ST DAVIDS: Bishops

Pages 45-50

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 9, the Welsh Cathedrals (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids). Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 2003.

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Presum. became bp. soon after d. of his predecessor Joseph, 1063 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 19b; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 15; Brut Red Book pp. 26-7; Ann. Camb. p. 25). D. 1073 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 21a; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 16; Brut Red Book pp. 28-9; Ann. Camb. p. 26).

Sulien (fn. 1)

Became bp. 1073 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 21a; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 16; Brut Red Book pp. 28-9; Ann. Camb. p. 26). Res. 1078 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 23a; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 17; Brut Red Book pp. 30-1; Ann. Camb. p. 27). Returned 1080 (below).


Became bp. 1078; d. 1080 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 23a; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 17; Brut Red Book pp. 30-1; Ann. Camb. p. 27, 'killed by Vikings'). He had two sons, Hedd and Isaac, commem. on a late 11th- or early 12th-cent. cross-carved grave-marker in St Davids cath. (V. E. Nash-Williams, The Early Christian Monuments of Wales (Cardiff, 1950) no. 382).

Sulien (again)

Returned as bp., 'against his will', 1080; res. for the second time 1085; d. 31 Dec. 1091, aged 80 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 24b; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 18; Brut Red Book pp. 30-1), described as 'the most learned of the Britons' (Brut Peniarth Text p. 24b; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 18; Brut Red Book pp. 32-3; Ann. Camb. pp. 27- 9). Father of Daniel, archdcn. of Powys (i.e. Meifod, St Asaph dioc., above, list 26).

Wilfred (fn. 2)

Became bp. 1085 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 23b; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 17; Brut Red Book pp. 30-1; cf. Ann. Camb. p. 28, where he is not named but is called brother of Sulien). Susp. by abp. soon after Dec. 1093 and reinstated 1095 (Eadmer, HN p. 72). Occ. 19 Aug. [prob. 1114] (EEA XVIII no. 18). D. 1115 (Ann. Camb. p. 35; John of Worcester III 136-7). (fn. 3)

Bernard (fn. 4)

Chanc. of queen Matilda (John of Worcester III 136-9; Eadmer, HN p. 235; EEA VII p. xxxv); a pr., perhaps can., of Hereford (Cant. Profs. app. B no. 11; see 1 Fasti VIII 64 and St Davids Acta pp. 2-3). Petition to el. a bp. addressed to abp. (Episcopal Acts I 238 (D33)). El. and ord. pr. 18 Sept. 1115, cons. by abp. 19 Sept. at Westminster (John of Worcester III 136-9; Eadmer, HN p. 235). Prof. obed. [same day] (Cant. Profs. no. 64). Established cans. in cath. (Gir. Cambr. III 153-4). D. 1148, in the 33rd year of his episcopate (Brut Peniarth Text p. 97b; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 56; Brut Red Book pp. 126-7; Ann. Camb. p. 44). Commem. at Hereford 22 Apr. (1 Fasti VIII 117).

David son of Gerald (fn. 5)

Can. of St Davids and archdcn, of Cardigan (Brut Peniarth Text p. 97b; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 56; Brut Red Book pp. 126-7; Gir. Cambr. III 154; below, list 40). Uncle of Gerald of Wales (St Davids Acta p. 5; and see below, list 39). El. 14 Dec. 1148, ord. pr. 18 Dec., cons. by abp. 19 Dec. at Canterbury (Episcopal Acts I 270-1 (D156); Gerv. Cant. I 138). Prof. obed. [19 Dec.] 1148 (Cant. Profs. no. 93). Contemporary allegation that el. was uncanonical (Gir. Cambr. III 431; for a better edn., see M. Richter, 'A new edition of the so-called Vita Davidis secundi', BBCS xxii (1968) 245-9, at p. 248). Participated in coronation of young kg. Henry 14 June 1170 (Corresp. of Becket II no. 256 (at pp. 1104-5)). D. before 9 May 1176 (Gir. Cambr. I 41, 44, III 433-4; cf. (for year only) Brut Peniarth Text p. 127b, Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 71, Brut Red Book pp. 166-7, and Ann. Camb. p. 55 ('1177')).

