The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1801.
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Stephen Langton to Robert Winchelsea
44. STEPHEN LANGTON being chosen archbishop by a few monks at the court of Rome, as before-mentioned, was consecrated by the pope himself at Viterbo, in 1207. He was descended from an antient family in Leicestershire, brought up at the university of Paris, where he was greatly esteemed by the king. of France and all the nobility there, for his singular learning, and was made chancellor of Paris, and afterwards by the pope created a cardinal, by the title St. Chrysogone. The king being informed of these proceedings of the pope, and knowing that the new bishop was a great favourite, and one who was familiarly entertained by his inveterate enemy the king of France, was highly displeased at the pope's conduct, and forbad the archbishop elect to enter the realm, and notwithstanding the pontiff's menacing letters, continued resolute to prevent it; upon which the pope put the king and realm under an interdict, persuaded all other potentates to make war upon him, and promised the king of France the kingdom of England itself, if he would invade it. The trouble this brought on the king, even to the resignation of his kingdom, is too long to insert here, and may be found in all the public histories. However unwilling the king might be to mit the archbishop into the kingdom, and the possession of the archbishopric, it was what he found himself unable to resist, and this the archbishop knew so well, that he took the opportunity of it to pursue his enmity to the king with incessant malice, and he accordingly sided with the pope and the rest of the prelates and clergy against him. King John's abject submission to both, shews the humiliating alternative he was reduced to, when he was necessitated to resign his kingdom to the former, and to recompence the latter largely for the damages they had sustained; for this purpose we find that he issued his mandate for the payment of 15,000 marcs to the archbishop and other bishops, (fn. 1) besides many gratifications of privileges, liberties and preferments to them, and their several churches; to the archbishop in particular he granted the patronage of the bishopric of Rochester, with all its appurtenances, to hold to him and his successors for ever. (fn. 2) In consequence of the above mandate, the archbishop held a council at Reading, for the recompence of the clergy, in the goods which had been taken from them by king John, and he himself had 3000 marcs, and the residue of the clergy 12,000 marcs allotted to them. (fn. 3)
Though H. Knyghton says, (fn. 4) that king Henry III. was on the death of his father king John, crowned at Gloucester in 1217, by Guallo, the pope's legate, in the presence of the archbishop of Canterbury; yet M. Paris, who wrote in that age, and T. Walsingham, who wrote but in the latter end of king Richard II. 's reign, seem rather to be credited before him, who take no notice of the archbishop's being present, which they certainly would have done, had it been so; but in 1220 that king was again crowned at Westminster on Whit-sunday, when archbishop Langton performed that solemnity, in the presence of Pandulph, the pope's legate, the bishops, earls, barons, and other great men of the kingdom. (fn. 5)
There is but little more to mention concerning him, only that he changed the parish church of Ulcomb in this county into a collegiate church, the ordination of which is among the records of Christ church; and that in 1220, he performed the solemnity of the translation of archbishop Becket's body from the undercroft to the shrine prepared for it, in the upper part of the church; the sumptuous and costly entertainment of which made at Canterbury was so great, that it left a debt on the see, which was not discharged till some years after his death. (fn. 6)
Having sat as archbishop for upwards of twenty-two years, he died at his park of Slindon, on July 9, 1228, (fn. 7) and was buried in his own cathedral, in the chapel of St. Michael, where his tomb, being a plain raised one, coffin fashioned, having a cross, patee, insculped on the top, is still remaining; (fn. 8) but the chapel having been afterwards pulled down, and rebuilt on a smaller scale, this tomb, which is at the east end of it, is now left partly within and partly without the wall of the chapel, which crosses the middle of it. (fn. 9)
There is a Commentary on the Scriptures, and some other tracts of this archbishop, among the Bodleian MSS. and he is said to have first divided the bible into chapters, in the manner they are at present. (fn. 10)Archbishop Parker says, he wrote many things elegantly and judiciously, and in particular the history of the reign of king Richard I. king Henry III. issued his close writ, dated July 22, in his 12th year, to the committees of the temporalities of the archbishopric of Canterbury, to deliver all the goods of archbishop Langton to his executors to perform his will, and to enquire and certify what stock he received, and how to dispose of the corn then growing. (fn. 11)
Among the Chartæ Antiquæ, in the dean and chapter's treasury, are several seals of this archbishop appendant to them, viz. one oval, 3½ by 2¼ diam. the archbishop standing, mitred, robed, pall; in his left hand his crozier, blessing; legend, SIGILLU STEPHANI DI GRATIA CANTUARIENSIS ARCHIEPISCOPI— Reverse, Becket's murder; legend, MORS EXPUPA FORIS TIBI VITA SIT JUTUS AOORIS. (fn. 12)F. 52, L. 122—Q. 173.
