Jænberht

Last updated
Jænberht
Archbishop of Canterbury
Appointedbefore February 765
Term ended12 August 792
Predecessor Bregowine
Successor Æthelhard
Orders
Consecration2 February 765
Personal details
Died12 August 792
Sainthood
Feast day12 August
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church [1]
Canonized Pre-Congregation

Jænberht [lower-alpha 1] (died 792) was a medieval monk, and later the abbot, of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury who was named Archbishop of Canterbury in 765. As archbishop, he had a difficult relationship with King Offa of Mercia, who at one point confiscated lands from the archbishopric. By 787, some of the bishoprics under Canterbury's supervision were transferred to the control of the newly created Archbishopric of Lichfield, although it is not clear if Jænberht ever recognised its legitimacy. Besides the issue with Lichfield, Jænberht also presided over church councils in England. He died in 792 and was considered a saint after his death.

Monk religious occupation

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

Abbot Religious title

Abbot, meaning father, is an ecclesiastical title given to the male head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is abbess.

Canterbury Cathedral city in Kent, England

Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour.

Contents

Early life

Jænberht was a monk at St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury before being selected as abbot of that monastic house. [3] He came from a prominent family in the kingdom of Kent, and a kinsman of his, Eadhun, was the reeve of King Egbert II of Kent. Jænberht himself was on good terms with Egbert. [4]

Reeve (England) senior official with local responsibilities under the Crown

Originally in Anglo-Saxon England the reeve was a senior official with local responsibilities under the Crown, e.g., as the chief magistrate of a town or district. Subsequently, after the Norman conquest, it was an office held by a man of lower rank, appointed as manager of a manor and overseer of the peasants. In this later role, historian H. R. Loyn observes, "he is the earliest English specialist in estate management."

Archbishop of Canterbury

Jænberht was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on 2 February 765, [5] at the court of King Offa of Mercia; this location implies that his election was acceptable to the king. [6] In 766, he received a pallium, the symbol of an archbishop's authority given by the papacy. At this time, Kent had been subjected by Offa; in 776, perhaps at the urging of Jænberht, Kent rebelled and secured its freedom. [7] In 780 and 781, Jænberht attended church councils at Brentford that were led by King Offa. Although initially on good terms with Offa, Jænberht's ties to Egbert were also strong: after the Battle of Otford, Egbert granted a number of estates to Christ Church. When Offa reasserted control over Kent, which occurred by 785 at the latest, he confiscated these lands and regranted to some of his thegns. [6]

Pallium an ecclesiastical vestment in the Catholic Church: a narrow band, seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y and decorated with six black crosses

The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context, it has remained connected to the papacy.

Elevation of Lichfield

During Jænberht's term of office, a dispute arose between the see of Canterbury and Offa which led in 787 to the creation of the rival Archdiocese of Lichfield under Hygberht. [8] Originally, Offa attempted to bring the southern archbishopric of Canterbury to London, but when the papacy refused permission, Offa secured the creation of a third archbishopric in the British Isles. Lichfield was the main Mercian bishopric, and thus the new archbishopric was under Offa's control. [9] There were several reasons for the conflict between Jænberht and Offa. Jænberht's opposed Offa's deposition of the Kentish dynasty. They conflicted over land which they both claimed as theirs, and Jænberht refused to crown Offa's son Ecgfrith. [8] Problems were also caused by the archbishop minting his own coins at Canterbury. [10] Matthew Paris, writing in the thirteenth century, stated that Jænberht conspired to admit Charlemagne to Canterbury if he invaded Britain. This story may reflect a genuine tradition recorded at St Albans Abbey, where Paris was based, or it may be a fabrication to fill in details of Jænberht's life where Paris had no other information. [6] A rumour during Jænberht's reign also falsely claimed that Offa was plotting with Charlemagne to depose Pope Hadrian I; at least one modern historian, Simon Keynes, believes it possible Jænberht was behind the rumour. [7] Offa's eventual successor later admitted to the papacy that Offa's actions had been motivated by hatred of Jænberht and the Kentish people. [11]

The Bishop of Lichfield is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield in the Province of Canterbury.

