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

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

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cited him to show under what dispensation he held that
church, as well as Foston-on-the-Wolds.i'^ The archbishop
was most unrelenting in his attacks on Scarborough. In
December, 1286, the dean was summoned to answer for his

^Wickwane's Register, nos. 8, 13. till Michaelmas, on July 12, 1276, is

^Ibid., no. 637. the same person as the York

^Ibid., no. 21. dignitary {Ibid., p. 152).

*Ibid.. no. 305. Ubid.. 1281-1292, pp. 24, 270.

6C. P. R., 1272-1281, p. 79. »Reg. Wickwane. no. 774.

^Ibid., p. 129. Perhaps the ^Reg. Romeyn, no. 1439.

Robert of Scarborough, rector of lONos. 148, 555. The dean seems

Rugewik (Rudgwick, near Hors- to have lost Foston very soon (nos.

ham), who had a simple protection 570, 619).


contumacy in not appearing at the visitation of the chapter
of Beverley, of which he was a canon, and for articles then
found against him.i In September he was deprived of his
deanery and prebends at York (Husthwaite) and Beverley. 2
The archbishop, not content with prosecuting him with the
utmost rigour in his own diocese, informed the bishop and
archdeacon of London of his excommunication, no doubt
with the object of getting him deprived of his prebend of
Ealdland in St. Paul's. ^ Ultimately an agreement was
brought about by the intervention of the king, and on May
8, 1290, Scarborough consented to resign all claim to the
deanery, the prebends at York and Beverley, and the church
of Adlingfleet, in consideration of an annuity of 400 marks
and the fruits of his benefices accrued since the king had
released them.* Shortly after this (May 20), the archbishop
repaid the 1,000 marks which he had borrowed from Scar-
borough in 1286, though it was due in the summer of 1288.^
Probably the reason of the delay was that as long as
Scarborough was under sentence of excommunication he
could not plead in any court. ^

The dean did not long enjoy his annuity. On March 10,
1290-1, his goods were being administered by his executors.'

Equal energy was displayed in visiting the other important
chapters in the diocese. Beverley and Ripon were visited at
least three times, and important ordinances were issued for
their government.^ At Southwell, after visitation, Romeyn
issued a decree, in which he regulated wdth great minuteness
and care the affairs of that college.^ Non-residence was the
crying e\dl in every case, and even in the chapel of St. Mary
and the Holy Angels, under the very shadow of the Minster,
where the canons were for the most part English,!^ the
archbishop found matters no better than where many of the
beneficiaries were foreigners or had papal indults excusing
them from residence. ^i

iNo. 1026. ^"Hist. cf the church of York, iii,

2No. 1052. 214.

^No. 1048 and Le Neve's Fasti, ii, ^^I think also that non-residence in

382. the Chapel was aggravated by the

*No. 1094. statutory requirement of continual

"No. 1439. residence, which its constitution and

^No. 60. the object of its foundation certainly

■'No. 294. imply. In the case of the greater

^Beverley Chapter Act Book chapters continual residence was not

(Surt. Soc. cviii), ii, 148-174, and expected, and non-residents, while

Memorials of Ripon (Surt. Soc, they received the fruits of their

Ixxvii), ii, 13-23. separate prebendal estates, could

^No. 1186. lav no claim to the daily distribu-


Another thorny question was settled satisfactorily. For
long there had been a controversy between the archbishops
of York and the prior and convent of Durham about the
diocesan jurisdiction in the see of Durham during a vacancy.
By the mediation of bishop Bek the prior and convent
acknowledged in 1286 that such jurisdiction belonged to the
archbishop. 1

Soon after his installation the archbishop set about
making himself acquainted with his diocese.

Not content with visiting Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire,
he extended his travels in the north to Hexhamshire, pene-
trating as far as Alwinton, high up the Coquet, and in the
west to Churchdown and other outlying portions of the
archbishopric in Gloucestershire. None of his successors,
or at any rate for some considerable period, journeyed north
as far as Hexhamshire. The Scotch invasions rendered that
part of the country too poverty-stricken and unsafe for
further visits. His itinerary 2 bears testimony to his restless
energy. He visited Hexham four times, Churchdown five,
and was in London at least ten times, besides journeys to
Gascony, France, and Italy. To take as a typical example
the years 1291 and 1292. In May, June, and July in the
earlier year^ he was in Northumberland, in October and
November in Gloucestershire, and in December he had
reached Creil and Troyes in France, on his way to Rome.
The greater part of the first ten months of 1292 were spent
in Italy, London not being reached till November. If
records of his peregrinations outside Yorkshire and Notting-
hamshire, especially beyond the seas, had been preserved,
no doubt there would have been even greater reason to ad-

