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Geoffrey Plantagenet, Archbishop of York[1, 2]

Male - 1212

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  • Name Geoffrey Plantagenet 
    Suffix Archbishop of York 
    Gender Male 
    Title 10 Aug 1189  York, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Elected Archbishop of York. 
    Political 18 Sep 1191  Dover Priory, Dover, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Arrest of Geoffrey 
    • Geoffrey was arrested for violating his oath to Richard, promising to stay out of England while his brother was away on crusade. That it was accomplished by dragging him from the altar of St. Martin's priory was a public relations coup for John, who used it to depose Richard's regent, Bishop Longchamp, and began a campaign of agitation for the crown.
    Died 12 Dec 1212  Grandmont, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Chapelle de Grandmont, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • GEOFFREY (d. 1212), archbishop of York, has been generally described as a son of Henry II and 'Fair Rosamond' [see Clifford, Rosamond]. This claim is quite untenable. The only contemporary writer who gives any account of Geoffrey's mother, Walter Map, says that she was a woman of the most degraded character, named Ykenai or Hikenai, and that she persuaded the young king to acknowledge Geoffrey as his son, despite a general assurance to the contrary (W. Map, De Nug. Curial, dist. v. c. 6). All the other writers of the time habitually describe Geoffrey as 'the king's son,' without hinting a doubt of his paternity. Gervase of Canterbury when seeking to discredit Geoffrey calls him 'regio natus ... sanguine, ut putabatur' (Gerv. Cant. i. 520). Elsewhere he describes him as 'frater regis, sed nothus,' without further remark. It is clear that no doubt was felt by Henry or by Geoffrey himself, while both Richard and John always acknowledged Geoffrey as their brother, and Richard even suspected him of a design upon the crown, which could scarcely have entered the head of any one if his origin had been generally doubted. Map may have exaggerated the social degradation of Geoffrey's mother. From the fact that William Longsword, son of an elder William Longsword, who was an illegitimate son of Henry II, laid claim in the reign of Henry III to the estates of one Roger of Akeny, which suggests Ykenai, the late Mr. J. F. Dimock conjectured that these names might possibly be identical, and that Geoffrey's mother might be a knight's daughter or sister of Norman origin (Gir. Cambr. Opp. vii. pref. xxxvii). The sole mention of this claim of William Longsword is in the Close Roll (12 Hen. III, m. 5, date 15 July). There is nothing to indicate the nature or origin of William's connection with the family of Akeny, and nothing but the slight verbal similarity to connect Akeny with Ykenai; while the great difference of age which almost certainly existed between Geoffrey and the elder William Longsword renders it very improbable that they were sons of the same mother. Some modern writers have referred to the 'Chronicle of Kirkstall' as authority for the statement that Geoffrey was born in 1159. But the 'Kirkstall Chronicle' in its present form dates only from the reign of Henry V; and the 'Galfridus filius regis [Henrici] secundi' whose birth it records is clearly Geoffrey's half-brother, Queen Eleanor's child of the same name, who certainly was born in September 1158. Gerald of Wales, in his 'Life of Geoffrey of York,' says that Geoffrey was scarcely twenty when appointed bishop of Lincoln, i.e. in April 1173, and elsewhere that he was about forty when consecrated to York, i.e. in August 1191. Neither of the dates thus indicated for his birth, 1151 or 1153, is in itself impossible. The later date seems the more probable. Map's language would seem to imply that he was regarded as an Englishman by birth. Map says that Ykenai presented him to the king 'at the beginning of his reign.' Now, Henry remained in England twelve months after his coronation in December 1154; he had also spent there nearly the whole of 1153; and his previous visit there had terminated in January 1150. Shortly after Henry's accession, in any case, Geoffrey was acknowledged as his son and taken into his household, where he was brought up on a footing of practical equality with Eleanor's children. While still a mere boy he was put into deacon's orders, made archdeacon of Lincoln, and endowed with a prebend at St. Paul's, till in April 1173 Henry caused the Lincoln chapter to elect him as their bishop. Shortly afterwards a revolt, in which Eleanor's three elder sons took part, broke out in Henry's continental dominions. Geoffrey at once levied contributions throughout his diocese for the royal treasury. Next spring he found it wiser to return the money which he had collected, and appeal to the men of Lincolnshire to follow him in person against the disaffected barons of northern England. After taking and razing Roger Mowbray's castle of Kinardferry in the Isle of Axholme, he joined his forces to those of Archbishop Roger of York; led the united host to a successful siege of Kirby Malzeard; threatened Mowbray's third fortress, Thirsk, by erecting a rival fort at Topcliffe; compelled the Bishop of Durham to give pledges for his loyalty, and frightened the king of Scots into withdrawing from his siege of Bowes Castle. One foreign writer attributes the crowning exploit of the war?the capture of the Scottish king at Alnwick in July (1174)?to 'the king's son, Mamzer,' a description which at this period can point to no one but Geoffrey (Geoff. Vigeois, 1. i. c. 67). It is, however, clear from the silence of the English historians that Geoffrey was not present on this occasion, although it is probable that some of his followers were, as the words of his biographer imply that he had an indirect share in it (Gir. Cambr. Vita Galfr. Archiep. 