual character. Between Oct. 1174 and
Mich. 1175 the church of Haselbury was given by William fitz
William fitz Walter as a prebend of Wells in presence of Richard of
Uchester the newly consecrated bishop of Winchester. Bishop
Reginald is not mentioned, nor the dean of Wells. But Albert
[Ilbert] the precentor and Thomas and Richard archdeacons of Bath attest ; as also Alured the sheriff of Somerset and Stephen the prior of Taunton. 2 W'hy this document is under the seal of the bishop of
Winchester does not appear. But Richard of Uchester was a great man in the west, and had recently been in charge of Glastonbury : and Haselbury is in the deanery of Uchester. William fitz Walter had planted regular canons at Haselbury in St Wulfric's time ; but the foundation had collapsed, as the hermit is said to have foretold. 3

Thomas and Richard occur again as ' archdeacons of Bath ' in the gift of Buckland Dinham for a prebend. 4 Haselbury and Buckland were confirmed to the dean and chapter by Alexander III on 15 June
1176. 5 Thomas and Richard ' archdeacons ' (but without local title) are together again in a charter of Bishop Reginald concerning
Yatton. 6

Continuing to trace Richard archdeacon of Bath, we note a group of three charters making gifts of churches which are not included in the confirmation of Alexander III (15 June 1176), but are included in a confirmation by Bishop Reginald which itself appears to be confirmed by Archbishop Richard (before Oct. 1182). These are
Chilcomton, Brunfeld, and Harptree. 7 Here we find together Henry archdeacon of Exeter and Richard archdeacon of Bath. The same combination meets us in an additional grant to Buckland Dinham, and in Bishop Reginald's charter to the city of Wells. 9

1 R. iii. 390 6.

2 Richard was consecrated to Winchester 6 Oct. 1174. Alured was sheriff of
Somerset Mich. 1170 to Mich. 1175.

3 Monasticon, vi. 214. St Wulfric (f 1154) was buried in the church of Haselbury by Bishop Robert. William ' canonicus de Haselb'y ' attests the City Charter of
Bishop Reginald (Church, Early History of Wells, pp. 362 If.).

4 R. i.60&. "R. ii.46. ° R. i. 61.

7 R. i. 38 b, 25 b, and 60 : also in Bp Reginald's confirmation of Brunfeld,
i. 25 b. 8 R. i. 60 b. 9 Church, ut supra.


Who is this Henry archdeacon of Exeter ? We learn from the
Berkeley charters and the chartulary of St Augustine's Bristol that he was son of Robert fitz Harding, and so great-grandson of Eadnoth the staller of K. Edward the Confessor. He had been treasurer to
K. Henry II before he came to the throne. 1 He attests in 1154 as dean of Mortain ; 2 and he appears as archdeacon of Exeter shortly before the death of Robert fitz Harding (f 5 Feb. 1171). 3 He died at
Rome in 1188, while awaiting consecration as archbishop of Dol. 4

What concerns us here is that Henry archdeacon of Exeter attests no less than six Wells charters between 1176 and 1182, in each case being followed by Richard archdeacon of Bath. It appears to be a general rule that an archdeacon from another diocese should take precedence of the home archdeacons. It may be that Henry-was only present as a guest, and the six charters may have been granted nearly at the same time : indeed there is so much similarity in the lists of witnesses that this is quite probable. But it is also possible that he was employed for a time in archidiaconal work by Bishop
Reginald, perhaps in the temporary absence of Thomas the arch- deacon of Wells.

We must now bring together the remaining notices of Richard archdeacon of Bath. He attests the gift of Scaldeford (Shalford in
Essex) for a prebend [1176-80], and its ratification. 5 This is not in
Alexander Ill's confirmation of 15 June 1176 ; but its confirmation by Gilbert Foliot bishop of London is attested by Ralph de Diceto archdeacon of Middlesex, and therefore cannot be later than 1180.
He also attests Bishop Reginald's confirmation to Bruton of the

1 Berkeley ch. no. 1 (Jeayes, p. 2) is attested by ' Henricus f. Roberti ' [c. Jan.
1153] : no. 2 by ' Henricus thesaurarius ' [c. Nov. 1153]. The chartulary of
St Augustine's Bristol (fo. 17 f. : Hist. MSS Comm. 4th rep., app. p. 364) shows a grant by Henry, duke of Normandy and count of Anjou, of the advowson of the church of Berkeley to be held as Robert fitz Harding held it : he wills that
Henry fitz Robert his treasurer may have the said church of the said canons, yielding therefrom to them a yearly ' canonem '.

2 Jeayes, Berkeley Charters, p. 10, who notes ' Fifth son of Robert Fitzharding '.
He attests in 1157 as dean of Mortain Henry IPs charter to Savigny (Delisle,
Introd. to Charters of Hen. II) : see Gesta Ilenrici II, pp. 44, 60. Also a charter of Henry II to Bishop Reginald at Winchester [1174-84] : Cal. of Ch. Rolls,
11 Nov. 1324, inspex.

3 Monast. vi. 364, a charter of Robert fitz Harding enumerating apparently all his grants to St Augustine's Bristol : it includes Horefield, which was confirmed by the young king Henry [June-Dec. 1170] : see above, p. 82, n. 3. ' Henry archdeacon of Exeter ' also attests a grant of Robert fitz Harding to her son
Nicholas, before Domina Eva and Robert her son (Jeayes, p. 15).

4 Eyton, Itinerary, p. 291. Le Neve gives ' Henry Fitzharding ' as archdeacon of Exeter ' about the year 1148 ', but with no reference to his authority.

5 Both in R. i. 48.


churches of Shepton Montague and Middleton. 1 The former church had been given sede vacante, and Robert the archdeacon of Wells had inducted the canons : the latter, given by William de Clyvedon, seems to have had a similar history. The confirmation was probably obtained early in Bishop Reginald's time. The confirmation of a gift at Carscumbe, which also is attested by Richard archdeacon of Bath, seems to belong to the same period. 2 Once more, we find him in a puzzling charter of Master Ralph de Lechlade, which seems to have been given before the death of Bishop Jocelin of Salisbury [f 18 Nov.
1184] ; and yet not long before, as William [of St Faith] attests as precentor of Wells. 3 Here we find together Richard archdeacon of
Bath and Richard archdeacon of Coutances. Leaving then Richard archdeacon of Bath, whose limits are c. 1175-84, we proceed to consider this foreign archdeacon, who makes a frequent appearance in Wells documents.

Five weeks after his consecration Bishop Reginald is found at
S. Lo, on Sunday, 28 July 1174, dedicating the first church built in honour of St Thomas the Martyr. The grant of this church to the canons of S. Lo is sealed by Richard bishop of Coutances and
Reginald bishop of Bath ; and its first attestations are : Savary,
William. Richard, and Robert archdeacons. 4 We may assume there- fore that Richard archdeacon of Coutances had crossed to England at Bishop Reginald's invitation, and while retaining his old title had taken up archidiaconal work in the diocese of Bath. 5

In four charters he attests as archdeacon of Coutances without any colleague. One of these falls certainly between Oct. 1186 and
Nov. 1189. 6 Another bears the date of 1189. 7 The third falls probably between 1186 and 1188, 8 as also does the fourth. 9 This

1 Br. 106. 2 Br. 264. 3 Reg. Osm., i. 268.

4 Gallia Christiana, xi, Instr. col. 245 (Round, Doc. in France, 911). The same four archdeacons attest a charter of Richard bishop of Coutances, 10 Mar. 1172
(Doc. in Fr. 1217). Cf. Doc. in Fr. 982, 1070.

5 Richard de Bohun bishop of Coutances was brother to Jocelin de Bohun bishop of Salisbury, the father of Bishop Reginald. It is quite likely that Richard archdeacon of Coutances was also a Bohun, and perhaps a near relative of Bishop
Reginald : see the next note.

6 R. i. 47 (Aulescomb for a prebend). Here ' Richard Const' archdeacon ' is followed by 'Roger his brother'. Probably this is the Roger de Bohun who attests R. i. 45 (church of Estun), 1190-1, and whose expenses are paid at the time of Bishop Jocelin's election (Close Rolls, 7 John, p. 63, 20 Jan. 1206 : cf. ibid., p. 59). He is to be distinguished from Master Roger, nephew of Dean
Alexander (Ad. of Dom. ii. 368 [Feb. 1197] ; Close Rolls, p. 59), who is almost certainly Master Roger de Sandford, a canon of Wells.

7 Buckl. 12 : the bishop is said to be Savary, which must be an error.

8 Bath, ii. 756. 9 Br. 240.


last charter has a peculiar interest from the form of the attestation :
* Ricardo Constancie archidiacono Tantoii '. This is the earliest example of the use of Taunton in the title of an archdeacon, although we have already had an archdeacon ' of beyond the Parrett ' before
1159, and shall find another so styled after 1196. 1

That it was the archdeaconry of Taunton that was being adminis- tered by Richard of Coutances is further shown by a Buckland charter dated 8 Nov. 1186, which is attested by Thomas archdeacon of Bath, Ralph archdeacon of Wells, and Richard archdeacon of
Coutances. 2 With this is to be compared a Wells charter in which, after Geoffrey archdeacon of Salisbury, we have Thomas archdeacon of Wells, Ralph archdeacon of Bath, and Richard archdeacon of
Coutances : this falls probably between 1186 and 1188. 3

Another Buckland charter shows us Geoffrey archdeacon of
Salisbury, Ralph archdeacon of Bath, and Richard archdeacon of
Coutances. 4 And a Wells charter of which the original is preserved
(no. 9) is attested by Master Ralph de Lechlade archdeacon of Bath and Richard archdeacon of Coutances. The evidence accordingly suggests that Richard of Coutances was acting as archdeacon of
Taunton c. 1184-9. 5

Ralph de Lechlade, who has already begun to figure as archdeacon of Bath, held the office but a short time. He attests, not as arch- deacon, but with his earlier designation of ' magister ' only, from about 1188 to 1206. 6 After that he was precentor for six or seven years ; and finally he was dean, at some period between 11 July 1215, when Leonius was still in office, and April 1220, when Peter of
Chichester had succeeded.

In addition to the attestations already noted above, we find him alone as archdeacon of Bath in R. i. 40 (c. 1186-8), Buckl. 317
(probably of the same date), and Buckl. 341, which confirms a charter of 1185. He is found without local title in Buckl. 331, Br. 134, and
Wells eh. 48, all of which appear to belong to the same period. We seem therefore justified in concluding that Master*Ralph de Lechlade acted as archdeacon of Bath c. 1168-8.

1 See pp. 75, 89.

• Buekl. 11, where, as we have noted above (p. 82), the scribe has inverted the titles of Bath and Wells. 3 R. i. 35 b. 4 Buckl. 181.

5 He reappears under Bishop Savary (who was also a Bohun) in a Martock charter (before 1200), and in Cleeve charters [1192-7] : Round, Doc. in Fr. 709,
386, 388.

6 In Wells eh. 11 Master Ralph de Lechlade attests with Alexander subdean, before Mich. 1188. A little later (perhaps) Master Robert de Geldeford arch- deacon attests with Alexander subdean (R. i. 35 b).


About the year 1190, at the very end of Bishop Reginald's episco- pate, we meet with two new archdeacons of Bath, Robert and
Godfrey. They attest together after Thomas archdeacon of Wells in R. i. 24, 38 b, and 60, all apparently charters of 1190-1. Godfrey also occurs after Thomas archdeacon of Wells in R. i. 11 and 21 b, charters of the same date.

Robert occurs more frequently as ' Master Robert de Gildeford arch- deacon of Bath ', as in R. i. 11 b, 37 b, 41, 59 b, all probably c. 1190-1 ; 1 also without local title in R. i. 35 [c. 1189], 39 b, Ad. de Dom. ii. 345, which again are of about this date. In R. i. 37 we seem to trace him after this date ; and, if we may trust the dating of Buckl. 150, he is still archdeacon on 17 Nov. 1195. Finally we note that among the
' Sarum Charters ' (Rolls Ser.) we have a charter (no. Ixx) which seems to be not earlier than 1196, which is attested by ' Robert archdeacon of beyond the Parrett '. 2

We have said nothing as yet of the most notable name in the series of our early archdeacons, Peter of Blois archdeacon of Bath.
Indeed the Wells records give no proof that he ever set foot in the diocese. Yet it is certain that he once visited his archdeaconry ; for in one of his letters he complains of the prior of Wallingford who had refused him hospitality on his return journey. 3 It may suffice here to say that he became archdeacon of Bath, in succession, ap- parently to John Cumin, in the early part of 1182 (not as is commonly said in 1175) ; and that he exchanged this archdeaconry for that of
London in the latter part of 1203 or early in 1204 (not in 1192).
His history is dealt with by itself. 4 We have no further concern with him here, except to say that he had a vice- archdeacon, who, as he complains in another of his letters, was somewhat unceremoniously suspended by Bishop Reginald. 5

John Cumin and Peter of Blois open an era of absentee archdeacons, men of mark whose energies are engaged elsewhere. Thus Simon de
Camera first appears as archdeacon of Wells 15 June 1198 : he issues royal charters during the early years of K. John, until his appoint- ment to the see of Chichester in April 1204. Then his place is taken, alike in the royal chancery and in the archdeaconry, by Hugh de
Welles archdeacon of Wells, who becomes bishop of Lincoln in May
1209. About the same time the archdeaconry of Taunton was systematically neglected by William of Wrotham, who occurs as

1 Also in a Martock charter of Bp Reginald [1190-1], ' magistro Roberto de
Belleford archidiacono Bathonfiensi],' Doc. in Fr. 764.

2 ' de Ultrapret ', as it is printed. Cf. above, p. 75.

3 Ep. 29. 4 See below, pp. 100 ff. ■> Ep. 58.



archdeacon of Taunton 17 April 1205, and seems to have retained his office until his death, c. 1217. His main function was to command the Cinque Ports and to be generally responsible for the king's navy.

The appended table will show the tentative results of the present enquiry :

Archdeacon of Wells
c. 1076-c. 1090 Benselin

Archdeacons of Bath

c. 1094-c. 1120 Girbert

c. 1106 Walcher

c. 1106 Robert

c. 1120-c. 1135 Arald

c. 1122-c. 1135 John

c. 1146 Eustace
c. 1159 Robert
1169 Thomas
1198 Simon de Camera
1204 Hugh de Welles

c. 1146 Martin
c. 1159 Thomas
c. 1165 Baldwin
1166 John Cumin

c. 1146 Hugh de Tournai
c. 1175 Richard (prob. of

c. 1184 Richard de Coutances

1182 Peter of Blois (till 1204) c. 1190 Robert de Gildeford '
c. 1186-8 Ralph de Lechlade c. 1205 William de Wrotham
c. 1190-1 Godfrev


The Early Career of John Cumin, Archbishop of Dublin

The importance of the primacy of John Cumin, the first English arch- bishop of Dublin and the immediate successor of St Laurence O'Toole, is duly recognised by the writers of Irish history. The conquest of Ireland had proceeded apace since the first Normans landed in 1167. King Henry the Second, jealous from the outset of the exploits of the invaders and dreading their possible assertion of independence, had himself spent six months in the country from October 1171 to April of the following year.
In 1176 Strongbow died, and the next year Henry created his son John, then in his tenth year, ' Lord of Ireland '. Hugh de Lacy was appointed viceroy : his rule was strong and peaceful ; but Henry, thinking perhaps that he was becoming too powerful, recalled him for a brief period in 1181.
In November 1180 the last Celtic archbishop of Dublin had passed away, and the king determined to take the opportunity thus offered of appointing in his place a faithful official of his own, one of his ' new men ', and so creating a fresh power in the conquered territory which should counter- balance the Dower of his nobles. In September 1181 some of the Dublin clergy met the king at the abbey of Evesham, and John Cumin, ' his clerk and a member of his household ', was given them as their new archbishop. 1

A curious error has prevailed as to John Cumin's antecedents : for it
1 ' Clericus et familiaris suus ', Gesta Ilenrici 11 (Rolls Series), i. 280.


has been stated again and again that the king selected for this post of responsibility a monk of the abbey in which the election took place. The late Professor Stokes speaks of John Cumin as ' a monk of that abbey ' ; and even so careful a historian as Mr. G. H. Orpen calls him a ' monk of the abbey of Evesham in Worcestershire '. Moreover, in that standard work of reference, Gams' Series Episcoporum, the letters O.S.B. are attached to his name, and we are pointed in a note to D' Alton's Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin, which was published in 1838, and which describes him as ' a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Evesham '. It is possible that with D'Alton the mistake may have begun, for we do not find it in the Antiquities of Ireland of Sir James Ware, who died in 1666. 1 In view of this and other misconceptions regarding so important a figure in
Irish history, it is worth while to review John Cumin's early career and to bring together some scattered facts which have not hitherto received attention. The first occasion of interest on which we meet with John Cumin's name is the famous assembly at Woodstock in the early days of July 1163, when Becket crossed the king's will in the matter of the sheriff's aid.
Among other items of business then transacted we find from the chartulary of Bruton Priory that Thomas the archbishop in the presence of the king and his court confirmed to the prior and canons the church of Ban well, lately given them by Bishop Robert of Bath. The king's confirmation which follows is attested by the archbishop, Richard archdeacon of
Poitiers, John Cumin, and others. 2 The position in which his attestation occurs indicates that John Cumin was already at this time a prominent official in the royal chancery. 3

The next mention of his name is an incidental reference in a letter written towards the end of the same year, when the real conflict between Henry and his archbishop had broken out at the council of Westminster. In order to understand it we must briefly recall the events which had brought the papacy into a position of unusual weakness and distress. On 7 Sep- tember 1159 Alexander the Third had been elected pope ; but a minority of the cardinals had chosen Octavian, who claimed the papal throne under the title of Victor. The antipope was supported by the Emperor
Frederic Barbarossa, and Alexander the Third was soon obliged to quit
Rome. France and England agreed to recognise Alexander, who aftei some wanderings settled his court at Sens, some seventy miles south-east of Paris ; here he stayed from 30 September 1163 till 4 April 1165. It was on the day after the pope's arrival at Sens that the council assembled at Westminster which brought Henry and Becket into open collision on the subject of the trial of criminous clerks. A few weeks later the letter

1 See Stokes, Anglo-Norman Church (ed. 2), p. 206 ; Orpen, Ireland under the Normans, ii. 59 f. ; D'Alton, Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin, p. 19.

2 An inspeximus of this charter is given in Cal. of Charter Rolls, March 1, 1314.
The charter is of interest as one of the earliest in which Richard of Ilchester attests as archdeacon of Poitiers, and as the latest known mention of Dean Ivo of Wells, who has hitherto been held to have died in 1160.

3 He appears in the Pipe Roll of 1159-60 as excused certain payments by royal writs to the sheriffs of Somerset and Worcester. In 1161-2 there are similar entries under Somerset, Carlisle, and London ; in 1163-4 under Carlisle only.


was written to which reference has been made above. A trusty messenger of the archbishop is reporting his visits, first to the French king and then to the pope. As to the latter he says that on hearing the news of the council at Westminster the papal court was filled with admiration at a courage which was in strange contrast to their own timidity. They were in no position to quarrel with any prince, least of all with the English king.
Two special causes of their dismay are mentioned by the writer of the letter — viz. the capture by the imperialists in Tuscany of the brother and nephews of the pope, and the long delay of John Cumin at the emperor's court. 1 We gather from this that although Henry had recognised Alexan- der the Third, he felt it desirable to keep in touch with the emperor, and was at least open to the suspicion of playing a double part. Frederic was then at the height of his triumph in North Italy, and was holding his court together with the antipope Victor at Lodi. 2 We may be certain that the envoy to whom Henry had entrusted a mission of such delicacy was a man of whose capacity and fidelity he had reason to feel sure.

The exact nature of John Cumin's business at the imperial court is not recorded, nor do we know the length of his stay. 3 But it is of some impor- tance for our estimate of his subsequent history that we should follow the course of the papal schism. The antipope Victor died in April 1164. The emperor's more prudent counsellors advised him to take the opportunity which providence thus offered him of reconsidering his position. But the hasty action of Reginald, the militant archbishop-elect of Cologne, brought about the immediate election of Guido de Crema, who assumed the style of Paschal the Third. The emperor held his hand for a time, and the archbishop of Cologne and other envoys Avere sent to K. Henry in April
1165, to negotiate a marriage between the princess Matilda and Henry duke of Saxony. When they returned the king despatched Richard of
Ilchester, archdeacon of Poitiers, and John of Oxford as ambassadors to the emperor to carry forward the negotiations. At Whitsuntide the emperor held a solemn court at Wurzburg to consider the question of the papacy. There was great uncertainty as to who should now be recognised : most of the bishops were inclined to the side of Alexander the Third. Then the archbishop of Cologne intervened. He told the emperor that all that he had done against Alexander would be thrown away unless he should now follow his counsel. He had the effrontery to declare that he had won over fifty English bishops and more to accept Paschal as pope, if the emperor should recognise him : moreover, he said, the two English envoys would swear in the name of their king that he also would abide by the emperor's decision.

Thereupon Frederic agreed to recognise Paschal, and called on the bishops to take an oath with him to that effect. But the bishops refused, saying that they "would sooner resign their ' regalia '. Upon being further pressed they agreed that if the archbishop of Cologne would take the oath first, and would also swear to receive ordination and consecration from Paschal,

1 Materials for Hist, of Beckei (Rolls Series), v. 59 'Quod Iohannes Cumin tam diu apud imperatorem moratur.'

2 Testa, War of Frederick I in Lombardy, pp. 300 f .

3 He attests a royal charter at Brewood (Staffs.) c. September 1165, according to the very probable date assigned by Eyton, Itinerary, p. 83.


they in their turn would swear to be true to Paschal so long as they retained their ' regalia '. The archbishop, however, refused, and the emperor turned on him with anger, and denounced him as a traitor who had misled him to the peril of his soul. On this the archbishop gave way, and swore as was proposed. The bishops for the most part took their conditional oath ; and the English envoys swore an oath which seems to have been diversely interpreted. The emperor's interpretation is plainly given in two documents which he issued immediately afterwards : they had sworn, he declares, on their king's behalf that Henry and his whole realm would stand faithfully by the emperor, would adhere always to Paschal as pope, and would henceforth have no dealings with Roland the schismatic — that is with Alexander the Third. A less explicit account of the oath is found in two contemporary reports transmitted to pope Alexander — viz. that the
English envoys swore on the king's behalf that he would observe whatso- ever the emperor swore to observe in the matter. 1 Probably their oath was even less definite than this : for a story preserved by John of Salisbury suggests that their instructions must have been that the king of England would stand by the emperor ' against all men, except only the king of
France '. When the emperor through his interpreter said ' Alexander is a mortal man, and he is not the king of France : I take it then that he is not excepted from the phrase against all men. Say whether you accept my interpretation or not ' ; then John of Oxford replied that the emperor's meaning was his also, and in this sense he would take the oath. 2

The whole incident is perplexing ; but if this story be true — and some truth there must be in it — we have a clue to the strange fact that John of
Oxford had to bear the brunt of subsequent accusations, while his fellow envoy escaped the charge of perjury. The intervention of an interpreter may have had something to do with the emperor's misunderstanding ; and it is certain that he was wholly deceived by the archbishop of Cologne, who had assured him that the English king and bishops would be with him. The English envoys were men of high standing and exceptional ability, and it is quite inconceivable that they should have ventured to commit K. Henry to the extent that the emperor imagined. The moment the report of the proceedings reached Normandy, Rotrou the archbishop of Rouen wrote to the cardinal Henry, who had come to France on the
Becket affair, and expressly denied on the king's behalf that either by himself or his envoys he had sworn to recognise Paschal, or had made any promise to that effect. In the former negotiations about the marriage, he said, the German ambassadors had tried hard to extract such a promise, but in vain ; for the king refused to do anything inconsistent with his loyalty to the pope and the king of France. The absurdity of the story, he added, was shown by the fact that the English king had not got so many as fifty bishops.