tions. But the prebends of the died No\ . 27, 1290. The accuracy

Chapel consisted in shares in of the itinerary is further proved by

commons, and not in separate the date of the licence for the

prebendal estates — which implies archbishop to go abroad, which was

the obligation of constant residence. issued on Sept. 20, 1291 (C. P. R.,

— A. H. T. 1281 1292, p. 443). The archbishop

^No. 1023 and //z'si. of the church took with him on his journey to

of York, ni, 2X2. See aiso Scriptores Rome Robert of Nottingham, par-

Tres (Surt. Soc, ix), p. xciv. son of Brandesburton, Roger of

2Pages 191-203. Blyth, parson of a mediety of the

^The Lanercost Chronicle (CAyoMz- chmch of Rotherham, and Thomas

con de Lanercost. 1, 137) says the of Boston (de sancto Botulpho).

archbishop sailed for Rome on All parson of South Dal ton. His

Saints Day (Nov. 1), 1290. The attorneys during his absence were

itineiary shows his journey took Master Robert of Sleaford and John

place a year later, though the Sampson of York {ibid., pp. 449,

Chronicle associates the event with 450).
the funeral of queen Eleanor, who


mire his activity. An exact list of the places he passed through
on his way to Rome would be most interesting. Unluckily,
on his outward journey, only a couple of places are mentioned,
Creil, north of Paris, and Troyes. A visit to Citeaux,i where
he probably spent Christmas, must have necessitated his
going by Dijon and Beaune. The rest of the itinerary is
blank. On the return journey he passed through Viterbo,
Florence, Bologna, and Luzarches, this side of Paris, where
he may have stopped to pay his vows to St. Cosmas and St.
Damian, whose relics attracted many pilgrims.

The archbishop's other journey abroad, some two years
earlier, this time to Spain, brought him into close connection
with important public events. In the early summer of 12862
the king crossed to France by the invitation of the French
king, Philip iv, to mediate with Alfonso iii, king of Aragon,
for the liberation of Charles, prince of Salerno and Achsea,
a relation of Philip's who had been taken prisoner in a sea-
fight by the Aragonese. The wrongs Alfonso had suffered
from the French in the person of his ancestors must have
been a great provocation to avenge them on his captive.
He himself, a grandson of Manfred, represented the
Ghibellines and Hohenstaufens, and Charles, the son of
Charles of Anjou, king of Naples, the murderer of Manfred,
the Guelfs. To avert this danger Edward, after paying
homage to the French king for his possessions beyond the
seas, set out for Gascony about Whitsuntide. The chief
authorities^ for this period become confused in their chrono-
logy in their record of Edward's visit to southern France.
The Waverley Chronicle states that he was at Oloron in
Beam under the year 1287, which is certainly a year wrong.
Walsingham, although giving dates obviously incorrect,
mentions a long stay in Gascony, and a treaty with Alfonso
which was arranged outside Gascony, though Oloron is not
mentioneci. With the assistance of Romeyn's itinerary
(p. 194) it is possible to give within certain hmits the probable
date of this treaty. Romeyn dates documents at Merignac,
a small town, ten miles west of Bordeaux, on May 7, 1288,
and at Bordeaux on the 20th. It seems most likely that the

^No. 1327. Historia Anglicana (Chronica

2The king was at Dover, May 11 Monasterii S. Albani (Roll Series),

and 13 (C. P. R., 1281-1292, p. 248). 1, 28-30). Nicholas Trivet {Annales

^The most detailed account of (English History Society), pp. 312-

Edward's doings is in the Annals of 4), is concise but accurate m his

Waverley {Annales Monastici (Roll chronology, which agrees with the

Series), ii, 403-8). This may be sup- inferences _ to be drawn from

plemented from Walsingham' s Romeyn's itinerary.


archbishop was then in attendance on the king, and
accompanied him to Oloron (Basses- Pyrenees), on the north
side of the Pyrenees (Aug. 19). Here it is probable the
meeting between the kings of England and Aragon took
place and arrangements were made for the liberation of the
prince of Salerno. Romeyn seems to have accompanied
Alfonso across the Pyrenees to Jaca, a town in Aragon, on
the southern slope of these mountains, travelling by the
Val d'Ossau and near the Pic du Midi. When at Jaca he
despatched his letter (Sept. 20) to cardinal Matteo Rubeo
Orsini, protesting against the annexation of the prebend
of Fenton to the hospital at Rome, taking advantage of a
mission Alfonso, who was under a sentence of excommunica-
tion, was sending to the Curia, praying for absolution.
Romeyn, as soon as his task was complete, hurried back.
He was over the Pyrenees- and at Oloron on Sept. 25, had
reached Paris by Oct. 15, and was in London by the 6th
of the next month.

