Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/91

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Lanfranc
Lanfranc
85


to fetch the pall for the new archbishop and to consult the pope on ecclesiastical matters, acting, of course, as the Conqueror's representative. In 1070, Stigand having been deprived of the archbishopric of Canterbury by a legatine council held in April, the Conqueror, after consulting the nobles, fixed on Lanfranc as the new archbishop, and two legates went to Normandy to urge him to accept the office. The matter was settled in a synod of the Norman church; Lanfranc professed unwillingness, all pressed to yield, Queen Matilda and her son Robert entreated him, and his old friend and master, Herlwin, bade him not refuse. He yielded, crossed over to England, received the archbishopric from the king on 15 Aug., and was consecrated at Canterbury on the 29th by the Bishop of London and eight other bishops of his province.

As archbishop, Lanfranc worked in full accord with the Conqueror; he continued to be his chief counsellor, carried out, and, it may fairly be supposed, often suggested his ecclesiastical policy, and by means proper to his office contributed largely to the complete subjugation of the English. His policy as primate was directed towards the exaltation of the church, and though, as was natural in a statesman who in early manhood had been a lawyer in the imperialist city of Pavia, he was by no means subservient to Rome, he nevertheless strengthened the papal power in England. The measures by which he and the king-for in ecclesiastical matters it is often impossible to separate their work-imparted a new character to the national church, destroyed its isolation, brought it into close connection with the continent, and laid the foundation of its independence of the state in legislation and election, tended to raise its dignity, and to give opportunity for the exercise of papal control. As long as two men so strong as William and Lanfranc worked in harmony-the one supreme alike in church and in state, the other administering the affairs of the church-there was no risk that the spiritual power would come into collision with the temporal. When Lanfranc was himself consecrated, he declined to consecrate Thomas of Bayeux to the see of York until Thomas made profession of canonical obedience to the church of Canterbury. Thomas appealed to the king, who at first took his part, but Lanfranc convinced the whole court of the justice of his claim; and won over the representation independent metropolitan of the north might be politically dangerous. Finally Thomas made a personal profession to Lanfranc, the general question being deferred to the future decision of a competent ecclesiastical council. Lanfranc then consecrated him. In 1071 he went to Rome for his pall, and was received with special honour by Alexander II, formerly his pupil. Thomas also came for his pall at the same time, and is said to have been indebted to Lanfranc's good offices with the pope. The pope referred Thomas's claim to include three of the suffragan sees of Canterbury in his province to an ecclesiastical council to be held in England. The case was argued at Winchester in the king‘s court, in the presence of prelates and laymen, at Easter 1072, and was decided at Windsor in an ecclesiastical assembly held at Whitsuntide. The sees were adjudged to belong to Canterbury, and it was declared that Thomas and his successors owed obedience to Lanfranc and his successors (Lanfranci Opera, 1. 23-27, 303-5). In addition to this victory Lanfranc raised the dignity of his see in the estimation of Christendom (see ib. p. 276, and also under Anselm, his successor). He was consulted by one archbishop of Dublin on sacramental doctrine, consecrated the two next archbishop of Dublin, and wrote to two of the Irish kings, exhorting them to correct abuses in morals and church discipline. Margaret, queen of Malcolm of Scotland, sought help in her work of ecclesiastical reformation (Epp. 36, 39, 41, 43, 44).

Instead of leaving ecclesiastical legislation to mixed assemblies of clergy and laymen, according to the English custom, Lanfranc held frequent councils, which seem to have met at the same times and places as the national assemblies. His revival and constant use of synodical meetings had much to do with growth of the usage by which convocation is summoned to meet at the same time as parliament though as distinct from it. The policy of assigning different spheres of action to the church and to the state was further carried out by the Conqueror's writ separating the spiritual from the temporal courts, in which the assent and counsel of the two archbishop among others are expressly noted. In Lanfranc's synods the subjugation of the English was forwarded by the deposition of native churchmen. Only two native bishops still held their sees when he came to England. One of these, however, Wulfatan, bishop of Worcester, whom he is said to have determined to depose at a synod held in 1075, escaped deposition, and Lanfranc employed him, and successfully upheld his cause in a suit against his own rival of York. His hand was heavy on the native abbots, for the monasteries were the strongholds of national feeling, and it was good policy to restrain the monks by giving