Stigand (DNB00)

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STIGAND (d. 1072), archbishop of Canterbury, was almost certainly the priest of that name who was appointed in 1020 to the church built by Canute [q. v.] at Assandun, probably Ashington in Essex, to commemorate his victory there (A.-S. Chron. sub an., Canterbury; Freeman, Norman Conquest, i. 473). He was chaplain to Canute and Harold Harefoot, and the chief counsellor of Canute's widow, Emma [q. v.] Florence of Worcester, under 1038, says that he was appointed to the see of Elmham, but lost it because Grimketel, bishop of the South-Saxons, or of Selsey, offered more money for it, and held it along with Selsey; Stigand, however, was reinstated and held the South-Saxon see, and obtained the see of Elmham for his brother Æthelmær (Flor. Wig. i. 193, followed by Will. Malm. Gesta Pontificum, p. 150). There is some confusion in this account, which probably combines changes that happened some years apart. This much, however, seems certain, that Stigand was appointed to Elmham in 1038, and lost it before he was consecrated, that he obtained it again, and was consecrated to it in 1043 (A.-S. Chron. sub an., Abingdon). In that year he lost it again, for as Queen Emma's adviser he shared in her disgrace [see under Emma]. He was reinstated in 1044, and received the bishopric of Winchester in 1047. Edward the Confessor employed him in 1051 during his quarrel with Earl Godwine, with whom Stigand was in sympathy [see under Godwin or Godwine]. He is said to have advised and agreed to the king's appointment of Duke William as his successor (William of Poitiers, p. 129; the story of the appointment probably refers to a promise made by Edward in 1051). On Earl Godwine's return in 1052 he was engaged in the negotiations between him and the king; and Robert of Jumièges [q. v.], the archbishop of Canterbury, having fled and being outlawed, Stigand was appointed to succeed him. The appointment was uncanonical, and the pope ordered the restitution of Robert. While Stigand was acknowledged in all civil matters, his ecclesiastical position was regarded as bad even in England; bishops avoided receiving consecration from him, and even his friend Earl Harold (afterwards king) chose to have the minster that he built at Waltham dedicated in 1060 by the archbishop of York rather than by him (De Inventione Crucis, c. 16, where the twelfth-century writer describes the see of Canterbury as vacant in 1060; see also Flor. Wig. ann. 1062, 1070, and Will. Malm. Gesta Regum, vol. ii. c. 199). He is said to have been cited and excommunicated by five successive popes (Norman Conquest, ii. 607), and the schismatical position in which his appointment placed England was evidently urged by the messengers of the Norman duke to Alexander II in 1066, while the injury that it did to Robert is said to have been one of the causes of William's wrath against the English (William of Poitiers, pp. 121–3; Hen. Hunt. p. 199). Stigand made his case worse by retaining the see of Winchester together with that of Canterbury, and he is also said to have held several abbeys, and to have obtained and disposed of church preferments simoniacally (Gesta Pontificum, pp. 35, 36, where his ill-doings may be exaggerated, but he certainly held the abbey of Gloucester, Ecclesiastical Documents, p. 16, Camden Soc., and for a short time, Ely, Historia Eliensis, p. 220; as to other alleged cases, see Norman Conquest, iii. 643). For six years he used the pall that Robert had left behind him. In 1058, however, he received a pall from Benedict X, evidently in consequence of a request of Earl Harold, and he then consecrated two English bishops. In 1059 Benedict was declared uncanonical and was deposed, so that Stigand's position was rendered even worse than before. The legates sent to England by Alexander in 1062 seem to have published the papal condemnation of him, and Wulfstan went for consecration to the see of Worcester to Aldred [q. v.], archbishop of York (Green, Conquest of England, pp. 580–1). He did not dedicate Westminster. He was present at the death of the Confessor, and expressed to Harold his disbelief in the king's visions (Vita Ædwardi, p. 431). Norman writers assert that he crowned Harold (William of Poitiers, p. 121; Orderic p. 492; the Bayeux Tapestry, so also the author of the De Inventione, c. 20) on 6 Jan. 1066; but Florence of Worcester (sub an.) says that Harold was crowned by Aldred, which from Harold's conduct in 1060 seems far more probable (Norman Conquest, iii. 616–22).

After the defeat and death of Harold, Stigand joined in electing Edgar Atheling [q. v.] to succeed him, but met the Conqueror at Wallingford, and submitted to him (William of Poitiers, p. 141). The story of his leading the men of Kent to meet William in arms and forcing him to confirm their privileges is a mere fable (Thorn, col. 1786), and so, too, is the assertion that he refused to crown William (Will. Newb. vol. i. c. 1), who was crowned by Aldred, Stigand taking part in the ceremony. Against his will he accompanied William to Normandy in 1067, and was received honourably at the churches and monasteries of the duchy. On his return he consecrated Remigius of Fécamp to the see of Dorchester (Norman Conquest, iv. 132; Gir. Camb. ed. Dimock, vii. 151). Though this seemed to indicate that his position was stronger, the king must have determined to displace him. No credence is to be given to the statement that he engaged in a widespread revolt (Gesta Abbatum S. Albani, i. 45). When, at William's request, the papal legates visited England in 1070, they cited Stigand before them on 11 April. Various charges, including perjuries and homicides, were made against him, and he was condemned on three counts—for usurpation of the archbishopric in the lifetime of Robert and using his pall, for receiving his pall from a schismatical pope, and for holding the see of Winchester in plurality (Orderic, p. 516; Flor. Wig. sub an.). He appealed to the good faith of the king, who had at least treated him as though he acknowledged his claim, but was deprived of both his sees, and placed by the king in custody at Winchester (see Norman Conquest, iv. 333), where he remained until his death. Unless he escaped, was retaken and again committed to prison (ib. n. 2), which is improbable, he could not, as is alleged (Historia Eliensis, p. 227), have been one of the companions of Hereward in the Isle of Ely in 1071.

Part at least of Stigand's property was left to him. William of Malmesbury relates that he received only a small sum from the treasury, and would spend nothing of his own upon himself; that Queen Edith or Eadgyth (d. 1075) [q. v.] and others of his friends tried to persuade him to dress and live more comfortably, and that he swore that he had no means, but that after his death it was discovered that he had a buried treasure, and that a key was found round his neck that opened a case containing a list of his moneys and deeds (Gesta Pontificum, p. 37; cf. Gerv. Cant. ii. 363). He appears to have died in 1072 (Annales de Wintonia sub an.), his obit being 22 Feb. (Stubbs). He was honourably buried in the cathedral abbey of St. Swithun, Winchester. He was covetous and unscrupulous. He is said to have wrongfully held lands belonging to the monasteries of Ely (Historia Eliensis, p. 220) and Abingdon (Chronicon de Abingdon, i. 462). On the other hand, he gave rich gifts to Ely (u. s), to Winchester a large cross with the figures of St. Mary and St. John with drapery of gold and silver, bought with money that he received from Queen Emma (Annales de Wintonia, an. 1047), and to St. Augustine's, Canterbury, among many other benefits, a large cross covered with silver (Gervase, i. 70; Thorn, col. 1785).

[Authorities cited in text.]

W. H.