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Innocent IV, the bishop expressed his strong disappointment at this failure in a matter which he thought he had secured, and which he had so much at heart. He fared no better in another cause, in which the king had appealed to the pope against his action. It appears that Bishop Grosseteste had summoned the sheriff of Rutland to answer, before his ecclesiastical court, for neglecting to capture the person of an incriminated clerk. On the king being applied to on the matter, he strongly resented the bishop's action in dealing in so high-handed a way with the representative of the Crown in that part of the country. The case was laid before the papal officials by the king's agents at Lyons, and Pope Innocent forbade the bishop henceforth to summon the royal bailiffs to answer for a secular matter before ecclesiastical courts."
It was not until September that the bishop of Lincoln returned from Lyons to his diocese. His action had cost him much money, but the defence of the religious had impoverished them also; and in view of the many difficulties which were apparently at hand through the reversal of his policy by the supreme authority of Pope Innocent, Grosseteste seriously thought of resigning his See and devoting the remainder of his life to study. He was turned from his project, however, by remembering that the king was wont to impoverish bishoprics which fell into his hands, and by appointing also unworthy clerks to benefices falling vacant before the appointment of a successor. The idea of seeing this done in the case of Lincoln on his resignation was altogether too repugnant to him to permit him to carry out his purpose. Moreover, as he says in a letter written at this period to his clergy, the pope intervened, and his was “an authority, to disobey Matthew Paris, v. 97.
2 Ibid., 109.
which would be considered wicked; and that authority, which withdrew us for a time from your presence, interposed, and prevented our carrying out our design.” 1
In this same year, 1250, when the process of levying the tax on all the benefices of the Canterbury province imposed by the pope to pay off the debts of the archiepiscopal See was being pushed forward, Henry interfered to protect his royal chapels. A synod was gathered at Oxford in the April of this year, and the king sent his prohibition to the bishops against attempting to claim the sums required. The royal chapels had always asserted their absolute immunity, and “no lord pope nor any archbishop” had ever claimed power over them. They were not to try and obtain this tax by any means, and the king wound, up his prohibition with the following: “We warn you," / he says, “not to be talebearers or accusers of us to the Apostolic See, or anywhere else, as to matters pertaining to our rights and liberties, as you desire to avoid our indignation and keep the fealty you have sworn by oath."? The same day he wrote a special letter on the same subject to the bishop of London, who had been endeavouring to secure payment from the royal chaplains. It is not to be allowed, King Henry says, and I will look upon any attempt to enforce the papal grant to enable the See of Canterbury to get rid of its debts, as "a grave injury and insult to the royal dignity," and this is to apply to all the livings or prebends they hold.'
Archbishop Boniface had not been many months in England before his views as to the extent of the archiepiscopal authority led to considerable friction with his suffragan bishops. He appears to have claimed universal · Grosseteste, Epist. 49.
? Wilkins, i. 697. 3 Royal and other Hist. Letters, ii. 60.
powers of visitation in any diocese of his province. Bishops, abbots, the clergy and laity were all declared subject to canonical inquiry at his hands. He began with his own monastic Chapter, and soon caused them to regret the rule of his predecessor, St. Edmund, whom in his lifetime they had regarded as so stern and unbending. From Canterbury he went to Faversham and Rochester, requiring from each place such considerable sums of money in payment for the expenses of his visit, that it created a suspicion that this was one of the chief causes for his increasing activity. On 12th May, 1250, he reached London, and at once declared his intention of making a formal visitation of the bishop, of his Chapter, and of the religious houses within that jurisdiction. He took up his abode at the palace of the bishop of Chichester as if he were the master, and his servants went into the city and took possession of what food his household required as if they were purveyors to the king himself. The next day he made his visitation of Bishop Fulk, attended by a small army of a hundred armed men besides his clerks, for all of whom the bishop was called upon to find meat, drink, and lodging. Boniface then proceeded to St. Paul's with the intention of forcing his claims as to visitation upon the Chapter of the cathedral. Here he encountered serious opposition, the dean and canons appealing to the Holy See against his pretensions to the possession of rights which had never been exercised before. The demands for admission were met by absolute refusal, and Boniface of Savoy retaliated by excommunicating the entire Chapter.
The archbishop then turned to the religious houses of the city, in the hopes that in them he should experience less opposition to his designs. His first essay was made at St. Bartholomew's, the priory of canons of St. Augustine, in Smithfield. The prior was absent, but the sub-prior resolved to receive him with every honour, and he with the whole community, vested in copes, led him to the church in solemn procession. This was not exactly what Boniface desired, and he let them know that he had come to make a formal and canonical visitation. They at once declared their resolution not to accept him in that capacity, which so angered him that, if we are to credit the historian, the archbishop so far forgot himself as to raise his hand against the aged sub-prior, calling him and his brethren “ English traitors." His action led to a general brawl, in which many of the canons were illtreated and wounded by the armed retainers of the archbishop. Acting upon the advice of the bishop of London the canons appealed, but without success, to the king, who was then at Westminster. Henry, in spite of the angry protests of the citizens of London, and their threats of violence against the archbishop for the injury done to the canons of St. Bartholomew's priory, without hearing the aggrieved parties, promised to defend the archbishop and his acts, both against his own subjects and before the Holy See. Under cover of this royal protection and favour, Boniface made another attempt to visit the priory of Holy Trinity, but was again unsuccessful. Upon this, recognising that success was impossible, in his chapel of Lambeth he publicly renewed his sentence of excommunication against the dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and included in it the canons of Smithfield and the bishop of London, as their sympathiser and defender.
From London the archbishop of Canterbury retired to his house at Harrow, with the ultimate intention of asserting his right of visitation in the case of St. Alban's, seven miles from this manor house. On the advice of friends, however, he desisted, and at once made preparations for a journey to the Roman Curia, which was necessitated by the appeals which had been laid before the pope against his actions. The dean of St. Paul's, accompanied by other proctors of the bishops and of the canons of Smithfield, started almost immediately for Lyons, where the papal court was still located.'
Archbishop Boniface desired to take the Franciscan, Adam Marsh, to the Roman Curia as his companion and adviser. Friar Adam was apparently not only an admirer and friend of the archbishop, but a firm believer in the good work likely to be done by the general visitation of the province of Canterbury, thus unhappily begun at Rochester and in London. He would gladly have accompanied Boniface to the Holy See, to assist him in the appeals which had been lodged against him, but he was unable to leave England at the time; and in writing his regrets to Bishop Grosseteste, who was then at the papal court, he expresses his hope that at any rate at Lincoln the archbishop may experience no sort of opposition. In another letter on the same subject Friar Marsh seems to suggest that Grosseteste might himself proceed to the Curia in his place and help to defend the archiepiscopal rights.3 Grosseteste, however, did not quite take his friend Adam Marsh's views, and he wrote to the archbishop begging that the suspension and excommunication pronounced at Lambeth against the bishop of London might not take effect until after the bishops of the Canterbury province had met to consider the situation.'
Meanwhile the bishop of London had taken counsel with the abbot of St. Alban's. In a letter written at this
· Matthew Paris, v. 119-125. 3 Ibid., 163
? Monumenta Franciscana, i. 131. + Ibid., 166.