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Full text of "The bishops of Winchester : part I, Birinus to Stigand"



The Bishops of Winchester: 





Jl. 

BIRINUS TO STIGAND. 

BY THE LATE 

VERY REV. W. R. WOOD STEPHENS, D.D., F.S.A. 

Dean of Winchester. 

$art II. 

WALKELIN TO GARDINER. 

BY 

THE REV. W. W. CAPES, M.A. 
Canon of Hereford. 

\Reprinted by permission from the " Winchester Diocesan Chronicle."] 



TSHhtrljfster : 
WARREN AND SON, PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS, HIGH STREET. 

If onion : 
SIMPKIN AND CO., LTD., STATIONERS' HALL COURT. 



1907. 




The Arms of the See of Winchester. 












HJW25W ^ 



PREFACE TO PART I. 



THESE chapters on the early Bishops of Winchester were contributed 
to the Diocesan Chronicle at intervals during the years 1901 and 1902. 
It was the intention of Dean Stephens to complete the series as he 
could find time, and he had readily responded to the suggestion of the 
Editor that the articles should be written in such a form as to admit 
of their being eventually reproduced in a convenient volume, to meet 
the want of a short and trustworthy account of the many eminent 
men who have occupied the See. Only a small part of this design, 
alas ! has he been permitted to carry out, and we must especially 
lament the fact that the story breaks off just as he was about to 
enter upon those times which he had made peculiarly his own. These 
few pages, however, so far complete a period, that it has been decided 
to publish them. Those who have read the series in the Diocesan 
Chronicle will be glad of the opportunity of possessing it in a separate 
form, while the little volume will be felt generally to have a sad 
and special interest at this time, the correction of the proof of the 
concluding chapter, on November 27th, being one of the last things 
which can have employed the ever busy pen of him whom we 
have lost. 

F. T. M 

Winchester, 

January 3rd, 1003. 



PREFACE TO PART II. 



AFTER the lamented death of Dean Stephens, his friend, the 
Rev. W. W. Capes, then Honorary Canon of Winchester, kindly 
undertook to continue the series of papers in the Diocesan Chronicle 
on the Bishops of Winchester. He did not allow his subsequent 
appointment to a Residentiary Canonry in Hereford Cathedral to 
interfere with the punctual performance of his promise to his old 
Diocese. 

The Trustees and Editor of the Diocesan Chronicle feel that a 
contribution of permanent value has been made to the History of 
the Diocese, and that they can best acknowledge their obligation to 
the Authors of these Articles by reprinting them all in book shape. 

It will be seen that the form of the book has been con- 
ditioned not only by the type as originally used, and by the 
printing of the sheets at intervals, but by the fact that the first part 
was issued separately in 1903. 

So much interest has of late years centred on Bishop Gardiner, 
that Mr. Maiden's account of his relations with his College is 
included. 

F. T. M. 

Winchester, 

March, 1907. 



CONTENTS OF PART I. 

FACE 

THE CONVERSION OF WESSEX ... ... ... ... ... 3 

DIVISION OF THE WEST SAXON DIOCESE ... ... ... ... 6 

THE SEE OF WINCHESTER, FROM A.D. 745 TO A.D. 862 ... ... 9 

THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER IN A DARK AGE, A.D. 862 TO A.D. 963 n 

THE LEADER OF MONASTIC REFORM ... ... ... ... 14 

THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER IN THE ELEVENTH CENTURY... ... 17 

STIGAND, A.D. 1047 1070 ... ... ... ... ... ... 19 



CONTENTS OF PART II. 

PAGE 

WALKELIN ... ... ... ... ... ... ... i 

WILLIAM GIFFARD... ... ... ... ... ... ... 5 

HENRY OF BLOIS ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 10 

RICHARD OF ILCHESTER ... ... ... ... ... ... 15 

GODFREY DE LUCY ... ... ... ... 19 

PETER DE ROCHES ... ... ... ... ... ... 22 

WILLIAM DE RALEIGH ... ... ... ... ... ... 27 

ETHELMAR DE LUSIGNAN ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 

JOHN OF EXETER ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 34 

NICHOLAS OF ELY... ... ... ... ... ... ... 37 

JOHN DE PONTOISE ... ... ... ... ... ... 40 

HENRY WOODLOCK ... ... ... ... ... ... 43 

JOHN DE SANDALE ... ... ... ... ... ... 46 

RlGAUD DE ASSIER ... ... ... ... ... 49 

JOHN DE STRATFORD ... ... ... ... ... ... 51 

ADAM DE ORLETON ... ... ... ... ... ... 56 

WILLIAM DE EDYNDONE ... ... ... ... 59 

WILLAM OF WYKEHAM ... ... ... ... ... ... 61 

HENRY BEAUFORT ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 65 

WILLIAM OF WAYNFLETE ... ... ... ... ... ... 68 

PETER COURTENAY ... ... ... ... ... ... 71 

THOMAS LANGTON ... ... ... ... ... ... 73 

RICHARD FOXE ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 75 

RICHARD FOXE His TOMB ... ... ... ... ... 77 

THOMAS WOLSEY ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 79 

STEPHEN GARDINER ... ... ... ... ... ... 82 

STEPHEN GARDINER AS A UNIVERSITY MAN ... ... ... 85 



ILLUSTRATIONS. PART I. 

Tt> FACE PAGE 

STATUE OF ST. HACDDE ... ... ... 4 

EARLY COPY IN FACSIMILE OF A CHARTER OF KING 
A.D. 854 ... ... 



STATUE OF ST. ^ETHELWOLD ... ... ... 16 

STATUE OF ARCHBISHOP STIGAND ... ... ... ... ... *o 



ILLUSTRATIONS. PART II. 
THE NORTH TRANSEPT OF THE CATHEDRAL ... ... Frontispiece 

TO FACE PAGE 

AUTOGRAPHS OF WALKELIN AND WULSTAN, FROM THE CHARTER IN 
CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL, AND SEALS OF BISHOP WILLIAM OF 

WYKEHAM AND CARDINAL BEAUFORT ... ... ... 4 

ARCHES OF BISHOP HENRY'S TREASURY ... ... ... ... 10 

ENSHRINED HEART OF BISHOP NICOLAS ... ... ... ... 39 

PORTRAIT OF BISHOP WILLIAM OF WYKEHAM, AND TOMB ... ... 61 

CHANTRIES OF CARDINAL BEAUFORT, BISHOP WAYNFLETE, AND 

BISHOP GARDINER ... ... ... ... .. ... 65 

CHANTRY OF BISHOP FOXE ... ... ... ... ... 75 

PORTRAIT OF BISHOP GARDINER 8a 



CDe Bishops of Winchester. 



PART L-BIRINUS TO STIGAND. 

BY THE LATE 

VERY REV. W. R. WOOD STEPHENS, D.D., F.S.A. 

Dean of Winchester. 



tlbe Btebops of Mtncbester. 



The Conversion of Wessex. 

The first five Bishops of the West Saxons : 
Birinus, 634; Agilbert, 650 ; Wine, 662; 
Leutherius (Lot here), 670 ; Hadde, 676. 

The conversion of England to the Christ- 
ian faith occupied a period of eighty-three 
years. The process was necessarily very 
gradual, because the country in the seventh 
century was divided between several king- 
doms. The course of missionary enterprise 
was determined rather by the political or 
social relations of the several kingdoms 
than by their geographical position. Thus 
while Kent was the first to embrace Christ- 
ianity, its nearer neighbour, the South 
Saxon kingdom was the last. Just as rivers 
take strange windings and turnings by 
reason of the obstacles which they en- 
counter, so the progress of Christianity 
was diverted out of a straight course by 
coming into contact here and there with 
some kingdom which remained obdurately 
heathen. 

Rochester was the second Episcopal See 
founded in England (A.D. 604), because it 
was the chief town of the West Kentings, 
a tribal division, if not a small kingdom, 
which was subject to jEthelbert, the first 
Christian King of Kent. London was the 
third See (A.D. 604), because Sigebert, 
King of the East Saxons, who was a 
nephew of ^Cthelbert, readily adopted for 
himself and his people the religion of his 
uncle. The fourth See was York (A.D. 625), 
the Northumbrian King Eadwine having 
married the Christian daughter of ^Ethel- 
bert, who took with her as her Chaplain to 
her northern home Paulinus, one of the 
Italian companions of St. Augustine. Nei- 
ther the West Saxon nor the South Saxon 
Kingdoms were connected with Kent by 
political or matrimonial ties. Sussex re- 
mained in heathen darkness until an unex- 
pected visit of the Northumbrian St. Wil- 
frith in A.D. 680. 



The West Saxons owed their conversion 
to one who was in no way connected either 
with St. Augustine and his companions, or 
with the missionaries of the Scottish School 
who did so much for the propagation of 
Christianity in the Northern and Midland 
parts of England. 

The nationality of Birinus, the apostle of 
Wessex, is uncertain : that he was a Roman 
monk of St. Andrew's, the original home of 
St. Augustine, is a mere tradition. 

He came to England by the advice of 
Pope Honorius, having promised in his 
presence that he would scatter the seeds 
of the holy faith in the very heart of the 
English territory which no teacher had 
hitherto visited. By the direction of Hono- 
rius, he was consecrated Bishop by Asterius, 
Archbishop of Milan, who was at that time 
residing at Genoa, as had been the custom 
of his predecessors since A.D. 568, in order 
to avoid contact with the Lombards, who 
were Arians. He landed A.D. 634 in the 
country of the Gewissas, and finding that 
they were intensely heathen, " paganissi- 
mos," he decided to begin his missionary 
work among them before proceeding any 
further. Like Augustine, Paulinus, and 
other missionaries, he sought the king, 
Cynegils, who was more speedily converted 
by his teaching than vEthelbert had been 
by Augustine or Eadwine by Paulinus. 
Cynegils had reigned twenty-four years, 
and was probably weary of war and blood- 
shed. He had been victorious over the 
Britons, and had pushed the West Saxon 
kingdom further westward ; but it had been 
overrun by the Northumbrian Eadwine, 
and been threatened by the Mercian king 
Penda. Oswald, the successor of Eadwine, 
sought alliance with Cynegils, probably 
with a view to checking the Mercian 
aggression. A marriage was arranged be- 
tween him and the daughter of Cynegils, 
and a visit which he paid to the West 
Saxon king at Dorchester, near Oxford, to 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



celebrate his marriage, coincided with the 
conversion of Cynegils. Cynegils was bap- 
tized by Birinus, and Oswald acted as his 
godfather, taking him by the hand, as was 
the custom on such occasions, and leading 
him up out of the font in which he had 
been immersed. Thus, as Bede says, he 
" became by a sacred alliance the father of 
him whose son he was about to be through 
marriage with his daughter." 

Oswald and Cynegils united in making 
Birinus Bishop of Dorchester. The See 
thus planted in the little village by the 
Thames became the parent of the great 
Bishoprics of Winchester and Lincoln. 
From Dorchester Birinus went about Wes- 
sex, and built and dedicated many churches, 
and by his pious labours converted many 
to the Lord. 

He baptized Cwichelm, the son of Cyne- 
gils, and Cuthred his grandson in A.D. 639. 
Cwichelm died before his father, and the 
crown passed to his younger brother, Cen- 
wealh. He had married a daughter of 
Penda, the heathen king of Mercia, and 
refused to follow his father's and brother's 
example in accepting the Christian faith. 
It was a critical moment for Christianity 
in Wessex. But, in the words of Bede, he 
who rejected the heavenly kingdom pre- 
sently lost his earthly one. 

He put away his queen and took another 
wife. Penda sought to avenge the insult 
by invading the West Saxon kingdom, 
A.D. 642. Cenwealh sought refuge in flight 
to East Anglia, where he sojourned three 
years in the court of Anna the king. Anna 
and his family were devout Christians, and 
under their influence Cenwealh embraced 
the faith. In A.D. 648, with the aid of his 
nephew Cuthred, he regained his kingdom, 
and one of his first acts was to build a 
Church at Winchester, which Birinus con- 
secrated. Two years afterwards Birinus 
died and was buried at Dorchester, where 
the beautiful old Church of St. Peter and 
St. Paul probably marks the spot on which 
Cynegils was baptized, and the original 
Church of Birinus was built. Meanwhile 
the court of Cenwealh had been visited by 



a bishop named Agilbert, a native of Gaul, 
who had been studying for some years in 
Ireland, which was at that time a great 
centre of learning and religion. Cenwealh, 
appreciating his piety and erudition, placed 
him in the See of Dorchester, which he 
administered for ten years. But it seems 
that the Bishop never mastered the West 
Saxon language : the king becoming weary 
of his foreign speech, secretly imported 
another bishop named Wine, who could 
talk Saxon although he had been ordained 
in Gaul. 

Cenwealh placed Wine in the royal city 
of Winchester, thus dividing his kingdom 
into two dioceses, with one See at Dor- 
chester and another at Winchester. Agil- 
bert being highly offended at this proceed- 
ing, in which he had not been consulted, 
withdrew to Northumbria, where we find 
him present at the Synod of Whitby in 
A.D. 664, and about two years afterwards 
he retired to Gaul, where he became bishop 
of Paris. 

The most interesting event in the epis- 
copate of Wine was the consecration of 
Ceadda (St. Chad), abbot of Lastingham, 
to the See of York. Ceadda was a disciple 
of Aidan, and therefore belonged to the 
Celtic or Scottish School of Churchmen, 
but he had adopted the customs of the 
Latin Church. He came south for conse- 
cration, and the See of Canterbury being 
vacant, he sought the rite at the hands of 
Wine. In celebrating it Wine associated 
with himself two bishops of British race 
probably from Cornwall. 

Thus the Cathedral Church of Win- 
chester became the scene of an act which 
was a definite step in the direction of 
bringing about a union between the English 
and the British Churches, which had hither- 
to been divided on various questions of 
liturgical usage. Christianity had clearly 
softened the relations between the two 
races conquerors and conquered in the 
West of England. The act of Wine illus- 
trates also a certain independence, not to 
say isolation, of the West Saxon Church, 
of which the first three bishops had all 




Statue of St. Hxdde, 
FROM THE ALTAR SCREEN, WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL. 

By permission of the publishers of The Great Screen of Winchester Cathedral. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



been consecrated abroad. A bishop in 
close connexion with Canterbury would not 
have ventured to invite the co-operation 
of British bishops in an act of consecration, 
as the Celtic rite differed in certain respects 
from the Roman. And as a matter of fact 
the consecration of Chad was considered 
irregular, because Wine was held to be an 
intruder, and further to have committed an 
error in associating with himself bishops 
who were regarded as schismatical. Wine 
at any rate did not rise above the moral 
standard of the day, for he was not proof 
against simony, the peculiar vice of the 
Church in Gaul where he had been conse- 
crated. For some reason unrecorded, Cen- 
wealh took a dislike to him as he had to 
Agilbert, and expelled him from his king- 
dom. He took refuge in Mercia, and bought 
the See of London from King Wulfhere, 
who had established his supremacy over 
the East Saxons. 

The West Saxon See remained vacant 
for four years". At the expiration of this 
period, Cenwealh, who had been much 
harassed by his enemies, and had suffered 
heavy losses, was seized with remorse, and 
sent messengers to Agilbert, now bishop of 
Paris, inviting him to return to his old 
diocese. Agilbert not unnaturally refused 
to abandon his new charge, but recom- 
mended his nephew Leutherius or Lothere, 
a presbyter, as well worthy to be conse- 
crated bishop of the West Saxon See. 
Lothere was respectfully received by the 
king and his people, and was duly conse- 
crated in the Cathedral at Winchester by 
Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Lothere, who died in A.D. 676, was suc- 
ceeded by Hasdde, who was consecrated by 
Theodore at London. He is described by 
Bede as a good and upright man, who 
adorned the episcopal office rather by his 
natural inborn goodness than by learning. 
But he was the friend of learned men, 
foremost amongst whom was Ealdhelm 
(St. Aldhelm), at that time Abbot of Mal- 
mesbury, who in writing to him about law, 
mathematics, and other branches of learn- 
ing, addresses him as his "peculiar patron." 
Haedde translated the remains of Birinus 



from Dorchester to Winchester, thus de- 
priving Dorchester of its last pretensions to 
Cathedral rank, and definitely fixing the 
West Saxon See in the Church of St. Peter 
and Paul at Winchester. Birinus was 
canonized in popular estimation, and for 
centuries miracles were supposed to be 
wrought at his tomb. 

Cenwealh had died in A.D. 672, and the 
government of Wessex seems to have 
lapsed for some years into the hands of 
Ealdormen. Coedwalla, a member of the 
Royal house, was expelled, but in A.D. 685 
he " began to strive for the kingdom." In 
A.D. 686 he conquered the South Saxon 
kingdom and the Isle of Wight, and recov- 
ered the West Saxon throne. During the 
period of unsettlement, Haedde refused to 
comply with an order of Archbishop Berht- 
wald, that the diocese should be divided. 
In A.D. 704 the West Saxons were threat- 
ened with excommunication by a national 
Synod unless they complied with the decree. 

The death of Haedde in A.D. 705, and the 
settlement of the kingdom under Ine, re- 
moved the difficulty, and with King Ine's 
consent the diocese was divided by a 
synodical decree. A new See was planted 
at Sherborne, with a diocese to include all 
the country west of Selwood Forest. This 
comprised Dorset and part of Wilts, and 
as much of Somerset and Devon as had 
been conquered from the Welsh. All the 
West Saxon territory east of the forest 
remained to the See of Winchester. This 
included Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, and 
part of Wilts, and Sussex, until four years 
later (A.D. 709) a separate See was created 
for the South Saxons at Selsey. 

The authorities are not consistent in 
their accounts of the boundaries between 
the two dioceses. The A. S. Chronicle 
(A.D. 709) distinctly says that St. Aldhelm, 
the first bishop of Sherborne, was bishop 
west of Selwood, and Athelweard (Man. 
Hist. Brit., p. 50) calls his diocese Sel- 
woodshire. Their statements are followed 
by Henry of Huntingdon, p. no. 

William of Malmesbury, on the other 
hand (Gest. Pont., pp. 175-2^5), assigns 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Wiltshire and Berkshire also to the See of 
Sherborne, in addition to Somerset, Devon 
and Cornwall, and criticises the arrange- 
ment as a very unequal division. To Sher- 
borne itself he is extremely uncompliment- 
ary, describing it as an insignificant spot 
not agreeable either from the number of 
inhabitants or pleasantness of situation, and 
declares that it was a marvel, almost a 
shame, that it should have remained an 
episcopal See for so many years. 



Division of the West Saxon Diocese. 

Daniel, Bishop of Winchester A.D. 705-744; 
St. Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne A.D. 
705-709- 

Bishop Daniel, the successor of Haedde 
in the See of Winchester, was a good and 
learned man, and under his influence, and 
that of the still more learned and saintly 
Ealdhelm (St. Aldhelm), the first Bishop of 
Sherborne, Christianity made great progress 
in the West Saxon kingdom. 

Ealdhelm was connected with a royal 
house of Wessex, and may have been a 
son of King Centwine, who died in 685. 
In childhood he was entrusted to the care 
of an Irish monk, named Maildubh, who 
had formed a little monastic settlement hard 
by the old castle of Ingelborne in the upper 
valley of the Avon, a spot to which he had 
been attracted by the charms of the neigh- 
bouring wood, which offered shelter and 
seclusion. After a time Ealdhelm was sent 
for further instruction to the school which 
Archbishop Theodore had instituted at 
Canterbury, and had placed under the care 
of the learned African, Abbot Hadrian, 
whom he had brought from Italy. This 
school gave quite a new impulse to learn- 
ing in England. Latin, Greek, and even 
Hebrew were taught there, together with 
astronomy, music, and medicine. Ealdhelm 
astonished his master by the quickness with 
which he attained to proficiency in these 
studies, especially languages. He returned 
to his old home for a time, and earned his 
living there by teaching. Then he paid a 



second visit to Canterbury and continued 
his studies until a breakdown in his health 
compelled him to leave. Again he rejoined 
the little brotherhood under Maildubh, and 
in 675 became Abbot, having been ordained 
Priest by Leutherius, Bishop of Winchester. 
Students now flocked to him from all 
quarters, some attracted by his piety, others 
by his learning, and the lowly settlement of 
Maildubh grew into a large and wealthy 
monastery, which under the name of 
Malmesbury perpetuated the memory of 
its founder. West Saxon and Mercian 
nobles conferred gifts upon the house ; 
King Ine also became one of its benefactors, 
and at the instigation of Ealdhelm he built 
a stone church at Glastonbury. Ealdhelm 
corresponded with distinguished scholars in 
all parts of Europe. Pope Sergius heard 
of his fame and invited him to Rome, 
where he permitted him to celebrate Mass 
in the Lateran Church. The Pope also 
granted privileges to his monasteries, and 
gave him a store of relics, and an altar 
of white marble. Several of Ealdhelm's 
writings have been preserved, and may be 
read in Mi%ns Patrologia, vol. Ixxxix. 
His Latin treatise on the praise of virginity, 
addressed to the Abbess of Barking, and 
his poem on the same subject, are somewhat 
involved in style, and abound in Greek words 
Latinized. This, however, was the fashion 
of the age, and William of Malmesbury 
says that Ealdhelm indulged in it more 
sparingly than most writers. His letters, 
and some of his Latin verses, are much 
simpler and more natural ; his English 
poems, which unfortunately are few, were 
favourites with King Alfred. 

William of Malmesbury relates on the 
authority of King Alfred's " Handbook," an 
incident which shows how Ealdhelm turned 
his musical and poetical gifts to good 
account. Finding that many of the people 
were negligent of attendance at Mass or 
hurried home before it was concluded with- 
out waiting for the sermon, he used to 
station himself on the bridge over the 
Avon and gather a crowd about him by 
singing a lively song, and when he had 
charmed his hearers in this way and secured 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



their attention, he would gradually glide 
into a graver strain, and lead up their 
thoughts to higher things. 

The scholar, poet, and musician was also 
a great builder. He did not meddle with 
the little basilica which Maildubh had built, 
but by the side of it he erected a much 
larger church dedicated to St. Peter and 
St. Paul. He also built two other churches 
in Malmesbury, one of which, dedicated to 
St. Mary, survived unaltered to the days of 
William of Malmesbury in the latter part 
of the twelfth century, notwithstanding the 
rage for pulling down and rebuilding which 
prevailed after the Norman Conquest. 
William says that it surpassed in beauty 
and size all the churches that had been 
built in England before the coming of the 
Normans. No expense was spared in the 
purchase of stone and timber for its con- 
struction. One of the beams which proved 
to be too short was miraculously lengthened 
through the prayer of the holy man, and 
this particular beam escaped injury in two 
destructive fires which occurred in the reigns 
of Alfred and his son Eadward. Besides 
building churches at Bruton and Wareham 
and the Cathedral Church at Sherborne, 
Ealdhelm also founded and ruled two 
monastic houses with their churches at 
Frome and Bradford -on -Avon. At the 
latter place the little church (ecdesiola) 
dedicated to St. Lawrence, which William 
of Malmesbury mentions as existing in his 
day, was discovered not many years ago 
buried in modern buildings, and having 
been released from these encumbrances it 
now stands out as one of the most perfect 
and interesting specimens of that primitive 
Romanesque style in which our Saxon fore- 
fathers were accustomed to build. 

A letter which Ealdhelm wrote to 
Geraint, the British king of Dyfnaint 
(Devon and Cornwall), is said by Bede 
(H.E. lib. v., c. 1 8) to have induced many 
members of the old British Church to adopt 
the Latin rule with regard to the date of 
Easter, the style of tonsure, and other 
usages. After he became bishop of Sher- 
borne, he proposed to place his monasteries 



under the rule of abbots, but the monks 
begged him to carry on his administration 
as long as he lived, and he assented to their 
petition. Animated by a truly evangelistic 
spirit he was accustomed to make progresses 
up and down his diocese on foot, preaching 
by night as well as by day. He was 
engaged on one of these missionary journeys 
(A.D. 709) when he fell sick at Doulting, 
near Wells, and here he died in the little 
wooden church' into which he had been 
carried by his own desire. His body was 
conveyed to Malmesbury for burial, a stone 
cross being erected at every halting-place 
along the route. 

Of course, after the fashion of the age, 
Ealdhelm was credited with the power of 
working all manner of miracles both during 
his life and after his death ; but the largest 
amount of legendary matter always gathers 
round the greatest characters, just as clouds 
are attracted to the highest mountain 
tops, and there is abundant evidence, apart 
from legend, to prove that Ealdhelm was a 
man of pre-eminent ability, learning, and 
holiness. He was indeed a noble example 
of a scholar who valued learning mainly as 
an instrument for acquiring a deeper know- 
ledge of Holy Scripture. " Devote your 
time," he says in a letter to a young student, 
" to prayer and the study of the Scriptures : 
and if you desire to occupy yourself with 
secular literature let it be chiefly for the 
purpose of understanding more intimately 
the sacred text, the sense of which depends 
almost everywhere upon a thorough ac- 
quaintance with the rules of grammar." 
He was the author of the forcible terse 
description of the advantages of Bible- 
reading and prayer. " In reading God 
speaks to me ; in prayer I speak to God." 

Within the district which once formed 
his diocese four churches still bear his 
name : Bishopstrow, Broadway, Doulting 
(the place where he died), and the Abbey 
Church of Malmesbury. 

The creation of the See of Sherborne 
was the first division of the great West 
Saxon diocese. With the growth of the 
kingdom other divisions were made as we 



3 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



shall presently see. Daniel, bishop of 
Winchester, consented in 709 to the estab- 
lishment of a separate diocese for the South 
Saxons with its See at Selsey. At the same 
time, perhaps as some compensation for 
this loss of territory, he succeeded in 
annexing the Isle of Wight to his diocese, 
the islanders having been hitherto un- 
attached to any bishopric since their con- 
version by Wilfrith in 686. 

Daniel, like Ealdhelm, had been a disciple 
of Maildubh, and was only second to Eald- 
helm himself in learning and energy. To 
him Bede tells us (Preface to his Ecclesias- 
tical History) he was indebted for his 
information respecting the beginnings of 
Christianity in Wessex, Sussex, and the 
Isle of Wight. He was the friend and 
counsellor of the great and good Winfrith, 
better known as St. Boniface the Apostle 
and Martyr of Germany, who at the time 
of Daniel's consecration was a young monk 
in the monastery of Nutscelle, near South- 
ampton, distinguished alike as a diligent 
student and an attractive teacher ; ready to 
help all who came within reach of his 
influence, rich or poor, bond or free. 
Inspired with missionary enthusiasm, 
Boniface, accompanied by two or three 
fellow-monks, sailed for Frisia in 716, but 
he could make no impression on the heathen 
king Rathbod, who was at that time making 
war on Charles Martel and destroying 
churches in Gaul in all directions. Boniface 
returned to Nutscelle, and two years after- 
wards started again, furnished with letters 
of commendation from Bishop Daniel to 
all Christian kings, dukes, bishops, abbots, 
presbyters, and other "spiritual sons" charg- 
ing them to show him hospitality. Two 
interesting letters from Bishop Daniel to 
Boniface have been preserved. One of 
these (printed in Haddan and Stubbs' 
Councils, etc., Vol. iii, 304) contains some 
very wise counsel as to the methods of 
dealing with the heathen. He should be 
careful not to insult or irritate them by over 
dogmatism, but endeavour to lead them on 
gently, and induce them gradually to be 
ashamed of their own superstitions by 
indirectly contrasting them with the truth 



of Christianity. He gives an illustration 
of the way in which a polytheist might 
be puzzled by a series of Socratic 
questions. Had the world a beginning or 
did it exist from all eternity ? If it had a 
beginning who created it? Not the gods 
who were admitted not to be eternal. If 
the world was eternal who ruled it before 
the gods came into being? How did the 
gods obtain power over the world if it 
existed before them ? How was the first 
god produced ? Will the gods continue to 
be generated indefinitely? How are men 
to know which of the gods is the most 
powerful? Another curious line of argu- 
ment suggested by Daniel does not com- 
mand our admiration, but it is characteristic 
of an age in which child-like ignorance and 
simplicity were often combined with sound 
learning and intellectual power. He re- 
commends Boniface to show how Christians 
enjoy all the most fertile regions of the 
earth, abounding in wine and oil, while the 
heathen are condemned to occupy those 
which are frost-bound (frigore semper 
rigentes terras). At the conclusion of this 
letter Daniel intimates that he was suffering 
much from bodily infirmity, and requests the 
prayers of Boniface that this affliction may 
turn to his spiritual benefit. From another 
letter, written several years afterwards, we 
learn that he had become blind. He 
encourages Boniface to bear up under his 
manifold trials, and to exercise wholesome 
discipline over his clergy, but not to attempt 
to separate himself entirely from intercourse 
with the evil, which was impossible in a 
world where the tares must ever be mingled 
with the wheat. He thanks Boniface for 
his sympathy and prayers, and concludes 
in language of warm affection : " Farewell, 
farewell, thou hundred-fold dearer one to 
me, though I write by the hand of another." 

Daniel resigned his See on account of 
his blindness in 744, and retired to his 
old home at Malmesbury, where he died 
and was buried in the following year. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



III. The See of Winchester from 746 to 862. 

Depression of the West Saxon Kingdom in the 
8th century. Recovery under Ecgberht. 
His supremacy. Ealhstan, Bishop ofSher- 
borne. Swithun, Bishop of Winchester. 

After the death of Bishop Daniel, which 
occurred in 745, the annals of our See are 
almost a blank for nearly a century. We 
have no record beyond a bare list of names, 
eleven in number, given us by William of 
Malmesbury in his Gesta Pontificum, to- 
gether with a few very slight notices in the 
Saxon Chronicle, and some signatures in 
attestation of Charters. The greater part 
of the eighth century, and especially the 
latter half of it, was a period of depression 
in Wessex owing to internal strife. Even 
the strong king Ine had scarcely been able 
to subdue the revolts of rebellious ^Ethel- 
ings, and in 726 he had abdicated in 
weariness and disgust and sought peace in 
a pilgrimage to Rome, where he died. After 
his departure Wessex became a scene of 
anarchy, and ^Ethelbald, the powerful king 
of Mercia, seized the opportunity of assert- 
ing his supremacy over the whole of southern 
England. For twenty years, from 733 to 
754, he was recognised as the over-lord of 
all Britain south of the Humber. In 754 
the West Saxons rallied their strength and 
inflicted a decisive defeat on the Mercian 
king at Burford in Oxfordshire, and after 
this they extended their power westwards 
over the Welsh in Devon, pushing their 
border beyond the Axe and the Tone, where 
Ine had carried it, as far forward as the 
Tamar. But in 786 their progress was 
checked by another outbreak of internal 
strife. The two chief claimants for the 
throne were Beorthric and Ecgberht. 
Ecgberht being defeated by his rival sought 
refuge at the court of Offa, the powerful 
king of Mercia, but Beorthric made alliance 
with Offa by marrying his daughter. Ecg- 
berht was expelled, and fled across sea to 
the court of the renowned Frankish King 
Charles the Great, or Charlemagne. He 
accompanied Charles on the campaigns in 
which he beat back the Avars and other 



heathen hordes that were pressing upon 
Western Christendom, and he probably 
witnessed the memorable scene in St. Peter's 
at Rome on Christmas Day, 800, when 
Charles was hailed Emperor by the people 
and clergy, and crowned by the Pope. 

The death of his rival Beorthric in 802 
set Ecgberht free to return to England. 
He was accepted by the West Saxons 
without dispute, and proved himself from 
the outset to be an energetic and capable 
ruler. No doubt his mind had been much 
enlarged, and he had gained much valuable 
experience both in civil and military ad- 
ministration at the court of Charles. After 
eight years of stubborn fighting with the 
Welsh in Devon and Cornwall, he es- 
tablished his supremacy in that region. 
The Welsh had been assisted in their 
struggle by a new and formidable foe the 
heathen Ostmen, Wikings, or Danes, who 
having made their way into Ireland round 
the north coast of Scotland, were now 
beginning to make plundering descents 
upon the southern coasts of Britain. Their 
first appearance had been in 787, when they 
arrived with three long ships at some West 
Saxon port unnamed, where they slew the 
Reeve who had mistaken them for peaceful 
merchants. Such was the little cloud no 
bigger than a man's hand which was the 
forerunner of a long and mighty storm. 
Before it had assumed alarming dimensions 
Ecgberht had established his supremacy 
over all England : he had crushed the 
Mercian power in two decisive battles ; 
Northumbria, weak from internal dissen- 
sions, voluntarily submitted ; Kent and 
East Anglia were easily subdued. Thus 
the Kingdom of Wessex overpowered the 
other kingdoms, and Winchester became 
the capital of England. 

About the same time the West Saxon 
Sees emerge from obscurity. The common 
danger from the Wiking invaders drew 
Church and State into close union. 
Ealhstan who was made Bishop of Sher- 
borne in 824, was joint commander with 
/Ethelwulf, the King's son, of the force 
which established Ecgberht's supremacy 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



over Kent. He was the principal minister 
of /Ethelwulf, after his accession to the 
throne, in financial and military affairs, and 
in 845 he, in conjunction with the Ealdor- 
men of Somerset and Dorset, inflicted the 
most severe defeat that the Danes had as yet 
suffered in an engagement at the mouthof the 
Parret. Hereferth, Bishop of Winchester, 
and another West Saxon Bishop, Wigthen, 
possibly his coadjutor, perished in the 
battle of Charmouth, where Ecgberht was 
defeated by the Danes in 834. In 838 
Ecgberht entered into solemn compacts 
with Ceolnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and Eadhun, Bishop of Winchester, at 
Kingston, by virtue of which lands at 
Mailing were secured to the See of Canter- 
bury, and lands at Shalfleet in the Isle of 
Wight, were secured to the See of Win- 
chester. The Bishops promised on their 
part "firm and unshaken friendship," re- 
ceiving in return from the King a pledge of 
" perpetual peace and protection." 

One of the witnesses who signs the 
Winchester Charter is Swithun the deacon. 
This is the first direct mention of this 
famous personage. All that can be gathered 
respecting his early life is that he was of 
noble parentage, and received clerical 
orders in 827 from the Bishop of Win- 
chester. The assertion that he was a monk 
at Winchester and became Prior of the 
Minster does not rest on any trustworthy 
evidence. It is more probable that he was 
a secular clerk who became attached as a 
Royal Chaplain to the Court of Ecgberht 
in which capacity he may have attested the 
Charter referred to above. The King at 
any rate held him in high esteem, and 
entrusted to him the education of his son 
^Cthelwulf. jEthelwulf was attached to his 
tutor, who became his principal adviser, 
after his accession to the throne, in 
ecclesiastical and political affairs, while in 
those pertaining to war and finance he was 
guided by Ealhstan, Bishop of Sherborne. 

On the death of Bishop Helmstan in 852 
Swithun was elected to the See of Win- 
chester, probably on the recommendation 
of King jEthelwulf, and was consecrated 
by Ceolnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury. 



Copies of his profession of obedience to the 
Primate are extant. (See Haddan and 
Stubbs Councils, etc., Ill, 633). Accord- 
ing to William of Malmesbury (Gesta 
Regum II, 108), /Ethelwulf was of an 
indolent disposition, and had to be stirred 
up to activity by his two episcopal 
counsellors, Swithun and Ealhstan. A 
formidable incursion, however, of the 
Danes in 853 seems to have roused the 
King to effective exertion. The Danes 
crossed from the coast of Gaul with a fleet 
of 350 ships, landed on the north of the 
Thames, took London and Canterbury by 
storm, and having defeated a Mercian 
army, moved southwards into Surrey. Here 
they were opposed at Ockley by Ethelwulf 
and his son .XEthelbald, who completely 
routed them with greater slaughter than 
had ever yet been inflicted on the heathen 
invaders. Not long after this event 
Ethelwulf sent his young son Alfred 
to Rome, probably under the care of 
Swithun to whom he had entrusted his 
education. The king himself made a pil- 
grimage to Rome in 855, and before going 
he made by the advice of Swithun his 
famous donation of a tenth part of his 
property to religious purposes. The exact 
nature of this grant, which is rather an 
obscure subject, and used to be generally 
misunderstood, has been carefully investi- 
gated by Mr. Kemble in his great work on 
the Saxons in England, Vol. II, 480 490, 
and his conclusions are accepted in the 
main by Mr. Haddan and Bishop Stubbs 
(Councils, etc., iii, 636). From a comparison 
of the several notices of Ethelwulf s dona- 
tion which occur in the Saxon Chronicle, 
Asser, Simeon of Durham, Henry of Hunt- 
ingdon, and Matthew Paris, together with 
the charters or deeds of gifts* (some of 
which, however, are doubtful), it appears 
that Ethelwulf did three things, at three 
different times : (i) he released a tenth 
part of the folc lands that were let either 



* An early copy of one of these charters relating to the 
Cathedral Monastery is preserved in the Cathedral 
Library, of which a photogravure, with text and trans- 
lation will be found in the Diocesan Chronicle for 
January, 1901. 




c RO OR A 



* lr- 



Early copy in facsimile of a Charter of King ^thelwulf in 854. 

Among the witnesses are SWITHUN (srd) and ALFRED (i3th). 
Now in Winchester Cathedral Library. (Full size i6in. by 12 in.) 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



to the Church or to the thanes from pay- 
ment to the crown, or other burdens, except 
the three indispensable obligations called 
the "trinoda necessitas," namely, military 
service for repelling invasion, the repair of 
bridges, and fortresses ; (2) he granted a 
tenth part of his own private estates to 
religious houses, or to his thanes ; (3) he 
decreed that for every ten hides of his own 
land provision should be made for the 
maintenance of one poor man, whether a 
native or an alien. The supposition of Selden, 
which was followed by Collier, Hume, and 
other historians, that these grants of ^thel- 
wulf were the origin of tithe, or of the legal 
rights to tithe in England, has long since 
been disproved. It is clear from the 
Penitentials of Archbishop Theodore in the 
seventh century that the payment of tithe 
was regarded as a religious duty, and it 
had probably become by that time part of 
the common law of the Church. Several 
of the early Fathers of the Church, in- 
cluding Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine, 
insist upon the claim of the clergy, on the 
analogy of the Levitical priesthood, to the 
tithe of increase. The Council of Tours in 
567 admonishes the faithful in urgent terms 
(instantissime commonemus) not to neglect 
this duty. Charles the Great made it a 
matter of legal obligation in 779, and it 
was made binding in England by the Canon 
of a Legatine Council held in 789, the de- 
crees of which were accepted by the kings, 
and their Witan, of Mercia, Northumbria, 
and probably Wessex also. The donations 
of ^Ethelwulf were personal acts affecting 
Wessex alone ; and their only connexion 
with tithe is that the adoption of the tenth 
as a measure of the king's benefactions 
indicates that it was generally recognised 
as a clerical portion. 

The only other historical facts recorded 
of bishop Swithun are that he devoted 
much attention to building and repairing 
churches, and that he constructed a stone 
bridge over the Itchen, hard by the East 
gate of Winchester, which excited great 
admiration. It is in connexion with this 
bridge that the only miracle attributed to 
him in his life-time is said to have occurred. 



When it was in process of building, a poor 
woman, with a basket full of eggs for market, 
crossed the temporary wooden bridge. The 
rough workmen rudely hustled her, and the 
eggs were jerked out of the basket and 
broken. The bishop who was superin- 
tending the work, being indignant and 
distressed, made the sign of the cross over 
the shattered eggs, whereupon all the 
fragments re-united. Extreme kindness 
and humility were his distinguishing charac- 
teristics. Like St. Aidan, St. Chad, and 
bishops of the Celtic school, he walked 
about his diocese in preference to riding, 
however great the distances might be ; and 
in going to dedicate churches he frequently 
journeyed by night for the sake of privacy. 
From the same feeling of humility he 
desired that when he died he should be 
buried outside his Cathedral, where passers- 
by would trample on his grave, and rain 
drops from the roof would drip upon it. 
He died on July 2, 862, and was interred in 
accordance with his directions outside the 
Minster, between the north wall and a 
wooden belfry tower. The story of his 
removal a century later from this lowly 
grave to the new Cathedral erected by 
Bishop Athelwold, and the crowd of mira- 
cles which accompanied and followed the 
translation, establishing his reputation as a 
saint, and bringing fame and wealth to the 
monastery, must be reserved for another 
paper. 

IV. -The Bishops of Winchester in a dark age. 
862 to 963. 



Alfrith, 862-871. 
Tunberht, 871-879. 

Denewulf, 879-908. 
Frit hst an, 909-931. 



Beornstan, 931-934. 
Elphege (jElfheah), 

934-951- 

sElfsige, 951-959- 
Brithelm, 060-963. 



William of Malmesbury records the death 
and burial of Swithun in 862, and adds, 
" Many generations passed during which 
this pearl of God lay hid, without fame, for 
nearly a hundred years." In fact more than 
a century elapsed before his claim to venera- 
tion was established, during the episcopate 
of Athelwold, by the miracles reputed to 



12 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



be wrought at his tomb. Meanwhile eight 
Bishops occupied the see. Their names 
have been preserved to us by William of 
Malmesbury, and in some instances by 
their signatures attached to charters which 
they witnessed. 

Of the first two, Alfrith, 862-871, and 
Dunbert or Tunbert, 871-879, we know 
nothing beyond their names. Their epis- ( 
copates are co-extensive with the darkest 
period in the history of Wessex, when the 
Danes were ravaging the country. Win- 
chester was sacked in 863, and the 
Cathedral clergy were slain. King Alfred 
was driven to take refuge for a time 
in the marsh-girded fortress of Athelney, 
and in the depths of the forest of Selwood. 
It was here that he lighted one day on a 
man named Denewulf, who was engaged in 
pasturing a herd of swine. He had little 
or no learning, but the king discerned in 
him goodness and force of character, and 
on the death of Tunbert in 879, one year 
after the great victory at Ethandun and 
the peace made at Wedmore which saved 
Wessex, Alfred sent for Denewulf, put him 
through a course of instruction, and made 
him Bishop of Winchester. The story 
seems scarcely credible in detail, but we 
may fairly suppose that Denewulf, like 
Alfred himself, received his education late 
in life ; and it illustrates that utter decay, 
almost extinction, of learning, of which 
Alfred himself complained so bitterly when 
he set to work to restore his ruined kingdom. 
He tells us that he could remember how, 
when he was a child, "the Churches stood 
filled with treasures and books, and there 
was also a great multitude of God's min- 
isters," but this was "before the whole 
country had been ravaged and burned," 
and he proceeds to say that when he came 
to the kingdom learning was altogether 
decayed among English folk ; "so that very 
few on this side Humber could understand 
their rituals in English, or translate anything 
from Latin into English. I ween there were 
not many beyond the Humber, and I cannot 
bethink me of a single one south of the 
Thames."* Bishop Denewulf himself has 

Alfred's Preface to the Shepherds Book, ed. Sweet. 



left his testimony to the desolation of the 
country caused by the ravages of the Danes, 
for he records how his land at Bedhampton 
" when my lord first let it to me was un- 
provided with cattle, laid waste by the 
heathen folk ; and I myself provided the 
cattle, and there people were afterwards."! 

Denewulf was bishop from 879 to 908, 
outliving his patron, King Alfred. Much 
had been done to revive religion and 
civilization during this period by the exer- 
tions of Alfred and the bishops, and other 
good and learned men, whom he called to 
his aid Plegmund, the Mercian, whom he 
made Archbishop of Canterbury in 890, 
Werfrith, Bishop of Worcester, the Monk 
Grimbald, and John the old Saxon, whom 
the King brought over from the Continent. 

In 909, the year after the death of 
Denewulf, in the reign of Alfred's son, 
Eadward the Elder, a great enlargement of 
the West Saxon episcopate was effected by 
the creation of three new dioceses, one for 
the Wilsaetas, the people of Wiltshire, with 
a moveable See which rested sometimes at 
Ramsbury, near Sarum, sometimes at Son- 
ning, near Reading, in Berkshire, one for 
the Sumersastas with its See at Wells, and a 
third for the west country, the old province 
of Dyfnaint, with its See at Crediton. The 
year 909 is memorable for the consecration 
of seven bishops by Archbishop Plegmund 
on the same day at Canterbury : three to 
the new West Saxon Sees, two to the old 
See of Winchester and Sherborne, one to 
the South Saxon See of Selsey, and one to 
the Mercian See of Dorchester, near Oxford. 

