Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hallam, Robert

HALLAM or HALLUM, ROBERT (d. 1417), bishop of Salisbury, was born probably between 1360 and 1370, and educated at Oxford. He was given the prebend of Bitton in Salisbury Cathedral, 26 Jan. 1394–1395 (W. H. Jones, Fasti Eccl. Sarisb. p. 366), and that of Osbaldwick in York Cathedral 16 March 1399–1400 (Le Neve, Fasti Eccl. Angl. ed. Hardy, iii. 207). On 7 April 1400 he was collated to the archdeaconry of Canterbury (ib. i. 42). In 1403 he was elected chancellor of the university of Oxford, and held the office, according to Wood (Fasti Oxon. p. 36, ed. Gutch), until 1406; but it seems more likely that he resigned according to the usual practice in the spring of 1405, especially since Dr. William Faringdon is mentioned as ‘cancellarius natus’ (or acting chancellor during a vacancy) on 12 July in that year. Hallam, on his election, was a master, but probably proceeded to the degree of doctor of canon law (which the brass upon his tomb shows him to have possessed) during the time that he was officially resident at Oxford.

After the murder of Archbishop Scroope in June 1405 the pope nominated him to the see of York, but the appointment was not carried out in consequence of the king's objections (Le Neve, iii. 109). In the summer of 1406 Hallam appears to have resigned all the preferments above mentioned, and to have taken up his residence at Rome (ib. i. 42). In the following year he was made bishop of Salisbury by a bull of Gregory XII dated 22 June 1407 (ib. ii. 602); according to Bishop Stubbs, however (Reg. Sacr. Anglic. p. 63), the letters of provision were not issued until 7 Oct. The temporalities of the see were restored to him under the style of ‘late archbishop of York,’ 1 Dec. (Rymer, viii. 504), not 13 Aug. as Kite says (Monumental Brasses of Wiltshire, p. 98); and he made his obedience at Maidstone, 28 March 1408 (Le Neve, l.c.). He was consecrated by Gregory XII at Siena (Stubbs, l.c.; Jones, p. 97).

In 1409 Hallam was appointed one of the ambassadors to attend the council of Pisa (Walsingham, Hist. Anglic. ii. 280, Rolls Ser.), with full powers to bind the clergy and laity of England to whatever decisions might be come to respecting the restoration of unity in the church (H. von der Hardt, Rerum Conc. œc. Constant. tom. ii. 112). He preached before the council at its sixth session, 30 April (ib. 89, 112; Mansi, Conc. Coll. Ampliss. xxvii. 6, 114, 125; not 24 April, Mansi, xxvi. 1139), devoting his discourse to the main subject for which the assembly was convened, the union of the church.

