Thursday, 24 April 2014

Catalogue of the Learned Men in the Court of the Archbishop

J. A. Giles (1846). The Life and Letters of Thomas à Becket. Whittaker. pp. 386–.

Appendix III - Catalogue Of The Learned Men In The Court Of The Archbishop

From Herbert de Bosham.

As I have had frequent occasion in the course of this history to mention the learned men and professors of Thomas, our late lord and glorious martyr, who so zealously, and at their own peril adhered to the holy father whilst be was steering the vessel of the Church through so tempestuous a sea, I have thought it right to set down their blessed names at the end of this narrative, that they may not be lost for ever.

I. First and foremost of all was he the most learned of them all, Thomas himself. And as more learned, so was he more distinguished than they, washing in red wine his robe, and in the blood of the purple grape his mantle. Like his great Master, alone he trod the wine-press, and coming out of Edom with stained garments from Bosra, ascended into heaven.

II. But among the professors of Thomas, the most learned was a distinguished man, by birth and name a Lombard, from the celebrated city of Placentia. He was long nurtured on the milk of his nursing mother, Christ's spouse, the Church, but at length was weaned therefrom, and separated from her bosom, became great in learning and wisdom, and during the exile and retirement of our master, taught him the sacred canons. At his feet sat the disciple who writes these things. He and I were his inseparable companions, until for his distinguished merit he was called away from exile, and made a cardinal of the holy Roman church, and finally promoted by the Roman pontiff to the archbishopric of Beneventum.

III. After him comes John or Salisbury, an Englishman, and deriving his surname from the place of his birth. By God's grace be implanted in himself the two eyes of the Church, wisdom and learning, which were abundantly given him by the Spirit. He remained with our late martyr in all his temptations even to the end; and for his high merits, not his own, but those of the illustrious martyr, as he fancied, was called out of his native land by the Lord, to preside over the diocese Chartres, in the province of Sens, where he had been with ua before in exile.

IV. After him comes Robert Folioth, an Englishman by birth, and at this time archdeacon of Oxford, a person of much grace and virtue, whose life and conversation would point him out as a second Laban, married to two sisters. But for some reason or other, he did not accompany his father into exile, for which he had previously obtained the holy man's licence and blessing. At a later period, for hia distinguished merit he was advanced to the bishopric of Hereford.

V. Next comes Reginald, by birth an Englishman but by surname and education a Lombard, a man of prudence for his time of life, in action bold and strenuous. He was with us for some time in our exile, but was the first who gave us cause for sorrow by receding from us and returning to the court, there to serve the prince, and mitigate against us. But in the precious and triumphal death of our lord, by the providence of the Most High, he turned back to him who had been his former master. Afterwards by his own industry and honesty he was removed from the court to the Church, .and promoted to the bishopric of Bath.

VI. We next have Gerald Pucelle, an Englishman of high name and reputation. After long drinking the troubled waters of Syor, lie at length quailed the purer streams of Siloe. Our lord and father, before he went abroad, admitted him to holy orders, and bestowed on him his first ecclesiastical preferment. After running the whole day with us, towards its close he relaxed his speed, and seeking rest turned aside from following us. But after the removal of our lord from the world, his good and honest life, combined with his learning, earned for him the bishopric of Coventry.

VII. After him follows Hugh Nunaunt, by birth a Norman, and at that time archdeacon of Lisieux. discreet in council for his years, and combining in his actions both prudence and bravery. He was reconciled to the king before our exile was ended, and with the permission of our father returned home; ' For years he remained faithful to the king, and was afterwards promoted either by the Church or the court, I cannot say which; but at all events he succeeded on the death of the abovenamed Gerard to the bishopric of Coventry.
VIII. Gilbert, surnamed Glanville, was by birth an Englishman; the manner of his life was good and honest; he conformed himself to all those with whom he conversed, and obtained distinction for hit knowledge both of canon and civil law. When once he had joined us, he departed not from us, though he was the last of all That were called to join us. Yet though he was the last that took part with our father, he is at present, whilst I am writing, nearer to him than all the others, being elevated to the dignity of bishop of Rochester.

IX. And now l must enumerate those, who though not bishops, but in a private station, were nevertheless great and able men. First comes Randulf De Serra, who though not a bishop, equalled a bishop in the sanctity of his life. Though he tasted not the sour grape, yet were his teeth set ou edge thereby. For though neither of the family nor of the household of the archbishop, yet he was driven into exile with his parents, who were fitter for the grave than for banishment. Afterwards, for his distinguished worth he was promoted to the deanery of the metropolitan church of Rheims.

X. Next to him was Jordan, or as he is called by others Gordian de Melbourn, an Englishman, at that time archdeacon, and afterwards dean of Chichester. He had made considerable progress in learning for the short time which he had devoted to it; but because he had bought a house, he excused himself, and did not follow the holy father into exile.
XI. Next comes Matthew, [English] an Englishman both by name and nation, of the city of Chichester, an honest youth of bold and industrious habits. He had already made much progress in letters when he was drawn aside by the cares of the court, and of the world. Whilst I am writing this, he is dean of Chichester, but because he had no call, he did not follow our father into banishment.

