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Bek, Anthony


Bishop of Durham and titular patriarch of Jerusalem;b. c. 1240; d. Eltham, Kent, England, March 3, 1311. He and his brother Thomas (d. 1293), later bishop of saint davids, were sons of a Lincolnshire baron and were students at the University of oxford by 1267. Even before that time, however, Anthony Bek had begun his career in the royal service, which was to bring him from lowly messenger under henry iii to chancellor of the realm briefly in 1274 under edward i. He was one of the three principal councilors of Edward I and was frequently used by Edward on diplomatic missions. Although he fell into disfavor in 1297, Bek was again shown signs of royal favor by edward ii upon his accession in 1307. The suggestion of Edward I to the monks of durham cathe dral in 1283 that they elect Bek to the vacant bishopric was taken up readily by a chapter deep in dispute with the archbishop of york, their metropolitan. Ironically enough, by asserting his right of visitation of the priory in 1300, Bek occasioned a dispute that lasted more than five years and saw appeals and counterappeals to the court of Rome. As temporal ruler of the palatinate of Durham, Bek urged its rights with vigor and ambition, but as a bishop he enjoyed a reputation for magnanimity and chastity among his contemporaries. Pope clement v named him patriarch of Jerusalem in 1305, but he was never able to assume the administration of the see, for the Latins had been expelled more than a century before. His body was buried in the east end of Durham Cathedral near the tomb of St. cuthbert of lindisfarne.

Bibliography: Records of Antony Bek, Bishop and Patriarch, 12831311, ed. c. m. fraser (London 1953). r. brentano, York Metropolitan Jurisdiction and Papal Judges Delegate, 12791296 (Berkeley 1959). m. creighton, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 18851900) 2:134136. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to a.d. 1500 (Oxford 195759) 1:151152. c. m. fraser, A History of Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, 12831311 (Oxford 1957). r. k. richardson, "The Bishopric of Durham under Anthony Bek, 12831311," Archaeologia Aeliana, 3d ser., 9 (1913) 89229. a. h. thompson, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912) 7:485489.

[f. d. logan]

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