Bartholomew of Exeter

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Bishop of Exeter, English canonist; b. Diocese of Coutances (Normandy) c. 1110; d. Dec. 15, 1184. An eminent master at Paris in the years 1140 to 1142, Bartholomew migrated to England, became a member of Archbishop theobald's familia at Canterbury for a while, and was archdeacon of Exeter by 1155. His rising influence was revealed at the London Synod of 1159 where he supported Pope alexander iii against his schismatic rival. A friend of john of salisbury and later of roger of worcester, as well as Theobald's intimate, Bartholomew was the archbishop's choice for the exeter see following the death of Robert Warelwast in March of 1160. Bartholomew was finally elected bishop of Exeter between February and April of 1161, after a protracted contest with a less worthy choice of the king; and he was consecrated a short time after Theobald's death on April 18, 1161.

A supporter in principle of Thomas becket in the archbishop's conflict with King henry ii, Bartholomew nevertheless favored restraint and moderation in the crisis of 1164 (see clarendon, constitutions of). Courted, and occasionally censured by both sides, he moved decisively to Becket's cause during the latter's exile, remained in correspondence with the exiled party, withheld himself from hostile actions, and finally withdrew in 1169 from public involvement in the affair. He retained Becket's favor to the end and played a leading and conciliatory role in the settlement following Becket's death in 1170 and after the agreement at avranches in 1172.

Thereafter the central focus of Bartholomew's actions turned to pastoral and judicial functions. Highly esteemed by Alexander III, he received numerous commissions as papal judge-delegate, sometimes jointly with Roger of Worcester, these two being Alexander's duo luminaria of the English Church. Together with bal dwin (later of Canterbury), Roger, and Abp. richard of canterbury, he promoted the development of decretal law and codification and of judge-delegate jurisdiction from the mid-1170s. He was present at Archbishop Richard's council at Westminster in 1175, but not at the later an council iii of 1179. A scholar of versatility and wide reputation, and a bishop of spirituality and high moral integrity, Bartholomew composed a Penitentiale, the De libero arbitrio, the Dialogus contra Judaeos, and various sermons.

Bibliography: a. morey, Bartholomew of Exeter: Bishop and Canonist (Cambridge, Eng. 1937). d. knowles, The Episcopal Colleagues of Archbishop Thomas Becket (Cambridge, Eng. 1951) 2728, 102104. c. duggan, Twelfth-Century Decretal Collections and Their Importance in English History (London 1963).

[c. duggan]

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Bartholomew of Exeter

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