Romeyn did not retain the king's favour long. His
refusal to be reconciled, at the king's request, with the
bishop of Durham, excited the king's resentment. 1 The
final breach, however, was due to a cause which during the
thirteenth century had given rise to strife in all western
Europe, the conflict between the ecclesiastical and civil
powers. This conflict was exemplified on a large scale in
the contest between the Empire and the Papacy, in which
victory remained with the latter. A little later Boniface viii
(elected 1294), in his bulls, Clericis laicos and Ad perpetuam
rei memonam, asserted in a most uncompromising manner the
subjection of the secular to the ecclesiastical authority.
These excessive pretensions naturally led to opposition, and
in no country were they more strongly resisted than in
England, where the national feeling against the interference
of ecclesiastics in secular matters supported the king in
withstanding any encroachment by foreigners on his preroga-
tives. It was this feeling which prompted the passage of the
Mortmain acts and the barons' letter to the pope, repudiating
his claim to be overlord of Scotland. It was on this point
that Romeyn came into conflict with the king. Even
before his election he had got into trouble by infringing the
royal prerogative. In 1285 he had, contrary to the king's
prohibition, sued the prior of Huntingdon in an ecclesiastical

^Chyonicon de Lanercost, 1, 137, sub anno 1290.


court in a matter over which a secular court had jurisdiction,
and when put to the question {occasionatus) about it before
the king's judges in eyre at Northampton, had departed the
court without their leave. In reparation Romeyn had to
make full submission to the king and satisfy the prior on
whose behalf the prohibition had been issued. The king
attached such importance to this submission that he caused
it to be enrolled in perpetual remembrance of the matter.^

The subject which finally brought the archbishop into
collision with the king arose out of a quarrel with the bishop
of Durham. The relations between the archbishops of York
and their suffragans at Durham were seldom harmonious.
The then bishop, Anthony Bek, later patriarch of Jerusalem,
a wealthy and ambitious prelate, was even less inclined than
his predecessors to yield any obedience to his metropolitan
he could possibly evade. If it is true that Romeyn's pre-
decessor had been bribed not to exercise his jurisdiction over
Durham^ it must have made it more difficult for him to
enforce his rights. Unfortunately, Alan of Easingwold,
Bek's official, with whom Romeyn was brought into contact,
was very much inclined to do his best to foment the enmity
between the two prelates ; " ecclesie nostre persecutor
acerbus,"^ the archbishop calls him in one place. This
animosity was due to an attempt to expel him from the
church of Kirkby in Kendal, into which he had illegally
intruded, an attempt which was successful, and ultimately
brought about his excommunication.* In his capacity of
bishop's official, Easingwold prevented appeals from the
consistory court at Durham to the archbishop. The
persistence of Easingwold in this practice obliged the arch-
bishop as well as the chapter of York to send a letter of
protest^ to Bek, praying him to cause such proceedings to
cease. The bishop took no notice of the appeal, and thus a
quarrel commenced between the archbishop and his suffragan,
which in the result had very serious consequences for the

The following summary of the events connected with this

iC. C. R., 1279-1286, p. 405, and cases commenced in an ecclesiastical

Prynne's Records, iii, 354. This one.

trouble probably lead to the inser- ^Chrontcon Henrici Knyghton

tion amongst the memoranda at the (Rolls Series), I, 359.

beginning of Romeyn's Register ^No. 1353.

(nos. 1544, 1546), of a note defining «Nos. 990, 991, 1009.

the cases in which a writ of prohibi- ^No. 1353.
tion from a secular court lay in


quarrel, as recorded in the Register, will make the story

1290, Nov. 16, Mandate to Bek to appear, in person or by
proxy, with his clergy at York, on Dec. 7, to discuss the grant
of a tenth from the province to the king (no. 1358).

1290, Dec. 10. Mandate to Bek, who had taken no notice
of the former mandate, to appear as before at York, on
Wednesday after the Epiphany, 1290-1 {ibid.).

1290-1, March 21. Mandate to Bek to denounce as
excommunicated all those infringing the Hberties of the
church of York (no. 1360).

1291. July 31. Arrangements for an agreement with Bek
(no. 1361).

1291, no day. Injunction to Bek from the archbishop's
official to denounce Alan of Easingwold as excommunicate
(no. 1364).

