Keldeleth, Robert (DNB00)

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KELDELETH or KELDELECH, ROBERT (d. 1273), chancellor of Scotland, became monk, and in 1240 abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Dunfermline (Chron. de Mailros, p. 151, ed. Stevenson for Bannatyne Club, 1835; Fordun, Chronica, ii. 68, ed. Skene). He bore a local Fifeshire name, which is said to be now represented by Kinloch. The solemn translation of St. Margaret took place at Dunfermline Abbey in 1250, and Wyntoun (lib. vii. 10) includes ‘Robert of Kydeleth’ among the ‘mony famows gret persounys’ present at the ceremony. He was already chancellor of Scotland, and had influence enough to obtain from the pope the erection of Dunfermline into a mitred abbacy (Reg. de Dunfermelyn, No. 279).

In the strife of parties round the infant king, Alexander III, Keldeleth took the side of Alan Durward, the hostiary and chief justiciary. In the last days of 1250 the English and Scottish courts met at York to celebrate the marriage of Alexander to Margaret, daughter of Henry III. Durward, with Keldeleth and other of his supporters, were unexpectedly accused to King Henry by the rival party, headed by Walter Comyn, earl of Menteith, and William, earl of Mar, of plotting to procure from the pope the legitimation of Durward's wife, Marjory, the illegitimate sister of Alexander, so that in the event of the king's death she might succeed to the crown. Keldeleth was said to have used the great seal of Scotland to forward this design. The alleged conspirators, including the chancellor, precipitately retired to Scotland (1251); the party of the Comyns came into power, and Keldeleth resigned or was deprived of the great seal, which was broken and a smaller one given to Gamelin, afterwards (1254) bishop of St. Andrews (Fordun, i. 295–7).

Keldeleth, whether or not treated with disrespect by his monks, thought it safer to resign his abbacy, and retired into the Cistercian abbey of Newbattle as a private monk. He did not return to power with his party in 1255. In 1268 he was chosen abbot of Melrose, on the retirement or deposition of John de Ederham, which office he held until his death in 1273. He is said to have written ‘De Successione Abbatum de Mailros’ and ‘Florilegium Spirituale,’ but the attribution rests only on the poor authority of Dempster, who also confuses Keldeleth with another Abbot Robert (Hist. Eccles. Gentis Scotorum, Bannatyne Club ed., ii. 574–5).

[Besides authorities already quoted, Preface to Regist. de Dunfermelyn, pp. xi–xiii; Chartulary of Neubotle, Pref. p. xviii, ed. Cosmo Innes for Bannatyne Club, 1849; Burton's Hist. of Scotland, ii. 25; Morton's Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, pp. 226–7 (Edinb. 1832).]

J. T-t.