On 6 June 1411 Hallam was made a cardinal priest by John XXIII (cf. Creighton, i. 246). This at least is stated on documentary authority by Ciaconius and Oldoinus (Vit. Pontif. Roman. ii. 803 f.), but there is added the note that ‘titulum non obtinuit de more, quia Romam nunquam venit.’ Perhaps this irregularity may explain why the fact of his cardinalship has been often denied, and also why at the council of Constance he took rank not as a cardinal but as a simple bishop (H. von der Hardt, iv. 591; Mansi, xxvii. 818). In 1412 he lent the king five hundred marks as a contribution towards the expenses of his foreign expedition (Rymer, viii. 767). On 20 Oct. 1414 Hallam was appointed with nine colleagues to act as the English ambassadors at the council summoned to meet shortly at Constance (ib. ix. 167), and further to conclude a treaty with Sigismund, king of the Romans (ib. 168 f.); they arrived at Constance on 7 Dec. (H. von der Hardt, iv. 23), Hallam being provided with sixty-four horses and a great company of attendants (Richental, p. 46). He took with him a treatise, written at his request by Dr. Richard Ullerston or Ulverstone, an Oxford divine, in 1408, and entitled ‘Petitiones quoad Reformationem Ecclesiæ militantis’ (printed by H. von der Hardt, i. 1128–71). This treatise Hallam is said to have produced at the council. During its earlier sessions he seems to have guided the action of the English ‘nation,’ in securing for it an independent vote, and uniting it closely with the German ‘nation’ and with King (afterwards Emperor) Sigismund in a definitely reforming policy. Of the several objects for which the council was summoned that for which he sought earnestly to claim precedence was the reformation of the church ‘in capite et in membris.’ Such an aim naturally placed him in opposition to John XXIII, the pope to whom he owed his highest preferment; and he made himself conspicuous by the energy with which he denounced his conduct (witness his famous declaration, ‘Rogo dignum esse Iohannem papam,’ 11 March 1415, ib. iv. 1418, and Fasti, p. 21), and asserted that the council was superior to the pope (ib. iv. 59). John mentions Hallam's hostility as one of the causes which drove him to flee from Constance and take refuge at Schaffhausen, 21 March (Informationes Papæ, &c., ib. ii. 160). The bishop appears, indeed, to have taken an active share in the negotiations concerning Pope John; on 17 April he signed on behalf of the English nation the council's letter to the kings and princes of Europe, relating the facts of the pope's flight and its issues (ib. iv. 125–9); on 13 May he was placed upon a commission to hear appeals (ib. 172); on the following day he gave his assent on the part of his nation to the suspension of Pope John (ib. 183). The trials of Hus and of Jerom of Prague and the condemnation of Wycliffe's doctrines seem to have interested him less; once, perhaps, he interposed a question during the second hearing of Hus, 7 June (ib. 310), and again on 5 July, the day before his death, Hallam took part in a committee of the nations at the Franciscan convent which sat to urge the prisoner by any means to recant his errors (ib. 386 f., 432). There is also a hint of the bishop's desire for fair play and moderation in dealing with Jerom of Prague, 23 May (ib. 218). But it would be a mistake to suppose that he looked with the smallest approval upon the religious movement in Bohemia, which doubtless appeared to him, as to the mass of the ‘reforming’ members of the council, in the light of a vexatious obstacle to the success of their hopes.

On 19 Dec. 1415 Hallam was present at a congregation of the nations, when the German president made an emphatic protest against the council's delay in attacking serious and admitted abuses in the church, particularly simony (ib. 556 f.). On 4 Feb. 1416 Hallam joined in signing the articles of Narbonne relative to the admission to the council of Benedict XIII's supporters (ib. 591), and on 5 June he made a speech on the reception of the ambassadors from Portugal (ib. 788). After the treaty made with Sigismund during his visit to England in 1416, Hallam was placed upon commissions for the purpose of entering into alliances with various powers, the king of Arragon, the princes of the empire and other nobles of Germany, the Hanse towns, and the city of Genoa, 2 Dec. 1416 (Rymer, ix. 410–16, cf. 437). Just before Sigismund was expected back at Constance, Hallam and the other English bishops celebrated the prospect of a speedy termination of their labours by a banquet to the burghers of the city on Sunday, 24 Jan. 1417, followed by a ‘comœdia sacra’—evidently a sort of mystery play—in Latin, on the subject of the nativity of Christ, the worship of the magi, and the murder of the holy innocents (ib. 1088 f.). On the 27th, when the king arrived, Sir John Forester reports to Henry V that after the first solemn reception had taken place ‘thanne wente my lord of Salisbury to fore hestely to the place of the general consayl … and he entryde into the pulpette: war the cardenal Cameracence [Ailly], chief of the nation of France and 3our special enemy, also had purposith to have y maad the collation to for the kyng, in worschip of the Frenche nation: bot my lord of Salisbury kepte pocession in worschip of 3ow and 3owr nation; and he made ther ryth a good collation that plesyde the kyng ryth well’ (ib. ix. 434). Two days later the English bishops were received with marked consideration by the king, and on the 31st they entertained him at a great feast with the dramatic accompaniment they had rehearsed the week before (H. von der Hardt, iv. 1089, 1091).