Peter de Leia (fn. 6)

Prior of Much Wenlock (Clun., Shrops.) (Gir. Cambr. I 43-4; Ann. Camb. p. 44; Heads I 122). Nom. May 1176, el. after June (Gir. Cambr. I 42-4). Cons. by bp. of London and others, representing absent abp., 7 Nov. 1176, at Canterbury (Diceto I 415; Gerv. Cant. I 260). Two profs. obed.: the first [7 Nov.], and the second [13 x 16 March 1177] after the abp.'s return from abroad (Cant. Profs. nos. 112a and 112b). Present at third Lateran council 1179 (Gir. Cambr. I 48-9). Royal justice, occ. at Westminster 22 Oct. 1182 (Episcopal Acts II 540 and n. 396). Criticized by Gerald of Wales for many absences from bpric. (Gir. Cambr. III 162). D. 16 July 1198 (Ann. Tewkes. p. 56; cf. Brut for year only (Brut Peniarth Text p. 145a, Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 80, Brut Red Book pp. 182-3); Ann. Camb. p. 61 gives length of episcopate as 22 years, 7 months, 15 days, presum. intending to date his d. 16 July 1198).

[Gerald of Wales (de Barri)

Walter abbot of St Dogmaels

Gerald, archdcn. of Brecon (below, list 39), el. 29 June 1199 (Gir. Cambr. I 111); opposed by abp. (ibid. pp. 101-3, 113-4 etc.). Walter, abbot of St Dogmaels (Ben., Penfro; see Heads I 107), el. shortly before Christmas 1199 (Gir. Cambr. III 176-7). Case referred to pope (ibid. I 113-15; De Invectionibus pp. 106-111, 167ff.). Royal assent to Gerald's el. refused 17 Dec. 1201 (Rot. Litt. Pat. p. 3b). Both els. qua. by pope 15 Apr. 1203 (Letters of Innocent III no. 468). For a modern narrative of the election dispute, see Richter, Giraldus pp. 99-124; also Bartlett, Gerald pp. 46-57.]

Geoffrey of Henlow (fn. 7)

Prior of Llanthony by Gloucester (Aug.) by c. I 189 (Heads I 172); had medical knowledge (St Davids Acta pp. 8-9; Gir. Cambr. I 103). Abp.'s candidate for see, had been nom. July 1199 (Gir. Cambr. I 112-13, III 341). Papal mandate for new el. within 2 months, dated 26 May 1203 (Letters of Innocent III no. 479). El. 10 Nov. 1203 (Gir. Cambr. III 321). Chapter request for abp.'s conf. of el. Nov. 1203 (Episcopal Acts I 329 (D378)). Cons. by abp. [Sunday] 7 Dec. 1203 at Westminster (Ann. Waverley p. 255; cf. Gir. Cambr. III 324). Prof. obed. [same day] (Cant. Profs. no. 144, wrongly giving '7 Nov.', a Friday, followed in Speculum Duorum p. xxvii and n. 50). D. 1214 (Brut Peniarth Text pp. 163b-164a; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 89; Brut Red Book pp. 200-1; Ann. Camb. p. 72), prob. late in the year, as custody of the vacant bpric. not gr. until 11 Jan. 1215 (St Davids Acta p. 10; Rot. Litt. Pat. p. 126a; Rot. Litt. Claus. I 182b). Alleged by Gerald of Wales to have been the father of Osbert archdcn. of Carmarthen (Speculum Duorum pp. xlvii, 252-3, 262-3; below, list 41).

Iorwerth alias Gervase (fn. 8)

The prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth's agreement with kg. John, early summer 1215, perhaps stipulated that the next bp. was to be Welsh (St Davids Acta p. 10; J. B. Smith, 'Magna Carta and the charters of the Welsh princes', English Hist. Review xcix (1984) 344-62, at pp. 357-8). lorwerth abbot of Talley (Prem., Caerfyrddin) described by Gerald of Wales as fully Welsh (Gir. Cambr. III 361; cf. Heads I 198). Royal assent to his el. 18 June 1215 (Rot. Litt. Pat. p. 143a). Cons. by abp. 21 June at Staines (M. Tyson, 'Annals of Southwark and Merton', Surrey Archaeol. Collections xxxvi (1925) 24-57, at p. 50). Prof. obed. [same day] (Cant. Profs. no. 153). Presided over the first of a series of reforming synods 1224 (St Davids Acta no. 85). D. 1229, before 27 Jan. (Close Rolls 1227-31 p. 146; see also Brut Peniarth Text p. 190a, Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 101, Brut Red Book pp. 228-9, Ann, Camb. p. 77).

