1286-1296 (John Romanus) York (Province). Archbishop.

The register of John Le Romeyn, lord archbishop of York, 1286-1296 (Volume 2) online

. (page 2 of 47)
Online Library1286-1296 (John Romanus) York (Province). ArchbishopThe register of John Le Romeyn, lord archbishop of York, 1286-1296 (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 47)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the three scrutators, declared him elected. Doubts having
arisen, to avoid delay and expense, Romeyn resigned,
whereupon the pope appointed certain commissioners to
elect for this turn without prejudice to the church of York.
As most of them occur in the register it will not be out of
place to give their names. They were Ancher of Troyes,
cardinal priest of Sta. Prassede, Hugh of Evesham, cardinal
priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina, Giordano Orsini, cardinal
deacon of Sant' Eustacio, B. the chamberlain, Percival of
Lavagna, Pietro Savelli, the pope's nephew, Neapoleone
Orsini,^ papal chaplains, Romeyn himself. Master John de
Craucumbe, and Master Thomas of Adderbury (Abberbyri),
canons of York, who were then in Rome. The pope confirmed
the election on Feb. 17,^ and ordered Romeyn to be conse-
crated by Latino Malabranca Orsini, cardinal bishop of
Ostia, and the pallium to be given him. The consecration
took place on Feb. 10, Septuagesima Sunday.^

The archbishop set off with all convenient speed for
England, and by means of his register we are enabled to
trace the homeward route. Altopascio, near Lucca, Vienne,
in southern France, and Dover, places to which he granted

^Cott. MS. Vitellius H. iii, fo. whose prebends no cure of souls was

Hid., and Hist, of the church of attached.

York, iii, 408. ^Ancher, Evesham, Orsini, and

3Le Neve's Fasti, iii, 104, quoting Lavagna were all canons of York,

Lett, in Turr. Lond. H. 9. and Pietro Savelli became one in

3C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 199. 1287, as did Napoleone Orsini at a

*The beneficiaries were the later date,

holders of personatits or parsonages ^C. P. L., i, 483. From this it

with cure of souls in the church, might be thought the archbishop

namely, the dean, precentor, was consecrated on 13 kal. Martii

chancellor, treasurer, subdean, and (Feb. 17), but the earlier date, 4

the five archdeacons, as distinct idus Feb. (Feb. 10) is proved by the

from the canonici prebendati to itinerary to be correct.

'<Hist. of the chu/ch of York, ii, 408.



indulgences, were probably steps on his way north. i Pavia,
where he left a horse, must have been another resting place. ^

News of the expected arrival of the archbishop at once
revived the quarrel between the primates of the northern
and southern provinces as to the right of the former to carry
his cross erect before him in the South. The archbishop of
Canterbury, John Peckham, on March 26, sent orders to the
rural dean of Dover to do all in his power to prevent this, and
on April 6, hearing that Romeyn was expected to land at
Dover the next day. Palm Sunday, he sent similar orders to
the dean of the Arches and Master William de Haverberg or
Haleberg (now Harborough), who were to stop Romeyn on his
way to London to see the king.

All who should shew any reverence to Romeyn were
threatened with excommunication, and the places he passed
through subjected to interdict. Hearing that the archbishop
of York was staying in Bermondsey priory, Peckham issued
further stringent orders to prevent anyone going to that
house, even on pilgrimage to pay their devotions, as long as
Romeyn was there. ^ Romeyn, who attached very consider-
able importance to his right to carry his cross erect, as is
evidenced by his letters on the subject to Rome,* was equally
resolute, and by the help of the king, who ordered that
victuals should be sold to him and his household whilst on
his way to the royal presence, he was enabled to proceed on
his journey. This order was to continue in force till
Ascension day (May 23).^

Under the protection of this safe conduct the archbishop
seems to have made some stay at Bermondsey, which he left
on April 14, and journeyed on to St. Albans the same day.
Two days later he was at King's Langley, in Hertfordshire,
where it is probable that the order to Malcolm de Harle, who
had had the custody of the archbishopric of York during the
vacancy of the see, to restore the temporalities to Romeyn
was issued. 6

iNos. 9, 12, 16.

2No. 1424.

^Letters from Northern Registers
(Rolls Series), p. 82, and Wickwanc' s
Register, p. 338. For similar

denunciations for the same reason
by archbishop Peckham in 1287
and by archbishop Winchelsey in
1295, see Wilkins' Concilia, ii, 128,
21(^, 284.

*Nos. 1427, 1428, 1530.