In the sequel, as we have said, Richard of Ilchester does not seem to have been expressly charged with having sworn to recognise Paschal. John of
Oxford was so charged again and again, and Becket excommunicated him at Vezelay on Whitsunday 1166 on this ground as well as on another. 3

1 Materials for Hist, of Becket, v. 182-94. 2 Ibid. v. 433.

3 The nickname of ' jurator ' was given him in consequence, and we find him referred to under this appellation in John of Salisbury's letters.


It is true that Richard of Ilchester was excommunicated among several other persons on the same day, but we are not told that this was the charge laid against him. John of Oxford himself soon afterwards got release from the pope and was restored to his deanery at Salisbury, having explained the Wurzburg incident and having sworn that he had done nothing to the injury of the Church or of Alexander. We must conclude, then, that the oath taken at Wurzburg was capable of two interpretations, and that the emperor was deceived as to the pledge which he supposed was being made on behalf of the English king.

With the events here narrated John Cumin was not directly concerned : but his own earlier mission had helped to lead up to them, and we shall presently find him again suspected of playing with schism. Meanwhile, in the middle of July 1166 he was with the king in Brittany, where he attests three charters in the camp outside Fougeres, to which Henry was laying siege. 1 Then in November the king sent him and Ralph de Tamworth to Rome whither the papal court had now returned. They were successful in obtaining the promise of a mission of legates with full powers to settle the controversy between the king and the archbishop : these legates were to start in January 1167. At Rome John Cumin met with John of Oxford and Reginald archdeacon of Salisbury, son of Bishop Jocelin of Salisbury and afterwards bishop of Bath. John of Oxford, as we have seen, was under sentence of excommunication for a double offence. Apart from the question of his oath at Wurzburg, he was in trouble about his deanery of Salisbury, to which he had got appointed in an irregular manner. Jocelin, his bishop, had taken his part, and had thereupon been suspended by Becket. Reginald,
Jocelin's son, had come to plead his father's cause. To Becket's intense chagrin John of Oxford found favour with the pope, and was absolved and reinstated. 2

In a letter dated 2 February 1167 John bishop of Poitiers, a steadfast friend of Becket, recounts that he had met John Cumin and Ralph de
Tamworth at Tours on their return from Rome. 3 He had not been able to get much out of them directly, but he had learned something from the dean of St Maurice, with whom they had stayed. 4 The dean and another clerk had informed him that William, cardinal of Pavia, and Otto were coming as legates. John of Oxford's success with the pope was said by
John Cumin and Ralph de Tamworth to have been gained by his assuring the pope that the king could be reconciled if properly approached by such a person as himself ; and they called him a traitor for this. They had further told the dean that they had got copies of Becket's letter to the pope against the king, and also similar letters from unsuspected bishops and members of the royal household, but who the writers were they refused to say. John Cumin boasted more particularly that he had got the letter beginning ' Satis superque ', which had been taken from Becket's

1 Round, Doc. preserved in France, pp. 271 f. The third charter is found in an inspeximus, Cal. of Charter Rolls, 20 Nov. 1251.
■ Materials for Hist, of Becket, vi. 68, 84, 203.

3 Ibid. vi. 146 ff.

4 The cathedral church at Tours, now St Gatien's, was formerly dedicated to
St Maurice.


messenger at Viterbo, though it was more probable that he had found it in the papal chancery.

Shortly after this Becket himself, writing to the pope, complained that
John Cumin, 'wandering over France and invading Burgundy', had reported in the houses of various nobles that the archbishop's overthrow was at hand, and that he could tell the very time and manner of it, but that he dared not reveal the papal secrets. 1 It would seem from all this that
John Cumin had got on well with the pope, but had talked a little too freely on his way home. Trouble at any rate was in store for him. On 7 May 1167 the pope writes to William and Otto, his legates, to say that after they had started rumours had reached him that John of Oxford had given out that the legates were to condemn and depose Becket ; and also that John
Cumin had shown copies of the pope's letter to Guido de Crema the anti- pope : if this latter charge were found to be true, the culprit must be severely dealt with as a warning to others. 2 This charge of collusion with the schismatic pope is of interest, whether it be true or false, on account of
John Cumin's earlier mission to the imperial court. It also helps us to interpret a strange phrase in a letter written about this time by John of Salisbury to the subprior of Canterbury. After warning the subprior against holding any intercourse with the excommunicate Balph de Broc, he adds ' If what I have written seems somewhat harsh in its tone, I know that I am speaking neither to the devil nor to the schismatic of Bath '. 3
Those who are familiar with John of Salisbury's allusive style, and also with the nicknames with which the opponents of Becket were decorated by his partisans, will possibly surmise that by ' the devil ' is here meant
Geoffrey Ridel, the archdeacon of Canterbury, whom his archbishop called not ' archidiaconus ' but ' archidiabolus '. But who is ' the schis- matic of Bath ' ?

No answer appears to be forthcoming to this question. Let us try what we can make of it. In a letter, which Jaffe conjecturally assigns to May 1168, Alexander the Third writes to John Cumin as follows :

We are greatly astonished, and we take it altogether amiss, that you have presumed, as we have now for some time been aware, to claim for yourself the archdeaconry of Bath on the ground of a lay appointment ; and that you have not scrupled to take it away from our venerable brother the bishop of Worcester, in the person of Master Baldwin, to whom we had confirmed it by our formal writ while the bishop of Bath was still alive. The pope commands him to resign it at once into the bishop of Worces- ter's hands : if he should fail to do so within twenty days of receiving this letter, the bishop has been charged to excommunicate him ; and should the bishop be unwilling to act orders have been given to the archbishop of Canterbury to pronounce the sentence : the pope will further order his excommunication by all the bishops of England. 4

1 Ibid. vii. 237 : the letter is dated 1170 by the editor, but it must belong to the early part of 1167.

2 Materials for Hist, of Becket, vi. 200.

3 Ibid. vi. 300 ' Si haec duriuscule videantur esse concepts, scio quod nee diabolo loquor, nee schismatico Bathoniensi.'

* Ibid. vi. 422.


Now Robert, the bishop of Bath, had died on 31 August 1166 ; and the
Pipe Rolls for 1166-7 and the next six years, during which the bishopric remained in the king's hand, afford evidence that John Cumin was all this time in possession of the archdeaconry of Bath. 1 The entries in which his name occurs would require for their elucidation a discussion too elaborate to be attempted here. It will suffice to say that they are of two kinds : there is a payment to John Cumin of 21., ' for his prebend, by the king's writ ' : that is for the year 1166-7, and there is a like payment the next year, but not afterwards : possibly it was a pension paid to him till a prebend should fall vacant. But there is, on the other hand, an annual charge of twenty shillings against John Cumin, which never gets paid, and which stands as a bad debt of 61. in the sheriff's account at the close of the vacancy of the see. This was a payment due to the bishopric from the rents of the archdeaconry of Bath, as we learn from the Pipe Roll of 1174-5, where it still stands as unpaid. In 1176-7 the debt was pardoned to John
Cumin by a writ of the king.

It would appear that, when the see of Bath was vacant, the king, who claimed the episcopal patronage, had given the archdeaconry of Bath to his faithful servant, John Cumin, in spite of the fact that already in Bishop
Robert's lifetime the pope had granted it in another direction. This, then, was the ' lay appointment ', which. the pope took so much amiss. But so angry a letter as the pope writes must have had something more behind it. John Cumin was marked out for the papal wrath. What the bishop of Worcester did we do not know ; but Ave find John Cumin's name in an undated list of those whom Becket excommunicated. 2 And it is at least a fair conjecture that he was ' the schismatic of Bath '.

But we must go back a little to note some activities of a different kind.
On 27 February 1167 the bishopric of Hereford fell vacant, and John
Cumin was placed by the king in charge of the temporalities, for which he accounts until 1 173. In the Pipe Rolls of 1 169-70 and the two following years he holds pleas as an itinerant justice, together with Reginald de Warren, in the counties of Hants, Wilts, Somerset and Devon. The first entry under
Somerset is a fine imposed on the dean of Wells, for a servant of the king whom he had imprisoned. The dean cannot have enjoyed being fined by the archdeacon of Bath.

We may here observe that, although it is certain that John Cumin held the archdeaconry of Bath, in such sense at least that he could be commanded by the pope to resign it, and also that he could be debited in the Pipe Rolls with an archidiaconal due of twenty shillings a year for six years during the vacancy of the bishopric, yet we have no evidence of his ever having performed any archidiaconal function in person ; and, what is still more strange for that period, there appear to be but two instances in which the actual title of archdeacon of Bath is given to him. In the Wells records his name does occur once during the tenure of the office : for he witnesses a royal licence authorising Reginald bishop of Bath to keep hounds for the chase, as his predecessors did, throughout Somerset ; but the licence was granted at Clarendon, and this is not one of the two occasions

1 See above, p. 80.

2 Probably on Ascension Day, 29 May 1169, if not before ; see Eyton, Itinerary,
p. 122.



on which he attests as archdeacon. 1 The first of these occasions is a royal grant issued ' apud Beauveeir super Moiram ', a locality which Delisle has identified with Bourg-le-roi. 2 The other is a charter, which seems to belong to the summer of 1171, to which date indeed the former might also be assigned. In both these charters we have the attestation of John archdeacon of Bath ; and there is no other archdeacon of Bath at that period who bears this name.

There is no reason to suppose that John Cumin relaxed his hold on the archdeaconry until he became archbishop of Dublin. He was consecrated, as we shall see, on Palm Sunday 1182 ; and in that year, at some time between the beginning of March and the end of June, Peter of Blois became archdeacon of Bath. 3 So it would seem that Peter was John Cumin's successor, and it is curious to read a letter of his in which he remonstrates with his bishop, who for a petty arrear of twenty shillings has suspended his vice-archdeacon. 4 Apparently John Cumin's bad example was followed by his successor, not only in the discharge of his duties by a deputy, but also in the failure to pay his archidiaconal dues.

But we must return from this digression to take up the thread of our story. Our first sight of John Cumin was at the council of Woodstock in 1163, at the very beginning of the conflict between Becket and the king.
Then we saw him at Borne in the midst of the negotiations at the end of
1166. We have now to follow him as he is sent for the second time to the papal court, when the miserable controversy is nearing its tragic close.
The archbishop had landed on 1 December 1170. On that very day renewed sentences were served by order of the unforgiving prelate on the archbishop of York and the bishops of London and Salisbury : the former was suspended, the latter were excommunicated, as before. All three crossed to Normandy and laid their complaint before the king. Thereupon
John Cumin was despatched by Henry to the pope, and, travelling at high speed, he arrived at Frascati a full fortnight before the envoys of the bishops. But for some time he applied in vain for a hearing. At last a promise of five hundred marks is said to have gained admission for himself and the others, who had arrived in the meantime. After that matters went well, and they were on the point of getting absolution for the bishops when the terrible news of Becket's murder suddenly changed the situation.
John Cumin's labours were thrown away, and his place was soon taken by a fresh embassy from the king with a much more serious task to perform. 5

He appears to be back in Normandy with the king in July 1171 ; 6 and he probably returned with him to England at the beginning of
August. He was again on circuit this year in the south-western counties ; but the next year he was holding an assize in Gloucestershire and Hereford- shire, being associated for the former county with the famous Walter Map.
In 1173 Bichard of Ilchester, the archdeacon of Poitiers, became bishop- elect of Winchester ; and John Cumin took over a good deal of business on his behalf in Somerset. The Pipe Boll of 1174-5 shows him crossing the

1 R. i. 15.

2 Notes sur les chartes orig. de Henri II, pp. 15, 30. Delisle suggests c. 1170 as the date. 3 Not in 1175, as is commonly stated.

4 Petri Blesensis epist. 58. 5 Materials, &c, vii. 476.

6 Eyton, Itinerary, p. 158 «., referred to above.



Channel on some business for the king, of which we have no further knowledge. The spring of 1177 took him to Spain. On 13 March the king had held a great council in London, at which the rival claims of the kings of Castile and Navarre were submitted to his arbitration. The award having been given, Henry dismissed the Spanish ambassadors and retired to Marl- borough. Thence he sent into Spain a mission of three envoys, of whom
John Cumin was the chief. Their instructions were, first, to receive the formal replies of the two kings, and then to visit Ferdinand king of Leon, in whose territory lay the great church of St James of Compostella : they were to inform K. Ferdinand that the king of England had long medi- tated a pilgrimage to the famous shrine, and to solicit from him letters of safe-conduct for this purpose. 1

At Easter 1179 a council was held at Windsor, when the kingdom was divided into four circuits for the administration of justice ; and John
Cumin was one of the judges appointed for the northern division. In this and the following year he several times occurs in the Pipe Rolls as charged with conveying the royal treasure from place to place in England, and once he is spoken of as one of the king's chamberlains. In 1180-1 he accounts for the revenues of the vacant abbey of Glastonbury ; he is described as ' custos ' of the abbey, and in that capacity he made certain administrative changes, which are afterwards referred to in the Inquisition taken in 1189 by the new abbot, Henry de Sully. 2 At Michaelmas 1182 his account as warden of Glastonbury is rendered by three clerks in his name, and covers only the half-year ending at Easter. The reason of this is to be found in the great promotion which had in the meantime rewarded his long and faithful service of the king.

He must by now have wellnigh reached his fiftieth year. He was only in deacon's orders, but this was not uncommon with archdeacons at that time. Thomas Becket was only a deacon when he held the archdeaconry of Canterbury, and Peter of Blois, John Cumin's successor in the arch- deaconry of Bath, wrote an angry letter of expostulation and self- justifica- tion when he was urged to go on to the priesthood. 3 The name of John
Cumin appears in Le Neve's list of the prebendaries of Hoxton in
St Paul's, but this is the only other preferment which he is known to have held. He had proved himself a vigorous and capable official, and Henry, who was a good judge of men, now selected him for a post of exceptional difficulty and responsibility. To the see of Dublin he was elected, as we have already said, at the abbey of Evesham in September 1181. Early in the next year he proceeded as archbishop-elect to the papal court, which he had last visited at the unhappy close of the Becket tragedy. The great pope, Alexander III, was gone : he had died but a few days before John
Cumin was elected to Dublin. His pitifully weak successor, Lucius III, received the archbishop-elect at Velletri with high honour. He made him a cardinal, we are told, ' in order that with the more satisfaction the supreme pontiff might ordain and consecrate him'. 4 On 13 March 1182

1 Gesta Henrici 11 (Rolls Series), i. 157 : Pipe Roll 1176-7.

2 Liber Henrici de Soliaco (ed. Jackson), pp. 15, 17.

3 See below, p. 123.

4 Gesla Hen. 11, i. 287 ' Ab eodem factus est cardinalis, ut gratius imponeret


the pope ordained him to the priesthood, and ten days later, on Palm
Sunday, which was also the feast of St Benet the Abbot, he gave him episcopal consecration. The statement as to the cardinalate, which comes to us with so much circumstantiality, is confirmed by Giraldus
Cambrensis, who speaks of him as ' presbyter cardinalis '. But there is no ground for supposing that he retained his position as a cardinal : it is hardly conceivable that he could have done so at that time without actual residence at the papal court. The explanation may be that it would have been infra dignitatem for the pope himself to ordain a priest save to the title of one of the Roman churches, and that his subsequent consecration to the see of Dublin was held to vacate the dignity which had been conferred for a special purpose.

It would be beyond the scope of the present study to follow John Cumin through the thirty years of his further career as archbishop and statesman in Ireland. One point only in his ecclesiastical policy claims our attention.
His enduring monument is the cathedral church of St Patrick. Whether any part of the existing building can be assigned to him is doubted by those who have the best right to an opinion : yet we are tempted to think that he was the first to bring over the Somerset stone of which it is built. Be this as it may, the foundation of a second cathedral in one diocese is almost unique, and that this was due to John Cumin is rendered certain by the concurrence of the two chapters in the election of his successor. St
Laurence O'Toole had introduced into his cathedral church of Holy Trinity, afterwards known as Christ Church, regular canons of the Augustinian order under the reformed rule of St Nicholas of Aroasia. He had himself shared their quasi-monastic life. The new archbishop was no monk, but a man of the world. He soon gave up the site of the archiepiscopal lodgings to the canons for the enlargement of their domestic buildings, and erected a new palace for himself outside the city walls, near the ancient church of
St Patrick, which he began to rebuild and endow for a college of secular canons. There was precedent in England for the co-existence of a secular and a monastic chapter with equal privileges in the same diocese. In the time of William Rufus the bishop of Wells had removed his seat to the abbey of Bath, of which he became abbot, having the prior and monks as his cathedral chapter. He took the style of bishop of Bath. But the canons of Wells recovered from their humiliation under Bishop Robert in the reign of Stephen. They were re-founded after the pattern of Sarum with a dean and other dignitaries ; and they successfully asserted their claim as a cathedral chapter, and co-operated with the monks of Bath in the election of Bishop Reginald in 1 1 73 . Seventy years later they succeeded in getting the name of their church added to the style of the bishop, who has ever since borne the double title of Bath and Wells. When, therefore,
John Cumin founded a second cathedral in his diocese of Dublin, he was reproducing a situation with which he was familiar as archdeacon of Bath.

ei summus pontifex munus ordinationis et consecrationis ' ; cf. Giraldus Cam- brensis (Rolls Series), v. 358.

H 2


Peter of Blois, archdeacon of Bath, was a man of letters who flourished towards the end of the twelfth century. There is some- thing ironical about this summary account of him, true as it is. For in the first place there is remarkably little to connect him with Bath ; though a letter describing some annoyance to which he was put on a return journey from his archdeaconry is evidence that once at least he visited it. Secondly, while he certainly was a man of letters in the accepted sense of that term, yet his original works and his wide acquaintance with the literature accessible in his day would never have gained him a place in history, had he not been also a great letter- writer, writing letters not merely on his own account, but also for some of the most notable personages of his time, who had dis- covered his value as a secretary. Lastly, to say of him that he flourished at any period of his career is to use a technical phrase which is in cruel contrast with the actual conditions of weak health, disappointment, and debt, which are the prominent features of his personal story. He was a Frenchman by birth, thoagh of Breton origin : but first Normandy and then England drew him away ; and, often as he sighed for his native land, he found no attraction sufficient to recall him to it. He nursed his grievance as an exile, but it was only one of many grievances ; and we may be content to accept his statement that, though his friends had bitterly dis- appointed him and his detractors were very spiteful, his life as he looked back on it had not on the whole been unhappy. He was an adventurer, no doubt ; but it was an age of adventurers ; and, though Peter was ambitious and self-important, he was free from avarice, and his frequent praise of poverty was quite sincere.

He had some means of his own, but he never understood how to keep out of debt ; and he was far too conscientious to make money as he easily might have made it in the various positions of trust which he filled. His morals were beyond reproach ; and his standard of clerical piety was so high that it was only at an advanced age that he could be persuaded to take priest's orders. But notwithstanding his unblemished character and his literary attainments there was something which held him back from the highest preferment ; perhaps


an incapacity for business, perhaps a defect of temper. So he died an archdeacon — not of Bath indeed, but of London ; and his latest letters are pathetic protests to the pope that he has no revenue to support his title, and that the new precentor of St Paul's has ousted him from his stall which was the second in honour to that of the dean.
It is impossible to make a hero of Peter, but his story has much of human interest, and it runs in and out among the great events of a fascinating period of history. His letters indeed are indispensable to the historian ; for again and again they take him behind the scenes. Not only do they present him with a famous picture of K.
Henry II, but they show him the back-stairs of the court, and quaintly portray the sufferings of the courtiers of second rank as they were hurried from place to place, wearied and famished, fleeced by officials, and distracted by the caprice of a monarch for ever changing his plans. Clerical and monastic life is also vividly depicted ; the bishop with his hawks, his nephews and his flatterers ; the monk who would leave the Chartreuse for a less exacting order, and is urged to join the Cistercians rather than the less devout Cluniacs with their tedious musical repetitions and ' farcing ' of psalms ; the abbot, so lately a humble, contemplative monk, now pestered with legal business and forced to expend ' the patrimony of the Crucified ' not on feeding the poor, but on over-feeding proud nobles who else would work woe to his house.

Peter collected and published his letters, as he tells us, at K. Henry's request. The collection must have appeared in more than one edition ; it never was arranged chronologically, and as it grew it became an inextricable tangle which no editor has yet attempted to unravel. Some two hundred letters are preserved which are certainly genuine, though some of them present inconsistencies, which may be partly due to the writer's own revision at a later date. An accurate text is greatly needed, and there is a multitude of manu- scripts waiting to be used. Meanwhile something can be done to straighten out Peter's own story, and to correct the mistakes of fact and date which mar the current accounts of his career.

Of the father of Peter of Blois we should know nothing had he not been unkindly spoken of after his death in a controversy concerning
Peter's claim to the provostship of Chartres. Peter in his indignant rejoinder (Ep. 49) tells us that his father and mother were of good
Breton stock ; that his father was an exile, of small means but not actually poor, of high character and ability, though not trained in letters. Of other members of his family we hear only of William his brother, who had some talent in writing poems and plays, and who


after being abbot for a short time of a monastery in Calabria returned to France ; and of Ernald, a nephew, who became abbot of S. Laumer at Blois. 1

Peter's name suggests that he was born at Blois : yet in a letter which he writes in 1176 to John of Salisbury, the bishop-elect of
Chartres (Ep. 223), he speaks of having received ' all the sacraments of the Christian faith ' in the church of the Virgin there ; so that unless his baptism was deferred, we should naturally think of Chartres as his birthplace. 2 The date of his birth may be placed about 1135 : this would agree with the statement that he was offered more than one bishopric when he was in Sicily in 1168, and would make him a little over seventy when he died.

