Graystanes, Robert de (DNB00)

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GRAYSTANES, ROBERT de (d. 1336?), a fourteenth-century chronicler of the church of Durham, describes himself as 'Doctor Theologicus.' He had been sub-prior of St. Mary's for twenty-six years or more when Louis de Beaumont, bishop of Durham [q. v.], died, 24 Sept. 1333 (Hist. Dun. pp. 119-20; Wharton, i. Pref. p. xlix). On 15 Oct. he was elected to the vacant see, after the king's permission had been obtained. William Melton, the archbishop of York, promised to confirm the election; but in the meanwhile (31 Oct.) Robert, who had visited Edward III at 'Lutogersale' (Ludgershall in Wiltshire or Buckinghamshire?), had been told that the pope had given the see 'by provision' to Richard de Bury, 'the king's clerk' [q. v.] The archbishop, however, after consulting his canons and lawyers, consecrated Robert (Sunday, 14 Nov.), with the assistance of the bishops of Carlisle and Armagh. The new bishop was installed at Durham on 18 Nov., and then, returning to the king to claim the temporalities of his see, was refused an audience and referred to the next parliament for an answer. Meanwhile (14 Oct.) the temporalities had been granted to Richard de Bury, who, having the archbishop now on his side, received the oath of the Durham clergy (10 Jan. 1334). Robert, knowing that his convent was too poor to oppose the king and the pope (Hist. Dun. pp. 120-3), refused to continue the struggle. He seems to have resumed his old office, and to have died about 1336 (Wharton, Pref. p. xlix; Tanner, p. 340; Hist. Dun. p. 121). Surtees says that he 'survived his resignation scarcely a year' (Hist. of Durh. p. 46), and died of disappointment (ib.; cf. Wharton, p. xlix). Richard de Bury, upon hearing of his death, apologised for the grief he showed by declaring that Graystanes was better fitted to be pope than he was to hold the least office in the church (Chambre, p. 129). Graystanes was buried in the chapter-house. Hutchinson has preserved his epitaph :

De Graystanes natus jacet hic Robertus humatus,
Legibus armatus, rogo sit Sanctis sociatus.

His birthplace was perhaps Greystanes three miles south-west of Sheffield.

Graystanes continued the history of the church of Durham, which had been begun by Simeon of Durham, an anonymous continuator, and Geoffrey de Coldingham [q. v.] He takes up Coldingham's narrative with the election of King John's brother Morgan (1213), and carries it down to his own resignation. According to Wharton, however, he has copied his history as far as 1285 (1283?) a.d. from the manuscript now called Cotton Julius, D. 4 (Wharton, p. xlix; cf. Planta, p. 15). His work is of considerable value, especially as it nears the writer's own time. The 'Historiæ Dunelmensis Scriptores Tres' —including Galford, Graystanes, and William de Chambre— was first printed with excisions by Wharton in 1691. The best edition is that of Raine for the Surtees Society (1839). The chief manuscripts are (1) that in the York Cathedral Library (xvi. 1-12), which belongs to the fourteenth century; (2) the Bodleian MS. (Laud 700, which Hardy assigns to the same century), and the Cotton. MS. (Titus A. ii.) Leland had seen another manuscript in the Carmelite Library at Oxford (Collectanea, iii. 57). Wharton followed the Cotton and Laud MSS.

[Robert de Graystanes and William de Chambre, ed. Raine, with preface; Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 732-67, and Pref. pp. xlix-l; Surtees's Hist. of Durham, i.xliv-v; Hutchinson's Durham, i. 287; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 289-90; Hardy's Manuscript Materials for English History, iii. 33; Planta's Cat. of Cotton. MSS. p. 511; Leland's Collectanea, iv. 59; Tanner.]

T. A. A.