On the death of Stephen Langton, the prior and convent elected Walter de Evesham, or as some write his name, Hempsham, a monk of this church, whom the king would not approve of; upon which, the archbishop elect hastened to Rome for his confirmation, and the king sent thither likewise the bishops of Coventry and Rochester, with his request to the pope, that the election might be made void, which was accordingly done; and the monks, to prevent the pope from interposing by his bull of provision, hastened to make a new election, which they did of Richard Wethershed, whom the pope confirmed. (fn. 13)
45. RICHARD WETHERSHED, surnamed the Great, chancellor of the church of Lincoln, (fn. 14) and dean of St. Paul's succeeded next to the possession of this see in 1229, (fn. 15) and was consecrated at Canterbury by Roger, bishop of London, on 4 non. April next year, with great honour, king Henry III. thirteen bishops, fortyone earls and barons, and others innumerable being present, as is recorded in the annals of Waverley. (fn. 16) He is said to have been a man very graceful in his person, of learning and eloquence, mild and good natured in other things, but very tenacious of the rights of his church. Having a great dispute with Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, and that being referred to the decision of the pope, he went to Rome, and on his return was taken ill at St. Gemma, and dying was buried there, (fn. 17) in the church of the Friars Minors. As several of his retinue died at the same time, it has been conjectured that his death was occasioned by poison. He wrote several books of divinity concerning the sacrament and other matters.
Upon the death of archbishop Richard, the convent elected Ralph Nevil, bishop of Chichester, whose election was declared void by the pope, who commanded them to proceed to a new election, without intimating any other reason than his own will and pleasure; upon which they proceeded to a second election, and made choice of their sub-prior John, whom they declared their archbishop elect; but the pope refused to accept of him likewise, as being very infirm and decrepit through age, and unfit for the pastoral office in so high a station; upon which he resigned his pretensions to it, and the election was a third time made, and the choice fell upon Richard Blundy, an Oxford divine, whom the pope likewise rejected; but at the same time he recommended to them Edmund, treasurer of the church of Sarum, who was accordingly chosen by them and declared archbishop elect, and confirmed by the pope.
46. EDMUND DE ABINGDON, so called from the place of his birth, chancellor of the church of Sarum and the king's treasurer, was accordingly, on the pope's recommendation to the convent, elected and constituted archbishop in 1234, (fn. 18) and was consecrated in April the same year.