Where he obtained his first education we are not told ; but he gives us (Ep. 101) some interesting details of his early studies. When he wrote Latin verses as a boy, his themes were taken from history and not from fable. Besides the ordinary school books he read much history ; 3 and, in view of the particular department of literature in which he achieved his permanent fame, we may note that he was made as a youth to learn by heart as models of epistolary style the letters of Hildebert bishop of Le Mans. The clever and ambitious lad presently found his way to Paris, where he continued his studies and supported himself by teaching. From Paris he went to Bologna, where he studied both canon and civil law (Epp. 8, 26). Near the beginning of the pontificate of Alexander III he visited the Roman court ; and on the way thither his party was captured by the adherents of the antipope, Victor IV (1159-64) and Peter himself narrowly escaped being thrown into prison. 4 He returned to Paris, and devoted his whole attention to the study of theology. He found himself in some pecuniary difficulty, but he was relieved by the timely liberality of his friend Reginald the archdeacon of Salisbury.

1 Christiana the nun, to whom Peter writes Ep. 36, is generally regarded as his sister : but ' carissima soror ' in the salutation and ' dilectissima soror ' at the end of the letter need not imply such relationship.

2 The phrase may be merely a rhetorical way of saying that he received minor orders and the diaconate at Chartres : cf. Guibert de Nogent, De vita sua, i. 14
' cui omnia benedictionum sacramenta praeter sacerdotium contulisset '. In
Ep. 49 he seems to speak of Chartres as ' domus nativitatis ' : but this again is rhetorical, and may refer more generally to France.

3 He enumerates Trogus Pompeius, Josephus, Suetonius, Hegesippus, Q. Cur- tius, Tacitus, and Livy. But he has evidently taken over this list from John of
Salisbury, Poller, viii. 18 : some of these authors he can hardly have known except by name.

4 Ep. 48. This must have occurred before April 1162, when Alexander took refuge in France. Peter in his metaphorical manner says that he left his garment behind him and was let down over the wall in a basket !


The earliest letter which Peter writes for a person of eminence is one in which Rotrou, the archbishop of Rouen, addresses K. Henry II, and pleads in the name of the bishops of Normandy that the young prince who is to be his successor may receive a thorough training in letters (Ep. 67). Rotrou had been translated from Evreux to Rouen in 1165, and at that time Prince Henry, though but ten years old, already had a separate establishment of his own. We may place this letter either before the spring of 1167 or after the summer of 1168.
The intervening period includes Peter's year of adventure in the
Sicilian court, the most curious and exciting incident of his whole career. The Norman Kingdom of Sicily, founded in the eleventh century by the heroic sons of Tancred de Hauteville, was now at the height of its prosperity. It included the Southern States of Italy — Calabria,
Apulia, and the principality of Naples. Under Roger II and William I it had become one of the strongest and best administered of existing kingdoms, exercising great influence not only in the West but also in the East. 1

The death of William in 1166 left the succession to his young son,
William II, whom K. Henry had marked out as the future husband of his daughter Joan. Walter, an Englishman, had already been sent to undertake the education of the prince. The queen-mother Margaret, a descendant of the counts of Perche, now urged her cousin, Arch- bishop Rotrou, to send out some of their relations to assist in the duties of the Sicilian court. 2 Thereupon Stephen, son of Rotrou the late count of Perche, went to Sicily with a company of thirty- seven persons. This party of Frenchmen, in which Peter of Blois was included, reached Palermo in the spring of 1167. Stephen was immediately made chancellor by the queen, and she also obtained his election as archbishop of Palermo, although he was too young to be consecrated, and indeed had only just been ordained subdeacon at her request. The two highest posts in the realm were thus com- bined in his person, to the great dissatisfaction of some of the older courtiers. His rule was just, and for a time not unpopular ; but the avarice and folly of a subordinate estranged the people ; his life was in constant danger, and soon after Easter 1168 a bloody revolt broke out. Stephen was besieged in his own palace, and though valiantly defended by the French knights he barely escaped with his life.

1 See Villari, Mediaeval Italy (transl., p. 221).

2 Rotrou was son of Henry of Neubourg, earl of Warwick, who had married a daughter of Geoffrey count of Perche. Q. Margaret was the grand-daughter of another of Geoffrey's daughters.


Surrendering his claim to the archbishopric he sailed for Syria, and died soon afterwards in Jerusalem. Of all who had come with
Stephen from France two only, according to Peter of Blois, returned in safety from ' poisonous Sicily '.

Peter as we learn from his letters had succeeded Walter as the young king's instructor (Ep. 66), and held that office for a year. His learning and ability gained him a position of importance in the court, where he acted as official sealer [sigillarius, Ep. 131 ). He tells us that his influence in state affairs aroused so much envy that repeated attempts were made to detach him from the court, and that he refused offers of two bishoprics and of the archbishopric of Naples. 1

At the moment of Stephen's flight Peter was sick. He was sheltered and cared for by Romuald, the archbishop of Salerno ; and on his recovery the archbishop and Richard Palmer, the bishop-elect of
Syracuse, urged him by the king's desire to remain at the chancery
(in sigilli officio). He insisted, however, on returning to France ; and, as the journey through Calabria was too hazardous, the king gave him a Genoese vessel which had been captured by Sicilian pirates. The crew were bound by solemn oaths of fidelity, and
Peter set sail with a company of about forty persons : he was becalmed, and took more than a month on his voyage ; but he reached Genoa safely and was well received, especially by persons of note who had seen him in what he calls his palatial grandeur in
Sicily (Ep. 90).

This account of his return he writes to his brother William, who seems to have followed him to Sicily, and who had become the abbot of Matina in Calabria. 2 In the same letter (or, according to some manuscripts, another written soon after) he urges his brother to refuse the pope's grant of the mitre and other episcopal ornaments,

1 Epp. 72, 131 : there is a slight discrepancy between the two letters.

2 The name of the abbey is given in the MSS, both in Ep. 90 and in Ep. 93, as
Malinensis, Malhinensis, or Malunensis. Busaeus conjectured Maniacensis, and was followed by Goussainville : but this has no manuscript evidence. Maniacensis is accepted by Chalandon, Histoire de la domination normande en ltalie el en Sidle
(1907), ii. 321, who unfortunately supposed that Malinensis was the conjectural emendation. He argues that Mattina in Calabria is out of the question, because according to Janauschek (Origines Cistercienses, 1877, i. 179) that abbey was only founded in 1180. But Janauschek says that it was founded by Robert
Guiscard in 1066 for Benedictines, and was transferred to the Cistercians in 1180.

Peter never actually states that his brother's abbey was in Sicily, though he congratulates him on getting away from Sicily alive. No doubt William was in touch with the Sicilian court : he had been defrauded, apparently in 1168, of the bishopric of Catana by John de Agello who perished in the earthquake at that place on 4 Feb. 1169.


as being unseemly for an abbot ; entreating him to resign his abbey rather than wear them. A subsequent letter (Ep. 93) congratulates him on having taken the latter course, and having returned from poisonous Sicily to the enjoyment of his native air and the wines of Blois. He speaks of William as his only brother (frater unice), and he rapturously concludes : ' Sumus, frater, in dulci Francia.'
This letter was written after Peter had learned of the death of Stephen of Perche, and of the avenging earthquake which had consumed
Catana on 4 Feb. 1169.

Peter's Sicilian experience was unfortunate, and left behind it a permanent embitterment. He had nearly touched greatness in his youth, and never rose quite so high again. From that time forth he was a disappointed man, for ever discoursing on the uses of adversity and vainly protesting that he had left ambition behind him.

When Peter got back to France the Becket controversy was nearing its miserable close. Every one was thoroughly tired of it, except the archbishop himself ; and he had succeeded in alienating almost all his English friends. Even the good bishop Jocelin of
Salisbury had come under his ban ; and so a breach had been made between Archbishop Thomas and Reginald the archdeacon of
Salisbury, Jocelin's son, who resented the unjust treatment of his father. Reginald was a man of importance in the king's court, and was just now returning from a second mission to the pope, on which he had started early in 1169. He was with K. Henry at Domfront, when the legates Gratian and Vivian, sent to make peace at last, arrived there in the month of August. It would appear that Peter had travelled with these legates from Benevento to Bologna, and had gathered that a reconciliation would certainly be effected, or else that Thomas would be transferred ' to the eminence of a greater patriarchate '. There is however a chronological difficulty in so interpreting the letter which relates this (Ep. 22), as it refers to the coronation of the young Henry (14 June 1170) which had roused
Becket to fresh anger : yet it does not seem possible to explain otherwise the reference to the legates of the apostolic see, and the letter may have suffered from re-editing. 1

Peter had betaken himself to Reginald, who had befriended him in earlier days in Paris. He was at the time quite unaware of the arch- bishop's anger against the archdeacon, and when he was reproached on having joined the enemy's camp he wrote to the friends of the

1 That Peter did visit the Roman court about this time may seem to be confirmed by Ep. 48, in which he recalls the kindness shown him by the cardinal William of Pavia on his return from his ' exile '.



exiled prelate to defend his own action on the ground of pressing necessity, and at the same time to urge that Thomas would send a kindly word to Reginald, who was greatly distressed at the aliena- tion, and who was a man worth making a friend : ' I know at any rate,' he says, ' his goodness to me ' (Ep. 24). We cannot follow
Peter's movements for a while after this; but we have a letter
(Ep. 61) which belongs to this period and illustrates his outspoken- ness towards his friends. ' You must give up your hawks,' he writes to the archdeacon of Salisbury, ' with all your benefices you have received the care of souls, and not the care of birds : a bishop you soon will be ; so turn from your birds to your books.'

For two years after the murder of Becket (29 Dec. 1170) we lose sight of Peter. Possibly he returned to Paris, and taught pupils there.
He expected two nephews of Bishop Jocelin of Salisbury, but they did not come ; nor did he receive a pension which that bishop had promised him (Ep. 51). He wrote to Reginald the archdeacon, begging him to secure for him the next vacant prebend at Salisbury
(Ep. 230).

In the spring of 1173 Peter reappears in the service of Rotrou archbishop of Rouen. It was a moment of great distress and of serious danger for the English king. His sons, with the connivance of their mother Eleanor, had broken into open revolt, and many of the barons both of Normandy and of England had taken their side.
In his anxiety to prevent a fratricidal struggle after his death, the king had apportioned the various provinces of his empire among his sons, and had caused the young Henry to be crowned as king of the
English, But he had refused to relax his own personal control over any part of his wide dominions, or even to supply his sons with independent revenues adequate to the positions which they held.
Early in March 1173 the young Henry suddenly left his father, and fled to the court of the king of France, Louis VII, where he was presently joined by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey. The king sent Archbishop Rotrou and Arnulf the bishop of Lisieux on an embassy to the French king at Paris. Peter of Blois went with them — we should have supposed in attendance on the archbishop ; but he appears to regard himself as sent directly by the king (Ep. 71). It was by his pen that the two envoys made the report of their unsuccess- ful mission (Ep. 153). This letter contains the remarkable statement that the envoys could not induce the king of France ' to return the king's salutation ' : he had heard with patience all that they said,
' sola salutatione excepta.' The obscurity of the phrase is made clear when we read the account of this mission which is given by


William of Newburgh (Rolls Ser. i. 170). The king, he says, sent honor- able envoys with pacific messages, asking on a father's authority for the return of his son. The French king at once put the question,
' Who sends me such a message as this ? ' ' The king of England,' was the reply. ' But,' said he, ' that is not so : for the king of
England is here, and he sends me no message by you. If it is his father, the late king of England, whom you still are calling the king,, you must know that that king is dead.' It is this scene which is judiciously covered up by the words of the formal report, in which the envoys speak of their inability to extort any response to the king's salutation. The two documents which alone record this unlucky embassy corroborate each other in a remarkable way, and we may learn from this instance that the letters of Peter of Blois are a source of information which the historian cannot afford to neglect.

Four other letters were written by Peter for Archbishop Rotrou at this critical time (Epp. 28, 33, 154, 155). In Ep. 33 he urges the young king to return to his allegiance ; and in Ep. 154 he reprimands
Q. Eleanor for leaving her husband, and threatens her with the censures of the Church unless she returns to him and ceases to excite the young princes against him. The queen shortly afterwards endeavoured to join her sons, but she was intercepted in her flight, and was thereafter held in captivity for many years.

The bishopric of Bath had now been vacant for nearly seven years.
When Bishop Robert died, 31 August 1166, the king was in Brittany and Thomas the archbishop was in exile at Pontigny. There was no prospect of filling this or other sees which presently fell vacant, so long as the great quarrel lasted. But towards the end of 1170, as soon as a reconciliation had been effected, the king summoned six persons from each of the widowed churches to come to him in
Normandy, in order that elections might be made without further delay. This method of procedure was regarded as a serious breach of custom, on the ground that the elections of bishops ought not to take place ' in another kingdom '. The project was in any case frus- trated by the murder of the archbishop at the close of the year.

At length in May 1173 Peter's forecast for his friend proved correct, and Reginald the archdeacon of Salisbury was elected to the see of
Bath. Peter declared that on the second Sunday after Easter he had an extraordinary dream, in which this promotion was foretold. 1
Then on 3 June Richard, the prior of Dover, was elected to the vacant see of Canterbury ; and when the young king, who was now in open rebellion, appealed to the pope against these and other

1 Ep. 30, of which there are two variant texts, pointing to some re-editing.


episcopal appointments as having been made without his royal consent, both Richard and Reginald started for the papal court.
The new archbishop, after a tedious sojourn in Rome, was at length consecrated by the pope himself on 8 April 1174 : Reginald's conse- cration was deferred, but it took place on 23 June at S.Jean de Mauri- enne in Savoy. On 24 November the archbishop was present at the enthronement of the new bishop of Bath. K. Henry and the young king his son were by this time reconciled, and they returned to
England together in May 1175.

There is no evidence that up to this date Peter of Blois had ever been in England. He tells us more than once that it was the king who urged him to come (Epp. 127, 149) ; but it is not inconsistent with this that his friend, the new bishop of Bath, should have had something to do with his migration. It is commonly stated, indeed, that in 1175 Peter became the archdeacon of Bath ; but we shall presently see that he did not receive this promotion until seven years later. As a matter of fact he entered the service of Richard, the new archbishop of Canterbury, and acted as his chancellor ; and we may fairly suppose that he was introduced to the archbishop by Bishop

The ecclesiastical policy of Archbishop Richard seemed a timid one to the admirers of his martyred predecessor. But it must be remem- bered that Thomas had little sympathy or support in England either from clergy or from monks during this struggle with the king: his praise and popularity began with his death. Richard had no intention of quarrelling with K. Henry ; and there are indications that he disapproved of some of the immunities for which Thomas had contended. 1 His relations with Alexander III were not cordial; and the great papal chancellor Albert, who himself was to be pope for a few weeks at the end of 1187, received a letter from Peter, ' the insignificant chancellor ' of the archbishop (modicus domini Cantua- riensis cancellarius) defending his master from complaints which had reached the Roman court (Ep. 38). Archbishop Richard was indeed a good husband of the resources of his see ; but even the king, as we learn from a frank remonstrance of Peter's, desired to see him more active in the reform of ecclesiastical abuses (Ep. 5).

In one direction he was zealous enough : he was strongly opposed to the attempts which one monastery after another was making to escape diocesan supervision and to obtain exemption from all jurisdiction except that of the pope himself. A letter which Peter

1 See Ep. 73, where a protest is entered against the argument contained in the phrase ' bis in id ipsum '.


writes for him to Alexander III (Ep. 68) tells how the abbot of
Malmesbury, refusing obedience to the bishop of Salisbury, had gone off to Wales and got his benediction from the bishop of Llandaff.
And the archbishop had a struggle of his own of many years' duration with Roger, the abbot-elect of St Augustine's, who refused to make him the oath of obedience and appealed to the pope. This struggle took Peter to Rome, on what was perhaps his third visit to the papal court. In the autumn of 1177 he and Master Gerard la Pucelle left England as proctors in this suit, and after some months a conclu- sion favourable to the archbishop seems to have been reached. But suddenly the tables were turned, as Peter narrates in a letter to John of Salisbury, the bishop of Chartres (Ep. 158). ' I had nicely finished my business,' he says, ' and was starting for home, when the pope called me back. The elect of St Augustine's had turned up, and all was to begin over again. Master Gerard and I did our best against him ; but he so silvered the wings of the dove and covered her back with gold, that we could hardly get a hearing. Indeed he was to have been blessed the very next Sunday ; but by an immense effort I managed to stop that. At last with a bad fever on me, as July came in, I went out, and left the Roman court.' The facts to which reference is made were these : on 3 April 1178 the pope, writing as he says in the presence of Masters Gerard la Pucelle and Peter of
Blois, decides in favour of Roger ; x and on 17 April he writes to the bishop of Worcester to bless the abbot, if the archbishop should still refuse. Yet Roger failed to get the benediction either way, till he returned to Rome and received it from the pope himself on 28 January
1179. Even that, as we shall see, was not quite the end of the struggle. We have now reached the year of the great Lateran council, which was held 5-19 March 1179. The archbishop started for it, but in fact got no further than Paris. Reginald the bishop of Bath was at the council, with other English bishops ; and so was Peter of Blois.
Peter may have brought the archbishop's excuse ; but he did a little business besides on his own account. This comes out incidentally on two occasions in later years. We shall find him pleading that
Bishop Reginald had infringed a privilege then obtained, by which
Peter and his subordinates were not to be molested by excommunica- tion or suspension unless after trial and conviction. Moreover
Lucius III wrote (c. 1181) to the archbishop of Canterbury to compel
Master Peter of Blois his chancellor to make good certain pecuniary engagements into which he had entered at the time of the Lateran
1 Hist. S. Aug. Cant. (Rolls Ser.). p, 421.


council ( Jaffe, 14963) : and one of the very few short letters in
Peter's collection (Ep. 39) is addressed to his friend E., begging his aid : ' I come straight to the point. The Roman court, as its manner is, has tied me up with a multiplicity of debt : if I can once escape from Scylla by God's grace I shall not fall back into Charybdis.'

During the earlier years of his residence in England Peter was still cherishing the hope of getting some substantial preferment in his native land. A number of his letters refer to this matter, and it will be convenient to deal with them together. It would appear that about the year 1171 Peter was drawn away from scholastic work, and hoped to find a settled position in France as a clerk of the archbishop of Sens, with a prebend, and presently the provostship, in the cathedral church of Our Lady of Chartres. Thus he writes to
William (aux Blanches Mains), archbishop of Sens (1168-76), saying that he has waited patiently for the fulfilment of a promise brought him by Master Gerard : he is getting on in years, and the grey hairs are coming : many offers have been made him, but the hope of a prebend at Chartres prevents him from accepting them at present
{Ep. 128). About the same time he writes to a relation of his own,
Peter Minet bishop of Perigueux (1169-82), postponing the acceptance of a place in his household, on the ground of great offers from ' that lord whom you know of ', for whose promised bounty he is stijl waiting patiently : he mentions in this letter that his father and mother are both dead (Ep. 34). Another letter (Ep. 72) shows that his hope was vain : it is written to ' G., once friend and companion '.
* The archbishop of Sens', he says, 'drew me away from the schools, to join his household in hope of a benefice at the earliest moment : you boast that you have ousted me and got another man into the post.' Peter pelts him with endless quotations from five ancient poets and from Macrobius. ' I have nothing but my patrimony,' he says in conclusion, ' and that I am distributing to my kinsfolk.
In Sicily they sought to ruin me by offers of bishoprics : you take the opposite course, and after cheating me of more than one prebend, you have supplanted me also in the provostship. God spare you from the fate of the Sicilians : for I wish you no harm.'

We shall see that the provostship of Chartres, on which Peter seems to have had some kind of claim, was again to escape him to his intense chagrin : meanwhile he left France for Normandy, and betook himself once more, as we have already observed, to Rotrou, the arch- bishop of Rouen. Here he obtained a small prebend, which seems to have been more trouble than it was worth. Chance has preserved the record that he Avas forty shillings in arrear for his contribution


to the building of the new chapter- house at Rouen ; 1 and a letter written to Walter of Coutances, who succeeded to the archbishopric in 1185, shews that he had farmed out his prebend, but had got nothing for it in the five past years (Ep. 142).

On 8 August 1176 the great scholar John of Salisbury was conse- crated to the bishopric of Chartres. We have already mentioned two letters written to him by Peter : one during the exile of Arch- bishop Thomas, and another in 1178 describing his visit to the
Roman court. If Ep. 223 (' to the elect of Chartres ') was written to John, as seems almost certain, it follows that Peter had never met him until his appointment was made known, and that then he had hastened to see him. After speaking of the need of such a bishop to restore the broken fortunes of the church of Chartres,. he begs him to ' give his voice the voice of power ', 2 and to claim 'him, not half but whole, for the service of the glorious Virgin. But the bishop's first favour was shown to another Peter of Blois, whom our Peter describes as his double as well as his namesake (Ep. 114). Peter praises the bishop for thus caring for the clergy of Blois (clerus
Blesensis), who as a body have been scattered and proscribed : he must not however forget something else which he had promised, and which is Peter's own secret : ' You will give your voice the voice of power,' he says again ; ' there will be no Yea and Nay with you.'
He adds that his archbishop had bidden him write a memorial of the blessed Thomas ; but happily he had found that John of Salisbury had done it. It appears that this other Peter of Blois was chancellor of Chartres under Bishop John. Two letters of our Peter are written to him : in one (Ep. 72) he asks him to correct his work Depraestigiis jbrtunae, in which he has recorded the deeds of K. Henry II : his brother William has indeed gone over part of it, but he wishes a severer critic : the other (Ep. 76) is a denunciation of his wasting his gifts upon profane letters, when he ought to devote himself entirely to theology. In this connexion it is interesting to note that
Peter the chancellor of Chartres is recorded to have written a com- mentary on the Psalms. 3

The re-foundation of the dean and chapter of S. Sauveur at Blois is the subject of another letter which belongs to this period (Ep. 78).
This was the work of a knight named Geoffrey, undertaken under the auspices of Bishop John. Peter indeed speaks of himself as
* first among the first ' in the restoration : but this perhaps only means that he had urged it upon the new bishop. In a curious letter
(Ep. 70), which he may afterwards have regretted, Peter protests

1 See below, p. 129. a Ps. lxvii. 34 (Vulg.). 3 Migne, P. L. 207, col. 342 n.


against the flatterers who try to prevent the bishop from giving promotion to his own nephew, Robert of Salisbury : it is not right, he says, to prefer a less fit stranger to a fit nephew. In this letter to the bishop Peter writes as ' suus canonicus ', and there is other evidence that he held for a time a canonry at Chartres. In writing to the dean of Chartres and the archdeacon of Blois he speaks of him- self as having been their ' concanonicus '. It is in this letter (Ep. 49) that he defends his father's memory against the charges brought up in the suit with Robert of Salisbury for the provostship of Chartres.
This office he still claims as his rightful due ; he had designed to devote the remainder of his days to Our Lady of Chartres, but foes of his own household have conspired against him : God however has provided him with a more fruitful benefice. Perhaps we should put even before this letter another which he writes to the dean and chapter of Chartres, when his duties with the archbishop of Canter- bury prevent him from coming to them as he had planned (Ep. 234). x
He is grateful to the dean for an offer of a pecuniary kind, but says he will take nothing from him or any one during his persecution.
This melancholy story comes to a close with another letter to Bishop
John (Ep. 130), repudiating charges of attempts to bring various influences, royal or papal, to bear in order to secure the provostship which Robert the nephew now holds. 2 He writes as the archbishop of Canterbury's chancellor ; and this office may be the better benefice referred to above. Some years afterwards, in 1182, Peter wrote to congratulate Rainald, a new bishop-elect of Chartres, 3 and saidnothing at all as to his own troubles and hopes (Ep. 15) : a little later, how- ever, he writes to two members of the bishop's household, and says :
' Your lord had promised to recall me from exile : but there are frogs in bishop's chambers ' (Ep. 20).

