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Richard of Gravesend


Bishop of London; b. Kent, England; d. Fulham, London, Dec. 9, 1303. He was the nephew of richard of gravesend, bishop of lincoln from 1258 to 1279, in whose household he began the church career during which he advanced from protégé of Henry of Sandwich, bishop of london (126273), to become bishop of London himself (May 1280). During his 23 years in that important see, he could be counted on to oppose the metropolitan claims of john peckham, archbishop of canterbury, challenging especially the court of Canterbury's jurisdiction over any case arising within the bounds of the London Diocese. When other suffragan bishops found themselves in opposition to Peckham, they could expect the support of Gravesend, who aligned himself with Thomas of Cantelupe, bishop of Hereford, in 128182 and with godfrey giffard, bishop of Worcester, in 1284 and 1289. As for his cathedral, st. paul's, Gravesend instituted the office of subdean as an officer to fulfill the dean's duties during the dean's absences, and, being a man of some scholarly tastes, he ordered that the chancellor of the cathedral must be a bachelor or doctor of theology and must lecture on theology or at least engage such a lecturer. Gravesend's library, which further indicates his scholarly interests, is listed in what is probably the earliest extant priced book catalogue. On the political scene, the bishop was commissioned by the Synod of Canterbury (Feb. 5, 1281) to persuade King Edward I to release from prison the litigious son of Simon de Montfort of Barons' War fame, Amaury de Montfort, a cleric whom Edward had held prisoner since 1275. From 1289 to 1290 Gravesend was abroad on the King's business; in 1293 he was Edward's envoy to King philip iv of france concerning attacks on French shipping from the Cinque Ports; in 1294 and 1296 he attended royal weddings abroad; and in 1297 he was one of the councilors of Prince Edward (II) while the king was in France. The bishop was buried in St. Paul's, but his tomb has been destroyed. He was able to advance the ecclesiastical careers of his nephew, Richard of Gravesend, who became treasurer of St. Paul's in 1310, and of his nephew, stephen of gravesend, who succeeded him as bishop of London (131938).

See Also: london, ancient see of.

Bibliography: c. l. kingsford, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 8:442443. k. edwards, The English Secular Cathedrals in the Middle Ages (Manchester, Eng. 1949) 152, 203. d. l. douie, Archbishop Pecham (Oxford 1952), passim. f. m. powicke, The Thirteenth Century (2d ed. Oxford 1962) 330331; 486487. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 2:804805.

[m. j. hamilton]

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