Page images

1072. A general English council was held concerning the jurisdiction and primacy of the Church of Canterbury, by command of Pope Alexander, and by permission of King William, and in his presence and the presence of his bishops and abbots; and at length, after some time, it was proved and shown by the distinct authority of various writings, that the Church of York ought to be subject to that of Canterbury, but that the homage of all the countries beyond the great river Humber to the farthest boundaries of Scotland, and whatever south of that river justly pertained to the diocese of the Church of York, the Metropolitan of Canterbury allowed for ever to belong to the Archbishop of York and his successors. If, however, the Archbishop of Canterbury chose to call a council, wherever he thought fit, the Archbishop of York was bound to be present with all his suffragans, and be obedient to his canonical injunctions; and Lanfranc, the Archbishop of Canterbury, proved from the ancient custom of his predecessors, that the Archbishop of York was bound to make profession of obedience, even with an oath, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but through regard to the King he had not exacted the oath from Thomas Archbishop of York, but had received his written profession only, but that he had not thereby created a precedent. When the Archbishop of Canterbury should die, the Archbishop of York should come to Canterbury with the other bishops of the Church, and consecrate the person elected as his successor. But when the Archbishop of York should die, his successor accepting the gift of the Archbishopric from the King, should go to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and from him receive canonical ordination. This document was signed by King William, Matilda the Queen, Hubert the Pope's Legate, Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Archbishop of York, and all the bishops and abbots present. The Archbishop of York made his obedience as follows:"... Wherefore, I, Thomas, now ordained Metropolitan Bishop of the Church of York, hearing and knowing your authorities, make unlimited profession of canonical obedience to you, Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, and your successors; and I promise to observe whatever shall be lawfully and canonically enjoined me, either by you or them. Of this matter I was doubtful while I was yet to be ordained; wherefore I promised obedience unconditionally to you, but

conditionally to your successors." The custom of presiding at the council was at the same time declared to be as follows:-The Archbishop of Canterbury presiding should have on his right hand, the Archbishop of York, and next him the Bishop of Winchester, and on his left the Bishop of London; in the absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York should preside, having the Bishop of London on his right and the Bishop of Winchester on his left, the rest taking their seats according to the time of their ordination.

1072. Lanfranc, writing to the Pope the same year, speaking of a conference held at Winchester, says:-" From the ecclesiastical history of Bede it was proved, to the satisfaction of all parties, that from the time of the blessed Augustine, first Archbishop of Dover, a city which is now called Canterbury, to the extreme old age of Bede himself, who died about 140 years after, my predecessors enjoyed a primacy over the see of York, and the whole island which they call Britain, and also over Ireland."

1107. After Archbishop Thomas, came Gerard in 1101, translated from Hereford. For a long time he would not make submission to Canterbury. At a great council held at Westminster in September 1102, he is said to have manifested considerable feeling on the subject. A seat had been placed for him below that for the Archbishop of Canterbury. This he kicked over and ordered it to be placed on a level with the one for the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the same time calling upon God for vengeance upon the perpetrator of this injury to his see. But he appears after a time, in 1107, to have consented to make profession of obedience. Capgrave in his Liber de Illustribus Henricis says under this dateAt this time Giraldus, Archbishop of York, having placed his hands in the hand of Ancelm, made subjection and obedience to him in these words: "I, Giraldus consecrated metropolitan of York, make profession, subjection, and canonical obedience to the Holy Church of Canterbury (Dorobernensis) and to Ancelm canonically elected primate of the same church, and to his successors canonically enthroned, saving loyalty to our lord Henry, King of the English, and saving the obedience to be held from me which Thomas, my predecessor professed to the Holy Roman Church on his part.

1117. Pope Paschal ii. to the King. Thurstan Archbishop of York (elect) who has been driven from his church, should be restored, and all disputes respecting the two primacies should be referred to him (the Pope). Thurstan had renounced his archbishopric rather than profess obedience to Canterbury.

1126. At the legatine council held in London this year, a bull was granted by Pope Honorius to Thurstan confirming the dignities of the see of York according to the order of Pope Gregory. It adds also, "Moreover, if the Archbishop of Canterbury shall refuse to consecrate the elect of York gratuitously, or without exacting obedience, he may receive consecration either from his suffragans or from the Roman pontiff.