The bishop consecrated to Winchester 
was Frithstan. We have no record of him 
beyond the brief statement in William of 
Malmesbury that his sanctity was attested 
by the reverence paid to his tomb, and his 
learning by the size of his library which 
was existing in William's time ; a proof of 
the advance which had been made in 
civilization under the stimulating influence 
of Alfred. Frithstan resigned in 931, and 
died two years afterwards. His successor, 
Beornstan, 931 934, obtained a still higher 

t Thorpe, Diplomatarium. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



reputation for sanctity. Of him it is related 
that he said mass daily for the repose of 
the departed, and that he was wont to visit 
the Cathedral graveyard at night and chant 
psalms there for the souls of the dead. On 
one occasion when he had come to the end 
of the Psalms, and had added the prayer 
" may they rest in peace," he heard the 
sound of a deep " Amen " proceed from 
the tombs, like the shout of a mighty army 
underground. Being a devoted imitator of 
his Divine Master, Beornstan used to wash 
every day the feet of certain poor folk, and 
when the service was finished, and the 
people had been dismissed, he would 
remain on the spot for hours, absorbed in 
devotion. On one of these occasions he 
retired to his private chamber, and did not 
reappear. His servants, knowing his habit, 
abstained the whole day from intruding 
upon him, but at last in the dusk of the 
evening, they ventured to look in, and 
found their master lifeless. Little account 
was taken of his memory until the days of 
Bishop ^Ethelwold, thirty years later, to 
whom he appeared in a vision accompanied 
by two other figures. Beornstan, who was 
the spokesman of this threefold apparition, 
informed ^Ethelwold that his companions 
were Birinus and Swithun, that he enjoyed 
equal honour with them in the other world, 
and he therefore claimed to be reverenced 
in like manner on earth. Henceforth he 
was numbered amongst the local saints, 
although in a short time Swithun eclipsed 
him and all others in popular estimation. 

Beornstan's successor, Elphege or Alfheah, 
had also a high reputation, not only for 
sanctity, but also for prophetic power. On 
a certain Ash Wednesday, when he had 
been exhorting his congregation to peni- 
tence and abstinence even from lawful 
pleasures, one of his hearers derisively 
declared that he should enjoy himself as 
usual in defiance of the holy man's counsel. 
The bystanders heard the bishop ejaculate 
in an undertone : " Unhappy man ! I pity 
thee, for thou knowest not what the morrow 
will bring forth." The next morning he 
was discovered dead in his bed. On another 
occasion the bishop was ordaining three 



candidates for the priesthood, and at the 
conclusion of the service he predicted that 
two of them would become bishops, one as 
his successor at Winchester, the other as 
Archbishop of Canterbury ; while the third, 
relapsing into the slough of sensual ease 
and pleasure, would come to a miserable 
end. The two whom he designated for 
the episcopal office were yEthelwold and 
Dunstan. The third, Ethelstan, apostatised 
from his profession as a monk and plunged 
into worldliness and sin. 

The good Bishop Alfheah, who died in 
951, was succeeded by ^Ifsige, a man of 
a very different stamp. Six years after his 
appointment there was a disruption in the 
kingdom. On the death, in 955, of Eadred, 
the youngest son of Eadward the Elder, 
without children, his nephew, Edwy or 
Eadwig, was chosen king. He was only 
a youth of fifteen, and fell under the 
influence of a party which was opposed 
to Dunstan, who had been the principal 
director of Eadred. In 957 the English 
north of the Thames revolted from Eadwig, 
and elected his brother, Eadgar, to be king. 
Bishop yElfsige adhered to the party which 
supported Eadwig, and was nominated to 
the Archbishoprick of Canterbury on the 
death of Oda. Oda, like Dunstan, had 
been strongly opposed to the marriage of 
Eadwig, on the ground that his wife, 
AL\fg\(u, was within the forbidden degrees 
of consanguinity. >Elfsige is said to have 
insulted his predecessor's memory, tramp- 
ling on his grave while he boasted of his 
own promotion. The next night he had a 
vision of Oda, who predicted his impending 
death. Nothing daunted, ^Clfsige soon 
afterwards set forth for Rome to obtain 
his pall. In crossing the Alps, the cold 
was intense and the snow deep, ^tlfsige 
became insensible, and his feet were frost- 
bitten. His attendants killed one of the 
horses and plunged the bishop's legs into 
the warm entrails ; but the attempt to 
restore animation was vain. 

Of Brihthelm, /Elfsige's successor at 
Winchester, we have no record. He died 
in 963, and the prediction of Alfred was 
then verified by the nomination of jEthelwold 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



to the See. We must reserve some account 
of him for another paper as he was one of 
the most eminent of a group of distinguished 
bishops who with Dunstan as their leader 
accomplished great reforms in the Church. 
The century that we have just traversed 
has been a kind of tunnel through which 
we have had to grope our way by the dim 
and uncertain torch of legend, rather than 
history; but with the accession of yEthel 
we emerge into something like daylight. 



V. The Leader of Monastic Reform. 

^Ethel-wold, 963-984. 

We now come to the great name of 
vEthelwold, one of the most distinguished 
leaders in that revival of monasticism 
which marks an epoch in the history of the 
English Church in the latter half of the 
tenth century. 

It has been related in the last paper how 
^Ethelwold was ordained to the priesthood 
on the same day as Dunstan by Bishop 
jlfheah or Elphege, who predicted that 
both the candidates would become Bishops, 
one of them as his own successor at Win- 
chester, the other as Archbishop of Canter- 
bury : and in due time his prophecy was 
fulfilled. 

jEthelwold was born at Winchester in 
the reign of Edward the Elder, but the 
exact year of his birth is uncertain. His 
parents were in a good position, and by 
them he was well taught in his childhood. 
At an early age he obtained some office in 
the household of King Athelstan, and gained 
a high reputation for intelligence and apti- 
tude in learning. It was by the desire of the 
King that he entered the ranks of the clergy, 
and after his ordination to the priesthood 
he became one of Bishop ^Ifheah's Chap- 
lains, and studied theology under him. 
jClfheah desired the reformation of the 
monasteries, which in the general depres- 
sion and disorder of the Church after the 
Danish invasions, had sunk to a very low 
condition. The Benedictine rule was not 
only neglected but utterly forgotten, the 
inmates of the houses were for the most 
part monks in name only, and the conven- 



tual buildings were in many instances more 
than half ruined. The revival began with 
the appointment of Dunstan to the office of 
Abbot at Glastonbury, which he converted 
into a home of learning and good discipline. 
Here he was joined by jtthelwold, who 
quickly rose to the position of Dean, and 
helped forward the work of reformation, 
setting a bright example by his diligence in 
study and devotional exercises, and his 
humble industry in the cultivation of the 
garden, in which he worked with his own 
hands. He was anxious to visit some of 
the great monasteries on the continent, 
which had a high reputation for their dis- 
cipline, but permission was withheld by the 
King Eadred, on the advice of Dunstan, 
who was unwilling to lose his services in 
England. About the year 954 the King, 
with the consent of Dunstan, granted him 
the Monastery of Abingdon. It was an 
ancient house, but, like others, had lapsed 
into a deplorable condition ; the buildings 
were mean and ruinous, and all its estates 
except forty hides had fallen into the hands 
of the King, ^thelwold set vigorously 
about the work of restoration ; he imported 
some clerks from Glastonbury, recovered 
the alienated lands, and with the aid of 
other generous gifts from the King and his 
mother, Eadgifu, goodly buildings were 
erected. King Eadred himself took a 
lively interest in the work, and from time 
to time personally inspected the progress of 
it. In connection with one of these royal 
visits a curious story is told, which proves 
that hard drinking was prevalent then as in 
later times, and that drunkenness was not 
considered disgraceful on a festive occasion 
amongst persons of high rank. The King 
came from Andover, where he had held a 
Witenagemote, and was attended by a large 
company of thegns, some of them North- 
umbrians. Having spent some time in 
marking out foundations and settling the 
height of walls, Abbot ^thelwold invited 
them all to dinner. The King ordered the 
doors to be kept fast closed that no man 
might shirk his share of drink. They sat 
on drinking all the remainder of the day, 
yet "the Abbot's barrel of mead wasted not 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



nor shrank more than a hand's breadth," 
so that at night the Northumbrian nobles 
started on their homeward journey as 
" drunk as hogs." After recording this 
miracle in favour of intemperance ALthel- 
wold's biographer relates, without any 
apparent sense of incongruity, how he in- 
troduced the strict Benedictine rule from 
Fleury into his Monastery, how he enriched 
his Church with costly gifts, a massive 
chalice of gold, and three crosses of gold 
and silver, together with other articles of 
his own making, for, like Dunstan, he was 
a cunning artificer. These gifts included 
two bells, and a machine called "the golden 
wheel," hung with little bells, which made a 
tinkling noise when the wheel was turned, 
to animate the devotion of worshippers. 

In 963, ^Ethelwold was appointed on the 
recommendation of Dunstan, who was now 
Archbishop of Canterbury, to the vacant 
See of Winchester. He found the Chapter 
of the Cathedral composed of secular clerks, 
utterly undisciplined, dwelling in luxurious 
ease with their wives, some of them divorced 
from their wives and consorting with other 
women. Of course with such a Chapter 
the services of the Church were shamefully 
neglected. ^Ethelwold lost no time in setting 
about a drastic reform. He sent for some 
monks from Abingdon, he invoked the aid 
of King Eadgar, and accompanied by one 
of the royal thegns and the monks, he 
entered the choir of the Minster as the 
clerks were singing the Antiphon for 
the day (Ps. ii, II, "Serve the Lord with 
fear"). He threw down some Benedictine 
cowled frocks which he had brought with 
him before the astonished clerks, and 
bluntly told them that if they really wished 
to make good the words they had been 
singing, to "serve the Lord with fear and to 
rejoice unto Him with reverence, to lay 
hold of instruction " (apprehendite discipli- 
nam in the Vulgate rendering) and not "to 
perish from the right way," they must imme- 
diately assume the monastic dress or depart. 
Only three consented to become monks, 
the remainder were expelled, and the monks 
from Abingdon took their place. The 
ejected clerks appealed to the king. A 



large gemote was summoned to hear their 
cause pleaded. Some of the nobles inter- 
ceded with Archbishop Dunstan for their 
restoration. He remained silent and pon- 
dering with downcast eye, when suddenly 
there seemed to come a voice from the 
large crucifix attached to the wall of the 
room in which they were assembled, crying, 
" It shall not be, it shall not be," and this 
was of course regarded as a divine intima- 
tion decisive of the question. 

^Ethelwold also substituted monks for 
clerks in the New Minster, and restored or 
refounded the Nunna Minster, which had 
been originally founded by King Alfred's 
wife. But his energies were not confined 
to Winchester or even to his own diocese. 
He obtained a general commission from the 
king to restore monasteries in all parts of 
the kingdom. Ely, Peterborough, and 
many other large houses felt his reforming 
hand. The corrupt houses trembled it is 
said at his coming, for he " was terrible as 
a lion to the refractory, though gentle as a 
dove to the meek." He was in truth 
much sterner than either of the two other 
great monastic reformers. The milder and 
more patient Oswald, Bishop of Worcester, 
used persuasion rather than force, and the 
severity of Dunstan was tempered by his 
discretion as a statesman. 

^tthelwold's harsh treatment of the 
secular clergy naturally excited animosity, 
and there was a suspicion that on one 
occasion an attempt was made to poison 
him. He was taken suddenly ill when 
dining with some guests, but after lying 
down for a short time he recovered, as it 
was believed, by an exercise of faith. We 
shall not, however, readily credit the foul 
design imputed to the bishop's enemies 
when we remember that throughout the 
middle ages sudden illness was commonly 
attributed to poison, and speedy recovery 
to a miracle, ^tthelwold undoubtedly had 
a violent pain in his stomach, and that is 
all that need be said on the subject. By 
those who submitted to his rule he was 
greatly beloved : he was specially fond of 
instructing young men and boys in gram- 
mar and prosody, and how to translate from 



i6 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Latin into English, and he was a cheerful 
and encouraging teacher. The art of 
manuscript and illumination flourished in 
the Cathedral Monastery under his in- 
fluence, and a splendid specimen of it 
survives in his Benedictional, which is pre- 
served in the library at Chatsworth not 
where it ought to be in the library of the 
Cathedral. It was written by a Winchester 
monk named Godeman, and contains the 
forms of benediction to be said by the 
bishop at the fraction of the Host on 116 
Festivals. The book, which consists of 
119 pages, is adorned with thirty miniature 
pictures and various illustrations : the 
capital letters and the beginnings and end- 
ings of some of the benedictions are in 
gold. To the poor ^thelwold was most 
benevolent, and during the prevalence of a 
famine he not only gave away all his money, 
but ordered some of the vessels of the 
church to be broken up and converted into 
money for the relief of the sufferers. 

Soon after the expulsion of the secular 
clerks from the cathedral rumours became 
current that Bishop Swithun was testifying 
his approval of the change by miraculous 
cures of the sick and infirm. Faith in his 
wonder-working power rapidly increased 
until the burial ground was so crowded 
with impotent folk that it was not easy for 
any one to get into the Minster, and the 
church itself was filled with the stools and 
crutches of the lame and crippled who had 
left them there in grateful testimony of their 
recovery. 

In 972, Bishop yEthelwold, admonished 
by a vision, translated the remains of 
his great predecessor from his lowly grave 
outside the Church to a shrine of gold 
and silver of the finest workmanship, the 
gift of the King Eadgar. The bodies of 
Birinus, Frithstan, Beornstan, and yElfheah 
were also placed in rich shrines. The 
offerings of the pilgrims who now thronged 
the shrine of Swithun no doubt materially 
aided ^thelwold in rebuilding the Cathe- 
dral Church, which was designed on a 
grand scale. An elaborate description of 
this Church in Latin verse by the monk 



Wolstan has been preserved, but the amaz- 
ing turgidity of style grievously obscures 
the writer's meaning. All that can be 
made out with any degree of certainty 
is that it had north and south aisles, with 
many chapels and altars. He laid the 
foundations also of an eastern apse sup- 
ported by a crypt, which were finished by 
his successor, Bishop ^Ifheah II. The 
Church was sufficiently advanced to be 
consecrated in 980, when there was a grand 
dedication of it on October 2oth to the 
Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. Arch- 
bishop Dunstan with eight other bishops 
performed the ceremony in the presence of 
King ^thelred, and nearly every noble in 
the land. On the completion of the Church 
by yEthelwold's successor there was a 
second dedication, at which eight bishops 
were present. At the same time the Church 
was furnished with a "pair of organs," a ter- 
rific instrument. Fourteen bellows worked 
by seventy men supplied 400 pipes with 
wind. Two players thumped the manuals 
in unison, and the noise thereof could be 
heard all over the city. 

Bishop ^Ethelwold not only rebuilt the 
Church, but restored the conventual build- 
ings ; he also conducted at great labour 
and cost the waters of the Itchen into many 
channels for the supply of the city, and in- 
troduced streams abounding with fish into 
the precincts of the Monastery, so as to 
purify every part of it. Thus the various 
watercourses which permeate the Close at 
the present day, though concealed for the 
most part underground, probably owe their 
origin to ^thelwold. 

The bishop died at Beddington on August 
1st, 984. His body was conveyed to Win- 
chester and buried in his Minster on the 
north side of the altar. Twelve years later 
Bishop yElfheah was induced by miracles 
to translate it into the Choir. 

yEthelwold was probably quite the ablest 
bishop of our See prior to the Norman 
Conquest, and for many generations his 
name was honoured with an amount of 
veneration only second to that which was 
accorded to St. Swithun. 




Statue of St. ^thelwold. 
FROM THB ALTAR SCREEN, WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL. 

By permission of the publishers of The Great Screen of Winchester Cathedral. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



VI. The Bishops of Winchester in the 
llth Century, 

JSlfheah (St. Alphege), 894-1003. 
Kenulph, 1005-1006. 
^Ethel-mold II, 1006-1012. 
JSlfsige, 1014-1032. 
^Elf-wine, 1032-1047. 

On the death of Bishop .^thelwold the 
clerks whom he had ejected from the Cathe- 
dral Chapter, and the monks whom he had 
substituted for them, each strove to bring 
about the appointment of a bishop belong- 
ing to their own order. The question was 
decided in favour of the monks by a vision 
of St. Andrew, who appeared as was be- 
lieved to Archbishop Dunstan, and through 
Dunstan's influence ^Ifheah, Abbot of 
Bath, was appointed to the vacant See. 
>Elfheah was the son of noble parents, but 
he abandoned the estate which he inherited 
from his father, and contrary to the wishes 
of his mother entered the Monastery of 
Deerhurst in Gloucestershire, where he 
was distinguished for his extreme humility 
and unselfishness, making himself the ser- 
vant of all. After a time, desiring a still 
more austere way of life, he retired to a 
cell, which he built for himself at Bath, 
intending to dwell there as an anchorite, 
but he was sought out in his retreat by 
many, including persons of high rank, who 
came to him for counsel. Some of them 
were induced by him to turn monks, and 
in time he himself consented to be made 
Abbot of Bath ; where he reformed the 
Convent and enforced obedience to the 
Benedictine rule. 

His episcopate falls within the disastrous 
reign of yEthelred the Unready (i.e., with- 
out heed or counsel), when the Northmen, 
who had hitherto come to plunder or to 
settle, embarked on the more ambitious 
design of conquest. East Anglia was in- 
vaded by Norwegian Vikings in 991,- when 
the old Ealdorman Brihtnoth, who op- 
posed them at the head of a local force, 
was defeated and slain after a grand and 
gallant struggle. In the same year Sigeric, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and .^thelweard, 
the West Saxon Ealdorman, joined in ad- 
vising the king to bribe the invaders to 



spare Wessex. The expedient was forced 
upon them owing to the want of due pre- 
paration to oppose the enemy, and was 
intended to be only a temporary expedient ; 
but unfortunately it set a precedent which 
was too often followed with fatal conse- 
quences. Three years later however, Bishop 
.ifelfheah succeeded in doing a piece of 
good service to the State by nobler means. 
In 994 Olaf Tryggvisson, King of Norway, 
and Swein Forkbeard, of Denmark, after 
an unsuccessful attempt to take London, 
exacted a heavy tribute from Archbishop 
Sigeric as the price of sparing Canterbury, 
ravaged Wessex, and wintered on the coast 
near Southampton, in readiness to make a 
fresh inroad in the spring. During this 
interval Bishop ^Elfheah, accompanied by 
Ealdorman ^thelweard, went as envoys to 
the invading kings. Olaf had been baptized 
shortly before his attack on England, Swein 
had been baptized in his youth but had 
renounced the faith. ^Elfheah pleaded so 
successfully with Olaf that the king re- 
pented of the miseries which he was bring- 
ing on the land, was conducted by the 
bishop to a conference with -/Ethelred at 
Andover, and there received the rite of 
confirmation. At the same time he was 
induced to make a solemn promise that he 
would depart from England and never 
invade the country again. Olaf faithfully 
kept his word, and spent the remainder of 
his days in the conversion of his own 
people to the Christian faith. Swein, being 
deserted by his ally, soon afterwards set 
sail for Denmark, and for about two years 
after his departure the land- enjoyed respite 
from invasion. 

In 1006 ^Elfheah was made Archbishop 
of Canterbury. The massacre of the Danes 
a few years before, on St. Brice's Day, was 
an egregious blunder as well as an atrocious 
crime, and naturally led to renewed inva- 
sions. The decrees of the Council of Enham, 
which, though undated, was certainly held 
soon after .dilfheah's elevation to the 
primacy, are conceived in a spirit of pat- 
riotism and piety which we may fairly 
attribute to his influence. In addition to 
provisions against heathenism and the 



i8 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



slave trade, and injunctions to monks and 
clergy to live strictly according to the rules 
of their order and the vows of their voca- 
tion, there are directions for the organi- 
sation of a fleet and national land force. 
But under the "redeless" misrule of /Ethel- 
red, plans of national defence, however well 
conceived, were never carried into effect. 
The miserable expedient of buying off the 
enemy was continually resorted to, and 
the state of the country was increasingly 
wretched, for the Danes did not desist 
from their ravages even when the money 
was being raised that should purchase their 
departure. In 101 1 they were promised the 
huge sum of ,48,000. On the 8th of Sept- 
ember in that year they invested Canterbury, 
and after a twenty days' siege the city was 
taken and burnt. The Archbishop was 
carried captive, with many others, and the 
Danes detained him prisoner for seven 
months in their ships at Greenwich in the 
hope of obtaining a large ransom for him. 
Although he was bound, half-starved, and 
otherwise shamefully treated, "the word 
of God was not bound " ; the Archbishop 
preached Christianity to his captors, and 
succeeded in converting some of them to 
the faith. But he steadfastly refused to pay 
the ransom demanded for his release ; for it 
could not be raised, he said, without inflict- 
ing severe suffering on poor people who had 
suffered too much already. On Saturday, 
April i gth, the Danes held a great feast at 
Greenwich, and got drunk with wine which 
had been imported in ships from the south. 
They had the archbishop brought into their 
assembly, and fiercely demanded the pay- 
ment of his ransom. On his refusal they 
gathered round him with threatening words 
and gestures. Their leader, Thurkill, who 
had been impressed by ^Ifheah's preaching 
and conduct, and who soon afterwards be- 
came a Christian, offered to give them gold 
and silver, and all he had except his ship, 
if they would spare the Archbishop's life. 
But his intercession was vain ; and in their 
drunken fury they pelted the Archbishop 
with stones and logs of wood, and the skulls 
of the oxen on which they had been feasting, 
until he sank to the ground in a dying state. 



One of them named Thrum, whom he had 
confirmed the day before, clave his head 
with an axe to put him out of his agony. 
When his murderers had recovered from 
their drunken frenzy they probably felt 
remorse for their foul deed ; and they 
permitted his friends, including, we may 
suppose, some of his converts in the Danish 
host, to convey the martyr's body to London 
and reverently bury it in St. Paul's Church. 
Eleven years afterwards King Cnut caused 
it to be translated with much ceremony, in 
which he himself took part, to the Cathe- 
dral Church at Canterbury. 

Miracles were believed to be wrought at 
his tomb, both before and after his trans- 
lation, and he became a popular and much 
venerated saint and martyr in the English 
Church. His claim to this rank, however, 
was questioned on technical grounds by 
Archbishop Lanfranc, and he imparted his 
doubts to Anselm when the latter, who was 
then Abbot of Bee, paid a visit to Canter- 
bury in 1078. Lanfranc said he doubted 
not that ^Elfheah was a very good man ; 
but could he fairly be called a martyr, 
seeing that he had not been put to death 
for confessing Christ, but merely because 
he would not pay a ransom for his own 
release ? The larger mind and larger heart 
of Anselm would not entertain the doubts 
and scruples of Lanfranc, characteristic of 
a mind somewhat hardened and narrowed 
by a strictly legal training. Anselm brought 
common sense and generous feeling, as well 
as good logic, to determine the question. 
He argued that one who was ready to die 
rather than commit a slight sin would cer- 
tainly be ready to die rather than commit 
a grave sin. To deny Christ was certainly 
a graver sin than for a man to obtain a 
ransom for himself at the cost of suffering 
to others. Archbishop ^Ifheah had died 
rather than commit this lighter sin ; there- 
fore, he certainly would have died rather 
than commit the graver one. He had died 
for righteousness ; but to die for righteous- 
ness was to die for Christ, since Christ was 
perfect righteousness. ^Ifheah, therefore, 
had a good claim to be ranked as a martyr. 
Lanfranc declared himself to be entirely 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



'9 



satisfied by Anselm's reasoning. Hence- 
forth by his orders St. ^Elfheah was vener- 
ated with peculiar honours in the church 
at Canterbury ; and, as we all know, he 
has retained his place as St. Alphege in 
the kalendar of our Church. His day is 
April igth. 

^Elfheah was one of the last examples of 
a class of bishops who had been common 
in the early English Church, distinguished 
for their extreme simplicity of life and 
ascetic piety, which were originally due to 
the influence of the Celtic school of training 
in Ireland and lona. His body was ema- 
ciated by rigorous fasting, and his hands 
were so thin and transparent that when 
he elevated the Host the light streamed 
through them. As far as possible he en- 
deavoured to relieve every case of poverty 
in his diocese. He who did not relieve his 
poor brethren, he said, forfeited his title to 
be regarded as a member of Christ's body, 
for if one member suffered all the members 
ought to suffer with it. Even the ornaments 
of the Church might lawfully be devoted to 
the relief of distress when other sources 
failed. 

jElfheah's five successors in the See of 
Winchester down to the time of the Norman 
conquest (Kenulph, .<thelwold II, vElfsige, 
^Elfwine, and Stigand) were not eminent 
in any way. Kenulph indeed, who held 
the See little more than a year, is said to 
have bought his bishopric ; and this sin of 
simony became an increasing vice in the 
reigns of Cnut and his successor, Eadward 
the Confessor. Under Cnut the royal 
chaplains, or clerks, were largely employed 
in affairs of state, as was the custom on the 
Continent. In the reign of Eadward the 
body was more completely organised, and 
the chief chaplain, as Chancellor, was the 
keeper of the king's seal, which was now 
brought into use for the first time. These 
clerks were commonly rewarded by ecclesi- 
astical preferments, including bishoprics. 
Not a few of them were foreigners. Cnut 
appointed some Lotharingians, and Ead- 
ward employed both Lotharingians and 
Normans. 

Of /Ethelwold II, the successor of Hen- 



ulph (1006-1012), and yElfrige (1014-1032) 
we have absolutely no record. 

^Ifwine, the successor of AL\fs\ge (1032- 
1047), was one of Cnut's chaplains. He is 
only known to us in connexion with the 
absurd legend of his intrigue with Queen 
Emma, then quite an old woman, the 
mother of Eadward the Confessor. The 
famous story of her establishing her inno- 
cence by the ordeal of walking barefoot 
unharmed over red-hot iron in the Minster 
is of late origin and utterly unhistorical. 

Some account of Stigand, who was both 
Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of 
Canterbury at the time of the Norman 
conquest, must be reserved for another 
chapter. 

VII. Stigand, A.D. 10471070. 

It was pointed out in our last chapter that 
under Cnut the custom was gaining ground 
of appointing royal chaplains or clerks to 
bishoprics. The practice was continued 
during the reigns of his two sons, Harold 
and Harthacnut, and of Edward the Con- 
fessor. It was detrimental to the Church 
in various ways. The royal clerks were in 
many instances more conspicuous for ability 
in secular business than for piety or religious 
learning ; many of them were foreigners 
Norman or Lotharingians, who had little 
sympathy with their clergy or their flocks : 
the bishopric came to be regarded rather 
as a reward for personal service to the king 
than as a sacred trust, and not uncommonly 
it was sold to the highest bidder. One of 
the worst specimens of this class of bishops 
was Ulf, a Norman chaplain of Edward 
the Confessor, who in 1049 was set over 
the vast diocese of Dorchester, which 
stretched from the Thames to the H umber. 
" He did nought bishoplike," says the 
Chronicler, "and it were a shame to tell 
more of his deeds." 

Stigand, who at the time of the Norman 
Conquest held the See of Winchester and 
the Archbishopric of Canterbury in plurality 
was another example of the evils of the 
system described. Of his origin we know 
nothing. He first appears as a Chaplain of 



20 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Cnut, whom the King placed in charge of 
the church which he founded at Assandun 
(probably Ashington), in Essex, in 1020, to 
commemorate his decisive victory over 
Edmund Ironside. Stigand retained the 
office of Royal Chaplain under Cnut's ill- 
conditioned son and successor Harold, and 
was the confidential friend and adviser of 
Cnut's widow, Queen Emma, and he shared 
to some extent in the fluctuations of her 
strange career. In the reign of Harold I 
he was appointed in 1038 to the East 
Anglian See of Elmham, but was quickly 
ejected before he had been consecrated 
because, according to the statement of 
Florence of Worcester, Grimketel, Bishop 
of the South Saxons, had offered a larger 
sum for it. He recovered the See in 1043, 
and was then consecrated ; lost it again 
when his patroness, Queen Emma, had 
incurred the displeasure of her son, King 
Edward the Confessor ; was once more re- 
instated ; and finally in 1047 was made 
Bishop of Winchester. From this time he 
seems to have succeeded in keeping on 
good terms with both the leading parties in 
the State. He played the part of mediator 
between the King and Earl Godwin in the 
quarrel provoked by the King's intrusion 
of foreigners into high offices, civil and 
ecclesiastical. His sympathies, however, 
were mainly with Godwin, and on the 
return of the great Earl from exile in 1052 
and the ascendancy of the English party, 
when Robert of Jumieges, the Norman 
Archbishop of Canterbury, was outlawed 
and took to flight, Stigand was appointed 
to succeed him. The appointment, how- 
ever, was from the first considered irregular, 
and his retention of such an important See 
as Winchester together with the Arch- 
bishopric was nothing short of a scandal. 
Pope after pope cited him to Rome to 
answer for his conduct, but he always 
evaded the summons on various pretexts. 
In England, although he was recognised as 
archbishop for all civil and political purposes 
such as the attestation of charters and the 
reception of royal writs, his ecclesiastical 
position was regarded with so much doubt 
and suspicion that men appointed to 



bishopricks sought consecration from other 
hands than his, and even Earl Harold, his 
personal friend, had the collegiate Church 
of the Holy Rood, which he had founded 
at Waltham, dedicated by Cynesige, Arch- 
bishop of York. In addition to the 
bishopricks Stigand held the Abbey of 
Gloucester, and for a short time that of 
Ely, and is said to have obtained or dis- 
posed of many other benefices by simoniacal 
transactions. William of Malmesbury, 
although he records these iniquitous pro- 
ceedings with much indignation, palliates 
them by remarking that they were probably 
due to ignorance on the part of Stigand, 
who, like most of the English prelates at 
that time, was an unlearned man, and may 
have deemed that ecclesiastical affairs 
might be conducted on the same principles 
as secular business. 

For six years Stigand used the pallium 
(the badge of metropolitical authority), 
which the fugitive Archbishop Robert had 
left behind him at Canterbury. In 1058 he 
obtained a pallium from Pope Benedict X, 
probably through the influence of Harold, 
who made a pilgrimage to Rome about that 
time ; but in the following year Benedict 
himself was deposed, as having been un- 
canonically appointed through the influence 
of the Counts of Tusculum. Thus the 
position of Stigand was made worse instead 
of better ; it had become distinctly schis- 
matical, and was held by strict Churchmen 
to compromise the character of the whole 
English Church. This argument was made 
the most of by the agents of Duke William, 
who pleaded his cause at the papal court, 
when he was preparing to invade England, 
and it helped to secure the favour of Pope 
Alexander II to his enterprise. 

Stigand was present at the deathbed of 
Edward the Confessor, but it is not clear 
whether the king received the viaticum at 
his hands or those of some other prelate. 
The dying monarch uttered some strange 
words which struck most of the bystanders 
with awe. They were afterwards gener- 
ally understood to be prophetic of coming 
calamities ; the interruption of the old royal 
line by usurpers, and its restoration after 




Statue of Archbishop Stigand. 
FKOM THE ALTAR SCREEN, WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL. 



By permission of the publishers of The Great Screen of Winchester Cathedral. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



21 



three reigns in the person of Henry I by 
his marriage with Matilda of Scotland, the 
great-granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. 
Stigand we are expressly told was the only 
person who attached no significance to these 
utterances, and leaning over the king's bed 
whispered in the ear of Earl Harold that 
they were merely the meaningless mutter- 
ings of a dying man's delirium. The inci- 
dent seems to fit in with other evidence 
indioative of Stigand's character as rather 
a hard, prosaic, worldly-minded man. 

William of Poitiers and most of the 
Norman chroniclers assert that he crowned 
Harold. On the other hand, Florence of 
Worcester states that Harold was crowned 
by Ealdred, Archbishop of York, which 
seems much more probable, being consistent 
with Harold's action on a former occasion ; 
the consecration of his church at Waltham. 
Moreover, it was the interest of the 
Normans to throw doubts of every possible 
kind on the validity of Harold's succession 
to the throne. After the overthrow of 
Harold, Stigand and Ealdred supported the 
election of Eadgar the ^Etheling, grandson 
of Edmund Ironside, at a gemot hastily 
held in London as soon as the news of 
Harold's death arrived ; but as Duke 
William advanced upon the capital, after 
having secured Winchester, Dover, and 
Canterbury, resistance was clearly hopeless, 
and the electors, together with the ^theling 
himself, made their submission to the 
Conqueror. 

It would have been inconsistent with the 
character in which William wished to 
appear, of a pious and dutiful son of holy 
Church, if he had consented to be crowned 
by a prelate whose position was doubtful. 
William of Malmesbury indeed informs us 
that the Duke, with characteristic craft, had 
taken care to procure an order from Rome 
prohibiting Stigand from performing the 
ceremony. At the same time the Conqueror 
wisely refrained from subjecting him to 
needless indignity or insult ; and so he was 
permitted to walk on one side of the Duke 
in the procession to the altar in West- 
minster Abbey, but Archbishop Ealdred, 



who walked on the other side, performed 
the act of coronation. 

On his first visit to Normandy, three 
months after he had become king, William 
took Stigand with him on the pretext of 
doing him special honour, but in reality 
from fear that the primate might instigate 
revolt in his absence. 

It was the King's custom to keep the 
three great festivals of the Church in three 
of the chief centres in southern England : 
Christmas at Gloucester, Easter at Win- 
chester, Whitsuntide at Westminster. On 
these occasions he wore his crown in solemn 
state and took counsel with the great men, 
the " witan " of his realm archbishops, 
bishops, earls, thegns, and knights. 

The first of these great councils, after 
the subjugation of the country, was held at 
Winchester in 1070. At this council three 
papal legates appeared, who placed the 
crown on William's head, and were treated 
by him with extreme reverence "as if they 
had been angels of God." Their presence 
was significant of the closer relation which 
was to exist henceforth between the papacy 
and the English Church ; and it marks the 
beginning of the process by which bishops 
and abbots were systematically displaced 
in favour of foreigners ; for the most part 
of course Normans. 

The Metropolitan See of York had become 
vacant by the death of Ealdred in 1069 ; the 
See of Canterbury was now to be made 
vacant by the deposition of Stigand. Up 
to this time William had dissembled his 
intentions towards him ; and Remigius the 
first Norman bishop appointed after the 
Conquest was actually consecrated to Lin- 
coln by Stigand ; but he was now formally 
tried before the papal legates and his 
position was pronounced invalid and un- 
tenable on three grounds : (i) that he had 
held the See of Winchester together with the 
archbishopric ; (2) that he had usurped the 
archiepiscopal See during the life-time of 
Robert of Jumieges and had used the pall 
which Robert had left behind him ; (3) that 
he had obtained his own pall from the 
schismatical pope Benedict X. Of his 



22 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



defence we have no record. He was de- 
prived of both his bishopricks and kept 
under some kind of restraint at Winchester 
for the remainder of his life. The most 
probable out of many stories appears to 
be that he was confined to the precincts 
of the Royal Castle with full permission to 
procure such food and clothing as became 
his station. He persisted, we are told, in 
leading a very ascetic life, and when 
his friends, especially the queen dowager, 
Lady Eadgyth, widow of King Edward, 
the " Old Lady " as she was called, entreated 
him to indulge himself in more comforts he 
was wont to declare on oath that he had 
not a penny to spare. After his death, 
however, a buried hoard was discovered, 
and a key suspended from the bishop's 
neck opened a writing-case which contained 
an exact description of the number and 
quality of the coins. Whatever truth there 
may be in these stories they are in accord- 
ance with the statements of William of 



Malmesbury and the chroniclers which 
follow him, that Stigand was an avaricious 
man, who had bought his own preferment, 
and had enriched himself by the sale of 
high offices in the Church, and by keeping 
some wealthy monastic houses in his own 
hands. On the other hand he is said to 
have conferred rich gifts on Ely and on 
St. Augustine's, Canterbury ; while to Win- 
chester he gave a large cross together with 
the figures of St. John and the Blessed 
Virgin, richly adorned with gold and silver, 
bought out of money which he had received 
from Queen Emma. They were erected 
on the top of the rood-screen between the 
choir and nave of the Cathedral. His death 
occurred on February 22nd, 1072, and he 
was honourably buried in the Old Minster, 
by which we must understand the church 
existing before his successor, Bp. Walklin, 
had begun building the majestic Norman 
Minster which in its main substance abides 
to the present day. 



Winchester : Printed by WARREN & SON, 85, High Street. 



CDc Bishops of Winchester. 



PART IL-WALKELIN TO GARDINER. 

BY 

THE REV. W. W. CAPES, M.A. 
Canon of Hereford. 




Winchester Cathedral The North Transept. 



Bisbops of Mincbester. 



Walkelin, 10701098. 

The See of Winchester, from which 
Stigand was deposed, was assigned to the 
Norman Walkelin, a royal chaplain, said 
by one of our authorities to have been 
also a kinsman of the Conqueror. He had 
however other title to preferment. As ripe 
scholar and theologian, who had made his 
mark in the lecture halls of Paris, he had 
proved the insight of Maurilius, Archbishop 
of Rouen, who discerned the promise of 
his early years, and urged him to devote 
himself to an ecclesiastical career. 

He was consecrated on the Sunday after 
Whitsuntide, 1070, by Ermenfrid the Papal 
legate who had presided at the Council 
when Stigand was degraded, and he took 
part himself soon afterwards in the con- 
secration of the Primate Lanfranc. 

The monks of St. Swithun heard before 
long with horror that their new bishop 
desired to reverse the changes made by 
/Ethelwold a century before, and to instal 
secular canons in the Cathedral Church. 

The sanction of the King had been 
obtained, and the choice of Canons made 
already, just as vEthelwold had his monks 
of Abingdon mustered on the spot to 
replace the canons whom he had decided 
to expel. The design is the more remark- 
able as one result of Norman rule in 
England was the rapid extension of con- 
ventual systems, and the rise of new 
religious houses on all sides, and indeed 
in this period regulars were installed at 
Rochester and Durham by Gundulf and 
William of St. Calais. The monks pleaded 
that St. Swithun had only cared to exert 
his wonder working grace since they had 
charge of the home where he was buried, 
and that he might withhold it if they left. 
It was more to the point that Lanfranc was 
monk as well as statesman, and his great 
influence barred the way. Walkelin how- 
ever, supported by all the bishops who 
were seculars, renewed his efforts in another 



quarter. It was urged that the Chapter of 
Christ Church, Canterbury, above all others 
should be a centre of many sided useful- 
ness to strengthen the chief Pastor's hands 
with varied ministries and counsel in freer 
and more elastic methods than could be 
possible for men bound to a cloistered rule. 
Lanfranc could rely upon himself, but his 
successor might be differently minded. 
Timely help .from Rome seemed needful. 
A letter from Alexander II to the Primate 
and a rescript to the suppliant monks of 
Winchester condemned with ample use of 
Papal expletives the " nefarious " attacks, 
inspired by "diabolic" agencies, on the 
monastic privileges sanctioned by earlier 
Popes and now again solemnly confirmed. 
The menaced interests were saved for 
nearly five centuries longer, to strangle 
sometimes proposed reforms, and resist 
still oftener episcopal control. For the 
large powers which bishops claimed and 
exercised in the eleventh century in the 
details of conventual discipline, and the ap- 
portionment of the estates of the Cathedrals, 
were narrowed as time went on by frequent 
appeals for Papal interference, and the 
legalised force of customary rules. 

Walkelin was present at the Council of 
London in 1075, in which the rule of pre- 
cedence was defined by which the See of 
Winchester took rank immediately after 
Canterbury, York and London, and it was 
ordered that a bishop's seat should be 
placed no longer in a village or small town, 
but transferred to a city, as in the changes 
following from Selsey to Chichester, and 
Sherborne to Salisbury. 

In the year 1079, Walkelin began to 
rebuild the Cathedral " from the founda- 
tions" on a somewhat different site from the 
Saxon church built by /tthelwold a century 
before, for the old tomb of St. Swithun 
was on the west side of that, but was to 
be seen afterwards at the north door of 
the new one. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



In 1086 the massive masonry was ready 
to be covered in. Local fancy loved to 
dwell upon the story, recorded only by the 
monastic annalist of Winchester, of the 
host of workmen brought from far and near 
to level to the ground the whole of Hempage 
Wood within the space of the three days 
specified in the royal grant of timber for 
the roof, of the king's rage when he passed 
by that way and understood the trick, 
appeased however by the bishop's humble 
plea to resign his honours and do penance 
for his fault. The monarch might well 
regret the " delectable" wood which supplied 
the massive timbers, for they seem to have 
lasted for the most part to our own days, 
and when during the repairs it was needful 
recently to replace a few of the tie-beams, 
the like could not easily be found to match 
their bulk in England, but were brought 
from distant lands. In 1093, in the presence 
of nearly all the bishops and abbots of 
England, the monks took possession of the 
new Church, and soon afterwards they 
carried the relics of St. Swithun from their 
old resting-place and laid them with all 
honour in the new minster on the Saints' 
day, July 15th. Then the next day "the 
bishop's men began to pull down the old 
church." 

The tower fell in 1 107, in indignation, it 
was thought, at the burial of Rufus under- 
neath it, or from structural defects like 
those which long afterwards were fatal to 
the tower at Ely, built by Walkelin's 
brother Simeon. The changes thought 
needful in the proportions of the piers to 
strengthen the tower as rebuilt may be still 
noticed in the transepts ; in the nave per- 
pendicular mouldings and new arches 
disguise the older features, but still the 
core and substance of the whole building 
west of the choir is Walkelin's work, shorn 
however of some forty feet which have been 
pulled down beyond the present front. 
The whole indeed was not so soon com- 
pleted, and to meet the heavy outlay the 
income of some estates belonging to the 
convent was transferred to the building 
fund, and besides the royal help was very 
welcome which in 1094 granted to the 



bishop all the rents belonging to the king 
in Winchester together with the tolls and 
profits of St. Giles' fair, which was then set 
up by charter, to suspend for ages during 
three days every year all local trade for 
many miles around it. 

Norman ascendancy in England was 
followed then as also across the channel by 
a period of architectural energy which has 
left its massive traces in so many of our 
cathedrals. 

The new bishops set to work at once to 
replace the Saxon churches with new 
buildings on a far grander scale. Some, 
like William of St. Calais at Durham, did 
not live to finish the stately minsters which 
they planned, but during the twenty-seven 
years of Walkelin's episcopate there were 
many imposing ceremonies in the new 
churches at which he was doubtless present, 
though expressly named only in a few. 
Thus we read of him at Osmund's church 
on the hill which was then Salisbury, in 
April, 1092, and in the next month in 
Lincoln at the minster which Remigius 
had finished but did not live to dedicate. 
In 1094 he was one of the seven bishops 
who with the Primate and king assembled 
for the consecration of the memorial of the 
Conquest, the minster of the place of Battle. 

The favour which was shown to Walkelin 
by the Conqueror was continued by the 
Red King, his successor, and he was 
employed in various offices of special trust. 
In 1088 he carried to Southampton with 
the great baron, Hugh de Port, the final 
summons to William of St Calais, the wily 
bishop of Durham, who had played a 
treacherous part in the early days of the 
new reign, and embarrassed the King's 
councillors by his bold claim to be subject 
only to the judgment of the Pope, and that 
too on a charge of treason, and not for any 
ecclesiastical offence. 

The next year we read of him at Canter- 
bury, where he went with Gundulf of 
Rochester to punish the riotous monks of 
St. Augustine's Abbey. There, as in other 
religious houses, the intrusion of a Norman 
Abbot with little sympathy for the older 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



inmates had led to serious disturbances. 
The citizens sided with the malcontents, 
who after a bloody fray with the Abbot's 
servants, drove him to take refuge in the 
neighbouring and rival cloister of Christ 
Church. The monks were scourged for 
their offence, though privately as some 
solace to their feelings, and then dispersed 
among other convents, but the riotous 
citizens were blinded. 

At the consecration of Anselm in 1093 
Walkelin at the request of Maurice, Bishop 
of London, read in his stead the formal 
document, which described the special 
circumstances of the rite, and which gave 
occasion to the protest of the Archbishop 
of York, in consequence of which a change 
of phrase was made, and Canterbury was 
named as primatial indeed, but not the 
metropolitan church of all Britain. 

The close relations with the Conqueror 
and his son must have in part determined 
the attitude of Walkelin during the long 
dispute between Anselm and Rufus, which 
began with the request of the former for 
leave to go to Rome to get the pallium 
from Pope Urban, as the recognised symbol 
of metropolitan authority. In the earlier 
stage of it at Rockingham in 1095 he is not 
expressly mentioned, and William of St. 
Calais was the leading figure on the King's 
side, in strange contrast to his earlier appeal 
from the King's Court to the Pope. But the 
Bishops seem to have been all agreed save 
Gundulf in supporting the demand of Rufus 
that Anselm, regardless of any earlier 
pledges, should not recognise obedience to 
either of the rival Popes till the King had 
decided on his choice, and in this they seem 
to have been justified by the accepted theory 
of constitutional usage. Not content with 
much discreditable indifference to the Arch- 
bishop's scruples they were ready to go 
further than the lay lords of the Council, 
and to renounce obedience and friendship 
towards him, if he still refused to yield. 
Meantime they had urged him repeatedly 
to win the royal favour by large gifts of 
money, which could be raised only by 
oppression of the Archbishop's tenants. 



