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Stephen of Gravesend


Bishop of London; d. Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, April 8, 1338. A native of Kent, he was probably a nephew of richard of gravesend, Bishop of London, and grand-nephew of richard of gravesend, Bishop of Lincoln. Having studied probably at Oxford and Paris, he became bishop of London in January 1319. At first he took the barons' side against King Edward II, but later tried to mediate between he and Queen Isabella. The rebel Londoners who murdered walter de stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter (1326), plotted against Gravesend, but he escaped and denounced them publicly. He protested in Parliament against Edward's deposition (1327), and supported efforts to free King Edward III from Roger Mortimer's influence. Although imprisoned in connection with the conspiracy of Edmund, Earl of Kent (1330), he was released. His episcopate was marked by controversies with Abp. walter reynolds and with the canterbury monks. Disputatious and sometimes misguided, Gravesend nevertheless exemplified honesty and courage at a time when many English bishops were self-seeking or easily intimidated.

Bibliography: London, Canterbury and York Society, Registrum Radulphi Baldock et Stephani Gravesend, episcoporum Londoniensium , ed. r. c. fowler (London 1911). c. l. kingsford, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 8:443444. k. edwards, "The Political Importance of the English Bishops during the Reign of Edward II," English Historical Review 59 (1944) 311347. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the Scholars of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 195759) 2:805806.

[r. w. hays]

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