1291, Aug. 24. Mandate to Bek, who has refused to take
any notice of the above injunction, has spoken of it
contemptuously, and has kept Alan in his office, to give
satisfaction within eight days of receipt, and to appear at
York on Friday after Michaelmas (no. 1365).

1291, Aug. 28. Mandate to William of Wrelton^ to serve
the above mandate on Bek (no. 1362).

1291, Aug. 29. Mandates to the officials of the archdeacons
of the East Riding and Cleveland to go to the churches of
Howden and Northallerton, and cite the prior and convent of
Durham to appear at York after St. Dennis' day, and
account for their usurpation of jurisdiction in the churches
of the Spiritualities appropriated to their use. Mandate
also to William of Wrelton to serve a similar citation on them
at Durham (no. 1363).

1291, Sept. 23. Mandate to Bek to free William of Wrelton
and John of Amelia,3clerks of Romeyn, imprisoned in Durham
castle by the constable, John of Maidstone, and his abettors
(no. 1367).

1291, Oct. 23. Interdict of places in the diocese of York
traversed by the bishop of Durham (no. 1368).

II am indebted to Mr. A. Hamil- is a small village 2i miles N. W. of

ton Thompson for this summary, as Pickering.

well as that of the long and involved ^Very probably a relation of

case of Rex u. the Archbishop which Bartholomew de Amelia, bishop of

follows immediately after. Grosseto, who was in England in

2" Willelmus de Wrelton, dictus 1290 (no. 1357). He is called John

de Pikering (no. 1377)." Wrelton Romayne in the case of Rex. v. the

(par. Middleton-in- Pickering Lythe) Archbishop.


1291. Oct. 24. Second mandate, repeating and rehearsing
the mandate of Sept. 23 (no. 1367).

1291, after Nov. 2. Answer to royal letter requesting the
removal of the interdict of Oct. 23., giving reasons for delay
of execution (no. 1369.)

1291, Nov. 10. Relaxation of the interdict, probably
owing to a more stringent message from the king (no. 1370).

1291, Nov. 17. Third mandate in peremptory repetition
of the mandates of Sept. 23 and Oct. 24 (no. 1371).

1292, April 8. Mandates to the official of York to declare
Bek excommunicate, and to Bogo de Clare to make the
declaration at Durham and in the bishopric. Alternative
mandates in case the imprisoned clerks are set at liberty
(no. 1377).

1292, April 20. Mandate to the prior of Bolton to publish
the sentence at Northallerton, Darlington, etc. Alternative
mandate {ibid.).

1292, Nov. 12, 14, 15, 19. Appointments of various
proctors for the archbishop against the bishop of Durham,
who has opposed the execution of the sentence of excom-
munication (no. 1378), Cf. no. 1145.

Documents cease here in the register, while the suit
between the archbishop and Bek was pending, and the sequel
of the case is found in the extract from the Close Rolls^ of
which the following is a summary.

John, archbishop of York, was attached to answer to the
king of a plea that, whereas pleas of imprisonments and other
trespasses committed in the realm against the king's peace
pertain specially to the king and his crown and dignity, the
archbishop by John, prior of Boulton-in-Craven, his com-
missary, caused a sentence of excommunication to be
fulminated against Anthony, bishop of Durham, while he
was in the northern parts in the king's service and by his
side by the king's order and under the king's protection,
because the bishop's bailiffs took and imprisoned William de
Wilelon (sic) and John Romayne found at Durham, and he
caused the sentence to be put into execution, as the king
learned from many trustworthy men ; wherefore the king,
being unable to let such contempt and irreverence pass
unpunished, especially as the king and the bishop, as far as
lay in his power, were always prepared to exhibit speedy

^C. C. R.. 1288-1296, pp. 330- printed by Prynne, iJecoj'^s, hi, 456,
334. Also on the De Banco Rolls, 560-565. 1293.
from which the suit has been


justice to William and John concerning the imprisonment in
accordance with the custom of the realm, etc.

Richard de Brettevill, suing for the king, states that the
sentence had been pronounced by the archbishop's orders on
Wednesday before St. James, 20th year (July 23, 1292), at
Derlyngton, and on Thursday and Sunday following at
Alverton, and in many other places of the bishop's diocese, in
contempt of the king, the injury of his royal dignity, and
contrary to the reverence due to the king in this behalf, in
despite of the king of £20,000. And this he offers to verify
for the king, etc.