The pallium, however, was brought over 
by a legate, and Urban recognised by 
Rufus, and harmony appeared to be restored. 
Acting on the advice of Walkelin and 
Gundulf the Primate contributed liberally 
to the sum which Rufus paid his brother to 
leave Normandy in pawn to him when 
Robert started as crusader. Anselm's 
quota was taken from the Cathedral 
Treasury, but the income of a manor was 
assigned for seven years in repayment of 
the loan. 

The peace was soon disturbed by royal 
indignities and threats, and Anselm in 
despair applied repeatedly for leave to 
travel to Rome to take counsel with the 
Pope, saying when leave was finally re- 
fused at a council held in Winchester, 
that he would go at any cost, and obey 
God rather than man. " Surely," said 
Walkelin, " resolute as you are well known 
to be, you will not persist in forfeiting your 
office, and the chances of usefulness which 
it carries with it, for the sake of a visit to 
the Pope." The answer was, "I shall 
indeed persist." It was the King's un- 
doubted right, though harshly exercised, to 
withhold permission, and it was not clear 
that duty to God required Anselm to act 
on his own strong desire. A certain 
impatience at the Saint's uncompromising 
firmness is apparent in the exclamation of 
the Bishop, and his own character seems 
to have been cast in quite a different mould, 
with somewhat more of the courtier's 
pliancy, or at least of the prudence of a 
statesman versed in the conduct of affairs. 
For he retained the confidence of the 
Red King to the last, shared it even with 
the notorious Ranulf Flambard, who was 
execrated as the subtle contriver of so 
many fiscal oppressions and ecclesiastical 
misdeeds. Together they acted as regents 
for the King in 1097, when he left England 
for Normandy, and the many vacant bene- 
fices and plundered churches must have 
been a sore burden on a scrupulous con- 
science. Long before indeed the King had 
carried off, says the local annalist, a large 
sum from the Cathedral Treasury at 
Winchester. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



On Christmas morn, 1098, came the 
royal bidding to send immediately supplies 
of money which could be raised only by 
oppression of the poor or of the Church. 
Weary of office, Walkelin prayed to be 
released, and ten days afterwards came the 
answer, says the chronicler, and he was 
freed for ever from the miseries of this 
sinful world 

At Winchester he left only affectionate 
memories behind him. The monks who 
eyed him at first with natural resentment 
as desirous to displace them in the interest 
of seculars, found him so full of gentle 
courtesies, so considerate in his demeanour 
towards them, that they credited, and left 
on record in their annals, the fancy that he 
deplored his early scheme of innovation as 
a mistaken disparagement of the monastic 
life. More probably, however, he had been 
guided by a statesmanlike perception of a 
large ideal of a cathedral chapter, in its 
relations with the bishop and the whole 
diocese, such as Remigius, himself a monk, 
brought from his Norman home to realize 
at Lincoln. But when that design had 
failed Walkelin was too generous to shew 
petty irritation in his treatment of the 
monks with whom he had no personal 
quarrel, to whose austere discipline indeed 
he was more and more attracted. For he 
built grandly, but lived simply, and as time 
went on, he grew more ascetic in his habits. 
His brother Simeon, whom he had made 
Prior at St. Swithun's, had laid stress on 
the use of fish instead of meat. With the 
help of a skilful cook he made the Lenten 
fare so palatable that the monks begged to 
have more of it instead of flesh. But 
Walkelin, of whose innocent guile the story 
may remind us, eschewed all forms of self- 
indulgence in the spirit of a discipline as 



rigid as that of any of the monks with 
whom he loved to live. 

One fault alone they left recorded in their 
annals, that he did not give them back the 
lands which he transferred to the building 
fund of the Cathedral, after his apportion- 
ment of the estates belonging to the 
Church, of which one half was assigned to 
the bishop, and the other moiety to the 
convent. But they owned gratefully that 
he added to their numbers, and enlarged 
the buildings for their use. And when his 
brother Simeon was transferred to Ely, he 
gave them an eminent scholar, Godfrey, for 
their new prior, thanks to whom the convent 
won an enduring reputation for refined and 
large-hearted hospitality to guests from 
every quarter. 

So we may think of Walkelin as a good 
man, fitted by tact and natural pliancy of 
temper to steer warily through troubled 
waters and win the hearts of men alike in 
high and low degree. Not indeed saintly 
or heroic, for though himself of pure life 
and of unselfish aims, he left no trace of 
any effort to thwart the sinister designs of 
Flambard, or the truculent caprices of his 
master, and showed scant sympathy for the 
tenderness of Anselm's conscience, that 
knew no respect of persons. 

They laid him finally to rest before the 
steps under the rood-loft, on which stood 
the silver cross of Stigand. His church 
itself was one vast monument to the good 
works which William of Malmesbury des- 
cribed as sure to defy oblivion in ages far 
remote. So nothing more seemed needful 
than the simple inscription on the marble 
slab above his bones 

Praesul Walklynus istic requiescit humatus 
Tempore Wilbelmi Conquestoris cathedratus. 



epl* 



6 go 





Autographs of Walkelin and Wulstan from the Charter of William I, A. D. 1072; now in Canterbury Cathedral. 




Episcopal Seal of Bishop William of Wykeham 
(13661404). 




Episcopal Seal of Cardinal Beaufort (1404 1447). 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



5 



William Giffard, 11001129. 

After the death of Walkelin, in 1098, no 
appointment to the bishopric was made 
during the two remaining years of the reign 
of Rufus. It was the practice of that 
monarch to keep valuable benefices vacant 
and to appropriate meantime the income of 
the estates. When he died, besides the 
manors of Winchester, he had possession 
of those of Canterbury and Salisbury, and 
the lands of twelve abbeys, and there were 
loud complaints of the havoc in the estates 
and the oppression of the tenants by the 
fiscal agents who had little scruple in using 
their opportunities in the King's interest as 
well as in their own. 

When appointments were made they had 
been secured commonly by large con- 
cessions, which impoverished for years the 
traffickers who bought the posts. 

Henry I soon after his accession rewarded 
the services of William Giffard, his chan- 
cellor, who had served his father and 
brother in the same office, by promoting 
him to Winchester. His surname had no 
aristocratic sound, if, as it seems probable, 
it meant only " fat-cheeked " as a form of 
"joufflu," but he was always spoken of as 
of noble birth, and one eulogist traces his 
family back to Charles the Great " magno 
de semine Caroly-magni." Though not yet 
in priests' orders he had been canon and 
dean of Rouen, and the consent of that 
Chapter was duly asked and granted as a 
condition of his transference as bishop to 
another province. He also held a castle as 
a fief from Robert Duke of Normandy. 
His apparent unwillingness to accept the 
office, and his strong remonstrances to the 
monks who took part in his election may 
have been sincere, but a suspicious phrase 
of Matthew Paris implies that like so many 
others in that age he had given largely to 
the King to secure the post, and therefore 
affected an unreal reluctance. He would 
not, however, accept the pastoral staff from 
the King's hands, being the first as it would 
seem in England to object to the custom of 
the Norman kings. The temporalities were 
made over to him, the staff was given to 



him by Anselm by whom he was inducted, 
and it remained only to arrange for his 
consecration, for contrary to the custom of 
later ages, the forms which sanctioned the 
spiritual powers of the bishop came last in 
order. 

But these were to be delayed for years, 
for grave difficulties blocked the way. The 
King, who had earnestly urged Anselm to 
return to England, and sought his good 
offices in the troublous days of the new 
reign, with apparently sincere promises to 
respect the rights and possessions of the 
Church, had restored at once the temporal- 
ities of Canterbury, but now required him 
as a matter of course to do homage to him 
as archbishop in the customary forms. 
Anselm, who had complied without scruple 
once before, now refused on the ground that 
the Council of the Vatican under Urban II 
in 1099 had solemnly denounced the 
practice hitherto observed in Norman 
England. 

The dispute about Investitures in which 
the Empire and the Papacy had been long 
arrayed as rival forces, had caused civil 
war in Germany, and scored its fatal traces 
in many a blood-stained page of history. 
The symbolic forms at issue, the gift by lay 
hands of the pastoral staff and ring, seem 
somewhat trifling, but there were momentous 
interests at stake, which the great powers 
of Church and State saw clearly. In the 
idea! of Hildebrand, who began the strife, 
the claim for feudal privileges without the 
corresponding feudal obligations meant in- 
dependence from all lay control, by means 
of which the clergy with their vast estates 
and organised forces must become the 
dominating power in the social system. 
The claim put forth at Rome in a council 
of 1075 had no effect in England, but 
Anselm was present when they were re- 
peated under Urban ; and now he would 
not hear of homage from himself, nor would 
he sanction it in others. Apart from loyalty 
to Rome he might well be influenced also 
by his own sad experience of the cringing 
of submissive prelates, acting as if they 
were the " King's men " only, and not 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



ministers of the universal Church. He was 
willing to consecrate the bishop-elect of 
Winchester, but not Roger and Reinelm, 
clerks of the royal household, who had 
been recently invested by the King as 
bishops of Salisbury and Hereford. Henry 
would have no distinction made between 
the three, and Gerard, the subservient 
Archbishop of York, with other prelates 
consented to perform the rite instead of 
Anselm. Reinelm refused at once to accept 
consecration under such conditions, and 
sent back the staff and ring with which he 
had been invested by the King, but the due 
preparations for the ceremony were made 
in London for the other two. The church 
was crowded for the spectacle. The con- 
secrating bishops were just ready to ask the 
solemn questions when Giffard, conscience- 
stricken, suddenly declared that he would 
rather be stripped of all he had than 
consent to such a ministration of the rite. 
The proceedings ended in confusion, as he 
persisted despite royal threats and episcopal 
reproaches. He was driven away at once 
by the angry monarch ; his temporalities 
were confiscated, and for five years he lived 
in banishment, like Anselm who after some 
delay and ineffectual negotiations here 
and at Rome was forbidden to return to 
England. 

Giffard had, however, in 1102, before the 
crisis taken part in the Council of West- 
minster in which decrees against Simony 
were passed, and certain abbots found 
guilty of it were deposed, and stringent 
rules were promulgated against the marriage 
of the clergy. The ineffectual censures 
were repeated in another Council of West- 
minster in 1127, when Giffard and others 
tried to " eradicate that deadly evil out of 
the Church of God." These represent the 
other side of the ideal of Hildebrand, who 
while he aimed at making the priesthood a 
dominant social power desired if possible 
to raise it above the self-interest and 
nepotism of an hereditary caste. 

The importance ascribed to Giffard's 
action, and the value of the example which 
he set are illustrated by the many letters 



which Anselm wrote in his behalf. One 
was to the King in terms of urgent protest ; 
another to Duke Robert to prepare him for 
a visit from the exile ; a third to the 
Chapter of Rouen that it might know fully 
what had passed. He sent words of comfort 
to an Abbess at Winchester pining for the 
presence of her bishop. He wrote re- 
peatedly to Giffard to urge him to be firm 
and patient, and to warn him that resent- 
ment shewn at ill-treatment from Duke 
Robert, and any wavering loyalty to his 
feudal lord, would be misconstrued as an 
unworthy bid for concessions from the 
King. 

At length the chief powers in Church 
and State grew weary of the struggle. The 
King who had narrowly escaped the risk of 
excommunication and revolt was willing to 
give way in part. He had an interview 
with Anselm at the Castle of 1'Aigle and 
restored the revenues of the See, and desired 
him to return to England. Anselm himself 
delayed till the question of Investitures was 
settled, but Giffard seems to have gone 
back at once, for his name appears among 
other of the bishops in a letter written from 
England at this time, giving a melancholy 
picture of the condition of the Church, 
and begging Anselm to come back at any 
cost as the only hope of securing peace to 
the oppressed. The Pope, who had sup- 
ported Anselm somewhat feebly, now 
excused concession on the ground that the 
good Samaritan must stoop himself if he 
would lift up a man who is lying in the 
dust, a figure of speech which Henry would 
hardly perhaps have deemed appropriate. 
In the compromise effected the realities of 
feudal homage were retained, but the King 
waived the special forms of the gift of the 
ring and pastoral staff. On August nth, 
1107, theiefore, William Giffard with four 
other bishops was at last consecrated at 
Canterbury by Anselm, with the assist- 
ance of Gerard of York and many other 
prelates, priests' orders having been quietly 
conferred on him before. No one, it was 
noted, could remember the ordination of 
so many bishops at one time in England, 
except when Archbishop Pleigmund or- 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



dained in one day seven bishops to seven 
churches. 

Giffard seems to have regained the con- 
fidence of Henry, as an experienced servant 
of the Crown, if no longer Chancellor, and 
we read of several matters in which he was 
specially commissioned to act on the King's 
behalf. Thus he had to enquire of Anselm 
if the Bishop of Bangor could be transferred 
to the See of Lisieux, a change for which, 
as he was told in answer, the consent of the 
prelates of both provinces would be required. 
Early in Lent, 1108, he was sent with 
two other bishops to act on behalf of St. 
Augustine's, Canterbury. That Abbey was 
for a long period one of the most stiff- 
necked assertors of conventual privileges, 
and jealous opponents of the rival cloister 
of Christ Church and even of the Primate. 
It now put forth a claim to a traditional 
right to have its newly-elected abbot con- 
secrated in its own church, and not in the 
Cathedral or the Royal Chapel. When this 
plea was swept aside by Anselm, it won or 
bought the favour of the King, who sent 
his envoys to beg that the point might be 
conceded. Anselm refused, as the precedent 
would be abused by other religious houses, 
nor would he allow another bishop to 
officiate in his stead in the King's presence 
in the Royal Chapel. Bishop William 
and the others, less prescient than Anselm, 
struggled hard to satisfy the Abbey and the 
King, but the only concession was that the 
rite took place at Lambeth not at Christ 
Church. Later in the year the bishop was 
in attendance on the King, who was waiting 
at the seaport to cross to Normandy. He 
was sent again to Anselm, who was arrested 
on his way by sickness, to beg him to come 
no further, and spare himself fatigue. 

He seems to have had a special love of 
stately functions, for he was seldom absent 
at the consecration of new bishops, and by 
request of the Primate Ralph he officiated 
in his stead at the marriage, in 1121, of 
Henry to Adelaide of Louvain, when he 
agreed perhaps with a chronicler of Wor- 
cester that she was "adorned with the 
comely grace of a modest countenance." 



He also took a prominent part in two 
matters of great local interest. One of 
these dealt with the secular concerns of 
Winchester. The Domesday of the Con- 
queror had omitted the royal city from its 
survey. To complete the record, eighty- 
six of the more substantial citizens were 
appointed to make a house to house inquiry 
respecting the lands paying the king's 
taxes in the town and to lay their report 
before the bishop and four other com- 
missioners. The Winton Domesday did 
not include the ecclesiastical properties and 
need not now detain us further. 

The second had to do with the " New 
Minster" of Grimbald, where the remains 
of Alfred had been laid, which had suffered 
grievously for many years. The abbot and 
twelve monks had fought as patriots rather 
than recluses, and mostly died on the fatal 
field of Senlac, and the Conqueror's scoff 
that the abbot was worth a barony and each 
monk a manor took effect in the confisca- 
tion of many thousand acres of their land. 
The palace which he built within their 
ground at Winchester still further cramped 
their already narrow site. By Rufus they 
were handed over to the tender mercies of 
Ranulf Flambard who made traffic and 
plunder of them in the interest of his 
master as well as of himself. Recent 
changes in the ditches of the Castle and 
the mill works of the streams had flooded 
their lowlying site, and crippled and racked 
the rheumatic limbs of the poor monks. 
Thanks to the bishop's influence the king 
sanctioned the removal of the abbey to the 
Hyde mead on the north side beyond the 
city walls, to which they moved in solemn 
procession in mo. The change was 
greatly to the interest of St. Swithun's, for 
the buildings of the two convents had been 
so closely packed together, that the bells 
and choral services of each caused grievous 
disturbance to the other. The enforced 
grant of 800 marks made at this time to the 
king may have been the price of the con- 
cession, by which St. Swithun's gained the 
old site to the north side of the Cathedral 
while five days were added to St. Giles' 
Fair for the profit of Hyde Abbey. 



s 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



There had been complaints on the 
bishop's part of want of personal respect in 
the scanty attendance of the monks of the 
New Minster at some of the solemn func- 
tions of the Church. A royal charter 
now definitely ruled the order of the 
procession on Palm Sunday from the 
Cathedral to St. James' Church beyond the 
Castle and the number of the monks of 
Hyde Abbey who were to take part in it, 
as also their obligations in connection with 
certain ceremonies on high days at the 
bishop's church. 

There was far more friction with the 
Convent of St. Swithun, growing at last to 
what the annalist calls " enormous discord." 
The great expense of rebuilding the Cathe- 
dral tower, which fell in 1107, and com- 
pleting the work of Walkelin taxed the 
resources of the bishop, and his financial 
expedients caused long estrangement be- 
tween the convent and its head. Walkelin 
had expended for a term of years the pro- 
ceeds of several of their manors ; his succes- 
sor took some of the offerings in the Minster 
and nine of the parish churches of which 
they were the patrons to use probably part 
of the income for the same object. The 
monks after unavailing protests resorted in 
1 1 22 to a strange symbolic pageant to ex- 
press their discontent. They assembled 
barefoot in the Minster and with their 
crosses turned upside down they moved in 
slow procession round the church in direc- 
tion contrary to the sun's course " to shew 
their bishop that as he defied canonical 
rule by robbing them of their customary 
dues so they would ignore church order in 
their ministrations." Two years more the 
bitterness continued ; others were drawn 
into the quarrel ; the king sympathised 
with the monks ; the nobles sided with the 
bishop. At length the two parties were 
reconciled by royal intercession. " The 
bishop went alone into the chapter house ; 
the monks with feet and shoulders bared 
fell at his feet and offered to submit to any 
penance for their fault. Seeing such 
humility and penitence, and being of per- 
fect piety and most sweet-tempered, he fell 
too at their feet, and gave them all they 



had asked to have restored." The advow- 
sons of the nine parishes were secured to 
them by written deed. That the parishes 
on their side benefited by the concession is 
unlikely. Already the Council of West- 
minster in 1 102 at which Giffard had been 
present ruled that the monks should not be 
too grasping in the parishes where they 
were patrons, or leave too meagre a pit- 
tance for the priests who served them. It 
was a council of perfection, for the convents 
were dire enemies of the parish churches. 
Year after year the bishops had to step in 
and regulate by formal deed the conditions 
of the vicars' stipends. The details fill a 
large space in the Episcopal Registers of 
early date, and illustrate clearly the greedy 
oppressions of the monks and the insolence 
of their servants, nor was St. Swithun's 
faultless in the treatment of its vicars. 

In his later years the bishop felt more 
strongly that sympathy for the cloistered 
rule which was so marked a feature in that 
age among all classes of society. " When- 
ever he came back to Winchester," says 
the local chronicler, " he would dismount 
at the Minster doors, and after offering 
prayer with groans and even tears, would 
visit the monks and give them his blessing." 
He loved to be with them as often as he 
could, came frequently to their dormitory 
for his mid-day rest, and dined or supped 
with them, taking the lowest place among 
the novices. At last he wore the cowl 
himself and died in the infirmary. 

The deepening of his zeal for the con- 
ventual ideal is illustrated by the character 
of the religious houses which he founded. 
The Augustinian canons, to whom his active 
sympathies were first attracted, lived under 
a rule intermediate between the old system 
of secular canons and that of the monastic 
houses, and made their way rapidly during 
the reign of Henry I. Welcomed in 
England by " the good Queen Molde " at 
Aldgate, they had a home found for them 
at St. Mary Overey's, in Southwark, where 
with the bishop's help they had a stately 
church near to which he built a palace 
to serve as a town house for the See of 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Winchester. On the episcopal manor of 
Taunton he also founded another for them. 

Only two months before his death in 
January, 1129, the "incomparable prelate," 
as Rudborne calls him, established the 
Abbey of Waverley in Surrey, daughter of 
Aumone in Normandy, and the first home 
in England of the Cistercian Order, which 
aimed at a stricter rule than that of Cluny, 
and was spreading rapidly its austerer 
discipline and the stern simplicity of its 
architectural forms. 



Besides the grateful record left by his 
own convent, which felt sure that his earlier 
conduct had been due to "the malignant 
suggestions of wicked men," we have verses 
written in his honour by monks of Malmes- 
bury, Reading, and Whitby, but we learn 
little really of his character from their 
verbose eulogies which are in marked con- 
trast with the simple epitaph placed over 
his body, which was laid, like Walkelin's, 
before the great Cross of Stigand : 
Wilhelmus Gyffard Praesul jacet hie tumulatus 
Qui suscepit adhuc vivens habitum monachatus. 



10 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Henry of Blois, 11291171. 

The bishoprics at this time were largely 
given to clerks of the royal household, who 
had risen from a humble rank from the 
dust, Orderic contemptuously puts it and 
done good work in the service of the 
Crown, but the See of Winchester had 
been lately filled by two men of noble 
birth, and was now bestowed by the King 
in 1129, on his nephew Henry, youngest 
son of Stephen Henry Count of Blois, and 
brother of the future King. 

His early training as a monk of Cluny 
had filled his mind with Hildebrand's ideal 
of ecclesiastical ascendancy, and the dis- 
cipline of the great Abbey was no longer of 
a kind to wean him from the pride of 
worldly state. Provision was soon made 
for him at Glastonbury, of which he was 
made abbot in 1126, and by special sanction 
of both King and Pope he was allowed to 
retain this office together with the See. 

It was admitted on all sides that Stephen's 
accession to the throne in 1135 was mainly 
due to the personal influence of the Bishop, 
who threw himself without reserve into his 
brother's cause, over-ruled the scruples of 
the Primate, pledged himself that Stephen's 
promises to maintain the privileges of the 
Church would be fulfilled, and pushed on 
the ceremony of consecration in which 
only one other Prelate, Roger of Salisbury, 
joined with the Archbishop and himself. 
All three had sworn allegiance to Matilda 
as her father's successor on the throne. It 
was urged, however, that the late King's 
imperious will had insisted on the homage, 
and that the Angevine connexion was 
distasteful to the country, and Stephen 
himself most popular, while the undutiful 
conduct of the Empress to her father might 
recently have changed his purpose. Stress 
was laid upon the fact that there were signs 
of anarchy on all sides as soon as the 
throne was void, and a strong hand was 
immediately needed to grasp the reins of 
State. 

Ardent as was the Bishop's zeal for the 
interests of the Church, he threw himself 



without delay into action of another kind, 
which provoked the caustic jibe of a 
chronicler, that in him was to be seen a 
new monstrosity, which was half-monk 
half-soldier. He followed his brother to 
the war, took part in the siege of Exeter, 
where he noted with keen eye the signs 
of exhaustion in the garrison, for " their 
skin hung loose and flabby, and their 
lips were dry with thirst, and they must 
soon give up," and he was put in charge 
of the castle after its surrender. Like 
others too around him he began to build 
castles on a lordly scale at Winchester 
and Farnham and elsewhere, using the 
materials of the royal palace to raise his 
own at Wolvesey. Amid the anarchy of 
civil war there was no security for property 
or life save behind strong walls. Though 
religious houses rose on all sides in un- 
paralleled numbers, as if to answer to the 
challenge of the men of war, even they 
were not safe from wanton outrage, and 
the wail of misery from every country-side 
seems to echo in our ears as we read in the 
chronicles the sad story of the general 
wretchedness which "grew worse and 
worse" till "men said that Christ and His 
saints slept." 

Besides his failure as a ruler Stephen 
disappointed other hopes. In 1136 the 
Archbishop of Canterbury died, and the 
Bishop of Winchester was pointed out for 
his successor, was indeed, says Orderic, 
actually elected. But dependence on Rome 
had become stricter, and the Pope's consent 
to the transference seemed needful, in- 
volving long delay. Meantime the King 
and Queen opposed the choice of Henry 
for the primacy, and finally, after two years, 
Theobald was brought from the Abbey of 
Bee, which had already supplied Lanfranc 
and Anselm to rule at Canterbury. 

The Bishop had other grounds for 
discontent. He had pledged his honour 
that Stephen would respect the rights and 
possessions of the clergy, but the promises 
had been already set at nought, to humour 
favourites or raise funds, and ere long two 
powerful prelates were arrested, Roger of 




Winchester Cathedral Arches of Bishop Henry's Treasury. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



II 



Salisbury and his nephew of Lincoln, and 
they were subjected to vile outrages and 
forfeiture of their castles and their wealth. 
Henry protested in the strongest terms, 
demanding release and restitution. Failing 
to obtain them, he had an ecclesiastical 
council convened at Winchester in August, 
1139, and cited the King, his brother, to 
appear before it. 

The Archbishop and nearly all the 
bishops came. Henry presided by virtue 
of his authority as Papal Legate, conferred 
on him some time before as a solace to his 
wounded feelings, but held by him in 
reserve and only now publicly made known. 
"Addressing them as scholars in a Latin 
speech" he dwelt at length before his 
brethren on the indignities inflicted on the 
bishops, and the confiscation of their goods. 
The advocates of Stephen, who had not 
ventured to defy the summons, urged that 
the treasonous designs of the bishops were 
well known, that they were dealt with as 
feudal lords rather than as ecclesiastics, 
and that their castles could not be recog- 
nised by canon law. They warned the 
clergy not to appeal to Rome, and in face 
of the King's threats nothing much was 
done. Though both Legate and Arch- 
bishop implored Stephen to give way he 
restored nothing, but submitted only to 
some form of penance. 

There was further evidence next year 
that Henry's influence with his brother was 
of little weight, as his efforts to put their 
nephew into the See of Salisbury proved 
fruitless, though he was able to bar at 
Rome the appointment of the candidate 
elected. 

When the Empress landed at Arundel to 
assert her claims in 1139, Henry advised 
his brother that it was useless to besiege 
her there, while Earl Robert of Gloucester 
was raising in her interest an army in the 
West, and when his counsel was adopted 
he was commissioned to conduct her on her 
way to Bristol. He endeavoured to arrange 
terms of peace between the rivals, first at 
Bath and afterwards in conference with 
Louis of France and his brother Count of 



Blois, but the proposals were rejected, and 
the miserable strife went on. But when 
Stephen was taken prisoner at Lincoln in 
1141, the judgment of heaven seemed to 
have been given against the King, and 
then Henry too declared against him and 
promised his allegiance to Matilda. In a 
council held at Winchester in April, in 
which as Legate he again presided, after 
separate conferences with the bishops, 
abbots and archdeacons, he dwelt on the 
failure of Stephen to do justice and keep 
peace, set forth at length how he had out- 
raged the bishops, despoiled churches, and 
sold preferment in the convents, giving 
heed to evil counsel only. The clergy, he 
boldly said, whose special right it is to 
choose their ruler, now plight their troth 
to the daughter of the good King Henry. 
To the citizens of London who had been 
invited to be present, and who demanded 
the release of Stephen, as also to an envoy 
of the Queen, he could only repeat in 
substance the same speech. 

Matilda had pledged herself to be guided 
by the Bishop, especially in Church ap- 
pointments, but it was soon seen that her 
masterful will brooked no control, and that 
submission to her rule was hopeless. Then 
Henry turned again, and retiring to Win- 
chester treated with the supporters of his 
brother. Matilda suspicious of his loyalty, 
followed him closely, and summoned him 
to her presence. " I will make ready," was 
his answer sent from Wolvesey, where he 
had taken shelter, when the castle gates 
above were opening for the Empress. 
Stephen's adherents rallied to his side, and 
soon the city became the battle ground of 
hostile factions, each with its own quarter 
and stronghold. The fiery missiles poured 
from Wolvesey carried destruction where 
they fell, and among the many ruined 
homes and churches the new buildings of 
Hyde Abbey and the nunnery of St. Mary 
were not spared. The King's forces pre- 
vailed, Matilda fled, and once more with 
superb confidence in himself or in the 
justice of his cause the Legate addressed a 
synod at Winchester in December, in which 
he set forth the causes of his reluctant 



12 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



adherence to Matilda and the pledges she 
had broken, and the duty since God had 
declared against her to support King 
Stephen. He was heard in reverent silence 
by the clergy, though an envoy of the 
Empress roughly reproached him with his 
double dealing while the Legate sat un- 
moved. 

The war dragged on, and again Henry 
plunged into the fray. He narrowly escaped 
being taken prisoner with his brother on 
the battlefield of Wilton, and we hear of 
him in arms elsewhere. The barons and 
their fierce mercenaries found less to 
plunder now in the exhausted country, and 
laid heavy hands on the wealth of the 
convents and the churches, while the 
bishops for the most part, says an indignant 
chronicler, showed base indifference to the 
evil work. Henry, it is true, presided over 
a synod in London in 1142, which excom- 
municated the authors of such outrages, and 
claimed rights of sanctuary for the yeoman's 
plough, while it decreed that personal 
violence to a cleric was a crime from which 
the Pope only could absolve, but example 
went for more than precept, and the 
chronicler just quoted, a partisan of 
Stephen, bitterly inveighs against the war- 
like ardour shewn, and the license given 
to their followers by certain of the prelates, 
among whom our bishop is first named. 

Meantime he had been scheming to form 
an Archbishopric at Winchester, to be 
provided with suffragans at the expense of 
Canterbury. He might lose his authority 
as ' legatus a latere ' at any moment, and 
the Primate, Theobald, would then take 
rightful precedence over him. His nephew, 
William FitzHerbert, had been pushed into 
the See of York, despite strong opposition 
in the Chapter, which found much support 
from the clergy of the province and es- 
pecially from Murdac, Abbot of Fountains, 
who brought the great Cistercian influence, 
with St. Bernard, into the fray. Not- 
with standing the appeal to Rome, which 
followed, the Archbishop-elect was conse- 
crated at Winchester in 1143 by his uncle, 
who might naturally hope to be strengthened 
by his help. 



But the scheme came to nothing, though 
it was thought that a 'paltium'ha.d been 
sent from Rome. Pope Innocent II, on 
whose favour he depended, was already 
dead, and the legatine commission and all 
hope of the archbishopric were at an end. 
Fresh appeals were entered against his 
nephew of York, who was suspended and 
two years afterwards deposed, having been 
meantime entertained at Winchester with 
all honour by his uncle. 

Archbishop Theobald had set his face 
against the election at York, and there had 
been friction already on other grounds, 
followed by an unseemly feud, appeals to 
the Pope, and much emptying of money- 
bags at Rome. 

In March, 1148, a council summoned 
by Pope Eugenius III, met at Rheims. 
Stephen, under pressure from his brother, as 
it was believed, forbade Theobald to attend 
it, and had watch kept at the coast, but he 
crossed over in a frail boat at the hazard 
of his life, and was received with open 
arms. Henry was suspended for failure to 
be present, and had to go to Rome to 
secure pardon, while his castle of Wolvesey 
was guarded by Hugh de Puiset, his 
nephew, afterwards the great Bishop of 
Durham, (then treasurer of the See of 
York), who had prevailed on the citizens 
to close their gates against the new 
Primate, Murdac, and defied the excom- 
munication which ensued. 

A synod held in London in 1151 was 
noted for the number of appeals to Pope 
or legate, a practice little known in 
England, it is said, before Henry favoured 
it himself, to his own hurt however, for 
in this very synod there were three such 
appeals in which he was concerned. The 
monks of Hyde Abbey had been at strife 
with him for many years, and at Rome and 
elsewhere had been loud in their complaints. 
He had kept their headship vacant for six 
years and more, they urged, and applied 
much of its revenues to his own purposes ; 
he had caused their Abbey to be burnt by 
the fireballs from his castle, and seized the 
precious cross and the Church vessels that 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



were found among the ruins. After much 
debate and many gifts and promises, the 
Bishop made his peace with the Pope and 
returned home. 

On all sides men were weary of the civil 
strife, and in 1153 the two old rivals, the 
Primate and the Bishop, met to negotiate 
for peace, and the compromise which 
secured the throne to Stephen and the 
succession to Henry of Anjou, was their 
joint work. With this ended the power of 
the king-maker, as Pope Eugenius called 
him in effect. When his brother died in 
1154 and the young ruler grasped the reins, 
Henry sent his treasures abroad and 
retired to Cluny. His strongholds were 
dismantled, as other ' adulterine castles ' 
had been levelled already. He returned 
a few years later, outlived his old rival 
Theobald, and took the chief part in the 
consecration of Becket, bidding him be- 
come an "Apostle Paul," if he had been, 
as was urged, a "persecuting Saul," but 
warning him privately that he must soon 
lose the favour either of his heavenly or 
his earthly master. Excused from attend- 
ance at the Council of Tours on the ground 
of his infirmities, he was, however, in 1164, 
prominent among the few great -ecclesiastics 
who encouraged Becket to be firm in his 
resistance to the king, and the letters of 
John of Salisbury shew that he contributed 
substantial help to the Primate and other 
exiles. His attitude appears to have caused 
grave displeasure, for there was a rumour 
to which the Pope, Alexander III, referred 
in a letter to Becket that he intended to 
resign his See because of his injurious 
treatment by the king. He was visited 
however by the monarch on his deathbed 
in 1171, not long after Becket's murder, 
and spoke of the deed in terms of stern 
reproach. 

He was buried, Rudborne tells us, in 
front of the high altar, and there not long 
ago were found in an old coffin a crozier 
and gold ring, which probably were his, 
though Leland reported that he was in- 
terred at Ivinghoe in the nunnery which he 
founded. 



Two years before his death he had 
disposed of all his remaining wealth in 
charity, reserving hardly enough to provide 
a single daily meal. But he had been long 
before a munificent benefactor to religious 
houses and the aged poor. He never 
forgot his first love Cluny, made long visits 
there from time to time, used his influence 
with his brother to provide endowments, 
paid off on one occasion all the debts of 
the Abbey, and maintained the monks 
460 in all for a whole year at his expense, 
lending them at another time a thousand 
ounces of gold. Peter, the abbot who 
wrote repeatedly in grateful terms, begged 
him that besides and above all other gifts 
he would leave them his body to rest at 
last within their walls. 

At Glastonbury on which he spent forty- 
five years of pastoral care, its historian 
records a long list of his good works, both 
on the abbey buildings and the manor 
houses, as well as the rich ornaments which 
he bestowed upon the church, and the 
special funds with which he provided for 
their table. All these indeed have wholly 
past away like most of the art treasures 
stored by him in the Cathedral, and the 
silver vessels which he gave to many of the 
parish churches, but one striking memorial 
remains, appealing to other memories than 
the ruins of Wolvesey, the Hospital of 
St. Cross which he founded by Charter in 
1136, to be the quiet resting place of aged 
poverty, enriched by lovely types of archi- 
tectual beauty. 

It is quite true that the story of his 
treatment of Hyde Abbey seems quite 
inconsistent with this large-hearted charity, 
but only one side of the dispute is shown 
us in the convent pleas. We should think 
hardly of some of the archbishops if we 
had only the accounts of the monks of 
St. Augustine's or of Christ Church, and 
certainly no paltry greed can have caused 
him to seize for himself their revenues and 
cross. Bounteous himself, he encouraged 
in others like munificence to religious 
houses, as in the quaint ceremony at the 
dedication of the church of St. Pancras 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



(Lewes Priory), when William, Earl of 
Warren, gave seisin of the tenth penny of 
his rents by hair cut from his own head 
and that of his brother by Bishop Henry 
before the altar. (Charter at the British 
Museum.) 

His cultivated tastes took many forms, 
on which Giraldus Cambrensis is emphatic ; 
collections of rare animals, fine works of 
art brought back from Italy, ingenious 
mechanical contrivances, lakes and acque- 
ducts for landscape gardening, ornaments 
to be stored in the treasure chamber of the 
Minster, as well perhaps as the Cathedral 
font ; literary works of which one on the 
tomb of Arthur was known in a later age ; 
and possibly the design of Romsey Abbey, 
like the earlier portions of St. Cross ; these 
bore witness to his many sided interests. 

In the spirit of his age he dealt largely 
in relics. Not only did he gather up the 
bones of kings and bishops that had been 
buried in the crypt, and store them carefully 
in leaden chests above, but he enriched the 
Minster further with a foot of St. Agatha, 
as also with a thumb of St. James which 
he carried off from Reading. To Glaston- 
bury he was lavish of such gifts, for besides 



sundry fragments of twelve saints he gave 
the convent some hair of St. John and milk 
even of the Virgin Mother. 

In public life, amid the striking vicis- 
situdes of his career, his guiding piinciple 
was that which he brought from Cluny, 
the maintenance of ecclesiastical authority 
as a dominating power in the State. He 
was true to this when he seemed to change 
abruptly in the civil war, for he tried to use 
first one and then another claimant to the 
throne to further the same end. He was 
doubtless moved by personal ambition, but 
in the calm self-confidence that he could 
do most service to the Church if he could 
only take the lead. In the same spirit he 
supported Becket when withdrawn himself 
by old age from the active struggle. 

They admired him most who knew him 
best : the monks of his own three convents. 
They dwelt in their annals on the virtues 
of his private life, and they dropped the 
veil over the questionable doings of the 
politician, the castle builder, and the man 
of war, while they commemorated with 
unstinted praises his munificence and tender 
sympathies, and unfailing affection for his 
brethren of the cloister. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Richard of Ilchester, 11731188. 

After the See of Winchester had been 
vacant for two years it was bestowed on 
Richard of Ilchester, an experienced official 
who had served the King already in many 
posts of trust. Born near Ilchester, a 
kinsman of Gilbert Foliot, the able Bishop 
of London, and possibly of Bishop Nigel 
of Ely, he remained till he reached man- 
hood in the diocese of Bath, where he held 
some ecclesiastical appointment, and is first 
heard of as a clerk in the chancery under 
Thomas Becket, to whom he owed his 
advancement in the civil service, and 
probably his office of Archdeacon of Poitou. 

A little property at Ilchester was given 
him by royal grant, and until he became 
bishop contemporary writers named him 
after this estate, or from his preferment at 
Poitiers, where he was made treasurer as 
well as archdeacon, without it would seem 
residing ever there. 

The payment for his loyal services cost 
the King little, seeing that there was ample 
church preferment at the disposal of the 
Crown ; indeed he was pointed at as a 
pluralist while still archdeacon. And wealth 
accrued in other ways, when it was known 
that his word would carry weight at court. 
Thus Abbot Robert of St. Albans sought 
his help to recover a benefice to which the 
Crown had laid claim, but the price of the 
favour asked was two-thirds of the value 
of the benefice, and to this the abbot 
"benignantly agreed," says the chronicler 
of the convent, "though it was hardly 
canonical to do so." 

During the long dispute with Becket he 
was employed frequently as a confidential 
agent. In 1163, six times within three 
months, he " braved the fury of the waves " 
in the endeavour to procure the Pope's 
assent to the "customs of the realm" which 
Henry was bent on having formally ap- 
proved. Next year when Becket fled from 
the court after the Council of Northampton 
he was one of the envoys sent to King 
Louis of France to prejudice him against 
Becket. "The King had chosen," says 
the monk Gervase, " those whom he knew 



to be most bitter against the primate, crafty 
in speech, unprincipled in action, together 
with others who, though they loved him 
really, were too timid to say a word in his 
behalf." They crossed the channel in a 
storm which nearly wrecked their ship, 
while the Archbishop passed over the same 
night in a calm, and both were at St. Omer 
together. Finding little to encourage them 
in the demeanour of the King of France 
they went on to the Pope at Sens to com- 
plain of Becket's attitude as " a disturber 
of the peace of church and state," but 
there again they were not listened to with 
favourable ears. 

Later on he was despatched to Germany 
on a mission to the Emperor Frederick, 
when the English government gave its 
adherence to the Antipope Pascal, and on 
Whitsunday, 1166, he was formally excom- 
municated by Becket at Vezelai as having 
" fallen into damnable heresy by devising 
and continuing evil works with the schis- 
matic Teutons to the ruin of the church 
of God." He seems to have been much 
troubled by this censure, for his friend 
Ralph Diceto the dean of St. Paul's wrote 
a letter to soothe his wounded feelings, 
and to urge him to respect the archbishop's 
sentence rather than to protest in passion. 
Meantime he had been in friendly com- 
munication with John of Salisbury, Becket's 
intimate companion, whose kindly influence 
had delayed for a time the vindictive action 
of the exile. This indeed was formally 
repeated on Ascension Day, 1169, though 
it does not appear that it was provoked 
by any further action. A mischief-making 
correspondent of the archbishop, told him 
next year that the archdeacon was deter- 
mined to do all he could to bar reconcilia- 
tion, but of any such desire there is no 
evidence at all. 

Diplomatic errands represent only an 
occasional variation in a laborious career. 
His main interests were financial and 
judicial, and these were important enough 
to occupy his life. 

Richard Fitz Neal, the writer of the 
Dialogus de Scaccario in which is described 
the curious procedure in the Exchequer 



i6 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



chamber, where " the mimic contest was 
waged between the Treasurer and his staff 
and the sheriff or other accountant " round 
the table divided into squares like a 
chessboard, says that a definite place had 
been there assigned to Richard the Arch- 
deacon between the Justiciar and the 
Treasurer, and this not by virtue of any 
special office which he held, but because 
of his expertness as accountant and his 
clerkly skill in registration. These had 
raised him from subordinate posts and 
made his services necessary to his royal 
master, and when a feudal aid was levied 
for the marriage of the princess Matilda 
in 1168 he was employed throughout in 
the assessment and collection of the money. 
Judicature and finance were intimately 
connected in those times, and Richard the 
Archdeacon who sat in 1165 as a baron of 
the Exchequer of Westminster can be traced 
year after year travelling on circuit as one of 
the justices itinerant in different groups of 
counties. Nor could his services be dis- 

gensed with after his promotion to the 
ee of Winchester. 

Already in 1171 after the death of Henry 
of Blois he had been made guardian of 
the temporalities of the See and of the 
lands of Glastonbury Abbey, and when the 
King was willing to relax his hold upon the 
episcopal estates, the Archdeacon was in 
April, 1173, promoted with four others, 
among whom Geoffrey, Bishop elect of 
Ely, had served with him in the Exchequer, 
and had been like him, as Dean Ralph 
put it, "foremost and pre-eminent in the 
royal household." When the Papal sanction 
was asked for his appointment, John of 
Salisbury, ignoring the repeated censures, 
styled him a "devout lover of St. Thomas," 
and the chapter of Christ Church, Canter- 
bury, praised him as " the father of the 
poor and our protector in our grievous 
strait." 

The consecration of the new bishops 
was delayed in consequence of a formal 
protest from the young King Henry that 
"unfitting persons" had been intruded by 
his father without his consent into the 
primacy and provincial churches. The 



appeal to the Pope cost the Archbishop 
elect much anxiety and expense at Rome 
where he went himself to rebut the charges 
of the agents of the young Henry and 
Louis of France, but the Papal sanction was 
finally obtained, and he returned to con- 
secrate the four bishops on October 6, 1174. 

Henry had been long away from England, 
marching to and fro against the partisans 
of the young princes, and the justices 
alarmed at the threatening state of things 
at home, determined as a last resource to 
despatch Richard, the bishop elect, as they 
" knew for certain that he could speak to 
the King more confidentially than any 
other, and describe clearly the danger to 
the public weal from the menaces of the 
nobles and the general disquiet of the 
the people." He crossed the channel 
speedily and found the King in conference 
with the Norman chiefs. They when they 
heard of his arrival and the object of his 
journey said, " if the English send that 
man after so many other messengers to 
get their King back, what else have they 
now to send but the Tower of London." 

Next year in May a Council was held in 
Westminster Abbey, in which he sat on 
the left of the Archbishop, while the Bishop 
of London was on his right, and the rest 
in the order of their consecration. The 
canons of the Council dealt mainly with 
the life and behaviour of the clergy, who 
were to have their long hair shorn by the 
archdeacons' scissors, and if vicars, were to 
treat their rectors with all due respect. 

A Bishop of St. Asaph was forced to 
resign his See, for his clergy complained 
that he had ceased to live among them, 
pleading as excuse his poverty and the 
danger of Welsh frays. No such complaint 
seems to have been made at Winchester, 
though they saw little of their diocesan, 
but then he was rich and powerful at court. 

