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Pandulph

Papal legate and Bishop of Norwich, d. at Rome, Sept. 16, 1226

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Pandulph, papal legate and Bishop of Norwich, d. at Rome, September 16, 1226. He is commonly but erroneously called Cardinal Pandulph, owing to his being confused with Cardinal Pandulph Masca of Pisa (created cardinal, 1182; d. 1201). The identification involves the supposition that the legate lived more than a hundred years after his ordination as subdeacon. A Roman by birth, Pandulph first came into notice as a clerk in the court of Innocent III, where he was one of the subdeacons attached to the papal household. In 1211 Innocent sent him to England to induce the king to receive Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury, and thus to relieve England from the interdict which weighed so heavily on all classes. His interview with the king at Northampton elicited only threats from the king to hang the archbishop if he landed in England. Pandulph joined Langton and the exiled English bishops in Flanders and then returned to Rome. The whole account of this mission is rejected by some writers as resting solely on the authority of the annalist of Burton; but his account, confirmed by allusions in Matthew Paris and other writers, may be accepted as true. In 1213 Pandulph was again sent as papal envoy to England, as the king seemed prepared to submit, and on May 15 took place in Dover Castle the historic interview at which King John surrendered his crown into Pandulph’s hands and received it back as a fief of the Holy See. The king also paid to Pandulph the sum of £8000 as an installment of the compensation due for damage done to the Church during the interdict, the sum being delivered to the exiled bishops. Pandulph now stopped the threatened French invasion. When the papal legate, Cardinal Nicholas of Tusculum, arrived in England, Pandulph naturally fell into a secondary position, but he continued active, collecting money to compensate sufferers from the interdict and mediating between the king and the Welsh. In 1214 he was sent to Rome to counter-check the English bishops who were appealing against the legate; in this he failed, for the legate was recalled, and Pandulph again returned to England where he remained through the struggle for Magna Charta, in which his name occurs as one of those by whose counsel the Charter was granted. The king, anxious to retain his support, procured his election as Bishop of Norwich, though he did not yet receive consecration. When Innocent’s Bull arrived annulling Magna Charta, Pandulph excommunicated the barons who would not receive it, and suspended Langton himself on his setting out to appeal to the pope in person. Again superseded by the advent of the papal legate, Pandulph, on the death of John, apparently returned to Rome where he held the positions of papal notary and chamberlain. On September 12, 1218, he was sent to England as papal legate. As Henry III was a minor and the ministers who governed after the death of the regent Pembroke were disunited, the position of the legate as representing the pope, who was now suzerain of England, was very powerful. From 1219 to 1221 Pandulph practically acted as ruler of England. His administration was successful; the revenue was increased, the country prosperous, truces were made with France and Scotland, Jewish usurers suppressed, and justice was firmly administered. But he encountered the opposition of Cardinal Langton, who considered the exercise of legatine power prejudicial to the rights of Canterbury, and of Hubert de Burgh, who opposed the legate’s action in the government of Poitou. During a visit to Rome, Langton procured the withdrawal of the legate, and on July 19, 1221, Pandulph publicly resigned his function as legate at Westminster. He had hitherto at the pope’s desire postponed his consecration as Bishop of Norwich to avoid coming under the archbishop’s jurisdiction, but, as this reason now no longer held good, he was consecrated bishop by the pope himself on his return to Rome (May 29, 1222). He spent the rest of his life there engaged in diplomatic affairs, but after his death his body was brought back to England and buried in Norwich cathedral.

EDWIN BURTON


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