We must now come back to England and to the household of Arch- bishop Richard, where Peter's real work lay. To what extent be was from time to time attached to the royal court it is difficult to say ; but it is certain that he was there on occasions in the archbishop's interest. Once he was sent abroad on a mission to the king, and on reaching the other side of the channel he wrote back a lively descrip- tion of his perilous passage : 4 ' The king is off to Gascony, and I after

1 In this letter the title ' archdeacon of London ' is undoubtedly a later insertion. 2 There are two variant texts, which seem to indicate re-editing.

3 John of Salisbury had died on 25 Oct. 1180 : Petrus Cellensis seems to have succeeded in 1181, and then Rainald de Moncon in 1182.

4 Ep. 52. One brief sentence may be quoted : ' Universa patiebantur spiritum vertiginis, spiritum abominationis et nauseae '.


him post-haste (duplomate litem).' He adds what must be meant for humour, if it is not a misreading : ' Bene valeant magni rustici nostri, magister G. et archidiaconus Baiocensis.' These were two clerks of the archbishop's household, Gerard la Pucelle, who had been with Peter at Rome ; * and Waleran, who on 9 Oct. 1182 was elected to the see of Rochester. This letter was written probably at the end of June 1182 : in its opening clause Peter styles himself archdeacon of Bath ; and, though we often have to set aside this title as a later addition to the original letters, there is good reason for maintaining its genuineness here.

We must go outside the printed editions and even the manuscripts of his letters to settle the date at which Peter of Blois became arch- deacon of Bath. The earliest occurrence of his name in any charter which can be approximately dated is his attestation of the grant by
Richard de Camville of the church of Hengstridge for a prebend of
Wells. This grant can be dated with practical certainty between
March and May 1176, and it was confirmed at the same time by Arch- bishop Richard. Both the grant and the confirmation are attested by ' Master Peter of Blois '. 2 This is enough to throw serious doubt on the common assertion that he was archdeacon of Bath in 1175.
There are at least three other charters known to us which he attests without the title of archdeacon, 3 and they may all be placed before
1182. In the letter of Alexander III, to which we have already referred, he is spoken of as ' Master Peter of Blois ' on 3 April 1178 ; so too in the letter of Lucius III. who was elected pope on 1 September

The first evidence of his having become archdeacon of Bath is perhaps to be found in a charter by which Archbishop Richard

1 Gerard was consecrated to Coventry, 25 Sept. 1183, but died 13 Jan. 1184.

2 Wells, Liber Albus ( = Reg. i), ff. 21, 22 b. The grant cannot be earlier than
12 Oct. 1175, as it is attested by Adam bishop of St Asaph ; nor later than the end of May 1176, when Richard de Camville left England for Sicily, whence he did not return. As there are seven episcopal witnesses, it may have been made at the council held under the legate Hugh on 14 March, or, with yet more likelihood at the king's council at Westminster on 25 May, when the legate was present and when Richard de Camville was appointed as one of the envoys to conduct the princess Joan to the Sicilian court. The Wells chartulary also contains (f. 22) a confirmation of the grant by ' Hugo Petri Leonis, cardinal deacon of St Angelo and papal legate '.

3 These are (1) a charter of Abp. Richard to the abbey of St Bertin at St Omer, dated in 1179-82 by Dr. Round, Doc. in France, p. 488 ; (2) a charter of William de St John, attested by the same archbishop, and dated by Dr. Round in 1174-5
(but on the ground that about the latter year Peter became archdeacon of Bath :
Ancient Charters, pp. 71 f.) ; (3) a charter of Abp. Richard in regard to land at
Harrow (Westminster ' Domesday ', f. 52 b).



confirms the English possessions of the abbey of St Stephen at Caen. 1
Its first two witnesses are Walter bishop of Rochester and Master
Peter of Blois, archdeacon of Bath : it must therefore be earlier than 26 July 1182, when Bishop Walter died, and consequently earlier than Peter's crossing of the channel at the *" summer solstice ' of that year. There is however a Wells charter which gives Avhat may possibly be yet earlier evidence : namely, Gerard de Camville's confirmation of his father's grant of Hengstridge. This is dated at
Westminster in 1182 : and both it and its confirmation by Arch- bishop Richard are attested by ' Peter archdeacon of Bath '. 2 It was made in the presence of Ranulf de Glanville, ' Justice of England ', a title which he obtained at the end of February 1182, on the eve of the king's departure for Normandy. It may be dated betAveen the beginning of March and the end of June when Peter went abroad.
We may consider it therefore established that Peter became arch- deacon of Bath in the earlier part of the year 1182. 3

Whatever may have been the nature or extent of Peter's new archidiaconal responsibility — and this point we shall have to con- sider later — it was not such as to sever his connexion with the archbishop. We have seen that he crossed the sea for him at Mid- summer 1182 ; and the next year he was abroad again in attendance on the primate at the king's court. 4 The year 1183 was to bring the greatest anxiety and sorrow to K. Henry. It began with a revolt of Prince Richard, and after his reconciliation there followed a fresh revolt of Prince Henry, the young king. Archbishop Richard, who had left England the previous November, remained abroad until the beginning of August. Peter was with him at the court at Poitiers on 8 March and attested an agreement which the king had at length required Roger the abbot of St Augustine's to make with the arch- bishop. Early in May he was still with him ; for the archbishop then wrote, by Peter's hand, a letter to the young king (Ep. 47), appealing to him to submit to his father and not behave like a captain of brigands : if he does not come to a better mind, the

1 Round, Doc. in France, p. 162.

2 Wells, Reg. i, ff. 21, 21 b. Several of the witnesses are known to have been sitting in the curia regis at Westminster on 29 April and 1 May 1182 : one of these,
John bishop of Norwich, crossed the straits during the summer (Eyton, Itinerary, pp. 247 f.). .

3 It is interesting to note, as confirmatory of this date, that John Cumin, who had been archdeacon of Bath, was consecrated archbishop of Dublin by the new pope, Lucius III, on 21 March 1182 (elected 6 Sept. 1181).

4 It is quite possible that he remained abroad from Mids. 1182 till his return with the archbishop, who was in Normandy from 13 Nov. 1182 until 11 August


archbishop will fulfil the pope's order and excommunicate him within fifteen days. On 26 May the archbishop, with Waleran the newly consecrated bishop of Rochester and four Norman bishops, excommunicated at St Stephen's Caen all who had fostered the dissensions between the kins; and his sons. It is said by Roger de
Hoveden that the young king was excepted from this sentence : perhaps, however, the excommunication was in such general terms that some may have held that he was excepted and others that he was included. For we have a letter written by Peter to Ralph the bishop of Angers, urging him to punish with ecclesiastical censures the Angevin s who had deserted K. Henry, and adding that the archbishop of Canterbury had, at the pope's bidding, excommunicated at Caen all who broke the peace not excepting the young king
(Ep. 69). Suddenly on 11 June the young king died. As his body was being taken to Rouen, it Avas forcibly detained at Le Mans and buried there : shortly afterwards, however, K. Henry and the archbishop removed it to Rouen. The second letter of Peter's collection — the first, that is, after the prefatory epistle — is addressed to the king at this time, exhorting him not to yield to excessive grief for the loss of his son. It may well be that this letter of con- solation was appreciated by the king and led to the request that
Peter would publish his letters (see Ep. 1).

The archbishop returned to England on 11 August, and eight days afterwards Peter was present in the chapter-house of Christ
Church, when the new bishop of Rochester, who had been consecrated abroad, did fealty to the church of Canterbury. 1 Peter's service to the archbishop was soon to close, for Archbishop Richard died on 16 Feb. 1184.

The king returned to England in June, and the Christ Church monks were ordered to proceed to the election of an archbishop.
Of their four nominees none satisfied the king. Then the bishops elected Baldwin the bishop of Worcester : he had been the protege of the good bishop Bartholomew of Exeter, who made him his archdeacon : after this he had joined the Cistercians, and had become abbot of Ford in Devonshire. It took much negociation before the monks of Canterbury would agree to elect him ; but they did so at last, after his election by the bishops had been formally quashed, in the king's presence at Westminster on 16 Dec. 1184. 2
Baldwin's old patron, the bishop of Exeter, had died the day before.
At the end of January 1185 Heraclius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, arrived to plead for a new Crusade : he stayed in England till
1 Gervase, i. 306, 328. 2 Ibid. 310-25.

I 2


April. Among other inducements he offered the kingdom of Jerusalem to Henry or any one of his sons. Peter, in a letter written some years later to Geoffrey the archbishop of York, mentions that he himself was present when the offer was made, and it was hoped that
Geoffrey might accept it (Ep. 113). On 19 May Baldwin received his pall at Canterbvry. Peter, who seems at once to take his old position in the archbishop's court, writes in Baldwin's name to urge the bishops of the province to promote the Crusade ; and his letter expressly mentions the visit of Heraclius (Ep. 98). Then we find him writing for the archbishop to the new pope, Urban III, who was elected on 25 Nov. 1185.

In the service of Archbishop Baldwin Peter of Blois was destined to play a prominent part in an ecclesiastical struggle, which but for the loss of Jerusalem, the death of the pope, and the death of the king might even have brought about the severance of the Church of England from the papacy. It was only the monks of a single monastery who were fighting to preserve privileges of exemption to which they had in fact no longstanding claim. But with eminent ability and indomitable courage they succeeded in identifying their cause with that of the papal jurisdiction in England, and showed by the sufferings which they wittingly drew upon themselves that they would die sooner than yield. They were confronted by an archbishop, pious, austere, and as unyielding as themselves, supported by the entire episcopate, a few names only excepted ; and they had to deal with a subtle king, who held himself in the background at first, but presently declared that he would sooner lose his crown than see the monks victorious.

The monks of Christ Church Canterbury held a unique position.
They claimed the sole right of electing the primate of all England — a claim which neither bishops nor king could possibly admit. When he was enthroned, the archbishop was nominally their abbot ; but the prior and his monks claimed to be ' the church of Canterbury ',
' the mother church of England ' ; and they held .that the archbishop was bound to their allegiance on that ground. They had gained an independent control of their estates, and even of the offerings made in what was the archbishop's own cathedral church. They treated him as if he were there on sufferance, and jealously watched his every act. In Theobald's days indeed they had been in straits, and were glad to look to his aid in matters of property. In Thomas's time they were by force of circumstances left to themselves, and they showed little or no sympathy with his troubles. But his death in their midst had raised them to glory and to opulence : and his


successor Richard had allowed them to control the new wealth which poured in from the offerings of pilgrims, and had yielded other points out of a weak benevolence which secured peace in his time. Baldwin was a Cistercian monk, accustomed to a stricter inter- pretation of the monastic rule than he found at Canterbury, and accustomed as an abbot to be obeyed. He set himself at once to recover some of the property rights of his see which his predecessor had alienated ; and he obtained sanction for his acts from Lucius III.
He then initiated a scheme which, as he claimed, and doubtless with some justice, had been contemplated by St Thomas and even long ago by St Anselm — the erection of a collegiate church in the suburbs of Canterbury. It was to be dedicated not only (as they had intended) to St Stephen, but now also to St Thomas as well ; for the English martyr had as yet no church of his own in his native land. For this design Baldwin obtained the sanction of the new pope, Urban III, who however soon repented of his consent and became the arch- bishop's bitter enemy.

The monks were quick to see that this new church would be their ruin. It was to be a college of canons of no ordinary eminence.
A number of bishops would receive stalls ; it was even whispered that one would be assigned to the king himself : others would be given to the most learned clerks of the kingdom. What would this mean but a college of cardinals, with the archbishop sitting as a kind of pope ? A new patriarchate would be formed : all causes ecclesiastical would be heard in this court, and none would hence- forth cross the sea : England would be to all intents and purposes severed from Rome. The monks, of course, would cease to be
' the church of Canterbury ' : the new cathedral would supersede the old by sheer force of wealth and influence : it might even claim the body of the martyr in whose name it was dedicated. These were the terrors of their mind as the project advanced : these at any rate were the*fatal consequences which they assured the pope must inevitably follow, if he did not crush the scheme at the very outset. It may be that the archbishop entered on the undertaking with a much more modest intention. He wished to surround himself with learned clerks, he wished to be able to reward meritorious services ; he wished also to create a counterpoise to the excessive influence of the monks. In a letter written by the abbot of St Denys on behalf of the convent of Christ Church to Pope Clement III we find it stated that the archbishop's simplicity had been imposed


upon by the wiliness of certain scholars ; 1 and it is interesting to compare with this the more explicit statement of Gervase the
Canterbury monk, that it was Peter of Blois who was the cunning deviser of the obnoxious plan. We may well believe that, at its first inception, the reward of scholarship among the secular clergy held a prominent place in the scheme ; but shrewder heads than
Peter's got to work upon it. Henry and his statesmen, who were for the most part bishops and clerical lawyers, saw its possibilities : the archbishop and his scholar-priests were their unconscious tools.

The story of this great contest has been vividly told by Bishop
Stubbs in his introduction to the Ejnstolae Cantuarienses (Chron. of
Rich. I, Rolls Series, II, xxxvii. ff.) : we are only concerned here with the part played in it by Peter. This we learn chiefly from the the Canterbury historian Gervase, and we must make some allowance, as we read, for the natural bias of the writer. 2

The archbishop, as we have said, had obtained a general approval of his scheme from the pope, and in the last days of 1186 he came to Canterbury with the intention of at once installing some of his new canons in the church of St Stephen at a little distance outside the city. The alarmed monks appealed against such action to the
Roman court, but the archbishop pursued his course, suspended the monks who were sent to forbid him and also Honorius their prior.
Thereupon Honorius immediately set out to carry the appeal in person to the pope. At home the controversy became daily more bitter. The king sent envoys to negociate a settlement, but in vain.
Then on Ash-Wednesday 1187, on his way to Dover, he came to
Canterbury to try the effect of his personal persuasion. The scene in the chapter-house, as Gervase describes it, is a curious one. The king entered with the archbishop alone, and ordered the doors to be guarded, that none might come in unless they were summoned.
The first to be called were the bishop of Norwich, the bishop of
Durham, Hubert Walter, and Peter of Blois, the ' impudent contriver of almost the whole of this mischief '. Next, the subprior and four monks were summoned : they sat apart with their eyes on the ground, but with no sign of fear, ' as sheep appointed to the slaughter '. Grouped on the other side were the archbishop, his bishops and ' his Peter ', as Gervase scornfully adds. The king- moved from one group to the other, bearing their proposals and replies. But all his skill could achieve nothing. So he went on to

1 Epp. Caniuar. (Chron. of Rich. I, Rolls Ser. ii), p. 146 ' quorundam scholarium argutiis archiepiscopi simplicitate abutentium '.

2 Gervase, i. 354.


Dover, and all his company. The archbishop soon came back, and changing the site of his new church began to dig its foundations about half a mile nearer to Canterbury on 18 February. A fearful hailstorm marked the day.

Then the archbishop despatched Peter of Blois and other envoys x to the papal court. Peter on his way through France obtained letters in the archbishop's favour from certain persons of note : he was also the bearer of letters from some of the English bishops.
Meantime the prior Honorius had reached Verona, where he was received with much favour. The pope at once wrote to command the archbishop to cancel his sentences of suspension and to annul all action that he had taken since the appeal had been announced to him. His only reply was to build a chapel of wood and form a fraternity to gather funds for the new church throughout England.
In May the pope wrote again, and then sent two further letters, one commanding him to stop building, the other warning prelates that the fraternity must be quashed. But the archbishop was undeterred, and the only result was, as Gervase says, that the chapel of wood began to turn into a church of stone.

During all these months the pope got no word at all from the archbishop. It became known that his envoys would not enter
Verona while Honorius was there. So the prior by the pope's advice withdrew to France, and Master Pillius was left as the convent's advocate. Then the envoys came ; but still they refused to approach the pope unless they could be heard by themselves. Their position was indeed a difficult one ; for since their departure from England the archbishop had persistently disregarded the pope's commands, and the case could no longer be considered on its merits alone.
Doubtless the pleas which they would chiefly urge were other than ecclesiastical arguments. The king was behind them, and at that moment he was seeking peace with France ; while the papacy was once more being harried by the emperor. So the pope heard them alone : the letters of the archbishop and the king were read ; the bishops' letters, so Gervase had heard, were thrown out of the window. Presently Master Pillius was called in, and a controvessy ensued between him and Peter. Then the pope asked whether the archbishop designed to move his throne and to translate the body of the martyr to the new church dedicated to St Stephen and
St Thomas. To this Peter replied that he intended neither, and that the project of building this church was not a new one, but had

1 One of these was William of St Faith, precentor of Wells {Epp. Cantuar. f
p. 107).


been entertained both by St Anselm and by St Thomas. At this the pope caught him up and said : ' Stay, brother, stay : did
St Thomas wish to build a church in his own honour ? ' In this way the debate went on for several days.

From the correspondence which passed at this time between the
Canterbury monks and their envoys we learn a little more. Peter's high tone, says one writer, did our cause more good than harm. 1
Another report declared that, when Peter had urged in the king's name that the building of the church should be allowed to proceed, the pope had said : ' What has the king to do with it ? ' This
Peter had retailed in a letter to the king, making him furious with rage. 2

The archbishop's envoys, notwithstanding their ill success with the pope, remained at Verona. They were not without friends among the cardinals : Albert the chancellor in particular gave them courage : ' Wait ', said he, ' wait : the next pope will revise all that is being done '. In England the papal letters were unavailing.
When the bishop of Bath and others were commissioned to carry them into effect, Ranulf de Glanville the justiciar interposed in the king's name, and the commission was forbidden to proceed.

The papal court now moved to Ferrara. Peter, who claimed to have been an old fellow-student of the pope, rode by his side and harped on the merits of the archbishop, until the pope passionately exclaimed : ' May I never dismount from this horse, or mount this or any other again, if I do not put out that archbishop from his see.' At that moment, Peter tells us, the cross-bearer stumbled and the papal cross was broken off from its staff. That night the pope was taken ill, and could only with difficulty be brought on to
Ferrara in a barge : he never rode a horse again. On 3 October he despatched a new series of letters, enforcing his commands on the archbishop and the commission, and imploring the king not to interfere. But death had set its mark on him. On 19 October 1187
Urban III was gone, and tAvo days later Albert the chancellor became
Pope Gregory VIII. This great man, who sat for less than two months in the papal chair, inaugurated a new policy of reconciliation. The last days of his predecessor had been darkened by the tidings of the capture of the king of Jerusalem and the loss of the True Cross : the fate of Jerusalem itself was still unknown, though in fact it had fallen on 3 October. A letter written by Peter of Blois to K. Henry tells of the determination of the new pope and his cardinals to command a universal truce of seven years under the severest penalties

1 Epp. Cantuar., p. 75. 2 Ibid., p. 54.


of excommunication : the cardinals were pledged to renounce all avarice and luxury, and to preach the Crusade in person. 1 Gregory at least was in deadly earnest, and he deserves to be recognised in history as the founder of the Third Crusade. 2 He at once made peace with the emperor, and he refused to continue his predecessor's bitter opposition to the English archbishop and king.

Peter and his fellow envoy, William of St Faith, the precentor of Wells, had written the news of Urban's death and Gregory's accession somewhat too exultantly to the archbishop, who was with the king in Normandy. The king at once took the new church under his protection, and Baldwin began to adopt more violent measures with the monks. On 11 January 1188 he returned to
England, and on the following Sunday he excommunicated the subprior and certain others. But the next day news reached him that the friendly pope was dead, and that he had been succeeded on 19 December by Clement III. It was the monks' turn to rejoice : for the new pope reaffirmed the commands of Urban III, though he did not at once appoint a commission to enforce them.

The Crusade was now in all men's minds. On 21 January 1188
Henry and Philip met near Gisors, and took the Cross together.
Henry returned to England, and held a council at Geddington on
11 February, when Baldwin preached the Crusade. 3 Of Peter we lose sight for a while ; but he must have left Ferrara about November
1187. He rejoined the archbishop, and was with him when Almeric the brother of Guy of Lusignan, the king of Jerusalem, told a story of Reginald de Chatillon and the True Cross. Peter's pen was set goino in the cause of the Crusade, and he wrote the Passio Reginaldi*
Presently he wrote a long lament on the delay which was caused by the renewal of hostilities with France. 5

Meanwhile the trouble at Canterbury found no solution. At the beginning of 1189, after an interview with one of the monks at Le
Mans, the king made a new effort at reconciliation. After con- sulting with the archbishop he charged Hubert Walter, then dean of York, to write certain proposals in a letter to Canterbury. The letter had been given to the monk and sealed in the chancery, when the archbishop insisted that he must see it. He accordingly sent

1 This letter, or a fragment of it, is preserved in the Gesta Henrici II (Rolls Ser., ii. 15), though it does not occur in the MSS of Peter's Epistles. It is printed by
Giles as Ep. 224.