In July he was present at a court held at 
Woodstock, when Prince Geoffrey's election 
to the See of Lincoln was confirmed by 
Papal bull, but the young man was sent 
to school at Tours to get a little learning 
to fit him for the post. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Towards the end of July, 1176, he was 
sent with his old colleague, Geoffrey of 
Ely, to meet a papal legate, Vivian, at 
Northampton, and to warn him to proceed 
no further unless he pledged himself to do 
nothing without the sanction of the King ; 
then he was busy with all the arrangements 
for the escort of the Princess Joanna before 
her marriage with the King of Sicily ; and 
finally about Michaelmas he was appointed 
seneschal and justiciar of Normandy. The 
varied duties of his important charge 
detained him for a year and a half away 
from England, and in discharge of them 
says the Dean of St. Paul's, " he paid 
careful regard to the means of different 
classes, being tender of the interests of the 
poor, and watchful that the claims of the 
treasury should be duly met by the pay- 
ments of the rich." 

After his return to England the Bishop 
went back to his work at the Exchequer. 
In 1 179, Albert, a sub-deacon of the Roman 
church, came to summon the English pre- 
lates to a Council at Rome. Some found 
excuse for non-attendance in bodily infirm- 
ities or old age, others " in underhand 
arrangements with the nuncio, not to be 
coarsely described as bribes." Richard of 
Winchester, at the instance of the King 
of France was allowed to benefit by " an 
honourable repose." Had he been present 
at this third Lateran council he might have 
heard with interest the strong language of 
the decree against pluralities, and of 
another which forbade clerks in holy 
orders to act as justices or undertake 
secular offices of other kinds. 

Notwithstanding the need of repose 
which was pleaded in his behalf, he acted 
as Chief Justice the same year in a new 
arrangement of the circuits of the itinerant 
judges, by which five were assigned to each 
one of four districts, with a bishop at 
the head of each except the northern 
circuit. Dean Ralph, who has most to 
say upon this subject, tells us of the anxiety 
of the King to find honest and efficient 
judges, and of his recourse to various 
social classes for that purpose. In despair 



of any better choice "he raised his eyes 
to heaven while scheming for his subjects 
upon earth, and borrowing spiritual help 
to further terrestrial interests, he selected 
men who while they lived among and ruled 
over their fellow men had aims, and senti- 
ments, and aspirations more than human." 
For that object the Bishops of Winchester, 
Ely, and Norwich all of them old officials 
at the Exchequer were made Chief Justices 
of the realm that "if the other judges had 
scant regard for their earthly monarch 
these at least might shew more reverence 
for the King of Kings and not let the poor 
go short of justice, or the rich be favoured 
for their wealth." This he urges as sufficient 
answer to objections based on the rigour of 
the canon law. 

The Bishop still retained the unabated 
confidence of the King who visited him 
from time to time at one or other of his 
manor houses on the eve of a journey to 
the continent or on his way back. Thus 
early in 1182 Henry was at Bishop's Wal- 
tham, where he made his will leaving 
among other legacies 5000 marks to the 
religious houses of England to be distributed 
at the discretion of Richard of Winchester 
and other trusted ministers, as also 300 
marks for portionless maidens. 

After 1183 the Bishop's name rarelv 
appears in the contemporary records. He 
had in these later years more leisure for 
ecclesiastical interests and for the work of 
the diocese which must have been left 
before in the hands of his Official and of 
foreign bishops. He was present, we may 
suppose, in the long debate between the 
monks of Canterbury and the bishops at 
the end of 1184, when the convent re- 
luctantly accepted Baldwin the choice of 
the bishops for the primacy. They sorely 
repented their consent, and resisted with 
stiff-necked obstinacy his scheme to use 
some of the estates of the See in the 
interest of scholarship and learning. The 
bishops generally sided with the Primate, 
but from the letters written by the convent 
three or four years later, it is clear that 
it counted on the sympathy of Richard of 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Winchester, and had indeed already re- 
ceived some support from him. 

He took part doubtless in the stately 
ceremony in his own cathedral in 1185, 
when King, and bishops, and abbots met to 
receive Heraclius the patriach of Jerusalem, 
who had come with Roger de Moulins, the 
Master of the Hospitallers, to describe the 
piteous condition of the Holy Land and 
to urge a new crusade. The visit came 
opportunely for the Bishop who was dis- 
satisfied with the administration of the 
Hospital of St. Cross, of which the Order 
of St. John of Jerusalem had been made 
guardian by Bishop Henry, the founder. 
Thanks to the King's influence, and perhaps 
to the hopes of active sympathy which 
may have led to readier concessions, a new 
arrangement surrendered the management 
to the Bishop of the diocese, and enabled 
him to provide for the daily food of another 
hundred poor. A deed was drawn up and 
signed at Dover, on April 10, and witnessed 
by Heraclius, who two months before had 
dedicated the Temple Church in London. 
In the British Museum may be seen the 
charter publicly exposed there, with the 
clear characters of the Bishop's signature 
and the fine impression of his seal. 

The Annalist of Waverley may have had 
in view this anxiety to enlarge the useful- 
ness of St. Cross when he speaks in strong 
terms of his charity ; " he hath dispersed 
abroad and given to the poor, and his 
righteousness remaineth for ever." He 
records also the admirable buildings which 
he raised, and among them was possibly 
the hospital of St. Mary Magdalene com- 
monly attributed to him on somewhat 
meagre evidence. 



He died on December 22, 1188, and was 
buried on the north side of the High Altar, 
leaving "a good memory" behind him at 
St. Swithun's, writes their annalist, though 
we are told that they had complained of 
him to the King because he wished to 
reduce the number of the dishes served 
upon their table from thirteen to ten. 
" Woe betide your Bishop," was the answer, 
" if he does not cut them down to three, 
which I find enough for me on my table 
King though I am." We cannot indeed 
quite rely upon the sprightly stories told 
by Giraldus Cambrensis in his Mirror of 
the Church, but the old Benedictine Abbeys 
at this time "waxed fat and kicked," and 
there was pressing need of the reforming 
movements of the Cistercian and Carthusian 
Orders. 

Contemporary notices, as well as letters 
written to him, imply a kindly and pacific 
spirit ; not indeed the qualities of a scholar 
or divine, for he was remembered rather as 
the eminent financier and judge than as 
the " excellent prelate" of his epitaph. He 
had too little time and strength left after 
the long service of an exacting master to 
be able to do much in the way of diocesan 
activities ; he had too much common sense 
to have any such wish to copy Becket as 
John of Salisbury ascribed to him, when 
he desired to speak handsomely on his 
friend's behalf. We cannot say what were 
the buildings which were to recall his 
memory from one generation to another, 
according to the Annalist of Waverley, and 
even his surname is only known to us by 
the monumental tablet on his tomb 

' ' Praesulis egregii pausant hie membra Ricardi 
Toclyve cui summi gaudia sinto poli." 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Godfrey de Lucy, 11891304. 

The successor of Richard of Ilchester 
was like him an experienced servant of the 
crown, engaged also in the financial and 
judicial work of the Exchequer, but not 
so often sent on diplomatic errands. His 
father, Richard de Lucy, " the loyal and 
the wise whom all the world esteems," as 
he was called in varied phrases by Jordan 
Fantosme, the poet-chancellor of Win- 
chester, spent a lifetime in official harness, 
resigning only his office of Justiciar to retire 
shortly before his death as canon in the 
convent of Lesnes, which he had founded 
in the parish of Erith. His son Godfrey 
was naturally enlisted as clerk in the King's 
household, and promoted to judicial work. 
When in 1179 four circuits were mapped 
out for the itinerant judges, he presided 
for the district beyond the Trent, while a 
bishop was Chief Justice for each of the 
other three. 

He was liberally rewarded in the usual 
way with Church preferment. Dean of the 
collegiate Church of St. Martin le Grand 
in 1171, then Archdeacon of Derby, and 
Canon of Lincoln and of York, when he 
witnessed the will of Henry II in 1182 he 
held the valuable archdeaconry of Rich- 
mond, which, as Bacon tells us, " was es- 
teemed the best for profits and privileges 
in England." He was unwilling therefore 
to resign it when elected by the Chapter of 
Exeter to that See in 1 186, which he refused 
on the ground that its revenues were not 
sufficient for his needs. Shortly before he 
had been one of the three royal clerks and 
ministers proposed by the Chapter of Lin- 
coln for the vacant bishopric, but rejected 
by the King, who said that all three were 
rich enough already, and that he would not 
consent for love or money to have any man 
henceforth for bishop save such as God 
should be pleased to choose. His decision 
was already made in favour of St. Hugh. 

At the coronation of Richard in 1189 
Godfrey followed immediately after the pro- 
cession of the clergy carrying the cap which 
was placed by the Archbishop on the King's 
head after the anointing. A few days later 



the new monarch, who had no such scruples 
as his father had expressed, made a large 
number of ecclesiastical appointments, and 
among them bestowed Winchester on God- 
frey, who was consecrated on October 22 
at Westminster. The same year he was 
made warden of Southampton. 

Richard was raising funds for his Crusade 
by various expedients, and was ready, as he 
said himself, to sell the city of London if 
he could find a purchaser. The Bishop 
therefore lost no time in taking advantage 
of the opportunity, reclaiming the two 
manors of Wargrave and Meon, which 
had been confiscated by the Conqueror, 
paying three thousand pounds of silver as 
purchase money to the King. He gave 
a like sum to enjoy his own patrimony 
and to secure indemnity for the Cathe- 
dral treasure, as also for the stewardship 
of Hampshire, and the custody of the 
two castles of Porchester and Winchester. 

The large sums with which these privi- 
leges were bought were beyond his private 
means, and he had recourse therefore to 
the treasure of the Minster, binding by 
formal deed himself and his successors to 
repay the loan, and this he actually did in 
great measure in 1192. 

On the eve of Richard's departure for 
the East in March, 1190, the Bishop was 
summoned to Normandy with a few others 
of the King's chief councillors, to concert 
measures for the safety of the realm during 
his absence. How little security there was 
in fact was shewn by the massacre of the 
Jews of York in the same month. Even 
when the King was being crowned there 
had been riots, for the mob rose in blind 
fury, and to use the strong words of the 
chronicler, "sent their blood-suckers to hell, 
but the people of Winchester was courteous 
and humane, and spared its vermine." So 
Godfrey might rest with an easy mind away 
from home, and was indeed detained by 
illness for some time in Normandy. 

Meanwhile the Chancellor Longchamp, 
on the strength of his authority as vice- 
gerent and the legatine commission pro- 
cured for him by Richard, was lording it 



2O 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



imperiously in England, offending all classes 
by exactions in his master's interests or his 
own, and had stripped Godfrey of all that 
he had recently so dearly bought. When 
strong enough to travel he returned in haste 
and found the Chancellor in August at the 
Council of Gloucester, was cordially re- 
ceived with signs of intimate regard, but 
had only his family estate returned to him, 
losing the sheriffdom and the castles. He 
was present however at the Council of 
Westminster in October, and sat on the 
Legate's left. When the intrigues of John, 
the King's brother, with the discontented 
nobles shook the authority of the Chan- 
cellor, it was arranged to hold a conference 
at Winchester. The hostile leaders met 
outside the gates, each backed by some 
thousands of armed men, but conflict was 
averted, and Godfrey, and two other 
bishops, were deputed to name arbitrators, 
who agreed on terms of peace, and the 
threatening war cloud passed over the city. 

In the revolutionary movements which 
later in the year resulted in the expulsion 
of Longchamp from power the Bishop took 
a leading part. He went with three other 
prelates to the Tower of London, where 
the Chancellor was besieged, to deliver the 
ultimatum of the barons and to require him 
to deliver up his seal and castles. But 
" though readier of speech than any of the 
party he was silent," says Richard of 
Devizes, in the course of the dispute which 
followed, and left to a bitterer enemy the 
task of being spokesman. He had restored 
to him the castles of which he had been 
deprived, and shewed apparently no special 
sign of animosity to the fallen statesman. 
He was included however in a list of John's 
advisers and abettors who, on the strength 
of a papal mandate, were excommunicated 
by Longchamp, but the sentence passed 
unheeded. 

There is no notice of any further action 
on his part during the two years of social 
confusion due to Richard's captivity and 
John's intrigues, save that he joined Arch- 
bishop Hubert and other bishops at West- 
minster in February, 1194, in a formal 



sentence of excommunication against John, 
and an appeal to the Pope against the 
legatine authority of Longchamp. 

On Richard's return from captivity it was 
clear that he resented the Bishop's attitude 
to Longchamp during his absence, for he 
came to Winchester, and there on April 
1 5th he took away once more the sheriffdom 
and castles, as well as the two manors that 
had been bought, not however restoring 
the purchase money, but stripping him also 
of a large part of his family estate. It was 
no wonder that after this treatment he did 
not care to be present at the ceremony 
when Richard appeared in the Cathedral 
in stately procession with his crown upon 
his head. 

Of Godfrey's history for the next four 
years nothing is recorded, but in 1 198 he 
was sent with four other bishops to propose 
terms of agreement with Geoffrey, Arch- 
bishop of York, who after his long quarrel 
with his chapter and with Richard had at 
last obtained papal letters in his favour, 
but the negotiations came to little, and 
Richard died soon after. 

The Bishop took part in the coronation 
of John in May 1199, but was prevented by 
sickness from attending the general council 
of Westminster convened by Archbishop 
Hubert in September, 1200. He witnessed, 
however, the homage of William, King of 
of the Scots, in the following November, 
and on the next day took part in the funeral 
ceremonies of St. Hugh at Lincoln. There 
he heard perhaps, if not a spectator, of the 
testimony to the wonder working power of 
the Saint, when a thief careless of the 
gravity of the occasion, stole a woman's 
purse, and rinding his hands paralysed, 
broke out as he stood there into a Latin 
poem on the incident, and finally renouncing 
Satan and all his works regained his manual 
strength. 

In the long struggle of the monks of 
Christ Church, Canterbury, to maintain 
what they held to be their rights, and to 
limit the powers of the primate, men of 
influence on all sides were drawn into the 
fray, but Godfrey seems to have been 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



21 



neutral, and was named by the King in 
1 189 one of the arbitrators to arrange terms 
of peace between Archbishop Baldwin and 
the convent. Nor did their letter of com- 
plaint in 1191 after the violent arrest of 
Geoffrey of York at Dover draw from him 
more than a cautious answer which expressed 
sympathy indeed for Geoffrey, but made no 
hostile comment on the Chancellor in whose 
name the arrest was made. 

After his withdrawal in his later years 
from the concerns of State owing to royal 
disfavour, the Bishop seems to have devoted 
himself to the interests of the Minster and 
the City. In the former a new tower was 
begun and finished in 1200, as we read in 
the Winton annals. In 1202 a confraternity 
was instituted for the fabric fund of the 
Cathedral, intended to last for five years. 
The Early English structure at the eastern 
extremity, between the gable end of the 
Church and the fifteenth century work of 
the Lady Chapel, was the building in which 
this guild was concerned, and the Norman 
chapel with its apse which before extended 
beyond the presbytery was replaced by the 
new aisles, required probably by the pro- 
cessions of the pilgrims who came to visit 
the shrine of St. Swithun, over which stood 
the tower raised a few years before. 

Another local work which he took in 
hand was to improve the navigation of 
the Itchen waters by means of a new 
canal which enabled vessels to make 
their way from Southampton through Win- 
chester to Alresford, near which was his 
manor of Bishop's Sutton. At the town, 
then relatively much more important than 
in later days, a great lake was made which 
drained the neighbouring marshes and 
served as a reservoir to regulate the water 
level. Market privileges were provided 
there with the Bishop's help, and the town 
itself called by him Newmarket, but the 
name found no popular acceptance and 
was soon dropped. A charter of King 
John empowered the Bishop and his suc- 
cessors to charge certain dues on mer- 
chandize conveyed through the channel 
opened up to navigation. 



In addition to these works of wider 
usefulness, he gave largely to the house 
of the Austin canons at Lesnes, founded 
by his father, the endowments of which 
ultimately passed to the Hospital of St. 
Bartholomew in London. 

He died in September, 1204, and was 
buried in the central aisle of his own 
addition to the Cathedral, probably under 
the large slab of grey marble, which was 
formerly pointed out as covering the tomb 
of King Lucius, just outside the Lady 
Chapel. 

It does not appear that any epitaph was 
inscribed upon his tomb, and of his character 
contemporary records do not speak in 
much detail. Of the confidence felt in his 
capacity and judgment his official career 
gives ample evidence. Giraldus Cambrensis 
mentions his fluent speech and ready wit. 
Richard of Devizes calls him a man of no 
slight merit and reputation, and says that 
such was his benignity and moderation 
that even in angry moments his conduct 
to his subordidates always had a savour of 
gentleness. But the lively monk of St. 
Swithun's was so fond of jibes and sarcasms 
that it is not always easy to be sure that 
his phrases are seriously meant. 

The other chroniclers who eulogised the 
preceding bishops have in his case no 
last words of praise or blame, and do 
not even mention his benefits to trade by 
the improvement of the old waterways. 
But if we find in contemporary literature 
unusual reserve as to the Bishop's char- 
acter, there is no lack of eulogy of his city 
in his time, of the gentle charities of its 
monks, the wisdom and liberal spirit of the 
clergy, the courtesy and good faith of its 
citizens, the beauty and chastity of its 
women. It is the monk of St. Swithun's 
however who paints the picture, and pos- 
sibly in a mocking spirit, as indeed in the 
whole story in which it is imbedded, that 
of the Christian boy murdered there as a 
Paschal victim by his Jewish master, in 
which the writer clearly has no faith. 



22 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Peter des Roches, 12051238. 

In Peter des Roches we see a prelate of 
a different type from that of his immediate 
predecessors, though, like them, trained in 
the service of the Crown. In close attend- 
ance on three kings in succession, his tastes 
and aptitudes had been determined by 
the special interests of Richard "the lion- 
hearted," whom he followed as knight and 
clerk and chamberlain. At Richard's court 
it was said in bitter jest that " he was more 
conversant with martial exploits than with 
the preaching of the Gospel." By quite dif- 
ferent qualities again he must have won the 
confidence of King John, to whom he ad- 
hered faithfully when others were estranged 
by the monarch's crimes and follies. He 
had his reward indeed. Treasurer of St. 
Hilary's at Poitiers, Prior of Loches, Dean 
of St. Martin's at Angers, with grants of 
lands and lucrative appointments, he was 
promoted to the See of Winchester in 1205, 
and though the election was disputed, it 
was confirmed after profuse expenditure 
at Rome, where he was consecrated by 
Pope Innocent III on the Sunday before 
Michaelmas. 

He brought back with him a commission 
to act as Receiver General of Peter's Pence, 
but the orders given for the collection were 
ignored both by Church and State. In the 
troublous times of the Interdict, which fol- 
lowed John's refusal to accept as Primate 
the Pope's nominee, Stephen Langton, and 
his seizure of the estates of Canterbury, 
Peter of Winchester is prominently named 
among the evil councillors of the King. 
His lands indeed were included in the 
general confiscation of Church property, 
but were soon restored, including even the 
manors of Wargrave and Meon, of which 
Bishop Godfrey was said to be deprived, 
and he remained in England when other 
Bishops left. Throughout he took a leading 
part on the King's side, both in the camp 
and in the council chamber, being associ- 
ated with Geoffrey Fitz-Peter the Justiciar 
in the war in Wales in 1209, and in the 
charge of the kingdom in 1213, when the 
King proposed to cross over to Poitou. 



When Fitz-Peter died he was made 
Justiciar in 1214, to the disgust of the 
barons, who " were indignant that an alien 
should be set over their heads," and " their 
anger became fury," writes a chronicler, 
" when he used his power to carry out his 
master's bidding to humble the pride of 
the stiff-necked nobles." At the signing of 
the Great Charter at Runnymede he was 
prominent on the King's side, and was, 
with the Nuncio Pandulf and the Abbot of 
Reading, commissioned to excommunicate 
the rebellious barons. By virtue of the 
Papal mandate they actually suspended 
Archbishop Langton, who declined to pub- 
lish the sentence in his diocese, and by like 
authority they excommunicated also Lewis 
of France and all his partisans. 

When King John died in 1216, Peter was 
one of his executors and took the chief 
part in the coronation of the young Henry 
at Gloucester, and became his guardian in 
concert with the Earl Marshal and the 
legate. Next year he was at Lincoln as 
" experienced in warlike matters " among 
the leaders of the army, by which the 
" excommunicated Frenchmen " were ig- 
nominiously routed. A contemporary poet 
describes at length in old French the 
adventurous spirit of the Bishop, who made 
his way through a storm of hostile missiles 
into the castle of Lincoln, encouraged the 
Lady Nicola who was besieged in it with 
promise of succour, and then issuing by a 
postern gate found a disused entrance into 
the town which had been walled up but 
could be cleared. Returning to the camp 
he led a storming party through the walls 
into the town. 

He was less confident of his prowess on 
shipboard, for shortly afterwards when the 
reinforcements sent to Lewis by his wife 
were on their way across the Channel, and 
Hubert de Burgh at Dover was eager to 
attack them before they could land on the 
coast, he and the Earl Marshal are reported 
to have answered, " We are not marines, 
or pirates, or fishermen, but you can go to 
your death." Hubert accordingly "having 
fortified himself with the viaticum of sal- 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



ration and donned the courage of a lion " 
sailed out and routed the invaders, while 
Peter was content to put on his episcopal 
attire and go forth to meet the victors with 
cross and banners and solemn forms of 
thanksgiving. The peace of Lambeth 
followed shortly and the Tower of London 
was handed over to him by Lewis when 
the French forces retired ; the castles of 
Winchester and Newark, with the county 
of Southampton, were also entrusted to his 
charge. 

The position of the Bishop as guardian 
of the young King's person was now a very 
strong one, and for some years his name 
constantly recurs in the Patent Rolls as 
drawing up or witnessing the official 
documents of the Crown, or authorising 
them with other members of the Council. 
His influence was only balanced by that of 
the Earl and the Justiciar. While it was 
their policy to restore the forms of con- 
stitutional government and to have it 
administered by English hands, he was the 
leading figure among the foreign servants 
of John who schemed and fought to retain 
their privileges and keep their hold upon 
the castles which had passed into their 
hands. The struggle lasted on for many 
years, and his intrigues were traced or 
credited in the repeated movements of 
open defiance or of secret plot which 
hampered the efforts of the loyal ministers. 
Already in 1219 on his deathbed, if we can 
trust the French poet, the old Earl advised 
his son to take Henry out of the Bishop's 
custody, and this was done for a time at 
least, though it was almost needful to use 
force. 

But he thought it prudent to retire from 
the scene awhile. First in 1221 he went on 
pilgrimage to Compostella, having his will 
before he started formally sanctioned by 
the King. There was some suspicion of 
treasonous intrigues with France, whose 
ruler boasted of support from English 
nobles, but of this there was no proof. 
Then while present at a solemn function in 
his own cathedral he put on the Crusaders' 
badge and had royal letters written to 
empower him to call for contributions for 



the enterprise. It was too late, however, 
to join the Christian warriors at Damietta, 
to the archbishopric of which he had been 
elected, for the Crusaders had been forced 
to surrender it already, so abandoning the 
Holy War awhile he found other scope 
for his energies at home. In 1223 a con- 
spiracy was made by certain barons to 
take by surprise the Tower of London, 
but failing in their scheme, they fled in 
haste. Summoned to answer for their 
conduct they made profession of their 
loyalty, but demanded the removal from 
power of Hubert de Burgh as a waster of 
the treasury and oppressor of the people. 
Hubert, who was present, broke out into 
passionate reproaches, charging Peter des 
Roches as the author of all the mischief, 
the malignant cause of all the misery 
brought about in the times of King John 
and his son. The Bishop, freely rendering 
railing for railing, threatened to drive the 
Justiciar from his seat of power, even at the 
cost of all he had, and rising from his place 
in council retired muttering curses as he 
went with the barons who were privy to the 
plot. 

Meanwhile the young King had been 
declared to be of age ; the Bishop's personal 
relations with him were less close, and his 
influence at court was weakened. He was 
clearly in league with the foreign adven- 
turers who were being forced to surrender 
their castles to the King. He sent one of 
his clerks to move the Pope on their behalf. 
He shewed openly his sympathy for the 
audacious Fawkes de Bre*aute" when an 
outrage on one of the judges itinerant led 
to the capture of the castle of Bedford in 
1224 and to the confiscation of his lands. 
The long letter in which Fawkes pleaded 
for the intervention of the Pope implies 
throughout his intimate relations with the 
Bishop, whose position became now pre- 
carious. Some sort of reconciliation with 
his rivals had been brought about by the 
Archbishop, and the Pope had written to 
Henry in his favour, but the castles were 
taken from his custody in 1224, and he was 
summoned to answer for encroachments in 
the forests of Hampshire, though the Chase 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



of Crondall had been purchased by him 
from the Crown. Provoked by these or 
other challenges he issued in full synod a 
sentence of excommunication against any 
who disturbed the rights of the Church by 
their aggressions. 

In 1227 the Justiciar, whose control over 
Henry's mind was now complete, advised 
him to announce in council his intention to 
take affairs of State into his own hands, 
and to remove from Court the Bishop and 
his confidants who " who had long acted as 
the King's pedagogues." For a time his 
ambitious schemes were checked at home, 
but in the East there were battles to be 
fought and laurels to be won. Once more 
he volunteered for a crusade, with many 
others, possibly like them, encouraged by 
the vision of the crucifixion seen in the 
heavens by a travelling fishmonger at Ux- 
bridge. The energy shown by Peter in the 
East was "laudable," "strenuous," "magnifi- 
cent," according to the chroniclers who have 
but few words of praise for him at home. 
He was busy in Syria fortifying Ca?sarea 
and Ascalon and Joppa before the Emperor 
Frederic arrived to take the lead, and with 
him he made triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 
He won there the respect of both Emperor 
and Pope, whom he helped afterwards to 
reconcile. On his way back in 1231, at the 
Pope's request, he arranged a truce with 
France, and finding the King engaged in a 
campaign in Wales, he " brought him more 
help than all the other bishops." The 
campaign ended, he invited the court to 
spend Christmas at Winchester, where he 
entertained them with sumptuous magnifi- 
cence. 

He soon regained complete ascendancy 
over the weak mind of Henry, and in 1232 
caused the chief Ministers of State to be 
removed, replacing the treasurer by Peter 
de Rievaulx, his creature if not his son. 
Against Hubert de Burgh, the Chief 
Justice, his old rival, extravagant charges 
were brought forward, and a charter of 
indemnity, granted by King John, was 
swept aside, on the ground urged by the 
Bishop, that its force expired with the 
donor. Influential citizens were warned in 



sinister terms not to screen the fallen 
statesman from the fury of a London 
mob, from whose hands he hardly escaped, 
only to be dragged from St. Edmund's 
chapel where he had sought sanctuary. 
Matthew Paris describes in indignant 
terms the swarm of needy and unscrupulous 
Poitevins and Bretons who were welcomed 
here by Henry, 2000 at the least, to occupy 
the royal castles, and be entrusted with his 
wards and be his treasurers and judges, 
while the Bishop closed the King's ears to 
all complaints of the oppression and mis- 
rule. 

Protests, indeed, were vehement enough. 
Richard, the Earl Marshal, first frankly 
warned the King that the magnates of the 
realm would not serve on his Council so 
long as he pampered the intrusive aliens, 
but the Bishop retorted that the King was 
free to summon whom he would to defend 
his crown and humble the pride of his 
rebellious subjects. The Earl was driven 
to take up arms, only it was believed to 
fall a victim to the Bishop's wiles. Then 
Friar Bacon, preaching before the court, 
told the King plainly that he would have 
no lasting peace till Peter des Roches was 
driven from his side, bidding him, with a 
play upon the name, as a cautious mariner 
beware of dangerous " rocks." Soon voices 
were raised in the Parliament of West- 
minster, October, 1233, against the evil 
councillors by whose intrigues loyal and 
upright men were forced into exile and ruin 
without trial by their peers. " There are no 
peers in England, as there are in France," 
was his insolent reply, "and the King may 
punish any found guilty by the judges he 
appoints." The other Bishops present with 
one accord threatened to excommunicate 
the King's chief advisers. He appealed 
against them to Rome, where he had 
been consecrated by a Pope. The prelates 
returned to the charge in Parliament, 
February, 1234, and brought a lengthy 
indictment against the malign influence 
which made John forfeit his people's love, 
lose Normandy, and risk the interdict 
and the ignominy of a tributary realm. 
To that was due the general discontent, the 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



crown's natural supporters ousted by aliens 
who lorded it over them in castle, treasury, 
and hall of justice. Finally, in April the 
new Archbishop Edmund, with other pre- 
lates present, threatened to excommunicate 
the King as well as his advisers if he still 
refused to listen. The "pious" Henry then 
gave way, and "sent Peter back to his 
diocese to attend to the care of souls, and 
meddle no more with the concerns of State." 

The Primate further exposed the forgery 
of a treacherous letter, written and sealed 
in the King's name, to the Irish chiefs by 
his adviser and without his knowledge, 
which brought the Earl Marshal to his 
doom. The Bishop, finding the port of 
Dover closed against him, sought shelter 
from the storm with Peter de Rievaulx in 
the sanctuary of his cathedral, and after 
deeds of violence from their pursuers, laid 
church and city under interdict, but this 
was taken off next day, when the offenders 
sued for pardon. 

The cure of souls to which he was dis- 
missed did not occupy him long, for next 
year the Pope, Gregory IX, summoned him 
to his side to do him service in the long 
struggle with the turbulent Romans. " The 
Pontiff knew that he had ample means, 
and if they failed the See of Winchester 
could supply them freely, and he preferred 
to see the treasure expended in his own 
behalf rather than elsewhere. Besides the 
Bishop in his youth had been in close 
attendance on the magnificent warrior king 
Richard, where he had learned to use the 
breastplate more than priestly vestments." 

In the war, in which Emperor and Pope 
made common cause, he conducted a large 
force of men-at-arms and bowmen to 
Perugia and helped the Pope to defeat the 
Romans at Viterbo with great slaughter. 
He returned about Michaelmas, 1236, in 
shattered health, and his career was nearly 
closed. 

In 1237 he declined to go as the King's 
representative to a conference summoned 
by the Emperor at Vancouleurs on the 
ground that Henry had written years before 
to the Emperor to express mistrust of him, 



and that his position would therefore be 
ambiguous. The next year he advised the 
King to give way to the remonstrances of 
his people angered by the foreign favourites 
who had flocked in since his marriage with 
Eleanor of Provence. His death soon 
followed, Qth June, 1238, at Farnham, "to 
the irreparable loss," says Matthew Paris, 
in marked contrast to his earlier language, 
" of the councils both of Church and State." 
He was buried in the Minster, where he 
had desired to be laid in a modest tomb to 
rest. His heart was taken to the Abbey of 
Waverley. 

He made a "noble" will, we read, in 
which large sums were bestowed on the 
religious houses which he had founded. 
These were Hales Owen and Titchfield of 
the Praemonstratensian order and Selborne 
for Austin Canons. The Hospital of God's 
House at Portsmouth was also his creation. 
Two Cistercian Abbeys, Netley and Clarte' 
Dieu were built by his executors out of 
funds which he had provided for the 
purpose. To the house of St. Thomas of 
Acre, for which he had done much already, 
he left fifty marks. Both Orders of the 
Friars found a home at Winchester during 
his time, and for the Dominicans he built a 
house near the East Gate in 1232. 

In the same year he received instructions 
from Henry to sell the underwood of the 
Forest of Bere, for the making of the 
"great hall of the King in the castle of 
Winchester," and further works were carried 
out under the direction of Master Elias of 
Dereham, to fit it for the scene of royal 
solemnities and the administration of justice. 

To the Bishopric he bequeathed a large 
number of sheep and oxen to be a perma- 
nent live stock, to be left by each later 
prelate to his successor. 

There is a significant silence as to his 
character in the Annals of Winchester, but 
a chronicler of Tewkesbury says that the 
monks of St. Swithun's found him "hard 
as a rock," and in 1219 he was instructed 
by Papal mandate to correct them, not- 
withstanding their " frivolous appeal. " 
Trained in the habits of the camp, he 



26 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



brought an imperious temper alike to the 
administration of his diocese, which he 
ruled "vigorously" (M. Paris}, and to the 
affairs of State, where his absolutest prin- 
ciples clashed with the policy of wiser 
statesmen, whose opposition he resented 
with vindictive rancour. Such influence 
might well encourage the violent self-will 



of the tyrant John, and dominate and per- 
vert the wavering feebleness of Henry. 
Not a plausible courtier, truckling to the 
whims of his three royal masters, but a 
strong man, greedy of power, loving mag- 
nificence and stirring action, with little in 
him of the bishop but the name. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



27 



William de Raleigh, 1243-1250. 

The six years that followed the death of 
Peter des Roches were a distressing time 
for the community of St. Swithun's and for 
the interests of the see. King Henry, who 
looked on the valuable appointments in the 
church as the suitable provision for the 
Queen's kinsmen, had set his heart on 
putting William, elect of Valence, into 
Winchester. The monks, disliking what 
they heard of him, and unwilling to accept 
a foreigner after their late experience 
proposed to elect William de Raleigh, a 
justice of the King's Bench, who was 
" learned in the law and estimable in all 
respects"(Matthew Paris). As a confidential 
minister he had laid the King's necessities 
before an assembly of barons and prelates 
in 1236, proposing that the council should 
control the expenditure of their grant. He 
had also been commissioned at the council 
convened by the legate Otho, in 1237, to 
warn him that nothing should be done to 
prejudice the rights of the Crown, and had 
then remained as canon of St. Paul's to 
watch over the interests of the state while 
the constitutions were being published 
there. Henry, seeing that they were loath 
to accept his nominee, and wishing to gain 
time, raised the frivolous objection that 
the two archdeacons, though electors, were 
not present in the deputation who came to 
ask for leave to proceed to an election ; 
then hearing that they were all agreed in 
their choice of William of Raleigh, he 
angrily remarked that his tongue had 
caused the death of more than the sword 
of William of Valence, whom they had 
rejected as a man of blood. The monks, 
therefore, were afraid to proceed further in 
the matter. The estates of the see were sadly 
used meantime, while the numerous train 
of the royal household passed from one to 
another of the manors, and lived on the 
produce of the lands. Concerned at the 
havoc caused by their delay, the convent 
again took steps to fill the vacant place. 
The king again interposed, even in their 
chapter, with cajolery and threats to make 
them accept his favourite, but they chose 
Ralph Neville, the Chancellor, in his stead, 



hoping that Henry would not reject his 
trusted minister. Loyal service, however, 
went for little when kinsmen or favourites 
were concerned. Royal influence and ample 
expenditure at Rome caused the election to 
be quashed, and the great seal was taken 
away to mark the displeasure of the 
monarch. 

Next year the convent of Coventry and 
the canons of Lich field elected William de 
Raleigh for their Bishop, as did also shortly 
afterwards the monks of Norwich, in the 
hope in both cases to escape rebuffs by 
the choice of a confidential servant of the 
Crown. As a man "of remarkable prudence 
and experience," he balanced deliberately 
the advantages of the two offers, and 
finally accepted Norwich in 1239, preferring 
to be further away from the " untamed 
Welshmen." He was consecrated at St. 
Paul's, where he was welcomed by a vast 
assemblage who fondly hoped that " as for 
a Matthew passing from the receipt of 
customs to the apostolate, so there would 
be joy in heaven when the courtier rose to 
be a saint." 

At St. Swithun's meantime the troubles 
thickened. A monk, Andrew of Brittany, 
" with secular force and the help of the two 
archdeacons," as a Papal letter puts it, but 
really with royal sanction, was thrust in 
as prior, an extravagant and overbearing 
foreigner, who stifled resistance with a 
strong hand, and canvassed busily in the 
interests of the elect of Valence, He 
indeed was removed by poison at Viterbo 
in November, but without immediate relief 
to the poor monks who had sent to Rome 
to gain the Tope's consent to their rights of 
free election, but had incurred thereby the 
displeasure of the King, who resented 
vehemently the exclusion of the aliens 
whom he favoured, and the elecion of 
William de Raleigh in which they finally 
persisted in 1240. 

In vain did Archbishop Edmund com- 
plain repeatedly to the Pope of the King's 
oppression of the Church, and the bishops 
in their synod denounce the evil councillors 
by whose advice so many churches were 



28 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



left vacant, and canonical election was 
obstructed. In spite of such ineffectual 
censures men came in 1241 to St. Swithun's 
from the court, to ascertain, with the help 
of the new prior, which of the monks 
persisted in their votes for William de 
Raleigh. These were violently expelled 
and subjected to shameful treatment at the 
instance of the prior. The Bishop of 
Norwich was called upon to pledge himself 
that under no conditions would he consent 
to be translated to the See of Winchester, 
but to this he steadily refused assent, not- 
withstanding insults and injurious treatment 
from officials encouraged by the court. 

At this time for nearly two years the 
Papal throne was vacant, and the question 
of the election to Winchester was in abey- 
ance, but Innocent IV, soon after his 
accession in 1243, ratified the choice of the 
harassed brethren of St. Swithun's, and in 
November the Papal mandate was delivered 
for the translation of William of Norwich 
to the long vacant See of Winchester. He 
started without delay to take possession, 
received in London pledges of obedience 
from such of his clergy as lived near the 
capital, but was warned by the King, 
whose favour he solicited, not to claim the 
bishopric without his leave. He pleaded 
the over-ruling duty of obedience to the 
Pope, and ignoring the frivolous objections 
raised to the validity of his appointment, 
made his way in haste to Winchester on 
Christmas Eve. The gates of the city were 
closed in his face by the Mayor, to whom 
peremptory orders had been sent, and the 
Bishop was insolently refused admittance 
first at one gate and then another, as he 
humbly walked barefooted round the walls 
vainly seeking for an entrance. Finally he 
turned from prayers to threats, and laid the 
city under an interdict, including in his 
anathema the monks who were the par- 
tisans of Prior Andrew. The manors of the 
see were seized and the tenants roughly 
handled by the fiscal agents, his supplies of 
food even were cut off, and public notices 
were issued denouncing any form of help 
or hospitality that might be offered to the 
Bishop. He took refuge first with the 



canons of Southwark and then slipped away 
on shipboard to St. Valery and Abbeville, 
where he found protection from the King 
of Fiance. 

Meantime there was no lack of influence 
used in his behalf. Three bishops first at 
Westminster rebuked Henry for his tyranny 
and threatened to place his chapel under 
interdict. Grosseteste of Lincoln wrote to 
Boniface, the elect of Canterbury, to beg 
him to intercede with Henry, and remind 
him that further opposition would violate 
the Great Charter. Boniface urged Henry 
to recall the fugitive ; Pope Innocent, not 
unmoved perhaps by the large offering of 
8000 marks lately made in his behalf, not 
only swept aside the special pleading and 
the promises of Henry's envoys, but sent 
an indignant letter to insist that the Bishop 
should be reinstated in his office and 
possessions. Under this pressure resist- 
ance died away ; the intruded Prior Andrew 
had already died ; Henry of Susa, Warden 
of St. Cross, the prime mover in the 
intrigue, retired with his gains to his own 
land, and after terms had been made which 
secured the interests of the courtiers and 
clerks who had worked on the passionate 
caprices of their master, the exile was re- 
called, landing at Dover on April 5, 1244, 
to the joy of all but the mischievous 
intriguers, for " it was hoped that his 
experienced wisdom and good feeling would 
further the best interests of the realm as 
well as those of his own see." He repaired 
presently to Winchester and removed the 
interdict, but the new prior and rebellious 
obedientiaries were deposed and the poor 
mayor was dealt with even more severely 
for the offence which he had been forced 
to give. 

There is little evidence of the good effects 
which had been hoped from his return. 
Again and again during this period Pope 
and King laid their extortionate hands on 
all classes of society in England, and the 
tacit compact between them made resist- 
ance almost hopeless. The Bishop of 
Winchester was one of the joint committee 
appointed to deal with the King's require- 
ment of a subsidy in 1244, which was 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



29 



granted after much debate. Two years 
later the Pope's demand of a contribution 
from the English clergy was addressed to 
the Bishop of Winchester and Norwich, 
and was enforced because the King failed 
to defend them, loudly as he had blustered 
at the first. There is no trace of in- 
dependent action on the Bishop's part. 
Though reconciled with the King his 
relations do not seem to have been cordial 
at first, for he begged Henry to dine with 
him when he kept Christmas at Winchester 
in 1247, as a token that all past offences 
were forgotten. The following Christmas 
the same sign of amity was given. 

In 1249 the Bishop took part in a 
remarkable scene in the Great Hall of the 
Castle at Winchester. Some merchants of 
Brabant had been robbed on the high road 
by men whom they recognized in the King's 
court. In fear of reprisals from their ruler 
Henry broke out into passionate reproaches 
at the bailiffs and freemen of the county in 
which robberies had been so frequent, and 
ordered that the gates of the Castle should 
be shut upon them. The Bishop begged 
him to remember that there were many 
strangers present who could not be con- 
federates in the crime, but himself formally 
excommunicated all who had taken part in 
the offence. The jury impanelled would 
not convict, being in league with the 
offenders. They were charged with collu- 
sion and imprisoned in a dungeon, from 
which they were to be taken to the gallows. 
A fresh jury was sworn, who after much 
delay, fearing for their lives, gave a true 
verdict, and the guilty were convicted, 
including many men of substance and 
official rank in league with the brigands 
whom it was their special duty to arrest. 

The same year the Bishop crossed the 
Channel to visit the Pope at Lyons, and 
remained in France eleven months to 
reduce his establishment and domestic 
charges. He had incurred heavy debts to 
secure the Pope's support, and struggled 
on with crippled means till death released 
him from his embarassment in September, 
1250, at Tours, where he was buried in St. 



Martin's church. On his death-bed he 
showed profound humility, professing that 
he had vilified and betrayed his Master's 
cause, and must be carried to meet the 
Eucharistal elements, rather than wait to 
receive them on his bed. 

The chroniclers tell us of the qualities of 
his head, rather than his heart, and we cannot 
lay much stress on the sally of King Henry 
that his tongue had such a fatal edge. That 
he could, however, be merciless as a judge 
and share the people's prejudices, appears 
in the treatment of the Jews of Norwich, 
who were accused of circumcising a 
Christian boy and reserving him for 
crucifixion. They appealed to the pro- 
tection of the Crown as King's bondsmen, 
but the "prudent and wary Bishop," as 
Matthew Paris calls him in his narrative, 
claimed them for the justice of the Church, 
and four of them were bound on horses' 
backs and dragged horribly asunder. 

He had intimate relations with the high- 
minded Grosseteste, but he was far from 
sharing the sensitive scruples which caused 
that Bishop to brave the displeasure of a 
Pope and refuse to institute to a church his 
unworthy nominee. The prelate would 
not allow an ignorant boy to be presented 
to a cure of souls, and wrote to deprecate 
the anger of his friend, the Treasurer of 
Exeter, who threatened an appeal ; Grosse- 
teste, however, offered to provide the youth 
with a pension till he was fit for better 
things. Nor did he shew much patience 
when Grosseteste wrote a learned and 
earnest letter to beg him to use his influence 
as judge to bring the law of the land into 
agreement on a certain point with the 
principles and canons of the Church, but 
scoffed at what seemed to him the Bishop's 
tedious and dogmatic style. 

Straightened as he was by debts incurred 
at Rome, he could not be generous like 
earlier bishops in benefactions to religious 
houses. The monks of Waverley, indeed, 
recorded that he had provided them with 
space for a fish-pond which they made near 
Chert, but they paid half a mark for it 
yearly as ground rent. The brethren of 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



St. Swithun's noted less gratefully that he 
restored a privilege of which he had before 
guilefully deprived them. In their own 
chronicle they said no more, but Matthew 
Paris represents them as complaining that 
they had gained nothing by their long 
stand in his behalf against oppressed treat- 
ment. They had hoped to find in him a 



kindly and considerate chief, but he had 
proved a hard taskmaster, and had caused 
them irreparable loss (immisericorditer 
persequebatur et irrestaurabiliter dampnifi- 
cavif). The spirit of faction had been busy 
with them under the priors set over them 
by Henry, and harmony was not restored 
for some years later. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Ethelmar de Lnsignan, 12601260. 

