Ben, James (DNB00)

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BEN, BANE, BENE, BENNET, or BIORT, JAMES (d. 1332), bishop of St. Andrews, was trained from his youth for the church. As archdeacon of St. Andrews he was sent to France in 1325, along with three other dignitaries, to renew an offensive and defensive alliance with that country. In the original document his name occurs as Bene; he is subsequently mentioned as Sir James Bane; by Fordun he is called Jacobus Benedicti; while the name on his tombstone was Jacobus dominus de Biurt. On 19 June 1328 he was elected by the canons to the bishopric of St. Andrews, in succession to Bishop Lamberton, the other name proposed being that of Sir Alexander Kinninmouth, archdeacon of Lothian. The bishops of St. Andrews were accustomed to officiate at the coronation of the Scottish kings, but Bishop Ben was the first to perform the ceremony of anointing them by special authority of the pope. This he did in the case of David II and his queen Johanna at Scone in 1331. In Lyon's 'History of St. Andrews' (i. 12) there is a copy of a mandate issued by Bishop Ben from Inchmuriah (now Smiddy Green, a few miles south of St. Andrew's on Pitmillyburn), where the bishops then had their residence, against the carrying away of stones from the rock next the sea on the north side of the cathedral church. In this document the bishop's name occurs as Sir James de Bane. Soon after the coronation of David he was made chamberlain of Scotland; but on its invasion by Edward Baliol and the disinherited barons be fled to Bruges in Flanders, where he died 22 Sept. 1332. He was buried in the abbey of the canons regular of Eokchot or Akewood, where a tomb was erected to him with the following inscription: 'Ilic jacet bonæ memoriæ Jacobus dominus de Biurt, episcopus Sti Andreæ in Scotia, nostre religionis, qui obiit anno Domini millesimo tricentesimo trigesimo secundo, vigesimo secundo die Septembris. Orate pro eo.'

[Fordun's Scotichron.; Theiner's Vet. Mon. Hib. et Scot. pp. 244, 245; Mem. Scot. Coll. Paris; Crawford's Lives of the Officers of State in Scotland. i. 286; Bishop Gordon's Ecclesiastical Chronical of Scotland, I 189-95,]