Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jaenbert

JAENBERT, JANBRIHT, JAMBERT, GENGBERHT, LAMBERT, or LANBRIHT (d. 791), archbishop of Canterbury, was consecrated abbot of St. Augustine's at Canterbury in 760, and was regarded with friendship by Eadbert, king of Kent. When foiled in his attempt to secure the body of Archbishop Bregwin [q. v.] for burial in his monastery, he appealed against the claim of the monks of Christ Church. His resolute behaviour excited the admiration of his opponents; they knew that he was prudent and able, and they had, it is said, no fancy for defending their claim at Rome. Accordingly they elected him to the vacant archbishopric, and he appears to have been consecrated on Septuagesima Sunday, 2 Feb. 766, and to have received the pall from Pope Paul I, probably in the course of 767. In or about 771 Offa, the Mercian king, began to conquer Kent; the struggle lasted for some years, and he appears at first to have tried to win Jaenbert over to his side, for in 774 he made him a grant of land at Higham in Kent. It is evident that he was unsuccessful, and having established his superiority over Kent, he formed a plan for destroying the power of the primatial see of Canterbury and transferring the primacy to a Mercian metropolitan. Jaenbert vigorously resisted his scheme, and it is stated on highly questionable authority that he invited Charles the Great to invade England (Matt. Paris, Vitæ Offarum, p. 978). Offa was successful at Rome, and in 786 Hadrian sent two legates to England, who after an interview with Jaenbert proceeded to Offa's court, and in the following year held a synod at Chelsea (Cealchythe), where the archbishop was forced to give up a large portion of his province to Higbert [q. v.], bishop of Lichfield, who was raised to the rank of an archbishop. By this arrangement only the dioceses of London, Winchester, Rochester, Selsey, and Sherborne seem to have been left to the province of Canterbury. Jaenbert had also to complain of other injuries at Offa's hands. It is said that his resistance to the king's scheme cost him all the possessions of the see which lay within the Mercian kingdom; but this is perhaps founded on the fact that Offa continued to withhold from him, as he had withheld from Bregwin, an estate granted to his church by Ethelbald of Mercia [q. v.] Jaenbert determined to do his part towards restoring to his former monastery its old privilege of being the burying-place of the archbishops, of which it had been deprived in the cases of Cuthbert [q. v.] and Bregwin, his immediate predecessors. When, therefore, he felt that his end was near, he had himself removed to St. Augus tine's, and there died on 11 or 12 Aug. 791 (Symeon, or 790 Flor. Wig. and Anglo-Saxon Chron.) He was buried in the monastery. Jaenbert was the first archbishop of Canterbury of whose coins specimens have been preserved.

[Haddan and Stubbs's Eccl. Docs. iii. 402–466; Hook's Lives of the Archbishops, i. 242–254; Kemble's Codex Dipl. i. cxiii–clvii, mxix (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Anglo-Saxon Chron. ann. 763, 764, 785, 790 (Rolls Ser.); Flor. Wig. ann. 764, 790 Engl. Hist. Soc.); Symeon of Durham, ii. 43, 53 (Rolls Ser.); Hoveden, i. 8 (Rolls Ser.); William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum, i. c. 87 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Gesta Pontiff. p. 15 (Rolls Ser.); Gervase, ii. 346 (Rolls Ser.); Ralph de Diceto, i. 16, 124, 126; Thorn, cols. 1773–5, 2210, 2211 (Twysden); Matt. Paris's Vitæ Offarum, p. 978, Wats; Elmham, pp. 319, 335, Hardwick; Hawkins's Silver Coinage, p. 102, ed. Kenyon; Dict. Chr. Biog., art. ‘Jaenbert,’ ii. 336, by Bishop Stubbs.]

W. H.