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BECKET, sive, that if Becket had made his passage, his highness
Abp. Cant.
might have suffered under the imputation of rigour, and an
interdict been drawn upon the kingdom.


This year Herebert, bishop of Glasgow, departing this life, Ingelrand, the king of Scotland's chancellor, succeeded him, and was consecrated by pope Alexander, at Sens; notwithstanding the agents of the archbishop of York made great opposition at the solemnity.

The conven

To return to England: the king suspecting archbishop tion met at Becket might convey himself into France, and get out of his


reach, summoned the lords spiritual and temporal to Northampton. They met on the twelfth, or as Fitz-Stephen will have it, on the sixth of October. At this convention the archbishop desired the king's leave to wait upon the pope, now in France. The king told him, he must first answer for the wrong he had done John, his marshal. It seems, this John, the marshal, had claimed a manor, or farm in the archbishop's court, as an estate held of the Church of Canterbury; and not having justice done him, as he pretended, he disclaimed the archbishop's court; and having sworn the failure of justice, according to the custom of those times, designed to remove the cause. The archbishop replied, The arch that John had no reason to complain of hard usage: that when he disclaimed his court, he proceeded out of form, swore upon a troper or book of old church hymns; whereas, and disobey- according to the laws of the realm, he ought to have made king's writ. oath upon the Four Gospels.

bishop charged

with deny


Gervase of Canterbury says positively, this John forswore himself; and Fitz-Stephen Fitz-Ste- avers, he had no right to the land. However, John prophen, p. 21. cured the king's writ, by which the archbishop was required Gervas. col. to answer his complaint in the king's court. The arch1389. His defence bishop did not make his appearance at the day, but sent disallowed. four gentlemen to the king, with letters from himself, and a

letter from the sheriff of Kent, attesting the misinformation of John, and the defect of his proof: thus Fitz Stephen. And Gervase of Canterbury relates, that the archbishop Gervas. ib. sent two men of repute to the king, to excuse his non-ap

A. D. 1165.

About this time, Octavian, the antipope, died. However, the schism continued; for Wido, bishop of Crema, was immediately set up in his stead, and went by the name of Paschal III.


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pearance, and to allege, that it was not done out of contempt, HENRY but because of sickness.


K. of Eng.

This defence not being allowed, the archbishop was cast in the court by the barons, and most of the bishops then Fitz-Stephen et present, for having failed in his duty and allegiance to the Gervas. ib. king, in not appearing upon his highness's writ: for this crime, it was agreed by the court, that he had forfeited all his goods and chattels.

He is fined.

tween the


This being the sentence of the court, there was a debate A debate bebetween the bishops and barons, who should pronounce bishops and judgment, each of them endeavouring to excuse themselves, temporal and decline the office. The temporal barons urged, that Fitz-Stethey were laymen; that the spiritual lords were of the arch- phen, p. 23. bishop's order, and that therefore the sentence was their business. To this, one of the bishops replied, that this office belonged rather to the temporal barons; that the sentence was not ecclesiastick, but secular; that the spiritual lords did not sit in that court as bishops, but barons. "We are barons (says this bishop) and you are barons, and upon that foot, we are peers, or of the same quality. But if you insist upon our order, this distinction will be no ways serviceable to your allegations: for as we are bishops, we are under obligations to the see of Canterbury, and have no authority to judge our primate."


The king being informed of this dispute, ordered the The bishop bishop of Winchester to pronounce sentence; who comof Winchester proplied, though not without reluctance. Now, because the nounces judgment course of the law would not admit of non-submission to a against the sentence or record made in the king's court, the archbishop archbishop. cast himself upon the king's mercy, and seemed to acknowledge the judgment.


bishop pro


Immediately upon this, a suit was commenced against The archhim, in the king's name, for five hundred pounds, lent him secuted when he was chancellor. The archbishop pleaded that the upon several money was given him; but this defence not being allowed, he was forced to give security for the debt. The next day an account was demanded of the profits of the vacant abbeys and bishopricks, of which he had the custody when chancellor. To this he answered, that not being questioned for these matters at his election, he thought himself Chronic. discharged from any farther account. However, to satisfy 1390.

Gervas. p.

BECKET, the king, he promised to take farther advice, and give in his Abp. Cant.


Being under these difficulties, he consulted the bishops the bishops. upon the emergency; and here they were not all agreed

He asks the opinion of

in their opinions.

Chronic. Gervas. col. 1390.

Gilbert, bishop of London, desired him to consider how much he had been obliged and promoted by the king; that the juncture was cross and unfriendly; that if he persisted in his noncompliance, he would not only ruin himself, but involve the whole English Church in the misfortune; whereas his submission might not improbably restore his affairs, and recover the king's favour.

divided in their opinions.

Then Henry, bishop of Winchester, delivered his opinion, and declared, that the measures suggested by the bishop of London, disabled the bishops in their functions, and was The bishops plainly destructive of the government of the Catholic Church; For," says he, "if our primate of all England sets us such a precedent of compliance and irresolution; if a bishop is to resign his authority, and desert his charge at the beck and menaces of the prince, what can we expect, but that the Church should be thrown off her basis, her discipline made precarious, and everything managed by the arbitrary direction of the court; and then, as the Scripture speaks, 'It shall be as with the people, so with the priest.""

