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Thurstan of York


Archbishop; b. Condésur-Seulles, near Bayeux, France, c. 1070; d. Priory of Pontefract, Yorkshire, England, Feb. 6, 1140. Thurstan was the son of a married priest. Soon after his father was made a canon of St. Paul's, London, Thurstan became one of the English king's chaplains. King henry i appointed Thurstan's brother to the bishopric of Evreux in 1113 and Thurstan himself to the See of york in 1114. Because he refused to give an oath of obedience to the archbishop of Canterbury, who was supported by the king, Thurstan spent several years in exile and did not enter into full possession of his see until 1121. Himself deeply ascetic, Thurstan became spiritual adviser to many, including the famous christina of markyate; under his guidance the canons regular of st. augustine flourished in the province of York, as did the cistercians. It was his intervention on Oct. 17, 1132, at St. Mary's, York, that led to the exodus from that Benedictine house of certain monks who founded the Cistercian Abbey of fountains with his help. In his efforts to exert metropolitan jurisdiction over the Scottish bishops he was not successful; but the See of carlisle (founded 1133) can be regarded as a byproduct of those efforts. In 1138 Thurstan inspired the northern English to throw back the marauding Scots at the Battle of the Standard near Northallerton.

Bibliography: d. knowles, The Monastic Order in England, 9431216 (2d ed. Cambridge, England 1962) 230239, passim. d. nicholl, Thurstan, Archbishop of York (York 1964).

[d. nicholl]

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