Adrian IV

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Adrian IV (c.1100–59). The first and so far only Englishman to be pope. He was born Nicholas Breakspear, and after education partly in France, he became a monk near Avignon. In 1137, he was elected abbot. In 1150–3 he was papal legate in Scandinavia, where his skill in reordering the church led him to be called ‘The Apostle of the North’. He was elected pope in 1154. In the conflicts of the time, he sought an alliance with the German king, Frederick I Barbarossa, crowning him in front of his army as Holy Roman Emperor in 1155, in a ceremony designed to emphasize Frederick's subservient position.

Adrian IV

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Adrian IV (c.1100–59). Name taken by Nicholas Breakspear, still the only Englishman to be elected pope. After studying at Paris, he became abbot of St Rufus in Avignon and then a cardinal in 1149. As papal legate to Scandinavia in 1152–3, he reorganized the churches there. Elected pope in 1154, he soon found himself at odds with the Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa). In 1155–6 he granted lordship over Ireland to Henry II. According to a papal bull (known from its opening word as Laudabiliter), Adrian made the grant so that Henry could reform ‘a rough and ignorant people’—and scholars still debate whether or not the bull is a forgery.

John Gillingham

Adrian IV

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Adrian IV (c.1100–59) Pope (1154–59), b. Nicholas Breakspear. The only English pope, Adrian crowned Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) in 1155.