Thurstan

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This page is about Thurstan of Bayeux (1070 – 1140) who became Archbishop of York. Thurstan of Caen became the first Norman Abbot of Glastonbury in circa 1077.
Thurstan
Archbishop of York
ElectedAugust 1114
Term ended21 January 1140 (res.)
Predecessor Thomas II
Successor Waltheof of Melrose
Orders
Ordination6 June 1115
by  Ranulf Flambard
Consecration19 October 1119
by Pope Callixtus II
Personal details
Born c. 1070
Bayeux, Normandy
Died6 February 1140
Pontefract
BuriedPontefract
ParentsAnger and Popelina

Thurstan [lower-alpha 1] or Turstin of Bayeux (c. 1070 – 6 February 1140) was a medieval Archbishop of York, the son of a priest. He served kings William II and Henry I of England before his election to the see of York in 1114. Once elected, his consecration was delayed for five years while he fought attempts by the Archbishop of Canterbury to assert primacy over York. Eventually, he was consecrated by the pope instead and allowed to return to England. While archbishop, he secured two new suffragan bishops for his province. When Henry I died, Thurstan supported Henry's nephew Stephen of Blois as king. Thurstan also defended the northern part of England from invasion by the Scots, taking a leading part in organising the English forces at the Battle of the Standard (1138). Shortly before his death, Thurstan resigned from his see and took the habit of a Cluniac monk.

Contents

Early life

Thurstan was the son of a canon of St Paul's in London named Anger, Auger or Ansgar, [lower-alpha 2] who held the prebend of Cantlers. Another son of Anger, Audoen, was later Bishop of Évreux. [1] [2] [3] [4] Thurstan's mother was named Popelina. [4] Thurstan was born sometime about 1070 in Bayeux, [5] in the Bessin region of Normandy. Before 1104 the father was given the prebend of Cantlers by Maurice, Bishop of London, and the family moved to England. [6]

Early in his career, Thurstan held the prebendary of Consumpta per mare in the diocese of London, [7] and served both William Rufus and Henry I as a royal clerk. [8] At some point in Thurstan's early career, he visited Cluny, where he vowed to become a Cluniac monk later in his life. [6] Thurstan also served Henry as almoner, [9] and it was Henry who obtained Thurstan's election as Archbishop of York in August 1114. [10] He was ordained a deacon in December 1114 and ordained a priest on 6 June 1115 [8] by Ranulf Flambard, who was Bishop of Durham. [11]

Controversy and exile

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Ralph d'Escures, refused to consecrate Thurstan unless the archbishop-elect made a profession of obedience to the southern see. [12] This was part of the long-running Canterbury-York dispute, which started in 1070. [13] Thurstan refused to make such a profession, [12] and asked the king for permission to go to Rome to consult Pope Paschal II. Henry I refused to allow him to make the journey, but even without a personal appeal from Thurstan, Paschal decided against Canterbury. At the Council of Salisbury in 1116 the English king ordered Thurstan to submit to Canterbury, but instead Thurstan publicly resigned the archbishopric. [14] On his way to the Council, Thurstan had received letters from Paschal II that supported York and commanded that he should be consecrated without a profession. Similar letters had gone to Ralph d'Escures from the pope, ordering Ralph, as Archbishop of Canterbury, to consecrate Thurstan. After the news of the letters became public, Thurstan's resignation was ignored, and he continued to be considered the archbishop-elect. [2]

Over the next three years, the new popes, Gelasius II and Calixtus II, championed Thurstan's case, and on 19 October 1119 he was consecrated by Calixtus at Reims. [8] [15] Calixtus had earlier promised Henry that he would not consecrate Thurstan without the king's permission, which had still not been granted. [15] Enraged at this, the king refused to allow the newly consecrated archbishop to enter England, and Thurstan remained for some time on the continent in the company of the pope. [12] While he was travelling with the pope, he also visited Adela of Blois, King Henry's sister, who was also Thurstan's spiritual daughter. At about this same time, Calixtus issued two bulls in Thurstan's favor: one released York from Canterbury's supremacy forever, and the other demanded the king allow Thurstan to return to York. The pope threatened an interdict on England as a punishment if the papal bull was not obeyed. [15] At length, Thurstan's friends, including Adela, succeeded in reconciling him with Henry, and he rejoined the king in Normandy. [14] At Easter 1120, he escorted Adela to the monastery of Marcigny, where she retired from active secular affairs. [16] He was recalled to England in early 1121. [14]

Archbishop

One of the main weaknesses of the see of York was its lack of suffragan bishops. [17] Thurstan managed to secure the resurrection of the Diocese of Galloway, [6] or Whithorn, in 1125. [17] It is possible that he compromised with Fergus of Galloway, who was the lord or sub-king of Galloway, in what is now Scotland. In this Thurstan secured another suffragan, and Fergus gained a bishop in his lordship, where previously ecclesiastical matters in his subkingdom had been handled by Scottish bishops. The first bishop was the native Galwegian  Gilla Aldan. [6] This provoked the wrath of Wimund, Bishop of the Isles, who had previously had jurisdiction over Galloway; but the new bishopric survived, and York had a new suffragan, an important step in the battle between York and Canterbury over the primacy, which was mainly a battle over the prestige of their respective sees. The number of bishops subject to either archbishop was an important factor in the reputation of each. [18] In 1133, Thurstan, who had received papal permission to found an entirely new diocese, consecrated Æthelwold as the first bishop of the new see of Carlisle. [6]

Thurstan refused to accept that the new Archbishop of Canterbury, William de Corbeil, was his superior, and did not help with William's consecration. The dispute between the two continued, and both archbishops carried their complaints in person to Rome twice. In 1126, Pope Honorius II ruled in favour of York. [19] The pope based his decision on the fact that Canterbury's supporting documents had been forged. [20]

A monument at the site of the Battle of the Standard, where the troops Thurstan had mustered defeated the Scots. Battle of the Standard.jpg
A monument at the site of the Battle of the Standard, where the troops Thurstan had mustered defeated the Scots.