Ecgfrith was king of Mercia from 29 July to December 796. He was the son of Offa, one of the most powerful kings of Mercia, and Cynethryth. In 787, Ecgfrith was consecrated king, the first known consecration of an English king, probably arranged by Offa in imitation of the consecration of Charlemagne's sons by the pope in 781. Around 789, Offa seems to have intended that Ecgfrith marry the Frankish king Charlemagne's daughter Bertha, but Charlemagne was outraged by the request and the proposal never went forward.

Matthew Paris English artist

Matthew Paris, known as Matthew of Paris, was a Benedictine monk, English chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, based at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. He wrote a number of works, mostly historical, which he scribed and illuminated himself, typically in drawings partly coloured with watercolour washes, sometimes called "tinted drawings". Some were written in Latin, some in Anglo-Norman or French verse.

In 787, Pope Hadrian sent a pallium to Hygberht of Lichfield, elevating Lichfield to an archbishopric, and Ecgfrith was crowned. There is no extant contemporary evidence, however, that Jænberht ever recognised Hygberht as an archbishop. [6] [lower-alpha 2] Canterbury retained as suffragans the bishops of Winchester, Sherborne, Selsey, Rochester, and London. The dioceses of Worcester, Hereford, Leicester, Lindsey, Dommoc and Elmham were transferred to Lichfield. [12]

Later life

Jænberht presided at a council held at London, sometime after the elevation of Lichfield, attended by most of the bishops from southern Britain. [13] Jænberht died on 12 August 792. [3] [5] Jænberht was buried in the abbey church of St Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury. [3] [7] Jænberht has since been revered as a saint, with a feast day of 12 August. [1]

Notes

  1. Also Gengbeorht, Iaenbeohrt, Jaenbeorht, Jaenberht, Jaenbert, Jænbert, or Jambert [1] [2]
  2. The archbishopric at Lichfield was abolished after Offa's death, and was no longer an archdiocese by 803. [9]

Citations

  1. 1 2 3 Farmer Oxford Dictionary of Saints p. 268
  2. Searle "Gengbeorht", "Iaenbeorht" Onomasticon Anglo-Saxonicum
  3. 1 2 3 Costambeys "Jænberht" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  4. Yorke Kings and Kingdoms p. 43
  5. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 214
  6. 1 2 3 4 Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 113–120
  7. 1 2 3 Keynes "Jænberht" Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England
  8. 1 2 Yorke Kings and Kingdoms pp. 116–117
  9. 1 2 Yorke Conversion of Britain p. 151
  10. Hindley Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons p. 106
  11. Witney "Period of Mercian Rule in Kent" Archæologia Cantiana p. 89
  12. Kirby Earliest English Kings p. 144
  13. Kirby Earliest English Kings p. 143

Related Research Articles

Offa of Mercia 8th-century Anglo-Saxon King of Mercia

Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald. Offa defeated the other claimant, Beornred. In the early years of Offa's reign, it is likely that he consolidated his control of Midland peoples such as the Hwicce and the Magonsæte. Taking advantage of instability in the kingdom of Kent to establish himself as overlord, Offa also controlled Sussex by 771, though his authority did not remain unchallenged in either territory. In the 780s he extended Mercian Supremacy over most of southern England, allying with Beorhtric of Wessex, who married Offa's daughter Eadburh, and regained complete control of the southeast. He also became the overlord of East Anglia and had King Æthelberht II of East Anglia beheaded in 794, perhaps for rebelling against him.

Ecgberht, King of Wessex 8th and 9th-century Anglo-Saxon King of Wessex

Ecgberht, also spelled Egbert, Ecgbert, or Ecgbriht, was King of Wessex from 802 until his death in 839. His father was Ealhmund of Kent. In the 780s Ecgberht was forced into exile by Offa of Mercia and Beorhtric of Wessex, but on Beorhtric's death in 802 Ecgberht returned and took the throne.

