Geoffrey de Muschamp (DNB00)

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GEOFFREY de Muschamp (d. 1208), bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, was probably a member of the family of Muschamp, barons by tenure of Wallovere in Northumberland (Nicolas, p. 343). Geoffrey was appointed archdeacon of Cleveland in 1189, after the death of Henry II, and without the knowledge of King Richard. Geoffrey of York had made use of his position as chancellor to affix the late king's seals on his own authority, probably acting on directions given by Henry before his death. In spite of the manner of his appointment, Muschamp sided with the chapter in the subsequent quarrel between that body and the archbishop; he was one of the envoys sent on behalf of the chapter to Rome, whence in September 1194 they returned with letters of absolution. Soon after the archbishop, having made peace with Richard, got Muschamp disseised of his archdeaconry on the ground that the appointment was informal. At Southwell in 1195 Muschamp resisted John, bishop of Whithern, who was acting for the archbishop. In June of the same year he was present as archdeacon of Cleveland at the legatine visitation held by Hubert Walter at York. In 1198 he was elected bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, apparently by the monks of the latter place without reference to the canons of Lichfield (Matt. Paris, ii. 444), but by the advice of Hubert and favour of King Richard. He was consecrated by Hubert at Canterbury on 21 June 1198 (his own autograph in the archives of Canterbury). He was present at John's coronation in May 1199 and at the council of Westminster in 1200. In 1204 he appears as a commissioner to decide the suit between the Bishop of Worcester and abbey of Evesham (Chron. Evesh. p. 130). According to Gervase (ii. 100) he was one of the bishops who fled from England in 1207. He died on 6 Oct. 1208, and is said to have been buried at Lichfield, which church he endowed with twenty marks annually for beer. Like other bishops of Lichfield and Coventry, he is also called bishop of Chester.

[Annales Monastici; Roger of Hoveden; Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 436, 446.]

C. L. K.