Siward (d.1048) (DNB00)

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SIWARD (d. 1048), bishop and coadjutor-archbishop, was a monk of Glastonbury, and succeeded Æthelwine as abbot of Abingdon probably in 1030. When he received the episcopal benediction he is said to have answered all the bishop's questions with the word ‘nolo,’ until the bishop asked him if he was willing to receive the benediction from him, to which he replied that he hoped to receive God's blessing and his. He was thoroughly capable, both in secular and ecclesiastical matters, was kindly in temper, and was respected by Canute [q. v.], who on that account gave to the convent the church of St. Martin in Oxford, together with a small estate. He designed to pull down the conventual church and some other buildings of the monastery and to rebuild them on a larger scale; but it is said that Saint Ethelwold [q. v.] appeared to him in a dream and forbade him to do so, and he therefore desisted from his purpose and gave the money that he had gathered for it to the poor. Eadsige [q. v.], the archbishop of Canterbury, finding in 1042 that ill-health prevented him from discharging the duties of his office, with the consent of the king and Earl Godwine, consecrated Siward to the see of Upsala, that he might act as his coadjutor. This arrangement would naturally have led to Siward's succession to the archiepiscopal see if he had outlived Eadsige, and it is said that this formed part of Eadsige's proposal to the king (Gesta Pontificum, p. 34). He is described as archbishop of Canterbury in the history of the abbots of Abingdon, and as archbishop in the attestations of three charters, where his name has precedence of that of the archbishop of York; but in another charter simply as bishop, his name coming after the archbishop of York's. One Abingdon writer says that he was consecrated to Rochester, which, as that see was dependent on the archbishop, might be taken for granted, though the statement nevertheless appears to be incorrect. For six years he acted in all things in Eadsige's place. The story that he ill-treated the archbishop [see under Eadsige], was consequently deprived of the succession, and was given the bishopric of Rochester, may be rejected. He retired on account of ill-health in 1048, and was carried back sick to Abingdon. The recurrence of the statement that he held the bishopric of Rochester may perhaps point to a provision for him either while acting for Eadsige, or on retirement, from the estates of the see, to which the succession at that period is not clear. He is said to have died two months after his return to Abingdon on 23 Oct., and was honourably buried there, for he was a munificent benefactor to the convent, to which he gave Wittenham, near Wallingford, and all the furniture of his chapel, including a case of relics, two volumes of the gospels, adorned with gold and silver, and a large chalice of fine workmanship.

[Chron. de Abingdon, i. 434, 443–5, 451, 461–2, ii. 9, 281 (Rolls Ser.); Kemble's Codex Dipl. iv. Nos. 776, 778, 780, 781 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); A.-S. Chron. sub ann. 1048 Abingdon, 1050 Worc. (ed. Plummer); Flor. Wig. sub an. 1049 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 106; Will. of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontiff. pp. 34, 136 (Rolls Ser.), where this Siward is confused with Siward (d. 1075) [q. v.], bishop of Rochester; Stubbs's Registrum Sacrum, p. 20; Freeman's Norman Conq. ii. 68–9.]

W. H.