Dalderby, John de (DNB00)

DALDERBY, JOHN de (d. 1320), bishop of Lincoln, took his name from, and perhaps was born in, a small village near Horncastle, Lincolnshire, now united with Scrivelsby. The first mention of him occurs as canon of St. David's. He became archdeacon of Carmarthen in 1283 (Wharton, Anglia Sacra). He was appointed chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral and head of the theological school there, which had obtained high reputation at this period. On 15 Jan. 1300 he was elected bishop of the see in succession to Oliver Sutton. His election was confirmed 17 March, and on 12 June he was consecrated at Canterbury by Archbishop Winchelsey. The year after this Edward I was the bishop's guest at the manor of Nettleham, near Lincoln, from January to March, during which time an important parliament was being held in Lincoln. John de Schalby, the bishop's secretary, speaks in the highest terms of the bishop's great learning, eloquence, and liberality. He gave to the cathedral church the tithes of three parochial churches, made some considerable additions to the property of the corporation of priest-vicars, and made other benefactions to the church. In the parliament, at which he assisted, the prelates refused to join with the barons in granting a subsidy to the king without the consent of the pope. The king endeavoured to enforce his claim, but this was resisted by Dalderby. In his ‘Memorandum Register’ there is a letter addressed to his archdeacons and officials bidding them excommunicate the king's officers if they should attempt to collect from ecclesiastics the tax voted by the parliament (Banbury, December 1301). At this period the religious orders were in a very demoralised state. There are several records in Dalderby's register of proceedings against disorderly nuns who had escaped from their convents; and in 1308 the bishop was called upon to take part in a commission appointed by the pope to try the knights templars on the charges brought against them. Great cruelties had been previously inflicted on this order in France. In England they fared somewhat better, and there is clear evidence in Dalderby's register that he disliked the office put upon him, and endeavoured to evade acting in it. There are entries of several letters addressed to the pope excusing himself from taking part in the trials on the ground of ill-health and the great amount of business to which he had to attend. The templars in England were ultimately condemned (July 1311) by the convocation of Canterbury to imprisonment in monasteries. The bishop's register contains the list of the names of the knights to be imprisoned in Lincoln diocese, and the monasteries to which they were to be assigned. It also contains the very curious specification of the various grades of penance and diet for each knight. Some of the monasteries resisted the burden cast upon them, and there is a letter from the bishop to St. Andrew's, Northampton, enforcing the order. This house refused to yield, and the prior, sub-prior, precentor, cellarer, and sacristan were excommunicated. Dalderby did not take a prominent part in politics during the reign of Edward II. He was present at the appointment of the ‘ordainers’ in 1310, but was not held to be sufficiently a ‘man of business’ to be appointed among the seven bishops (Parliamentary Writs, ii. 43). He was unable to attend the parliament held at Lincoln in 1316. His ‘Register’ contains a letter of excuse for non-attendance on account of ill-health, and the appointment of four proctors to represent him. Previously to this (16 Feb. 1315) the bishop, writing from his manor of Stow, had appointed Henry de Benningworth, sub-dean of the cathedral, to be his commissary, and to do all acts which were not strictly episcopal. The bishop died at Stow 5 Jan. 1320, and was buried in Lincoln Cathedral. He was immediately reverenced as a saint. Attestations are still extant in support of alleged miracles at his tomb, 14 Dec. 1322 and 22 Aug. 1324. A petition was addressed to the pope by ten English bishops, praying for his enrolment among the saints. The pope (a French prelate at Avignon) was little inclined to beatify an English bishop. His refusal bears date 1328, and is still preserved. A still more interesting relic of the bishop is the ‘office’ adapted to the breviary hours, containing special hymns in his praise, prayers, and ‘capitulum’ grounded on the events of the bishop's life and his alleged miracles. The most remarkable of these was the restoring of human speech to certain people in Rutlandshire who could only bark like dogs. The people, on the refusal of the pope to canonise, took the matter into their own hands, and worshipped at the shrine of St. John de Dalderby, as they did under similar circumstances at that of Robert Grosseteste. The upper part of the grand central tower of Lincoln Cathedral was built during the episcopate of Dalderby.

[Memorandum Regist. Joann. de Dalderby, MS. Lincoln; Narratio Joannis de Schalby in Giraldus Cambrensis, vol. vii.; Archæologia, xi. 215; Wharton's Anglia Sacra; Parliamentary Writs, vol. ii.]

G. G. P.