King Henry heard with scant concern 
of the death of William de Raleigh, and 
sent two trusted clerks without delay to put 
pressure on the convent to elect Ethelmar 
de Lusignan, son of the King's mother, 
Isabella, by her second husband, Hugh 
Count of La Marche. He had been pressed 
lately on the monks of Durham when that 
see was vacant, but they protested that he 
was too young and illiterate to fill so high 
an office, and were firm in their resistance, 
though Henry threatened to keep the see 
unfilled for many years till his brother was 
of riper age. The wealthy church of Wear- 
mouth and many other benefices were 
heaped on Ethtlmar, who required a special 
steward to keep account of the revenues 
thus accruing. 

A fortnight later Henry went to Win- 
chester to bring his personal influence to 
bear upon the monks, and a unique scene 
in the Chapter House is described for us 
by Matthew Paris. The King took the 
prior's place and preached a sermon on the 
text, " Righteousness and Peace have kissed 
each other." " Righteousness he would 
personate himself," though his whole life 
belied the claim ; " the cloister should be," 
he said, " the home of peace. By a woman 
came the Fall, through a woman came 
Salvation. So for his wife's sake he had 
been hard upon the convent, that would not 
make her uncle bishop, but for his mother's 
sake he would be gracious to it if they 
would only choose her son. Born in their 
city, baptised too in their font, he himself 
had a right to their devotion ; his brother 
right nobly born and a goodly youth would 
long warm them with his kindly light." 

The monks though not charmed by his 
eloquence knew what to expect if they 
refused compliance. From the Pope there 
was no hope of help ; the King, they 
thought, would veto St. Peter himself, if he 
were living. Their sufferings at the last 
vacancy had done no good ; they dared 
not face the like again. So with heavy 
hearts they nominated Ethelmar, provided 
papal sanction should be given for an 
acolyte of twenty-three to be made bishop. 



In due course the dispensation came, 
obtained by the customary means, and 
Ethelmar was allowed to enjoy the tempor- 
alities of the see, without performing any 
spiritual functions, and to retain besides 
the ecclesiastical revenues already held, 
and, adds Matthew Paris, "it is believed 
that there is no church of note in England 
from whose breasts he had not sucked the 
milk." The latter privilege, indeed, was for 
a time revoked owing to what a Papal letter 
calls "the importunate instance of certain 
persons." In July, 1251, he came to 
Winchester to take possession, with a 
numerous train of followers, in the presence 
of his brothers and the king, and gave a 
splendid banquet at which few Englishmen 
took part. 

Next year, however, when Pope Inno- 
cent IV sent a mandate to the bishops 
demanding a tenth of the church revenues 
for the king's use, Ethelmar, though with 
some hesitation, joined the bishops, headed 
by Grosseteste of Lincoln, in refusing the 
demand, and was therefore furiously re- 
proached by Henry, who reminded him 
that he should have been the last to oppose 
the interests of a brother who had cast to 
the winds every obligation in order to 
enrich him. 

A few days afterwards a bitter feud 
broke out between Ethelmar and Boniface 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, concerning 
the appointment of the Warden of St. 
Thomas' Hospital in South wark, to which 
both laid claim. The nominee of the 
former, and the chief official of the latter, 
were both violently handled, being dragged, 
the one to Maidstone, the other to Farnham. 
The Primate fired off excommunications, 
which the Bishop-elect declared of no 
effect, but which the Archbishop went to 
Oxford to repeat. High powers intervened ; 
the king for his brother, the queen for her 
uncle, the bishops for their Order's sake, 
and at the beginning of 1253 the kiss of 
peace was interchanged. 

Henry was now importunate for a money 
grant, as if intending to start on a crusade, 
and the bishops taking advantage of his 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



needs, sent in April to entreat him to 
allow the church liberty in her elections. 
Cruelly enough they chose for spokesmen, 
Archbishop Boniface and the Bishops of 
Salisbury and Carlisle, with Ethelmar, who 
all owed their places to his favour. The 
king with bitter irony deplored his errors 
in the past, and begged them to help him 
to correct them. Reminding first the 
other three how little their promotion had 
been due to their merits, he turned next 
to his brother, " and you too my Ethelmar, 
as all know, I raised to the noble eminence 
of Winchester by appealing to the fears 
and self-interest of the monks, though a 
pedagogue would have been more suitable 
for your ignorant youth. So set me the 
example all of you by resigning the posts 
you had no claim to, and I on my part will 
promote henceforth only men of worth." 
His hearers told him hastily that they did 
did not wish to speak about the past, but 
only had in view the future. Even after this 
sally the weak king is said to have desired 
to present Ethelmar to York when it fell 
vacant in 1255, and refused to accept the 
Chapter's choice, but their Dean, whom 
they elected Archbishop, secured without 
delay the sanction of the Pope, which 
overruled objections. 

The monks of St. Swithun's had soon 
cause to rue their weak compliance with 
the King's desires. Ethelmar demanded, 
as their abbot, that his sanction should be 
asked for the appointment to every office 
in the convent, and the obedientiaries 
should present to him their yearly state- 
ments of accounts. This was contrary to 
old usage and seemed likely to lead to 
further claims and they refused. In the 
same spirit they had declined in 1239 to 
let the legate Otho see their treasure, and 
had braved his spiritual thunders. They 
had now to face dangers much more real. 
Ethelmar besieged them in their church 
and tried to starve them to submission. 
To escape further outrages many found a 
shelter in friendly convents of their Order, 
and the Prior sought redress at Rome, but 
was too poor to pay the necessary price. 
The places of the fugitives were taken by 



men of low character, thrust in by Ethelmar, 
who despoiled the community, plunged it 
in debt, and would not stay his hand though 
even Henry begged him to desist. Poor 
prior William of Taunton, who had been 
honoured with mitre and ring and staff by 
Innocent IV before his death in 1254, had 
vainly been lavish of his gifts at Rome ; 
Andrew intruded in his place, had bribed 
more heavily. The terms of peace enforced 
by Pope Alexander IV in 1256 pensioned 
off William and brought the fugitives back 
perforce to St. Swithun's, where Andrew 
ruled in triumph by the grace of Ethelmar, 
who paid off the convent's debt to Caorsin 
moneylenders, but took some of its manors 
in return. There was no harmony however 
there, and the chronicler says that he 
prefers to drop the veil over the quarrels 
which impoverished and disgraced the 
convent to the gain only of the venal 
Court of Rome. 

By this time England had grown weary 
of misrule. At the Parliament of Oxford 
in 1258 the observance of the Great Charter 
and other concessions were demanded, and 
conceded by Henry and his son. His 
brothers insolently refused compliance, but 
gave way before the resolution of the 
barons, and fled to take refuge at Win- 
chester with Ethelmar. There was no 
safety there however from the gathering 
storm. Surrounded by the barons in arms 
they were forced to swear that they would 
leave England and not return to it without 
the consent of the King in council. Their 
estates were confiscated, and finally the 
Bishop elect and his brothers, with many 
Poitevins, crossed the Channel on July i8th 
to Boulogne, where they asked Louis IX 
for a safe conduct through his territory for 
themselves and permission for Ethelmar to 
stay in Paris for a while as a student at the 
University. Money on its way to them 
was seized at Dover and elsewhere, and the 
safe conduct through France was granted 
only after requests humbly repeated. Mean- 
while dark stories were abroad of outrages 
committed by the servants of the Bishop 
elect, and of English nobles poisoned by 
his brothers in his house. It was believed 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



33 



that the barons would never consent to his 
return, and the confiscation of his property 
seemed to include the temporalities of the 
see, and his title to the post. 

The monks of St. Swithun, regarding the 
see as void, elected, in 1259, Henry de 
Wengham, the Royal Chancellor, whom 
King Henry agreed willingly to accept if 
the Pope would not consent to consecrate 
his brother, but that minister himself 
prudently held back alleging his scant 
knowledge of theology and personal un- 
worthiness, and notwithstanding these mis- 
givings, he shortly afterwards accepted the 
See of London in its stead. 

An embassy had been sent to Rome to 
complain of Ethelmar's conduct, which 
indeed had been sufficiently disclosed 



before by Prior William, but Pope Alex- 
ander IV swept aside the charges brought, 
influenced by arguments which may be 
easily imagined, and on Ascension Day, 
1260, he consecrated him at Anagni, sending 
the Archbishop of Tours as legate, with 
plenary powers to lay England under an 
interdict in case of refusal to allow him to 
take possession of his see. He died how- 
ever on his way at St. Genevieve's in Paris 
in December, and what might have been a 
grave difficulty was thus disposed of. 

His heart was brought to Winchester 
and buried near the High Altar, and 
strange to say, the convent chronicler 
believed that miracles had been wrought 
over the spot. There may have been 
redeeming features in his character, but as 
to these history is wholly silent. 



34 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



John of Exeter, 12621268. 
Pope Urban IV after consecrating Ethel- 
mar de Lusignan at Rome, had sent off the 
Archbishop of Tours with a friar to threaten 
England with an interdict in case of refusal 
to admit him. They returned at once when 
they heard of his death at Paris in Dec- 
ember, 1260, but may have already sent 
instructions, as it appears that the Cathedral 
at Winchester was actually laid under an 
interdict by a Papal notary from the fifth to 
the twenty-fourth of January, on account 
probably of the attitude of the monks. 
They proceeded to take steps for an election 
without delay on February 3rd, and fifty- 
four of them, together with the represent- 
ative of the Archdeacon of Surrey, voted 
for their former Prior William, then Abbot 
of Middleton, who had suffered much on 
their behalf at the hands of Ethelmar and 
the Pope. Party spirit, however, and sinister 
influence were still at work in the Convent. 
Seven monks voted for the intruded Prior, 
Andrew, whom the chronicler of Dover 
contemptuously styles " illiterate (ydiotam) 
and utterly unfit." He indeed had to resign 
his office soon after proceedings in the 
Archbishop's court, but appealed at once to 
the Pope, and sent agents to Rome with 
weighty compliments to influential members 
of the Curia. 

Andrew had been the tool of Ethelmar 
and the foreign favourites, and as might be 
expected, the royal assent to his election 
was given in July, 1261. Pope Urban, 
however, swept aside both of the nominees 
of the convent, and on September loth, 
1262, consecrated to the bishopric John of 
Exeter, otherwise called John Gervase, who 
had been Chancellor of York, and was 
opportunely then at Rome. The Winton 
annalist says somewhat vaguely that the 
action of the convent was annulled, "not 
on personal grounds but from motives of 
another kind." The chronicler of Dover is 
more outspoken : "The Bishop was gener- 
ally believed to have risen to that eminence 
by divine providence because of his great 
learning, but so thought shortsighted men. 
He had obliged a minister of the Papal 
Court with 6000 marks, and had afterwards 



to give as much more to the Pope, who 
had heard of the transaction, and so left 
the Court conscience-striken with the guilt 
of Simony." Papal letters shew that the 
Bishop had borrowed money at Rome from 
merchants of Florence and Siena exactly 
to the amount which has been stated. On 
his way home he found King Henry in 
France, ill-content with the galling restric- 
tions imposed upon him by the barons, but 
he urged the monarch to return, and at his 
request celebrated mass at Westminster in 
memory of King Edward the Confessor, 
going on to Winchester for his enthrone- 
ment there at Christmas. 

Andrew, who seems to have regained his 
post as prior, was not present, we are told, 
" fearing for his skin," but the Bishop lost 
no time in deposing him, and had him 
locked up in the Abbey of Hyde. " By 
cunning fraud he managed to escape and 
had the effrontery to spread the fiction that 
he was freed from prison fetters by the 
merits of the martyred Thomas." He had 
indeed links of a chain hung up at Canter- 
bury as a thankoffering to the Saint. He 
then made his way to Rome to intrigue in 
a congenial sphere. 

On May 27th, 1263, the Bishop, by 
special mandate of the Primate, consecrated 
at Canterbury the Bishops of London and 
Salisbury, both of whom afterwards showed 
their sympathy, like him, with the popular 
movement in the civil struggle. 

The new Bishop had come to rule in 
Winchester in troublous times. There, 
even more than elsewhere, the distractions 
of social strife were felt in their full force. 
There was bitter feud between town and 
gown. The Bishop and St. Swithun's, 
which was new released from foreign in- 
fluence, were for the people and the great 
Earl, their champion ; the city was faithful 
to the cause of Henry of Winchester, who 
had loved his birthplace well. The citizens 
did not spare the possessions of the church 
when they levied enforced contributions 
for the royal cause. More than that, in 
their fear lest the monks should open the 
King's Gate, of which they had control, to 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



35 



let in the partisans of Simon de Montfort, 
they made a fierce attack upon the convent, 
and burned the King's Gate and the old 
church of St. Swithun's over it, together 
with the neighbouring houses. 

Next year, 1264, the citizens suffered far 
worse things than they had inflicted on the 
convent. Simon de Montfort, the younger, 
besieged the town, and gaining an entrance 
through one of the windows of the monas- 
tery, forced the nearest gate, so obtaining 
possession of the city and enriching his 
followers with a "vast quantity of plunder 
which was divided among the satellites of 
Satan n (Wykes). 

If the Bishop was in residence at Wolve- 
sey he had little to fear from the besiegers, 
for he had taken a decided part in their 
interest, being one of the representatives 
of the Barons in the conference at Brackley, 
and prominent among the Bishops on the 
side of the Earl of Leicester. The year 
before a Papal Legate, the Cardinal Bishop 
of Sabina, sent by Urban, was on his way 
to England with plenary powers to depose 
any Bishops who refused to excommunicate 
the rebellious Barons, and also to disinherit 
thirty of the latter. His messenger arrived 
at Dover with many letters, which were 
seized by the Warden of Dover Castle and 
sent to the Earl. The Papal policy was 
well known to be hostile to the popular 
movement, for Henry had been too con- 
venient a tool to be flung aside. The safe 
conduct therefore which the Legate de- 
manded was not given, and being unable 
to reach either King or Barons, he sent to 
require the Bishops to appear before him 
at Boulogne. Their plea that they were 
not allowed to cross to him met only with 
angry reproaches, and finally the Bishops 
of Winchester, London, and Worcester 
obeyed and went to represent their Order. 
They were bidden to return immediately 
and excommunicate Simon de Montfort 
and all his partisans. A Papal mandate to 
authorise this was given them, but as they 
were on their way homeward they were 
forcibly detained, either by sailors from the 
Cinque Ports or by the Warden of Dover 
Castle, who tore in pieces and flung into 



the sea the peremptory letter which they 
carried, and warned them not to act on it 
on peril of their lives. The Bishops, who 
had no wish to do so and were suspected 
of collusion with their captors, reported 
what had passed to a great meeting of 
prelates and magnates held at St. Paul's. 
A lengthy protest was drawn up, with an 
appeal to the Apostolic See or to a General 
Council, against any sentence of excom- 
munication or interdict, on the ground that 
as soon as tranquillity should be restored, 
there would be fair inquiry as to recent 
acts of violence and outrages on the rights 
and possessions of the Church, when 
justice would be done, and that meantime 
it would not be safe or politic to take hasty 
action. 

The baffled legate went back to Rome, 
but succeeded shortly after to the throne 
which was left vacant by the death of 
Urban IV, and his feelings towards Simon 
de Montfort's partisans were not likely to 
be more cordial after his unsuccessful 
mission. 

Before long came the fatal reverses of 
Kenilworth and Evesham with the downfall 
of the patriots' cause, and in the Parliament 
of Winchester in September, 1265, rigorous 
measures were taken against the defeated 
party. The Bishop of Winchester may 
have been present, as it is expressly noted 
that all but four bishops were summoned, 
who had been supporters of the lost cause, 
and he was not one of the excepted , but 
the Legate Ottobon arrived with plenary 
powers in November, dealing his interdicts 
freely where he passed. One of these was 
levelled at the Cathedral of Winchester, 
lasting, it is true, for a few days only ; 
another on the city itself, for which strangely 
enough the reason given is the entrance 
into it of the younger de Montfort, from 
which it had suffered so severely. In 
December the Legate held a council in 
London, at which he censured publicly in 
strong terms the bishops of London, Win- 
chester, Lincoln, and Chichester for siding 
with rebellious barons. He summoned 
them to come to him on the Monday 
before Palm Sunday, when further instruc- 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



tions were received from Rome, and then 
suspending them from office, he cited them 
to appear before Pope Clement IV within 
three months to hear his pleasure from his 
own lips. They were charged in the Papal 
rescript with disrespect to him when he 
was legate in the delay to come when they 
were summoned, and neglect to publish the 
sentences pronounced against the Earl of 
Leicester and his party, with having broken 
their oath of fealty to the King, with having 
held intercourse with the excommunicated, 
which involved them in like disabilities, 
and with having taken part notwithstanding 
in divine service. 



The Bishop started for Rome after 
Easter " with a heavy heart, leaving the 
legate to profit by the spiritualities of the 
See which passed into his hands, while the 
king applied the temporalities to his own 
uses." For a year he remained at the 
Papal court suing for pardon, which one at 
least of his brother prelates, involved in 
like disgrace, obtained at a heavy price, 
which he, perhaps, was unable or unwilling 
to offer. His death in January, 1268, settled 
the whole question, and a grave at Viterbo 
was then all that was required. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



37 



Nicholas of Ely, 12681280. 

As Bishop John of Exeter had died while 
in attendance on the Court of Rome, waiting 
for a pardon which was never given, it 
rested with the Pope to nominate his suc- 
cessor, in accordance with established usage, 
and the See of Winchester was conferred 
by him on Nicholas of Ely, then Bishop of 
Worcester, who, says Wykes, " with the 
greatest alacrity bade farewell to his first 
spouse, being captivated by the charms of 
one still more attractive." 

He had been raised to the Chancellorship 
after the Provisions of Oxford (1258), when 
the King's ministers were replaced with 
others in whom the barons had more con- 
fidence, but he was dismissed again from 
office in 1261, when Henry, released by 
Papal dispensation from his pledges, 
claimed his earlier liberty of choice. In 
1262, however, he became Treasurer, being 
then Archdeacon of Ely, and the next year 
he was re-appointed Chancellor, while the 
popular cause gained strength. Though 
the Great Seal was taken from him more 
than once, and his powers were expressly 
limited during the King's absence from 
England, he cannot have given much of- 
fence as the barons' nominee, for the failure 
of their cause in 1265 did not involve 
his fall. 

When Walter de Cantelupe died in 1266 
he was elected in his place at Worcester, 
and accepted by the King as a " wise and 
cautious man, conspicuous alike for literary 
eminence and refined demeanour" ( Wykes}. 
As such his name stands first among the 
twelve magnates chosen to arrange the 
terms of peace at Kenil worth in 1268, when 
the disinherited barons were allowed to 
redeem their lands. 

Translated to Winchester by favour of 
Pope Clement, he was enthroned there on 
Whit Sunday, 1268, entertaining afterwards 
at a great banquet many nobles who had 
come there to do him honour. A month 
later he was present at Northampton at the 
stirring scene when Prince Edward and 
many great men pledged themselves to 
start for a Crusade, as also when Edward, 
departing from the shores of England in 



1270, consigned his children to the care of 
Richard of Cornwall, shortly before his 
visit to the Chapter House at Winchester, 
when he begged the monks to pray for him 
while he was away. 

At St. Swithun's the sinister influence of 
Bishop Ethelmar, and the monks whom he 
thrust in, had left disorders and a factious 
spirit which were not laid easily to rest. 
Debts had been incurred by mismanage- 
ment and intrigues at Rome, and when the 
Legate Ottobon made his visitation in 1267 
he ascertained that more than 10,000 
marks were owing to moneylenders. Prior 
Valentine had resigned, and commissioners 
were appointed for a time to rule the Priory 
and restore its shattered credit. One of 
the first acts of the new Bishop was to 
replace Valentine in his office at the 
instance of the Legate, but it was a 
turbulent household to control, and in 1274 
the ex-Prior Andrew returned from Rome, 
and relying on support from his partisans 
within the convent and from the citizens 
outside, made an attempt to force his way 
into the Priory. The Bishop was on his 
guard however, and had posted his servants 
to bar the gates and prevent access to the 
Cathedral and the neighbouring buildings. 
Finding his men hard-pressed he sent out 
Preaching friars to ask for a day's truce, 
and gathered meantime retainers from all 
sides in sufficient numbers to repel any 
attack. After the assailants had withdrawn 
he excommunicated them and their abettors, 
and laid the town under an interdict for a 
whole week. So serious was the party 
spirit roused among the citizens that by 
order of the King's Council an inquiry was 
set on foot by the justices itinerant ; many 
disturbers of the peace were lodged in 
ward, and among them even an Archdeacon 
of Rochester, while others took to flight. 
To help probably to calm the troubled 
spirits and to strengthen the Bishop's 
hands, Archbishop Kilwardby came in 
November of the same year to Winchester 
where he was received with all due honour 
by the clergy and people, and soon after- 
wards held a visitation in the Priory, taking 
the other monasteries in succession. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Notwithstanding the efforts of high 
dignitaries the discords at St. Swithun's 
waxed rather than waned ; nearly all the 
brethren, it is said, were on the side of the 
arch-intriguer, Andrew, and in 1276, the 
prior, in despair of his relations with the 
mutineers, resigned his post. The Bishop 
promptly took possession of the manors of 
the convent, removed the obedientiaries, 
and appointed a new sub-prior. The king, 
who had just before restored quiet in the 
town by a peremptory order that they must 
keep the peace or forfeit civic privileges, 
now sent commissioners, by whose advice 
the Bishop reinstated Valentine as prior, 
deposing him soon afterwards however, 
and putting a Norman, John de Dureville, 
in his room. 

The change brought no improvement, 
and now in their turn two friendly abbots 
of the Order, from Reading and Glaston- 
bury, interposed with soothing words to 
stay the strife. At this entreaty " the 
Bishop laid aside all rancorous feeling 
towards the brotherhood, and gave them 
all the kiss of peace, save to those who 
were then moving the powers in Rome 
against him" (Ann. Wav.} But the 
pleading of the abbots must have failed, as 
the royal commission had before, for next 
year, with the consent of all concerned, the 
king took the priory into his own hands, 
appointing a guardian to rule it. The 
provisional arrangement lasted only for a 
year, after which the Bishop resumed the 
entire control, and nominated whom he 
pleased to office. 

It is not an edifying picture of the 
cloistered life, but the monks of St. 
Swithun's were not more quarrelsome than 
others ; like scenes were frequently re- 
curring, and the bishops who tried to do 
their duty and keep order in the convents 
had work enough upon their hands either 
as visitors or abbots. 

Of what Bishop Nicholas did outside St. 
Swithun's the chroniclers say little. We 
know that he took part in various solemn 
functions, in putting the pallium on Arch- 
bishop Kilwardby in 1273 and consecrating 
other prelates. As a high dignitary of the 



State he joined with other magnates in 
writing to Edward to announce his acces- 
sion to the throne and went to Paris to 
meet him on his way home in 1273. When 
in 1276 the King paid his first visit to 
Winchester after his return, he came down 
the next day with Queen Eleanor from the 
Castle to St. Swithun's and was conducted 
by the Bishop and the monks in stately 
procession in the Cathedral, where they 
remained awhile for prayer. 

He was magnificent in entertainments, 
for several banquets which he gave are 
specially described, and it is noted that 
when he dined in state at Waverley with 
his chief clergy in 1274 he did so at his 
own expense, and at the dedication of the 
church of the same convent in 1278 he 
provided "copiously and splendidly" for 
nine days for all the visitors ; on the first 
day alone 7066 of both sexes were counted 
at the dinner table. It was a light thing 
after this to send vension from Farnham 
for the enthronement banquet of Arch- 
bishop Peckham, who had found a visit to 
the Court of Rome a very costly pleasure, 
and had to send all round to his brother 
prelates to beg them to provide him with 
good cheer. 

-The Bishop died in 1280, leaving pleasant 
memories behind him, we are told, at least 
at Waverley, where he was buried in the 
Church which he had consecrated a short 
time before, but his heart was taken to 
Winchester, to be laid in the Cathedral. 
The small leaden case which contained it 
was placed by Bishop Fox in the wall of 
the third bay on the South side of the Choir 
Screen, when he re-arranged the remains 
of the distinguished men who had been 
buried in the Church, and there it was 
seen in 1887. 

He bequeathed to the convent a legacy 
of one hundred marks, and his executors 
also handed over to the monks an annotated 
Bible which had belonged to him. This had 
been lately lent to Archbishop Peckham, 
and was borrowed afterwards by Bishop 
John de Pontoise, to be kept for his use 
" as long as it might please him." 



EST COR NICHOLM IM 



[1CV I V5 COKPV5 EST AP\/n WA\/A 





[Copyright. 



The Enshrined Heart of Bishop Nicholas of Ely. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



39 



In memory of earlier relations the Bishop 
left thirty marks and a Bible to the Priory 
of Worcester, and his executors were re- 
quired to contribute to the expense of 
building a church for the Franciscan friars 
at Southampton, towards which, shortly 
before his death, he had promised to give 
help. 



The above illustration has been worked 
from a sketch which was made when the 
vase containing the heart of Bishop Nicholas 
was uncovered during alterations, June 
23rd, 1887, and seen as Bishop Fox had 



placed it. Over the cavity, which is in a 
single block of stone and about nine 
inches deep, was a plate of lead bearing 
the inscription : " Hie humatum est cor 
Nicholai Hely qui obiit anno MCCLXXix. 
Pridie Idus Februari," the lettering being 
much older than that on the screen. The 
vase was not touched, but was apparently 
of lead, wrapped round with a silk or 
damask napkin, fringed and sewn round 
the upper part, and of a very dark brown 
colour. The inspection was made in the 
presence of the Dean and several of the 
Cathedral clergy, and the covering plate 
and slab were reverently replaced. ED. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



John de Pontoise, 12821304. 
Soon after the death of Nicholas of Ely 
the monks assembled in the Chapter House 
together with the two archdeacons, who by 
established usage took part in the election, 
and chose the Chancellor, Robert Burnell, 
then Bishop of Bath and Wells, who had 
been pressed upon them by King Edward. 
It was a name, however, much in ill-odour 
at the Court of Rome, and the envoys sent 
to "postulate" for him found their eloquence 
quite unavailing in the presence of Pope 
Nicholas III. They were roughly told 
that the convent had been rash and dis- 
respectful in asking for a bishop of whom 
the Holy See had already shown its dis- 
approval, but by special grace the Chapter 
might make a second choice. It did so 
in November, 1280, when a committee 
of seven electors agreed upon the name 
of Richard de la More, Archdeacon of 
Winchester, " pre-eminent in learning " 
(Oseney Ann.), who was seated there among 
them. Archbishop Peckham, a purist in 
church discipline, withheld his consent on 
the ground that the Archdeacon held two 
benefices with cure of souls, contrary to the 
enactment of the Council of Lyons (1271). 
Weary of delay the bishop-elect appealed 
to Rome in person. The cause at length 
was duly heard before a new Pope, Martin 
IV, but as irregularities had been committed 
de la More was induced to give up his 
appeal, perhaps in the hope that the Pope 
would himself appoint him. When asked 
privately what sum he was prepared to give 
for such a grace, " like a man of strict con- 
science, fearing the stain of simony, he 
answered 'not a penny.'" The scandalized 
go-betweens told the cardinals what he had 
said, and on the morrow Pope and cardinals 
held a hasty meeting, ignored the wishes of 
the convent, and appointed John de Pontoise 
who was at the time detained by business 
at Rome, and had him consecrated at 
Civita Vecchia by the Bishops of Ostia and 
Velitrae, in June, 1282. No one indeed 
but Peckham cared much about the abuses 
of pluralities, for de la More procured a 
dispensation shortly afterwards, and John 
de Pontoise had himself in 1276 by Papal 



grace held together several benefices with 
cure of souls, besides a canonry and arch- 
deaconry at Exeter, as also the rectory of 
Tawstock. He was also a Papal chaplain, 
professor of civil law at Modena, and had 
been Chancellor of Oxford in 1280, and the 
Pope, in a letter to King Edward, described 
him as "a man of eminent learning whose 
character and conduct were in high esteem 
at the Apostolic See." He seems to have 
been an Englishman by birth, though his 
family came from Pontoise, and his name 
is variously given as Pountes, Pontissara, 
and Fanteise, and even absurdly as Saw- 
bridge, though the practice of translating 
names from the vernacular into Latin 
belongs to a later date. 

Edward, though displeased at the result, 
was induced by letters from Pope and 
cardinals to restore the temporalities to the 
new Bishop on condition that he bought 
the corn and stock on the manors at their 
full price. Resentful feeling lingered on 
however, and action taken by the Bishop 
with regard to the church of Crondall in 
disregard of the King's nominee caused an 
outburst of wrath the next year, which was 
serious enough to call for the intercession 
of Peckham, who wrote to both King and 
Queen deprecating the harsh measures 
taken against " a good man, wise and loyal," 
and reminding them that enmity to the 
Bishop would be regarded by the Court of 
Rome as directed against itself. Peckham 
took much interest in his behalf, as he had 
often written to him as his proctor in Rome 
in 1279, and again in 1282. 

With little favour at Court, and no secular 
duties to distract his thoughts, the Bishop 
could give his time mainly to the interests 
of his See, and to friendly relations with 
St. Swithun's, where there had been so 
much trouble in the past. There were still 
elements of disorder to be found there. 
During the vacancy of the See the Prior 
had refused to recognise the authority of 
the Archbishop, and had yielded only after 
sentence of excommunication. Peckham 
formally visited it early in 1284, and wrote 
to the Bishop to tell him of the measures 
he had taken against Valentine, who had 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



been expelled by Nicholas of Ely, and 
Andrew who for "notable misdemeanours" 
had been degraded from his office of prior, 
both of whom were contumacious offenders 
still. The Bishop, however, was minded to 
do more than maintain discipline by formal 
censures. He was anxious to settle matters 
in dispute which had caused much heart 
burning in the past respecting conflicting 
claims to the estates and the status of the 
conventual officials. It was decided amic- 
ably after conference before the King, that 
the obedientiaries should be freely elected 
by the monks, and that the prior, once 
appointed by the Bishop, should not be 
subject to removal by him ; on a prior's 
death the chapter should hold possession 
of the estates during the vacancy ; and all 
the lands and advowsons which it claimed 
as of old right should be secured to it 
except the manors of Gosport, Alverstoke, 
and Droxford, which the convent now 
consented to hand over wholly to the 
Bishop. The agreement was signed and 
sealed at Winchester in July, 1284. 

During this period both Pope and King 
laid heavy hands on ecclesiastical posses- 
sions for the defence of the Holy Land and 
objects nearer home, and the Bishop was 
involved in some unpopularity on that 
account, for he was commissioned by Pope 
Nicholas IV, together with the Bishop of 
Lincoln, to draw up a new system of 
assessment of church property in accordance 
with detailed instructions sent to them. 
Financial agents travelled through the 
country to take the evidence of the clergy, 
but notwithstanding that it was given on 
oath, they were taxed often on amounts 
two or three times as large as their own 
valuation. There were naturally loud 
complaints of the " most oppressive taxatio 
Nicholai" in which the fiscal agents were 
not spared. The Bishop had been charged 
himself with ^2000 for the expenses of the 
crown a few years before, and in 1294 an 
entry in the Patent Rolls shews that he 
paid one half of his income for the year, 
rated, of course, upon the new assessment. 

After this time he was frequently away 
from England, and there are repeated 



notices in the rolls of the formal leave of 
absence which was granted to him, and of 
attorneys appointed to look after his in- 
terests at home. Before he went, however, 
he interposed as arbitrator (amicabilis 
ordinator) in a dispute which had dragged 
on fifteen years between the convent of 
Waverley and the Archdeacon of Surrey 
on the subject of some small tithes, and 
had been referred on appeal to a variety 
of commissions appointed by the Pope. 
Thankful tribute to his good offices is 
recorded in the annals of the house. 

The Pope had need of him at Rome in 
1295, and sent a letter in July to request 
that the King would let him come in the 
interests of the Church. There are many 
notices in other Papal letters which illus- 
trate the value set upon his services at 
Rome. Requests were made repeatedly 
in his behalf that Philip of France would 
restore property belonging to the Bishop 
which he had seized, taking some of it 
even from the religious houses in which it 
had been stored for safety. His diocese 
was exempted in 1298 from the jurisdiction 
of the metropolitan, and placed imme- 
diately under the Apostolic See, provision 
was made for his secular clerks in London 
and elsewhere, and a large sum awarded 
him for his labour and expenses in collecting 
the Holy Land Tenth, which had been 
granted for six years to the King. 

At the end of 1295, Edward, whose 
confidence he must have gained meantime, 
sent him to arrange the terms of truce with 
France. The negotiations were protracted, 
for he seems to have been abroad on the 
King's service, till the beginning of 1298. 
He was probably not sorry to be far away 
during the critical time of 1297, when 
Archbishop Winchelsey braved the dis- 
pleasure of the King in obedience to the 
famous Bull of Boniface VIII, which 
forbade any grants in aid to the Crown 
from the property of the Church. 

Early in 1300 Edward wrote to the Pope 
to the effect that he was sending the 
Bishop of Winchester to France as his 
"proctor and special envoy, to hear and 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



confirm the Papal arrangements for peace 
between England and France," and pro- 
tection was granted him for two years' 
absence. Again in March, 1303, he "went 
beyond the seas on the King's service," 
and took with him the Archdeacons of 
Winchester and Surrey, and the Warden of 
St. Cross, powers being given to them and 
others to make a treaty with Philip of 
France, and a license for two years' absence 
was conferred. 

We next hear of him in a letter written 
by King Edward, 1st May, 1304, in which 
he begs the Pope to further the interests of 
his "beloved and loyal" Bishop who is 
visiting Rome on business connected with 
his See. He speaks in the highest terms 
of the profound wisdom and prudence 
which had long been devoted to secure the 
peace and welfare of the realm. What the 
business was and how he fared in it we are 
not told, and he died at Wolvesey in the 
following December. 

A few years before his death he had 
founded St. Elizabeth's College, in honour 
of the Hungarian Saint, in a meadow 
opposite the gate of Wolvesey, for a provost 
with six chaplains and six clerks, who, 
besides their meat and drink of a very 
meagre diet, were to receive salaries varying 
from six marks to twenty shillings yearly. 
It was not intended, as has been said, "to 
promote the interests of learning among 
his clergy," but to provide a fixed and 
ample round of prayers for the living and 
the dead. Another chapel called St. 
Stephen's in the same mead seems to have 
been also founded by him. 

In his earlier years of office, when his 
relations with the court were strained, the 
Bishop's rights were somewhat roughly 
questioned by the agents of the Crown. 
He had to defend a suit respecting his 
claim to the advowson of God's House, or 
the Hospital of St. Julian in Southampton, 
which he finally surrendered to the Crown, 
though it had been adjudged to him when 



disputed by the Corporation of Southamp- 
ton, and the Sheriff William of Brem- 
beleschete (Bramshott) had enforced the 
sentence. He was accused on frivolous 
grounds of breach of the Forest Laws, and 
the Warder of Porchester Castle hunted in 
his parks while he was away from England. 
It was more serious when the privileges of 
St. Giles' fair were declared to have been 
orfeited because it had been kept open 
longer than the term allowed by Charter. 
By special grace however the King renewed 
the grant. 

He shewed favour to religious houses in 
a much more questionable form than the 
endowments of preceding bishops when he 
helped them to secure for their own uses 
the rectorial titles of parishes of which they 
had advowsons. Thus he procured the 
assent of Pope and King to the impropria- 
tion of Wotton to St. Swithun's, of Michel- 
dever to Hyde Abbey, and Great Worldham 
to Selborne Priory. In all the cases the 
same reason is assigned of provision for the 
poor and hospitality to the wayfarers, 
though it is hard to credit the " multitude of 
poor and infirm who flocked" to Selborne. 
For St. Swithun's more is said of the 
expense of litigation and mismanagement 
from frequent changes of the priors, and 
the maintenance and enlargement of the 
Cathedral fabric, for which the bishops 
gave a special grant from the proceeds of 
the fair. The convent in its gratitude 
bound itself to have a Mass of the Holy 
Spirit sung daily for the Bishop while he 
lived, and a Mass for the dead after his 
decease, as also a solemn Mass with the 
trumpet on his obit-day. To his own 
foundation of St. Elizabeth's College he 
transferred the tithes of Hursley, subject 
only to provision for a vicar. 

His tomb was made on the north side of 
the choir, with the brief inscription on the 
monumental tablet : 

Defuncti corpus tumulus tenet iste Joannis 
Fountes Wintonias Praesulis eximii. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



43 



Henry Woodlock, 13061316. 

In Henry Woodlock we have the single 
case of a prior of St. Swithun's raised to 
the bishop's throne. Kings commonly 
dictated, or Popes provided, with scant 
regard for the wishes of the nominal 
electors, who seldom ventured to raise their 
voices in behalf of the man whom they 
knew best, nor are we told how it was that 
they could act freely in this case. 

Nothing is known of Woodlock's earlier 
life save that he was Prior from 1295 to 
1305, and that he was called also de Mere- 
welle from an episcopal manor from which 
he came. Here Henry of Blois had 
founded a college for four priests, which 
had been enlarged by Peter des Roches, 
and here Woodlock himself resided 
occasionally in later life. 

After the death of John de Pontoise the 
vacancy was soon filled up, and the tempor- 
alities were restored on March I2th, 1305 ; 
but before long the Bishop incurred the 
grave displeasure of the King by inter- 
ceding for Winchelsey, the disgraced 
Primate, and calling him his lord, while 
under the ban of Papacy and Crown. 
It is said that he was outlawed in con- 
sequence, and his effects seized, but 
Edward's death soon afterwards brought 
a speedy change. Winchelsey was restored 
to place and favour, but being unable to 
return at once to England he delegated to 
the Bishop of Winchester the chief part in 
the Coronation of Edward II, which took 
place before the high altar of St. Peter's, 
Westminster. 

It illustrates the proud spirit of independ- 
ence in the greater monasteries at this time 
that the Bishop found it needful to give 
assurance by letters under his seal to the 
Abbot and monks of Westminster that the 
ceremony in their church should not be 
regarded as any token of authority on his 
part, or as affecting in any way their rights 
and privileges. 

This was not followed by any prominent 
action of the Bishop in the affairs of State, 
if we except the exercise of the powers 
entrusted in 1310 to certain peers, lay and 



clerical, to elect Ordainers. We find ample 
mention of episcopal statesmen in con- 
temporary records, and we can trace in 
official documents the appointments of the 
financiers and judges who were promoted 
by the Crown to high places in the Church, 
but from such sources we learn hardly 
anything of Woodlock, beyond a bare 
notice of the leave of absence granted for 
a year in 1311 that he might attend a 
general Council at Vienne, and an entry of 
the daily pension of fourpence for each of 
the four Templars assigned to him for 
custody when the Order was suppressed by 
Clement at the Council. These sufferers 
from the unholy compact between a French 
tyrant and an unscrupulous Pope were 
distributed among religious houses, with 
adequate allowance for their maintenance, 
for the Bishop's prisoners at Wolvesey cost 
him only a farthing a day. 

Disinclined or unfitted by the habits of 
his cloistered life to take an active part in 
the politics of a troubled age, he had more 
time to give to the administration of his 
diocese, and to matters which went beyond 
the legal formalities of his official principal, 
or the powers delegated to Bishops in 
parlibus, on whom his predecessors often 
had relied during long periods of absence 
from their Sees. His Constitutions, a sort 
of lengthy pastoral containing detailed 
instructions to the clergy such as his 
predecessors found little leisure to formulate 
indicate a liberal and judicious spirit. 
At a time when monks were often jealous 
of the rival pretensions of the friars, and 
parish priests bitterly resented the intrusion 
of their preachers, he is urgent in advising 
that the travelling friars should be made 
welcome and hospitably treated, and allowed 
to shrive the penitent, but insists that the 
sanction of incumbents shall be first 
obtained. 

The religious houses at this period were 
claiming tithes and pensions in a multitude 
of parishes, but the Bishop, monk though 
he was, would have inquiry made in every 
case, and the title proved, and meanwhile 
would strictly guard the interests involved. 



44 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



St. Swithun's had dealt roughly with the 
Vicar of Wootton, the great tithes of which 
had been inpropriated for their use, and the 
Bishop writes to the brethren of whom he 
had been Prior to recall them to a sense of 
duty; "again and again has Richard, Vicar 
of Wootton, complained that your bailiffs 
dwelling there unjustly detain and refuse to 
hand over to him the portion of tithes 
assigned to him by reason of his vicarage 
out of your demesnes, and that as often as 
he demands it they scoff at him to the 
great prejudice of the said Vicar and his 
vicarage. Wherefore we enjoin you to be 
so good as to command your aforesaid 
bailiffs to pay and give up without delay to 
the said Vicar the portion of tithes and all 
other things due to him as Vicar from your 
demesnes aforesaid : acting in the matter 
so that the Vicar may have no occasion to 
return to us again for the aforesaid reason, 
and that we may be under no necessity of 
giving him a helping hand by reason of 
your shortcoming." 

He dwells at length on the oppressive 
dealings of archdeacons, rural deans, and 
their officials, and peremptorily forbids the 
exaction often made, familiarly known under 
the name of the "Archdeacon's pig," a 
charge of twelve pence yearly from each 
church in the Archdeaconry. 

Familiar doubtless with the traditions of 
disorder and misrule in his own convent 
fifty years before, he knew how often 
vigilant care and a firm hand were needed 
to restore peace among the inmates of the 
cloister. Earlier bishops, much occupied 
by affairs of state at a distance from their 
Sees, could rarely deal patiently with 
conventual troubles, but the visitation 
decrees addressed by Woodlock to the 
religious houses of his diocese shew that 
his oversight was real and watchful. The 
bishops still had large powers of control. 
The greater houses indeed had drawn 
themselves away and enjoyed an independ- 
ence secured by papal grant, but in the less 
important monasteries episcopal authority 
was complete. The evil was that it was 
exercised too fitfully and weakly, till the 
constitutional ailments became inveterate 



and fatal. Difficulties began often in a 
shrinking income, for gifts of large endow- 
ments were wholly of the past, and it was 
often hard to keep their creditors at bay, 
and to repair their ruinous homes. Thus 
Hyde Abbey, once the close neighbour and 
rival of St. Swithun's, was in such a sorry 
plight with some of its buildings still in 
ruins and the estates insufficient for their 
restoration that the Bishop issued in 131? a 
letter to recommend its claims to charitable 
help, and directed that collections should 
be made in its behalf in all the churches of 
the diocese. 

Often the ruler was incompetent or selfish, 
the brethren disorderly and factious, and 
then a change of Head was needful, and 
drastic measures were decreed. The nun- 
nery of Wintney$ for example, had suffered 
from the misrule of its Abbess, and was 
visited by the Bishop in 1308, and again in 
1315, after which injuctions and decrees 
were sent by him. The Archbishop shortly 
afterwards complained that the nuns, left 
without the necessaries of life, had been 
forced to leave their cloister, and find 
shelter where they could. A commission 
was issued immediately with full powers to 
deal with the abuses. 

At Hyde Abbey, not much later, the 
monks were disorderly and dissolute, and 
the Abbot was sharply censured because 
his spiritual children made themselves vile, 
and he, like Eli of old, restrained them not. 

It is unnecessary to give further illustra- 
tions. With change of names and local 
colour the descriptions of conventual dis- 
orders are much the same in different parts 
of England ; they illustrate too clearly the 
waning enthusiasm of monastic life, and 
the degradation of a high ideal. 

The Bishop does not appear to have 
discouraged pluralities, at any rate in his 
own family, for in 1312 a Papal dispensation 
was procured, at the King's request, for 
" Richard de Wodelok, nephew of Henry 
of Winchester to accept one or more 
benefices to the value of ^100," he being 
already rector of three parishes, with pre- 
ferment at Itchen Abbas. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



45 



He died at Farnham Castle on the i8th 
of June, 1316, but his body was taken to 
Winchester, and buried at the entrance of 
the Choir. Besides the thirty marks a year 
granted by him, as by earlier bishops, from 



the tolls of St. Giles' Fair, for the repairs 
of the Cathedral, he had bestowed various 
ornaments upon it, and also enriched the 
church of Merewelle where his early years 
were spent. 



4 6 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



John de Sandale. 

As soon as the two monks of St. Swithun's, 
who in accordance with the usual custom 
were sent to announce the death of Bishop 
Henry of Winchester, had arrived at Wind- 
sor, and obtained the requisite license to 
elect a successor, the King wrote to the 
Chapter, desiring that his Chancellor might 
be promoted to the vacant post. Letters 
to the same effect were written by the 
Queen and several of the nobles. Aymer 
de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, the King's 
cousin, was also urged repeatedly to go 
without delay to Winchester, and use such 
influence as he could to further the same 
end. Accordingly on the 2;th of July, 1316, 
after Mass in the Cathedral, the Chapter 
formally elected John de Sandale, who had 
filled for many years a prominent place in 
the service of the crown. 