2 The short pontificate of Gregory VIII has been carefully investigated by
G. Kleemann in lenaer historische Arbeilen, fasc. 4 (1912).

3 Gesta Henrici II, ii. 23. 4 Petr. Blesens. Opp. (Giles), iii. 261.
5 De Hierosolymitana peregrinatione accelerando.


Hubert Walter and Peter of Blois to fetch it. The seal was broken

and the archbishop required the addition of certain clauses. Though

the monks blamed Peter for this, Hubert Walter who had dictated

the letter and given it to be sealed was of course responsible and

within his rights. Doubtless it was his duty to make it such as the

archbishop as well as the king should approve. Nothing came of

this new effort. A legate from the pope — the third commissioned,

for two in succession had died — came to Le Mans in May, and

a fruitless conference took place. Then, on 6 July, Henry II died

at Chinon, and his body was taken for burial to Fontevrault. Baldwin

hastened back to England, and on 12 August an agreement with

the monks was hastily patched up. K. Richard was crowned on

3 September. The quarrel with the monks broke out again : the

king intervened, and Baldwin determined to change the site of his

church and build it at Lambeth. On 6 March 1190 he left England

for the Crusade, never to return.

At this point it will be convenient to pause in our story, and say

what little there is to be said as to Peter's archdeaconry of Bath.

Among his letters (Ep. 29) is an angry remonstrance, addressed to

the abbot and convent of St. Albans, against the conduct of the

prior of their daughter- house at Wallingford. 'I was returning',

he says, 'from the visitation of my archdeaconry, and had sent my

servants on to Wallingford to prepare me a lodging. They asked

the prior to allow me the use of an empty house for a single night,

being ready themselves to provide what was necessary for man

and beast. But all they got was savage abuse.' It may be that

Peter was out of favour on the ground of his opposition to the

Canterbury monks. For us the interest of the incident lies in the

fact that it is our only direct proof that he ever discharged his

archidiaconal duties in person. He was by no means peculiar in

the lax interpretation of the duties of his office. Indeed he was

but following the example of his immediate predecessor John Cumin,

lately promoted to the archbishopric of Dublin, whose energies had

been entirely devoted to the king's service, just as Peter's energies

were to the service of two archbishops in succession. 1 Another

glimpse of him in connexion with the archdeaconry is given us in

a letter (Ep. 58) in which he complains that Bishop Reginald has

1 See above Appendix C (pp. 90 ff.) on ' The early career of John Cumin, archbishop of Dublin '. He was the intruded archdeacon of Bath whom the pope ordered to resign on pain of excommunication : he had come in by lay appointment in the vacancy of the see before Bp Beginald (1174). But he would seem to have retained his post till he became archbishop of Dublin, where he is famous as the founder of St Patrick's.


suspended his vice- archdeacon. This he had done in spite of the fact that at the Lateran council in 1179 Peter had obtained a privilege to the effect that no archbishop or bishop should excommunicate or suspend either him or his, save after conviction or confession of the offence. He goes on to say that the paltry arrear of twenty shillings, which was the ground of the bishop's action, was but a pretext : for he had already arranged for its payment with P>nald of Bath and Azo of Potterne. 1 It is likely, however, that the bishop was not so capricious and vexatious as Peter tries to make him appear. It is at any rate interesting to note that twenty shillings was the archdiaconal due which John Cumin had persistently with- held for six years when the bishopric was in the king's hands : 2 so that here again Peter may have been treading in the footsteps of his predecessor.

We may conveniently notice at this point a letter which belongs to a later period (Ep. 123 : 1191-8), in which Peter refuses to comply with the desire expressed by Richard fitz Neal, the bishop of London, that he should take priest's orders. He declares with much emphasis and at considerable length that it is his high conception of the demands of the priesthood that holds him back. But he also vigorously insists, pleading many and great authorities, that it is more fitting that an archdeacon should have only the status of a deacon. In the Roman church he had seen many men of distinction who never passed beyond the diaconate : the pope himself (Celes- tine III, 1191-8) had more than once told him that he had served as a deacon sixty-five years, before he was called to the pontificate.
Peter might have instanced Thomas of Canterbury and John Cumin of Dublin as archdeacons of his own day who never sought the priesthood until they had been elected archbishops. But he had a nearer example in Richard fitz Neal himself, the famous treasurer of England, who had written the ' Dialogue on the Exchequer ', and whose public services had been rewarded by the archdeaconry of
Ely and the deanery of Lincoln. ' No man ', says Peter in his florid manner, ' taketh to himself the honour, save he that is called of
God, as Aaron : and it may be that you would still be among the
Levites and not among the sons of Aaron, had not the Lord said

1 That this letter was written not more than two years after Peter entered on
Iris archdeaconry is rendered probable by its reference to the recent preferment of Azo of Potterne : for about 1184 Azo became archdeacon of Salisbury. Master
Ernald of Bath is mentioned in the Evesham Chronicle (Rolls Ser., p. 150) as the bishop of Worcester's proctor at the Roman court in his contest with the monks in 1205.

2 Pipe Rolls, 1167-8 and following years : see above, p. 96.


to you, Friend, go up higher, and adorned you with the bishop's mitre.' It is not easy to see what the bishop of London's concern in the matter was. But we may note that, when the bishopric was vacant before Richard fitz Neal's appointment in 1189, the Pipe Roll shows a payment to Peter of Blois of forty shillings, ' which he was wont to receive annually out of the bishop's camera '. This suggests that he had already at this point some kind of connexion with the diocese of London which placed him under obligation to the bishop.

In the end Peter gave way and was ordained to the priesthood ; whether while he was still archdeacon of Bath, we cannot say : but a letter (Ep. 139), which appears indeed to have been sent to more than one monastery, asks the prayers of the abbot and canons of Keynsham on the occasion, and this abbey was within the arch- deaconry of Bath. It is possible that his ordination may have been occasioned by his appointment to the deanery of Wolverhampton, of which we shall speak presently.

But to return. Archbishop Baldwin died at Acre on 19 November
1190. The death of K. Henry, now followed by the death of the archbishop, left Peter somewhat stranded. He describes the desola- tion which he experienced at this time in a letter written in
1197 to Odo de Sully the new bishop of Paris, whom he had known as a boy in that city and had met again as a young man at the
Roman court in October 1187 : ' K. Henry II, your cousin, first drew me to England. His death depressed me so greatly that at one time I should have said farewell to England altogether, but for the kindness of the bishop of Worcester and the bishop of Durham and his archdeacons' (Epp. 126 f.). Henry de Sully, bishop of
Worcester, was Odo's brother, and Hugh de Puiset, bishop of
Durham, was his cousin ; one of the archdeacons referred to was
Richard de Puiset, probably another cousin. We do not know what connexion Peter had with any of these, and the reference to them may be little more than complimentary : but no doubt Peter's circumstances were changed for the worse by the loss of his patrons.

The new king was all for the Crusade. Crowned on 3 September
1189, he left England on 11 December, not to return till March 1194.
Peter tells us that he himself left England with the king (Ep. 87) ; but it is probable that he soon returned. About this time he had got the deanery of Wolverhampton, a royal peculiar. Every one was getting appointments from the king, who sold everything to raise money for the Crusade. But the bigger- things cost much,


and Peter was too honest to pay anything at all : this may have been given to him as a solatium. He writes to Longchamp, the new chancellor, to implore his aid against the sheriff of Stafford, who was contravening the ancient privileges of the church of
Wolverhampton. 1 He had a sincere respect for Longchamp, and on his fall he wrote a letter of fierce remonstrance, plainly intended as a manifesto, to Hugh de Nonant, bishop of Coventry, whom he styles ' once my lord and friend \ 2

It was probably between March and October of the year 1191 that Peter of Blois had a long and severe illness. At the close of it he wrote a letter of apology to the prior and monks of Canterbury for the part which he had taken against them (Ep. 233). He throws the whole blame on the late king : ' He constrained and compelled me to act for the archbishop against you, yea, against God and my own self ; and to toil for eight months in the Roman court at my own charges and in continual peril of my life. But the Lord hath chastened me ; and. as for eight months I stood against you, so for eight months He has afflicted me with a very grievous sickness.'
The abject terms in which he writes may be due to his physical breakdown, but in any case he might well wish to make peace.
His own bishop Reginald, who had constantly taken the side of the monks, was about this time elected to fill Baldwin's place, and it seemed as if the controversy had thus found a natural end. As it fell out, however, Reginald died within a month of his election to Canterbury, and the trouble was soon to break out afresh.

Peter was still on his bed of sickness when the news of Longchamp's fall reached him. He wrote him a letter of condolence, in which he reminded him that before leaving England he had personally warned him in advance of the malice of his enemies (Ep. 87). We learn from this letter that on his recovery Peter had gone to the queen- mother. He probably spent Christmas with her in Normandy, and returned with her to England in February 1192. We find him in her service when the tidings of K. Richard's capture arrived. A letter which she writes from London about the fortifications of Canterbury

1 Ep. 108, written after 5 June 1190, when W. de Longchamp was made legate.
Peter complains of ' tyrannidem vicecomitis de Staffort '. Dr. Savage, the dean of Lichfield, writes (The Chapter in the Twelfth Century, p. 18) : 'The bishop
[Hugh de Nonant] also secured the shrievalty of three counties — Warwickshire,
Leicestershire, and Staffordshire— for a fine of 200 marks. These he worked by deputy sheriffs ; among them his brother Robert de Nonant, who was under- sheriff of Staffordshire in 1191-2 ' : see the Pipe Rolls for the years 1190-2.
Bp Hugh was called to account for his actions as sheriff, 31 March 1194 (see R. de
Hovedean, iii. 241). 3 Ep. 89 : c. Oct. 1191.


is attested by the archdeacon of Canterbury and by Master Peter of Blois, archdeacon of Bath. 1 Moreover he writes three urgent letters in her name to Celestine III concerning the king's captivity.
Another he writes in the name of Walter of Coutances, archbishop of Rouen, then in England, urging the pope to take action : and on his own behalf he writes a like exhortation to Conrad archbishop of Maintz. 2 When the queen went to Germany at the beginning of
1194, Peter seems to have joined himself to the new primate, Hubert
Walter, thus taking his place once more in the archbishop's house- hold. 3

With Archbishop Hubert Walter, however, Peter's relation does not appear to have been so close or so constant as it had been with his two predecessors. More than one reason suggests itself to account for this. In the first place, as justiciar of England the archbishop was the chief ruler of the country in K. Richard's continual absence ; and, though the new pope, Innocent III, insisted early in 1198 upon his resigning the office, he soon afterwards became chancellor under K. John and was once more immersed in secular affairs.
For legal and political business such as these offices involved Peter of Blois had not the requisite qualifications. Moreover, when the archbishop renewed the attempt of his predecessor to found a college of secular canons at Lambeth in opposition to the monks of Canter- bury, Peter was disqualified in another way from rendering him assistance. We may well believe that he had no heart to engage afresh in the controversy, and in any case, he had solemnly promised the prior and convent that he would never side against them any more. Moreover he was getting on in years, and his health was failing him. He must have been nearly sixty, and in a letter to the archbishop, in which he is excusing himself for prolonged absence, he speaks of recurrent fevers from which he has been suffering for full two years (Ep. 109). He was certainly no longer vigorous enough to be the archbishop's proctor at the Roman court : this task was now undertaken by the Cistercian abbots of Boxley and
Robertsbridge. The struggle lasted four years, until in June 1201 it found a sudden close in a compromise which secured to the monks nearly all their demands. Peter's name never appears in the matter.
We have only two letters written by Peter in the name of Hubert
Walter. The first (Ep. 122) is addressed to William archbishop of

1 Litterae Canluarienses (Rolls S.), iii. 379.

2 Epp. 144-6 ; 64 ; 143.

3 " Peter chaplain to Q. Alianor ' is mentioned in a charter (1189-99) of Walter archbishop of Rouen : the preceding charter shows that he was a canon of Rouen
(Round, Doc. in France, p. 13). This would seem to be our Peter.


Rheims, and it begins with a graceful reference to the peace made by his intervention between the English and French kings. Now we know that in June 1197 Hubert Walter, having concluded an arrangement between K. Richard and the archbishop of Rouen,
Walter de Coutances, in the matter of Andely, went on into France to make a truce with K. Philip. The reference may perhaps be to
Archbishop William's services on this occasion. The letter goes on to recall with gratitude the hospitalit}^ shown to St Thomas in earlier days when William was archbishop of Sens. But the point of the letter is only reached when the archbishop says : ' Do not listen to the detractions of our brother, who has inherited from his predecessors a quarrel with our church. We grieve for his present troubles, and would help him, if only he would take reasonable advice.' The reference is undoubtedly to Geoffrey archbishop of
York ; and we must read ' frater noster ' (with some of the MSS), not ' frater vester '. But Geoffrey's troubles were too persistent to be any guide in fixing the date of this letter, and the only sure indication is given by the title of legate which Hubert Walter enjoyed after March 1195.

The other letter (Ep. 135) is one which Peter must have written with a peculiar satisfaction. It requires the dean and chapter of
Salisbury to dispense from residence Master Thomas de Husseburne, one of the king's justices. It goes on to assert the archbishop's right to claim a similar exemption for canons whom he requires for his own service. Moreover the law of residence must be interpreted with reasonableness, and such pleas as ill-health and the smallness of a prebend are not to be disregarded. As the archbishop writes as legate, the letter cannot be earlier than 1195. Richard Poore became dean of Salisbury in 1198, and the pressure upon absentee canons probably originated with his reforming zeal. The statutes of Bishop Osmund, which had made Salisbury the model of a reformed cathedral after the Norman Conquest, had expressly recognised the right of the archbishop to call away one canon at any time for his own purposes ; but they did not contemplate an unlimited demand, nor could they properly be interpreted to cover all the pleas which Peter had introduced into the archbishop's letter. But the disintegration of the cathedral system had gone far in the hundred years since those statutes were drawn up. The prebends were too small to attract men of distinction unless they could be held in plurality ; and the king's business, far more than the archbishop's, continually drew off the abler canons. In 1215, the last year in which Richard Poore was dean, his reforms were


embodied in a ' new constitution ', which required that a fourth part of the canons, besides the quatuor personae, should always be in residence ; if for reasonable cause (other than the admitted exemptions) a canon did not keep his turn, he was to pay one-fifth of the value of his prebend. Peter of Blois was no longer living at this date, but we shall see that this particular regulation was of older standing and had been bitterly resented by him.

His connexion with Salisbury was of long standing. It began with the friendship of Reginald the archdeacon of Salisbury, who had helped him when he was a poor student at Paris. On his return from Sicily he had again sought Reginald, and he wrote more than once in his defence to the friends of Becket, pleading that Reginald's filial love compelled him to take the part of Bishop Jocelin his father, who had fallen under the exiled archbishop's displeasure
(Epp. 24, 45).

It would seem that the bishop of Salisbury had promised to send his nephews to Paris as pupils of Peter ; but in Ep. 51 Peter com- plains that this arrangement had fallen through, and that an annual pension which the bishop had secured to him by a written bond was not being paid. In Ep. 230 he recalls to Reginald the services which he had rendered to the church of Salisbury, and the very meagre return which he had received : he asks his aid in obtaining the next vacant prebend. He could indeed get letters directed to him from the king of England and from the pope ; but he prefers to look to Reginald's own generosity. This letter may have been written about 1172 : the reference to K. Henry reminds us of
Peter's statement that it was at the king's request that he first came to England. At what time he obtained his prebend we do not know. It was not uncommon for a bishop to grant to a clerk an annual pension until he should be provided with a benefice, and where this was done promotion was apt to follow quickly.

Herbert Poore was appointed to the see of Salisbury in 1194.
In December 1197 he followed the lead of Bishop Hugh of Lincoln in resisting the king's demand for 300 knights to serve for a year in Normandy. The revenues of both sees were thereupon confiscated.
It is to this occasion that we must refer a letter (Ep. 246) in which
Peter condoles with the bishop. A visit to Normandy however secured the king's forgiveness, and Herbert returned in June 1198.
In March of this year his brother, Richard Poore, had become dean of Salisbury. The removal of the cathedral church from its in- convenient position within the fortifications of Old Sarum was now planned, and the consent of K. Richard was obtained. Peter writes


to the dean and chapter an enthusiastic approval of the scheme, and regrets that obedience to a higher command prevents him from being present, as he had wished, at the marking out of sites for the canons' houses (Ep. 104). The attempt was, however, abandoned after K. John came to the throne, and the new church was not begun till 1220. It was probably before he wrote Ep. 135 to the dean and chapter in Hubert Walter's name that Peter had made his own protest in the following terms (Ep. 133) : ' I am astonished that for a prebend of five marks you should require me to reside.
Why, it would not take me to Salisbury. You want to gain by my absence rather than to profit by my presence. The fine of one-fifth is monstrous, when I cannot possibly reside. This was not the meaning of the constitution of Osmund and of Jocelin : they wanted to bring into residence the holders of the larger prebends, who could afford to build houses at Salisbury. I appeal against this exaction to the legate.' The legate doubtless was, as indeed one MS asserts,
Peter's own lord and master, Hubert Walter the archbishop.

This will be a convenient point at which to notice other prefer- ments held by Peter of Blois. Besides the prebend of Chartres, of which we have spoken above (p. 110), he held a prebend at Rouen, and also possibly at Bayeux. His connexion with Rouen had begun, as we have seen, with Archbishop Rotrou. At what date he received a prebend there we cannot say. But a curious memorandum, written between the years 1173 and 1181, is given by Dr. Round in his
Calendar of Documents preserved in France (p. 3), in which we read :
' These are the pledges of all the chattels that G. Burnel has towards
{erga) Master Peter of Blois for the wrong (forisfactura) which he did him : Wacio frater suus ; Willelmus Alius Waconis ; G. Calcun ;
Walterus de Must ' ; Osb[ertus] del Must ' ; Amfrei ; Radulfus films
Berner[ii]. These are [they] who according to the common delibera- tion {consideratione) of the whole chapter owed [money] for the construction of the chapter house . . . magister Peter Blesensis xl.[s.]
. . . S[umma] xxxvJi.'

In a letter (Ep. 141) written long after this to Walter of Coutances, archbishop of Rouen (1186-1207), with whom Peter had often been in correspondence and for whom he had written letters more than once, he complains that Elias the chaplain, to whom he had com- mitted the custody of his prebend, has paid him nothing at all for more than five years. His messengers bring him back no answer to his demands, except the taunt that he is too well off already. He has a letter from the pope against Elias ; but they are both very old men, and he does not wish for strife. He begs that the archbishop



will do him justice. Peter began so soon to speak of his old age, that his references to it do not help us much, but here it is so strongly emphasised that we may perhaps put this letter near the end of
Walter's tenure of the see, and we may note that in one MS Peter has the title of archdeacon of London. 1

The evidence which seems at first sight to connect our Peter with
Bayeux is to be found in the Customary of that church (ed. Chevalier,
p. 314), which records that Bishop Robert (1206-31) ordered that in future six prebends should be held only by priests who could assist in the services : among these was ' prebenda de Mara, quae fuit magistri Petri Blesensis '. The prebend of La Mare was at Douvre
(ibid., p. 334) : it was worth £140, and had a fine manor at La Mare, and houses to let in Bayeux. We have two letters (Epp. 50, 159), written by Peter to Henry bishop of Bayeux, who held the see for more than forty years ; but they do not suggest that he had any connexion with that church. If our Peter held this rich prebend, he was a luckier man than we have had reason to suppose : but we must allow the possibility that it belonged to his namesake the chancellor of Chartres.

Coming back now to England we note that Peter of Blois held a prebend at Ripon, and also the deanery of Wolverhampton. The evidence for Ripon is quite explicit, but so far as it can be exactly dated it belongs exclusively to the closing years of his life. On the occasion of the Interdict (23 March 1208), when the goods of all the clergy were confiscated, certain favoured persons almost immediately obtained restitution. Among these was our Peter : for on 4 April a writ issued from Waverly to Robert de Vieux Pont in these terms :
' Permit Master Peter of Blois, canon of Ripon, to have all his possessions in your baily, which were seized into our hand by occasion of the Interdict, until you shall receive other instruction from us '
{Rot. Litt. Claus. i. 108 b). We do not know on what ground Peter was thus favoured : there appears to be no mention of K. John in his writings, and no reference at all to the Interdict.

As canon of Ripon Peter attests an undated grant to the church of Ripon (Fowler, Memorials of Ripon, Surtees Society, i. 255).
Moreover Leland speaks of a Life of St Wilfrid, the patron saint of
Ripon, written by Peter of Blois and dedicated to Geoffrey arch- bishop of York (Coll. ed. 1770, t. iii [vol. iv], p. 110).

With the neighbouring abbey of Fountains Peter was on friendly terms. Writing to the prior and monks in the absence of the abbot, 2 he excuses his failure to visit them of late, and announces that he is

1 For the canonry at Rouen see also p. 126, n. 3 ; p. 136. 2 Ep. 105.


departing from the province of York and returning to him who had sent him. He gives as reason for not having come to them the business of his church {circa ecclesiam nostram iugis occUpatio), the claims of study, and the distress of the monks owing to a famine.
If the church be that of Ripon, and the famine that of 1194, we should get an earlier date for Peter's tenure of his Ripon prebend.
To the abbot of Fountains, Ralph Haget (1190-1203), he writes on another occasion telling of a fever from which he has not yet fully recovered. At some time between 1195, when Hubert Walter became legate, and 1203, when Abbot Ralph died, Peter attested a com- position between the churches of Ripon and Topcliffe, which was made at Faversham in the archbishop's presence. 1

Peter's tenure of the deanery of Wolverhampton was singularly unhappy. We hear of it first about 1190, in a letter (Ep. 108) written to William Longchamp bishop of Ely, legate and chancellor, in which he asks him to defend the ancient privileges of the church of Wolverhampton against the oppressions of the sheriff of Stafford, as indeed he had already promised to do. 2 The deanery was a royal peculiar, and it may be that Peter had but recently received it from
K. Richard, with whom he says that he left England on 11 Decem- ber 1189.

Some seven years later we find a letter (Ep. 147) written to Robert of Shrewsbury, the bishop-elect of Bangor, complaining that on the very day of his ordination as priest he had quarrelled with Peter and made trouble with the archbishop in the matter of a small prebend, to which a poor clerk had already been appointed, but which the bishop-elect wished to retain. The poor clerk has already appealed to Rome. What has the bishop-elect to do any longer with a dwelling at Wolverhampton ? Will he not, before the day of his consecration, retire from the contest and spare the poor clerk the burden of carrying his appeal to the Roman court ? The bishop was consecrated 16 March 1197.