He was the son of one Edmund Rich, a merchant of that place, and was bred up at University college, in Oxford, where having attained to a reasonable knowledge in divinity, to which study he was chiefly addicted, he applied himself to preaching, chiefly in the counties of Oxford, Gloucester and Worcester, until such time as he was promoted to the chancellorship of Salisbury, and made the king's treasurer. Two years after his coming to the see, he solemnized in this church the marriage between king Henry III. and his queen Eleanor; afterwards, by accusing the pope's legate, then in England, of bribery and extortion, he made him his enemy, and at the same time he fell under the king's displeasure. Though he had great disputes with his convent, which gave him much uneasiness, (fn. 19) yet he defended their privileges with great earnestness, and when he saw the church was oppressed by the pope, and that the king connived at it, and that there was no possibility of redressing these injuries, or of affording it any relief, he retired beyond seas to Soissy, in Pontiniac, in 1240, to spend the remainder of his days in a voluntary exile, to lament the miseries and oppressions under which the church groaned.—Having sat for eight years as archbishop, he fell into a consumption through too great abstinence, and afterwards into a sort of ague, of which he died at the above place, in November that year; (fn. 20) his heart and bowels were buried at Soissy, and his body at Pontiniac. (fn. 21) He was a man of most severe and rigid monastic life and conversation, insomuch that in the 7th year after his death he was canonized by pope Innocent IV. at the council of Lyons; and Lewis the French king caused his body to be translated to a more honourable tomb, and bestowed a sumptuous shrine upon him, covered with gold and silver, and adorned with many precious stones, at which many miracles were said to be wrought; (fn. 22) and he was from thence stiled the glorious and blessed St. Edmund, as may be seen in the several records of this church. (fn. 23)
This archbishop re-established the nunnery at Remsted, in Sussex, which had been founded by archbishop Hubert, on acRichard, and dissolved by archbishop Hubert, on account of the ill lives of the nuns. (fn. 24)
There is a seal of this archbishop appendant to one of the Chartæ Antiquæ, in the dean and chapter's treasury, oval; the archbishop standing, mitred, pall, robed— Three heads in rounds on each side. Counterseal, Becket's murder. Q. 99.
47. BONIFACE, provost of Beverley, (fn. 25) was next elected archbishop by the prior and monks in chapter, without any interruption either by the king, the pope, or the suffragan bishops; according to Battely in 1241, (fn. 26) and confirmed in 1243; but he was not consecrated till the year 1245, nor inthronized till four years after that.
He was a native of Savoy, the son of Peter, duke of that principality, and was uncle to queen Eleanor, wife of king Henry III. being at that time procurator of the church of Burgundy. He built a good hospital (afterwards converted by archbishop Courtney into a college) at Maidstone, called the new works, which he amply endowed, and he found a sufficiency to pay out of his revenues (to do which, he obtained of the pope in addition, a grant of one year's profit of all the vacant livings in his province) the debt of 22,000 marcs, in which his see was indebted when he came to it. Bishop Godwin says, he perfected and finished that most stately hall of the archbishop's palace at Canterbury, with the buildings adjoining; but this must be understood certainly of his paying the above-mentioned debt, great part of which his predecessors had incurred by the building of that edifice; and indeed in that sense, the archbishop used to boast himself to be the builder of it; saying, My predecessors built this hall at great expences— they did well indeed— but they laid out no money about this building, except what they borrowed— I seem indeed to be truly the builder of it, because I paid their debts. (fn. 27)
In 1250, having, by his proud behaviour, rendered himself obnoxious to the citizens of London, he retired for the security of his person to Lambeth, where finding the palace in a ruinous state, during his residence there, within the space of three years, he rebuilt the whole north side of the great apartments, the library and the cloysters, guard chamber, the chapel, and what was afterwards called the Lollard's tower. (fn. 28)
Having sat in this see upwards of twenty-six years and six months, he died at the castle of St. Helena, in his own native country of Savoy, in the year 1270. (fn. 29) Cotemporary historians say, he was of comely personage, but cruel, haughty, and insolent; of little learning, but great oppression. He was universally hated, and had he not fled, would most likely have been murdered by the citizens of London; notwithstanding all which, he is said to have been a great lover of the poor.
Among the Chartæ Antiquæ, in the dean and chapter's treasury, are some seals of this archbishop appendant to them; they are very fair and fine, 3½ by 2 diam. The archbishop standing, mitred, robed, &c. blessing; on each side of him two small circles, being four antique seals, viz. three whole lengths and one head, under him, the church represented; counterseal, Becket's murder, legend, + TRINE: DEUS: PRO: ME: MOVERIT: TE: PASSIO: THOMÆ + A V 3. Z. 37. The archbishop bore for his arms, Gules, a plain cross, argent.