Anselm le Gros (Crassus) (fn. 9)

Kinsman and former clerk of earl William Marshal I, who had custody of vacant bpric. (Pat. Rolls. 1225-32 p. 241; St Davids Acta pp. 11-12); treas. of Exeter by 1204 (EEA XII 306); preb. of St Davids, royal gr. in succession to Gervase son of Walwan, s.v., 6 March 1229 (Pat. Rolls 1225-32 p. 241; below, list 46). Lic. to el. gr. 27 Jan. 1229 (Close Rolls 1227-31 p. 146; cf. Pat. Rolls 1225-32 p. 237, of 28 Jan.). Royal assent signified to abp. 7 Apr. (Pat. Rolls 1225-32 p. 244). Temps. 20 Nov. (Close Rolls 1227-31 p. 458). Cons. by abp. 9 Feb. 1231 at Canterbury (Gerv. Cant. II 128; cf. Ann. Worc. p. 422 and Ann. Dunstable p. 126, giving year only). Prof. obed. [same day] (Cant. Profs. no. 169). As bp. he consolidated the financial framework of the chapter (St Davids Acta nos. 104-6). D. March 1247 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 203a; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 107; cf. Brut Red Book pp. 240-1 and Chron. Maj. IV 647, both giving year only). Buried at St Davids ( J. Leland, Collectanea (Oxford, 1775) I (2) 322). Vacant bpric. gr. to custodian 2 Apr. 1247 (Close Rolls 1242-7 pp. 506-7).

M. Thomas Wallensis (fn. 10)

Can. of Lincoln by 21 Oct. 1235; archdcn. of Lincoln from before 27 May 1238 (1 Fasti III 25-6, 84-5). Lic. to el. gr. 16 Apr. 1247 (CPR 1232-47 p. 500). Thomas urged by Robert Grosseteste, bp. of Lincoln, to accept bpric. (Chron. Maj. IV 647). Royal assent 16 July (CPR 1232-47 p. 504). Temps. 26 Sept. (Close Rolls 1242- 7 p. 538). Cons. by bp. of Lincoln 26 July 1248 at Canterbury (Ann. Oseney p. 97; Ann. Camb. p. 88; cf. Episcopal Acts I 378 (D569)). Prof. obed. [same day] (Cant. Profs. no. 185). Temps. 26 Sept. 1247 (Close Rolls 1242-7 p. 538). Visited Rome between May 1252 and Lent 1253 (Brut Peniarth Text p. 206a-b; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 109; Brut Red Book pp. 244-5). Presided over a synod which issued a comprehensive set of reforming statutes 10 Oct 1253 (St Davids Acta no. 122). D. 11 July 1255 (Ann. Camb. p. 90; cf. Brut Peniarth Text pp. 207b-208a, Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 110, and Brut Red Book pp. 246-7, giving 'towards the end of summer').

Richard of Carew (fn. 11)

Rector of Carew from before March 1247 (St Davids Acta nos. 98, 117); can. of St Davids by 12 Nov. 1255 (Episcopal Acts I 392 (D620)). Lic. to el. gr. 4 Aug. 1255 (CPR 1247-58 p. 421). EL before 12 Nov., when kg. wrote to pope expressing unwillingness to give assent (Episcopal Acts I 392 (D620)). Cons. by pope Alexander IV 11 Feb. x 10 March 1256 at Rome (CPL I 327-9; Councils and Eccles. Docs. I 482-4). Temps. 18 May 1256 (CPR 1247-58 p. 475). Prof. obed. at Canterbury n.d. (Cant. Profs. no. 191). Presided over a synod which issued a set of reforming statutes 12 Nov. 1259 (St Davids Acta no. 131). D. 1 Apr. 1280 (Brut Peniarth Text pp. 226b-227a Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 119; Brut Red Book pp. 268-9; cf. Ann. Camb. p. 105 and Cronica de Wallia p. 43, giving d. 1 Apr. 1279, burial in cath. 4 Apr.). Called 'Master' and said to be a wise theologian and philosopher (Ann. Camb. p. 90).