1. i. c. 3). He had at any rate well earned the greeting with which Henry met him at Huntingdon when the struggle was over: 'Baseborn indeed have my other children shown themselves; this alone is my true son!' On 8 Oct. Geoffrey, by his father's desire, followed him into Normandy, with the purpose of either proceeding in person to Rome or sending representatives to plead there for his confirmation in the see of Lincoln. The obstacles of his youth and his birth were overcome by a papal dispensation, and his election was confirmed by Archbishop Richard of Canterbury in the pope's name at Woodstock on 1 July 1175. Geoffrey himself returned to England on 18 July, and on 1 Aug. was received in procession at Lincoln. Henry sent him to study in the schools of Tours before he would allow him to be consecrated. Before Michaelmas 1178 he was home again, for the Pipe Roll of that year contains a charge of 7l. 10s. for the passage of 'Geoffrey, elect of Lincoln, and John, his brother,' from Southampton to Normandy; and at Christmas Henry, Geoffrey, and John were all in England together. For three more years Geoffrey continued to enjoy the revenues and administer the temporal affairs of his see without taking any further steps to become a real bishop, or even a priest. William of Newburgh declares he was 'more skilful to fleece the Lord's sheep than to feed them;' Walter Map, now precentor of Lincoln, who had succeeded Geoffrey in his canonry at St. Paul's, and had long been his rival at court, charges him with wringing exorbitant sums from his clergy (especially, it appears, from Map himself). To his cathedral church he seems to have been a benefactor; soon after his election he redeemed its ornaments, which his predecessor had pledged to a Jew?the famous Aaron of Lincoln?for 300l., and added to them by gifts of his own; he also gave two large and fine bells; he was active in reclaiming the alienated estates of the bishopric, and, according to his enthusiastic biographer, he began the process of filling his chapter with scholars and distinguished men, which in the next reign made Lincoln one of the chief centres of English learning (Gir. Cambr. Vita S. Rem. c. xxiv.) For all spiritual purposes, however, the diocese had been without a chief pastor ever since 1166. In 1181 therefore Pope Alexander III bade Archbishop Richard either compel the elect of Lincoln to receive consecration at once or consecrate some other man to the see. It seems that Geoffrey hereupon appealed to the pope and managed to obtain from him a respite of three more years, but that Henry, having now planned another scheme for his son's advancement, determined to enforce the papal mandate (Pet. Blois, Ep. lxxv. The editor of 'Fasti Eborac,' i. 253, and note n, refers to this letter as written to Roger, dean of Lincoln, and places it in 1174. But no Roger appears as dean of Lincoln till 1195; the letter is addressed simply 'Rogerio decano,' and the mention of the fifteen years' vacancy of the see shows that it cannot have been written earlier than the end of 1181, for Geoffrey's predecessor, Robert de Chesney [q. v.], died at the close of 1166). Accordingly Geoffrey, after consultation with his father, announced his resolve to give up the bishopric. His resignation was formally completed at Marlborough on the feast of Epiphany 1182. Geoffrey, it seems, was a very indistinct speaker, and when he recited the formula of resignation Archbishop Richard twice had to ask him what he was saying, whereupon Map answered for him, 'French of Marlborough,' alluding to a local tradition which said that whosoever drank of a certain well in that town spoke bad French for the rest of his life. The office for which Geoffrey had exchanged his bishopric was that of chancellor of England. To this, besides the archdeaconry of Lincoln which he still retained, Henry added the treasurership of York, the archdeaconry of Rouen, and a string of other benefices and honours, ecclesiastical and secular, among which are mentioned the honour of Wycombe in Berkshire, the 'county of Giffard in Normandy' (i.e. apparently the honour of Longueville-la-Giffart and its appurtenances in the Pays de Caux and the Roumois, escheated in 1164 by the death of Walter Giffard, earl of Buckingham; Stapleton, Observ. on Norm. Exch. Rolls, p. civ), and the castles of Langeais and Baugé in Anjou, with a revenue amounting to five hundred marks a year in England and as many in Normandy.