Archbishop Boniface was one of the rare examples of a free election made by the prior and monks of Canterbury; but when upon his death, the monks elected William de Chillenden, the sub-prior of their convent, the pope with indignation pronounced him unworthy of this high dignity, and declared, that for this reason, the right of election did devolve canonically upon him for that turn, and, out of the plenitude of his authority, he created Robert Kilwardby archbishop, whom the monks acknowledged as such, and to be rightly chosen.
48. ROBERT KILWARDBY was next nominated to this see by the pope in 1272. He was of English birth and studied first at Oxford, and then at Paris, where he took his first degrees, as he did that of doctor afterwards at Oxford, becoming, as Godwin says, a great clerk, of which he left many monuments behind him. He was at the time of his being promoted to this archbishopric, a dominican or black friar, (fn. 30) of which order he had, on his return from Paris, been appointed provincial in England. He was consecrated on February 26, in the above year, by William, bishop of Bath, and twelve other suffragan bishops, and had, though not till some time afterwards, his temporalities restored to him in a very particular form and manner. (fn. 31)
King Edward being in the holy land at the time of his father's death, landed at Dover on the Thursday next after the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula in 1274, and on the Sunday following was solemnly crowned at Westminster, together with his queen Eleanor, the king of Spain's sister, by Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of Alexander, king of Scotland, and John, earl of Brittany, and their wives, who were king Edward's sisters. (fn. 32) In the sixth year of the above reign, having visited the whole province of Canterbury, and particularly the two universities, and gained by it, as well as by other means, (fn. 33) great wealth, he was by pope Nicholas III. enticed to Rome, for which purpose he was, in 1277, created a cardinal, by the title of cardinal of Ostia, and he promoted him likewise to the bishopric of portsea; upon which he vacated this archbishopric, carrying with him 5000 marcs sterling into Italy, where dying, as some say of poison, at Viterbo, in the year 1280, he was buried there, having sat in this see for the space of six years.
Archbishop Kilwardby is remarked for having, by his gentle persuasions, appeased the citizens of Canterbury, who were eagerly bent upon revenge against the monks of Christ church, for refusing them their aid towards an imposition set upon the city by the king, on his intended expedition into Wales. He built a house in London, called the Black Friars, for the use of his own order, (fn. 34) and another of the like kind at Salisbury. (fn. 35)
He was esteemed a man of learning, wisdom and piety, and wrote much during the former part of his life; but after he became archbishop, he confined his studies wholly to preaching, and matters of importance belonging to his see, having no leisure to review, correct and publish what he had before written of theological matters, and therefore his writings of divinity came out more sparingly, but they are, notwithstanding, numerous, (fn. 36) as may be seen in Pitseus; there are many of them among the Harleian and Bodleian manuscripts, and in the libraries of Bennet, Peter-house and Baliol colleges. There is a seal of this archbishop appendant to a deed among the Chartæ Antiquæ in the dean and chapter's treasury, three inches by two diam. archbishop standing, mitred, robed, pall, blessing; cross in left hand; legend, ROBERTUS DEI GRATIA. CANTUAR. ARCHIEPS. TOCIUS ANG. PRIMAS. No counterseal, A. 181.
Upon the vacancy of the see, the monks unanimously elected Robert Burnel, bishop of Bath and Wells, the king's chancellor, for their archbishop, and that by the king's direction; but the pope, by his bull of provision, made Peckham archbishop, and though the king approved, importuned and commanded the bishop to accept of it, yet bishop Burnel, being very wealthy, chose rather to recede from his right to the archbishopric than to contest it, either with the pope or Peckham, and gain the pope's displeasure; and the king then having occasion for the pope's favour, to promote his foreign affairs, was content to connive at it for that time. (fn. 37) The archbishop bore for his arms, Azure, on a bend, gules, three escallops, argent.