Finally in 1204 Peter wrote to Innocent III a long description of the scandalous state of the church of Wolverhampton (Ep. 152).
The deanery, he says, had always been in the king's gift, and the dean appointed to the prebends. But he had found the canons as undisciplined as Welshmen or Scots. 3 They married into each other's families, and held close together. When a vacancy was caused by

1 Reg. of Craven, belonging to Univ. Coll. Oxford, and deposited in the Bodleian
Library, clxx. I owe this reference to Mr. Searle's notes.

2 See above, p. 125.

3 That is, probably, Irishmen ; though the term had begun to be used in its modern sense.

K 2


death, the new canon was persecuted and reduced to penury by the relatives, who claimed the patrimony of Christ as a hereditary possession. Peter had tried in vain to reform them and had at last resigned the deanery into the archbishop's hands, imploring him to change the foundation with the king's consent into a monastery of
Cistercians. These in fact have already been introduced and are marking out the sites of monastic buildings. Peter prays for the pope's blessing on the new project.

Once again Peter was to be disappointed. K. John's grant of
Wolverhampton to Hubert Walter bears date 28 July 1204 ; and in the following year he granted timber and other necessaries for the new building. But Hubert Walter died 13 July 1207 : the scheme was buried in his grave, and on 5 August the king appointed a new dean in the person of Henry, son of Geoffrey fitz Peter the powerful justiciar. The last stage of Peter's career is his ten are of the archdeaconry of London. His appointment to this office has been seriously mis- dated. Le Neve places it in 1192, supposing him to be the ' P., archdeacon of London ', who occurs in connexion with a statute made in that year by Ralph de Diceto the dean. This date is accepted by Stubbs, who comments somewhat unkindly on the fact that
Ralph de Diceto never alludes in his history to this learned and ambitious member of his chapter. 1 But we have clear evidence that
Peter of Blois was still archdeacon of Bath in 1193 (Lift. Cant. iii.
379), and also in 1202, when he was appointed by the pope to in- vestigate, in conjunction with Abbot Samson of Bury and the dean of Lincoln, the cause of Geoffrey of Perche, archdeacon of North- umberland. 2

It is difficult indeed not to think that he was still archdeacon of
Bath at the time of Jocelin's election to that see. Bishop Savary had died in Italy on 8 August 3205. The process of electing his successor dragged on through the closing months of that year, and was not completed until March 1206. At some point in the pro- ceedings the chapter of Wells wrote to the pope informing him that they had chosen Jocelin, and asking for his confirmation. Among the attestations of this letter we find ' Ego P. archidiaconus Bathoni- ensis \ There is no other archdeacon of Bath about this period whose name begins with this letter : 3 so that unless strong evidence

1 Pref. to R. de Diceto, I, lxxix. 2 Migne, P. L. 214 (i. 1170).

3 Church, Early Hist, of the Ch. of Wells, p. 204. Canon Church suggests that
Peter of Chichester, who was afterwards dean, may be intended : but there is no other reason for supposing that he was ever archdeacon of Bath.


to the contrary can be produced, we must believe that Peter of Blois was still holding the archdeaconry of Bath at the end of 1205 or the beginning of 1206.

When we come to examine the succession of the archdeacons of
London, we find that Le Neve's list is for this period peculiarly misleading. It runs as follows :

1192 Peter of Blois

1197 Walter FitzWalter x

1204 Alard de Burnham (made dean c. 1204)

. . . Walter FitzWalter

1214 Gilbert de Plesseto.

This list may with reasonable probability be reconstituted thus :

1192 Peter (not of Blois)

c. 1197-c. 1204 Alard (afterwards dean)

c. 1206-12 Peter of Blois

1212 Walter FitzWalter 2

c. 1214 Gilbert de Plesseto.

We have no trace of another archdeacon between Alard and Peter of Blois ; and therefore we should naturally incline to place Alard's accession to the deanery a little later than 1204.

There is a passage of Giraldus Cambrensis which, when isolated from its context, seems to prove that Peter obtained the archdeaconry of London in the lifetime of Hubert Walter. 3 In order to show the archbishop's scandalous ignorance of the elements of Christian theology, he retails a story of the remark made by him to Peter of
Blois, archdeacon of London, after he had preached before him on a certain Trinity Sunday. The latest possible date for this sermon would be Trinity Sunday 1205. But the context suggests that it was the Trinity Sunday which immediately followed the death of
K. Richard, namely 13 July 1199 : and this is made certain by the fact that Giraldus says that he referred to the incident in his suit at Rome ; for to engage in this suit he had left England in August of that year. It is therefore plain that the title ' archdeacon of
London ' is an anachronism on the part of Giraldus ; and its em- ployment only serves to show that his book De invectionibus (or our

1 Le Neve was misled by a statement, which seems ultimately to depend upon
Leland, that the first stone of St Mary Spital was laid in 1197 by Walter arch- deacon of London in the time of Bishop William. But as William of St Mere l'Eglise was not consecrated until 1199, the date given is plainly wrong.

2 Cf . Cal. of Papal Letters, April 1213.

3 Gir. Cambr. (Rolls S.), in. 31.


recension of it) was not written until some time after Peter had attained to his new dignity.

Peter found the archdeaconry of London, if we are to accept literally the language of his bitter disappointment, a wholly unremunerated office. He writes to Innocent HI (Ep. 151) that he had declined it when first offered to him, pleading with the bishop in the prophet's words (Isaiah iii. 7): 'In my house is neither bread nor clothing ; make me not a ruler of the people.' In truth, he says, he has mounted on the wind ; for that archdeaconry is a dragon that hath nought to live on save the wind. It is a bare and naked honour. For, whereas in that city there are 40,000 inhabitants and a hundred and twenty churches, no layman pays him tithes or oblations, no church pays synod-fees or procurations ; nor can he extract such customary dues as archdeacons ought to have. The archdeacon could not live for a single month on the income of his office. He asks that the pope will instruct the bishops of Ely and Winchester to make enquiry on the spot, to establish the office in the status of other archdeacon- ries, and to obtain the royal sanction for the new establishment.

There is nothing to help us in dating this letter, unless it be the unexpected order in which the bishops whom he suggests as com- missioners are named. The bishop of Ely is Eustace, who was con- secrated in 1198. Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester, was consecrated in 1189 and died 11 Sept. 1204 : his successor Peter de
Roches was consecrated at Rome 25 Sept. 1205. If the latter be referred to, we can the more easily understand that he should be named after the bishop of Ely.

Another letter which Peter writes to the same pope (Ep. 214) may throw some light on the stricken condition of his archdeaconry.
For in it he makes loud lamentation that in defiance of true Catholic order the functions of archdeacons are usurped by the officials of bishops, so that the honour of archdeacons is destroyed.

Peter had soon to complain that ' the whole honour ' of his arch- deaconry had been taken from him in a still more galling fashion.
In order to understand this new grievance it is necessary to observe that not all the cathedral chapters of secular canons were constituted after the model of St Osmund's foundation at Salisbury. Exeter, for example, even at this time had not a dean. And the. chapter of
St Paul's appears to have been slow in developing the dignities of precentor, chancellor, and treasurer. In chapters which followed the
Sarum model the precentor held the next place to the dean, occupying the first stall on the north side of the choir. But at St Paul's that was the stall of the archdeacon of London. The precentorship would


seem to have been a subordinate office, and to have been unendowed until the church of Shoreditch was given to it by K. John, 26 March
1204. It had apparently been held by one of the canons, who supported himself by his prebend.

If we read the story aright, Bishop William of St Mere l'Eglise made a new departure in appointing to the precentorship Master
Benedict de Sansetun, who was not already a member of the chapter.
Master Benedict was a young man of considerable pretensions, who rose in time to a leading position among the king's justices and ultimately became bishop of Rochester. Already in 1191 we find him in the service of K. John ; 1 and at the close of that year he was excommunicated by the fallen chancellor William Longchamp. for presuming to bear the king's seal. 2 It was perhaps his influence with K. John that secured the church of Shoreditch for the pre- centorship. His earlier quarrel with Longchamp would certainly not commend Master Benedict to Peter : and now the old archdeacon and the young precentor found themselves in direct conflict. The bishop of London had obtained from the pope a grant by which the precentor was to have a like dignity to that which other cathedral precentors enjoyed. Master Benedict accordingly claimed the archdeacon of London's stall, and at the same time deprived him of some portion of his revenues.

This claim drew from Peter two of his most doleful epistles. In
Ep. 149 he appeals to J. and P., two friends at court, to get justice done for him against ' the youth ' who has robbed him of the whole honour of his archdeaconry. As in the salutation Peter is made to describe himself as archdeacon of Bath, this letter has hitherto been referred to a much earlier period ; and it has accordingly been supposed that he was deprived of the archdeaconry of Bath at some time in Bishop Reginald's episcopate. But the occurrence in the
MSS of the titles of archdeacon of Bath and archdeacon of London can never be depended on for the dating of Peter's letters ; and exactly the same language of complaint as he uses here is also found in the letter in which he appeals to Innocent III to defend him against ' B.' the new precentor of St Paul's. In this letter (Ep. 217) he declares that the pope's grant was obtained by false representa- tions, and he demands a full investigation. Moreover according to the pope's own words the rights of others were to be duly respected, and this has not been done. He asserts that for three years the bishop had held back the papal grant, knowing full well the storm it would arouse : at last, however, Master Benedict had forced his hand.
1 Epp. Cantuar. ccclxix, p. 331. 2 Bened. ii. 224.


Unfortunately we have but one letter of Pope Innocent which bears upon this controversy : and that would seem to be his response to Peter's appeal. On 4 Feb. 1209 the pope writes to the bishop of
Ely to cause the precentor of London to hold such dignity in the church of London as shall not infringe the rights of the dean and others. 1 We may take it that this brought the incident to a close.
The archdeacon of London retained his pre-eminence, and the precentor had to be content with the second stall on the north side. 2
Besides his archdeaconry Peter held the prebend of Hoxton. We do not know at what time he obtained it. Le Neve gives, but without dates, the following series of prebendaries of Hoxton for this period :

John Cumin (cons, archbp of Dublin, 1182)

Robert de Camera

Peter of Blois, archdeacon of London

Walter, archdeacon of London.
It is a curious coincidence that John Cumin, whom Peter succeeded in the archdeaconry of Bath, should have been one of his predecessors in this particular prebend. Peter's successor in the archdeaconry of
London was also his successor in the prebend of Hoxton. 3

The date of Peter's death is indicated approximately by a writ of
K. John {Rot. Lilt. Claus. i. 117), dated 20 May 1212 (14 John).
By this writ Brian de Insula is directed to permit the executors of
Master Peter of Blois, late archdeacon of London, to have free and full disposal of his goods and chattels. From this it would be natural to assume that he died early in 1212. But a Rouen Necrology has the following entry : ' 29 Jun. Magister Petrus Blesensis, sacerdos et canonicus \ 4 If this is to be trusted, the year must be 1211. The only objection to this date is the long interval between his death and

1 At this time the bishops of London and Ely were in exile abroad on account of the publication of the Interdict.

2 See Newcourt, Repertorium (1708), p. 53 ; and Dr. Sparrow Simpson, Statutes of St Paul's, p. 24.

3 We find Peter attesting the following charters as archdeacon of London : (1)
Cat. of Doc. in France, p. 30 ; an Inspeximus by Dean Alard of an agreement between William bishop of London and the monks of St Ouen, which had been made in 1205 : there is nothing to show how soon afterwards the Inspeximus was drawn up : the agreement itself was confirmed by K. 1 John, 30 May 1206. (2)
Hist. MSS Commission, 9th report, app. I, 9 a (St Paul's charters) : this is attested by ten out of the fourteen witnesses to the preceding document. (3) Ibid.
39 b. (4) 5th report, 481 b (Wadham Coll.). We also have (9th report, app. I,
30 a) an agreement made ' in the Lent after the death of Mag. Peter of Blois, archdeacon of London ',

4 Bouquet-Brial, Recueil, xxiii. 364. The earlier form of this Necrology, drawn up under Odo Rigaud (1248-75) has the entry as above in the text. At 20 Mar. we find the entry ' Magister Guillermus de Blois '.


the issue of the writ concerning his executors. 1 Peter left to the church of St Paul a morse, silver-gilt with precious stones, and certain vestments : they are traceable in the inventories as late as
1295. 2 A copy of his Epistles was bequeathed to the same church by Ralph Baldock, bishop of London, who died in 1313. 3

It will be well in conclusion, to give a brief review of Peter's career, as the result of the investigation which has been here at- tempted. Born at Blois about the year 1135, he was educated at
Chartres and then passed to the university of Paris. Presently he went to Bologna for the study of law, but soon returned to Paris to devote himself to theology. He presently attached himself to
Archbishop Rotrou, soon after the translation of that prelate to
Rouen in 1165. At his instance he joined the band of Frenchmen whom Stephen, son of the count of Perche, took to the Sicilian court in response to the appeal of Margaret the queen- mother. Here he remained for a year, probably from the early summer of 1167 to the early summer of 1168, acting as instructor of the young king,
William II, and as official sealer in the royal chancery. More than one bishopric was offered to him with a view, as he believed, of removing him from the court. When at length the jealousy of the
Norman Sicilians against the Frenchmen drove Stephen to retire to
Palestine, Peter returned to France by way of Genoa. He now renewed his connexion with his friend Reginald archdeacon of
Salisbury, the future bishop of Bath, who had recently incurred the displeasure of the exiled archbishop. After the murder of Becket at the end of 1170, we hear no more of Peter until he reappears in the service of Archbishop Rotrou in 1173 and the following year. He probably came to England in the year 1175, when K. Henry returned with the young king, his son, to whom he had now become reconciled.
He obtained the office of chancellor of Richard the new archbishop of Canterbury ; and he went to the Roman court in the autumn of
1177 to plead the archbishop's cause against the abbot -elect of
St Augustine's. The position of the pope, Alexander III, had been at last secured by the peace of Venice, 1 August 1177, and in the following March he returned in triumph to Rome. Peter left Rome in July 1178, but he was there again at the time of the Lateran
Council in March 1179.

Since his return from Sicily Peter had been constantly hoping for

1 Walter, his successor, is mentioned in a letter of Pope Innocent in April 1213
(Migne, P. L. 217 : iii. 812).

2 See Dr. Sparrow Simpson in Archaeologia, vol. 50, pp. 464 ff., for a full account of these bequests.

3 Hist. MSS Commission, 9th report, app. I, 46 b.


some substantia] preferment in his native land. But in this he was disappointed : he failed to obtain the provostship of Chartres, where for a time he was a canon ; and a small prebend which he held at
Rouen would seem only to have landed him in debt. In the early part of 1182 he was appointed to the archdeaconry of Bath, which had just been vacated by the promotion of John Cumin to the archbishopric of Dublin. His new office did not remove him from the service of Archbishop Richard : he was with him at Poitiers in the spring of 1183, and back with him at Canterbury in the following
August : on 16 Feb. 1184 the archbishop died. Peter became secretary to Baldwin, the new archbishop, and early in 1187 he went to the papal court at Verona, together with William of St Faith the precentor of Wells, in the matter of the great controversy with the monks of Christ Church respecting the new collegiate church which the archbishop was building outside Canterbury. He returned from
Italy towards the end of the year. Meanwhile tidings arrived of the loss of Jerusalem on 3 Oct. 1187. The new Crusade had now become urgent, and Peter's pen was employed on its behalf. Early in 1189 we find him with the king and the archbishop at Le Mans. On
6 July K. Henry died : the archbishop hastened back to England, crowned K. Richard on 3 Sept., and on 6 March 1190 departed for the Crusade, never to return.

Peter had thus lost at once his royal and his episcopal patron.
He tells us, however, that he left England with the new king ( 1 1 Dec.
1190) ; and it would seem that it was about this time that he was appointed to the deanery of Wolverhampton, which was a royal peculiar. In the following year he had a long illness, lasting ap- parently from March to October. On his recovery be went to the queen- mother in Normandy, and returned with her to England in
February 1192. When she went to Germany in 1194 he seems to have joined himself to the new primate, Hubert Walter. About this time, if not earlier, he obtained a small prebend at Salisbury, and perhaps rather later a prebend at Ripon. Peter's tenure of the deanery of Wolverhampton brought him much sorrow. The scan- dalous conduct of the canons, whom he vainly endeavoured to reform, led him at last, about the year 1204, to resign his office in order that the church might be given over to a new foundation of
Cistercian monks : the project, however, fell to the ground on the death of Hubert Walter, 13 July 1205.

Soon after this Peter became archdeacon of London. He must have been wellnigh seventy years of age, and he suffered much from recurrent fevers. The poverty of his archdeaconry and the invasion


of its rights by the new precentor of St Paul's embittered his old age, which must have been further saddened by the troubles of the
Interdict. His property, which had been confiscated, was indeed given back to him immediately ; but he died before peace had been restored to the Church. The exact date of his death is perhaps not quite certain : but, if it was not on 29 June 1211, it must have been in the early part of 1212.

The impression left on the reader's mind by a study of his letters, and of his life as reconstructed from his letters, is that Peter of
Blois was an honest man. His honesty kept him poor, while it made him useful. If he be thought to have neglected his duties as arch- deacon of Bath, it must be remembered that an archdeaconry was at that time a very usual source of income for a clerk in the king's service, that the office was chiefly of a judicial character and its functions could be discharged by a deputy, and that in Peter's case attendance not only upon the king, but also upon three archbishops in succession, was a plea of absence sufficient to satisfy his own conscience and to place him beyond reproach in the eyes of his contemporaries. It was not strictly a spiritual charge, it was not a cure of souls, and archdeacons were commonly not in priest's orders. Peter himself long resisted the pressure put upon him by more than one of his archiepiscopal patrons, as well as by a bishop of
London, when they urged him to enter the priesthood, from which he shrank through a dread of its overwhelming responsibility. When at last he was ordained priest and had become the dean of Wolver- hampton, his conscientiousness showed itself in a remarkable way.
He laboured for some years to bring his canons to a life which should no longer be an open scandal to the church, and when his best efforts were in vain he resigned his deanery into the archbishop's hands, in the hope that the recalcitrant canons might be dispossessed in favour of Cistercian monks.

It may be hoped that this attempt to reconstruct the framework of Peter's career will do something to restore confidence in his general accuracy as a historical witness. The late Mr. W. G. Searle of Queens'
College, Cambridge, devoted much time and labour to the collation of the MSS of his letters and to the investigation of the statements which they record. His materials, preserved in the University
Library, will prove of great value to a future editor. But he was obsessed by the idea that nearly all the letters were the free com- position of an anonymous writer, whom he called ' the epistolary
Peter ' in contrast to ' the historical Peter ' whose story he did much to reconstitute from charters and other sources. When in 1912 he


learned that I had been working at the subject in connexion with the list of the Somerset archdeacons of the twelfth century, and had come to a conclusion opposite to his own, he most generously put all his notes and collations at my disposal ; and since his death the
Syndics of the University Library have kindly permitted me to have the use of them. Unfortunately Mr. Searle's theory, though his reasons for it were never stated with any fullness, has deterred modern historians from employing Peter's statements as evidence for the events of his time : indeed the index to the latest biography of
K. Henry II does not even contain his name. It is true that some of the letters in the MSS are plainly not Peter's at all ; but for the rest it is clear that one hand is at work, and I cannot think that the hand was not contemporary, or indeed not Peter's own. There are a few inconsistencies which are not easily to be explained away : but the text of the letters is in a deplorable condition, and it may be possible to show that more than one edition of the collection was put out by the writer himself. It is one man — a vain, ignorantly learned, hopelessly inaccurate man, it may be — but a very real man who speaks to us throughout ; and on the whole the ' epistolary ' Peter fits in wonderfully well with the ' historical ' Peter, when the story has been rescued from the mistakes with which it has come to be disfigured. VI.

The passing of the twelfth century into the thirteenth is a moment of great interest in English history, alike in the Church and in the
State. The strong hand of a great king had been withdrawn from the helm of the nation ; his successor had spent his whole time and force on enterprises of enthusiasm outside England : and when
Richard of the Lion's heart was gone, his brother John lost Normandy for ever and was shut up to misgovern England. Henry the Second had waged war on the exaggerated ecclesiastical claim represented by Thomas Becket : he had lost the battle by a misadventure which made his antagonist a martyred saint ; yet for all that he attained his ends, and held Church and State in reasonable harmony. But he died in misery and disappointment. His son Henry had been crowned king in his father's lifetime — a dangerous experiment intended to secure the succession. He had proved gravely disloyal, and with his brothers Richard and John had embittered his father's latter years. Then he himself was cut off by an early death in 1183.
So it was that in 1189 the kingdom fell to Richard, who at once made vast preparations for the Crusade, which was to bring to him glory and dishonour, treacherous imprisonment in a foreign land and treacherous disloyalty at home.

These were the events of Bishop Jocelin's youth. He was a boy at Wells when Thomas was murdered at Canterbury. His father,
Edward of Wells, is known to us only from a few charters. 1 We gather from them that he purchased lands at Wells and at Lancherley a neighbouring village ; and that he had two sons, Hugh and Jocelin.
He attests one charter as Edward Troteman. Jocelin himself is once called Jocelin Trotman, but usually Jocelin of Wells, as Hugh is called Hugh of Wells. A charter in the archives of the city of Wells is of interest because it is attested by the father and both his sons.
This is Bishop Reginald's confirmation of the municipal privileges granted by Bishop Robert before him. ' Hugh the clerk ' attests, and afterwards Edward of W^ells, and then presently Jocelin of
Wells. This suggests that Hugh's father and brother attest as lay- men, while Hugh has precedence, as the custom was, on the ground

1 See Appendix D.


of being in orders. All these charters belong to the later years of
Bishop Reginald's episcopate ; for the earliest shows us Alexander as the subdean, which points to the years 1186-7, and the bishop died in 1191.