      In 1187 Geoffrey commanded one of the four divisions of Henry's troops against a threatened attack of Philip Augustus; in November 1188 he was entrusted with the duty of securing the Angevin castles against the united forces of Philip and Henry's son Richard; in June 1189, when the unnatural allies drove the king from his refuge at Le Mans, Geoffrey accompanied him in his flight, led the remnant of his body-guard safe into Alenēon, hurried back with a fresh force to cover his retreat into Anjou, and never left him again, save on the day of Henry's submission at Colombičres, when he begged permission to absent himself from the scene of his father's humiliation. Gerald has left a touching picture of the last scenes at Chinon, when Geoffrey's patient devotion won back the dying king from his ravings against his undutiful children, to die with a blessing on his one loyal son. The chancellor accompanied his father's corpse to its burial at Fontevraud; there he resigned his seal to his half-brother, the new king Richard; and ten days later (20 July 1189) Richard nominated him for the archbishopric of York. This nomination had been Henry's last earthly desire; and in later days Geoffrey seems to have confessed to Richard that while the seal remained in his possession after Henry's death, he had used it?possibly in accordance with Henry's intentions?for the purpose of sealing collations to three vacant stalls in York minster. On 10 Aug. Geoffrey was elected by a majority of the York chapter. The minority, headed by the dean, Hubert Walter, appealed against the election as invalidated by the absence of Hubert, and of the one existing suffragan of the province, Bishop Hugh of Durham; and this appeal, coupled with the inconsistent behaviour of Geoffrey himself, who desired the offered preferment, but still shrank from undertaking its responsibilities, caused Richard's formal confirmation of his appointment to be delayed till 16 Sept. On the 23rd Geoffrey was ordained priest at Southwell by a newly consecrated suffragan of his own, John, bishop of Whithern, in defiance of Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury, who, by an unwarrantable stretch of his authority as metropolitan of all Britain, claimed for himself the exclusive right of ordaining and consecrating the elect of York. Shortly afterwards Richard commissioned his half-brother to escort the king of Scots on his journey to Canterbury, where he was to do homage to the new English king. Geoffrey on his way northward stopped at York; there his refusal, on grounds of ecclesiastical etiquette, to install some new members of the chapter who had been appointed by Richard during the vacancy of the see, revived the irritation both of the canons and of the king; his lay estates were confiscated, the messengers whom he had commissioned to fetch his pall from Rome were forbidden to cross the sea, and on his return to court he was confronted by all his opponents at once, all, on various grounds, renewing their appeal against his election. He succeeded, nevertheless, in getting it confirmed by the papal legate, John of Anagni, and in buying back Richard's favour by a promise of 3,000l. Owing, however, to the violence of party feeling in his chapter, and to the continued hostility of Hugh Pudsey, bishop of Durham, whom Richard left as justiciar in England during his own absence on crusade, there was no possibility of raising the money; and when Geoffrey appeared in Normandy in March 1190 with empty hands, Richard again seized his estates, sent envoys to Rome to hinder if possible his final confirmation by the pope, and made him take an oath not to set foot in England for three years. Geoffrey followed the king as far as Vézelay, and there managed to purchase restitution by a payment of eight hundred marks down and a promise of twelve hundred more. He then withdrew to Tours, where he remained more than a year; for, although Clement III had issued a brief confirming his election as early as 7 March 1190, no mandate for his consecration followed till May 1191, when it seems to have been obtained by the diplomacy of Queen Eleanor. Richard, now at Messina, apparently began to think that in his own prolonged absence and that of the Archbishop of Canterbury?also bound on crusade?an archbishop of York might be useful as a check upon William of Longchamp, who, as chancellor of England and legate of the Roman see, was now virtually supreme alike in church and state. He therefore charged his mother to intercede with the pope in Geoffrey's behalf. The result was a mandate from Celestine III to Archbishop Bartholomew of Tours authorising him to consecrate Geoffrey. This was fulfilled on 18 Aug., and the new archbishop* received his pall on the same day through the abbot of Marmoutier. Geoffrey now asserted that Richard, before they parted at Vézelay, had released him from his promise of absence from England; but William of Longchamp, doubting the truth of his story, had ordered his arrest as soon as he should touch the English shore. On 14 Sept. he landed at Dover in disguise, was recognised, and nearly captured, but made his escape to the neighbouring priory of St. Martin's; thence, after a five days' blockade, the chancellor's representatives dragged him by main force to prison in the castle. This outrage brought to a head the indignation which had long been rising on all sides against the chancellor; the pressure of the barons, with John as their leader, procured Geoffrey's release on parole; and in the struggle which followed Geoffrey and John made common cause against Longchamp. His fall in October left the Archbishop of York the highest ecclesiastical authority in England. On All Saints' day he was enthroned at York, and the strife with his chapter and his chief suffragan was at once renewed. On his last visit to York, at Epiphany 1190, he had excommunicated two of the chief dignitaries of the cathedral church for a gross violation of ecclesiastical decency (they had begun vespers without waiting for the archbishop-elect, and when he silenced them and recommenced the service himself, had put out the lights and left him to finish it alone in the dark). He also excommunicated Bishop Hugh of Durham, who refused him his profession of canonical obedience, and the prioress of St. Clement's (or Clementhorpe), who withstood his scheme for reducing her little nunnery to dependence on the abbey of Godstow. Bishop and prioress alike appealed to the pope; another feud broke out in the chapter: the queen-mother summoned Geoffrey and Hugh to London at mid-Lent 1192, and tried to bring them to reason; but the attempt only gave Geoffrey an opportunity for plunging into another quarrel, by causing his cross to be borne erect before him in the Temple Church, a ceremonial to which he had no right outside his own province. By threatening to seize all the estates of the see, the queen and the justiciars at last drove Geoffrey to patch up a reconciliation with all his opponents except his dean, Henry Marshall, and Bishop Hugh of Durham. In October three commissioners appointed by the pope to settle the dispute between Hugh and his metropolitan decided it in Geoffrey's favour, and brought Hugh to submission. Next spring (1193), upon Richard's imprisonment, Geoffrey and Hugh joined hands in resistance to John's attempted usurpation; Geoffrey first helped the sheriff of Yorkshire to fortify Doncaster, and then went to assist Hugh in besieging John's castle of Tickhill. About the same time the last obstacle to peace at York seemed to be removed by the advancement of the dean, Henry Marshall, to the see of Exeter. Geoffrey now wished to bestow the deanery on his brother Peter (probably a half-brother by the mother's side); Richard, however, wrote from Germany urging him to give it to John de Bethune; Peter was at Paris and could not be installed at once; and Geoffrey nominated one of his own chaplains, Simon of Apulia, telling him that he was only to keep the place for Peter. The canons refused to submit to this arrangement, and formally elected Simon as their dean; whereupon Geoffrey annulled his appointment altogether, and presented a favourite clerk of the king, Philip of Poitou, in his stead.