49. JOHN PECKHAM, (or Pecham, as he was called by lome) a friar of the order of Minorites or Franciscans, was nominated, as above-mentioned, by the pope to this see in 1279. He was born in Sussex, of a very private family, in that county, and had his first education in the abbey of Lewes, in the same county, under the direction and instruction of the cluniac monks there; after which, he went to Oxford, where he was supported in his studies by the charitable assistance of that abbey, and the monks of it, till he entered into the order of St. Francis; after which, observing that few, even of the most promising genius, ever became famous in their own country, though their merits might deserve it, and that many by going abroad, raised themselves to high degrees in learning, he went over to Paris, being sent as usual by his superiors, where he followed his studies with such diligence, under the direction of St. Bonaventure, that he gained the reputation of a great philosopher and divine; after which, returning to Oxford, he was admitted to proceed D. D. and succeeded the famous doctor friar Thomas Bungay, in the chair of chief prosessor regent of the Franciscan schools there; and having taught for some time, he was again sent to Paris, where he read publicly, the master of the sentences, expounded the scriptures, and took the degree of D. D. as he had done at Oxford. During his stay abroad, he applied himself with great diligence to the study of the canon law, and being again called into England, to a chapter held here by the ruling men of his order, he was unanimously chosen provincial master of the English Franciscan province, in which character he was summoned to appear at the general chapter of the order at Padua, when he visited the universities in Italy, and came lastly to Rome, where he was noticed for his learning by the pope, Nicholas III. who made him reader of the palace, and auditor, or chief judge of his court; in which offices he continued till his appointment to the archbishopric, when he had the gift of a prebend or canonry of the church of Lyons, which he kept till his death; it was given him as a provision or refuge, in case the king should not admit him to the see of Canterbury, or should afterwards on any dislike, force him to leave the kingdom, as he had served his predecessor Kilwardby, and have no other home to take to; for this cause, perhaps, it was annexed to the see of Canterbury, and many succeeding archbishops for a long time after enjoyed it. (fn. 38)
Peckham was most graciously received by king Edward I. who was then in France, in treaty with the French king; and delivering to him the pope's letters and his own credentials, the king approved and ratified them; and he was consecrated on the first Sunday in Lent, which was March 6, 1279. (fn. 39) At his coming to the archbishopric, he found the manors and castles belonging to it in a very ruinous condition, and the rents and profits of it pillaged and wasted by his predecessor; on this account it was that he complained that the expences were greater than he was able to bear, for the king had besides retained to himself all the profits of the first year. The pope demanded for the dues and fees of the court of Rome, and the debts contracted there, no less than 4000 marcs, and he was forced to compound with the king for having sowed his temporalities, and for the growing crop on it, for a fine of 2000 marcs. The charges of his inthronization amounted to 2000 marcs, and before the end of the year 1284, he had expended in repairing his houses and castles 2000 marcs more—The archbishop therefore had great reason to stile that letter in which the pope threatened him with excommunication unless he remitted to Rome the sum of 4000 marcs, a letter horrible to the eye and dreadful to the ear.
