Osmund (d.1099) (DNB00)
OSMUND or OSMER, Saint (d. 1099), bishop of Salisbury, was, according to a fifteenth-century document preserved in the Register B at Salisbury, son of Henry, count of Seez, by Isabella, daughter of Robert, duke of Normandy, and sister of William the Conqueror (Sarum Charters, 373). He accompanied William to England, was one of the royal chaplains, and was eventually made chancellor, probably on the promotion of Osbern or Osbert (d. 1103) [q. v.] to be bishop of Exeter in March 1072. Osmund in his turn may be presumed to have held the chancellorship till he was made bishop of Salisbury. Osmund was consecrated bishop by Lanfranc in 1078. On 3 June 1078 he was present at the translation of Aldhelm's relics at Malmesbury. He had conceived a great reverence for Aidhelm, and procured from Abbot Warin the bone of the saint's left arm (Gesta Pontificum, pp. 424, 428). Osmund is described in late documents as Earl of Dorset, probably with no sufficient authority; in his foundation charter for the cathedral at Old Sarum he describes himself simply as bishop, and not as Earl of Dorset or Count of Seez. He was, however, employed by the Conqueror in a civil capacity, and was engaged in the preparation of Domesday Book. It is not unlikely that the survey of Grantham, comprising the counties of Derby, Nottingham, Huntingdon, Lincoln, York, with parts of Lancashire and Westmoreland, was his work. He was present at the council at Sarum in April 1086 when the result of the inquiry was presented to the king. In December 1088 he was sent to summon William of St. Calais, bishop of Durham, to the king (Sym. Dunelm. i. 193). On 5 April 1092 he consecrated his cathedral at Sarum, the tower of which was struck by lightning four days later. He was present at the consecration of Battle Abbey Church on 11 Feb. 1094 (Chron. de Bello, p. 41, Anglia Christiana Soc.) At the council of Rockingham on 11 March 1095 Osmund was present as one of the bishops on the king's side; but in the following May he came to Anselm privately, and obtained absolution for the part he had taken. Osmund received the confession of William of Alderi in January 1097, but withdrew before William'a execution. He was one of the bishops whom Anselm ineffectually consulted on l Oct. 1097. He died on Saturday, 3 Dec. 1099 (Flor. Wig. ii. 44), and was buried in the cathedral at Old Serum. After his canonisation his bones were translated to Salisbury Cathedral on 23 July 1457, where, on the north aisle of the nave, there is still a slab with the date mxcix, which is said to have covered his tomb. An empty grave which was discovered at Old Sarum in 1936 was probably Osmund's. William of Malmesbury describes Osmund as a man of irreproachable life, pre-eminent for his chastity, and free from ambition; he had collected a great number of books, and, ‘bishop though he was, did not disdain either the writing or the binding of them.’
Osmund's work as bishop was, in the first place, the building of a cathedral at Old Sarum; and, secondly,the foundation and endowment of a regular cathedral body on the Norman model, consisting of dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, and thirty-two secular canons. A copy of the original ‘Institutio Osmundi’ eetahiishing the cathedral body is given in the ‘Register of St. Osmund,' i. 2l2-215. But more important in its effects was the drawing up of an Ordinal and Consuetudinary for use in his diocese. Osmund's work seems to have been prompted by the resistance of the English clergy to the attempt to introduce the Norman style of chanting (cf. Palmer, Origines Liturgicæ, i. 187), an the desirability of introducing a fixed and uniform rule. His work was not however, an original one, but was a compilation from ancient sources The consequent ‘Use of Sarum' gradually met with almost universal acceptance in the British Isles; it is said to have been introduced into Ireland by the Synod of Cashel in 1172, and into Scotland seventy years later. Hugh de Nonant [q. v.] borrowed from 0smund's ordinances in his statutes for Lichfield. Gervase, bishop of St. David’s, directed the ‘Sarum Use’ to be observed in his diocese in 1223, and Richard Clifford [q. v.]. bishop of London, introduced it at St. Paul's in 1414. The fifteenth-century writer who passes by the name of John Brompton [q. v.] speaks of the ‘Sarum Use’ as being adopted in nearly all England, Wales, and Ireland (Twysden, Scriptores Decem, col. 977). The original manuscript drawn up under the direction of Osmund has perished, and the existing Consuetudinary. which is also styled ‘De Officiis Ecclesiesticis,' appears to have been revised for use in the new cathedral at Salisbury about 1222. About the same time a copy was made for the use of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, which reproduces the Ssrum copy almost verbatim. The Dublin copy is now in the Cambridge University Library; the Salisbury copy is contained in the so-called ‘Register of St. 0smund.' The Dublin manuscript was printed in the ‘British Magazine,' vols. xxx. and xxxi.; the Sarum copy is printed in Rock's ‘Church of our Fathers,' vol. iii. ad fin. and with a translation in W. H. R. Jones‘s edition of the ‘Register of St, Osmund,' i. 1-185.
The ‘Register of St. Osmund' is the most ancient of the muniments of the episcopal registry at Salisbury. For the most part it consists of a collection of documents much later date than Osmund’s time, but including some of Osmund's own charters, and opening with the copy of the Consuetudinary already referred to, The 'Register of St. Osmund’ was edited for the Rolls Series by W. H. R. Jones, 2 vols., 1883, 1884. Osmund is credited with a life of St. Aldhelm, which has not survived.
The reputation of St. Osmund as the virtual founder of his church led to a desire for his canonisation at an early date. On 30 May 1228 a bull was obtained from Gregory IX directing a preliminary inquiry (Wilkins, Concilia, i. 581). The project was again revived in 1387 and 1401, and in 1417 Henry V made an application in the matter to the Pope. On 14 Oct. 1424 Henry VI begged Martin VI to expedite the canonisation (ib. iii. 432); and on 20 March 1441 addressed Eugenius IV with the same purpose (Bekynton, Correspondence, i. 117, Rolls Ser.) In July 1452 the chapter of Salisbury took the matter up again, and at length, after an expenditure of over 7001. and four years of negotiations, Calixtus III pronounced Osmund's canonisation on 1 Jan. 1467. In 1472 Sextus IV granted an indulgence to all who visited Salisbury Cathedral on Osmund’s feast day. On 21 March 1481 an assembly at St. Paul's ordered 4 Dec. to be observed in his honour. A notice of the miracles 'performed at Osmund's tomb will be found in Capgrave's ‘Nova Legends Angliæ,’ and in Hoare's ‘History of Wiltshire,’ vi. 146-8.