XII. After him comes Gervase, surnamed of Chichester, where he also was born. He was a youth of much praise, both for his learning and for his conduct; but as like the former he had no call, he did not leave his native land.

XIII. Next is John Of Tilbury, by birth an Englishman, of much courage and eloquence. Like a learned and ready scribe, he brought forth from his treasure things both new and old; but his feebleness of body and advanced years excused him from following the holy father.

XIV. After him was Phillip de Caune, an Englishman, of a mild and simple character. He had exhausted the powers both of his mind and body in studying the laws of men, and followed our father into exile; but when he had borne for a while the weight of poverty, he found his shoulders unequal to it, and yearned for relief: wherefore, with the permission and blessing of our holy, he returned to his native land.

XV. Then comes Huuyey of. London, where he was born. He had borrowed of the AEgyptians vessels both of gold and silver, but when he was in the desert he desired to be fed with manna. Our father sent him on a message to the apostolic pontiff, but he was cut short on the road by death.

XVI. After him comes Gunter, surnamed of Winchester, which was the place of his birth. He was a mild and upright man, though timid, but without reproach. What he wanted in learning, was amply made up in the purity of his life. Like Zaccheus he was short ofstature, and had mounted the sycamore-tree to see our lord paaa by. He remained with our master through all his trials, faithful and constant to the last

XVII. Next to him was Alexander, called in his native tongue Cuellin [Llwellen] : he was by birth and surname a Welshman, of much learning, witty and talkative. But words were not his only virtues: for though he was prompt in his tongue, he was prompter still in action, and took part with our father and for our father, now bidden, now unbidden, and again when sent on an embassy: for amidst besetting dangers he conducted himself with equal caution, courage, and constancy; besides which he possessed that feature so valuable in the character of his nation, that he was as faithful as he was clever.

XVIII. and XIX. There were moreover two brothers Roland and Hariald, Lombards, of much industry and learning. As they were both poor, our father, in respect of their wisdom and learning, gave them a yearly pension out of his own small stock, ten marks to the first, and a hundred shillings to the second; this he did during all the years of his foreign pilgrimage.

XX. There is one still remaining of our lord's company, who was much beloved by his holy master. I place him here by himself apart, because of his singular greatness and great singularity of character, and because he was among the last that was called to join us. His proper name was Humbert, and he was by nation a Lombard, of the illustrious city of Milan, eloquent in discourse and able in action. He ascended through the ranks of the Church from one virtue to another whilst we were still in exile: he was first archdeacon of Bourges, and then was called by our lord and became one of us. But afterwards for his distinguished merits be was promoted to be archbishop of his native city of Milan; and in the second or third year after, being elevated to the sovereign pontificate of Rome, at this moment, under the name of Urban the Third, rules the universal Church.

From this catalogue then we may judge how great and magnificent was our lord the glorious martyr himself; who, though stripped of every thing and banished from his country, rallied around him such champions in the cause of God and the Church.

There were moreover others, learned and zealous, whom I do not now mention, who nevertheless ran the race even to the goal, and were faithful to our master. Among whom, by God's providence, was he, the premature one, the least of all of them, the disciple who writes this history, Herbert by name, an Englishman by nation, and surnamed from the place of his birth, Herbert De Bosham.

And let me not omit to mention here that clerk of whom I have before spoken, who was wounded in the arm during our master's death-struggle, Edward Grim, an Englishman; and I place him here apart from the rest, because though of the archbishop's diocese, yet he was not of his household; for it was only by accident that he had come to visit the archbishop after his return from exile, wherefore I cannot place him in the number of the archbishop's learned men; but he is now dead, and placed, I hope, by the Most High in the number of his saints in heaven.


Frank Barlow (1990). Thomas Becket. University of California Press. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-0-520-07175-9.

Great Britain. Public Record Office (1865). Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores  513: Catalogus Eruditorum Beati Thomae Martyris: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts. pp. 385–.

 MS. Arundel. 23. ff. 76–79. vell, 4to. xv. cent.

Incip.—“Et quoniam in hystoria hac de eruditis Thoma.”
Expl.—“et constanter fortitute ipsum offere voluisti.”

This piece forms the first chapter of the seventh book of Herbert of Bosham's Life of Thomas Becket, but it frequently occurs as a distinct work. It was first printed in the “Quadrilogus” of 1495, in lib. iv., and afterwards in Lupus’s edition, p. 156. It is also printed in Dr. Giles's edition of Herbert of Bosham’s “Vita Sancti Thomae,” pp. 361-371. It is likewise found in nearly all the MSS. of the “Second “Quadrilogus,” and the Life by E. of Evesham.  The piece contains short notices of the friends and companions of the archbishop. There are considerable variations between Herbert de Bosham's list and that printed in both editions of the “Quadrilogus.” Of the two, the edition of 1495 is more correct than that of Lupus in 1682. The “Quadrilogus” of 1495 only brings the list down to Hubert Lombard, afterwards Urban III. ; but the edition of 1682 adds to the catalogue the names of Herbert of Bosham and Edward Grim, both of which are in Herbert's own list.

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