In the following spring (1417) Hallam was actively engaged on a committee appointed to investigate the charges against Peter de Luna (Benedict XIII) in view of his deposition (ib. 1322, 1323, 1331); and when this step had been finally taken, 26 July, and the council was divided on the question of the order of business—whether it should at once proceed to the election of a new pope, or first mature a comprehensive scheme of ecclesiastical reform—Hallam, with his fellows in the English nation, vigorously supported by Henry V (cf. Rymer, ix. 466), were associated more closely than ever with Sigismund and the Germans in insisting on the second alternative. On 4 Sept., however, Hallam died at the castle of Gottlieben, just below Constance, at the opening of the Untersee (letter of Martin V, ap. Le Neve, ii. 602 n.; Richental, p. 113; H. von der Hardt, iv. 1414); and his death was immediately followed by the abandonment of the reforming party by the English nation and their adhesion to the cardinals' side, and by the election of a new pope, Martin V, on 11 Nov. The relation of cause and effect has been assumed as a matter of course both by contemporary and later writers (see ib. 1426 f.; Milman, Hist. of Lat. Chr. viii. 309, 3rd edit. 1872; cf. Neander, Hist. of the Chr. Religion and Church, ix. 174, tr. J. Torrey, ed. 1877, &c.); but the appearance at the council of Bishop (afterwards Cardinal) Beaufort, probably on or before 20 Oct. (cf. Creighton, i. 394 n.), with the object, as it appears, of negotiating a reconciliation with the Roman party, seems to show that Henry V had already accepted the change of policy at the time of Hallam's death. If this reasoning be correct, it was not the loss of Hallam's advocacy that destroyed the hopes of the reformers, though his death may have been alleged as a colourable pretext for the English change of front (so Creighton i. 393). On the other hand it is not proved that Beaufort was sent on a special mission by Henry V; the statement of Schelstraten (manuscript ap. H. von der Hardt, iv. 1447) is that Sigismund, hearing that he was at Ulm, on his journey as a pilgrim to the Holy Land, was requested by the English at Constance to invite him to attend the council; which account may equally well be explained on the assumption that the English, feeling themselves powerless without their old leader, and half disposed to yield, took advantage of the presence of their king's half-brother and chancellor in the neighbourhood to appeal to him as an adviser and mediator in the hot dispute which was then raging between the different parties at the council. However this may be, the honesty, straightforwardness, and independence of Hallam in his conduct during nearly three years of the council's sessions are beyond dispute. Limiting himself mainly to the great questions of restoring unity to the church and of reforming evils in its system, his position in the council was a highly important one, both through his personal work in committees and through his influence as president of his nation.

Hallam's body was brought from Gottlieben to Constance on the day following his death (H. von der Hardt, iv. 1414), and was buried on 13 Sept. in the cathedral with great pomp, in the presence of Sigismund and all the great personages of the council (ib. 1418). His tomb is at the foot of the steps leading to the high altar, and is marked by a noble brass, which from its decoration is conjectured to have been engraved in England. It has been published and described by R. L. Pearsall in the ‘Archæologia,’ 1844, xxx. 431–7; and by E. Kite, ‘Monumental Brasses of Wiltshire,’ pp. 97 ff. and plate xxxii. Hallam's will, dated 23 Aug. 1417, and proved 10 Sept., is preserved in the Lambeth archives (Le Neve, ii. 602; JONES, p. 97). Hallam's name is sometimes corrupted into ‘Alanus’ (H. von der Hardt, iv. 1414); on the brass it is written ‘Hallum.’ In the records concerning the council of Constance he is commonly, though not apparently in official documents, described as ‘archbishop,’ a mistake which may either be accounted for as a reminiscence of his former nomination to York, or, perhaps, through a confusion with the dignity of the archbishop of Salzburg (‘Salisburgensis,’ as the name is actually spelt, e.g. by Richental, p. 46; H. von der Hardt, iv. 1089, 1414, &c.).

[Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic., ed. Hardy; W. H. Jones's Fasti Eccl. Sarisb. 1879, pp. 97, 366; Rymer's Fœdera, 1709, vols. viii. ix.; Ulrichs von Richental's Chronik des Constanzer Concils, ed. M. R. Buck, Tübingen, 1882; H. von der Hardt's Res Concil. Œcum. Constant., Frankfurt, 1697–1700, folio; Mansi's Coll. Concil. Ampliss., Venice, 1784, vols. xxvi. xxvii.; E. Kite's Monumental Brasses of Wiltshire, 1860, 97 ff. and plate xxxii.; Ciaconii Vitæ Pontif. Roman., ed. Oldoinus, Rome, 1677, folio; E. Hailstone in Archæologia, 1847, xxxii. 394 f.; M. Creighton's Hist. of the Papacy during the Period of the Reformation, 1882, vol. i.]

R. L. P.