5C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 229. In
his letter of thanks (no. 1435) for
this safe conduct with a request for
its extension, the archbishop has a
hit at the malice of his rivals who
raised up the populace against him
in contempt of the cross of Christ.

6C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 230. The
day is not given, but it must have
been some time in April. Harle or
Harele was only deputy of Otto de


With the help of his itinerary (p. 191) it is possible to trace
his journey to York. Travelling by Castle Bytham in
Lincolnshire, he entered his own diocese at Laneham, on the
27th. He stayed in Nottinghamshire for nearly a month and
then proceeded to Cawood (May 24), where he stopped whilst
preparations were being made in York for his enthronement
on June 9, Trinity Sunday.i This ceremony was followed by a
magnificent banquet. Some of the letters of invitation^ to
this feast have been entered in his register as examples of how
such epistles should be addressed according to the recipient's
rank. Forms are given of letters of this kind addressed to
bishops, earls, barons, knights, archdeacons, officials, rectors,
suffragans, and abbots and priors. Amongst those invited
were the bishops of London, Lincoln, ^ and Carlisle, the earls
of Warenne and Cornwall, Sir William de Ros, Sir Richard de
Sutton, and the abbot of St. Mary's, York. Some of those
to whom letters were sent would no doubt be unable to
accept, and in Wickwane's Register* there are three refusals,
including one from Oliver Sutton, bishop of Lincoln.

From the very outset of his episcopate the archbishop
found himself confronted by many serious difficulties, the
most pressing being want of money. Many causes contributed
to his impoverishment. Most of them were incidental to his
position. First, and perhaps most heavy, were the expenses
incurred at the Curia about his election and confirmation.
On his arrival in England he would have to pay the fees due
for the restoration of the temporalities, as well as in addition
lending the king 2,000 marks, which he had to borrow from
Bartholomew de Ferentino.^ The manors belonging to the
see would be bare of stock and provender. Corn had to be
purchased, and a sum of looli was spent as an instalment
of what was due for the com grown during the vacancy of the
see.6 His predecessor, archbishop Wickwane,'^ towards the

Grandisono (Eudes of Granson), to and Rhuddlan may have had their

whom the temporalities had been share." — A.H.T.

granted on condition that he ^No. 1413 and Coll. MS. Vitellius,

applied the issues to the construe- ii, fo. 11 Id.

tion of castles in Wales {Ibid., p. ^No. 1413.

293). ^Beg. Wickwane, no. 716.

" Of the Welsh castles, so far as *Ibid., nos. 715-717.

their actual dates of construction ^C. P. R., 1281-1292. p. 366.

are known, Conway is the most ^No. 1449.

likely to have profited immediately ''Hist, of the church of York, iii,

by this grant, as it was in progress 205. This document is entered in

at this time. Caernarvon, Harlech. Reg. Wickwane, p. 288, and Reg.

Corbridge, fo. 214d.


close of his life, remembering the hardships he had suffered in
entering upon the see which had been swept bare by the
officials of the Exchequer, so that there were no means even
of cultivating the soil, made arrangements that certain head
of stock, oxen, horses, and sheep, should always be kept at
the different manors belonging to the see, including those in
Gloucestershire and Northumberland, and that the keeper
of the temporalities during the vacancy should have the use
of them but would be bound to keep the numbers up, and
that each of his successors should do the same in his turn.
Notwithstanding this very handsome gift of over i,6oo head
of stock, the archbishop had to pay i,o^6li i8s to Wickwane's
executors for corn and beasts and loans. i The manors
belonging to the see were in such a state of disrepair that the
dilapidations amounted to 220 marks (14611 13s 4^).^ To
meet these liabilities, besides the income of his see, which
would already be pledged for a considerable period, he had a
grant from the pope^ of the first fruits of all benefices
becoming void in his diocese for a period of three years
towards the payment of the debts of the see, but from this he
would not derive any immediate benefit, so he was compelled
to run into debt. Between June, 1286, and the end of that
year he borrowed 2173/^' 13s ^d,^ as well as authorizing his
agent at Rome to raise money to the amount of 500 marks
(333^^ 6s 8d),^ probably to help pay the charges incurred at
his election. Even these large sums seem to have been
insufficient to free Romeyn from his difficulties. He was
during all his career at York in want of money. The
references in the register^ to a special register, called " the
old register," which was entirely devoted to recording the
archbishop's bonds and receipts (obligaciones et quiete
clamaciones), bear eloquent testimony to his pecuniary

The matter, however, which caused the greatest annoyance
and inconvenience to the archbishop was the system of
papal provisions. The pope claimed the right to nominate to
all ecclesiastical dignities, even the highest. At the beginning
of the 13th century Stephen Langton had been consecrated
archbishop of Canterbury against king John's wish, and
Romeyn himself was chosen at Rome by electors nominated

iNo. 1488. . *See pp. 153-157 infra.

