Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 60.djvu/303

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Werferth
Werferth
297

Proceedings of Committee for Compounding, pp. 1154, 3268; Malbon's Civil War in Cheshire (Record Soc. of Lancashire and Cheshire), 1889, p. 156; Hemingway's Hist. of Cheshire, 1831, i. 194.]

E. I. C.

WERFERTH, WEREFRID, or HEREFERTH (d. 915), bishop of Worcester, was one of the little band of scholars whom King Alfred gathered round him, and to whom England owed the preservation of letters in the dark years of Danish invasion. On 7 June 873 (Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 471) he was consecrated bishop of Worcester by Archbishop Ethelred (d. 889) [q. v.], and is said, though doubtfully, to have been driven abroad by the Danes soon after, and to have gone into Gaul (ib. p. 474). Alfred seems to have called him to court about 884 (Sym. Dunelm ap. Petrie, Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 684), and to have given him a dignified position in his household, as one of his helpers in the restoration of letters in Wessex. Among other works Werferth, at the king's command, and probably after 890 (Anglia Sacra, i. 474), translated into Anglo-Saxon the ‘Dialogues’ of Pope Gregory; manuscripts of this translation are extant at Cambridge, London, and Oxford. He died in 915 (Flor. Wig. ap. Mon. Hist. Brit. i. 570).

[See, in addition to the authorities mentioned in the text, Asser, De Rebus Gest. Ælfredi in Petrie's Mon. Hist. Brit. pp. 486–7; Will. Malmesbury's Gesta Pontificum, p. 278 (Rolls Ser.), and Gesta Regum, p. 189 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Flores Historiarum, i. 361, 448, 486 (Rolls Ser.); Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. pp. 757–8; Leland's Commentarii de Script. Brit. i. 154–5; Bale's Script. Brit. Cat. app. p. 33; Le Neve's Fasti Eccles. Angl. ed. Hardy, iii. 47.]

A. M. C.-e.

WESHAM or WESEHAM, ROGER de (d. 1257), bishop of Lichfield, may have derived his name from Wesham, near Kirkham, in the Fylde, Lancashire, or from Weasenham, near Fakenham in Norfolk. He was a doctor of divinity, perhaps at Oxford, where he became lecturer in the Franciscan school (Little, Grey Friars in Oxford, p. 30, Oxford Hist. Soc.). Wesham was a secular, and had already held several benefices. In 1223 he was prebendary of Elston in Lincoln Cathedral; in 1234 he was rector of Walgrave, and afterwards prebendary of Wildland in St. Paul's, London. From 1236 to 1241 he was archdeacon of Oxford, and in 1238 he held the archdeaconry of Rochester. He was an intimate friend of Robert Grosseteste [q. v.], whose favour now made him dean of Lincoln in place of William de Tournay, who had been deprived by the bishop. The chapter finally appealed to the pope to decide their quarrel with Grosseteste over his visitatorial rights, and Wesham went to Lyons, whither he was followed by the bishop (Dunstaple Annals, p. 166). The two litigants were, however, the best of friends. On 25 Aug. 1245 Innocent IV in the council of Lyons gave judgment almost wholly in favour of Grosseteste (Dunstaple Annals, p. 168; Epistolæ, pp. lxi–iii). Wesham was accused of betraying the chapter in favour of the bishop, but the chapter's case was unreasonable.

Before Innocent's decision Wesham had, through Grosseteste's influence, been papally provided to the see of Lichfield; he was on 19 Feb. 1245 consecrated by Innocent himself at Lyons with the assistance of Grosseteste and Peter of Aigueblanche [q. v.], bishop of Hereford. Henry's consent had not been obtained, and the king was the more irritated since Richard de Wyche [q. v.] had also been appointed to Chichester under similar circumstances. Wesham therefore had some difficulty in obtaining the restitution of his temporalities (Flores Hist. ii. 288–9; Le Neve, i. 548).

Wesham was a scholar rather than a man of action, and a friend of the pope rather than of the king, though he had at least one dispute with Innocent IV over an appointment (Cal. Papal Letters, 1198–1304, p. 269). He avoided public life, and devoted himself to the internal administration and reform of his diocese. The influence of the Franciscans and of Grosseteste suggested the main lines of his work. Like Grosseteste, he set great store on episcopal visitations. He issued in 1252 thirty-five visitation questions (Burton Annals, pp. 296–8), touching almost every point of church discipline. He also drew up short ‘institutes’ for his clergy, setting forth for them the chief subjects on which they should preach. He exhorted his clergy to preach often in the vulgar tongue, using practical and not subtle arguments, that all might understand them. In 1253 Wesham induced the two cathedral chapters to send an equal number of proctors to future elections of bishops. He set in order the neglected cathedral of Lichfield, annexed the rectory of Bolton to the archdeaconry of Chester as a prebend, and endowed a chantry-priest to pray for the souls of the bishops of Lincoln and Lichfield and the dean of Lincoln. On 7 Aug. 1253 Innocent IV granted him a faculty, ‘in consideration of his infirmity,’ to take a coadjutor not removable against his will (Cal. of Papal Registers; Papal Letters, i. 289). But illness did not exempt him from holding a commission with the bishops of Hereford and Winchester for