Schonau, Anian de (DNB00)

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SCHONAU, ANIAN de (d. 1293), bishop of St. Asaph, is said to have been a native of Schoonau in the Netherlands. Paquot (Hist. Littéraire des Pays-Bas, ii. 398), observing that Schoonau is in the diocese of Treves, conjectured that he was a native of Schoonhoven in Holland. Anian was a Dominican friar, and is possibly the Friar Anian who preached the crusade in West Wales in 1236 (Annales Cambriæ, Rolls Ser. p. 82). He was prior of the house of the Dominicans at Rhuddlan when, on 24 Sept. 1268, he was chosen bishop of St. Asaph. He was consecrated by Archbishop Boniface at St. Mary's, Southwark, on 21 Oct. following (Le Neve, Fasti Eccles. Angl. i. 67; Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 45). Anian obtained grants of privileges from Llywelyn, prince of North Wales, in 1269, 1270, and 1275. He is said to have been confessor to Edward I, and to have accompanied him on his crusade. Edward confirmed him in the privileges of his see on 8 Nov. 1275, 20 Jan. 1276, and 15 Nov. 1277 (Deputy-Keeper Publ. Rec., 44th Rep. p. 11, 45th Rep. p. 78, 46th Rep. p. 83). The diocese suffered much during the troubles of the Welsh war, and Anian apparently sympathised with the Welsh. On 24 Nov. 1281 Archbishop Peckham appealed to Edward on behalf of Anian, whose privileges were disregarded by the royal justices (Registrum, i. 249). Early in 1282 the cathedral of St. Asaph was accidentally burnt. Anian apparently attributed it to design, and excommunicated the English soldiery. Peckham, while promising to intervene with the king, argued that the fire was an accident, and forbade Anian to leave the diocese. On 21 Oct. the archbishop cited Anian to appear and answer for his failure to excommunicate Welsh disturbers of the peace (ib. pp. 367, 422). The king seems about the same time to have had Anian arrested and detained in England, for on 17 Feb. 1283 Peckham appointed Robert Burnell [q. v.] to act as his commissary in the diocese during the absence of Anian (ib. pp. 496, 519). In 1284 Peckham proposed to visit the Welsh dioceses, and begged Edward to allow Anian to meet him in Wales, but without success. After his visitation Peckham once more approached Edward on the subject, pointing out that the bishop's absence was a hindrance to good government. At the same time he urged Anian to conciliate Edward by agreeing to the establishment of a Cistercian monastery at Meynau in his diocese (ib. pp. 675, 705, 724, 729). On this occasion Peckham was perhaps successful, for on 26 Sept. 1284 Edward remitted two hundred marks to Anian in compensation for damage to his property during the war (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1281–92, p. 135). In the ordinances which Peckham published after his visitation, he exhorted Anian to the necessity of living in amity with the English (Registrum, pp. 737– 743). As a consequence of the destruction of his cathedral, Anian thought of removing the see to Rhuddlan, and Edward promised to grant a site and contribute a thousand marks (Fœdera, i. 629). The scheme, however, fell through. With the abbot of Shrewsbury Anian had a successful suit as to the patronage of Whitminster. He died on 5 Feb. 1293, and his will was proved on 1 May following. In the ‘Liber de Hergest’ Anian is called ‘Y brawd du o Nanney’ or ‘the black friar of Nanney,’ and is described as the stoutest defender of the privileges of his see. Bale ascribes to him a commentary ‘in Fabulas Poetarum,’ of which he says there was a copy at Glastonbury.

[Peckham's Registrum (Rolls Ser.); Wharton, De Episcopis Assavensibus, pp. 324–9; Hist. Littéraire de France, xx. 207, 790; Quétif and Echard's Scriptt. Ord. Prædicatorum, i. 431; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 653; Godwin, De Præsulibus, pp. 636–7, ed. Richardson; Eyton's Shropshire, vol. vii.; other authorities quoted.]

C. L. K.