M. Thomas Bek (fn. 12)

Keeper of kg.'s wardrobe by 18 Oct. 1274, keeper of kg.'s great seal 8 May-19 June 1279 (Tout, Chapters II 14, VI 6, 26; Fraser, Antony Bek pp. 12, 21-2). Archdcn. of Dorset by 24 Nov. 1275 (1 Fasti IV 27-8, 116); preb. of Lichfield from before 15 May 1278 (Magnum Registrum Album of Lichfield, ed. H. E. Savage (William Salt Archaeol. Soc., 1926 for 1924) no. 508); preb. of Lincoln, royal gr. 20 Jan. 1280 (1 Fasti III 60); preb. of St Davids, royal gr. in succession to [William of Ledbury] prior of Great Malvern, s.v., 19 May 1280 (CPR 1272-81 p. 370; below, list 46). Lic. to el. gr. 10 Apr. 1280 (CPR 1272-81 p. 368). El. 3 June, conf. by abp. 7 July (Ann. Camb. pp. 105-6; Cronica de Wallia p. 43). Cons. by abp. 6 Oct. at Lincoln (Ann. Camb. pp. 105-6; Cronica de Wallia p. 43; Chron. Wykes pp. 285-6; Chronicon de Lanercost, ed. J. Stevenson (Bannatyne Club, 1839) p. 105). (fn. 13) Prof. obed. [same day] (Cant. Profs. no. 225). Sang his first mass within dioc., at Strata Florida, 1 Feb. 1281 and enthr. at St Davids on St Davids day, 1 March (Brut Red Book pp. 268-9; cf. Brut Peniarth Text p. 227a and Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 120). He enthr. his brother Antony at Durham 24 Dec. 1285 (Fraser, Antony Bek pp. 43, 124). In 1291 evidently still in possession of a canon's preb., worth £2 13s. 4d., as well as bp.'s preb. of £20 (Taxatio p. 274a). D. 20 Apr. 1293 (Canterbury Reg. Q fo. 14r; cf. Churchill, Cant. Admin. II 269, where administrator of vacant see appd. 28 Apr.).

M. David Martin (fn. 14)

Held churches of Bratton Fleming and Ermington (Devon, Exeter dioc.) (Reg. Bronescombe II nos. 1147 (Bratton Fleming, pres. before 26 Jan. 1276), 1387 (Ermington, inst. 23 Feb. 1280)). Can. of St Davids by 1293 (CPR 1292-1301 p. 39). Lic. to el. gr. 18 May 1293 (ibid. p. 15). In el., before end of July, David Martin received 14 votes and Thomas de Goldsburgh, can. of St Davids (below, list 46), received 6 votes (CPL I 564). (fn. 15) Royal assent to David Martin's el. 28 July (CPR 1292-1301 p. 35); conf. by prior of Canterbury, s.v. Canterbury, 1 Oct. (PRO C 84/11/31; Churchill, Cant. Admin. 1559-60). Temps. 11 Oct. (CPR 1292- 1301 p. 39). Dispute over el. taken to Curia by Thomas de Goldsburgh (ibid. p. 40; cf. CCR 1288-96 p. 451). David Martin res. into hands of pope, to be prov. by pope 1296 (CPL I 564). Cons. by cardinal-bp. of Ostia 30 Sept. 1296 at Rome (Cant. Profs. no. 241; cf. CPL I 564). Temps. 24 Jan. 1297 (CPR 1292-1301 p. 230). Prof. obed. n.d. (Cant. Profs. no. 241). D. 9 March 1328 (Canterbury, Reg. Q fo. 161 v). Commissioned survey of lands and rents of bpric., The Black Book of St Davids, in 1326 (The Black Book of St Davids, ed. J. W. Willis-Bund (Cymmrodorion Rec. Soc., 1902) pp. i-ii, 13).