The archbishop denied the contempt, etc., either in deed
or will. He says that he ought not to answer in the king's
court concerning a sentence pronounced a canone and
declared by him, but that he would nevertheless out of
reverence for the king, saving the liberty of his church,
declare his deed and the truth of his deed, and would not use
exceptions or cavils. The bishop was his suffragan and
subject and bound to obey his canonical mandates. When
he would not do so, he sent his clerks to the bishop with a
citation. They were taken and detained at Durham by the
bishop and his ministers. The archbishop, therefore, " as a
father to a son and a superior to a subject and as one who
ought, according to the duty of his ofhce, to work for the
correction of the soul, for the health of the soul only and not
for pecuniary or other pain," admonished the bishop to
release the clerks or give a reason for not doing so. As the
bishop took no heed, the archbishop sent a second monition
with a threat of suspension. The bishop refused to give the
clerks up, and received a third monition with a threat of
excommunication a canone. The bishop hardened his heart,
and would not obey ; and so the archbishop, in accordance
with his office, and in no way to the prejudice of the king,
ordered the sentence of excommunication to be declared.
The archbishop thus thought that he might and ought to
proceed as against a contumacious subject without offence
to the king. Answering the charge that he had ordered the
sentence to be pronounced while the bishop was with the
king and under his protection, he said that he (the archbishop)
was beyond the sea when it was pronounced. 1 That he had
ordered his commissary to pronounce it only in the proper
places, where there could be no offence to the law or the king's

^This is proved by the archbishop's itinerary (p. 199).


privilege, and that, if his commissary exceeded his limits, he
ought not to bear the blame. He did not publish the sentence
because of the imprisonment of the clerks, but because of the
bishop's manifest disobedience. He prayed the king to
weigh the premises according to the bishop's duty and inten-
tion, and do justice to him and his church.

Richard de Brettevill founded his argument on the double
status of the bishop, (i) a bishop in respect to spiritualities,
(2) an earl palatine in respect to temporalities. As (i) he
was bound to obey the archbishop's mandates ; as (2) he
was answerable only to the king, of whom he held his temporal
fees. The archbishop had acknowledged that his clerks were
taken by the bishop's temporal ministers, and were
imprisoned in the bishop's castle. Cognisance of such
trespass belonged to none but the king, except by royal
grant, and could not be dealt with by the archbishop's
method of ecclesiastical censure ; and the imprisoned persons
ought more properly to seek recovery in the king's court, as
the offence was personal on both sides. It could not be
denied that the sentence had been pronounced by the
archbishop's commissary, when the bishop was with the king
and under his protection ; and that it was in contempt, etc.,
of the king, because the clerks were imprisoned by the
bishop's lay ministers in a temporal tenement. The arch-
bishop had thus exercised as a temporal judge a jurisdiction
which he did not possess in those things that pertained to the
king's crown and dignity. He prayed judgment of the
archbishop's acknowledgment, etc.

A day was given in three weeks from Easter.

The archbishop then came before the king and council, and
acknowledged the double status of the bishop, but said that
the bishop ought not to obey him less in temporal than in
spiritual things by reason of the temporalities. His mandates
had been purely canonical : the bishop's sentence was
incurred in canon law by disobedience of canonical mandates.
To the questions whether the prison where the clerks were
was of the bishop's barony or his spirituality, and whether
prisoners therein ought to be or had been delivered by the
bishop's ministers, he answered that the prison was in the
castle, which was of the barony, and that prisoners therein
ought to be and had been delivered by the bishop's lay
ministers, according to the laws and custom of the realm.
He acknowledged that, in a voidance of the see of Durham,


the prison was in the king's custody, and not in that of the
guardian of the spirituaUty : nevertheless his clerks, bearing
canonical mandates, were taken by the ministers of his
suffragan, and, by reason of the obedience due to him, the
suffragan should have delivered them in whatever prison
they were.

As the archbishop had acknowledged the temporal status
of the bishop, that imprisonments made by the bishop's
ministers pertained to that status, that the prison was part
of the temporal barony, etc., etc., and that he had acted
without regard to the status of the captors of his clerks, the
reason why the imprisonment was made, or to whom the
delivery, a royal prerogative, pertained, he was judged to
have infringed the prerogative of the crown, contrary to laws
and loyalty. The council agreed that he should be com-
mitted to prison.

The archbishop requested to be admitted to the king's
grace and will before judgment was pronounced. This, at
the instance of the magnates of the council, was granted him,

Online Library1286-1296 (John Romanus) York (Province). ArchbishopThe register of John Le Romeyn, lord archbishop of York, 1286-1296 (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 47)