Herbert Losinga's Trip to Rome and the Bishopric of Bury St Edmunds

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Scholars of ecclesiastical politics in the reign of William Rufus know that, in his thirteen years on the throne, he had major disagreements with three of his bishops. In 1088–91, he clashed with William of Saint-Calais, bishop of Durham from 1080 to 1096. In February 1094, he fell out with Herbert Losinga, bishop of Thetford since 1091, and finally, at about that time, he also fell to quarrelling with Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury. Fortunately, two of the conflicts were described in detail. We therefore know that the bishop of Durham behaved suspiciously during the rebellion of 1088 by ignoring the king's summons, and that Rufus put him on trial in November as a disobedient baron who had failed to join his army and supply him with soldiers. The bishop rejected his trial, claiming a cleric's right to be tried in an ecclesiastical court; and a sympathizer reported the trial in a casebook with a forensic defence of the bishop's position. We also know the details of Rufus's argument with Anselm, whom the king appointed to Canterbury in March 1093. The developing problem here was that Anselm needed a pallium from the pope if his acts as archbishop were to carry authority; but the papal schism forced a choice between two popes, and whereas Anselm had already chosen Urban II when he was an abbot in Normandy, Rufus cultivated a policy of neutrality which he imposed on his clergy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnglo Norman Studies
PublisherBoydell and Brewer
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781846159718
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAnglo Norman Studies

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