      At this juncture came a demand from the justiciars for a fourth part of the revenue and movable goods of every man throughout the realm to furnish the king's ransom, backed by an urgent appeal from Richard himself. Geoffrey was zealous in the cause; but when he communicated the demand to his chapter the canons charged him with attempting to subvert the liberties of the church, and refused to have anything more to do with him. Both parties appealed to the pope on the question of the deanery; Richard, however, whom their envoys went to visit on the way to Rome, forbade the appeal, and summoned Geoffrey to his presence. Geoffrey was on the point of taking ship to obey this summons, when he was recalled by tidings that his canons had risen in open mutiny, stopped the minster services and the ringing of the minster bells, stripped the altars, locked up the archbishop's stall, and blocked up the door which led from his palace into the church. Returning to York on 1 Jan. 1194, he excommunicated the canons and appointed other clerks to conduct the services in their stead. It appears that he at the same time took possession, for Richard's benefit, of the treasures of the minster, for it is certain that they were given for the king's ransom and afterwards bought back by the chapter (Fabric Rolls of York Minster, Surtees Soc. p. 152). Four of the chief rebels now again hurried to gain the ear of the king. Richard, angry at Geoffrey's failure to obey his summons, gave them leave to prosecute their appeal; they went on to Rome, and there persuaded Celestine III to confirm the appointment of Simon as dean, and to issue a sentence against Geoffrey which virtually condemned him unheard. On 31 May three commissioners were appointed to enforce the restoration of the expelled canons, with compensation for their losses. On 8 June three other commissioners were appointed to hold an inquiry at York into the various charges against Geoffrey. A third brief, issued a week later, granted to the chapter of York privileges which made them practically independent of the archbishop altogether. Geoffrey's old opponent, Hubert Walter, was now archbishop of Canterbury and justiciar of England. Shortly after Hubert's election, in June 1193, Geoffrey had again appeared at a council in London with his cross erect before him; and a Canterbury writer declares that when he set out to obey Richard's summons to Germany, he travelled along byways in order to have his cross carried before him unopposed through the southern province, and that a prohibition from Hubert was the real cause of his return to York (Gerv. Cant. i. 523). When, in March 1194, the two primates came to meet Richard at Nottingham, which was in Geoffrey's province, Hubert in his turn appeared with his cross erect. An altercation followed. Richard at the moment could not afford to quarrel with either primate; he wanted the three thousand marks which Geoffrey offered him for the sheriffdom of Yorkshire, and therefore refused to listen to the complaints brought against him in the diocese; on the other hand, he begged him not to appear with his cross at the coronation in Winchester Cathedral on 17 April, whereupon Geoffrey stayed away from that ceremony altogether. On the 23rd, however, tie presented himself with his cross erect before the king at Waltham. Richard answered Hubert's complaints by referring him to the pope for a settlement of the quarrel, and completed Geoffrey's momentary triumph by restoring his Angevin estates and forcing William of Longchamp to make compurgation for his share in the archbishop's arrest in 1191. On 12 May, however, Richard's departure over sea left Hubert supreme in the realm. The canons of York at once laid before him, as justiciar, a charge of spoliation and extortion against their primate. In August Hubert sent to York a committee of justices to investigate the case; they began by casting into prison certain servants of Geoffrey; they summoned Geoffrey himself to stand his trial before them, and, on his refusal, confiscated all his archiepiscopal estates except Ripon, replaced the canons whom he had expelled, and appointed two custodians to check him in the discharge of his functions as sheriff of Yorkshire. In September the appellants came back from Rome with their papal letters, one of which, ordering the restitution of the canons?now already accomplished by the secular arm?was published by Hugh of Durham in York minster on Michaelmas day. Geoffrey at once appealed against the papal sentences; then he went into Normandy to the king, and, by a present of a thousand marks and a promise of another thousand, obtained an order for the restitution of his rights and properties, as well as for the deprivation of the three prebendaries whom he himself had illegally collated under his dead father's seal in July 1189, and who had now turned against him. In January 1195 the papal commissioners opened their inquiry at York; there they were met by an announcement of Geoffrey's appeal, and they accordingly cited both parties to appear at Rome on 1 June. Geoffrey begged for a further respite, ostensibly on a plea of health, in reality, it seems, in consequence of the king's opposition to his journey. The pope granted him an adjournment to 18 Nov., but even then he did not appear. The papal commissioners in England, when urged to suspend him for this contumacy, refused, the chief of them, St. Hugh of Lincoln, declaring that he would rather be suspended himself (Rog. Hoveden, iii. 306). The sentence of suspension was, however, pronounced by the pope in person on 23 Dec. Meanwhile Geoffrey's long stay at the Norman court had ended in afresh quarrel with his half-brother, and before the year closed Richard again deprived him not only of his archiepiscopal property, but also of the sheriffdom of Yorkshire. At length early in 1196 Geoffrey in despair betook himself to Rome. There the tables were suddenly turned. His adversaries were compelled to own that they could not prove their case, and, in consequence, the pope was compelled to restore him to his archiepiscopal office. The king, however, determined that the sentence should be ignored, and Geoffrey, after a brief stay in France, again withdrew to Rome, where he apparently remained for about two years. A fresh charge made against him in 1196, of attempting to rid himself of his chief opponents at York by means of poison found on the person of one of his envoys in England, seems to have broken down completely; and at last, in 1198, Richard summoned both archbishop and canons to make peace in his presence in Normandy. Geoffrey arrived first; Richard granted him full restitution, and sent him back to Rome ' on the king's business and his own.' As soon as his back was turned, the canons presented themselves and got Richard to promise that the restoration should not take effect till Geoffrey's return. When Geoffrey came back another meeting took place at Les Andelys, but no agreement was reached. Once more Geoffrey went to Rome to lay his case before a new pope, Innocent III, and a remonstrance from Innocent moved Richard to make fresh overtures for reconciliation; but Geoffrey would not accept his conditions without first submitting them to the pope, and the pope insisted on the archbishop's restoration without any conditions at all, threatening, in default, to interdict first the province of York and then the whole kingdom of England. Before Innocent's letter was written Richard was dead. John, however, soon after his crowning ordered the archiepiscopal manors to be handed over to Geoffrey's representatives, and on Midsummer day (1199) he and Geoffrey met at Rouen as brothers and friends. The quarrel between the archbishop and his chapter lingered on for another year. An attempt of Cardinal Peter of Capua to mediate between them was frustrated by the interference of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Justiciar Geoffrey FitzPeter, who persuaded the king to forbid Geoffrey's return to England save in his own company. It seems that Geoffrey accordingly came over with John in February 1200, and that shortly afterwards he and his chapter were at last formally reconciled at Westminster before two delegates of the pope.

