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Bek, Anthony

Bek, Anthony (c.1240–1311). Bishop of Durham. Bek came from Lincolnshire, went to Oxford University, and in 1270 entered the household of Prince Edward. He accompanied Edward on crusade and returned with him when he succeeded as Edward I in 1274. A year later he was made constable of the Tower. Henceforth he was one of the king's closest advisers, accompanying him on campaigns in Wales and Scotland, fighting at Falkirk, and given the lordship of the Isle of Man. In 1283 he was elected bishop of Durham, where he possessed palatine powers. Extremely wealthy, Bek lived in great pomp and was given the title patriarch of Jerusalem by Pope Clement V. A protracted dispute with the priory of Durham caused him to lose favour with Edward I, but Edward II, from 1307 onwards, supported him, and he was able to bring his feud with the priory to a successful conclusion.

J. A. Cannon

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