Thomas of Cantelupe, St.

views updated


Bishop of Hereford (1275); b. Hambledon, England, c. 1218; d. Orvieto, Italy, Aug. 25, 1282. A nephew and protégé of walter of cantelupe, bishop of Worcester, Thomas was educated at Oxford, Paris, and Orléans. From 1261 to 1263 he was chancellor of the University of oxford, where he taught canon law. Two years later (Feb. 22, 1265) he became chancellor of England under the influence of Simon de Montfort. In August 1265, upon the defeat of the baronial party, he resigned from court and went back to Paris, where he lectured on theology until 1272. He then returned to Oxford where he was chancellor of the university for a second time, 127374. As bishop he gained a reputation for reform (though himself a pluralist by papal dispensation) and as a champion of episcopal jurisdiction against that of the archbishop of Canterbury. His quarrel with Abp. john peckham over testamentary jurisdiction culminated in his excommunication (1282), a sentence against which Thomas appealed to the pope. He died before obtaining judgment in his case. Popularly regarded as a saint soon after death, he was canonized on April 17, 1320, the last Englishman to be canonized in the Middle Ages. His remains were returned to England and, after temporary interment in the Church of the Bonshommes at Ashridge, were translated to the Lady chapel in the cathedral of Hereford.

Feast: Oct. 3.

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum Oct. 1:599705. Register of Thomas of Cantelupe, transcribed r. g. griffiths, introd. w. w. capes (Canterbury and York Society; 1907). a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 195759) 1:347349.

[r. s. hoyt]