Turgot of Durham

Last updated

Thorgaut or Turgot (c. 1050–1115) (sometimes, Thurgot) was Archdeacon and Prior of Durham, and Bishop of Saint Andrews. [1]



Early life and prior at Durham

Turgot came from the Kingdom of Lindsey in Lincolnshire. After the Norman conquest he was held as a hostage, but escaped to Norway, where he taught king Olaf psalmody. In about 1074 he returned to England and became a clerk at Jarrow monastery. He then became a monk at Wearmouth, and in 1087 he was appointed prior of the monastery at Durham, from 1093 combining this with the archdeaconry of Durham. He became close to the Scottish court and became in 1089 a close friend and spiritual adviser to Saint Margaret of Scotland, wife of king Malcom III and a profoundly religious person. [2] After her death and between the years 1100 and 1107, Turgot wrote a vita of her life at the request of her daughter, Matilda, wife of king Henry I of England. [1]

The cathedral of Durham Durham MMB 02 Cathedral.jpg
The cathedral of Durham

In 1093, he and Bishop William de St-Calais laid the foundation stone for what would later become Durham Cathedral. [3]

Bishop of St Andrews and Death

In 1107, the Prior was elected as bishop to the see of St. Andrews which had been without a bishop since 1093. [4] Consecration was delayed by ecclesiastical disputes between York and St Andrews, and did not take place until 1 August 1109. According to Symeon of Durham, he found that he could not exercise the office "worthily" as there was only a primitive reliquary church, no Benedictine monks to support him and conflicts between various factions he had to deal with, including the Scottish king Alexander, the archbishop of York and the culdees, a local Scottish monastic community. Alexander asked Pope Paschal II to advice Turgot on these matters and the pope sent Turgot two letters as well as a book of excerpts of canon law to support him. Turgot, perhaps in response to these letters, proposed to go to Rome to speak directly with Pope Paschal II but Alexander prevented him from doing so. [5]

Tugot became ill in June 1115 and was allowed to return to Durham where he had begun his clerical life, where he died on 31 August 1115. [1] Turgot's last words were from Psalm 76 "His dwelling is in peace and his habitation in Sion" and he was buried in the chapter house of Durham next to the graves of other bishops. [6] His mortuary roll, which may have been prepared by Symeon of Durham himself, circulated as far as the French counties of Anjou, Blois, Touraine and Vermandois. [7]


  1. 1 2 3 Bartlett, Robert (2004). "Turgot (c.1050–1115), author and bishop of St Andrews". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27831 . Retrieved 25 August 2013.(subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. Green 2013, p. 90.
  3. "Houses of Benedictine monks". British History. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  4. Green 2013, p. 94.
  5. Green 2013, p. 95.
  6. Green 2013, p. 99.
  7. Green 2013, p. 100.

Further reading

Religious titles
Preceded by Bishop of Cell Rígmonaid
(Saint Andrews)
Succeeded by

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Benedictines</span> Roman Catholic monastic order

The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict, are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of their religious habits. They were founded by Benedict of Nursia, a 6th-century monk who laid the foundations of Benedictine monasticism through the formulation of his Rule of Saint Benedict.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cuthbert</span> 7th-century Anglo-Saxon bishop, monk, hermit and saint

Cuthbert of Lindisfarne was an Anglo-Saxon saint of the early Northumbrian church in the Celtic tradition. He was a monk, bishop and hermit, associated with the monasteries of Melrose and Lindisfarne in the Kingdom of Northumbria, today in north-eastern England and south-eastern Scotland. Both during his life and after his death he became a popular medieval saint of Northern England, with a cult centred on his tomb at Durham Cathedral. Cuthbert is regarded as the patron saint of Northumbria. His feast days are 20 March and 4 September.

Pope Paschal II, born Ranierius, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 13 August 1099 to his death in 1118. A monk of the Abbey of Cluny, he was created the cardinal-priest of San Clemente by Pope Gregory VII (1073–85) in 1073. He was consecrated as pope in succession to Pope Urban II (1088–99) on 19 August 1099. His reign of almost twenty years was exceptionally long for a medieval pope.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William de St-Calais</span> 11th century Norman Bishop of Durham, England

William de St-Calais was a medieval Norman monk, abbot of the abbey of Saint-Vincent in Le Mans in Maine, who was nominated by King William I of England as Bishop of Durham in 1080. During his term as bishop, St-Calais replaced the canons of his cathedral chapter with monks, and began the construction of Durham Cathedral. In addition to his ecclesiastical duties, he served as a commissioner for the Domesday Book of 1086. He was also a councillor and advisor to both King William I and his son, King William II, known as William Rufus. Following William Rufus' accession to the throne in 1087, St-Calais is considered by scholars to have been the new king's chief advisor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saint Margaret of Scotland</span> English princess and Scottish queen

Saint Margaret of Scotland, also known as Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess and a Scottish queen. Margaret was sometimes called "The Pearl of Scotland". Born in the Kingdom of Hungary to the expatriate English prince Edward the Exile, Margaret and her family returned to England in 1057. Following the death of King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, her brother Edgar Ætheling was elected as King of England but never crowned. After she and her family fled north, Margaret married Malcolm III of Scotland by the end of 1070.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ernulf</span> French Benedictine monk (1040–1124)

Ernulf was a French Benedictine monk who became prior of Christ Church in Canterbury, abbot of Peterborough, and bishop of Rochester in England. A jurist and an architect as well, he was responsible for greatly expanding Canterbury Cathedral during his time there.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tironensian Order</span>

The Tironensian Order or the Order of Tiron was a medieval monastic order named after the location of the mother abbey in the woods of Thiron-Gardais in Perche, some 35 miles west of Chartres in France). They were popularly called "Grey Monks" because of their grey robes, which their spiritual cousins, the monks of Savigny, also wore.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matilda of Scotland</span> Queen and wife of King Henry I of England (1080–1118)

Matilda of Scotland, also known as Good Queen Maud, or Matilda of Blessed Memory, was Queen of England and Duchess of Normandy as the first wife of King Henry I. She acted as regent of England on several occasions during Henry's absences: in 1104, 1107, 1108, and 1111.