K. Richard had been followed on his Crusade by Baldwin, the devout and strenuous archbishop of Canterbury. In fact Baldwin was the first to reach Acre ; but there, encouraging and blessing the motley host, he passed away in November 1190. A year afterwards
Bishop Reginald was elected to Canterbury (27 Nov. 1191) ; but within a month he died, on the morrow of Christmas Day. The new bishop of Bath was Savary, cousin to Bishop Reginald, a strange adventurer to whom Wells owes little or no gratitude. He had followed the king to Sicily, and had secured the promise of any bishopric that should fall vacant in his absence. As the first was
Canterbury, and Savary was not yet in priest's orders, he schemed for
Reginald's appointment as primate, and for his own succession at
Bath. While still abroad he got his plans through, and he was consecrated at Rome on 20 September 1192. But he had much more to do before he returned. K. Richard was taken prisoner at the end of that year, and Savary saw a new opportunity. He was in the forefront of the negociations for the king's release, for he claimed cousinship with the Emperor Henry. The see of Canterbury was still unfilled : why should he not now take Reginald's place ? So the captive king against his will wrote to commend him to the monks of Christ Church, though he also wrote secretly to secure the appoint- ment of Hubert Walter. When this scheme had failed, Savary fell back on another which he had previously taken in hand. The great abbey of Glastonbury lay in his new diocese. As the archbishop was the abbot of the monks of his cathedral church of Canterbury, and as
Winchester, Worcester, and Bath itself had a like arrangement, why should Savary not be the abbot of Glastonbury and make that also a cathedral church ? There would be no more quarrels then between bishop and abbot, and the bishop of Bath and Glastonbury would be a great prelate indeed. So the emperor made the king agree to this new proposal. But the forces with which Savary had to reckon were greater than he had supposed, and the chief part of his episcopate was taken up with his long fight with the monks, which he carried on largely from abroad. At last after various successes and reverses the matter was brought to a conclusion, not quite as
Savary wished, yet much in his favour. For the new and strong pope Innocent III decided that he should be styled the bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, taking a fourth part of the abbey's estates


as his own share, while the rest was left to the monks under a prior appointed by agreement of both parties. 1

It is of interest to note that the dean and chapter of Wells were on
Savary's side in the struggle. The ever-growing predominance of the great monasteries was a danger to parochial and diocesan life.
Doubtless the canons of Wells had suffered from the overshadowing might of their proud neighbours, and thought with many good men of the day that the abbey ought not to be independent of the bishop.
We catch one glimpse of Jocelin the canon on 28 January 1200, as he goes with the precentor, the subdean, and another canon (John de Bohun, doubtless a relation of the bishop) to enforce Bishop
Savary's orders, and returns in the evening with five of the recalci- trant monks to be held as temporary prisoners at Wells. He little knew then that he was to inherit the episcopal quarrel.

Bishop Savary was so little at home that we have but few records of his episcopate, and therefore from the scarcity of documents
Jocelin 's history at this period is almost a blank. But we find him attesting as canon a grant of Bishop Savary appropriating the church of Hardington to the abbey of Keynsham. 2 Hugh of Wells attests this charter by his official : from which we gather that he already held the post of archdeacon. Hugh appears at an earlier date than this to have entered Savary's service ; for on one occasion the bishop styles him his clerk. Jocelin, on the other hand, entered the service of Robert, the prior of Bath, who gave him an annual pension till he could find him a benefice. Soon afterwards he presented him to the church of Dogmersfield in Hampshire, an episcopal manor of Wells.
The grants which record this are attested by Hugh as archdeacon of Wells, and they probably belong to the year 1204. 3

By this date both Hugh and Jocelin had entered the royal service.
They were probably introduced to it by Simon the archdeacon of
W T ells, who was a kind of vice-chancellor to the king, despatching his letters and charters in the necessary absence of the chancellor,
Archbishop Hubert Walter. Before Simon became bishop of
Chichester, Hugh was with him accompanying the king on his foreign journeys. Of this Simon something must be said by way of digression, in order to explain the sort of service which in time brought both
Jocelin and his brother to the episcopate. If Simon was not a model archdeacon, he was at any rate a typical one. Modern writers following Matthew of Paris have agreed to call him Simon of Wells :

1 The story is fully told by Adam of Domerham (pp. 352 ff .) : see above, pp. 68 ff .

2 R. iii. 112. 3 Bath Chartul. ii. 64-6.


but this is an error. It is not clear that he was ever at Wells in his life. But he was Simon archdeacon of Wells. We first find him as archdeacon in a charter of K. Richard given at his new castle of
Chateau Gaillard on the Seine, ' by the hand of Simon de Camera, archdeacon of Wells ' (15 June 1198). * Simon de Camera, then, was his name, and we can trace him thereby a few years back, when he attests as Simon de Camera a charter (not a royal one) which is also attested by Hubert Walter the archbishop. 2 We may perhaps gather that he began his career in the service of the archbishop, and as
Hubert Walter was the king's chancellor he thus came to be the king's vice-chancellor. Simon was abroad with K. Richard when he died,

6 April 1199 ; and he continued to serve in the chancery of K. John.
He followed the king everywhere in Normandy, and he was frequently with him as he restlessly moved from place to place in England. Only two Wells documents bear a trace of him. In one he attests a charter of Archbishop Hubert to the abbey of Bee, whose abbot held a stall in the cathedral church of Wells : 3 the other belongs to the city of Wells, being a confirmation of its privileges given by K. John,

7 Sept. 1201, ' by the hand ', most appropriately, 'of Simon arch- deacon of Wells ' ; yet given not at Wells but at Chinon. 4

It must not be inferred that the post of archdeacon at the end of the twelfth century was a sinecure. Archdeacons had a great deal of highly responsible work to do ; and it required a special legal training, which often had been gained at the universities of Bologna and Paris. But this very fact had as a consequence that an able young archdeacon was snapped up for the king's business, as by far the best qualified man to be found ; and then the archdeacon's work had to be done by deputy. Simon de Camera had probably got his legal training before he became an archdeacon : but it often happened that a new archdeacon went off at once to pursue his studies abroad.
We have an example of this in Bishop Reginald, who when he was made archdeacon of Salisbury had gone off to learn his business in

Another specimen archdeacon of John's reign is also furnished by the Somerset diocese. William of Wrotham was archdeacon of
Taunton ; but it is startling to find from the Rolls of Letters Patent that for several years his principal function was to superintend the
Cinque Ports, and to see that no ships came across or set out without the king's special licence directed to him. And in 1206, when the

1 Round, Ancient Charters (Pipe Rolls Soc), p. 109.

3 Ibid., p. 103 : cf. Round, Doc. in Fr., p. 498. 3 Wells ch. 17.

4 Church, Early Hist, of the Ch. of Wells, p. 391.


king assembled all the ships of his fleet at Portsmouth, he com- manded that they should look for orders to William of Wrotham, archdeacon of Taunton.

We are now in a position to understand the work upon which
Hugh of Wells was about to enter. We find him at Rouen in the service of the new king, 26 Aug. 1199, in company with Simon archdeacon of Wells. 1 In March 1203 the king gave him a stall at
Lincoln, where he was afterwards to be bishop ; and, when Simon was elected to the see of Chichester in April 1204, Hugh took his place in the king's chancery and also in the archdeaconry of Wells.

Jocelin his brother had already been drawn into the same service, and in February the king gave him the benefice of Lugwardine in
Herefordshire, allowing him to have a perpetual vicar in the person of Master Alard, who afterwards was his subdean at Wells. It may be that Hugh, as a Wells man and a canon of Wells, felt more strongly than Simon had felt the responsibility of his archdeaconry, and that it was found convenient that Jocelin should frequently act in his place at the court. In the early part of 1205 Jocelin despatches the king's letters from Lexington, Windsor, and Winchester. But two events were soon to happen, which were to affect for good and ill his future career. On 13 July 1205 Archbishop Hubert Walter died : on S August, far away in Italy, that incessant wanderer Bishop
Savary found, as his epitaph says, his last day of life and his first day of rest. Once again the two sees were vacant at the same moment.
We will consider the fate of the less important first.

The Election of Bishop Jocelin

When the news of Savary's death reached England, the king chanced to be in Somerset. In the earlier years of his reign he had spent nearly all his time in Normandy ; but in 1204 he was in
Somerset for a fortnight (4-19 July), and twice he visited Wells.
And now in August 1205 he spent another fortnight in these parts : on 3 Sept. he was at Glastonbury, the next day at Pilton, and the next at Wells.

The abbey of Glastonbury was highly excited : the moment had come for a fresh struggle for liberty. The king acquiesced, and the monks appealed in piteous terms to the pope to dissolve the unnatural union between the abbey and the bishopric. The canons of Wells and the monks of Bath alike supported them, and from every quarter appeals poured in. The king himself wrote to Innocent III on
7 November, desiring him to promote ' the reformation ' of the church

1 Round, Doc. in Fr., p. 392.


to its ancient state ; and on 7 December he arranged a loan of
700 marks for the monks who were starting for Rome. 1

Meantime the dean and canons of Wells had taken advantage of the king's visit to get afresh confirmation of the royal gifts of North
Curry and Hatch, with the added privilege of a weekly market.
Their charter was given at Bristol on 10 September, ' by the hand of
Hugh of Wells, archdeacon of Wells ' ; and it was attested by a former canon, John Cumin, the archbishop of Dublin. 2

Proceedings were now on foot for the election of a new bishop.
The monks of Bath appointed four of their number as electors, and the chapter of Wells nominated for the purpose Alexander the dean,
William the precentor, Thomas the subdean, and Master Ralph de Lechlade. These proctors for the election followed the king to
Nottingham (28 Sept.-2 Oct.), and then met him again at Windsor
(1—4 Nov.). They were with him yet again in Dorset and Wilts in the early weeks of January 1206, and at Lexington in the first days of February.

Why the proceedings were so protracted does not appear. It may be that the king waited for the pope to reply to his letter about
Glastonbury. But Innocent III was not to be hurried, and he on his part may have wished to hear who was proposed as the new bishop. At length he wrote to the monks, in a letter which became famous as a precedent, that no change could be made in the vacancy of the see : he would however hear their appeal when there was a bishop to plead on the other side. This was on 14 March. But on
25 March he writes again ; for he has heard of the election : and he now instructs his legate, John Ferentinus the cardinal, to allow the monks to elect an abbot for themselves, as the election has been made to the see of Bath by the monks of Bath and the chapter of Wells.
A few days later he sends another letter (31 March), ordering an enquiry as to the exchange which Bishop Savary had made with
K. Richard of the city of Bath for the abbey of Glastonbury : it had evidently been suggested to the pope that the transaction was tainted with simony.

The choice of Church and king had fallen on Jocelin ; and we naturally ask why Jocelin was chosen, and not his elder brother Hugh.
We cannot answer the question. It may be that the king was not willing to spare either of the brothers as yet from his service. It is certainly curious to find that at the beginning of January the king

1 See Adam of Domerham, and the Charter Rolls, which are the main authorities for what follows.

a R. i. 9, and Charter Rolls.


presented Jocelin to the benefice of Winsham. It looks as though he did not contemplate his appointment to the bishopric. Indeed as late as 9 March a charter is issued at Nottingham ' by the hand of
Jocelin of Wells ', who does not yet bear the style of ' the elect of
Bath ', as he does when he attests at Winchester on 20 April.

On 23 April the king writes from Dogmersfield to commend the bishop-elect to the papal legate ; and on 3 May he issues three Letters
Patent dealing with the temporalities of the see. Hitherto they had been in the charge of Hugh of Wells, archdeacon of Wells, and
William of Wrotham, archdeacon of Taunton, who had custody alike of the episcopate of Bath and of the abbey of Glastonbury. Thus the diocese was for the moment fortunate in having two of its arch- deacons in the king's employ. The first of the three Letters Patent issued on 3 May 1206 deals with the city of Bath which Savary had granted to K. Richard, and with the portion of the Glastonbury estates which Savary had held. These remain in the king's hands, but are to be in the custody of Jocelin the bishop-elect and of Hugh archdeacon of Wells, till other order shall be taken. The second restores to Jocelin the temporalities of the see of Bath as they were before Savary's time under Bishop Reginald. It goes on to declare as before that the city of Bath and the share of Glastonbury which
Savary held are to be in the custody of Jocelin and Hugh, until the
Roman curia shall have decided what is to be done about Glaston- bury. The third letter is addressed to the knights and tenants of the episcopate of Bath, bidding them do their homage to Jocelin as their lord.

These documents are quite explicit, Jocelin is ' the elect of Bath ', not of ' Bath and Glastonbury '. The king is expecting the separa- tion, and he does not claim the city of Bath, as his own, but con- siderately places both that and the Glastonbury share in the custody of the bishop-elect and his brother the archdeacon of Wells.

On 5 May ' the elect of Bath ' was still despatching the king's letters at Fremantle ; five days after this the bishopric of Lincoln fell vacant, but the king took no steps to fill it for the next three years.
Possibly Bath would have remained vacant as long, but for the pressing problem of the abbey of Glastonbury.

Jocelin was consecrated at Reading on Trinity Sunday, 28 May
1206, by William of St. Mere l'Eglise, the bishop of London, with nine other prelates assisting : for the archbishopric of Canterbury was still vacant, and a fierce struggle had already begun to be waged about it. To that struggle we must now turn leaving Bishop Jocelin for a while.

* L2


The Election to Canterbury
The monks of Christ Church had long claimed, and the popes had favoured their claim, to be the sole electors to the primatial see.
But the claim was one which in practice neither the bishops nor the king could possibly allow. When Hubert Walter was dead, the monks determined on speedy action in the hope of forstalling both king and bishops. They secretly elected their subprior Reginald and sent him off under a strict injunction of silence to get papal confirmation of what they claimed was for once a perfectly free election. It was a mad act, hopelessly irregular, and speedily rendered futile. For the archbishop-elect, once across the channel, could not refrain from advertising his new dignity, and the report of it flew back to England. Bishops and king were alike outraged, and the terrified monks confessed their error, and offered to make a new and regular election in conference with the bishops of the province. The king's nominee was John de Gray, who had been an archdeacon employed in the royal chancery, like Simon and Hugh the successive archdeacons of Wells. He was now bishop of Norwich, a man of no mark ; but the king liked him, and as it was no time for divided counsels the bishops agreed to support him. He was duly elected at Canterbury on 11 December 1205. The pope had now two candi- dates before him, each furnished with credentials from the Christ
Church monks ; but the first was disqualified by the irregularity of his election, and the second Avas a mere creature of the king. Inno- cent III was the ablest pope since Hildebrand. He took his time, and presently rejected both candidates. He then demanded that a fresh election should be made in his presence by a large deputation of Canterbury monks fully accredited, and confirmed in his presence on behalf of the bishops and the king. K. John acceded to this, having first pledged every one concerned to vote for no one but
John de Gray. But the pope was not to be hoodwinked : he bade the envoys follow their consciences and elect the best Englishman they knew. There sat among the cardinals an English churchman of European reputation, who had been highly distinguished in the university of Paris, and had on his call to the cardinalate been con- gratulated in letters from K. John himself as an honour to the
English name. If they were to elect at all in such circumstances, their choice could not be doubtful. Stephen de Langton accordingly was elected by fifteen out of the sixteen monks ; and was at once accepted on behalf of the bishops. The king had been outwitted by a better diplomatist than himself, and it would have been well if he had taken his defeat with a good grace. But when the monks at


home confirmed the action of their envoys, his hand fell heavily upon them, and he taunted them with perjury, thereby admitting that he had tampered with the electors. To the pope he replied that he would have nothing to say to a man of whom he knew no more than that he had lived his life among his enemies in France. Inno- cent's answer to this was to consecrate Stephen de Langton on
17 July 1207. The archbishop set out for home, and got as far as
Pontigny, which had been the refuge of Thomas Becket fifty years before. Bishop Jocelin and the Interdict

We may now return to Bishop Jocelin, who was not as yet affected by these untoward events. He was now the bishop of Bath : so he invariably styles himself and is styled by others, until after his return from exile in 1213. He was high in^the favour of the king, who on 30 December 1206 sent him a hundred head of deer to stock his park at Dogmersfield, and on 10 May 1207 gave him three tuns of wine. On 3 March Jocelin obtained from the king for himself, the chapter of Wells, and the monks of Bath a full confirmation of all their respective possessions and privileges. On the 27th, Ash-Wed- nesday, in concert with his chapter at Wells he made an ordinance for the daily celebration of the mass of the Blessed Virgin, whose cult was now everywhere coming into exceptional prominence. 1
Jocelin still attests the king's charters from time to time, and is with him at the Witham Charterhouse in Somerset on 23 July, where he and Hugh are transacting the business of the king's ' camera ', together with Elias of Dereham.

On 13 September the king came to Wells, and Jocelin must have explained to him his desire to make this his principal seat : for a few days afterwards (16 Sept.) the king grants him leave to enclose his park, and presently (26 Nov.) supplements this grant by a licence to divert the public road for this purpose — to wit, the king's highway from the east side of his garden towards Dultingcote, under the hill known as the Tor, and also the road running through Reward to
Coxley, subject to his providing land for roads outside his park-wall.

Jocelin, on the other hand, had, it would seem, accommodated the king by giving him what had been the bishop's house at Bath ; and to it the king orders wine to be sent on 6 October. 2 On 28 Jan. 1208

1 R. iii. 128 b (by an error Jocelin is here called bishop of Bath and Glastonbury).
For other dates at this period reference is in general to the Charter Rolls and Rolls of Letters Patent and Close, ed. Hardy (Rec. Comm.).

2 Rot. Lit. Pat. On 19 March of the next year the king assigns ' what had been the bishop's camera ' at Bath to W. Crassus (ibid.). But for the previous entry


Jocelin was with the king at Fremantle ; and on 3 March the king came again to Wells for two days. It was an anxious moment : for the pope's thunderbolt, long held in suspense owing to John's skill in protracting negociations, was now about to fall. When John had ejected the Canterbury monks in July 1207 and had flatly refused to receive Stephen as archbishop, the pope told the bishops of London,
Ely, and Worcester to intercede, and, if they failed, to lay the whole of England under interdict. Negociations followed : on 21 Jan. 1208 the king writes to the three bishops that he is ready to obey the pope,
' saving his royal rights and liberties ' ; and on 19 Feb. he grants a safe-conduct until Easter to the archbishop's brother, Simon de
Langton, in order that he may come over to discuss the situation.
On 12 March Simon met the king and the bishops at Winchester —
Jocelin no doubt being among them. It was a stormy scene. When the king repeated his readiness to obey with the proviso already mentioned, Simon said that his instructions were to require obedience absolute and unconditional. The king's passion was up, and he swore 'by God's teeth' that he would pack off bishops, clergy, and monks to the pope., the moment the interdict was proclaimed ; and would cut off the nose and ears of every Roman ecclesiastic he could find in his realm : as for the bishops, let them be gone at once, as they valued their lives. Two days later in a proclamation to the men of Kent he stated his case calmly and well :

Know ye that Master Simon de Langton came to us at Winchester on the Wednesday before Mid-lent, and in presence of our bishops asked us to receive. Master Stephen de Langton his brother as archbishop of Canter- bury ; and, when we spoke with him of the saving to us in this matter of our royal rights, he told us he would do nothing for us in the matter except we should place ourselves wholly in his hands (nisi ex toto poneremus nos in misericordiam suam). Now this we send you that ye may know what evil and wrong is done to us in this affair ; and we bid you give credence to that which Reginald de Cornhill shall say to you from us, as to that which was there done between us and the bishops aforesaid and Simon, and as to what must now be done in the matter of this our order. Witness myself at Winchester, the fourteenth day of March.

The next days were spent in making preparations for the impending interdict. He was determined to confiscate the property of all bishops, clergy, and monks who should refuse to celebrate divine service as usual. A series of letters may be read in the Patent Roll, all issued from Marlborough and Clarendon on 17 and 18 March, appointing royal bailiffs for the confiscation of the various dioceses.

we might have been misled into connecting this with the proclamation of the
Interdict (see below, p. 151).


The very first, as it happens, concerns Bishop Jocelin's diocese.
It is less explicit than some of the others, and conveys no distinct threat. But a shudder must have run through the county at the name of Gerard d'Athee, a heartless foreigner who was in charge of
Gloucester Castle and whose reputation was of the very worst.

The king to all clergy and laity of the diocese of Bath. We command that as from the Monday next before Palm Sunday ye look to Gerard d'Athee as our bailiff for the diocese of Bath ; and meanwhile give credence to him in what he shall say to you on our behalf concerning our affairs.
Witness myself at Marlborough, the seventeenth day of March.

A like letter to Exeter follows. Then a letter to Durham, more expressly worded : Robert de Vieux Pont will inform them ' of the negociations at Winchester in the matter of the church of Canterbury, and in what manner we broke off, and of the wrong inflicted on us by our lord the pope, and we will that as concerns the clergy and their goods and possessions he should do as we have given him orders '. Similar letters were written to the counties of Oxford and
Berks. Then comes a letter to Lincoln, which was now without a bishop : it commits into the hands of William de Cornhill, arch- deacon of Huntingdon, and Gerard de Camville ' all lands and goods of abbots and priors and all religious, and also of all clergy of the
Lincoln diocese, who from this time forth shall refuse to perform divine offices '. A like letter follows to Ely ; and doubtless there were more which were not enrolled.

On 23 March the king writes to the bishop of London to hand over to the justiciar, Geoffrey fitz Peter, the letters patent which he had issued to the three bishops regarding his readiness to obey the pope.
On that day, Passion Sunday, or on the next, the three bishops published the interdict, and fled across the sea, together with the bishop of Hereford and perhaps another.

By the terms of the interdict all churches were closed ; and, though the sacraments of baptism and marriage were administered under restrictions, the dead were buried, so Roger de Wendover says, in ditches like dogs. There were special provisions by which monasteries at such times were permitted to conduct their services secretly, in a low voice, and without ringing of bells : but all these the pope now cancelled, allowing no exceptions. The Cistercians indeed, obeying the injunction of the head of their order abroad, refused to abandon their services, even opened their doors and shouted their chants. 1 But they had to give way ; and, when a year

1 The abbot of Citeaux took the technical ground that no authentic copy of the pope's bull had been sent to the monasteries. The Cistercians got small thanks from the king, who told them he valued their money more than their prayers
(Gervase, II, cix and 105).


later the pope gave relaxation so far as the monasteries were con- cerned, the Cistercians alone found themselves excluded from the boon. But how far was the interdict observed apart from the monas- teries ? The monastic annalists inform us that the laity were indifferent : the pressure of taxation suddenly ceased, for the king had ample resources in the confiscated wealth of the Church, and
* there was a full abundance of victuals \ x The lay-folk appear to have stood by the king, who championed the rights of the English crown against a foreign ecclesiastical potentate. Those of the clergy who took the same line, and indeed there must have been many, are not to be hastily condemned. 2 The pope was far away, the king was near ; and on paper at least the king's cause was as good as the pope's. For he had offered to receive the archbishop and do every- thing short of surrendering the ancient rights of his predecessors.