Born probably near Doncaster, in one of 
the manors of Wheatley, of which Sandale 
was a member, he is first heard of as a clerk 
in the King's Wardrobe in 1294, then as 
Keeper of the Royal Mints, and in 1305 as 
Chamberlain of Scotland, being employed 
meanwhile in a variety of financial charges 
in Gascony and elsewhere. After the ac- 
cession of Edward 1 1 he became Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, and was Treasurer in 
1310. The latter office he resigned when 
he received the Great Seal as Chancellor 
in 1314. 

In return for the arduous work involved 
in these secular offices of high import- 
ance, many ecclesiastical appointments 
were conferred upon him, their emoluments 
being regarded as part of his official pay. 
By traditional usage the servants of the 
crown could claim to dispense with resi- 
dence and delegate their spiritual duties, 
and neither John de Sandale nor his master 
had any scruples in this respect. But 
pluralities on such a scale required special 
treatment, and as the conditions are de- 
scribed for us in unusual detail, it is of 
interest to note the various stages. 

As early as 1305 application was made 
to Pope Clement V to allow him to retain 
a number of benefices which he held without 
proceeding to higher orders than the sub- 
diaconate, notwithstanding adverse decrees 



of the Council of Lyons. The reply was 
favourable, and the indulgence granted. 
But the license only covered the irregulari- 
ties of the past, and when more benefices 
were conferred or promised it was needful 
to take further steps from time to time. A 
letter was written in the King's name, de- 
scribing the exceeding merits of John de 
Sandale, and the charms of his personal 
character, and begging the Pope to give a 
favourable hearing to the pleas that would 
be urged by the special messenger des- 
patched. Cardinals at Rome in one case 
as many as fourteen received also royal 
letters on the subject, and the agent 
probably had something weightier than 
verbal arguments to offer to them. In due 
course the answer from the Papal court 
arrived. With stately condescension the 
Pope "benignly favours those who, walking 
in the paths of virtue, devote themselves to 
the service of exalted personages." The 
irregularities were lengthily recounted and 
condoned, and sanction given to more 
benefices still to be conferred, amounting 
in value to a sum definitely fixed. Three 
times this process was repeated, the letters 
growing longer as the aggregate amount 
was larger ; in the last rescript in 1313 the 
pluralist was no longer a subdeacon but a 
priest, but in no case was residence to be 
required, or any duties save by deputy en- 
forced. In 1315 therefore he held, besides 
the chancellorship of St. Patrick's, Dublin, 
and the treasurership of Lichfield, eight 
prebendal stalls and ten rectories, the total 
income of which amounted to much more 
than ten thousand pounds of present value. 
On September 22nd, 1316, the election 
was confirmed, the temporalities were re- 
stored, and he began at once to exercise 
his official powers. The " recognition 
money," of fixed amount, payable by the 
tenants of the manors at the accession of 
each bishop, was duly collected by the 
bailiffs. On October 3ist the ceremonies 
of consecration were performed at Canter- 
bury by Archbishop Reynolds, and imme- 
diately afterwards the Bishop held two 
Ordinations, at Sturry and at Milton, by 
permission of the Archbishop, but to the 
first tonsure only. On the fourth Sunday 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



47 



in Lent he was enthroned at Winchester, 
the King coming from Clarendon to be 
present in the Cathedral and in the Great 
Hall of Wolvesey, where a feast was given, 
for which elaborate preparations had been 
made, mandates being sent to the officials 
of the crown at the Cinque Ports and else- 
where to assist in providing fish for the 
occasion, as instructions had been given 
before to have venison sent to the Bishop 
from the royal forests. The accounts were 
so minutely kept that we can read about 
what was paid to carpenters and plumbers 
for petty repairs needed for the Hall, and 
for iron hoops required to strengthen the 
casks of wine and beer. 

The services of so able and experienced 
a minister could not easily be dispensed 
with, and the Bishop retained the office of 
Chancellor for a year and seven months 
after his consecration, though on several 
occasions he found it necessary to deliver 
the Great Seal to the custody of various 
officials, as when he went on pilgrimage to 
Canterbury, or left the court at York or 
Lincoln in order to discharge episcopal 
duties in the south. Even when he was 
allowed to resign the Chancellorship, it 
was only to be made Treasurer once more, 
and to struggle with the financial embar- 
rassments in which the Crown was now 
involved from the expenses of the war with 
Scotland, and the extravagances of the 
royal household. 

Notwithstanding the pressure of his 
secular duties he did not seek the help of 
other bishops, like so many of the Ministers 
of State, but conducted himself the cere- 
monies of his Ordinations and visited re- 
peatedly many of his manors and the 
neighbouring churches. In one of these 
visits to a vicar of Micheldever, his kins- 
man, the house of the vicarage was burnt 
down during the Bishop's stay in it. 

The royal letters to the Pope in his 
behalf did not cease entirely, though after 
his promotion to Winchester dispensations 
of the same kind were not needed. Early 
in 1317, in support of some request made 
at Rome, the King wrote to " petition his 
Blessedness to vouchsafe to the Bishop 
a man of the highest character, of great 



reputation, distinguished for honesty of life 
and conversation, zealous in the cause of 
justice, and endowed with manifold virtues, 
and ever labouring strenuously to maintain 
the liberties of the Church so abundant a 
measure of grace and favour for the work 
he has in hand, that he may be able the 
more profitably to exercise in the fear 
of the Lord, the office committed to his 
trust, and render opportune assistance and 
counsel in State affairs." The only indul- 
gence however of which we have any record 
at this time is the license given on March 
I7th, 1317, "conceding with loving favour 
the means of enjoying, according to desire 
expressed, a peaceful conscience, and a 
mind free from commotion." He had leave 
to choose for confessor a discreet priest, to 
hear his confession, and enjoin a salutary 
penance of his offences, even if such as 
under ordinary circumstances would require 
the intervention of the Apostolic See. 

Another occasion of royal intercession 
involved wider interests, and deserves more 
explanation. In 1318 Pope John XXII 
suddenly revoked all the dispensations of 
plurality which had been granted by 
Clement V, and demanded in each case 
the immediate resignation of all the bene- 
fices but one so held with cure of souls. 
Returns of the churches thus surrrendered 
were to be made out in every Diocese for 
the Pope's use. In that of Winchester 
thirteen were accordingly vacated. An in- 
teresting letter was addressed to the Pope 
on May 3Oth by nearly all the Bishops of 
the Province of Canterbury, describing in 
strong terms the forlorn condition of the 
many parishes so left without a pastor, as 
also of the others to which in earlier days 
aliens had been preferred, ignorant of the 
language even of their people, careless of 
the duties of hospitality, and neglectful of 
the ruinous condition of the rectorial build- 
ings. They beg therefore to be allowed 
themselves to present to the benefices 
which were left without incumbents, or to 
draw up lists in separate schedules of ap- 
proved clerks whom the Pope might him- 
self appoint to the vacant churches. This 
was followed a few days later by a special 
letter of Edward on the same subject in 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



behalf of his Chancellor, whose wide ex- 
perience alike in his secular and spiritual 
offices made the patronage at his disposal 
insufficient to reward the services of de- 
serving men. 

A month after his acceptance of the office 
of Treasurer in 1318, he retired to South- 
wark, and remained there mainly till his 
death on November 2nd, 1319, though with 
occasional visits to Farnham and Wolvesey, 
and other places in his Diocese. He ap- 
pears to have been in failing health for 
some time past, and obliged to excuse his 
absence from Convocation, and to seek 
repose. 

The funeral took place on Sunday, the 
nth, when the Mass of Requiem was sung 
in the Church of St. Mary, Southwark, 
followed by a great dole of alms to the 
poor, and the customary dinner to the 
mourners present at the ceremony. That 
the number of the guests was a very large 
one may be gathered from the entries of 
the kitchen expenses of the day, of 14 
carcases of beef, 78 sheep, 24 pigs and 22 
calves, 8 swans, 140 geese, 240 fowls, and 
1300 eggs, besides fish of various kinds. 
There were also 320 gallons of wine and 
1 143 gallons of beer consumed. 

Of his character and powers we have no 
other evidence than the many offices of 
state to which he was preferred and the 
affectionate language of the King's letters 
in his behalf. The former amply prove 
the value set upon his services ; the latter 
also speak of " the modesty and gentleness, 
which won the love of both his superiors 
and inferiors, and earned for his praise- 
worthy administration the love of one and 
all." Though the Court was unwilling to 
forego its claims upon his services, he 
seems to have devoted all the attention that 
was possible to the cares of his Diocese, 
and to have returned to it as often as he 
could, to have travelled to and fro among 
his manors, the dilapidations of which were 
valued at his death at a much lower figure 
than for several of his successors in the 
See. They were evil days in which he 



lived, in which reputations were not spared 
but in his case calumny was silent. 

He left nothing to be disposed of in 
charity at his death beyond the funeral 
dole, but benefactions during his lifetime 
to the Friars Preachers and Franciscans 
are recorded, as also some help in time of 
need to the convent of Ivinghoe. 

His tenure of the bishopric was too short 
to enable him to meet the heavy expenses 
and claims of the crown during the first 
year, and the day after the King heard of 
the death of the servant whom he had 
praised so highly, writs were issued for the 
seizure of his effects to recover debts in- 
curred and taxes still unpaid. Inquiries 
were made even as to the gold and silver 
plate that had belonged to him, which 
members of his family were said to have 
carried off after his death. More than 
twenty years later the household furniture 
of his executor was seized in part payment 
of a heavy debt still due from the Bishop's 
estate. 

Little is told us of his relations with the 
brethren of St. Swithun's. These during 
the vacancy had used defiant language 
about the Archbishop's Commissaries, 
whose formal visit they were unwilling to 
allow. Reynolds did not, like Peckham in 
like case, deal in excommunications, but 
wrote an angry warning to the convent, 
accusing it of encouraging " conspiracies 
and conventicles " elsewhere. One of the 
first acts of the Bishop had been to procure 
for the convent license to hold in mortmain 
more lands and rents to the value of ,50 
and advowsons to the value of ,100, and 
he also confirmed the grant of 30 marks for 
the Cathedral fabric. He proposed at a 
later time to come to them as Visitor, but 
the stress of public duties allowed him no 
leisure for the purpose. 

For the City of Winchester he procured 
leave to levy a murage tax for seven years, 
which enabled it to expend on the fortifi- 
cations of the town the produce of tolls 
exacted on the wares and provisions brought 
into their markets. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



49 



Rigaud de Assier, 13201323. 

Earlier Bishops had commonly owed 
their preferment to the Crown, which they 
had long served in secular employments, 
but after Sandale's death the See was the 
reward of a financial agent of the Papal 
Court. As soon as the news of the vacancy 
reached King Edward II, he wrote to Pope 
John XXII, who was known to have re- 
served to himself the next appointment, 
begging the post for young Henry de 
Burghershe, nephew of the steward of his 
household, who, thanks to royal favour, 
gained the next year the bishoprick of 
Lincoln. Meantime however Edward had 
granted the congi d'ttire, and had assented 
to the election of Adam de Wynton, a monk 
of the Priory, who started immediately for 
Avignon to sue for the Pope's sanction. 
The nominees of both King and Chapter 
were summarily set aside, the latter re- 
maining on at the Papal Court two years 
in the hope of receiving some promotion, 
and in sorry plight because of the scanty 
remittances which the Convent could afford 
to send him. 

On November 26, 1319, a Bull of Pro- 
vision was issued in favour of Rigaud de 
Assier, whose "knowledge of letters, refine- 
ment of manners, and unswerving fidelity " 
were stated to be well known by experience. 
Assier, from which Rigaud took his sur- 
name, was a village not far from Cahors in 
Aquitaine ; he was a native therefore of the 
same district as the Pope, by whom he had 
been sent to England in 1317 as a Nuncio, 
to set in order the collection of Peter's 
pence, and other dues which had not been 
regularly paid, with letters of request to the 
English prelates to assist him, and provide 
for him a stipend of seven shillings a day. 
Canonries in London and Salisbury were 
assigned him, and he was rewarded also for 
his services with the office of Papal Chap- 
lain, and with the dignity of Sckolasticus 
or Chancellor of the Church of Orleans. 
No little tact and discretion was required 
to exercise without offence the duties of his 
financial office. Most of the foreign col- 
lectors whom we read of left an ill-name 



behind them when they departed from our 
shores, and a letter in the Close Rolls of 
6 February, 1318, speaks of "clamorous 
and tumultuous complaints of proceedings 
tending to the impoverishment of many 
persons, both clerical and lay, and to the 
prejudice of the crown." Formal prohibi- 
tions were therefore issued against such 
unwarrantable practices on his part. The 
hardships implied however have left no 
further traces in the history of the times, 
and unpalatable to Englishmen as his 
work might be, the Pope at least was well 
content. 

He was formally excused from the trouble 
and expense of an immediate visit to the 
Apostolic See, and allowed to seek orders 
and consecration from any bishop of his 
choice. The temporalities were restored 
on April 17, and he began to exercise the 
powers of his office, but he was not ordained 
Priest till some months later, and on Nov- 
ember 17, 1320, he was consecrated at St. 
Alban's Abbey by the Bishop of London, 
with the help of other Bishops. 

The Pope had evidently hoped that 
Rigaud would exert some restraining in- 
fluence on the misguided policy of King 
Edward, to whom he had written in July, 
urging him to be cautious and to give 
attentive hearing to the advice of the 
Bishop-elect. 

During the short vacancy of the See 
the royal agents seem to have exercised 
their temporary powers on the episcopal 
estates with little scruple. Fifteen hundred 
large trees had been cut down in his woods, 
and fines at St. Giles' Fair had been taken 
by the King's Clerk of the Markets, though 
by old usage they were due only to the 
Bishop. Formal petitions were issued in 
his name, and enquiries made in Parlia- 
ment upon the subject. During the next 
year there are few traces of personal 
activity on the Bishop's part in the ad- 
ministration of his diocese, beyond the 
exercise of his rights to nominate nuns in 
various convents, and the appointment of 
penitentiaries and the formal institutions of 
incumbents. The ordinations were held by 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



a Dalmatian bishop, Peter of Corbavia, 
who had assisted at his consecration, and 
Walter de Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter, was 
licensed also to hold ordinations within the 
Diocese of Winchester. 

From February to May, 1321, he was 
detained on the borders of Scotland as 
one of the Commissioners deputed to treat 
for peace with Robert de Brus, and Edward, 
in a letter to the Pope, writes in grateful 
terms of the painstaking and loyal efforts 
of the Bishop in his behalf. On the failure 
of the negotiations he returned to South- 
wark, proceeding afterwards to Winchester, 
where he was enthroned on Whit-Sunday, 
June the 7th. On the following Tuesday 
he visited a few other manors, and then 
returned to Southwark. 

The clergy of his diocese had known 
him mainly hitherto as the collector of 
the Papal dues, in which relation they had 
no special cause to love him, still less 
when leave was granted him to exact a 
subsidy of moderate amount from all the 
clergy, regular and secular alike, of his 
diocese, to meet the losses and expenses 
in his service to the Papal Camera, the 
debts incurred by him being recognised as 
very heavy. They would sympathise more 
warmly with him when he publicly deplored 
the turbulence and civil discords that were 
rife in England. In a letter from Farnham 
to the Prior of St. Swithun's he ordered him 
to assemble his brethren with the monks of 
Hyde and the nuns of St. Mary's and with 
the parochial clergy to make a solemn pro- 
cession through the city, with prayers for 
the peace and well-being of the realm. 

Soon afterwards the Bishop and others 
were deputed to go to the Papal Court at 
Avignon to transact certain business affect- 
ing Edward and the state of his kingdom, as 
also the affairs of Scotland, and in January, 
1322, he obtained letters of protection for 
James Sinobaldi, the Archdeacon of Win- 
chester, and others of his suite, as also 
commendatory letters to Philip of France 
and to the Pope, and on the i8th he crossed 
from Dover. He seems to have remained 
in attendance on the Papal Court until 



Tuesday, the I2th of April, 1323, when, 
after an absence from home of fifteen 
months, he died at Avignon, and was 
buried there. 

At Winchester he was little known, for 
he appears to have been at Wolvesey only 
for his consecration and during the follow- 
ing November, and he was not much more 
at Farnham. Taken away at a very early 
age before his maturity, says the chronicler 
of St. Alban's he could leave no mark 
upon the diocese where the administrative 
work was mostly delegated to others. Col- 
lectively, indeed, the clergy heard from him 
mainly when some demand was made upon 
their purses, as in the case of the " moderate 
subsidy " sanctioned by the Pope, or of the 
contribution of one farthing in the pound, 
as determined by the bishops generally, for 
the maintenance of a Professor of Hebrew 
and Greek at Oxford, or in the mandate 
admonishing the clergy to pay their quota 
towards the salary of their proctor at the 
Parliament. 

In the University of Oxford he showed 
no interest, for it is once only named in 
the twenty-six dispensations for residences 
granted to incumbents to enable them to 
pursue a course of liberal studies. 

Though many were admitted by the 
Bishop to the first tonsure, only one general 
ordination was held by him, that at Bishop's 
Waltham in 1321 ; the rest were conducted 
by Peter of Corbavia, as were other epis- 
copal ceremonies. His brother Gerald, 
Prior of Peyrusse, had been summoned to 
his help at his appointment, and ruled the 
diocese as Vicar-General during Rigaud's 
absence, accepting himself, however, no 
preferment, though Bertram de Assier, who 
became Rector of Freshwater and Master 
of St. Cross, was probably his nephew. 
Gerald acted as the Bishop's executor, and 
in his accounts a sum of 3270 was re- 
turned by him as due to the Crown for the 
corn and stock on the manors sold to the 
Bishop, and for fines and taxes still unpaid. 
Like his predecessor, he had not had time 
to recover from the heavy debts incurred 
at his promotion. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



John de Stratford, 13231333. 

When Rigaud de Assier died at Avignon 
in attendance on the Papal Court in April, 
1323, it rested with Pope John XXII, ac- 
cording to established usage, to nominate 
his successor. The choice fell on John de 
Stratford, a lawyer of high repute, who 
had served his University of Oxford in 
its suit with the Dominicans, and had 
been employed in affairs of Church and 
State as Dean of the Court of Arches 
and special envoy of the Crown. In recogni- 
tion of his merits he had been rewarded 
with a variety of ecclesiastical preferments, 
passing from the benefice of his birth-place, 
Stratford-on-Avon, to a Canonry of York 
and Archdeaconry of Lincoln. 

As he had been some time at the Papal 
Court engaged on business of the Crown 
with Bishop Rigaud, his talents may have 
attracted notice there, and the chronicler, 
Blaneforde, accepts the statement that the 
preferment was the Pope's free gift, un- 
influenced by prayers or presents. Some 
Papal letters put a different face upon the 
matter. One sanctions a loan of 2000 
about 30,000 in present value to cover 
his expenses at the Court ; a second presses 
for speedy payment to the money-lenders ; 
a third remits ecclesiastical penalties in- 
curred by the delay, on condition, however, 
that the debt should be immediately dis- 
charged. The Papacy, which had in earlier 
times discouraged interest on loans as 
quite immoral, now frequently secured by 
the sanctions of the Church the bankers 
who advanced the large sums required for 
the purchase of preferments. King Edward, 
however, had desired the appointment of 
his Chancellor, Robert Baldock, and in- 
structed Stratford to promote the interests 
of his nominee. The despatches arrived 
perhaps too late, says Murimuth : more 
probably he ignored the wishes of a master, 
who in this, as in other cases, inspired in 
his servants neither loyalty nor respect. 

The acceptance of the post, and the 
intrigues which had secured it, were not 
easily forgiven, and ominous words recited 



in the Consecration Service in June, 1323, 
" Many are the troubles of the righteous," 
were remembered when the Bishop's estates 
wereconfiscated, and himself banned by royal 
proclamation for acceptance of the office 
without the sanction of the Crown. A year 
later the King's resentment died away, or 
Baldock's influence was on the wane : the 
Pope and some of the Bishops had inter- 
vened in his behalf, and the temporalities 
were restored, though on condition of a 
bond for 10,000, which if enforced would 
have made the price paid for the See a 
heavy one. His diplomatic powers were 
employed again in 1325, when Queen 
Isabella, allowed to go to France seemingly 
by his advice, maintained her guilty inter- 
course with Mortimer and her schemes to 
dethrone the King by force. 

When the crisis came, an old bull against 
invaders of the realm was republished by 
Archbishop Reynolds, with the concurrence, 
it appears, of Stratford, and he was present 
when the bishops joined at Lambeth in 
feeble and ineffectual counsels in the 
interest of peace. He alone of them was 
willing to go with some other bishop to the 
Queen to try to avert the strife, but no one 
consented to accompany him, and his con- 
fidence of safety seems to point to earlier 
knowledge of her plots. When it succeeded 
he took the oath of fealty to the new rulers 
as Treasurer, and after the Archbishop's 
sermon before Parliament on Vox populi 
vox dei, he added : " Where the head is 
feeble, the other members suffer with it." 
He helped to frame the articles drawn up 
to justify Edward's removal from the throne, 
and he was one of the three bishops sent 
to require him to resign it in favour of 
his son. 

As one of the appointed guardians of the 
young king he was prepared to serve him 
loyally, but he could not conceal his 
impatience at the uncontrolled ascendancy 
of Mortimer and Isabella. He withdrew 
from the Parliament at Salisbury in 1328, 
notwithstanding the orders issued that no 
one should leave without permission, and 
attended at Christmas a conference in 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



London of the supporters of Henry Earl of 
Lancaster, whom the Pope calls " the kins- 
man " of the Bishop. Warned that his life 
was now in danger, after demand had been 
made for payment of the bond for ; 10,000, 
he took sanctuary in the Nunnery of Wilton 
and then fled to Honiton and afterwards to 
Winchester, where Wolvesey Castle was 
found in too weak a state to screen him from 
attack. He retired therefore to the neigh- 
bourhood of Bishop's Waltham, where he 
lurked awhile as an outlaw in the forest 
glades. The fall of Mortimer brought 
relief from risk and hardship. The Great 
Seal was given him in 1330, and his was 
the guiding influence in the government 
which at this time effected the important 
changes of the division of both Parliament 
and Convocation into two separate houses, 
and of the establishment of a Court of 
Chancery at Westminster. The Chancellor- 
ship was several times resigned by him 
into the hands of his brother Robert, 
Bishop of Chichester, for diplomatic work 
and attendance on the King took him 
repeatedly away to Scotland, France, and 
Flanders, and his promotion to the primacy 
in 1333 may have stirred in him some wish 
to give less time to the affairs of State in 
the interest of the Church. His advance- 
ment was desired by the King, and accepted 
by the Chapter, but the Pope decided to 
ignore their wishes and to appoint him as 
of his own unfettered choice, a claim to 
meet which the Statute of Provisors was 
afterwards directed. 

Stratford's cautious judgment mistrusted 
the adventurous policy of his master, though 
a strange story is told that both of them 
journeyed in the disguise of merchants in 
1331 on a pilgrimage to certain shrines in 
France. Indeed he disapproved so much 
of the rash enterprise which led to the 
great naval victory of Sluys in 1339, that 
he finally resigned the Great Seal, and this 
was the prelude to the bitter quarrel that 
was soon to follow. Unable to provide the 
funds which were squandered in the course 
of an unprofitable war, though he made 
himself personally responsible for loans 



raised for it, he roused impatient mistrust 
in the mind of Edward, and a dissolute 
court which found Stratford's decorum and 
economy little to its taste, would gladly 
seize the chance to rid itself of an importu- 
nate critic. 

Edward returned suddenly to London 
in 1340 without warning, found the Tower 
unguarded, without preparations for the de- 
fence or maintenance even of his children, 
for the country had been drained of men and 
money for the war. Robert de Stratford, 
the Chancellor, and the Bishop of Lichfield, 
the Treasurer, were dismissed, and laymen 
appointed in their places ; other officials 
were arrested, but the Primate, knowing the 
King's temper, had already hurried to the 
Priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, as 
to a safe shelter. Thither came early in 
December Nicholas Cantelupe, who, shew- 
ing his warrant in the presence of a notary 
public, required him in the King's name to 
prepare to go to Flanders to make good his 
bail for the money borrowed for the war. 
The official was dismissed without reply. 
The Archbishop, however, was not content 
to wait in patience till further action should 
be taken by the Crown. He chose the 
anniversary of the death of St. Thomas of 
Canterbury (December 2gth) for the occa- 
sion of a striking demonstration, preaching 
first in the Cathedral on the fearless con- 
stancy of Becket, and deploring that, unlike 
that great example he had himself served 
the state, to the neglect of the more special 
duties of his office. He would devote him- 
self henceforth to the defence of the claims 
and privileges of the Church, some of whose 
servants were now lawlessly imprisoned, and 
others slanderously branded as disloyal. All 
guilty of such violation of the Great Charter, 
or who attacked ecclesiastical rights, were 
solemnly excommunicated in presence of 
the clergy, who stood round in their robes 
with lighted candles in their hands. The 
sentence was published in all the Churches 
of the province. Meantime, the new minis- 
try, under lay control, in its haste to provide 
funds, was dealing harshly and unfairly with 
the clergy, and the Archbishop lost no 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



53 



time in redeeming the pledges given in his 
sermon. He wrote first to the King to 
warn him not to be led astray by evil 
councillors like Rehoboam, or to disregard 
the lessons of his father's misrule and 
fall. He expostulated with the Chancellor 
against the exactions levied on the clergy 
and the violation of the Great Charter in 
imprisonment without forms of law. In a 
letter to the King in Council he denounced 
all violent seizure of ecclesiastical property 
or persons, and informed the prelates of 
his province through the Bishop of London 
of the sentences of excommunication form- 
ally pronounced against all such offenders. 

At first the only visible result of these 
vigorous letters was that messengers were 
sent repeatedly with formal summons to 
him to present himself before the King : 
merchants of Brabant were allowed even to 
post up in Canterbury, outside the Priory 
of Christ Church, a notice requiring the 
Archbishop to cross over to Flanders to 
discharge the debts for which he had been 
surety. But to meet the challenge which 
he fiad put forth so boldly an appeal to 
public opinion seemed required, and this 
came a few days afterwards (February 
loth) in the King's letter to the Prior and 
Convent, which, by the Archbishop's desire, 
was read publicly in the Cathedral on Ash 
Wednesday, and answered in detail before 
the people. 

The libellus famosus, as it was called, 
was a long and bitter indictment of the 
Archbishop, as having from the first 
determined the whole policy of the present 
reign as the trusted adviser of the Crown, 
encouraged the profuse liberalities of the 
young ruler which had exhausted the 
Treasury, ruined the military schemes 
which he had prompted by withholding the 
promised funds, and insulted the King by 
refusing to appear before him except in 
Parliament, as if he were in peril of his 
life, and the pledge of safe conduct would 
be broken. 

Stratford replied point by point in firm 
but temperate language to the charges 



brought against him, exposing inconsist- 
encies in the messages of summons sent to 
him, and stating that far from applying to 
his own use the funds which the army was 
expecting, he had spent largely of his own 
means in his many journeys on affairs of 
state, for which he crossed the sea on 
thirty-two occasions, and that during the 
whole course of the war he had drawn 
only ;3 from the Treasury for his own 
expenses. All this he offered to prove in 
his defence according to the law and custom 
of the realm. 

The complaints of misrule were growing 
louder, and the Government found it need- 
ful to give way, and to summon Parliament 
to meet on the 23rd of April. 

Then the Archbishop started on his way 
to London, journeying slowly from one to 
another of his manors, arriving finally at 
Lambeth on the day fixed for the meeting. 
On the morrow he proceeded to West- 
minster with his brother Robert and his 
kinsman, Bishop Ralph of London, together 
with a large escort of lay and clerical 
attendants. There at the door of the 
Great Hall he was met by the Baron of 
Stafford and others, who required him in 
the King's name to go first to the Exchequer 
Chamber before entering Parliament, and 
to answer the charges brought against him. 
The Archbishop replied that he had been 
summoned to take counsel with his peers, 
but as such was the King's pleasure he 
would go at once to the Exchequer. When 
the charges had been heard, he answered 
merely that he would take time to consider 
them, returning at once to the Hall and 
entering the Painted Chamber, where he 
took his seat with a few of the bishops, to 
whom he said that he was there to serve the 
King and to defend his honour. The 
Chancellor, unprepared for his appearance, 
adjourned the Parliament to the morrow. 

Some days were spent by him, either at 
Westminster Hall, where the King refused 
to meet him, or at the Exchequer, where he 
replied to the accusations brought against 
him. Bishop Adam of Winchester and the 



54 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Chancellor urged him in vain to humble 
himself and sue for grace which the King 
would grant. Another time his way to the 
Painted Chamber was barred by the 
officials, and his refusal to retire was 
followed by a storm of insults and re- 
proaches. Unseemly scenes recurred, and 
attempts were made to damage his character 
in the eyes of the citizens by false charges ; 
but the people shewed their sympathy, and 
a Committee of Parliament reported that 
he could not be tried except in Parliament 
before his peers. The King began to mis- 
trust the policy of his advisers. At length 
the Archbishop was allowed to take his 
place while the King was seated on his 
throne ; all orders joined in pleading in his 
behalf, and the King's favour was restored. 

The articles drawn up against him were 
formally annulled in 1343 as unreasonable 
and untrue, and use was made repeatedly 
of his services as an experienced adviser of 
the Crown. During the King's absence he 
was at the head of the Council in 1345 and 
in the following year. But during the 
remaining years of his life he devoted 
much more attention than before to ecclesi- 
astical affairs. Two provincial councils 
were held by him in London, and con- 
stitutions were drawn up for the guidance 
of the clergy in which, besides earlier 
enactments then repeated, stringent rules 
were issued to curb extravagance in clerical 
dress, and abuses of official claims. His 
later vigilance, however, was less welcome 
than the earlier neglect ; his visitation of 
Norwich was resisted, and the spiritual 
weapon of excommunication and the power 
of the Crown were both appealed to in his 
behalf. 

Though his preferment had been due to 
Papal favour, he fully shared the national 
mistrust of the French bias of the Papal 
Court at Avignon, and sympathised with 
the resentment felt at the intrusion of aliens 
into the benefices of the English Church. 
Clement VI indeed, to whom strong re- 
monstrances against his aggressions were 
addressed, regarded Stratford as the chief 



mover in the policy of resistance, and 
though this was formally denied by Edward, 
there is no reason to doubt the Archbishop's 
approval of the course adopted. 

In 1348 he was seized at Maidstone with 
an illness which he knew was fatal. He 
was carried to his favourite manor of 
Mayfield, where his charities had been large 
and regular, and there he passed away. 
" Then died," says Dene, " the chief adviser 
of the King, and in token of reward all his 
property was confiscated at his death, and 
havoc made of his estates." His body was 
taken to Canterbury to repose under the 
tomb on which his recumbent statue may 
be still seen. 

His self-seeking and disloyal attitude 
towards the second Edward was shared by 
most of the bishops of his time ; many of 
them had gained preferment by like in- 
trigues, and as one of them warned the 
rest, the people ascribed most of the evils 
of the age to their fatuous ignorance and 
sloth (Dene). But he did his best to make 
amends for the faults of earlier years by 
his firm adherence to the principles of con- 
stitutional rule. To secure this he braved 
the resentment of the Queen-Mother and 
her paramour, and despite the displeasure 
of King and Court he maintained the rights 
of his order and the liberties defined in the 
Great Charter. His appeal to the pre- 
cedents of Becket may seem belated, and 
his spiritual pretensions weakened by his 
long absorption in secular work ; his flight 
to Canterbury appeared to himself unworthy 
of the inspiring local memories (MS. ser- 
mons in Cathedral Library of Hereford), 
but the result of his stand was a real 
gain to constitutional progress which had 
been jeopardised and delayed by Becket's 
death. 

There is no striking element in his 
ecclesiastical constitutions, but they shew 
that he was anxious to restrain arbitrary 
action and curb official insolence in the 
Church as well as in the State. 

Though the See of Winchester has sup- 
plied the State with many chancellors, since 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



55 



Stratford no one before our days passed 
from it to the throne of Canterbury. Both 
as Bishop and as Primate he had friendly 
relations with the leading convents of his 
sees. At Winchester indeed the Prior 
Richard was found incompetent, and the 
Bishop was requested by the Pope to put 
another in his place. The monks mistrust- 
ing perhaps their own harmony did not 
apparently resent the loss of the freedom 
from interference with their Prior. At 
Canterbury he had kindly correspondence 
with the Prior of Christ Church, and found 
shelter there in time of need. Even St. 
Augustine's, whose chronicler, Thorn, snarls 



often at the rulers of the Church, came to 
an agreement with him on matters long 
disputed. 

Of his benefactions to his native place 
some traces are still left in the enlargement 
of the aisles and tower of the church. His 
chantry of course was swept away, with its 
college of priests endowed for a constant 
round of prayer for the peace of his soul 
and that of others. By a curious reversal 
of the usual relations, when he bought the 
advowson of the church, he made it over 
to his college, the priests of which became 
the patrons not the subordinates of the 
parson. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Adam de Orleton, 13331346. 

When John de Stratford passed from 
Winchester to the throne of Canterbury 
his place was taken in the former See by 
Adam, bishop of Worcester, who had played 
a prominent part in the intrigues and 
political struggles of the last reign, and 
had still before him some years of his 
"great bustling in the world," as Fuller 
calls it. His surname points to a place 
in the north of Herefordshire which 
belonged to the Mortimers of Wigmore, 
but others of his name held property and 
filled public offices at Hereford, where he 
was said to have been born. As Doctor 
of Canon Law and Papal Chaplain and 
Auditor he had prebends given him both 
at Hereford and Wells, as well as various 
Rectories in other dioceses, and acted often 
as Papal Commissioner by special mandate. 
The See of Hereford fell vacant when he 
was at Avignon in 1317 on business of the 
Crown, and it was bestowed on him by 
Pope John XXII, against the wishes of 
Edward II, who had written to the Pope 
and Cardinals in order to secure it for 
Thomas de Charlton, and had ordered 
Orleton to refuse it if offered to himself. 
The temporalities however were given to 
him soon after his consecration, and during 
the next three years he was sent several 
times on affairs of State both to the French 
and Papal Court. The Pope meantime 
shewed him marks of special trust and 
favour, empowering him to deal firmly with 
dissolute convents and a somewhat stiff- 
necked Chapter which occasionally re- 
sented episcopal control. He lost no time 
in acting on his powers at the Abbey of 
Wigmore to which he wrote in 1318, "I 
will visit in head and members that 
monastery of yours which the Lord hath 
blessed of old in the dew of heaven and 
the fatness of the earth." He kept his 
word, appointed a new abbot, banished 
two canons, and trounced the rest with 
little mercy. 

When the Barons rose against Edward 
and the Despensers in 1321 the Bishop's 



local sympathies decided him in favour of 
Roger Mortimer, to whom he promised 
help and sent men of arms to Ledbury to 
join his forces, and went to demand of 
Edward in the name of the barons the 
dismissal of the hated favourites. The 
heads of the party died for the most part 
on the battlefield or on the gallows, and 
Adam was not shielded by his spiritual 
office from attack. Summoned before 
Parliament he refused to make answer to 
the charge of treason, except with the 
sanction of his brother bishops, who inter- 
ceded vainly for him with the King. The 
whole episcopal order took him under their 
protection and screened him by their 
anathemas from arrest. But the trial pro- 
ceeded in his absence, unprecedented as it 
seemed for a bishop's crime to be brought 
before a lay tribunal, and he was found 
guilty, his revenues and lands were con- 
fiscated, his property, Blaneford reports, 
was flung into the streets, but " naked and 
forlorn as blessed Job he bore it all with 
patience." 

The Pope indeed wrote to him to be 
humble and avoid scandal, and pleaded for 
him repeatedly with Queen Isabella and 
Hugh Despenser, but Edward's resentment 
was not yet appeased, and he begged the 
Pope in 1324 that as guilty of treason he 
might be deposed. He did not therefore, 
like other bishops, hesitate when the Queen 
landed in 1326 to raise the country against 
her husband, but acted at once as her chief 
adviser, and preaching before the University 
of Oxford on the text, "My head, my head," 
(z Kings iv, 19), applied it in the sens that 
the state sorely needed a change of head 
and better rule. It was due probably to 
his local influence and that of his family 
that Hereford became for a time the head 
quarters of the Queen, and it was there that 
Hugh Despenser and others found an 
ignominious death when the King was 
taken prisoner. The Chancellor Baldock, 
handed over to the Bishop's custody for 
benefit of clergy, was seized by the citizens 
of London and lodged in Newgate, when 
he was rashly or cruelly exposed to their 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



57 



vindictive passion on his way to the Bishop's 
house on old Fish Street Hill. 

He took a prominent part and was per- 
haps the guiding influence in the tragic 
scenes which followed. When Parliament 
met in January, 1 327, he took the chancellor's 
place and declared that the Queen would 
be in peril of her life if she joined her 
husband, and after speaking on the subject 
of the King's dethronement bade the mem- 
bers go home and reflect and give their 
decision on the morrow. At their next 
meeting, after some hesitation, they voted 
with one accord that the son should take 
his father's place. The bishops of Hereford 
and Winchester were sent to Edward, and 
vainly tried to persuade him to appear 
before Parliament. On his refusal a deputa- 
tion, of which bishop Adam was the spokes- 
man, drove him with bitter words to resign 
the Crown in favour of his son. Still worse 
things were imputed to the "architect of all 
this evil," as a chronicler calls him. It was 
said that an ambiguous message, which 
might be read as either to encourage or 
forbid the murder of the dethroned prisoner, 
was sent to those in charge, who read 
in it the meaning which they wished to find 
there. The story indeed is copied in the 
main from a chronicle of earlier date, and 
the Bishop was far away treating for a 
bride for the young king when the fatal 
deed was done, but that the tale should be 
believed is in itself an ugly fact. An entry 
in the Patent Rolls may imply some sense 
of pity at the tragedies at which he had 
assisted. In 1327 a licence was granted to 
the Earl of Hereford, at the request of 
bishop Adam, to alienate a property in 
mortmain in order that the Warden and 
chaplains of the Cathedral might celebrate 
mass thenceforth for the souls of the new 
King, his father and mother, and for bishop 
Adam himself. 

The temporalities of the See, which had 
been long withheld, were now of course 
restored, and he was made Treasurer ; and 
in the full confidence of the new rulers he 
was sent to France on special missions 
connected with the royal marriage, when 



four marks daily were allowed him for the 
expenses of his household. While he was 
at Avignon the bishop of Worcester died, 
and again advantage was taken of the 
opportunity, and the Papal nomination was 
secured by him, although the Chapter had 
with the royal assent elected their own 
Prior to the office, and several letters had 
been sent by the Crown to bishop Adam to 
see that the Chapter's choice might be con- 
firmed. What was his reason for desiring 
the translation does not appear. The in- 
come of the See of Hereford seems to have 
been greater than that of Worcester, though 
his predecessor, Swinfield, wrote of it as 
one of the smallest in all England, and the 
Pope in 1333 sanctioned the appropriation 
by him of the church of Blockley on the 
ground that the income of the See of 
Worcester was quite insufficient for his 
needs. 

The self-willed prelate was summoned 
before the Parliament at York in 1328 for 
his disobedience and unlicensed acceptance 
of his new See, but the storm passed over, 
and he was employed soon after and in 
following years on business of State in 
foreign parts. In the course of these com- 
missions he gained the favour of Philip VI 
of France, and at his request was nominated 
by the Pope to the See of Winchester 
when it was vacated by Stratford in Sep- 
tember, 1333. Again the will of the King 
was disregarded and this time more serious 
offence was given, for in March, 1334, when 
notices were sent to all the bishops excep- 
tion was made in the case of " Adam, who 
claims to be bishop of Winchester." The 
temporalities were not restored till Septem- 
ber, 1334, after intercession of his brother 
bishops, and many letters written by the 
Pope to the King and the Archbishops and 
other persons of influence. More than that 
demand had been made to the Papal Court 
that " a man infamous for many crimes " 
should not be promoted to higher rank, 
and three charges were formally brought 
against him : that he had (i) allowed 
Baldock to be done to death by the rioters 
in London, (2) called Edward II a tyrant 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



and so estranged the hearts of his subjects 
from him, (3) induced Queen Isabella to 
refuse to join her husband. He met the 
charges with a clever and elaborate apology, 
laying much of the responsibility for all 
that had occurred on the newly elected 
Primate, explaining the term "tyrant" used 
by himself as applied to Satan and Hugh 
Despenser, and appealing to the proclama- 
tions of the Queen Mother and her son as 
evidence of the facts on which he had 
commented in sermons and speeches to 
the Parliament, and to the instructions of 
the nobles assembled at Wallingford, on 
which he acted in setting forth publicly the 
reasons for her action. 

For some time after this he seems to 
have taken little part in political trans- 
actions, and perhaps from caution made no 
effort to compete with the influence of 
Stratford while he was the chief adviser 
of the Crown. But in 1341 the sudden 
change of ministry and Edward's estrange- 
ment from the Primate caused a reappear- 
ance of bishop Adam on the stage. The 
libellus Jamosus issued in the King's name 
a phrase which the Bishop had himself 
employed in his defence of 1334 was 
believed to have been penned by him, and 
his denial of its authorship was evidently 
not accepted by the Archbishop, who 
listened in silence to his statement. At 
Westminster Hall his attitude was markedly 
hostile to the statesman in disgrace. He 
urged him to humble himself before the 
King, and so recover his good graces, but 
in a conference with the peers he tried with 
glee, says Birchington, to stir up strife by 
charges which his hearers knew were false 
and presently exposed. In the final scene, 
when prelates and lay peers pleaded with 
the King in the Archbishop's behalf, the 
name of Adam of Winchester is not found 
in the list. 

After that time he vanishes almost entirely 
from public life, except that we hear of a 
Visitation of the Priory of Winchester con- 
ducted by him in 1342 ; he became blind, 
and died at Farnham in 1345, and was 
buried in his own Cathedral. 



His episcopal career was remarkable in 
the eyes of his contemporaries in that he 
held three bishopricks in succession, in all 
cases by Papal favour and against the 
expressed desire of the King. Wits made 
merry with his supposed motives, as in the 
lines, where the Sees are indicated by the 
names of their patron Saints 

Thomam despexit : Wolstanum non bene rexit : 
Swithunum maluit. Cur ? Quia plus valuit. 

In 1334 the surprise and discontent at his 
promotion found expression in a formal 
opposition and appeal by John Pebrehave, 
a literate of the diocese, but unfortunately 
the grounds have not been stated in the 
Papal letter on the subject. 

There are, however, indications of a gener- 
ous and kindly spirit. He founded a hospital 
in Hereford, of which there are now no local 
memories, and his relations with the chapter 
there were for the most part cordial and 
considerate. He helped to obtain the Papal 
sanction to appropriate, according to the 
custom of the age, a valuable benefice, the 
income of which has been the mainstay of 
the fabric ever since ; he gave liberal aid 
besides when he heard at Worcester that 
"his former spouse," as he termed it, was 
distressed for want of funds. Long after- 
wards he signed a deed at Winchester 
which secured a home for an old friend or 
dependent at Hereford, and poor relations 
of bishop Swinfield came also to him there 
with the sure hope of kindly welcome. At 
Winchester he helped the nuns of St. 
Mary's, sore pressed by agricultural de- 
pression, to appropriate the church of 
Froyle to enable them to pay their debts. 
He seems, however, to have been vigilant 
in correcting conventual disorders, as at 
Wigmore, Abergavenny, and St. Guthlac's. 

His later years were spent in quiet, and 
he found perhaps comfort in the thought 
that early in his career Pope John XXII 
had tenderly provided that his confessor 
might give him at his hour of death plenary 
absolution of all repented sins. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



59 



William da Edyndone, 13451366. 

Immediately after the death of Bishop 
Adam the monks of St. Swithun's took 
steps in haste to put their prior, John 
Devenesche, into the vacant See, and 
though a royal mandate was sent to them 
to suspend further action, they persisted in 
their choice, some of them even threaten- 
ing the King's messenger with violence, and 
" procuring the election by false confeder- 
acies arranged before among themselves," 
as was stated in a letter patent ordering a 
commission of inquiry by the Sheriff. King 
Edward, careless of consistency in his 
dealings with the Papal Court, appealed to 
Clement VI to set aside the election of the 
convent in favour of his Treasurer, William 
de Edyndone, and with the potent "in- 
fluence of money his erroneous petition was 
accepted" (Thorn), and John Devenesche 
was bidden to wait at Court till other pre- 
ferment could be found for him. 

