Segrave, Stephen de (d.1333) (DNB00)

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SEGRAVE, STEPHEN de (d. 1333), archbishop of Armagh, was a member of the important Leicestershire house of Segrave. Adopting the ecclesiastical career, he studied at Cambridge, and served as chancellor of the university between 1303 and 1306 (Le Neve, Fasti Eccl. Angl. ed. Hardy, iii. 597). He ultimately became doctor of canon law (Fœdera, ii. 66), and a clerk in the royal household (ib.) His court and family connections brought him ample preferment. From 1300 to 1318 he was rector of Stowe, Northamptonshire, the chief seat of his kinsman, Nicholas de Segrave (d. 1322) [q. v.] Before 1309 he also held the rectory of Aylestone, near Leicester, a place that was also within the sphere of the family interest (Calendar of Papal Letters, ii. 68). The position of his kinsman, John de Segrave [q. v.], as warden of Scotland for Edward I and Edward II probably secured for Stephen substantial preferment in that country, though he secured the promise rather than the enjoyment of the Scottish revenues. Before 1309 he was made dean of Glasgow and canon of Dunkeld (ib.) Robert Wishart [q. v.], bishop of Glasgow, was one of the heads of resistance to the English. Accordingly on 10 Jan. 1309 Edward II besought Clement V and the cardinals to remove Wishart from his bishopric, and appoint Segrave in his place, describing him as his ‘familiar clerk, of noble birth and sound morals’ (Fœdera, ii. 66). Segrave did not secure even the nominal position of bishop of Glasgow, but on 27 Dec. of the same year he received license from the pope to hold two more benefices in plurality, as his present preferment had been reduced in value by reason of the war between the English and the Scots (Cal. Papal Letters, ii. 68). The success of Robert Bruce must soon have deprived Segrave of all hope of Scottish bishoprics or deaneries. He was forced to borrow largely, owing in 1310 80l. to one London citizen, and in 1311 60l. to another (Cal. of Close Rolls, 1307–13, pp. 330, 445). On 29 Jan. 1315 he was appointed archdeacon of Essex by Edward II (Le Neve, ii. 334). He also held the living of Stepney, near London (Murimuth, p. 28, Rolls Ser.) Before 1319 he was canon of St. Paul's, London, and had resigned his archdeaconry (Newcourt, Repertorium Eccl. Londin. i. 71). He had a controversy with Robert Baldock, bishop of London, with regard to his rights over the manor of Drayton (ib.) Before April 1318 he was also canon of Lincoln (Cal. Papal Letters, ii. 172). On 16 March 1323 he was appointed by provision of John XXII, archbishop of Armagh (ib. ii. 229), the see being vacant by the resignation of Roland, the previous archbishop, who had shirked a papal inquiry into his irregularities, crimes, and non-residence. His consecration was postponed by the pope for a year. On 31 July 1323 he received restitution of his temporalities as archbishop-elect (Fœdera, ii. 529). On 28 April 1324 he was ordered by the pope to leave Avignon, and devote himself to the government of his diocese. He had already been consecrated bishop by Raynaldus, bishop of Ostia (Cal. Papal Letters, ii. 239; Theiner, Vetera Monumenta Scot. et Hib. Hist. Illustrantia, p. 228). A little before this there had been a rumour in England that Segrave had resigned his archbishopric to the pope, retaining only the honour of the bishop's office, without its duties or emoluments (Literæ Cantuar. i. 108, Rolls Ser.). In 1325 he was in Ireland (Theiner, Vetera Monumenta, pp. 229–30). In July 1328 Segrave went to the papal curia, receiving a commendation from Edward II to the pope (Fœdera, ii. 746), along with permission to cross the sea from Dover with his horses and equipment (Cal. Close Rolls, 1327–36, p. 403). On 15 Oct. 1330 he received permission from the pope to hold benefices worth 100l. a year in commendam (Cal. Papal Letters, ii. 337). He spent little time in Ireland, but several letters of John XXII to him on points connected with the administration of his see are in Theiner's ‘Vetera Monumenta.’ Segrave died in England on 27 Oct. 1333 (Ware, On the Bishops of Armagh, p. 14; Theiner, p. 263).

[Authorities cited in the text.]

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