Æthelwulf, King of Wessex King of Wessex

Æthelwulf was King of Wessex from 839 to 858. In 825, his father, King Egbert, defeated King Beornwulf of Mercia, ending a long Mercian dominance over Anglo-Saxon England south of the Humber. Egbert sent Æthelwulf with an army to Kent, where he expelled the Mercian sub-king and was himself appointed sub-king. After 830, Egbert maintained good relations with Mercia, and this was continued by Æthelwulf when he became king in 839, the first son to succeed his father as West Saxon king since 641.

Wilfrid 7th-century Anglo-Saxon bishop and saint

Wilfrid was an English bishop and saint. Born a Northumbrian noble, he entered religious life as a teenager and studied at Lindisfarne, at Canterbury, in Gaul, and at Rome; he returned to Northumbria in about 660, and became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon. In 664 Wilfrid acted as spokesman for the Roman position at the Synod of Whitby, and became famous for his speech advocating that the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter should be adopted. His success prompted the king's son, Alhfrith, to appoint him Bishop of Northumbria. Wilfrid chose to be consecrated in Gaul because of the lack of what he considered to be validly consecrated bishops in England at that time. During Wilfrid's absence Alhfrith seems to have led an unsuccessful revolt against his father, Oswiu, leaving a question mark over Wilfrid's appointment as bishop. Before Wilfrid's return Oswiu had appointed Ceadda in his place, resulting in Wilfrid's retirement to Ripon for a few years following his arrival back in Northumbria.

Wulfhere of Mercia 7th-century King of Mercia

Wulfhere or Wulfar was King of Mercia from 658 until 675 AD. He was the first Christian king of all of Mercia, though it is not known when or how he converted from Anglo-Saxon paganism. His accession marked the end of Oswiu of Northumbria's overlordship of southern England, and Wulfhere extended his influence over much of that region. His campaigns against the West Saxons led to Mercian control of much of the Thames valley. He conquered the Isle of Wight and the Meon valley and gave them to King Æthelwealh of the South Saxons. He also had influence in Surrey, Essex, and Kent. He married Eormenhild, the daughter of King Eorcenberht of Kent.

Coenwulf of Mercia 8th- and 9th-century King of Mercia

Coenwulf was the King of Mercia from December 796 until his death in 821. He was a descendant of a sibling of King Penda, who had ruled Mercia in the middle of the 7th century. He succeeded Ecgfrith, the son of Offa; Ecgfrith only reigned for five months, and Coenwulf ascended the throne in the same year that Offa died. In the early years of Coenwulf's reign he had to deal with a revolt in Kent, which had been under Offa's control. Eadberht Præn returned from exile in Francia to claim the Kentish throne, and Coenwulf was forced to wait for papal support before he could intervene. When Pope Leo III agreed to anathematise Eadberht, Coenwulf invaded and retook the kingdom; Eadberht was taken prisoner, was blinded, and had his hands cut off. Coenwulf also appears to have lost control of the kingdom of East Anglia during the early part of his reign, as an independent coinage appears under King Eadwald. Coenwulf's coinage reappears in 805, indicating that the kingdom was again under Mercian control. Several campaigns of Coenwulf's against the Welsh are recorded, but only one conflict with Northumbria, in 801, though it is likely that Coenwulf continued to support the opponents of the Northumbrian king Eardwulf.

Paulinus was a Roman missionary and the first Bishop of York. A member of the Gregorian mission sent in 601 by Pope Gregory I to Christianize the Anglo-Saxons from their native Anglo-Saxon paganism, Paulinus arrived in England by 604 with the second missionary group. Little is known of Paulinus' activities in the following two decades.

Kingdom of Kent realm

The Kingdom of the Kentish, today referred to as the Kingdom of Kent, was an early medieval kingdom in what is now South East England. It existed from either the fifth or the sixth century CE until it was fully absorbed into the Kingdom of England in the tenth century.

Coenred of Mercia 8th-century King of Mercia

Coenred was king of Mercia from 704 to 709. Mercia was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the English Midlands. He was a son of the Mercian king Wulfhere, whose brother Æthelred succeeded to the throne in 675 on Wulfhere's death. In 704, Æthelred abdicated in favour of Coenred to become a monk.