The new Bishop, whose name was taken 
from a village in Wiltshire, obtained his 
first post in the service of the Crown with 
the help of his predecessor, bishop Adam, 
who had given him the benefice of Cheriton. 
He had had before a parish in the Diocese 
of Lincoln, from which he passed by ex- 
change to Bledon in Bath and Wells, of 
which the Bishop of Winchester was patron. 
He was made Keeper of the Wardrobe 
and Treasurer, and rewarded as usual 
with a variety of ecclesiastical appoint- 
ments, including prebends at Lincoln, 
Salisbury, and Hereford, and the Master- 
ship of the Hospital of St. Cross. By 
Papal dispensation he was allowed to retain 
his benefices three months after the lapse 
of the canonical term following his election 
to the See, and to meet the necessary 
expenses of promotion he was favoured 
with an indult which allowed him to demand 
a charitable subsidy from every clerk, 
regular or secular, in the City or Diocese 
of Winchester. 

He held the office of Treasurer from 
1345 to 1356, and "caring more for the 
convenience of his royal master than for 
the interests of the community" (Chron. 



Anglice), he introduced in 1351 a debased 
currency, which speedily affected market 
prices, of which " the crafty and fraudulent 
among the working classes were not slow 
to take advantage." But the shortened 
supply of labour, due to the ravages of the 
" Black Death," was of itself sufficient to 
account for great fluctuations in the prices 
of commodities. In 1356 he became 
Chancellor, and held the Great Seal for six 
years. Shortly before his death in 1366 
the Chapter of Canterbury elected him 
Archbishop at the King's desire, but he 
declined the office, probably from the sense 
of failing powers, though the familiar epi- 
gram implies that he preferred " the deeper 
manger to the higher rack." 

Throughout his career he seems to have 
retained the respect and confidence of 
King Edward, who wrote of him in the 
charter of 1349, which confirmed the privi- 
leges of St. Giles' Fair, that " we have 
known him to have been prudently and 
usefully engaged in ceaseless and diligent 
work, and to have long and faithfully 
watched over our affairs." It was natural 
therefore that the Bishop should become 
the first Prelate of the newly founded Order 
of the Garter ; the honour passed from one 
to another of his successors in the See. 

The Church of the Parish from which 
his name was taken was rebuilt at his 
expense, and a College was founded for a 
dean and twelve clerks in honour of the 
Virgin, St. Catherine, and All Saints, but 
at the request of the Black Prince this 
chantry was changed to one of the order 
of the reformed Austin Friars called 
"Bonhommes." His most enduring work, 
however, was done at Winchester, where 
the structural changes in the nave were 
begun by him with the transformation from 
the Norman to the Perpendicular style. 
He only lived to carry out the rebuilding 
of the west front, and one bay of the south 
aisle adjoining it, and two of the north 
aisle, but he left directions in his will that 
some of his property should be devoted 
towards the completion of the Cathedral 
nave which he had thus begun. In the 



6o 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



course of this work of Edyndone it appears 
that parts of the building which extended 
forty feet beyond the present front must 
have been removed, belonging probably 
to earlier towers or to some kind of western 
transept too ruinous to be preserved (Willis, 
ArchtEological History, p. 66). 

Our cathedrals indeed benefited largely 
by the clerical celibacy which was so long 
enforced. The vast sums accumulated by 
wealthy prelates found a fitting use in the 
fabric funds of the great churches with 
which their names have often been insepar- 
ably linked, chantries themselves on a 
colossal scale, within which nestled the 
little chapels specially so called like the 
chantry of Edyndone on the south side of 
the nave in which his body rested, and 
where it was recorded of him that 

1 ' Pervigil Anglorum fuit adjutor populorum, 
Dulcis egenorum pater et protector eorum." 

For among the great English ecclesiastics 
nepotism was rare, and their bounty open- 
handed. One writer indeed tells us that he 
distributed in works of charity most of his 
means while he still lived. Yet it cannot 
be said that he neglected the interests of 
his kinsmen. He is reported to have spent 
much on the repairs of St. Cross before he 
became bishop, but he did no good service 
to the Hospital when in 1350 he collated to 
its Mastership his nephew John, who treated 



it only as a source of profit, carrying off all 
that could be plundered on the estates or 
in the house itself, and then resigning it 
when stripped and bare. In 1351 the 
Archdeaconry of Surrey was added to the 
Canonries of Salisbury and Lincoln and 
the Church of Ringwood which he also 
held. At Farnham, which went with the 
Archdeaconry, money had been left by a 
preceding rector and a large quantity of 
stone prepared for the repairs needed in 
the chancel. Both money and materials 
passed into the Archdeacon's hands, and in 
1368 he was cited to appear before the 
Court of Bishop Wykeham, who had seen 
himself the ruinous condition of the build- 
ings. Another kinsman, Thomas de Edyn- 
done, who at the age of 17 had canonries 
at Salisbury and Chichester, was enabled 
by special dispensation to hold besides a 
benefice with cure of souls. 

Amid the cares of public office and the 
interests of cathedral restoration, the Bishop 
had found little time to attend to the manor 
houses and other buildings of the See. 
Some of them were in a ruinous state, and 
the dilapidations on them all were very 
heavy ; his executors admitted liabilities to 
the amount of ^2109, a sum equivalent to 
twenty or even thirty thousand pounds of 
present value. 




Portrait of William of Wykeham 




THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



61 



William of Wykeham, 1367-1404. 
The life of William of Wykeham has 
been so fully dealt with of late years in 
writings familiar to so many readers that it 
may be enough to give here a brief 
summary of the facts of his career, with 
some estimate of the more marked features 
of his character, as it is impossible to treat 
the subject adequately within the limits of 
this series. 

Known by the birthplace in Hampshire 
whose name he bore rather than by that of 
his father, who was a yeoman, he owed his 
early education near home and at Win- 
chester, which his parents were too poor to 
give him, to the help of neighbouring 
landowners, whose favour he gratefully 
remembered in his later years. From work 
as notary (tabellid) in the office of the 
Constable of Winchester Castle he passed 
into the royal service, and was engaged for 
some time as a king's clerk in duties not 
specially described till in May, 1356, he 
was made overseer of building works on 
certain manors, and in October at Windsor 
Castle. In 1359 he became chief warden 
and overseer of other royal castles, parks, 
and manors, with large powers to provide 
the necessary labour and materials. He 
had the charge also of Old Windsor 
Forest and the Forest on this side Trent, 
and was engaged in 1361 at Queenborough 
Castle. In 1364 he became Keeper of the 
Privy Seal, and we now begin to hear of 
his paramount influence with King Edward, 
in consequence of which he was nominated 
Bishop of Winchester in 1366 and Chan- 
cellor in the following year. 

During this period he had been a pluralist 
to an astonishing extent. Nearly all, how- 
ever, of his benefices consisted of cathedral 
prebends and the like without cure of souls, 
and these would have otherwise been held 
for the most part by non-residents in any 
case, and many of them by foreign 
ecclesiastics, who had done little to deserve 
them here. But his first preferment in 
1349 was to a Rectory, when he was only 
in minor Orders ; his second, eight years 
afterwards, was to another, the patronage 



of which was matter of dispute between the 
King and Pope, and his temporary accept- 
ance of it may have brought upon him the 
displeasure of the Papal Court. Possibly 
this found expression in successive Bulls. 
One of these directed a bishop to examine 
him and test his fitness for a prebend lately 
given him ; a second was levelled against 
pluralism and therefore indirectly against 
Wykeham ; a third made him only 
administrator of the see to which he was 
elected, and the last half a year later con- 
ferred the bishoprick as by provision and 
not by consent merely. 

The period of Wykeham's political 
activity was one of national humiliation 
and disorder. It cannot be said that he 
showed in it any special powers of states- 
manship. The clerical Ministry of which 
he was the head left the kingdom ill- 
prepared for the disasters of the war in 
France ; the lay Ministry which took its 
place in 1371 was even less competent, and 
sanctioned scandalous peculation. But 
Wykeham was harsh and hasty in the 
summary proceedings taken in 1376 against 
Lord Latimer, the chief offender, and soon 
suffered in his turn. John of Gaunt, once 
his friend, became his bitter enemy, and 
with such help weighty charges of abuse of 
official power were summarily pressed as 
against Latimer ; he was condemned to 
pay an enormous fine, the temporalities of 
the See were confiscated, and himself for- 
bidden to be within twenty miles of Court. 
Moving from place to place he found a 
shelter in the Abbeys of Merton and 
Waverley. The storm soon passed over. 
The bishops declined to act in Convocation 
without his presence there, and his estates 
were then restored to him. It was mere 
idle gossip, probably, which one chronicler 
recorded (Chron. Angl.\ that he made 
"friends of the mammon of unrighteous- 
ness " and won the favouring influence of 
Alice Perrers, the King's mistress, by a 
heavy bribe. The King was already at the 
point of death, and on July 31, 1377, the 
new ruler granted him full pardon, and 
formally declared him " wholly innocent of 



62 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



all the charges brought against him." He 
took little part in politics thenceforth until 
he became Chancellor again in 1389, an 
office which he resigned after two years, 
during which a stringent Statute against 
Provisors was enacted, and the Privy 
Council, made by his policy of conciliation 
to represent all the jarring sections of the 
greater nobles, was armed with ampler 
powers to secure a more constitutional rule. 

Whether in or out of office in the service 
of the State he kept steadily in view his 
episcopal duties and the interests of his 
See. His Register amply illustrates his 
business-like precision and characteristic 
impatience of abuses. The Hospital of 
St. Cross had been plundered, and its 
Mastership had been treated as a lucrative 
sinecure, but one of his first cares was to 
call sharply to account the Archdeacon of 
Surrey, and others through whose hands it 
had passed. He was met with evasions 
and appeals to the Papal Court, but he 
fought the case steadily for seven years 
till his object was secured. The enthusiasm 
of the monastic ideal had spent its force, 
and many of the smaller convents were 
now lamentable failures ; Wykeham did 
what he could to arrest decay by formal 
visitations, monitions, and measures of 
reform, as at St. Mary Overy, Christ 
Church Twynham, Selborne, Hamble, and 
Southwick. He tempered indeed severity 
with kindly acts even in flagrant cases, as 
when he helped to pay the Canon's debts 
at Selborne. But he showed no weakness 
when episcopal rights were challenged and 
firmly checked encroachments at St. 
Swithun's, where in 1398 a formal agree- 
ment was executed in the Chapter House 
pursuant on an award of the Archbishop. 
He frequently interposed to protect the 
interests of parish churches from the greed 
of the monks who had appropriated the 
rectorial tithes, neglected the repairs of the 
chancels, and drawn away worshippers 
with their offerings from parochial services 
to the more imposing ceremonies in the 
convent chapels. The parishioners in their 
turn had to be admonished not to withhold 



their contributions to repairs and bells, not 
to carry off the materials or encroach upon 
the sites of disused churches, where the 
ravages of the Plague had swept the wor- 
shippers away. 

Excellent as was the Bishop's activity in 
pastoral care, his enduring fame was due 
to the services he rendered to interests of 
other kinds. To education of course first 
and foremost. Himself not a finished 
scholar, trained in Academic learning, he 
would make splendid provision for the class 
from which he sprung, and help to supply 
a learned clergy sorely needed after the 
Visitations of the Black Death. Soon after 
he became bishop he took steps to buy 
land in Oxford for his intended college 
there ; on September ist, 1373, he made 
a contract for ten years with a master to 
teach the boys whom he maintained at 
Winchester, and at the time of his disgrace 
in 1376 it was said that seventy scholars 
were sent back to their homes awhile. In 
1379 he executed the Charter of Foundation 
of his College in Oxford for a warden and 
seventy scholars, and in 1382 the Founda- 
tion deed of a College for seventy poor 
scholars at Winchester, the two " issuing 
from one stem and differing not in substance 
to be called by one name Sainte Marie 
College of Wynchester." Though its 
arrangements were in part borrowed from 
the Statutes of Merton College, and the 
combined provision for boys and riper 
scholars was not unknown elsewhere, the 
union in one scheme of two corporations, 
independent though in close and intimate 
relation, and on a grander scale than had 
been carried out effectively before, con- 
stituted its originality and its enduring 
value. Meant to be seminaries for the 
clergy, and to be recruited from the least 
wealthy of the middle class, not from the 
lowest social strata, Winchester College, 
and other great schools founded on the 
same lines, have had a potent influence on 
the temper and traditions of the laity of 
England. The few commoners of higher 
rank or fortune, doubtfully admitted at the 
first on the condition that they should be 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



63 



ho charge on the endowments of the school, 
expanded into ampler numbers, and helped 
largely to determine in later days the spirit 
of Public School life throughout the country. 
Though reverence for the conventional 
ideal was fast fading the methods of the 
common life of the secular clerks in school 
and university were still somewhat monastic 
in their outer form ; the endowments even 
were in part provided from the estates of 
alien priories, but for these the Founder 
paid a fair price after the act of disendow- 
ment was completed. 

They who know well the Cathedral of 
Winchester and are familiar with its history 
see the monument of Wykeham not merely 
in the chantry which bears his name, but 
in the stately nave which his munificence 
transformed. The work of reconstruction 
was indeed begun, and the architectural 
style determined by Edyndone, but carried 
by him no further than the West Front and 
some parts of the adjoining walls. In 1371 
Wykeham issued a monition to unknown 
persons who were removing the hewn 
stones and materials collected there, and 
this points to operations to be long sus- 
pended. He bought quarries in the Isle of 
Wight, and appealed to the heads of the 
religious houses and the secular clergy to 
help him to find workmen and means of 
transport. These however seem to have 
been employed on the repairs of his 
manorial buildings, which he specified in 
his appeal ; the erection of his two colleges 
engaged his thoughts, and other causes 
intervened, and we do not hear of any 
further steps till his Visitation of St. 
Swithun's in 1393, when the structural 
defects of the Cathedral were found to be 
very pressing, and the Prior and Convent 
were separately charged with contributions 
to the repairs for seven years. The next 
year, however, the Bishop took the whole 
in hand himself, except the scaffolding and 
the old materials which with lime and sand 
were to be provided by the convent. 

Not only was the Norman core of rubble 
work in the piers and walls left undisturbed, 
but in the piers themselves, after the arches 



between them and in the triforium were 
removed, the shaped masonry was at first 
left in its place, and new perpendicular 
mouldings cut upon the face of the Norman 
stones. This method was abandoned after 
eight of the piers on the south side had 
been so treated, and in the rest the facing 
of hewn masonry was removed and replaced 
in the new style (Willis, Arch. Hist. p. 68). 
The work was far from being finished in 
his lifetime, and in his will he instructed 
his executors to have it carried on. From 
the directions given it appears that the 
Clerestory wall on the north side and the 
glazing of the windows remained still to 
complete the building. 

The development of the architectural 
style may be paralleled elsewhere, and was 
part of the movement of the age ; that the 
designing power and structural skill dis- 
played in it, as in other works with which 
Wykeham was connected, were actually 
his own, admits neither of proof nor of dis- 
proof. Contemporary evidence says nothing 
of him as a rising architect when he was 
taken into the king's service, speaks only of 
notarial duties, and the post of "overseer "of 
castles to which he was appointed was filled 
in other cases by men of clerkly and 
financial skill rather than of structural 
powers. But in any case there is no reason 
to question the taste and insight which 
could approve of designs suggested to him, 
or the large-minded munificence which 
could take in hand at an advanced age 
such a great work of reconstruction. 

In Wykeham then we see the mediaeval 
bishop at his best ; not rising indeed above 
the conventional standard of his age as 
regards the accumulation of pluralities, 
licences of nonresidence for study granted 
to immature incumbents, and appropriations 
of churches to the prejudice of the parishes 
concerned, but intolerant of recognized 
abuses, and intent to do his own work 
thoroughly and see that others did the like, 
striving to make the best of the men and 
manners of his time by a policy of con- 
ciliation and quiet constitutional progress, 
and therefore with scant sympathy for the 



6 4 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



visions of reformers such as Wyclif, whose 
destructive criticism and passionate invec- 
tives must have shocked his sober judgment. 
With no striking powers as statesman, 



orator, or divine, he left his enduring mark 
on his own and future ages, and with far- 
seeing bounty did a noble work for Church 
and State. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Henry Beaufort, 14041447. 

The See of Winchester was filled, after 
the death of Wykeham, by a strong man, 
who for nearly half a century took a leading 
part in the concerns of Church and State. 
Called after a castle in Anjou where he was 
born, Henry Beaufort was the second son 
of John of Gaunt and Catharine Swynford, 
and after the marriage of his parents in 
1396 he with his brothers was declared 
legitimate by a patent of Richard II, which 
was confirmed by Parliament. Royal 
bounty showered upon him ecclesiastical 
preferments at a very early age, so much 
so that we find in the Papal Regesta an 
indult granted him in April 1397 to farm 
for ten years his deanery of Wells with the 
annexed prebend and with other benefices 
which he had held since 1389, while he 
might be studying at Oxford or elsewhere. 
The next year however the raw student 
became Bishop of Lincoln by Papal pro- 
vision, displacing a bishop-elect who had 
incurred the King's displeasure, and was 
removed to Lichfield by an arrangement 
with the Pope, common in those days when 
the Crown, to gratify a passing whim, 
lightly disregarded the repeated Statutes of 
Provisors. While at Lincoln the young 
bishop was called upon to arbitrate in a dis- 
pute between the Dean and Canons, and 
to turn to account his studies in Canon 
law at Aachen by pronouncing one of the 
awards (laudd) which give importance to 
the constitutional history of that Chapter. 

In 1403 Beaufort became Chancellor, but 
resigned the office the next year when he 
was translated to the See of Winchester. 
Then began the long political career in 
which he was a prominent figure in the 
Court and Council Chamber, and even on 
the field of battle, in the reigns of three 
Henries in succession. For a time under 
the first of these he was confronted by the 
paramount influence of Arundel, and a 
clause, inserted informally in a royal patent, 
barred any claim on his part to succession 
to the throne. When Henry's health and 
energy declined, and the Prince of Wales 
ruled, as it seems, practically in his father's 



name, Beaufort was prominent among the 
advisers of the Prince, in whose favour the 
King's resignation was discussed. But 
the displeasure of the monarch during a 
short interval of returning strength forced 
Beaufort and his party to retire awhile from 
Court. The accession of Henry V in 1413 
soon brought him into power again. 

As Chancellor all the weight of his 
influence was thrown in favour of two 
movements, in which what seemed at the 
time complete success left a fatal heritage 
of difficulties in Church and State. The 
first was the prosecution of the Lollards, 
whose passionate defiance of authority was 
not likely to find favour in his eyes, when 
he sat as assessor with the Archbishop at 
the trial of Oldcastle, or had to deal with 
the subject in his sermon at the opening of 
Parliament in 1414. The second was the 
war with France after his failure as 
ambassador to arrange the terms of peace. 

It has been often said that the leading 
ecclesiastics encouraged the warlike 
ambition of their King in order to divert 
his thoughts from the proposed attack 
upon the great possessions of the Church. 
Godwyn (de praesulibus) pushes this un- 
warranted suspicion further still when he 
implies that Beaufort's readiness to lend 
his money for the expenses of the war was 
due to the same fear. It was on the con- 
trary his practice frequently repeated in the 
course of his career under very varying 
conditions. Nor is it quite consistent with 
the parsimony which the same writer 
imputes to him (frugi ne dicam deparcus). 

Beaufort's influence was felt soon after- 
wards in another scene. The Council of 
Constance had been spending weary years of 
ineffectual debate on the reforms for which 
Christendom was longing, but which would 
be fatal to the interests of Cardinals and 
high officials of the Papal Court. Their 
resistance and intrigues now stopped the 
way with the plea that the Church whose 
Pope had been deposed must find a head 
again and then proceed to action. King 
Henry, weary of delay, came round to this 
view ; Beaufort, starting under cover of a 



66 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



pilgrimage, found himself at Constance, 
and interposed to such effect that difficulties 
were smoothed away and the electors made 
their choice, after which all prospects of 
reform were swept away for a century at 
least. 

The new Pope, Martin V, grateful for 
the timely help from England, offered a 
Cardinal's hat to Beaufort, which he was 
obliged however to decline, for Archbishop 
Chichele was naturally jealous of the para- 
mount influence of a Cardinal legate, and 
the King his nephew refused to have a 
papal representative so near his throne. 

Henry at his death in 1422 left the 
guardianship of his infant son to Beaufort, 
on whom for many years rested much of 
the burden of government, grievously 
embarassed by the factious rivalry of 
Gloucester, the so-called "good duke 
Humphry " of the populace of London, who 
thwarted and maligned him at the council 
board, when he was not himself busy on 
the Continent with marriage schemes which 
estranged the best allies of England. The 
support of Burgundy in the French wars 
required concessions to the Flemings which 
stirred the jealousy of London merchants, 
and made Beaufort's rule unpopular. 
Gloucester fanned the flame of discontent, 
and raked up old charges of disloyalty in 
the last years of Henry IV. Bedford had 
to be recalled in 1425 from the ill-starred 
wars in France to arbitrate between the 
rivals at the request of lords and commons. 
By the terms of a hollow peace thus brought 
about Beaufort's character was cleared, but 
his former ascendancy was not regained. 
He resigned the great Seal, and turned his 
thoughts awhile elsewhere. 

The flames that were lighted at the 
funeral pyre of Huss at Constance were 
blazing fiercely in Bohemia, where the raw 
levies of the zealots were sweeping all 
before them. The Pope called for a crusade 
against the Hussites, and Beaufort, accept- 
ing the Cardinal's hat now offered him 
again, was as eager to crush heresy on the 
battle-field abroad as in courts of law at 
home. But his courage availed him little to 



arrest the ignominious rout of the German 
host at Tachau, which he vainly tried to 
rally by example, and failing quitted them 
in scorn. He must have felt on his return 
that his acceptance of the Cardinalate had 
been a grave mistake, which prejudiced his 
hopes of ascendancy at home, especially as 
he insisted on retaining possession of his 
See. The Duke of Gloucester again and 
again protested against this, and refused to 
recognise his legatine commission. The 
Council, stirred by this persistent rival, 
requested him not to officiate as prelate of 
the Garter on St. George's day. Nor did 
the Pope gain much from the appointment, 
for the troops raised for the Crusade had to 
be used in France where the English forces 
were hard pressed, and the death of Martin 
in 1431 put an end to the legatine com- 
mission altogether, and to Beaufort's part 
in the struggle in Bohemia. 

Gloucester's animosity meantime was un- 
abated. He tried to exclude him from the 
Council as an alien by office, and therefore 
of questionable loyalty at home, but his 
right to be present there was confirmed, 
save when the Papal claims might be dis- 
cussed. Then the attack was renewed on 
the fresh ground that he bought at Rome 
exemption for himself and his See from the 
jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury. This charge was pressed in Council 
with such support from unfriendly bishops 
that writs of Praemunire were sealed there 
against him, and his jewels were seized at 
Sandwich. But a petition from the 
Commons was presented in his favour and 
a Statute passed which screened him from 
all penalties connected with the exercise of 
legatine authority or the use of papal bulls. 

Thwarted and maligned in England, he 
seems to have thought of renewed activity 
abroad. The Council of Basel was holding 
its long and ineffectual debates, and he 
obtained leave in 1433 to go to it and take 
^20,000 with him for some purpose not 
defined. The plan was changed, however, 
and the next year he proposed to go on 
pilgrimage, again with a large sum of 
money, but with much secrecy as to the 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



67 



time and starting place, which it would be 
dangerous to disclose. This points appar- 
ently to some mysterious design, possibly 
to influence the Council on the election of 
a future Pope. In any case suspicions 
were aroused, for three or four years later 
the Privy Council recommended the King 
not to let him go to Rome or Basel, though 
they desired to grant him a full pardon for 
"all offences committed by him from the 
beginning of the world." 

Meantime Bedford had died in France 
in 1435, and the continued struggle there 
was well-nigh hopeless. The wise policy 
was to strive for an honourable peace. 
Beaufort was repeatedly engaged in nego- 
tiations for this end, and to secure it he 
consented to the release of the Duke of 
Orleans, which was the occasion of another 
vehement attack from Gloucester. After 
the failure, however, to arrange the terms 
of peace he desired to prosecute the war 
with vigour, and lent his money freely for 
the equipment of the necessary forces. His 
loans to the Crown, indeed, spread over 
many years, were of very large amount, 
and it is surprising that he had so much to 
offer. But the income of his See was 
ample, and he held offices of State, as well 
as the administration of the family estates 
of the house of Lancaster, and he was 
clearly an expert financier who could turn 
his capital to good account. He fixed 
himself the securities which he required 
for his loans, but when economy was sorely 
needed in 1434 he resigned his own salary 
as Councillor to set a good example, and at 
the King's marriage gave the ruby with 
which the wedding ring was made. If he 
amassed wealth it was in no sordid spirit ; 
he husbanded his resources skilfully, and 
spent them freely on occasion. 

The last years of a busy life were spent 
at Wolvesey, when he had leisure, seldom 
found before, to devote himself entirely to 
the interests of his diocese, to superintend 



the enlargement of the Foundation of St. 
Cross where the stately tower with Beau- 
fort's kneeling statue dates from his time 
by the addition of the Brethren of Noble 
Poverty, drawn from a social class distinct 
from that of ordinary almsmen. There he 
could watch the building works of the 
Cathedral, which Wykeham had left un- 
finished, and have his device and motto 
carved among the sculpture to record his 
bounty, while the noble chantry was erected 
where his bones were soon to rest. 

Early frailties would have made it hard 
to answer in his case with confidence the 
question which was sent by Papal order to 
the bishops when candidates with a stain 
upon their birth sought Holy Orders, when 
it was asked if they had shunned their 
father's fault (si paternae imitator incon- 
tinentiae), but at least there is no such im- 
putation on his life as an ecclesiastic. 
The "black despair" of his last moments, 
painted so vividly by Shakespere, is 
probably as little true to facts as the 
name popular fancy gave to Gloucester. 
The scene before his death, as described 
by an eye-witness, is one of stately calm. 
The Requiem Mass, chaunted at his bed- 
side by the Prior of St. Swithun's, the 
legacies provided for his servants, the 
bounty to his poorer tenants quietly re- 
viewed, the last directions given with 
business-like precision these present quite 
a different picture, which happily is well 
attested. 

Worldly, ambitious, masterful he doubt- 
less was ; more at home in statecraft and 
finance than spiritual questions ; but he 
was loyal to what he thought the interests 
of the Church ; he had been honest, clean- 
handed, patriotic, in his public life, and 
though the outlook for his country might 
be somewhat dark in spite of his best 
efforts, yet he had probably no reason, 
according to his lights, for any special 
weight upon his conscience. 



68 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



William of Waynflete, 14471486. 

The very day of Beaufort's death King 
Henry desired the monks of St. Swithun's 
to elect a successor of a very different type, 
who was a scholar first, and a divine turned 
perforce into a statesman, but with no great 
natural gifts or inclination for a political 
career. William the son of Richard Patten, 
otherwise called Barbour, was born at 
Waynflete in Lincolnshire, afterwhich parish 
he was generally called, though when 
ordained as acolyte he bore the second of 
his father's names. His mother was a 
daughter of Sir William Brereton, a land- 
owner of Cheshire. Educated at St. Mary's, 
Winchester, and possibly a Fellow of New 
College (Leland), he is first found in 
clerical work at Spalding, in connection 
with its Benedictine Priory ; thence he 
transferred himself to Winchester, where 
he was made Master of the School in 1429 
by the Warden and Fellows, and appointed 
by Beaufort to the Headship of the Hospital 
of St. Mary Magdalen. Named in 1441 by 
royal favour Fellow of Eton in the charter 
of foundation he became Provost three 
years later, gaining there the respect and 
confidence of Henry who watched with 
tender solicitude the progress of the great 
school which he had founded and com- 
mended its Provost to the Chapter at 
Winchester as a "notable clerc and a 
substancial personne." He was endeared 
to the good and gentle king, we read, not 
so much by his scholarly attainments as by 
moral graces like his own. The intimate 
relation remained undisturbed during the 
lifetime of Henry, who ordained even that 
both his colleges should yearly celebrate 
solemn exequies for the soul of Waynflete 
after his decease. 

The prominence of his great See, filled 
as it had often been by leading statesmen, 
brought with it many calls to public 
service, and in that age of social strife, to 
many posts of danger. There was soon such 
risk when in 1450 the insurgents under 
Jack Cade marched on London, and the 
Bishop was sent with others from the 
Council in the Tower to treat with them at 



Southwark, and to promise a free pardon 
to all who would retire to their homes. 
But a few months later the rigour of the 
law was put in force against the rioters 
who were still in arms, and his name 
appeared on the Commission, with the 
natural result of the odium attaching to the 
office. Discontent was in the air, and at 
Winchester it found expression in violent 
protests against the dues charged by his 
agents at St. Giles' Fair, a long-standing 
grievance of the citizens, who resented the 
episcopal monopoly of trade. Submission 
followed in due course, but probably with 
no good grace. A year later there were 
threats of danger, probably from Yorkist 
sources, to meet which he appealed from 
the " peynted chambre " of his manor house 
at Southwark, both to the Pope and to the 
Primate for protection against suits in 
Spiritual Courts which might deprive him 
of his see. No further light is thrown how- 
ever on the grounds of the attack expected. 

Soon afterwards he issued a commission 
for the Visitation of his diocese, being 
detained himself by "arduous and un- 
expected business." The petition of the 
Commons for the removal of Somerset and 
the king's incompetent councillors was 
supported by Richard, duke of York, with 
an army in the field. Waynflete was sent 
with others to discuss a policy of recon- 
ciliation. That happily effected he took 
a prominent part in the events which fol- 
lowed, attending regularly the " sad and 
wise Council" for which the Commons 
pleaded, and steadily supporting York as 
the King's lieutenant in Parliament and 
afterwards Protector of the Realm during 
Henry's helpless imbecility. He baptized 
the infant prince, visited the poor sufferer 
in his helpless gloom from which he failed 
to move him, and when the cloud lifted in 
1455 : "Wept for joy to find him clear- 
headed as he had ever been." 

The King's recovery renewed the mis- 
chievious influence of the Queen, broken 
for a while by the fall of her favourites at 
St. Albans, and by a second Protectorate 
of York. During this breathing time of 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



69 



peace while Lancastrians and Yorkists 
acted for a while together in the service of 
the Crown Waynflete received the Great 
Seal as the leader of a ministry of coalition. 

Little occurred of moment during the 
first part of his term of office except the 
trial of Reginald Pecock, Bishop of Chiches- 
ter, to crush whom a timid orthodoxy joined 
hands with party rancour. The one cham- 
pion of the Church who examined the 
vagaries of the Lollards with dispassionate 
appeal to history and reason met with scant 
justice from the judges who had eyes only 
for the presumption and heresy that might 
be read by those who wished to find them 
in the questionable phrases which he used 
at times. There is no doubt that Waynflete 
was sincere in the narrow and unsym- 
pathetic treatment of his brother bishop, 
and it was no hasty judgment, for three 
years later he repeated it when the Statutes 
of King's College, Cambridge, were re- 
modelled, and warnings against Pecock's 
tenets were inserted. 

Statesmanship could do little in that 
period of frantic faction, and prudent as he 
was, " Warilie wielding the weight of his 
office" (Holinshed) he tried in vain to 
restore well-being to a country suffering 
from a bankrupt exchequer, general dis- 
content, and great nobles ready to fly at 
each other's throats. His royal master like 
himself was helpless, and is said to have 
detained him sometimes from the council 
chamber to pray with him for better times; 
he witnessed indeed gladly a passing mood 
of reconciliation when the jarring factions 
walked hand-in-hand in solemn procession 
to St. Paul's ; but before long he saw York 
driven into exile, and returning to avenge 
his wrongs, and then despairing of the 
crisis he resigned his office three days 
before the rout of the Queen's forces at 
Northampton in 1460. 

Victory passed from side to side in rapid 
succession at the battles of Wakefield and 
of Towton, and the accession of Edward 
IV naturally exposed the Bishop to the 
resentment of Yorkist leaders. They 
thought perhaps of penal measures, and he 



is said to have " fled for fere into secrete 
corners" till the storm might pass. But he 
was well known for the peaceful temper 
(pads zelator) on which Henry laid stress 
in a generous letter written from captivity 
to Pope Pius II in his behalf, and he was 
"restored to his goodes and the king's 
favour" (Leland). An incident reported in 
the Rolls of Parliament at this time (1461) 
will serve to illustrate the popular excite- 
ment and the extent to which respect for 
episcopal authority was lowered. When 
Edward IV was travelling on royal pro- 
gress the tenants of East Meon, where the 
old hall of the Manor Courts still stands, 
crowded round him to complain of the 
customary dues and services which their 
lord the Bishop exacted of them through 
his bailiff as the condition of their tenure. 
They appear to have stopped him on his 
way as he was attempting to escape, and 
to have used some violence for which their 
leaders were arrested. The case was 
brought before the House of Lords, and 
judgment given in the Bishop's favour. 
The stringency of the manorial rights had 
been so much relaxed since the Black 
Death that it would be of much interest to 
learn what were the special grievances in 
question, and why the tenants of East 
Meon should have vented their spleen 
upon their Bishop. 

Receiving a full pardon and accounted 
as a " true and faithful subject " he accepted 
without reserve the decision of the country 
as to the final issue of the civil strife, and 
helped by his adhesion to give stability to 
the new dynasty, but old ties were not for- 
gotten even when return to them seemed 
hopeless, and after Edward's flight from 
London in 1470 the Bishop hastened to the 
Tower to lead his old friend and sovereign 
out to freedom. But the victories of 
Barnet and Tewkesbury soon followed, and 
after a few months he needed again the full 
pardon which was generously granted. His 
relations with the Court became as cordial 
as before ; he took the oath of fealty to 
Edward's eldest son, entertained the king 
in his college of Magdalen in Oxford, and 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



took part in the funeral ceremonies at 
Windsor. 

In these vicissitudes he accepted the 
inevitable with a good grace, and thought 
more of the interests of stable government 
than of party cries and personal attach- 
ment. It may seem indeed that he pushed 
such indifference too far in his attitude 
to the usurper Richard. Open resistance 
certainly would have been hopeless on his 
part ; as a man of peace he might accept 
what seemed the nation's will ; he could 
not safely refuse to advance the loan re- 
quired of him before the battle of Bosworth 
Field, nor decline to accept for his College 
part of the forfeited estate of the Duke of 
Buckingham ; but it was not needful to 
entertain Richard as a visitor at Magdalen 
College in 1483, and the countenance thus 
given to a bad cause was surely matter for 
regret. 

His active work in life was over before 
the accession to the throne of the heir of 
Lancaster, and he did not live to see the 
completion of the treaty of marriage 
between the two rival houses. In April, 
1486, he felt that the end was near, and at 
his Manor of Bishop's Waltham he signed 
the will in which legacies were left to all 
the members of the religious houses of St. 
Swithun, of Hyde, and the Nunnery and 
College of St. Mary, as also to the friars 
and secular clergy of Winchester, with gifts 
to all the fellows, scholars, and choristers 
of Magdalen and New College at Oxford. 
In the spirit of his age he directed that 
5000 masses should be celebrated for him 
in honour of the five wounds of Christ and 
the five joys of the Virgin Mary. He died 
on the nth of August, and was buried in 
the Cathedral in his chantry of St. Mary 
Magdalen. 

His chief title to the gratitude of pos- 
terity consisted in his splendid foundation 



in the University of Oxford. His educa- 
tional endowments there began as early as 
1448, a few months after his enthronement 
at Winchester, when he procured letters 
patent for a hall for the study of theology 
and philosophy to be dedicated to St. Mary 
Magdalen, probably in memory of his 
relations with the hospital at Winchester ; 
but he enlarged his scheme and built a 
college on a greater scale near the original 
site, the charter of which was executed in 
1458. To this he diverted with the Pope's 
consent the funds which had been left 
by Sir John Fastolf to whom he was 
executor for the foundation of a college at 
Caistor, as also the endowments of some 
religious houses, such as that of Selborne, 
which had failed hopelessly to maintain 
the conventional ideal, thus setting an 
example which was to be followed presently 
for very different ends. 

There he entertained Edward IV in 
1481 and Richard II in 1483, and for this 
enduring monument of his bounty nearly 
all his remaining property was at last left 
in trust. But even for this he did not 
neglect the interests of his own birthplace, 
nor the school which his royal master 
planted and fostered, where he himself had 
laboured, and become life visitor by royal 
nomination. The buildings of Eton were 
finished mostly at his own expense, and 
Magdalen College School still remains, and 
was described by the antiquarian traveller 
as " the most notable thing in Waynflete." 
At St. Cross, where the endowments pro- 
vided by Beaufort for "the almshouse of 
noble poverty" had been plundered during 
the civil wars, he did his best to secure for 
its support the benefices which still 
remained. The Cathedral he enriched 
with the monumental shrine which vies in 
beauty with his predecessor's chantry. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Peter Courtenay, 1487-1492. 

Waynflete's successor in the See of 
Winchester came of a younger branch of 
the noble family of Courtenay. The home 
of Sir Philip, his father, was Powderham 
Castle in Devonshire, and from early 
associations and the influence of his kins- 
men he was connected during most of his 
career with the interests of that county. 
Like others of his name he naturally went 
to Exeter College, Oxford, where he studied 
for three years in the Arts' Course, and 
after that spent three years more in the 
Faculty of Civil Law, being thus qualified 
to lecture on the Institutes in the nave of 
St. Mary's Church, after the grace for 
which he made formal application, as 
entered on the University books. Many 
years had passed since the study of Law 
was discountenanced by Papal bull for 
ecclesiastics, and since Peter of Blois 
defended it on the questionable ground 
that the Prophet Jeremiah was in some 
sense a proficient in that branch of learn- 
ing. The highest honours in Church and 
State had long been its rewards, to the great 
discouragement, as Friar Bacon urged, of 
more profound and philosophic thought. 

It had long been a customary practice 
for men of means and scholarly attainments 
to pass from one seat of general study to 
another. So to complete his education, 
Peter Courtenay betook himself to Padua, 
which was then, under the favouring care 
of Venice, one of the most eminent 
Universities of Europe. He devoted him- 
self there to Canon Law, which then had 
special interest for pushing churchmen. 
The Theology of the Sorbonne had little 
attraction for ambitious minds, which turned 
instead to Gratian's Concordance of Canons 
and Decretals, by which the principles of 
Papal autocracy gained firmer hold upon 
their thought, while they rose themselves 
thereby to higher posts. 

Family influence secured him from the 
outset an ample store of ecclesiastical pre- 
ferments, beginning with a parish and 
Archdeaconry in his native county, to which 



were added in the course of time a prebend 
of Lincoln, the Deanery of Windsor, and in 
1478 the Bishopric of Exeter by Papal 
favour. 

The Statutes of Provisors had been 
repeatedly ignored, by neglect or con- 
nivance of the Crown, and as in a multitude 
of other cases no difficulties were raised 
when Courtenay was provided with the 
See. During his eight years of episcopal 
rule at Exeter political interests seem to 
have mainly occupied his thoughts and 
time. Accepting at first without demur the 
unscrupulous measures which put Richard 
III upon the throne, he took part speedily 
in the conspiracy of Buckingham, and with 
others of his family, and the support of 
Canons of the Cathedral, tried to organize 
a general rising in the county against the 
Usurper's rule. Failing hopelessly in this 
he fled to Brittany, where he joined Henry 
of Richmond in his exile, and took part in 
the schemes and enterprises which issued 
in the victory of Bosworth. 

Henry VII was not unmindful of the 
services of Courtenay. The temporalities 
of the See, the estates which had been con- 
fiscated, were restored without delay, and 
the sentence passed against him was 
reversed in the first Parliament of the new 
reign ; he was employed repeatedly on 
special commissions and in offices of trust, 
and was made Keeper of the Privy Seal, at 
a salary of twenty shillings a day. In this 
capacity his name appears for years in 
royal letters, besides the complimentary 
presents of rich robes, in which Henry VII, 
economical as he was in other ways, 
indulged a special taste, as indicated largely 
in his wardrobe accounts. 

On Waynflete's death the King's influence 
was exerted on his behalf without delay. 
The temporalities were assigned to him, 
and a Papal bull of 29th January, 1487, trans- 
lated him to Winchester. During the same 
year a number of the graduates of Oxford 
\saiagentibus togatis haud paucis) put his 
name forward in the election of a Chancellor 
in competition with the Bishop of Lincoln, 
who had already served one term of office, 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



and was with difficulty re-elected (cegre 
cancellarius emicuit, Wood). 

Courtenay's career was nearly closed, 
and there is little evidence of any further 
prominence in public life, or of ecclesiastical 
interest at Winchester. There was indeed 
one great function there during his time, 
when Prince Arthur was baptised there in 
great state, and the Cathedral gorgeously 
adorned, with the Doctors assembled "in 
rich copes and grey amys," while outside to 
do honour to a people's holiday two pipes 
of wine were broached in the church-yard, 
"that every man might drink enow." But 
the King and Queen were entertained, not 
at Wolvesey, but in the Warden's house, 
and it would seem therefore that Courtenay 
must have been then in failing health, 
unable to receive his royal master, with 
whom he had been long in close relations. 

There is little of local interest with which 
his name can be connected. The lady 
chapel indeed was being lengthened and 



the crypt built below, a thank-offering being 
given by the Queen towards the expenses, 
and Courtenay's arms were copied there as 
well as those of the royal family, as a token 
doubtless that he bore part of the charges. 
There too he was buried in 1492, for his 
leaden coffin was found in 1885, built into 
a wall in the crypt below the part extended 
beyond Bishop de Lucy's work. At Exeter 
the enduring memories of his episcopate 
were also associated with the Cathedral 
structure. The north tower was " ingeni- 
ously rebuilt" at his expense so as to 
"combine with late details the general 
Romanesque effect" (Freeman), and he 
put in it a clock of curious construction and 
a bell which bore his name. 

Of features of personal character little or 
nothing is recorded ; diocesan activities 
have left no traces except those in stone 
and mortar ; he appears in history only as 
an educated lawyer, a busy politician, and 
a high-placed court official. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



73 



Thomas Langton, 14931601. 

Thomas Langton was a native of Appleby 
in Westmoreland, and received his school- 
ing there, as we are told, from Carmelite 
Friars, of whose educational interests little 
is heard elsewhere. He went thence to 
Queen's College at Oxford, to which north- 
countrymen resorted, but left it to escape 
the plague, like Richard Foxe, his suc- 
cessor at Winchester, and entered Clare 
Hall in Cambridge, becoming in 1461 a 
Fellow of Pembroke College, to which 
he gave the " Anathema Cup " which is 
still preserved. Proctor in 1462, he quali- 
fied in Civil and Canon law, but soon 
quitted the University. St. Thomas of 
Hereford, two centuries earlier, after long 
periods spent as a student at Oxford, 
Paris, and Orleans, could get a special 
licence of non-residence at the ripe age 
of fifty for further studies in theology ; 
but the practice of the age was very 
different now. " Long continuance in those 
places," says Harrison of Elizabethan 
England, " is either a sign of lack of 
friends or of learning, or of good and 
upright life, as Bishop Foxe sometimes 
noted, who thought it sacrilege for a man 
to tarry any longer at Oxford than he had 
a desire to profit." We hear of him next 
as chaplain to King Edward, and as such 
employed by him on diplomatic errands on 
the continent. In one of these he used his 
influence with the French king at Troyes 
in behalf of Sellyng, the Prior of Christ 
Church, Canterbury, with whom he had 
been intimate at Padua and at Rome, to 
renew the grant of the sixteen hundred 
gallons of " the wine of St. Thomas," 
which had been sent yearly to the monks, 
with occasional breaks, since 1179. The 
grateful convent offered him in return the 
living of St. Leonard's, Eastcheap, which 
he declined, accepting however afterwards 
the benefice of All Hallows', Gracechurch 
Street, in much request among chaplains at 
the Court. In 1478 he was acting as 
Proctor in Convocation for the Priory of 
Christ Church, and proposes in a letter to 
Sellyng to deliver a speech there in its 



interests if the Prior meantime will " labour 
in it." He tells his correspondent that the 
Bishop of Exeter has collated him to the 
Treasurership of the Cathedral, " which is 
worth a hundred marks." 