      Within a year another fray was well developed. John had summoned Geoffrey to return with him to France and he had not obeyed; he had refused to allow the king's officers to collect the carucage from his lands; he had never yet paid the three thousand marks promised to Richard for the sheriffdom of Yorkshire. John ordered him to be disseised of all his estates, and transferred the sheriffdom to James de Poterne. James apparently took possession of his new office by main force. Geoffrey retaliated by excommunicating him and his followers, as well as the townsfolk of Beverley, who had broken into the archbishop's park, and all who 'without just cause had stirred up, or should stir up,' his royal brother against him. In October John returned to England, restored Geoffrey's temporalities, and appointed a day for him to answer for his proceedings before the king's court. When John visited York in March 1201, however, a temporary compromise was arranged. John took Geoffrey's barony in pledge for his debts, and appealed to the pope against him (Rot. Chart. p. 102). Two months after, Geoffrey managed to turn this truce into a peace by the usual means. John granted him a charter of forgiveness for the past, and confirmation in all his canonical and territorial rights for the future, in consideration of 1,000l. to be paid within twelve months, Geoffrey's barony remaining pledged to the crown meanwhile. Eight months later, however, it seems that Geoffrey had not yet received full compensation for the injuries done to him by John's servants during the quarrel (Rot. Pat. i. 5). Another dispute between the archbishop and his chapter about the appointment of an archdeacon had begun in the summer of 1200, and was not finally settled till June 1202, when the pope decided it against Geoffrey. In February or March 1204, John, being again at York, formally took the canons under his protection against Geoffrey and all men; and a year later, at the same place, Philip of Poitiers, bishop of Durham, the metropolitan chapter, and the heads of fourteen religious houses in the diocese appealed to Rome in the king's presence against a possible sentence of excommunication or suspension from their primate. One more reconciliation, patched up between the half-brothers at Worcester in January 1207, lasted only a few weeks. On 9 Feb. John, after vainly endeavouring to win the consent of the bishops to a grant of a fixed proportion of revenue from every beneficed clerk for the needs of the royal treasury, laid a tax of a thirteenth of all chattels, movable and immovable, upon all lay fiefs throughout the realm, except those belonging to the Cistercian order, and on 26 May he called upon the archdeacons to procure a similar contribution from the clergy in general. The writ was issued from York, as if on purpose to goad the archbishop into a desperate act of defiance, for Geoffrey had headed the successful opposition to John's first demand. He at once forbade his clergy to pay the tax, and denounced all who should do so as excommunicate. But no one dared to resist the king's demand, and Geoffrey, hurling a last anathema against the collectors and payers of the tax, and against all spoilers of the church in general, fled in despair over sea. His archiepiscopal property was of course seized by the king; he appealed to the pope, and Innocent interfered energetically, putting the church of York under interdict for his sake, but without effect.