Giric, if he is the Gregorius of Walter Bower, is the eleventh alleged Bishop of St Andrews. This Gregorius is mentioned in the bishop-list of Walter Bower as the successor of Bishop Fothad II. Bower's most recent editors commented that "there is no evidence to prove that any bishop of St Andrews was consecrated between 1093 and 1109". In the late 1990s, the University of Glasgow historian Dauvit Broun, by looking through the manuscripts afresh, recovered the previously unknown last 20% of Version-A of the St. Andrews Foundation Legend, a text composed at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. In it, a few of the contemporary church's leading men are named, and one of these is "Archbishop Giric".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vallombrosians</span>

The Vallombrosians are a monastic religious order in the Catholic Church. They are named after the location of their motherhouse founded in Vallombrosa, situated 30 km from Florence on the northwest slope of Monte Secchieta in the Pratomagno chain. They use the abbreviation O.S.B. Vall. to distinguish themselves from the Benedictines, who use the abbreviation O.S.B.

Robert of Scone was a 12th-century bishop of Cell Rígmonaid. Robert's exact origins are unclear. He was an Augustinian canon at the Priory of St. Oswalds, at Nostell. His French name indicates a Norman rather than an Anglo-Saxon origin, but as he was likely born in the later 11th century, this may be due merely to the acculturation of his parents.

Turgot may refer to:

The Durham Rite is a historical liturgical use of the Roman Rite and the Gallican Rite in the English bishopric of Durham.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abbot of Dunfermline</span>

The Prior, then Abbot and then Commendator of Dunfermline was the head of the Benedictine monastic community of Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, Scotland. The abbey itself was founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland, but was of earlier origin. King Máel Coluim mac Donnchada had founded a church there with the help of Benedictines from Canterbury. Monks had been sent there in the reign of Étgar mac Maíl Choluim and Anselm had sent a letter requesting that Étgar's brother and successor King Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim protect these monks. By 1120, when Alaxandair sent a delegation to Canterbury to secure Eadmer for the bishopric of St Andrews, there is a Prior of the Dunfermline monks by the name of Peter leading the delegation. Control of the abbey was secularized in the 16th century and after the accession of James Stewart in 1500, the abbey was held by commendators. In the second half of the 16th century, the abbey's lands were being carved up into lordships and it was finally annexed to the crown in July, 1593.

Geoffrey of Vendôme was a French Benedictine monk, writer and cardinal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coldingham Priory</span>

Coldingham Priory was a house of Benedictine monks. It lies on the south-east coast of Scotland, in the village of Coldingham, Berwickshire. Coldingham Priory was founded in the reign of David I of Scotland, although his older brother and predecessor King Edgar of Scotland had granted the land of Coldingham to the Church of Durham in 1098, and a church was constructed by him and presented in 1100. The first prior of Coldingham is on record by the year 1147, although it is likely that the foundation was much earlier. The earlier monastery at Coldingham was founded by St Æbbe sometime c. AD 640. Although the monastery was largely destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1650, some remains of the priory exist, the choir of which forms the present parish church of Coldingham and is serviced by the Church of Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Davidian Revolution</span> Changes in Scotland during King David Is reign (1124–1153)

The Davidian Revolution is a name given by many scholars to the changes which took place in the Kingdom of Scotland during the reign of David I (1124–1153). These included his foundation of burghs, implementation of the ideals of Gregorian Reform, foundation of monasteries, Normanisation of the Scottish government, and the introduction of feudalism through immigrant Norman and Anglo-Norman knights.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David I and the Scottish Church</span>

Historical treatment of David I and the Scottish church usually emphasises King David I of Scotland's pioneering role as the instrument of diocesan reorganisation and Norman penetration, beginning with the bishopric of Glasgow while David was Prince of the Cumbrians, and continuing further north after David acceded to the throne of Scotland. As well as this and his monastic patronage, focus too is usually given to his role as the defender of the Scottish church's independence from claims of overlordship by the Archbishop of York and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Geoffrey of Canterbury</span>

Geoffrey was a 12th-century Anglo-Norman Benedictine monk and abbot. Of Anglo-Norman origin, he became monastic head of the Benedictine priory at Canterbury, before moving to Scotland to be the first Abbot of Dunfermline. As abbot he presided over the construction of the new monastery building, the immigration of English monks and settlers, and the accumulation of enough wealth to make Dunfermline Abbey the richest Benedictine monastic house in the Kingdom of Scotland.

<i>Libellus de exordio</i>

The Libellus de exordio atque procursu istius, hoc est Dunhelmensis, ecclesie, in short Libellus de exordio, is a historical work of marked literary character composed and compiled in the early 12th-century and traditionally attributed to Symeon of Durham. It relates the history of bishopric and church of Durham and its predecessors at Lindisfarne and Chester-le-Street (Cunecacestre). It is sometimes also known as the Historia Dunelmensis ecclesiae.