  • 1. For his career and family, see Lloyd, History of Wales II 459-61. See also M. Lapidge, The WelshLatin poetry of Sulien's family', Studia Celtica viii-ix (1973-4) 68-106.
  • 2. On the basis of his Anglo-Saxon name, Dr Barrow suggests 'at least mixed ancestry' (St Davids Acta p. 2). For two chs. (one spurious, the other not necessarily written), see ibid. nos. 1-2.
  • 3. He is called Geoffrey in notices of his d., 1115, in Brut Peniarth Text p. 62a, Brut Peniarth Transl. pp. 38-9, and Brut Red Book pp. 82-3.
  • 4. From Normandy (Brut Peniarth Text p. 62a; Brut Peniarth Transl. p. 39; Brut Red Book pp. 82- 3); the first Norman bp. (Gir. Cambr. III 152-3). For his chs., see St Davids Acta nos. 3-22.
  • 5. Son of Gerald of Windsor and Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr; his sister Angharad, wife of William de Barri, was mother of Gerald of Wales; for pedigree, see Bartlett, Gerald p. 26.
  • 6. Gerald of Wales considered Peter's origin to lie in Worcester dioc. (Gir. Cambr. I 300). Dr J. S. Barrow, St Davids Acta p. 7, draws attention to the French form of his name, 'Pyrs', in the Brut (Brut Peniarth Text p. 145a and Brut Red Book p. 166; transcribed as Petrus' in Ann. Camb. p. 55). For his chs., see St Davids Acta nos. 38-47.
  • 7. Beds. The church of Henlow was gr. to Llanthony priory, of which Geoffrey was prior (EEA VII nos. 39-42; Heads I 172), For his chs. as bp., see St Davids Acta nos. 48-69. For his seal, see Williams, 'Episcopal seals' p. 128 nos. 77-8.
  • 8. His name is Latinized as 'Gervasius'; for his chs., see St Davids Acta nos. 70-90. For his seal, see Williams, 'Episcopal seals' pp. 128-9 nos. 79-80.
  • 9. Son of William le Gros (Crassus), steward of earl of Gloucester in late 1150s (Earldom of Gloucester Chs. no. 186; and see St Davids Acta pp. 11-12). Wrongly described as a Franciscan by Matthew Paris (Chron. Maj. IV 655; see St Davids Acta p. 12 n. 74). For his chs. as bp., see St Davids Acta nos. 91-112. For his seal, see Williams, 'Episcopal seals' p. 129 no. 81.
  • 10. An Oxford Master and Greek scholar known to Robert Grosseteste, bp. of Lincoln; taught theology at Paris (Roberti Grosseteste Episcopi... Epistolae, ed. H. R. Luard (RS xxv, 1861) pp. 147-51; R. W. Southern, Robert Grosseteste; the Growth of an English Mind in Medieval Europe (Oxford, 1986) p. 17 and n. 23; K. Major, 'The familia of Robert Grosseteste', in Robert Grosseteste, Scholar and Bishop, ed. D. A. Callus (Oxford, 1955) pp. 216-41, at p. 239; Episcopal Acts II 558-61). For his chs. as bp., see St Davids Acta nos. 113-26. See DNB (s.n. Wallensis) and ODNB.
  • 11. Son of Richard of Carew and Scolastica, and descended from Gerald of Windsor, lord of Carew castle (Penfro) (Lloyd, History of Wales II 423; St Davids Acta nos. 140, 143). For his chs., see St Davids Acta nos. 127-52. For his seal, see Williams, 'Epsicopal seals' p. 129 no. 82.
  • 12. Son of Walter Bek of Eresby and brother of Antony Bek, bp. of Durham (Fraser, Antony Bek pp. 8-9). He was an Oxford Master and chanc. of university in 1269; for his career, see Biog. Ox. I 153- 4, DNB and ODNB. For his seal, see Williams, 'Episcopal seals' pp. 129-30 nos. 83-4.
  • 13. On same day Thomas arranged for transl. at Lincoln of St Hugh of Avalon (Historians of the Church of York, ed. J. Raine (RS lxxi, 1879-94) II 407; Chron. Wykes p. 285).
  • 14. Son of Nicholas fitzMartin, lord of Cemais (Penfro) and landowner also in Devon and Somt. (see I. J. Sanders, English Baronies (Oxford, 1960) p. 15; Greenway, 'Election of David Martin' p. 11 and nn. 9, 10; cf. Reg. Bronescombe II no. 1147). For his seals, see Williams, 'Episcopal seals' p. 130 nos. 85-7.
  • 15. For the election, see Greenway, 'Election of David Martin'.