^Ibid. ^Ibid.. no. 1433.

3C. P. L., i, 484. sSeepp. 165, 169, 172-174.


by the pope. England suffered more than other countries
from this evil, which had long been a subject of bitter
complaint. Bishop Robert Grosseteste of Lincoln had
inveighed in vehement terms against these papal encroach-
ments on the rights of patrons, but it was not till the middle
of the next century (1351) that a statutei was passed against
such provisions, " whereby if they should be suffered there
should scarcely be any benefice within a short time in the
said realm, but that it should be in the hands of aliens and
denizens by virtue of such provisions, against the good will
and disposition of the founders of the same benefices." The
cathedrals and collegiate churches suffered most from these
provisions as the benefices and prebends in them as a rule had
no cure of souls annexed. The results were disastrous.
Divine service, owing to the diversion of the stipends of
prebendaries and other dignitaries to foreigners, could no
longer be celebrated in a suitable manner, the intentions of
the pious founders were frustrated, and the archbishop
deprived of his most valuable patronage, and, in consequence,
unable to reward deserving clergy according to their merits.
The foreigner would regard his benefice merely as a source of
revenue and know as little about the country in which it lay
as nowadays an investor in South American securities knows
of South America ; and even if he did come, his ignorance of
the language and customs of the country would make him
unfitted to render much effective service to its religious life.
This evil had attained very considerable dimensions in the
diocese of York. In 1289 the archbishop, in a letter to a
cardinal, 2 remonstrating with him for asking that an Italian
should be provided to a prebend at Beverley, said that it was
the tenth provision the pope had made since he had become
archbishop. This statement is perfectly accurate, and can
be proved from the register. At York there were provisions
to four prebends for Pandolfo Savelli (no. 1040), Pietro
Savelli (no. 1051), Andrew de Languisel (no. io6ow), and
Francesco Gaetani (no. 1075) ; two at Beverley, for Boniface
of Aosta (no. 1052), and Oddo de' Conti (no. 1082) ; one at
Ripon for Giovanni Saraceni (no. 1076) ; and three at
Southwell for Anglerus Jacobi of Rome (no. 1040), who was
succeeded by Giovanni Colonna (no. 1072), and George de
Solerio (no. 1078). This list by no means comprehends all

^25 Edward iii, st. 4, commonly called " The Statute of Provisors."

2No. 1082.


the foreigners beneficed in these churches. At the time the
archbishop was writing the following dignities in the church of
York were held by foreigners, the prebends of Apesthorpe,
South Cave, Husthwaite, North Newbald, and Wistow.
The office of sacrist of the Chapel of St. Mary and the Holy
Angels was and long had been held by a foreigner. At Ripon
and Southwell the case was no better, four prebends in each
chiuxh being in the possession of foreigners. Matters did
not improve later. Between 1290 and 1300 some of the most
important offices were monopolised by aliens. They held
the archdeaconries of York and Cleveland, the treasurership
at York, and the prebends of Bugthorpe, Fenton, Givendale,
Knaresborough, South Newbald, Strensall twice, and Wistow;
at Beverley the provostship, chancellorship, and five pre-
bends ; one at Ripon, and seven at Southwell. Like an army
of caterpillars these aliens, for the most part Italians,
devoured the fairest and richest benefices in the diocese of

It may be noted that the statute of Provisors, though
decided enough in its wording and re-enacted several times,
was not much more than an academic resolution. While the
king's clerical relations and clerks (the sublimes et literati in
whose favour the papal legislation against pluralities — e.g.,
Innocent iii's famous Demulta — made exceptions) depended
for their income on their benefices, the claim of the pope to be
the fountain-head of all spiritualities could not be ignored. In
practice, the Crown gained to some extent by effecting a
compromise over provisions with the papacy — i.e., it accepted
provisions of its own nominees to vacant sees — ; but the
ordinary lay patron was left much as before. The clergy
themselves abstained from voting in 1351. The later volumes
of the Cal. of Papal Letters shew what little power the statute
of provisors had to check provisions. The returns of pluralities
made in 1366 to Urban v, which are complete for the province
of Canterbury, shew how thoroughly the pope's claims to
reserve and provide to vacant benefices were recognised by
the Church in England. The influx of aliens had largely
ceased before 1351, but, as long as parliament had no control
over spiritualities, the denizen clergy looked to papal
dispensations as their main source of aggrandisement. As

