Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eanbald II

EANBALD II (d. 810?), archbishop of York, one of Alcuin's pupils at the famous school of York, and later a priest of the church there under Eanbald I, was in 796 sent by his fellow-priests with letters to Alcuin, evidently to consult him on the subject of the succession to the see (Alcuin, Epp. 35, 39). While with Alcuin he fell seriously ill, and this delayed his return to England. He was back at York at the beginning of August, was chosen to succeed Archbishop Eanbald, and was consecrated at the minster of Sochasburg (perhaps Sadberge, Surtees, Durham, ii. 58, or more probably Sockburn, Stubbs) on 14 Aug., the fourth day after the death of his predecessor (A.-S. Chron.) This haste evidently illustrates the letters in which Alcuin insists on the right of the clergy to choose their archbishop; some powerful interference was expected, and it was judged advisable to make matters safe. It should be remarked that the editors of ‘Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents’ (iii. 500) think that ‘Eanbald the messenger was a different person from the new archbishop.’ The reason of this conclusion is not apparent. If they were identical we may assume that Eanbald was sent to Alcuin for the purpose of obtaining his approval of his succession. Eanbald received a letter from Alcuin, congratulating him on his elevation, and exhorting him to conduct himself worthily. Among other warnings he was entreated not to allow the clergy of his church ‘to gallop across country, hallooing in the pursuit of foxes,’ but to make them ride with him, ‘singing psalms in sweet tunefulness’ (Alcuin, Ep. 72). Again Alcuin writes to him of the dangerous time in which he lived, and entreats him always to carry with him a copy of Gregory's ‘Liber Pastoralis.’ He asked Leo III to grant him the pall, and Eanbald was invested with it at York on 8 Sept. 797. In a letter written about this time Alcuin, who delighted in fanciful names, addresses him as Symeon. Either in 798 or 799 Eanbald held a synod of the Northumbrian church at ‘Pincahala’ (Finchale, near Durham? [see under Eanbald I]), where five articles of faith were drawn up and rehearsed (Symeon). By 801 the archbishop was on hostile terms with the Northumbrian king Eardwulf [q. v.], and Alcuin wrote to exhort him not to be discouraged or quit his diocese. Eardwulf was engaged in a quarrel with Cenwulf of Mercia, and Alcuin suggests that part of the archbishop's troubles were of his own making, and that he had been receiving and protecting the king's enemies. The quarrel went on, and in 807 the archbishop appears to have joined Cenwulf in bringing about the deposition of the king. Eardwulf fled to Nimeguen, and appealed to the emperor, Charles the Great, and thence went on to Rome and laid his case before Leo III. The emperor and the pope joined in espousing his cause, and sent the one a messenger and the other a legate to England to effect his restoration (Einhard, Annales, sub an. 808). Eanbald, Cenwulf, and their ally, the ealdorman Wada, defended themselves by a letter, in which the pope informs the emperor he was grieved to find evidence of craftiness (Jaffé, Monumenta Carolina, 311 sq.). Leo held that it would be well for the emperor to compel Eanbald and his party to appear either before one or the other of them. He twice sent his legate to England and succeeded in effecting the king's restoration (ib. 315 sq.). The date of Eanbald's death is uncertain, but he seems to have lived until about 810 (Symeon). Many coins of Eanbald, of the sort called ‘ stycas,’ are in existence, and bear the names of several different moneyers (Hawkins, Silver Coins, ed. Kenyon, p. 109).

[Monumenta Alcuiniana, Jaffé, Epp. 35, 39, 72, 74; Monumenta Carolina, Jaffé, Epp. (Leonis), 2, 3; Einhard's Annales, 808; Anglo-Saxon Chron. 796; Symeon of Durham, ii. 58; Haddan and Stubbs's Councils and Eccl. Docs. iii. 500 sq.; Raine's Fasti Ebor. 109 sq.; Dict. of Christian Biog. art. ‘Eanbald,’ by Canon Raine.]

W. H.