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Thomas, Archbishop Of York

THOMAS, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK (d. uoo), was a native of Bayeux, and is usually called Thomas of Bayeux. His father was a priest named Osbert, and Samson, bishop of Worcester from 1086 until his death in May 1112, was his brother. Owing largely to the generosity of Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Thomas studied in France, Germany and Spain and became known as a scholar; then he became one of Bishop Odo's officials and after 1066 one of William the Conqueror's chaplains, or secretaries. In 1070 he succeeded Aldred as archbishop of York, but declining to promise obedience to the archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, the latter prelate refused to consecrate him. King William, however, induced him to submit and he was consecrated, but his profession of obedience was to Lanfranc personally and not to the archbishops of Canterbury. In 1071 both archbishops travelled to Rome for their palls and while there Thomas wished Pope Alexander II. to decree the equality of the sees of Canterbury and York. The pope, however, referred the dispute to a council of English prelates, and this met at Windsor at Whitsuntide 1072. It was then decided that the archbishop of Canterbury was the superior of the archbishop of York, who had no rights south of the Humber, but whose province included Scotland. But this decision did not put a period to the dispute. It broke out again, and in 1092 and again in 1093 Thomas protested against what he regarded as infringements of his archiepiscopal rights. The first of these occasions was over the dedication of the cathedral built by Remigius at Lincoln and the second was over the consecration of St Anselm to the archbishopric of Canterbury. In uoo, during Anselm's exile, Thomas reached London too late to crown Henry I., the ceremony having been hurriedly performed by Maurice, bishop of London, but his anger at this slight was soon appeased. He died at York on the 18th of November uoo. Thomas rebuilt the minster at York, where he appears to have been an excellent archbishop; he knew something of church music and wrote hymns.

Thomas had a nephew, Thomas, the son of his brother Samson, who was also archbishop of York. The younger Thomas became archbishop in 1108 and like his uncle he refused to promise obedience to the archbishop of Canterbury; his consecration was then delayed and the dispute was still unsettled when St Anselm died in April 1109. Henry I. and his bishops then decided against Thomas, who was forced to make the necessary promise and was consecrated in London in June 1109. He died at Beverley on the 24th of February 1114.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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