^In 1289 the pope himself as- P. L., i, 496). This does not include

serted that many of the thirty- those held by foreigners in the

three prebends at York were held by three daughter churches of Bever-

persons living beyond the seas (Cal. ley, Ripon, and Southwell.


institution is necessary to induction, and as the mandate for
induction was issued by the spiritual authority who, in the
later 14th and 15th centuries, although habitually a nominee
of the Crown, uniformly held his see by a bull of provision, it
is obvious that no check upon provisions could be really

The scandalous pro\dsions made to foreigners in the 13th
and 14th centuries, which became less common during the
French wars, were very largely the result of collusion between
the Crown or lay patrons who had married into foreign
families with the popes. Witness the case of James of Spain
or Boniface and George of Saluzzo. If the pope was called
upon to issue indults for these young scions of royal and
noble houses, he might excusably draw upon rich English
benefices for his curiales.

Injurious as the provisions were to the church of York
there was a probability that on the alien's death the patron-
age would revert to the archbishop, but now a permanent
alienation was threatened. It was suggested by cardinal
Matteo Rubeo Orsini, prebendary of Fenton, that that
prebend, with that of Nassington, in the church of Lincoln,
should be annexed to the hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia
at Rome, of which he was warden, and thus the church of
York would be permanently deprived of the emoluments of
one of its prebends. This proposal evoked a letter, dated
Sept. 20, 1288, written at Jaca in Aragon,i of earnest remon-
strance from the archbishop, conceived in very bitter terms
considering the high rank and importance of the person to
whom he was writing. He complained of the tribute which
was imposed on his church for the benefit of foreigners, and
especially the proxdsions made for the cardinal and Andrew
de Languisel, the brother of the bishop of Porto, and that in
York and its dependent collegiate churches divine service
could not be properly celebrated for want of resident clergy.
He then goes on to shew what evils would arise in the church
of York from the proposed alienation : —

Ex quo provenit quod canonici valde perpauci ecclesie
memorate deserviunt dum ejus peculium ad remotas naciones
abducitur, et de ipsius spoliis alienis necessitatibus subvenitur.
Fit quoque quod velud ilia exigua corpore animalia set artis
erudicione permaxima, gens apum, que non sibi set aliis
nectar melleum in thecis cereis thesaurizant, velud eciam

^No. 1185. See also C. P. L., i, persuade the king of the legitimacy
518, where the pope in 1290 tries to of the project.


que sibi non semper set pocius aliis vellera ferunt oves, non
sibi qnoque set aliis juga boves ; substanciam propriam
ecclcsia prelibata, non sibi vel suis obsequiis, non proximis
et vicinis, set exterorum usibus et gentis ignote profectibus
conquisivit. Spoliatur hoc modo Eboracensis ecclesia et
Romanum hospitale vestitur. Altare nudatur Eboracensis
ecclesie et certum amictitur Sancti Spiritus hospitale. ToUi-
tur Anglicis hospitalitas et transvehitur ad Romanos. Hiis
demitur, illis augetur. Hii denique seminant, illi metunt.
Hii laborant, illi vero manducant. Sic, sic, pater et domine
reverende, Eboracensis tractatur ecclesia, sic patrimonium
ejus expenditur, sic proficit incrementis.

The archbishop then goes on to point out what a serious
matter it would be to divert the endowments of the prebend
to uses other than those contemplated by the founder, and in
conclusion beseeches the cardinal to protect the interest of
the church of which he was a member.

Early the next year the kingi scotched this nefarious
project, threatening imprisonment and other severe penalties
against all who should, in derogation of his prerogative and
disherition of his crown, attempt to procure the annexation
of these two prebends of Fenton and Nassington^ to the
hospital of Santo Spirito.

Undeterred by these hindrances Romeyn proceeded to
discharge his duties in the most energetic manner. Within a
year he had visited all the archdeaconries in his diocese
except Richmond, probably in consequence of its remoteness.^

In addition to his more strictly diocesan duties there were
certain questions of considerable importance awaiting
solution, one of the most pressing of which was the arch-
bishop's claim to visit the dean and chapter of his metro-
politan church. The dean and chapter claimed that under
certain papal indults they were exempt from visitation by
the archbishop, and it was not until they received an order
from the pope himself, dated Sept. 15, 1290, to exhibit such
indults and the archbishop was empowered in default of
their producing them, to proceed with his visitation,

iC C. R., 1288-1296, pp. 307, 464. long remained vacant, and there was

For the pope's letter to the king, a long litigation for its possession

dated Oct. 17, 1290, urging him to between the Crown and the bishops

agree, see C. P. L., i, 518. ol Lincoln, which was not ended till

2This had been Romeyn's own the reign of Edward iii.