At Edward's death there was no change 
in Langton's influence at Court. The See 
of St. David's was conferred on him in 
1483, and notwithstanding the statutes 
passed against Pro visors, he was formally 
licensed to send to Rome for the necessary 
dispensation that he might hold for life in 
commendam the benefice of Pembridge 
with his Bishoprick, there being, it was 
urged, such dilapidations in the manors of 
the See that without some help the dignity 
of the office could not be maintained. As 
Bishop-elect he was present at the cere- 
monies when Richard was received by 
Waynflete at Magdalen College, when 
"solemn disputations were performed in 
Hall, and the Muses crowned the King's 
brow with fragrant wreaths" (Wood). 
Richard "scattered his benevolences very 
liberally," and made a favourable impres- 
sion, as it seems, on Langton, for he writes 
to his friend the Prior in something more 
than courtly terms: "The king contents 
the people wher he goes best that ever did 
prince ; for many a poor man that hath 
suffred wrong many days have be relevyd. 
. . . On my trouth I lyked never the con- 
dicion of any prince so much as his. God 
hath sent hym to us for the wele of us all." 
Some doubt may be felt perhaps as to the 
motives of his praise, for he adds in the 
letter : f< I trust to God that ye shal have 
such tythings in hast that I shal be an 
Ynglish man and no more Walsche." The 
words are explained by his speedy transla- 
tion to a better See, and the King's language 
in his letter to the Chapter of Salisbury, 
shows that his support to the new govern- 
ment was really valued. " Havyng tendre 
regards as well unto the laudable merites, 
highe vertues, and profounde cunnyng, that 
the righte reverend fader in God, our righte 
trusty and right welbeloved counsaillor the 
Bishop of Saint David, is notarily knowen 
to be of, as unto othre his notable desertes, 



74 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



continued trouthe, and feithful services to 
us in sundry wises doon to our singler 
pleasur, hertily pray you that ye wold have 
hym to the saide preemynence and pas- 
toralle dignitie before all othre . . . preferred " 
(Letters of Richard III, I, 88, Rolls ed.). 

The fall of Richard and the accession of 
Henry VII left Langton's fortune undis- 
turbed ; the manors granted by the former 
as a mark of royal favour were expressly 
exempted from forfeiture, and when he 
became Provost of Queen's College, Oxford, 
in 1487, it was clear that he had still influ- 
ence at Court. For his early connexion 
with the College had been short-lived, and 
there were other reasons, doubtless, for the 
welcome which he found there. The Alien 
Priory of Sherborne, in the Diocese of 
Winchester, had been put like the rest at 
the disposal of the Crown, and Henry VI 
had given its estates to his favourite founda- 
tion of Eton College. Edward IV however, 
in 1461, annulled the grant and assigned 
the property to the Hospital of St. Julian 
at Southampton, which in its turn was 
annexed to Queen's College, and had made 
provision for religious ministrations on the 
site over which, as the Act recited, Popes 
and English Saints had watched in old 
time with fostering care. Cantilupe indeed 
had been Rector of the Parish Church hard 
by. There was now talk, however, of fresh 
resumption by the Crown, and seeing its 
interests thus threatened, the College was 
glad to have a Provost and a Master of the 
Hospital, whose influence might screen them 
from attack. He held both offices for a few 
years only, but left behind him when he 
gave them up, substantial marks of his 
rule in improvements in their buildings. 



In 1493 he was translated to the see of 
Winchester, where he shewed his sympathy 
for the educational interests of his great 
predecessors by opening a school in the 
precincts of the palace, testing himself the 
progress of the scholars and encouraging 
their studies. One of them whom he sent 
on to the Queen's College was the Richard 
Pace, who after being the amanuensis 
of the Bishop, and attendant on Cardinal 
Bainbridge, became a notable diplomatist 
under Wolsey. 

To the three bishopricks which he had 
held already a further promotion followed 
in 1501, when he was elected Archbishop 
of Canterbury, but a few days afterwards 
he died of the plague before the appoint- 
ment was confirmed, and he was buried 
in the richly ornamented chantry which 
he had built in his own Cathedral. The 
decorative emblems which were carved 
there were repeated at Queen's College by 
his nephew, who added to the long musical 
note and the ton, which together stood for 
Langton, the figures of a roe and bear to 
indicate his own name Robert. 

He bequeathed tokens of good will to 
the Colleges with which he had been 
connected, and did not in his benefactions 
forget his early friends, the White Friars of 
his native Appleby, nor the Churches of 
Penrith and Soham, where he had been 
Rector (ubi olim fueram beneficiatus), 

In the critical times of civil strife he 
steered his course warily through the 
troubled waters, and as rulers rose and fell 
he served each with unquestioning loyalty 
in turn, and yet history records no words of 
grave disparagement from hostile voices. 




Chantry of Bishop Foxe. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



75 



Richard Foxe, 1501 1528. 

In Richard Foxe the Diocese had a 
Bishop worthy to be classed with Wickham 
and Waynflete, his great predecessors in 
the See, but many years of a busy life were 
passed before he found much leisure for 
ecclesiastical concerns or for the interests 
of education. He was born about 1447 at 
Ropesley, near Grantham, in the home of 
a yeoman father who had means enough 
to send him to school and University, not 
as a poor scholar to "goe a begging with 
bag and wallet, and sing salve Regina at 
rich men's doors" (Sir T. More), but able 
to migrate from Oxford, under pressure of 
the plague, to Pembroke College, Cam- 
bridge, and thence to Paris in due course, 
to verify the saying that "sundry scholes 
maken subtel schollers." 

There he stayed probably many years, 
but he is not heard of there till Henry, 
Earl of Richmond, was at the court of the 
French King, seeking the help he needed 
in his bold enterprise to gain the English 
crown. When he quitted Paris he left 
Foxe, then a priest and doctor of canon 
law, to negotiate in his behalf, and the 
news of this made Richard III intervene 
in 1485 to prevent his institution to the 
Vicarage of Stepney, as being "with the 
great rebel, Henry of Tudor." 

When the victory was won at Bosworth, 
Foxe became a member of the King's 
Council, where with Morton he kept watch 
over his master's interests being "vigilant 
and secret" (Bacon). 

He then rose rapidly to high estate, and 
as Lord of the Privy Seal was for many 
years a trusted confidant of King Henry, 
employed in diplomatic business of great 
importance, as in the negotiations of the 
treaty of Estaples and in the interviews 
with King James of Scotland, where he 
arranged the preliminaries of the marriage 
with the Princess Margaret, which resulted 
in the happy union of the two crowns. 
Meanwhile he was rewarded in the custom- 
ary way with ecclesiastical preferment, 



with a natural understanding that the 
duties of such offices could be performed 
only by deputy, but Bishops in partibus 
were always to be found, and their services 
could always be secured. He became 
Bishop of Exeter in 1487, and of Bath and 
Wells in 1492, and in both cases the purely 
episcopal functions were discharged by an 
Archbishop of Tenos. Then he was trans- 
lated in 1494 to Durham, where his presence 
on the Scottish borders would be of service 
to the State and dangerous to himself, as 
was proved indeed ere long when he was 
besieged by the invaders in his Castle of 
Norham, which, however, he had had the 
foresight to fortify and provision amply 
for defence. 

In serving the interests of a thrifty 
and somewhat grasping monarch, like 
Henry VII, he could not easily escape 
some hostile comments. The practical 
dilemma, commonly called Morton's fork, 
was attributed to him, when gaily dressed 
clerics were taxed for a state loan on the 
scale of their visible expenditure, while 
others who came in sorry garb had to 
subscribe in regard to their apparent 
savings. Men quoted without misgiving 
the jest or sarcasm fathered on the Bishop's 
chaplain, "my lord, to save the King's 
turn, will not stick to agree to his own 
father's death." 

The decease in 1509 of Henry VII, for 
whom he acted as executor, made no differ- 
ence for a time in the political influence of 
Foxe, already for some years Bishop of 
Winchester (1501), but his position was 
now more difficult, for his authority was 
balanced by that of Thomas Howard, Earl 
of Surrey, who had little love for the 
economical traditions of the last reign. 
But the ambassador of Venice spoke of 
Foxe as an alter rex, and royal influence 
decided in his favour the issue of a dispute 
with Warham, which had been referred to 
Rome already, as to the prerogatives of the 
Archbishop's Court in business of probate 
and administration a curious revival of 
the protests raised two centuries earlier 



7 6 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



by the Bishops with Cantilupe at their 
head against the pretensions of Archbishop 
Peckham. 

The war with France in 1513 gave com- 
manding influence to Wolsey, and from 
this time the Bishop falls into the back- 
ground, though he was present with the 
invading army, and acted afterwards as 
commissioner in the treaty of peace and 
marriage which was concluded in 1514. It 
has been thought, on the slender authority 
of Polydore Vergil, a biassed witness, that 
Wolsey schemed to oust Foxe from his 
place at court with a view to the monopoly 
of influence there. But the letters which 
passed between the two prove clearly that 
this was the malicious invention of the 
writer, which Archbishop Parker did not 
scruple to repeat. In answer to pressing 
appeals from Wolsey in 1522 to take more 
part in the affairs of the state, Foxe urges 
his own weariness of worldly business, and 
his compunction at his past neglect of 
higher duties. Of the four cathedral 
churches he had held "there be two, 
scilicet Excestre and Welles, that I never 
see, and innumerable sawles whereof I 
never see the bodies." 

Such regret to a sensitive conscience 
was natural enough, though the neglect in 
question was condoned largely by the 
opinion of the age, and the Crown insisted 
on its right to withdraw as by Papal 
dispensation any of its clerks from the 
obligation of residence on their cures. 

Thenceforth for the few years of life 
which still remained he gave himself wholly 
up to the administration of his diocese and 
the educational interests of the future. In 
the former he found much to trouble him ; 
the condition of the clergy gave him grave 
concern ; the monks, as he wrote to 
Wolsey on 2nd January, 1521, were so 
depraved, so licentious and corrupt, that 
reformation seemed to him quite hopeless 
in his diocese. Such evidence from one 
who had seen no little of the world, and 
had no personal bias, we may well re- 
member when we read the apologies for 



the monasteries in the days of their decline 
put forth in the name of history. 

After a blindness of some time he passed 
away full of years and honours on the 
5th October, 1528, and was buried on the 
same day in the Cathedral in the "gorgeous 
chantry which, from the hours of devotion 
which he spent in this destined spot of his 
interment, obtained the name of Foxe's 
study" (Milner). 

There is much indeed besides in the 
Cathedral which recalls his memory, as the 
vaulting of the choir, the tracery of the 
stone partitions on each side when the 
Norman aisles were taken down, the east 
end gable crowned by his figure, the flying 
buttresses with his favourite emblem of 
the pelican and its eucharistic symbolism, 
and the mortuary chests set one over each 
arch, and replacing the leaden coffins due 
to an earlier bishop. 

Farnham Castle and the Hospital of St. 
Cross were indebted to his bounty, as also 
the castles of Durham and Norham, and 
the abbeys of Glastonbury and Netley, and 
St. Mary's Church in Oxford ; in Ropesley, 
his native place, it is believed that he left 
his mark on the parish church, where the 
south porch and the elaborate tracery in 
the south aisle date from his time. 

The great work of his life, however, was 
connected with the universities, and it is 
by this that his memory endures. With 
both Oxford and Cambridge he had intimate 
relations, dating from his boyhood. As an 
executor of the Lady Margaret he had 
helped Fisher and others to complete the 
foundation of St. John's College, Cambridge, 
which was left unfinished at her death. He 
was also from 1507 to 1519 Master of Pem- 
broke College, to which he had been elected 
probably for some special purpose, as his 
predecessor, Langton, was at Queen's in 
Oxford. It is therefore somewhat sur- 
prising that as Visitor of Magdalen College 
he should have ruled, after appeal to him, 
that the President, Mayhew, being Bishop 
of Hereford, must resign his office as in- 
compatible with his other duties. But he 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



77 



provided in the Statutes of the College that 
he founded that the Head might not also 
be a Bishop. Besides his relations with the 
Colleges already named he also, under a 
commission of Pope Julius II, drew up 
amended statutes for Balliol College, which 
were in force till recent days, and was 
himself elected its Visitor in 1511. 

His great Academic work was the found- 
ation in 1515 of Corpus Christi College, the 
name of which was in close connection 
with his favourite symbol. This was 
remarkable not only because he endowed 
a secular college, rather than an establish- 
ment for young monks, at the possible 
suggestion of Bishop Oldham, for indeed it 
is surprising that he had any such idea, at 
a time when the whole conventual system 
was fatally discredited, and reforming move- 
ments as well as new foundations were 
matters of the past. Nor again was it the 
bounty merely that called a new college 
into being out of his own private funds 
that requires grateful notice so much as the 
new spirit of a wider humanism that was 
to find in it official recognition. The study 
of Greek was to be naturalised in it ; 
foreign lecturers were to be given a 
welcome without regard to national pre- 
judice ; mediaeval commentaries replaced 
by the Fathers of the Church ; and the 
new spirit of the Renaissance to breathe in 
the text of ancient study. 

His aim throughout the Statutes which 
regulated the life of the community was to 
" extirpate barbarism from his beehive," 
and train a learned clergy in what Erasmus 
called its trilinguis bibliotheca, combining 
the study of the poets, historians, and 
orators of Greece and Rome with the 
dominant theology and the logic of the 
schools. 

To the College he left his crozier, chalice, 
paten and rings, and there they are still 
preserved. 



Bishop Foxe's Tomb. 

The tomb of Bishop Foxe was opened on 
January 28th, 1820. The discoveries then 
made are described by Canon Nott in a 
careful report which he shortly afterwards 
gave to the President of Corpus Christi 
College, Oxford, a copy of which exists in 
the Cathedral Library. 

About three feet of earth had accumulated 
at the back of the altar screen. In the 
course of its removal a part of the pave- 
ment was lifted, unexpectedly disclosing 
the large ledger stone of Bishop Foxe's 
tomb close to the surface. This stone was 
seen to be broken into three parts, with 
wide cracks, through which much earth 
had fallen, and it was decided to replace it 
with a new one. When the new stone was 
ready, the broken one was lifted in the 
presence of Dr. Nott and other Canons. 
It was then seen that the coffin was entire, 
the unfastened lid lying upon it in the 
manner in which it had originally been 
placed. The coffin itself was formed of 
loose oak planks, joined very lightly to- 
gether without nails, such as might have 
been used either for the sake of great 
humility or owing to the need of haste. 
On each side of it lay the pieces of the 
wands of the officers who had attended the 
funeral, and between it and the sides of 
the tomb four or five large pieces of painted 
marble (described below). On removing 
the lid it was seen that the remains lay 
exactly in the form in which they must 
have been placed. The Bishop's head 
rested gently inclined upon his bosom. 
The features were destroyed, but there was 
enough of the dried flesh remaining to give 
a general appearance of a human face. 
The mitre, in great part remaining, con- 
tinued on the head. It had been of velvet, 
the plush being quite perished, but the 
webb was nearly entire. On the left side 
lay the crozier, the hand bent round still 
seeming to hold it. The right hand rested 
on the bosom, covered with a glove, which 
was perfect though colourless, and pre- 
served the bones in their places, the articu- 
lation of the joints being plainly visible. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



The crozier was of wood, very neatly carved. 
Its appearance was so interesting, that it 
was taken up for the purpose of having an 
accurate drawing made of it. The feet 
were in boots, and between them lay a 
small leaden box, very carefully fastened 
up, and about two and a half inches long 
by two inches wide. It had no inscription 
beyond the initials R. F. This box was 
taken up and afterwards opened in the 
Dean's presence. It proved to contain a 
small piece of vellum, on which was written 
very neatly in Gothic characters : 

Quinto die Octobris anno Domini millimo 
quingentesimo vicesimo octavo obiit et sepultus 
est Ricardus Fox hujus ecclesise Epus. qui hanc 
rexit ecclesiam septem et viginti annis integre. 

The inscription is interesting, as giving 
the true date of Foxe's death, elsewhere 
given differently ; and secondly as seeming 
to imply that he was buried the day he 
died, which would account for the appear- 
ance of the coffin. 

Respecting the pieces of Purbeck marble 
above mentioned, when joined together the 



subject of the painting proved to be the 
Coronation of the Virgin, and work of 
the thirteenth century. How came it in 
the tomb ? Dr. Nott's conjecture is that it 
was the altar piece of a chapel destroyed in 
the building of Foxe's Chantry, and ordered 
by him to be preserved in this way as a 
mark of affection or respect. 

The tomb contained no other object of 
curiosity. Its dimensions were 7ft. lin. 
long, 3ft. 1 1 in. deep, 2ft. gin. wide. The 
coffin was 5ft. ii^in. long by ift. loin, wide 
at the head and ift. 6in. at the feet. 

It was manifest, says Dr. Nott, that the 
tomb had never suffered injury, either from 
sacrilegious profanement, or rude curiosity. 
The only suspicious circumstance suggest- 
ing that it might have been opened, was 
that there was no ring, either within or 
without the glove. 

The crozier is in the Cathedral Library, 
and also a magnificent sapphire ring said 
to have been Bishop Foxe's, but on what 
authority, if any, is not known. F T M 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



79 



Thomas Wolsey, 1529-1530. 

It would be inappropriate as well as 
hopeless to attempt in a column or two of 
a Diocesan Chronicle to discuss the charac- 
ter and career of a great master of state- 
craft. It is in that aspect alone that 
Thomas Wolsey is remembered now, except 
for a few pathetic memories of his sufferings 
from the ingratitude and colossal egotism 
of the royal master he had served so faith- 
fully. His ecclesiastical relations fill no 
place in our thoughts, and with good reason, 
for almost to the end their interests and 
duties were consistently ignored. Yet it 
may be worth while to notice briefly two or 
three features of his public life which 
remind us of striking defects of the pre- 
reformation Church, as also of his sadly 
disappointed efforts to rival the enduring 
work of his great predecessors in the See 
of Winchester. 

No one, perhaps, has more fully repre- 
sented the practice of delegation which 
had been throughout so widely accepted in 
the Church. In every grade of the hierarchy 
official substitutes were provided as a matter 
of course by regular appointment. Religious 
houses were forced to endow parochial 
vicars ; Cathedral dignitaries and canons 
must have each his vicar choral ; vicars 
general acted for the bishops ; archdeacons 
nominated their officials to do all their 
work, while they studied Canon law at 
Orleans or Padua, or ran into debt or 
to worse scrapes, and even when they came 
back at length to be scolded in the Bishop's 
pastorals for their exactions or short- 
comings. Those days indeed are far away ; 
it seems almost irreverent to recall them. 
The Church had the monopoly of these 
abuses ; the State could not tolerate them 
in its official life. Chancellors, treasurers, 
and judges had to work hard and could 
not delegate their duties, for the whole 
machinery would else have fallen out of 
gear. It was the State indeed, it may be 
said, that largely forced for its own con- 
venience the unseemly practice on the 
Church. It would have educated men to 
do its work, and the ranks of the Clergy 



only could supply them ; those ranks indeed 
were very large, vastly greater than at 
present in proportion to the population ; as 
far as numbers went they could easily have 
been spared, and have left amply enough 
behind for spiritual work. But the State 
must have picked men, and would pay them 
from Church funds by using its preferments 
to reward them. Non-residence and dele- 
gation naturally followed. If now and then 
a punctilious Bishop ventured to cite an 
absent Rector, he was soon trounced by an 
angry letter from the King, for the privileges 
of his civil servants were endangered. But 
the Bishops themselves had often been the 
worst offenders, because the ablest servants 
and the best paid. They had been pluralists 
to an astonishing extent, for dispensations 
were easily procured by men who could 
dispose of the interest or funds which were 
all-powerful at Rome. At times indeed 
a General Council, like the Second of 
Lyons, stirred by some conscientious 
scruple or high-minded Pope, issued an 
ineffectual Canon, or a stern martinet like 
John XXII by a Bull Execrabilis, caused 
wide-spread dismay. But these were only 
temporary measures, and the abuses were 
long-lived. 

Wolsey at the close of the old system 
surpassed all the pluralists who went before 
him in the magnitude of his ecclesiastical 
possessions. It was not merely that in the 
earlier days he accepted a multitude of 
different preferments as the substantial 
tokens of Court favour. Nothing was too 
insignificant to be added to the list. Pratum 
minus was the tiniest prebend of one of 
the most slenderly endowed of English 
chapters, consisting, as it seems, of a few 
trusses of hay from the Lugg meadows of 
Hereford, but Wolsey was content to hold 
it till the Deanery was vacant. The 
Bishops had commonly resigned their 
benefices at or soon after their election, 
and vacated each See in turn as they passed 
on to a better. Wolsey accumulated bishop- 
ricks as others had done livings. Besides 
the Archbishoprick of York, he had the 
Abbacy of St. Albans, and one important 



8o 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



See as well, either Bath, Durham, or 
Winchester, for these three he held in suc- 
cession but not jointly. Nor was it English 
preferment only that was treated thus. 
When he resigned the See of Tournai he 
retained a large pension on its funds. By 
favour of the Emperor he had a bishoprick 
in Spain as well as considerable charges 
on some other Sees, the payment of which, 
it must be owned, were often delayed and 
sometimes never made. Such an accumu- 
lation was unexampled among English 
prelates. Indeed the practice of holding 
high preferments in commendam was Con- 
tinental more than English, for here the 
custody of parish churches only had been 
usually granted in an earlier age as a 
temporary measure till the holder was 
qualified by age or Orders. In Carlovingian 
times episcopal temporalities had been 
conferred as fiefs on military chieftains, 
and though the Church regained its rights 
over the French Sees, Abbacies in later 
days were often given in commendam. 

The See of Winchester was given to 
Wolsey when he was already tottering to 
his fall ; and he was installed by proxy, on 
April i ith, 1529, to hold it for a few months 
only. The Register describes the scene 
when William Britten, Chaplain and Proctor 
of Thomas Wolsey, "perpetual adminis- 
trator of the See of Winchester," was met 
by the Mayor and others at the door of 
the church of St. Mary Kalendar, and 
escorted in splendid ceremony to the 
Cathedral. That the Cardinal had "gaped" 
for years for the preferment (Fuller), or 
pressed Foxe to resign it in his favour, we 
may probably dismiss as malevolent inven- 
tions ; he refused to pay the price which 
the Court of Rome at first demanded 
thirteen thousand ducats to expedite the 
necessary bulls (letter of Peter Vannes), 
but Casalis promised six thousand in his 
name, and an early resignation of the 
bishoprick of Durham, which would involve, 
as it was urged, large dues to be paid by 
his successor. There is no record after 
this of any visit of Wolsey to Winchester. 
A vicar general, John Incent, was immedi- 



ately appointed, and all the details of the 
administration were left in his and other 
hands. The Register contains little but 
the entries of the collation of William 
Boleyn to the Archdeaconry of Winchester 
and of Edward Lee to that of Surrey, 
together with the details of the election of a 
few heads of religious houses and the lists of 
institutions. He was soon required (March 
29th) to sign a commission to his vicar 
general to vest in the King the disposal of 
benefices and offices of his See, and with 
that his powers of control were ended. 

Had fortune favoured him he would 
have doubtless followed further in the 
steps of Wykeham, Waynflete, and Foxe, 
for his educational interests were amply 
shown in the schemes which he was not 
able to carry to completion. The splendid 
endowments for the Colleges which he 
founded had been bestowed after he had 
used his legatine authority, and, by his 
own admission, infringed the Statute of 
Provisors. They were, so lawyers insisted, 
wholly void, and at the King's disposal. 
The College at Ipswich was totally sup- 
pressed, and " a noble foundation, so much 
needed for the eastern counties, was 
brought to desolation by the avarice of the 
King and the greed of his favourites" 
(Brewer). Cardinal College, at Oxford, 
survived only on a poorer scale, for Henry 
said to his petitioners that " he would have 
an honourable College there, but not so 
great, or of such magnificence as my Lord 
Cardinal intended to have, for it is not 
thought meet for the common good of our 
realm." It had been designed for a Dean 
and sixty canons with six professors, and 
petty canons and choristers to match ; 
buildings on a grand scale had been pushed 
on, and part even of St. Frideswyde's 
Church demolished to make room for them. 
But no survivals of conventual life were 
embodied in the scheme, in which the 
mediaeval element had found no place. 
Of all the conditions of his downfall this 
mutilation of his fond hopes as founder 
grieved Wolsey perhaps the most. All his 
repeated efforts in his letters to Cromwell, 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



81 



Gardiner, the Chief Justice, the Attorney 
General, and others, were unavailing. The 
suppression of religious houses, which it 
had cost him so much to carry through, 
with papal bulls and heavy legal charges, 
this indeed was soon to be continued. Not 
only the decayed and useless, which he 
would have replaced by worthier institutions, 
but all alike were soon to be swept away. 
A fatal example had been set before the 
eyes of a man like Henry, for, as Fuller 
puts it, his precedent " made all the forest 
of religious foundations in England to 
shake, justly fearing the King would fell 
the oaks, seeing the Cardinal began to cut 
the underwood." 

That the time had come for a large 
policy of reform, if not of suppression, few 



can doubt who know much of the history 
of those times. We may reject indeed the 
grossly prejudiced accounts of Cromwell's 
agents as of no value in themselves, but 
there is a danger that in the natural 
reaction we should give too little heed 
to other evidence which does exist, not 
indeed of numerous and widespread im- 
moralities, but of frequent failures to main- 
tain a fair level of spiritual life, of laxity of 
discipline and sloth, which might not 
indeed shock their tenants and their neigh- 
bours in the country-side, but which made 
the monks fall far short of the ideals of 
their pious founders, while they were also 
powerless to fill a worthy place in the 
future development of national life. 



82 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Stephen Gardiner. 1631-1565. 

Of the early life of Gardiner little more 
is known than that he was the son of a 
cloth- worker of Bury, St. Edmunds, that 
he studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, of 
which he was a Fellow, and afterwards 
Master, becoming a Doctor of Civil Law 
in 1521, and of Canon Law in the following 
year. As tutor in the family of the Duke 
of Norfolk, he was introduced to Wolsey, 
who made him his private secretary, and 
soon recognised his talents. When it was 
known that King Henry was intent to 
break the ties which bound him to Queen 
Catherine, Gardiner was sent in 1528 with 
Edward Foxe to urge on Pope Clement 
the appointment of a commission to try 
the cause in England, which in effect was 
to brave the resentment of the Emperor, 
and ignore the ruling of a preceding pope. 
They found him at Orvieto, and their 
letters describe the scene vividly with the 
course of the negotiations. Much impressed 
by the poverty-stricken surroundings of the 
Papal Court, they had no word to say of 
the Duomo with its magnificent facade, or 
of the picturesque position of the town. 
Passing through a few corridors peopled 
with a motley crowd, they found the Pope 
in a poor chamber on a bench covered 
with a threadbare cushion. There, if we 
may trust these letters, they plied him, in 
repeated interviews for hours at a stretch, 
with bold importunities and threats which 
the Pope parried with evasive pleas, and 
sometimes with playful humour, as when 
he said that he was told that the principles 
of Canon Law were locked up in his breast, 
but God had not been pleased to provide 
him with a key. They had been instructed 
to use " all goodly and duke ways without 
concitating the Pope by any sharp words 
of discomfort," but he appears to have 
writhed under Gardiner's stormy outbursts, 
and they wrung from him at length a con- 
cession, dishonest indeed, but of less value 
than it seemed, and Gardiner returned to 
rise at once in the King's favour, to be his 
"right hand" when Wolsey fell, and to 



receive the See of Winchester as his 
reward in 1531. 

He had shown no scruples hitherto in 
furthering the policy of his royal master. 
For the divorce he had spared no diplomatic 
efforts to obtain the sanction of Clement at 
Orvieto, and the favourable judgment of 
the heads of the University at Cambridge. 
There was no visible reluctance in dis- 
placing the authority of the Pope by royal 
supremacy, for he wrote a book, which he 
would gladly have forgotten later on, de 
vera obedientia. The story that he was 
forced to compose it under pain of death 
was apparently an afterthought of his 
friends. He calmly acquiesced in the sup- 
pression of the religious houses. But he 
was of less pliant humour when the revolu- 
tionary flood rose higher. He succeeded 
in dissuading Henry from any compact with 
the German Protestants which would tie 
his hands in future policy ; he did not 
disguise his disapproval of the tendencies 
encouraged by Cromwell and by Cranmer, 
though he took an active part in the trans- 
lation of the New Testament. The answer 
to the Supplication of the Commons which 
was drafted by his hand was a cogent but 
temperate defence of the rights and interests 
of his Order. This coupled with resistance 
to a proposed exchange of some Church 
property caused him a certain loss of royal 
favour, and may have led to his exclusion 
from the list of the executors who were 
charged with the government during the 
young King's minority ; but the story of 
the suspicion and resentment with which 
the King regarded him at last, and which 
would have led to his disgrace had the 
King lived longer, seems to be mostly due 
to the malice of Paget, a former dependant 
of the Bishop. 

The extreme advocates of reform had 
been alternately encouraged and repressed 
on grounds of personal policy, but Henry's 
death now freed them from restraint. The 
result was seen immediately in outspoken 
language and illegal acts, which were met 
with strong protest from Gardiner. He 




Portrait of Bishop Gardiner. 

(From the painting in Trinity Hall, Cambridge.) 

[By kind permission of Mr. Palmer Clarke, Cambridge.) 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



had shown no sympathy for ceremonial and 
doctrinal changes : he objected to them 
now on the constitutional ground that the 
Council had no authority to sanction them. 
But the Protector and Cranmer would go 
forward ; the Injunctions and Homilies 
were issued, and their resolute opponent 
must, it seemed, be silenced. He was 
committed therefore to the Fleet, from 
which he was released only to give more 
offence by his strictures on the translation 
of the Paraphrase of Erasmus, as well as 
by the sermon which by order of the 
Council he was called upon to preach. He 
was sent then to the tower, where he 
penned a forcible reply to Cranmer's treatise 
on the Sacrament. His bishoprick was 
sequestered, and, notwithstanding his dig- 
nified remonstrances at his illegal imprison- 
ment, he remained there till the accession 
of Mary restored him to freedom and to 
the See of which he had meantime been 
deprived. 

As adviser of Queen Mary and Lord 
Chancellor he became at once the leading 
spirit of the new government, which, while 
returning unmistakably to the principles of 
the unreformed Church, was merciful at 
first in its treatment of its opponents. 
Cranmer might have retired on a pension 
into private life if he could have refrained 
from controversy. Peter Martyr and other 
foreigners of note were allowed to depart 
uninjured, even provided with money for the 
purpose ; the submission to Papal authority 
was delayed a while, perhaps because 
Gardiner was undecided. He had not 
learned to reverence it much when he 
met its representative face to face at 
Orvieto, and he had given more than 
tacit acquiescence when obedience was 
renounced ; but of late under the Royal 
Supremacy the principles of Church Order 
and Doctrine which he held most dear 
were called in question, and he may have 
come round reluctantly to the belief that in 
Rome was to be found the only safeguard 
of essential truths. Once convicted of this, 
he acted, as his wont was, with resolute 
decision ; he encouraged the Queen in her 



desire to receive the Cardinal Legate, but 
did not allow him to exercise his office with- 
out such formal licence as might safeguard 
national rights. He publicly confessed, in 
his famous sermon in 1 554, his own share in 
the nation's guilt, affirming even that Henry 
had been minded towards the end to re- 
store the papal jurisdiction. 

With the restoration of Papal authority 
under Queen Mary coercive measures 
against heresy, the revival of old penal laws, 
followed as a matter of course, but there is 
no evidence that Gardiner had any liking 
for the cruel work. No doubt many of the 
earlier sufferers or fugitives from persecu- 
tion, as well as later writers influenced by 
their statements, formed a very different 
estimate of his feelings. To Becon he was 
a " cruel and bloody wolf," or " lurking like 
a lion in his den that he might murder 
the innocent." To Ponet, who took his 
place awhile at Winchester, he was "the 
great devil and cut-throat of England." 
Bale the foul-mouthed was content to 
call him "wily gagling Winchester." By 
Latimer and Ridley he was referred to as 
Diotrephes. Froude, accepting all these 
prejudiced views, regards him as "the in- 
carnate expression of the fury of the 
ecclesiastical faction" (vi, 197), yet it ap- 
pears that he had tried to save Frith when 
brought to trial in 1533, only to have his 
kindness of demeanour described by Fox 
as " cruel hypocrisy." The tragedy of 
Barnes and others in 1546 has been im- 
puted to him, but he stood bail for him 
when he was first in trouble, and though 
called by him "a garden cock who deserved 
to be whipped like a schoolboy for his 
ignorance of grammar," after two hours of 
disputation he promised at Barnes' request 
to take him to his home and allow him sixty 
pounds a year. He tried indeed to do so, but 
Barnes would not stay, on which Bale writes 
that " he made Barnes his scholar, and put 
him into a schoolhpuse called the Tower, 
and whipped him with a whip of fire till he 
had pounded him to ashes." Latimer com- 
plained in 1 546 that his troubles had been 
largely due to the " malice of Winchester," 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



to which Gardiner replied, "You do me 
much wrong, for your person I have loved, 
favoured, and done much for you " When 
Bradford in 1555 . reproached him with 
cruelty, he answered quietly that he had 
been often challenged for being too gentle 
as a judge ; Bonner and others present 
confirmed his statement. He would willing- 
ly have had Cranmer spared, though he 
could not but feel sorely his own treatment 
at the Archbishop's hands, or fail to resent 
his eager advocacy of novel changes. 

From the prominence of his official rank 
he was forced to take a leading part in the 
religious trials. His natural vehemence of 
temper had grown perhaps more hasty and 
overbearing under the strain of his im- 
prisonment, and his examination of the 
accused is not an edifying record. But 
their taunts and unseemly personalities 
were hard to bear. The treatise de vera 
obedientia, which had been well nigh for- 
gotten for twenty years, was issued in a 
translation, apparently by Bale, with a 
preface purporting to be by Bonner, and in 
the trials the principles which he had 
renounced were flung often in his face. 
He was passionate in argument, when thus 
"prettily nipped and touched" (Fox), but 
his stormy language was more likely to 
silence dangerous speech than to extract 
confessions of heretical beliefs. 

He had written to the Protector Somerset 
to deprecate the issue of new regulations 
which would have to be enforced, adding 
that " punishments are not pleasant to 
those that have the execution of them." 
In that spirit he refused at times, like 
others of his brethren, to take action when 
the justices delivered reputed heretics to 
.the ordinaries to be further dealt with, 
though the Queen and her husband re- 
monstrated with the bishops for their lack 
of persecuting zeal. 

If we turn to his treatment of political 
offenders it is true that after Wyatt's 
insurrection he advised that severer 
measures should be taken ; it is not true, 
as Fox and Strype and Froude have stated, 



that he urged that no more mercy should 
be shewn, but that " true mercy should be 
shewn to the whole body politic by cutting 
off the diseased members." Nor is it fair 
to represent him as the ruthless enemy of 
Elizabeth, though Fox could say that 
"whatsoever danger of death she was in, 
it did no doubt proceed from the bloody 
bishop who was the cause thereof . . . and 
if a writ came down from certain of the 
Council for her execution, it is out of con- 
troversy that wily Winchester was the only 
Daedalus and framer of that engine." In 
a moment of irritation he exclaimed perhaps 
that " as long as she was alive there would 
be no hope of tranquillity " ; but the well- 
informed Ambassador of Spain frequently 
complained in his despatches that Gardiner 
protected her from being brought to trial, 
and was constantly delaying matters, in 
hope that it might be possible to save her, 
even, as the Queen suspected, withholding 
evidence against her (Tytler ii, 384). 

For the alliance with Philip of Spain he 
had evidently no liking, and when forced 
to yield to the Queen's wishes he drew up 
the conditions of the marriage treaty in 
such terms as to safeguard the rights and 
liberties of the English nation, and to 
exclude foreigners from State employments. 
He had it ratified by Parliament, before 
which he boasted that England was brought 
under no yoke, but had acquired Philip 
with his kingdom. He stood resolutely at 
his post in those troubled times, and 
struggled manfully with disease and weak- 
ness. The French Ambassador found him 
"livid with jaundice and bursting with 
dropsy," but he talked with him calmly and 
graciously, and walked with him through 
three saloons to show himself to the people 
who thought that he was dead. But soon 
the end came (November i3th, 1555). Some 
poor fragments of the body were taken to 
the Church of St. Mary Overies, but the 
rest was carried in great state to Winchester, 
where he had taken part in the royal 
marriage in the preceding year. There his 
own Cathedral received for final rest the 
last of the long series of statesmen-bishops. 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



What was said by Melanchthon of the 
English bishops at the negotiations of 
Wittenberg "they have no relish of our 
philosophy and sweetness " was true cer- 
tainly of Gardiner ; he had no taste for 
dogmas and translations made in Germany, 
including that of his own book. 

He was indeed no obscurantist. Fox 
even allows him "excellent learning"; he 
had views about the pronunciation of Greek 
vowels, which he tried as Chancellor to 
force on Cambridge ; there was some 
reason in those days of arbitrary changes 
for his list of Latin words which he pro- 
posed to retain in the translation of the 
Bible. 

There was little delicacy of moral sense 
in his diplomacy to further the divorce, nor 
was there much proof of sympathy for 
Wolsey's fall, or of efforts in his favour, 
but he made himself beloved by his whole 
household, for they spared no efforts to 
free him from imprisonment, vainly impor- 
tuning the members of the Council, and 
urging the Lord Chancellor to exhibit a bill 
in Parliament for his relief. 

His was a masterful and resolute nature, 
than which no stronger came forward in 
those troubled times ; embittered, it may 
be, by the illegalities of the Protectorate, 
and by the opposition of trimmers like 
Paget in the Council, who complained that 
he carried matters through "by fire and 
blood " ; easily stung by taunts of incon- 
sistency which he found it hard to justify 
to himself; passionate often and over- 
bearing, but not the cruel and vindictive 
persecutor who appears in the pages of 
Fox and of much later writers, and it was 
hard that he should have been branded as 
the chief and guilty cause of the horrors 
that were largely due to the callousness of 
Henry, to the submissiveness of Parliament, 
and the implacable temper of Queen Mary. 



Stephen Gardiner, the University Man. 

Stephen Gardiner occupies so large a 
space in political and ecclesiastical history 
that it is often forgotten that he was for 
twenty-seven or twenty-eight years Master 
of a College in Cambridge, and for eleven 
years Chancellor of the University. The 
great Bishop of Winchester, the King's 
Secretary, the Queen's Chancellor, whose 
income was somewhere about .3000 a year 
as Bishop ; who by easy stages could travel 
from Bishop's Waltham to Winchester, from 
Winchester to Farnham, from Farnham to 
Esher (till Henry VIII annexed this last 
house), from Esher to Winchester House, 
resting each night in a stately house of his 
own, kept the poor lodging which was his as 
Master of Trinity Hall, and the 6. ly. 4,d. 
a year which was all the Master received 
beyond his commons if in residence. Nor 
need we attribute this to the motive which 
made Wolsey cling to his few trusses of 
hay from the Hereford stall. Gardiner 
looked upon it as a place of retirement in 
case of need, and declared, " that if all his 
palaces were blown down by iniquity, he 
would honestly creep into this poor shell." 

He seems to have cared for the College 
where he was educated. Trinity Hall, the 
College of Scholars of the Hall of the Holy 
Trinity of Norwich, often called "Trinity 
College " as late as Elizabeth's reign, was a 
College of Civilians and Canon Lawyers. 
It was but a small College, but Ecclesi- 
astical Judges, Admiralty Officials, and the 
Diplomatic Service, as we should call it, 
were largely recruited from it. Gardiner 
was educated there, and there took his 
degree of Doctor of Canon Law in 1520, 
and of Civil Law in 1521. If he was born 
in 1483, he must have gone up rather older 
than was usual. He was engaged in teach- 
ing at the University, besides being tutor 
to the sons of the Duke of Norfolk. One 
of these, Lord William Howard, afterwards 
the first Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord 
High Admiral and Ambassador, was his 
pupil at the College. Wriothesley, later 
Earl of Southampton and Chancellor ; 



86 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



Paget, Secretary to Henry VIII, and Lord 
Privy Seal to Mary ; May, President of 
Queen's, who died as Archbishop-designate 
of York in 1560; and Thirlby, Bishop in 
succession of Westminster, Norwich, and 
Ely, Politician and Ambassador, were 
among his pupils before he became great 
himself as a Politician and a Bishop. A 
different conception of Gardiner from that 
which usually prevails is given us by Strype's 
words, "the learned Gardiner's family, the 
very seat of eloquence and of the Muses." 
This was written with reference to Paget, 
one of "his family," who was a learned man, 
and lectured at Cambridge before going 
into public life. 

Gardiner was the first lecturer on Sir 
Robert Rede's foundation in 1524, and 
was elected Master of the college in 1525. 
In 1540, when he was a great man, he was 
made Chancellor of the University. As 
such of course he followed a conservative 
religious policy, but he pursued no one to 
the death, and the one martyr among the 
fellows of his own college, Thomas Bilney, 
suffered in Norfolk, and Gardiner had 
nothing to do with his trial. In 1529, after 
he had become master, Latimer, already a 
reformer, was allowed to preach in St. 
Edward's Church, which belonged entirely 
to the College ; and Gardiner himself 
translated the Gospels of St. Luke and 
St. John for Cranmer's Bible. Gardiner's 
most obstructive act as Chancellor was 
opposing the reformed pronunciation of 
Greek, wherein he was more in the wrong 
than those whom he opposed. 

He did at this time a substantial service 
to his college. North of the buildings of 
Trinity Hall a public lane ran down to the 
river, right under the wall of the College. 
North of this was a strip of waste ground ; 
north of this was Michael House. Henry 
VIII was planning the foundation of Trinity 
College, to absorb Michael House among 
other older foundations, and was projecting 
a college on a very magnificent scale. It 
was destined to overtop other colleges in 
Cambridge, and was likely to literally over- 
top Trinity Hall on the north side. Gardiner 



employed his influence as Chancellor, and 
his purse as Bishop of Winchester, to buy 
the intervening bit of waste land from the 
town, a few feet more from Michael House, 
and to induce the town to consent to the 
diversion of the right of way from under 
the windows of his college to the north 
side of the ground so acquired, where it 
still runs as Garret Hostel Lane. The 
intervening ground he enclosed by a wall 
from the lane, and made it into a Fellows' 
garden. The whole was completed in 1545, 
within a year of the formal institution of 
Trinity College. Had he been less prompt 
this waste ground would ultimately no 
doubt have been acquired by Trinity 
College, and the buildings of what is now 
Trinity New Court would have domineered 
over the Hall from the other side of an 
unsavoury lane ten feet wide. 

In 1549 he did his part in averting 
graver trouble. The University Com- 
mission of the Regency proposed the 
amalgamation of Clare and Trinity Hall in 
one College, to be called King Edward's 
College, for the training of civilians to 
advise the Council in London. We know 
how, apart from the loss of their in- 
dividuality, the two Colleges would have 
seen some of their property sticking in the 
hands of the Crown and its servants. King 
Edward would have been made to pose as 
a pious Founder, and the association of the 
Church of St. Edward, King and Martyr, 
would have added colour to the fiction. 
The danger was so imminent that the 
Fellows of Clare divided the College plate 
among themselves for fear of the worst. 
Gardiner was in the Tower, but was still 
Master. He wrote a strong remonstrance 
against the destruction of his College. He 
might not have prevailed had not Latimer 
been a Clare man, and Paget and May 
been on the Commission. At all events 
the scheme was dropped, and some of the 
Clare plate came back into the common 
stock. An inventory of the property of 
Trinity Hall, made soon after Gardiner's 
death, shows one silver cup certainly and 
perhaps four others, and fourteen volumes 



THE BISHOPS OF WINCHESTER. 



in the library, which still exist, though 
most of the plate and books of his time 
have disappeared. Gardiner was probably 
deprived of the Mastership in 1551 ; his 
successor was appointed by the Crown, not 
the College, in 1552, and it was in 1551 
that he was deprived of the Chancellorship. 
He was restored as Master by Mary in 
I 553i not re-elected, as the Dictionary 
N. B. says, and died as Master. He left 
the College ^100 in his will. The portrait 
at Wolvesey, an engraving, called Gardiner, 
is a portrait of Bishop Home Gardiner's 



contemporary portrait is in the College, 
done by a painter of Holbein's School. 
The late Bishop Thorold had a copy of it 
made for Farnham. When Gardiner died 
his College was represented in the higher 
ranks of the Government by himself as 
Lord Chancellor, Lord Howard of Effing- 
ham Lord Admiral, Paget in the Council 
but not yet Privy Seal, and Thirlby an 
Ambassador. Mary's Government was not 
great nor successful, but these four repre- 
sented the best part of its ability, and not 
the least part of such honesty as it had. 

H. E. MALDEN. 



BOX 
2117 
.585 
IMS 



Stephens, W. R. Wood (William 
Richard Wood), 1839-1902. 
The bishops of Winchester 



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