Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hothum, William of
HOTHUM, also called HODON and ODONE, WILLIAM of (d. 1298), archbishop of Dublin, was an Englishman who joined the Dominican order, and studied at Paris at the convent of the Jacobins, and became licentiate of theology in 1280, and afterwards doctor. He is often identified with the William de Hothum who was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1286 (Brodrick, Memorials of Merton, p. 178, Oxf. Hist. Soc.); but this William is more probably a kinsman who between 1302 and 1306 was a prebendary of Swords in St. Patrick's, Dublin (Cotton, Fasti Eccl. Hib. ii. 135). Hothum, as a Dominican friar, could not belong to a secular foundation. In 1282 he was appointed, at a general chapter of the order held at Vienna, prior and provincial of the Dominican order in England. In this capacity he came into collision with the Franciscan archbishop Peckham (cf. Reg. Epp. Peckham, ii. 541, Rolls Ser.), and in 1284 had a personal dispute with the archbishop ‘de pluralitate formarum.’ On 24 Nov. Hothum denounced Peckham before the assembled masters of Oxford University, and accused him of prejudice against all Dominican teaching. Peckham wrote a long letter to the university, justifying himself and accusing Hothum of discourtesy and unsoundness in doctrine (ib. iii. 865).
Hothum was in the service of Edward I. In 1285 Peckham forbade him to absolve enemies of the liberties of the church from the excommunication they incurred as violators of Magna Carta (ib. iii. 909). In 1287 the chapter of the order at Bordeaux released him from the post of provincial, and appointed him to lecture on the ‘Sentences’ at Paris. He disobeyed this command, and was censured in the chapter of 1288 for throwing the Paris schools of the order into confusion. He then probably gave way, and taught a short time at Paris, with such success that he became well known to King Philip IV (Hemingburgh, ii. 160, Engl. Hist. Soc.) But in 1289 he was sent by Edward I with Otho de Grandison on a mission to Pope Nicholas IV. Their business included the procuring of a dispensation for the contemplated marriage of Edward, the king's son, to Margaret of Scotland, the settlement of the arrears of the one thousand marks of tribute due to Rome, and the arrangements about the crusading tenth granted to Edward ten years before. The ambassadors left England on 10 May 1289 (Stevenson, Hist. Doc. Scotl. 1286–1306, i. 134). Between 2 Aug. and 2 Nov. Hothum represented Edward exclusively, as Grandison was away in Apulia (ib. i. 136). Up to October he was with the pope at Rieti, and then returned with him to Rome. On 7 Oct. Nicholas issued a bull settling the disposition of the crusading tenth (Fœdera, i. 714, Record edition). On 4 Nov. Hothum, now again with Grandison, received the pope's quittance for the six years' arrears of tribute which they had previously paid (ib. i. 719). On 7 Nov. Hothum left Rome, and reached London on 31 Dec. (Stevenson, i. 136). The business of the embassy was finished when, at Clipstone Palace on 14 Oct. 1290, Edward, in Hothum's presence, declared his willingness to go on crusade (Fœdera, i. 741). He was in 1290 reappointed provincial of England and also of Scotland (Ann. Reg. Scot. in Rishanger, p. 255, Rolls Ser.; Quétif, Script. Ord. Pred. i. 459).
Hothum advised and prearranged that Edward should begin the treatment of the Scottish succession question by demanding that each of the claimants should recognise him as the suzerain of Scotland, and was one of the clerks summoned to the parliament of Norham in May 1291 (Hemingburgh, ii. 33). He was present at the meeting at Berwick in October 1292, and was one of the many who thought that Edward should decide the Scottish suit by English custom, and not by written law (ib. p. 255). He also declared that Baliol had a better claim than Bruce (ib. p. 260).
In 1293 Hothum had a dispute with Archbishop Romanus of York, in consequence of his insisting that penitents who confessed to friars had no need to make their confession also to their parish priests (Raine, Letters from the Northern Registers, pp. 102–3, Rolls Ser.) On 4 Aug. 1295 he preached a Latin sermon before the king and the two cardinals sent by Boniface VIII to mediate peace with France (Hemingburgh, ii. 66).
On 16 June 1296 Boniface VIII made Hothum archbishop of Dublin by papal provision. The pope had quashed the election of Thomas Chadworth, and the see had been vacant since 1294. On 23 Nov. Edward received Hothum's fealty and restored him the temporalities of the see (Sweetman, Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1293–1301, No. 351; cf. 192, 350, 357). Although on 22 Dec. he received letters of attorney for one year (ib. No. 287), he seems to have appeared in Ireland and taken part in some judicial business.
Hothum was still archbishop-elect when he accompanied Edward I, about August 1297, to Flanders. The pope gave him permission to be consecrated by any bishop in any place, and he was accordingly consecrated by Bishop Bek of Durham [q. v.] at Ghent (Rishanger, p. 178; Chartularies, &c., of St. Mary's, Dublin, ii. 290, Rolls Ser.) He was now appointed to negotiate for a truce or peace with France. After helping to negotiate a short truce at Courtray in November 1297 (Fœdera, i. 881), and treating with the French ambassadors at Tournay before Candlemas 1298 (ib. i. 885), he was formally commissioned (18 Feb.) by Edward I at Ghent, along with Bishop Bek and others, to treat with Boniface VIII as mediator for a peace with France (ib. i. 887). On 24 Feb. he received letters of protection for Rome, having previously, on 21 Feb., appointed attorneys to represent him for the next two years in Ireland (Sweetman, Nos. 482, 483). Other indulgences, such as respite during pleasure of his debts to the Dublin exchequer, were also granted him (ib. No. 497). Hemingburgh (ii. 160) says that on his way to Rome, while passing through France, he persuaded his old friend King Philip to agree to accept the truce. In June 1298 he was at Rome, where Boniface successfully mediated the truce (ib. i. 893). The document in Rymer (i. 898), drawn up by an imperial notary, says that ‘Dublinensis episcopus’ was present on 19 Aug. at Edward I's camp near Edinburgh, where further negotiations with French ambassadors were transacted; but this must be a mistake for Bishop Bek, his colleague. Hothum died on his way home at Dijon on 30 Aug. 1298. His body was conveyed to London and buried in the Dominican church there. He is described as a man of extremely acute intellect, an eloquent speaker, ‘jocundus in verbis, in affatu placidus’ (Trivet, p. 364, Engl. Hist. Soc.; cf. Hemingburgh, ii. 160). He combined attachment to Edward I and the papacy in a very remarkable manner.
Hothum was a scholastic writer of some distinction. A list of his works is given by Quétif and Echard, ‘Script. Ord. Pred.’ i. 460. It includes: 1. ‘Commentarii in IV Sententiarum libros.’ 2. ‘De immediata visione Dei tractatus.' 3. 'De unitate formarum tractatus.' 4. 'Lecturæ Scholasticæ.' 5. A French speech on the rights of the English king. 6. 'In tres libros de anima.' 7. 'Quæstiones quodlibetales.'
[Sweetman's Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, 1293–1301; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i., Record edition; Registrum Epistolarum J. Peckham (Rolls Ser.); Rishanger (Rolls Ser.); Trivet and Hemingburgh (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Stevenson's Historical Documents, Scotland, 1286–1306; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hib. vol. ii.; Ware's Works concerning Ireland, ed. Harris, i. 326–7, ii. 320; Quétif and Echard's Scriptores Ordinis Predicatorum, i. 459–60; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 414; Leland's Comm. de Scriptt. Brit. p. 320.]