What of Bishop Jocelin at this moment ? We must be careful not to draw any conclusion from the appointment of a bailiff for his diocese a week before the interdict was proclaimed : for even the diocese of Winchester, whose bishop, Peter des Roches, consistently supported the king, was not exempted from this measure, as we incidentally learn from a writ which restored him his rights on
5 April. Five days after this Jocelin's diocese was similarly restored to him. Hugh his brother was still at the court, transacting the king's business as usual. On one of the two days on which the letters patent to the dioceses were being issued, the burgesses of
Yarmouth got a charter from the king at Marlborough ' given by the hand of Hugh de Welles, archdeacon of Wells, on the 18th day of March '. This charter is witnessed by three bishops : Peter des
Roches, the bishop of Winchester ; John bishop of Norwich, the king's unlucky candidate for the archbishopric ; and Herbert Poore, the bishop of Salisbury, who never seems to have crossed the sea at all. Jocelin's name is not there : he may perhaps have withdrawn for the moment to consider what his course was to be.

But on 16 Sept. we find the king at W T ells, issuing orders as to his ships at Portsmouth ; a week later Jocelin and Hugh are with him at Taunton, and on 28 Sept. Jocelin attests a royal charter at
Blackmore. And both the brothers spent Christmas with the king at Bristol.

At the beginning of the new year the pope made another move in

1 Winchester Annals.

2 Margam Annals, p. 28 ' faventibus ei et eonsentientibus omnibus laicis et clerieis fere universis, sed et viris euiuslibet professionis multis.'


the game. Finding the interdict unavailing, he threatened to excommunicate the king in person. John replied as before by opening negociations. Once more Simon de Langton has a safe- conduct to last for three weeks after Easter, and the terms of it directly concern us : ' in coming to London to speak with our venerable fathers the bishops of Winchester and Bath, and with
Geoffrey fitz Peter our justiciar, and other our faithful counsellors, on the matter of the church of Canterbury, concerning which the lord pope has made request to us by his letters '. This is attested by the bishops of Winchester and Bath and the justiciar, at London
23 March 1209. Jocelin, then, is one of three whom the king puts forward to represent his case in conference. Nothing came of this, except the postponement of the excommunication for a time.

The king was at Bristol on 10 May, and afterwards spent two days at Bath. On 3 June Jocelin was at Wells, meeting his dean and canons, and making a rearrangement by which the church of Wed- more, which Bishop Robert had assigned to the subdean, was henceforth to belong to the dean, and the church of Wookey pre- viously attached to the deanery was to be the subdean's portion.
This ordinance is dated in the chapter of Wells on the 3rd of June in the fourth year of Bishop Jocelin, by his hand and that of Dean
Alexander and the chapter. 1

Meanwhile something else had happened which was to have a serious influence on Bishop Jocelin 's conduct. Five bishoprics were now vacant in England, and the pope wrote to the chapters concerned that, if they did not proceed at once to elect, he would himself appoint and would punish their disobedience. 2 The chapter of Lincoln got the king's permission to elect Jocelin's brother, Hugh of Wells. 3 On 21 June the pope wrote to Stephen the archbishop to examine three at least of the electing canons as to whether the election was canonically regular, and to enquire as to the character of the bishop -elect. He wrote again on 29 July to say that if Hugh cannot purge himself to the pope's satisfaction his election is to be annulled. In the meantime the king had been again at Wells, on 6 July.
Further efforts were being made to bring about a reconciliation, and at the end of August the two brothers were present at a great conference at Dover, where a scheme was drafted which seemed for the moment to have brought the matter to a settlement. 4 The king's excommunication was postponed afresh on 2 Sept. for three

1 R. i. 58. ^ 2 Cat. of Papal Letters, 2 Jan. 1209.

3 On 25 May Hugh is ' Lincoln, elect.' " Gervase, II, pp. c, ci.


weeks : the archbishop even crossed to Dover (2 Oct.). But it was all to no purpose, and he and the bishops who had come over soon went back again (c. 8 Oct.). The king's excommunication followed.

At this point we lose sight of Jocelin. His brother Hugh was sent by the king to receive consecration at the hands of the arch- bishop of Rouen. But he went to Stephen de Langton, and was consecrated by him at Melun on 20 Dec. 1209. The king immediately seized on the estates of the bishopric of Lincoln. We may suppose that Jocelin left the country about this time. The king's excom- munication had changed the situation : the last hope of a peaceful settlement was gone. Excommunication must fall on his own head, if he dared serve the king any longer.

It was three and a half years more before K.John confessed himself beaten, and humbled himself in the dust before the imperious pontiff who was about to fling him from his throne. The curtain is lifted for one instant only upon the two brothers. Our records happily contain a copy of Bishop Hugh's first will, which he made near
Bordeaux, six months before his return. 1 Its last sentence discloses his affection for Wells. ' Further, to the fabric of Wells 300 marks ; to increase the common fund of Wells, to the use of the vicars and canons, 300 marks ; to be divided among the vicars, 40 marks.'
This was ' done at St Martin de Garenne, on St Brice's day, in the third year of his episcopate, in presence of Jocelin bishop of Bath,
Master Helias de Derham, Master John de Ebor', Master Reginald de Cestria, Master William, Roger and Helias chaplains, Peter de
Cicestria, William de Hamme '. The last two were canons of Wells ; one of' them a future dean, the other a future precentor. If Hugh's episcopate be reckoned from his consecration on 20 Dec. 1209, the date of this document must be 13 November 1212.

Concluding Reflections

This enquiry has been directed to the elucidation of certain facts which have been strangely overlooked. I have not attempted to prejudge the question whether Jocelin and his brother were justified in standing so long by the king. It is a new question : for every modern writer — apparently without exception — who has dealt with the matter at all, has informed us that Bishop Jocelin published the interdict with the three bishops in 1208, and immediately crossed the sea. 2 We have shown by accumulated evidence that this was

1 R. iii. 248 b.

2 Roger de Wendover (Rolls Ser. ii. 46), followed by Matthew of Paris, after describing the cessation of religious services on account of the interdict, says :



not so. For a year and a half after the publication of the interdict the two Wells brothers were the trusted counsellors of the king.

Jocelin's political position did not escape contemporary criticism.
A satirical poem of the time contrasts Bath, Norwich, and Winchester
Avith the three stalwarts, London, Ely, and Worcester ; and just mentions, without special virulence, that Rochester and Salisbury were still at home. I venture to turn the stanza which relates to
Bishop Jocelin : *

If one should ask my lord of Bath

How many marks the exchequer hath,

He promptly will the sums rehearse

He gathers for the royal purse :

In such a decalogue he 's wise ;

For canon law he has no eyes.
We leave the whitewashing of K. John to the regicide William
Prynne. That eccentric writer's learned tomes had the merit of rendering available for the first time the documents of the reign preserved in the Tower of London. But he failed to discern that
Matthew Paris, though a ' monkish historian ', was not papal but anti-papal in his proclivities ; and, throwing aside all the chronicles, he chose to judge John by the record evidence only — in other words, by the state documents of his own chancery. The king's reputation can never recover from the indictment of his unredeemed worthless- ness drawn by Bishop Stubbs. 2 Were he not so despicable, we should

' Quid plura ? Recesserunt latentcr ab Anglia Willelmus Londinensis, Eustachius
Eliensis, Malgerus Wigorniensis, Jocelinus Bathoniensis et Egidius Herefordiensis episcopi, satius arbitrantes saevitiam commoti regis ad tempus declinare quam in terra interdicta sine fructu residere.' This is perhaps the source of the error.
Yet it need not be taken to mean that all these bishops left England at once, though, if we had not evidence to the contrary this might well seem to be its meaning. As however Roger de Wendover appears to have written towards the end of his life (-j- 1236), and is ill-informed as to the promulgation of the interdict and the personal excommunication of the king, the most probable explanation is that he made a mistake. He knew that Jocelin did go into exile, and no doubt he thought that he went at once.

1 T. Wright, Political Songs, Camd. Soc, 1839, p. 10 :

Si praesuli Bathoniae

Fiat quandoque quaestio,
Quot marcae bursae regiae

Accedunt in scaccario :
Respondet voce libera,
Mille, centum, et caetera,
Ad bursam regis colligo :
Doctus in hoc decalogo,

Caecus in forma canonis.

2 Preface to Walter of Coventry (Rolls Ser.), vol. ii.



more easily recognise that his cause was one which the sober judge- ment of Englishmen was bound to uphold. Innocent III, who never let an opportunity pass, saw his way to make the election of the primate of all England a matter to be settled between the pope and the monks of Canterbury. To the English people this was intolerable.
The great justiciar, Geoffrey fitz Peter, who diligently sought peace, rose nevertheless at a critical moment and carried all the barons with him in refusing to counsel the king to forgo the proviso ' saving the royal rights and liberties '. Under any other king the nation must have won. But Innocent was doubtless wise, in dealing with so faithless a prince, to insist that complete restitution must be made before there was talk of privilege. The archbishop and the bishops promised to plead (as well they might) for the traditional rights of the English sovereign, if John would first obey and restore ; and they assured the king that the pope would be willing to allow the privilege when justice had been done. But we may doubt, as all England doubted, whether they spoke the pope's mind ; and indeed the issue showed that Innocent knew not moderation or mercy. But however we judge the situation, the fact is now ascertained
— and it is a contribution to the study of this perplexing period — that two solid Somerset men, whose names are not merely beyond reproach, but are an honour to the churches which they ruled — men of business habits perhaps, rather than of political imagination — remained at the king's side, as the best hope they had of making peace, and refused to undertake what was called ' the thankless pilgrimage ', until the king's personal excommunication made it im- possible for them to serve him any more.


Jocelin of Wells and members of his family

It will be of service to put together here some facts relating to Jocelin of Wells and members of his family which have not received proper atten- tion. His father was Edward of Wells ; his brother, Hugh of Wells, after- wards bishop of Lincoln ; and his son (apparently), Nicholas of Wells : there was also a younger Hugh of Wells, who became archdeacon of Bath.

1 . Jocelin of Wells is frequently called by modern writers Jocelin Trot- man. The only evidence for such a designation appears to come from the
Margam Annals, 1 and it is absurd to speak of him to-day otherwise than by his usual name Jocelin of Wells. Yet the Margam annalist, however he

1 Annates Monastici (Rolls Ser.), i. 28.


may have come by his information, seems to be confirmed by a single
Wells charter which has hitherto been misread, but which has among its witnesses the name of Edward Trotemfan]. 1

If we regard ' Troteman ' as a corrupted form of Tortesmains, we shall find that the name occurs at a good many places in Somerset. The Exeter
Domesday shows us that Ralf Tortesmains held 5§ hides of the bishop in
Banwell : one hide and one virgate of the abbot of Glastonbury at Wins- combe, as well as two hides at Pilton and 6| hides at Alhampton in
Ditcheat. 2 Helias Tortemanus occurs in the Pipe Roll of 1156-7 in connexion with land of the bishop of Bath. Henry Tortamanus gave his chapel at Wrington to the canons of Bruton in the time of Bishop Reginald : and John Tortusman[us], with consent of Claricia his mother and Claricia his wife gave them land at Alhampton, Henry Tortusmanus being one of the witnesses. 3 Robert Tortesmains and Matilda his wife occur in 1196 and 1201 in connexion with lands in Alurington. 4 But the most interesting notice is found in Abbot Henry de Sully's Inquisition of Glastonbury, taken in 1189, where Henry Tortesmains does homage for the two hides still held at Pilton : 5 for in the last will of Hugh of Wells 6 we find a legacy to his poor relations at Pilton ; and Hugh was as much a ' Troteman ' as was
Jocelin his brother.

2. Jocelin of Wells must not be identified, as he commonly has been, with
' Jocelin the chaplain ' who attests many of Bishop Reginald's charters.
The Wells City charter, in which Bishop Reginald confirms the charter of his predecessor, has the signatures of both {JoceV capellano . . . JoceV de Wellis) 7 : so also has Bishop Reginald's charter for the Hospital of
St John at Bath. 8

3. There is no clear evidence that Jocelin was a canon in Bishop Regi- nald's time : but under Bishop Savary he attests as canon of Wells more than once. 9 At the time of his election the canons of Wells speak of him as
' Master Jocelin, canon of their church and deacon, a man who has grown up in the bosom of their church from infancy (a prima lade) ' : 10 and the monks of Bath describe him as ' Master Jocelin, clerk of their church and canon of Wells'. 11 Jocelin as bishop speaks of 'the church of St Andrew in whose bosom he was born ', &c. 12

4. Besides the two charters already referred to, 13 Edward of Wells attests

1 Wells charter 12 : ' Eddwardus Trotefh '.

2 Cf. Victoria County History, Somerset, i, 457, 461, 464, 466.

3 Br. 134, 274.

4 Somerset Fines, pp. 1, 14 ; Somerset Pleas, p. 8 (Som. Rec. Soc., vols, vi and xi).

5 P. 4 : ' Henricus Tortesmains fecit homagium et fidelitatem. Idem tenet
Alentonam (Alhampton) pro septem hidis. Apud Pilton ii hidas et apud Sanford dimidiam hidam per servicium unius militis.'

e Printed in Appendix to Giraldus Cambrensis (Rolls Ser., vii. 226) : 'Item lego pauperibus parentibus meis apud Welles et circa Pilton . . . '

7 Printed by Church, pp. 359 ff.

8 Star Chamber Cases (Som. Rec. Soc), p. 152.

9 R. i. 112 ; Ad. de Dom. i. 295 if. 10 R. i. 55.

11 R. i. 54. ia R. i. 58 (3 June 1209).

13 Wells ch. 12 and the City charter.


a charter of Walter de Dunheved. Here ' Hugh son of Edward ' and
' Gocelin his brother ' attest among the clergy, and late in the list comes
Edward of Wells. 1 Wells charter 10 [1186-8] is a confirmation by Bishop
Reginald of land purchased in Wells by Edward of Wells ; and Wells charter 9 [1187-90] is a similar confirmation of half a virgate of land at
Lancherley, a few miles out of Wells, by Edward of Wells and Hugh his heir. This is all that we know for certain of the father of Hugh and
Jocelin : but it seems reasonable to suppose that he is the same Edward of Wells who attests a grant made by Abbot Laurence of Westminster to
Richard archdeacon of Poitiers ; for this Richard of Ilchester, afterwards bishop of Winchester, was a great man in Somerset, and the grant is also attested by William of St Faith, afterwards precentor of Wells. 2

5. Hugh's attachment to Wells and to his brother Jocelin is shown by his large gifts after he had become bishop of Lincoln. K. John had given to him, when he was archdeacon of Wells and in the royal chancery, the manors of Cheddar and Axbridge, with the hundreds of Winterstoke and
Cheddar. 3 These hundreds are found in Bishop Burnell's time belonging to the churches of Bath and Wells, and in the hand of the bishop. 4 The manor of Cheddar and the advowson of Axbridge Hugh gave to his brother ; also lands at Rugeberg (Rowberrow), Draycot, and Norton. 5

6. There is an interesting charter by which Hugh of Wells, with assent of Bishop Jocelin, grants to the church of St Andrew of Wells and the said
Bishop Jocelin a site with houses (or a house) in Wells, between that late of Odo and that of Nicholas of Wells, to dispose thereof as of the sites and houses of the canons. This is attested by Hugh bishop of Lincoln, and among others by Master William of Wells. The charter must be dated between 1215 and 1220. 6

This Hugh of Wells is described as ' clericus H. archidiaconi Wellensis ' in the Patent Rolls, 15 March 1208. In 1222 he attests a charter as canon of Lincoln, fceing then also archdeacon of Bath ; 7 and in 1225 he was present as one of the canons of Salisbury, and again described as arch- deacon of Bath, at the first service held in the new church of Salisbury on Michaelmas Day, 1225. 8

What relation this Hugh was to the two episcopal brothers does not appear, but there is reason to think that Nicholas of Wells, whose house adjoined that which Hugh gave with Bishop Jocelin's consent to be a canonical house, was Bishop Jocelin's son, born no doubt before his father became a bishop. For we have the charter 9 by which Nicholas had already given his own house at Wells ' ante magnam portam canonicorum ' 10 to be permanently a canonical house ; and in it he addresses the bishop as
' venerabili patri meo J. dei gracia Bathonie episcopo '. The absence of

1 Wells ch. 13.

2 Westminster 4 Domesday ', f. 392.

3 R. iii. 390 ff. * R. iii. 3. 5 R. i. 108 ff., iii. 343, 339 b, 350.

6 R. iii. 385 b. ' Sarum Charters (Rolls Ser.) 5 p. 122.

8 Reg. Osm. ii, 37. 9 R. i. 19.

10 ' The great gate of the canons ' is commonly understood to mean the beautiful north porch of the church : but this would have been described as ' ostium septen- trionale '. It must mean a gate of the close : the house probably stood outside it, and the bishop grants that it shall be included in the ' Liberty '.


' domino' in this address is possibly significant. The bishop, in assigning the house to the purpose intended, begins : ' Cum dilectus Alius Nicholaus de Welles . . . '. This seems to point to a natural and not merely a spiritual kinship ; but we cannot draw the conclusion with certainty. As the bishop's charter is attested by Hugh archdeacon of Wells, it must be dated between 1205 and 1209. Nicholas, like his kinsman, found his way into the royal chancery : for in the Close Rolls we find a writ issued at
Lambeth on 8 May 1208 ' per Nicholaum de Welles '.


Agnellus 83

Alexander III 15, 00, 71, 80, 85, 91 ff.,
95, 98, 102, 108 f., 113

Archdeacons, after the Conquest 71 : functions of 70 f., 79, 122, 134, 139,
144 : known by name of diocese 74,
82, 85 : in deacon's orders 98, 123 f. : in Somerset 71-90 : ' of bevond
Parrett ' 79, 88 f.

Archer, Archdeacon 04 f.

Arthur, K. 0, 10, 21 f.

Athelstan, ' Half-king ', father of 47

Avalon 0, 8, 12, 17

Azo of Potterne 123

Baldwin archbishop of Canterbury
115-22, 124-8, 142

Bath, bishops of, John of Tours 54 f.,
59 f., 71, 73 : Godfrey 55 f., 59 f.,
71,74: Robert 55-00,71, 74, 70, 91.
90 : Reginald 15, 04-8, 71, 83-9,
94, 90, 99, 102, 105-9, 128, 135, 141 f.,

144 : Savarv 15, 07-70, 72, 142 f.,

145 f. : Jocelin 15, 03, 67, 70 ff.,
132, 141-59 : members of his family
150-9 : Roger 72

Beaumont, Henry de 01 f., 78 f.

Becket. Thomas 00 f., 04, 87, 91-8,
105-8, 111, 110, 119 f.

Beohrtwald archbishop of Canterbury
27 f.

Beokery 18, 24

Blois, Peter of 89 f., 97 f„ 100-40: summary of career 137 ff.

Blois, Peter of, chancellor of Chartres
111, 130

Blois, William of 104 f.

Bohun family 07, 70 f., 87 f.

Bregredeswere 27

Buckland Priory 65, 84

Celestine III 08, 123, VH>

Chartres 102, 110 ft.

Clement III 117, 121

Coutances, Richard archd. of 87 f.

Crucan, Cructan 29 f.

Cumin, John 80, 85, 89 f., 90-9, 114,
122, 130, 140

Dereham, Elias of 63, 149, 154

Domerham, Adam of 2

Erconwald, transl." of St 62

Erlegh, William de 84

Ernald of Bath 123

Evesham, building at 65 f.

Exeter, Henry archd. of 86

Fountains abbey 130 f.

Gerard la Pucelle 109, 113

Giraldus Cambrensis 10, 24, 133

Glastonbury, John of 2, 20

Glastonbury, short chronicle of (1259)
3, 10 : names of ff., 12 f., 22 (see
Avalon) : the great fire 5, 10 f., 20 : charters of 10, 20-44 : the two earliest 47-53 : Liber Terrarum 10,
44-7: the two pyramids 21, 27: abbots of 20-44 : lists of abbots 20,
33, 41 f. : Henry de Sully 08, 98,
124 : William Pica 69 : see Win- chester, Henry bishop of

Gregory VIII 120 f.

Harcourt, Philip de 01 f.
Henry II 01, 03 f., 80-3, 80, 90-8.
101, 103, 105-8, 112, 114 ft'., 118-

22, 124, 128, 141
Henry, the young king 83 f.. 103, 105-

8, 114 f., 141
Heraclius, patriarch of Jerusalem 115 f.
Hubert Walter 08 f., 121 f., 120 f., 129,

132 f., 142-5, 148
Ilchester, Richard of 01, 04, 85, 91 ff.,

Indulgences 15 f.
Innocent III 15, 09 f., 126, 131, 134 ff.,

142, 145-56
John, K. 69 f., 89 f.,' 129 f., 132. 144-

Joseph of Arimathea 6 ff., 24
Langton, Simon de 150, 153
Langton, Stephen de 148-54
Longchamp, William of 125, 135
Lucius III 98, 113, 117
Malmesbury, William of. De Antiq.

Glast. eccl. 1-25 : editions of Gesta

Regum 4, 25
Monmouth, Geoffrey of 10, 24
Oxford, John of 92-5
Perche, Stephen count of 103 ff.
Perigueux, Minet bishop of 110
Reculver 29
Richard I 07 ff., 122, 124, 131, 142,

Richard archbishop of Canterbury, 85,

107 ff., 112-5, 117
Ripon, prebend at 130
Rosina Vallis 18
Rotrou archbishop of Rouen 93, 103,

100 f., 110, 129
Rouen, prebend at 129 f., 130
Roger abbot of St Augustine's 109, 114
St Faith, William of 69 f., 87, 119,

121, 146
Salisbury 54 f., 50, 58 f., 01 ff., 75-9,

88. 127 ff., 134
Salisbury, John of 95, 102 f., 109, 111 f.
Sansetun, Benedict de 135 f.
Searle, W. G. 131, 139 ff.
Sens, William archbishop of, 110, 126 f.
Simon de Camera 143 ff.
Spaxton, Richard de 64.
Taunton 35 f.
Tornaco, Thomas de 81
Urban III 116-20 f.
Wells, constitution of chapter 54 ff..

58 f. : ' Historiola ' 55, 00 : election

of bishops 50, 71 ff. : church of 02 f.,

65. 68 : deans of, Ivo 54-03, Richard

64 ff., Alexander 67-72, 140 : Leonius

88 : Ralph de Lechlade 88, 146 :

Peter of Chichester 88, 154 : bishops

of, Sigar 41 f., Giso 54 f., 58 ff., 62 f.,

Wells, Hugh of 70 f., 141, 143, 145 ff.,

149 152—9
Wells,' Hugh of, archd. of Bath 150, 158
Wilfrid 32, 130
Winchester, Henry bishop of 3 ff., 8

12, 20, 55 ff., 01
Wrotham, William of 89 f., 144 f., 147

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