About the year 1282, he founded a college in the church of Wingham in this county, for which purpose he made it collegiate, and endowed the provost and canons of it with a sufficient maintenance. (fn. 40)
The city of Canterbury had a strong contest with this archbishop, about the limits and liberties of their respective jurisdictions. (fn. 41) In the year 1289, king Edward, the queen and their children, with many of the nobility, were entertained in the monastery of St. Au gustine; whilst there, on August 14, the king commanded that the archbishop should be invited to dine with him the next day; accordingly he came to the gate of the monastery, but he was denied entrance with his cross erect before him, left that might prejudice the liberties and privileges of the convent; but the monks offered to admit him, if he would subscribe an acknowledgment, that his coming there in that manner was upon the king's special invitation, and that it should not be afterwards interpreted in prejudice of the liberties and privileges of the convent, who claimed an exemption from all archiepiscopal jurisdiction. This the archbishop refused, nor would he submit to any such acknowledgment, and on the king's command returned back with indignation, and the next day departed from Canterbury. (fn. 42) In the year 1279, the archbishop almost immediately after his arrival in England, on or about the feast of St. James, having summoned all his suffragans to Reading, celebrated a provincial council there; the constitutions made at which, are printed in the British Councils, both by Wilkins and Spelman, and in Prynne, p. 230. But the king so highly resented these proceedings of the archbishop, that in a parliament held soon after in the same year, he publicly convened him for this delinquency, and the constitutions made in this council by him were publicly therein revoked and annulled, as appears by the clause rolls of that year remaining in the Tower. (fn. 43) This did not intimidate Peckham, who, with his suffragans, intending next year, anno 8 Edward I. to hold a council of convocation at London, it incited the king's Jealousy so much, that he issued a commission to two of his officers to repair there, and appeal against whatever should be done in it contrary to his crown and dignity. Upon which the meeting was put off till next year, when they held a council at Lambeth; but the king suspecting their proceedings, sent them a memorable writ, strictly commanding them upon their oaths of sealty to be faithful to him, and defend his crown and dignity, upon pain of losing their temporalities; but how far the archbishop and his suffragans were from obeying the king's mandate, appeared by the canons and constitutions made in it, and the undaunted letter he sent to the king, in answer to his inhibition and mandate. (fn. 44) In the 11th year of the same reign, the archbishop again visited his province, and having visited England, he passed by Chester into Wales, in which he was opposed by the bishop of St. David's, who stoutly desended his church's rights, denying the authority of the archbishop to visit his cathedral, and alledging that he himself was metropolitan there. (fn. 45)
The archbishop claimed thirteen bucks and thirteen does annually out of the forest of Arundel, by composition made between archbishop Boniface and John, son of Alan de Arundel, formerly lord of it; and likewife the liberty of a way to go and return through the same, from his park and manor of Slindon. The king therefore, at the archbishop's request, issued his writ, dated at Westminster in his 9th year, directed to Isabel de Mortimer, then keeper of the forest, to deliver the deer to him, and to permit him to use the way above-mentioned. (fn. 46)
He is said to have been a man very stately, both in gesture, words, and all outward shew, yet of a meek soul, and liberal temper of mind. (fn. 47)He had considerable learning for the age he lived in, particularly in the civil and canon law, and wrote many tracts in divinity, and on some books of scripture. (fn. 48) He governed his province and diocese with great care and firmness, and in all his disputes with the king, concerning the rights and privileges of his see, he always defended them with great freedom and resolution; and throughout his time he governed his province with great care and firmness, as a very able and useful prelate. He is said to have been a father to the orphans, the distressed and the poor, whom he desended, protected and relieved in a munificent manner; of which Harpsfield gives many instances. Having sat in this see near fourteen years, he died at Mortlake, on Dec. 8, 1292, (fn. 49) and was honourably buried on Tuesday the 19th of the same month, in the presence of the bishops of London and Rochester, the abbots of St. Augustine, Faversham and Langdon; the prior of Christ church, the archdeacons of Canterbury and Bedford, &c. (fn. 50) in his own cathedral, in the north side of the martyrdom, next to the tomb of archbishop Warham, where his monument, having the effigies of an archbishop in his pontificals, cut in wood, lying at full length on it, still remaining. (fn. 51) He bore for his arms, Ermine, a chief quarterly, or, and gules.
Among the Chartæ Antiquæ, in the dean and chapter's treasury, are several seals of archbishop Peckham; one on an oval, very fine and perfect, 3½ by 2 inches diam. the archbishop standing, mitred, robes, pall, blessing; cross in his left hand; legend, JOHYS: DEI: ARCHIEPS: CANTUAR: TOCIUS: ANGLIE: PRIMAS: on each side of the archbishop, two (seemingly) lillies in form of a pastoral crook, coloured red. the rest of seal green; counterseal, Becket's murder, the two armed knights, Becket kneeling; cross bearer under him, kneeling; legend, ABDITA NE PRO ME QUA SIGNAT PASSIO THOME. C. 388—G. 195, no counterseal. Q. 9—100.