      Geoffrey was not heard of again till his death in 1212. In a note to Godwin, 'De Pręsulibus Anglię' (p. 677, ed. Richardson, 1743), he is said to have died on 18 Dec. at 'Grosmunt' in Normandy. Mr. Stapleton (Observ. on Norm. Exch. Rolls, p. clxx) gives the same date, and shows that Grosmunt stands for the religious house of Notre-Dame-du-Parc, commonly called Grandmont, near Rouen. No contemporary authority for either day or place is forthcoming; but Geoffrey was undoubtedly buried in the church of Notre-Dame-du-Parc, and there his grave and epitaph were still to be seen in the middle of the last century (Ducarel, Anglo-Norm. Antiq., pp. 37-8). The 'good men' of Grandmont were special favourites of King Henry II, brought by him from Aquitaine to undertake the care of a lazar-house into which he had converted his own hunting-lodge in the park outside Rouen. So it seems that the earliest and best affection of Geoffrey's life was also the most abiding. Unquestionably, secular office in his father's service, rather than the episcopal career into which he was urged against his own better judgment, was Geoffrey's true vocation. Yet even at York the worst charge that could ever be honestly brought against him was that of an impracticable self-will and an ungovernable temper. 'Vir quidem magnę abstinentię et summę puritatis' (T. Stubbs, p. 400) was the character that, when all struggles were over, he left behind him there.

