Foliot, Robert (DNB00)

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FOLIOT, ROBERT (d. 1186), bishop of Hereford, a near kinsman of Gilbert Foliot [q. v.], bishop of London, was a man of considerable learning, who, according to Bale (Scriptt. Illustr. p. 216, ed. Basil), quoting from Leland (Itin. viii. 78), was celebrated for his achievements in the liberal arts, both in England and in France, where he made the friendship of Thomas Becket, 'having him as a pupil whom he afterwards had as a patron.' Bale states that he was called 'Melundinensis,' from the place of his studies. This may mean either Melun or Meaux. By Becket's influence he was made archdeacon of Oxford towards the close of 1151. While holding this office he wrote a letter of consolation and advice to Gilbert Foliot, who, having been excommunicated by Becket, had written to him in very affectionate terms (Becket, Materials, vi. 606–9). In 1155 he was the first occupant of the newly founded stall of Wellington in Hereford Cathedral. In 1174 the see of Hereford had been vacant seven years, since the death of William of Maledon in 1167, in consequence of Henry II's refusal to issue a license of election. Foliot was then appointed, and after some further delay was consecrated with three other bishops at Canterbury by the recently appointed Archbishop Richard, 6 Oct. 1174. In 1179 he was one of the four English bishops deputed to attend the Lateran council (Holinshead, Chronicle, ii. 178; D'Achery, Spicileg. xii. 650). He consecrated the abbey church of Wigmore, to which, on the same day, he is said to have presented various jewels (Leland, Itin. viii. 78). He died 9 May 1186. His liberality was shown by his large gifts of lands, books, vases, and ornaments to his cathedral at Hereford, where a yearly commemoration was celebrated on the anniversary of his death. Bale attributes to him ‘a most lucid work,’ ‘De Sacramentis Antiquæ Legis,’ ‘Conciones Aliquot,’ and certain other unnamed works.

[Godwin, De Præsulibus, ii. 6; Bale's Scriptores Illustres, p. 216, ed. Basil, 1557; Leland's Itin. viii. 78; Britton's Hereford Cathedral.]

E. V.