Thurstan supported King Stephen after Henry I's death in 1135, and appeared at Stephen's first court at Easter held at Westminster. [21] Thurstan negotiated a truce at Roxburgh in 1138 between England and Scotland. It was Thurstan who mustered the army which defeated the Scots at the Battle of the Standard on 22 August 1138 near Northallerton, Yorkshire. [22] [23] Thurstan did not take direct part in the battle., but he created the standard that gave the battle its name, by putting a ship's mast in a cart and hanging the banners of Saint Peter of York, Saint John of Beverley, and Saint Wilfrid of Ripon on the mast. The Scots had invaded attempting to aid the Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I and Stephen's rival for the throne. [24] On 21 January 1140 Thurstan resigned his see and entered the order of the Cluniacs at Pontefract [8] and he died there on 6 February 1140. [10] He was buried in the church at Pontefract. [6]

Legacy

Thurstan gave land to many of the churches of his diocese and founded several religious houses. He founded the first nunnery in Yorkshire when he founded St Clement's between 1125 and 1133. [25] He obtained for Whitby Abbey a papal privilege of protection as well as giving his own privilege to the abbey. [26] He also helped found the Cistercian Abbey of Fountains, [8] by giving the site to monks who had been expelled from the Abbey of St. Mary's, York. [27] Thurstan helped the hermitess Christina of Markyate at several points in her career, and tried to persuade her to become the first prioress of his foundation of St. Clement's. [28] He was a patron to the Augustinian Hexham Priory, founded by his predecessor at York, as well as helping the foundation of Bridlington Priory, another Augustinian house. [29] He was a sincere reformer, and opposed to the election of unfit men to the episcopacy. When Pope Innocent II asked Thurstan's opinion on the elevation of Anselm of St Saba, who was Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds, to become Bishop of London, Thurstan replied "If we consider his life and reputation, it would be much more fitting to remove him from his abbacy than to promote him to be bishop of London." [30] Anselm was not confirmed as bishop. [30]

Thurstan's nephew was Osbert de Bayeux, who became an archdeacon at York, and in 1154 was accused of the murder of William of York, one of Thurstan's successors at York. [31]

Notes

  1. This name was basically the old Norse name Thorsteinn, meaning 'Thor's stone'; there are different spellings of it : Toustain, Tostain, Toutain, still existing today as Norman surnames. Thurstan is its anglicised version.
  2. Anger or Auger former Norman first name, today surname Anger (without -s, Angers with -s means a native of Angers), some Auger, all from Ásgeir, Norse name, the same as Oscar or Ōs-gār.

Citations

  1. Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 1: St. Paul's, London: Prebendaries: Cantlers
  2. 1 2 Hollister Henry I p. 242–244
  3. Spear "Norman Empire and the Secular Clergy" Journal of British Studies p. 5
  4. 1 2 Keats-Rohan Domesday Descendants p. 151
  5. Donald Nicholl. Thurstan : archbishop of York (1114 - 1140). York: Stonegate Press, 1964, p. iv.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Burton "Thurstan" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  7. Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 1: St. Paul's, London: Prebendaries: Consumpta-per-Mare
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 Greenway British History Online Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 6: York: Archbishops
  9. Barlow English Church p. 83
  10. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 281
  11. Mason "Flambard, Ranulf" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  12. 1 2 3 Bartlett England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings p. 394
  13. Barlow English Church pp. 39–44
  14. 1 2 3 Cantor Church, Kingship, and Lay Investiture pp. 305–309
  15. 1 2 3 Hollister Henry I pp. 269–273
  16. LoPrete "Anglo-Norman Card" Albion p. 588
  17. 1 2 Rose "Cumbrian Society" Studies in Church History p. 124
  18. Barlow English Church pp. 40–41
  19. Duggan "From the Conquest to the Death of John" English Church and the Papacy p. 98
  20. Poole Domesday to Magna Carta p. 184
  21. Powell and Wallis House of Lords p. 64
  22. Barlow Feudal Kingdom p. 211
  23. Huscroft Ruling England p. 73
  24. Davis King Stephen pp. 36–37
  25. Bartlett England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings p. 438
  26. Dawtry "Benedictine Revival" Studies in Church History 18 p. 91
  27. Burton Monastic and Religious Orders p. 70
  28. Barlow English Church p. 203
  29. Burton Monastic and Religious Orders p. 48
  30. 1 2 Appleby Troubled Reign pp. 106–107
  31. Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 6: York: Archdeacons: Richmond

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References

Further reading

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas II
Archbishop of York
1119–1140
Succeeded by
William of York