50. ROBERT WINCHELSEA, S. T. P. was elected archbishop in 1293. He was born of poor parents, and was educated in the grammar school at Canterbury, whence he went to Merton college, in Oxford, of which he was fellow, and commenced S. T. P. he was afterwards archdeacon of Essex, prebendary of St. Paul's, in London, and of Leighton manor, in the church of Lincoln, and was preferred to be chancellor of that university. He was elected archbishop by the monks unanimously, and with much applause, to whom the king gave his licence for that purpose. (fn. 52)
Having been consecrated at Rome, he returned in 1295, immediately after which, and before his inthronement at Canterbury, he decreed those ordinances for the rule of his church, which are still called by his name, and are printed at large in Spelman; (fn. 53) after which that ceremony being performed at Canterbury, (fn. 54) he, on the same day consecrated the bishop of Landaff in his own church there; but the king did not seem very forward to restore the temporalities to him, for he detained them near two years after in his hands, as vacant. (fn. 55)
In the year 1299, he performed in this cathedral the solemnity of marriage between king Edward I. and his queen, Margaret, sister of the king of France, who had landed at Dover some days before; whose nuptial seast, according to Stow, was kept in the great hall of the archbishop's palace. (fn. 56) He afterwards greatly incurred the king's displeasure; for upon his extraordinary demands from the clergy, the archbishop procured a papal bull, a copy of which is remaining in the register of this church, inhibiting them from giving any further aids, without licence from the holy see. The king being highly incensed at this, seized on the goods and possessions of the archbishop, as well as of all other ecclesiastical persons, till they should redeem one half, by freely granting him the other half, and this was complied with by all of them, except the archbishop and some few others; and the king granted his letters of protection, by which he restored their goods and possessions to all, who had compounded with him; (fn. 57) but he kept in his own hands all belonging to the archbishop, for upwards of twenty-one weeks, when he restored it to him again, (fn. 58) through the earnest prayer and mediation of his suffragan bishops in his behalf, upon hopes of his future loyalty; but through the archbishop's implacable stubbornness, this reconciliation did not last long, for the king being displeased again with him, banished him the realm, (fn. 59) seized his temporalities, and prevailed on the pope to suspend him, and to cite him to appear personally at Rome, which the archbishop obeyed, and immediately hastened thither. (fn. 60)
During this suspension, the pope directed his bull to two persons to take care of the spiritualities of this church, and another to the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, who was then the king's treasurer, to take care of the temporalities of it; but the king would by no means admit the latter, saying, that no one whatsoever deputed by the pope, should intermeddle with the temporalities, no more than the pope would permit him to intermeddle with the spiritualities of a church; and the king remitted the custody of the temporalities at that time to Sir Humphry Walden, in which state they continued for near two years, when the king died; (fn. 61) and king Edward II. on succeed ing his father in the throne, obtained from the pope a bull in favour of the archbishop, for the restitution of all rights to him; and as soon as he returned into England, all his revenues which had been received by the administrator of the temporalities, were entirely restored to him, (fn. 62) so that he suffered no disadvantage from it; which verified the saying he continually made use of during his troubles, that adversity will do no burt, where iniquity does not prevail. (fn. 63)
On the death of king Edward I. in 1308, the archbishop was abroad at Rome, where he remained next year at the time of the coronation of king Edward II. who, on the feast of St. Matthias, anno 1309, was, with his queen, crowned at Westminster, with the greatest solemnity and magnificence, by the bishop of Winchester and others, by a commission, as some say, from Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, or, according to others, by the authority of the pope, on account of the archbishop's absence. (fn. 64)
In the 1st year of king Edward II. anno 1307, the archbishop held a provincial council, in which were passed several decrees for the well governing of the church and clergy of this kingdom; indeed he ever courageously exerted himself for the maintenance of the church's liberties and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, by mainly opposing prohibitions, grown frequent in his time, and caused the clergy's grievances to be drawn into articles, (fn. 65) and he gave and made new statutes, as well for his own church as for the hospital of Harbledown, which he had drawn up upon his visitations of both of them. (fn. 66)
He was a man of great resolution, as appears by his conduct during his dissentions with the king, to whom refusing to be reconciled, and his revenues being withheld, he discharged his family, left the city, and withdrew himself to Chartham, from whence he rode every Sunday and holiday, and preached in the adjoining churches. (fn. 67)
He was of great liberality and extensive charity to the poor, to whom the large fragments of his table were every day plentifully distributed at his gate. He gave every Sunday and Thursday, when corn was dear, 2000 loaves, and when cheap, 3000 to the poor at a time; upon solemn festivals he relieved with money, 150 needy persons; and to the aged, to women in child-bed, and to the infirm who were not able to come to his door, he sent his alms, bread, fish, or flesh, according to the season, to their own houses; of all which, a particular account is given by archbishop Parker, bishop Godwyn, Stow, and others.