1176. At the Council at Westminster the old feud of precedence was revived. Which of the two primates was to sit on the right hand of the Legate? Richard of Canterbury had taken the coveted place, Roger of York was furious and even sat himself down in the lap of the Archbishop of Canterbury. A free fight between the two Archbishops, and between their respective followers ensued during which their vestments were torn off their backs. They got Roger down and trampled on him, and ridiculed his remonstrances, and when he left to seek redress from the king, they shouted after him" Away, away, betrayer of S. Thomas (A'Becket)." Roger was extremely indignant, and singled out, the Bishop of Ely-Geoffrey Ridel, as one of his most violent assailants. This is Hoveden's version. Wm. of Newburgh (Book III. Chap. I.) gives a different version, thus :-In a word the Archbishop of York having arrived the earlier, took possesion of the chief seat, claiming the same as his own, in accordance with the ancient decree of S. Gregory, by whom it was appointed that he who should be first consecrated should be esteemed the chief metropolitan of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury, however, like a man who had sustained an injury, refused to take the lower room, and solemnly proclaimed his grievance . . . but his attendants being more fiercely jealous of his dignity, proceeded from a simple strife of words to a brawl. . &c. Nothing was done, but shortly after, a bull of Pope Alexander settled the question, at least for a time in accordance with the decree of Pope Gregory the Great, forbidding altogether the token

of submission. This was agreed upon at a council held at the Lateran in 1179.

1189. Richard I. gave the Archiepiscopal See of York to his half brother Geoffrey, at the Abbey of Pipewell, Northants. Thereupon, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, claimed the right of consecrating him, and forbade him to receive consecration or priest's orders from any one but himself, quoting the charter of King William, above given, in support. However, shortly afterwards Geoffrey received priest's orders from his suffragan John, Bishop of Whitherne, who was appointed Bishop on the same occasion at Pipewell by the king, and also then consecrated by John, Archbishop of Dublin.

1192. During Lent in the same year, the Archbishop of York came to London by command of the king's justices; but when he came to Westminster with his cross, he was forbidden by the Bishop of London and the other bishops of England thenceforth to presume to carry his cross in the province of Canterbury. On this he contumaciously made answer that he would not lay it aside for them; but listening to the advice of his own people, he hid it from before the face of the people, least a tumult might arise among the clergy. The Bishop of London, however, holding him as an excommunicated person, in consequence of this transgression, suspended the New Temple, at which place the said Archbishop of York had taken up his abode, from the performance of divine service, and from the ringing of bells, and in consequence, he was obliged to leave the city.

1194. The king being at Nottingham on the day of the Annunciation of our Lord, there came to him the Archbishop of Canterbury, having his cross carried before him. Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, was there also, and did not have his cross carried, but made complaint to the king about the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had thus caused his cross to be carried in the diocese of York, Nottingham being then in the province of York. When the Archbishop of Canterbury heard this, and saw that the Archbishop of York did not have his carried, he made answer, "I carry my cross throughout the whole of England, whereas you do not carry your cross, and, perhaps, you ought not to carry it, and therefore, matters standing as they do, I make appeal to my lord the Pope."

1194. King Richard being at Winchester, on April 16, sent word to Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, not to come to his coronation next day with his cross, for fear of a dispute with the Archbishop of Canterbury. As he was thus forbidden to carry his cross, he declined to be present at the king's coronation. On the 23rd of the same month, the king being at Waltham, Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, came to him causing his cross to be carried before him. Upon this, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, greatly complained to the king, but the king replied that it was a matter for the Pope rather than himself to decide.

1195. The Archbishop of York being beyond the sea, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, who possessed regal power throughout all England, in the absence of the king, being his chief justiciary, and also apostolic rule, being the Pope's Legate, went to the metropolis of York to exhibit his glory in this united authority. By a mandate, which he sent before him, he commanded the prelates of the whole province solemnly to come and meet him, and attend him; and, suppressing for the time the name of Primate, he entered the metropolitan church in great pomp, and exercised great power in it, celebrating a Council with great magnificence, under the name of Legate of the Holy See; and no one opposed or protested against it, because all men were either stricken with terror, or were but little devoted to their own metropolitan. When this was done, and his secular jurisdiction there also completed for that time, he returned to his own province. William of Newburgh, who thus records the circumstance, adds: The title of Primate was certainly not sincerely suppressed, but because it could not be assumed, as he could not come as Primate. Truly, he might not have been favourably received, by reason of his legation, if the clergy of that church had wished to make use of the privilege which they had obtained some years before from the Holy See, by which they and their archbishops were exempt from the jurisdiction of any legate appointed in England. .. they preferred to be subject to him as legate, whom they wished as a friend and patron, rather than experience the pressure of a power against which they were unable to struggle. Hoveden gives the letter of Pope Celestine to Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, appointing him legate, in which there is the following

« PreviousContinue »