      [Giraldus Cambrensis, Vita Galfridi Archiepiscopi and Vita S. Remigii (Opera, ed. Brewer and Dimock, vols. iv. vii.); William of Newburgh, ed. Hewlett; Annales de Waverley (Ann. Monast., ed. Luard, vol. ii.) Gervase of Canterbury, Ralph de Diceto, Gesta Henrici Regis and Roger of Hoveden, ed. Stubbs. The above are all in Rolls Series. See also T. Stubbs's Chronica Pontificum Ecclesię Eboracensis, pt. ii. (Hist, of Church of York, ed. Raine, vol. ii.); Walter Map, De Nugis (Camd. Soc.); Geoffrey of Coldingham (Hist. Dunelm. Scriptt. Tres, Surtees Soc.); Roger of Wendover, ed. Coxe (Engl. Hist, Soc.); Peter of Blois, Epistolae, ed. Giles; Innocent. III Epistolę, ed. Baluze; Chronicle of Kirkstall (MS. Cotton. Domit. xii.); Geoffrey of Vigeois (in Labbe, Nova Bibl. MSS. Librorum, vol. ii.); Close Boll xii. Hen. III; Rotuli Chartarum, Litterarum Patentium, and De Oblatis et Finibus (Record Comm.); Wilkins's Concilia; Le Neve's Fasti; Stapleton's Observations on Norman Exchequer Rolls (Mag. Rot. Scace. Norm., vol. ii.); Eyton's Itinerary of King Henry II. Geoffrey's modern biographers are Godwin, De Pręsulibus Anglię; Dixon, Church Hist.; Raine, Fasti Eboracenses; and, far above all, Dr. Stubbs's prefaces to Roger of Hoveden, vols. iii. and iv.]

      K. N. [5]
    Person ID I14929  Dickinson
    Last Modified 9 Dec 2017 

    Father Henry II, King of England,   b. 5 Mar 1133, Palais de Comtes du Maine, Le Mans, Sarthe, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jul 1189, Chinon Castle, Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Ykenai 
    Relationship Birth 
    • Mistress. "[D]escribed by Walter Map as a 'base-born, common harlot who stooped to all uncleaness.'" [6]
    Family ID F4612  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsTitle - Elected Archbishop of York. - 10 Aug 1189 - York, Yorkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsPolitical - Arrest of Geoffrey - 18 Sep 1191 - Dover Priory, Dover, Kent, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Chapelle de Grandmont, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S336463] Medieval Lands: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families, Charles Cawley, (Online: The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy at, 20XX),,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#_ftnref538.

    2. [S336470] Wikipedia, (Online:, "Geoffrey (archbishop of York),"

    3. [S422] Richard I (English Monarchs Series), John Gillingham, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 109.

    4. [S422] Richard I (English Monarchs Series), John Gillingham, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 228.

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