John le Romeyn

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Archbishop of York; b. c. 1230; d. Bishop Burton, near Beverley, Yorkshire, England, March 10, 1296. He was the illegitimate son of the Italian-born treasurer of York and a servant woman. A dispensation from illegitimacy was obtained (c. 1237), thus enabling him to be ordained. Romeyn received a master of arts degree from Oxford in 1256 and was the recipient of a number of livings. By 1270 he was at Paris, where he took a doctorate in theology (1276). Elected archbishop of york (Oct. 29, 1285), Romeyn was consecrated at Rome on Feb. 10, 1286. His episcopal career was stormy. He antagonized King Edward I by trying secular cases in his episcopal court, and he quarreled with the influential Anthony bek, bishop of Durham, and formerly keeper of the king's wardrobe. In the course of this controversy, which centered on judicial appeals from the consistory court of Durham to York, Romeyn appealed his case to Rome and eventually excommunicated Bek (1292). Edward, in turn, imprisoned the Archbishop in the Tower, charging that the excommunication infringed on the royal prerogative. In 1293 Romeyn was released on promise to pay 4, 000 marks. His register reveals that, in spite of this involvement in Church-State affairs, Romeyn concerned himself with his own province: his clergy was encouraged to study theology in the chancellor's school at York, and he rebuilt the nave of York Minster. During his tenure the chapter houses at York and Southwell were built, and the choir of Ripon extended. Romeyn's body was interred in York Minster.

Bibliography: john le romeyn, Register, ed. w. brown (Surtees Society 123, 128; London 191316). c. m. fraser, A History of Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham 12831311 (Oxford 1957) 4748, 53, 57, 9496, 111, 113114, 147148, 228. d. knowles, The Religious Orders in England, 3 v. (Cambridge, Eng. 194860) 1:8990, 93. d. l. douie, Archbishop Pecham (Oxford 1952) 69, 112, 230234, 322. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 195759) 2:113435.

[b. f. byerly]