Wiglaf of Mercia 9th-century King of Mercia

Wiglaf was King of Mercia from 827 to 829 and again from 830 until his death. His ancestry is uncertain: the 820s were a period of dynastic conflict within Mercia and the genealogy of several of the kings of this time is unknown. Wigstan, his grandson, was later recorded as a descendant of Penda of Mercia, so it is possible that Wiglaf was descended from Penda, one of the most powerful seventh-century kings of Mercia.

Beorhtwulf was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 839 or 840 to 852. His ancestry is unknown, though he may have been connected to Beornwulf, who ruled Mercia in the 820s. Almost no coins were issued by Beorhtwulf's predecessor, Wiglaf, but a Mercian coinage was restarted by Beorhtwulf early in his reign, initially with strong similarities to the coins of Æthelwulf of Wessex, and later with independent designs. The Vikings attacked within a year or two of Beorhtwulf's accession: the province of Lindsey was raided in 841, and London, a key centre of Mercian commerce, was attacked the following year. Another Viking assault on London in 851 "put Beorhtwulf to flight", according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; the Vikings were subsequently defeated by Æthelwulf. This raid may have had a significant economic impact on Mercia, as London coinage is much reduced after 851.

Nothhelm was a medieval Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury. A correspondent of both Bede and Boniface, it was Nothhelm who gathered materials from Canterbury for Bede's historical works. After his appointment to the archbishopric in 735, he attended to ecclesiastical matters, including holding church councils. Although later antiquaries felt that Nothhelm was the author of a number of works, later research has shown them to be authored by others. After his death he was considered a saint.

Tatwine was the tenth Archbishop of Canterbury from 731 to 734. Prior to becoming archbishop, he was a monk and abbot of a Benedictine monastery. Besides his ecclesiastical career, Tatwine was a writer, and riddles he composed survive. Another work he composed was on the grammar of the Latin language, which was aimed at advanced students of that language. He was subsequently considered a saint.

Cuthbert was a medieval Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury in England. Prior to his elevation to Canterbury, he was abbot of a monastic house, and perhaps may have been Bishop of Hereford also, but evidence for his holding Hereford mainly dates from after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. While Archbishop, he held church councils and built a new church in Canterbury. It was during Cuthbert's archbishopric that the Diocese of York was raised to an archbishopric. Cuthbert died in 760 and was later regarded as a saint.

Ceolnoth was a medieval English Archbishop of Canterbury. Although later chroniclers stated he had previously held ecclesiastical office in Canterbury, there is no contemporary evidence of this, and his first appearance in history is when he became archbishop in 833. Ceolnoth faced two problems as archbishop – raids and invasions by the Vikings and a new political situation resulting from a change in overlordship from one kingdom to another during the early part of his archiepiscopate. Ceolnoth attempted to solve both problems by coming to an agreement with his new overlords for protection in 838. Ceolnoth's later years in office were marked by more Viking raids and a decline in monastic life in his archbishopric.

Æthelhard 8th and 9th-century Archbishop of Canterbury

Æthelhard was a Bishop of Winchester then an Archbishop of Canterbury in medieval England. Appointed by King Offa of Mercia, Æthelhard had difficulties with both the Kentish monarchs and with a rival archiepiscopate in southern England, and was deposed around 796 by King Eadberht III Præn of Kent. By 803, Æthelhard, along with the Mercian King Coenwulf, had secured the demotion of the rival archbishopric, once more making Canterbury the only archbishopric south of the Humber in Britain. Æthelhard died in 805, and was considered a saint until his cult was suppressed after the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Hygeberht was the Bishop of Lichfield from 779 and Archbishop of Lichfield after the elevation of Lichfield to an archdiocese some time after 787, during the reign of the powerful Mercian king Offa. Little is known of Hygeberht's background, although he was probably a native of Mercia.

There were a number of Synods of Chelsea held in Anglo-Saxon England. They were held at Cealchythe, in Kent, generally identified with modern Chelsea, London.

Events from the 8th century in England.

References

Christian titles
Preceded by
Bregowine
Archbishop of Canterbury
765–792
Succeeded by
Æthelhard