Hilary, bishop of Chichester, who valued himself upon his rhetorick, spoke next, and told the archbishop, that were not the times unfavourable, and the Church embroiled, he should have been of the opinion last delivered; but now, since the canons had not strength to bear up against the present opposition, he conceived a rigid insisting upon the authority of the Church was very unseasonable, and that relaxing and giving way was the only proper expedient; it was, therefore, his opinion they ought to be governed by the juncture, and yield to the king's demands, lest, by persisting in their noncompliance, they might be forced from their ground, and driven to a dishonourable retractation. Robert, bishop of Lincoln, spoke much to the same purpose. And so did Bartholomew, bishop of Exeter, who added, that since the seas ran high, they ought rather to furl the sails than perish in the storm; that since the persecution was not general, but levelled at a single person, it



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was more advisable that person, though their primate, HENRY should suffer in some measure, than that the whole Church K. of Eng. of England should be exposed to inevitable ruin.

Gervas. ib.

Roger, bishop of Worcester, being desired to speak, though he refused to affirm anything upon the question, yet his mind might be easily discovered through his caution. He told them, he should not venture to give any advice in the case; "For," says he, "if I should assert that a prelate ought to throw up the cure of souls, for fear of the king's displeasure, and be frightened out of his office, I should speak against my conscience, and my own mouth would condemn me; but if I should propose any methods of noncompliance, I should be informed against, thrown out of the king's protection, and be treated like an outlaw; therefore, I shall suspend my sense, and neither declare for one thing, nor advise the other."

Nigel, bishop of Ely, was sick of a palsy, and could not come to court. And William, bishop of Norwich, sent to excuse his absence; saying privately, that God Almighty had sent the bishop of Ely a very happy excuse, and wished himself might be covered by the same misfortune. For, it seems, Ridel had informed him how much the king was incensed against the archbishop of Canterbury.

sires more

The archbishop desired a day longer for consultation, The archwhich was granted; but the next day fell sick of the bishop depassio iliaca, or twisting of the guts. The king, hearing time. of his indisposition, sent his earls and barons to demand of him, whether he would give security to account for the profits of the vacancies which he had received in the time of his chancellorship; and whether he would stand to the judgment of the king's court in that matter. The archbishop Fitz-Stephen, p. 25. replied, the king knew he had passed his account to his He justifies highness, upon every article required, before he was elected himself archbishop. And that at his election, prince Henry, his sing his acson, all the barons of the exchequer, and Richard de Lucy, justiciary of England, had acquitted him from all claims and demands upon that score: and that, being thus fully discharged, he did not think himself obliged to plead to any such action.



Annal. fol.

This answer of the archbishop, made his case still worse 283.
with the king; insomuch, that some of Becket's friends told

BECKET, him, he would either lose his life or be imprisoned. HowAbp. Cant. ever, he was resolved to stand the consequence.


The morning before he was to make his appearance, greatest part of the bishops came to him, and begged him, for the sake of the Church, and his own security, to moderate his terms, and yield to the king's pleasure; that, unless he took this course, he would be sentenced as a traitor, and perjured person, for failing in his allegiance to his sovereign lord, and breaking the ancient customs of the kingdom, which he had sworn to keep.

Chronic. Gervas. col. 1391.

not to join

To this the archbishop answered, that he owned himself inexcusable before God Almighty for taking so unlawful an oath; but since it was better to retract a promise, though ever so solemnly made, than to perish under it, therefore, he was resolved to disengage himself, and not fall under a new guilt in the performance. David swore indefensibly, and repented; whereas Herod, who was resolved to stand He charges by his oath, was lost by making it good. "I enjoin you," says the bishops he, "therefore, to follow me in my refusal, and not to enwith the courage those methods which make the government of the Church impracticable. To deal clearly, it is a scandalous thing for you, not only to desert me under these difficulties, but to join the court party, as you have lately done, and sit in judgment upon your spiritual father, and archbishop. I charge you, therefore, upon your canonical obedience, to desist from these practices for the future; and as for myself, I appeal for justice to the see of Rome. And if, as the report goes, I happen to be dispatched, and fall under violence, I command you, upon your duty of suffragans, that you make use of your authority, and exert the censures of the Church upon the outrage."

Gervas. ib. He appeals to the pope,

and carries his cross erected into the court. Fitz-Ste

Upon this the bishops left him, and went to the king. The archbishop likewise, after he had officiated at divine service, came to court with his cross in his hand, and sat by himself in an antechamber, all his suffragans, and the temporal barons, being called in to the king. The archbishop of phen, p. 26. York, the bishops of London and Hereford, advised him to

deliver the cross; that his carrying it himself would be interpreted as an act of defiance; and that unless he desisted, he would find the king's weapons much sharper than his own. Archbishop Becket answered, that the king's in

barons at his trial.

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