Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Living (d.1046)

LIVING or LYFING (d. 1046), bishop of Crediton, was a monk of St. Swithun's, Winchester, and became abbot of Tavistock in Devonshire. Canute [q. v.] held him in high esteem, took him with him on his pilgrimage to Rome, and when the king left Rome sent him home with his famous letter to the English people. On Living's return to England he was consecrated bishop of Crediton in 1027. He further obtained from the king a promise that on the death of his uncle Brihtwold, bishop of Cornwall, he should receive Brihtwold's bishopric also, and so merge the see of Cornwall in that of Crediton. It is not certain when Brihtwold's death took place, and this arrangement was carried out, possibly not until 1043 (Florence, i. App. p. 238), though an earlier date is more probable. From King Harold (called Harefoot) [q. v.] he further obtained in 1038 the see of Worcester, which he held in plurality. He was with Harold in his last sickness (Kemble, Codex Diplomaticus, No. 758). He was a strenuous adherent of Earl Godwin, and being an eloquent speaker was of much service to the earl, in common with whom he was in 1040 accused of being concerned in the death of Ælfred the ætheling. Thereupon Harthacnut [see Hardecanute] took his bishopric from him, but a year later Living regained it by paying the king a sum of money. He joined with Godwin in promoting the election of Edward the Confessor in 1042, and was no doubt one of the embassy sent to invite him to accept the crown (Norman Conquest, ii. 7; Vita Eadwardi, ll. 195, 196). He died on 23 March 1046, and was buried at Tavistock. There his memory was held in honour, for he had been a liberal benefactor to the house, and William of Malmesbury records that down to his time the monks regularly chanted psalms for the bishop's repose. He is described as a man of great prudence and capacity, and his eloquence is noticed by the Worcester chronicler. He was evidently a worldly-minded, greedy, and unscrupulous man. William of Malmesbury says that old men had told him that the bishop's death was accompanied by an evil portent.

[Oliver's Bishops of Exeter, p. 5; Freeman's Norman Conquest, i. 563, 575, ii. xxix, 81–3; Anglia Sacra, i. 473; Haddan and Stubbs's Councils and Eccl. Docs. i. 688; Dugdale's Monasticon, ii. 490; A.-S. Chron. ann. 1038, 1044, 1045, 1047 (Rolls Ser.); Flor. Wig. i. 183, 193, 199, 238 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Will. of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum, ii. cc. 182, 188 (Rolls Ser.), and Gesta Pontiff. pp. 200, 201 (Rolls Ser.); Kemble's Codex Dipl. (Engl. Hist. Soc.) Nos. 758, 760, 764, 765; Vita Eadw. ll. 195, 196 ap. Lives of Edw. the Conf. pp. 394, 395 (Rolls Ser.)]

W. H.