After having sat in this patriarchal chair for the space of nineteen years, he died greatly esteemed and regretted at Otford, on May 11, (fn. 68) in 1313, and was buried beside the choir, on the south side of this church, near the upper south wing, but there is no monument of him remaining at this time. (fn. 69) He bore for his arms, Argent, a fess ermine, voided, gules, in chief, three roses of the last.
The character of archbishop Winchelsea is, in general, drawn with great encomiums in his favour.—He had much chearfulness and affability, and was in general very remarkable for his prudence, equity and good temper in the exercise of his jurisdiction, (fn. 70) for his residence on his benefices, almost without interruption, and he was both devout and studious, and having studied both at Oxford and Paris, became a great theologift; he was diligent in preaching and expounding the scriptures; and the only shade on the lustre of his character was, that restless and turbulent disposition, which he shewed in the continual disputes which he carried on with the king, though in this, it may be inferred, that his conscience urged him to it, in what he imagined concerned his church's rights and privileges, in which the courage of his mind hardly ever proved deficient, and he preserved at court a freedom with the king, which surprized every one; for the greatness of his mind was no less uncommon, than the courage of it. Besides his relief of poor people, as above-mentioned, he supported young scholars at the university, whose genius set them above mechanic employments. He was very moderate in his desires, temperate in his enjoyments, and a great example of regularity in every part of life; grave without moroseness, and chearful without levity; free from ambition himself, he had the greatest regard to merit and learning in others, disposing of his preferments among such as deserved them most, neither expending his revenues in pomp and luxury, nor hoarding them up to establish a name or raise a family. In short, it may be said of archbishop Winchelsea, that he had so many virtues and good qualities, both as a man and a bishop, that he appeared equal at least to the best and greatest prelate that had ever filled the patriarchal chair of this see.
Not long after the archbishop's death, Thomas, earl of Lancaster, petitioned the pope for his canonization, on account of his holy and strict life, his excellent merits and the glorious miracles done by him; but it seems the pope delayed the proceeding in it, till he had received information to various questions, which he sent to England; (fn. 71) in which uncertain state this matter continued till the earl's death, which happened in the year 1326; after which, at the end of that year, archbishop Walter and the suffragan bishops of his province, joined in a petition under their several hands and seals, to the pope, in behalf of the archbishop's canonization, yet on mature deliberation, the letters were never sent, for the originals remain at this time among the church's archives, (fn. 72) and the matter seems to have been entirely dropped; and though it does not appear that he was ever canonized a saint, yet the common people esteemed him one, for his virtues, and in the accounts of the treasury of the church, there is mention made for several years of offerings made at his tomb, which caused the demolition of it at the reformation.
After the see had been vacant for upwards of nine months, after archbishop Winchelsea's death, the convent elected Thomas Cobham, dean of Salisbury, a native of Kent, who, for his uncommon learning, was usually called Bonus Clericus, in due form, as may be seen by the register of this church; but at the king's desire, the pope made this election void, and provided for the filling up of the vacant see with Walter Reynolds, whom he nominated archbishop, without any regard to the monks election, pretending, that whilst archbishop Winchelsea was yet alive, he had reserved to his own disposal the providing a successor for the see of Canterbury. (fn. 73)