prebend in Lincoln, and was doubt- ^poj- ^ list of the places visited

less regarded as reserved to the pope see vol. 1 , p. v.
by his consecration at the Curia. It


that they could be induced to enter into an agree-
ment on the subject. 1 By this agreement, which was
made on Nov. 21, 1290, the dean (Henry of Newark)
promised to pay obedience to the archbishop, and
the archbishop agreed that he should visit once only every
five years. At this visitation he was to be accompanied by
no one except two of the canons, and the articles were not to
be set down in writing. Offences were to be corrected by
the dean and chapter within six months, and if nothing were
done in that time, then the archbishop might correct. There
were further provisions in this agreement regulating appeals
from the auditor of the dean and chapter to the archbishop's
and for hearing objections by the dean and chapter against
persons nominated by the archbishop to stalls in the
cathedral. Both parties attached so much importance to
this agreement that they wrote letters to the pope asking him
to confirm it. 2

The concluding of this agreement was probably facilitated
by the election of a new dean in the spring of 1290, in succes-
sion to Robert of Scarborough, whose relations with Romeyn
had been so hostile that he ultimately deprived Scarborough
of the deanery. The dean figures so largely in this Register
that it is worth while giving a short sketch of his career.
Robert of Scarborough seems to have been closely connected
with the Uctred or Oughtred^ family, of which, perhaps, he
was a member. His first appearance is in 1263, when he
was chancellor of the church of York. He must have vacated
this office very shortly after, as William Wickwane, after-
wards the archbishop, was in possession of it the year
following.* Perhaps he resigned it for the archdeaconry of
the East Riding, which he held in January, 1262-3. ^ On
March 25, 1269, archbishop Giffard collated Adlingfleet to
him. 6 During the episcopate of archbishop Wickwane he
continued to have preferments heaped upon him. His
election to the deanery of York was confirmed by the arch-
bishop on Oct. 30, 1279.'^ This seems to have involved the
surrender of the archdeaconry and the prebend of Grindale,

^C. p. L., i, 517. been instituted before, but had

^No. 1116. voided his benefice by neglecting to

^Dec. 29, 1284. John ' dictus proceed to full orders within a year

Uttrith', subdeacon, no doubt a (Sutton, Lincoln roll, a° v).

relative, was instituted to a mediety *he Neve's Fasti, iii, 163.

of the church of South Ferriby ^Giffard's Register, no. 409.

(Lines. ), on the pres. of the prior and ^Ibid., no. 95.

convent of Bridlington. He had ''Wickwane's Register, no. I.


in both of which his successor was Master John de
Crucumbe,! and probably the prebend of Knaresborough.2
However, as a solatium, that of Husthwaite^ was collated
to him on Dec. 20, 1280. It was not till he became dean that
he received letters dimissory for the priesthood.* Besides
his ecclesiastical duties he was employed by the king on
different affairs of importance. In 1275 he was appointed
with William de la Corner, a canon of York, afterwards
bishop of Salisbury, to act as king's proctor in his case
against Gaston of Bearn.^ He seems to have given satisfac-
tion, as the king ordered him to be provided to a benefice,
prebendal or other, with or without cure of souls, in
accordance with a bull of pope Gregory x, empowering the
king to have three clerks of his household so provided. ^
In 1282 he was sent to the curia on the king's business, and
five years later he had letters of protection when going to
Ireland.''' From his different offices Scarborough must have
accumulated very considerable wealth. In 1281 he was able
to lend archbishop Wickwane 300 marks,^ and June 10, 1286,
he advanced to Romeyn the large sum of 1,000 marks,
payable at Trinity, 1288.^ The harmonious relations between
the dean and the archbishop were soon broken. The rupture
was brought about by the refusal of the dean to contribute
to the cost of the case at the Curia, where Bogo de Clare,
who laid claim to Adlingfieet, was endeavouring to get
possession of that church. The archbishop, who when
precentor of Lincoln had acted as a judge in this case, and
must have been well acquainted with all the attendant
circumstances, not unjustly expected that as Scarborough
would reap the benefit, he should indemnify him against the
costs. On his refusal to do so the archbishop at once
(Dec. II, 1286) proceeded to sequestrate Adlingfieet, and

Online Library1286-1296 (John Romanus) York (Province). ArchbishopThe register of John Le Romeyn, lord archbishop of York, 1286-1296 (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 47)