Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/173

This page has been validated.
Hugh
Hugh
167

to the French king, and he was in France at the time of Henry II's death, but returned to England in August 1189, and was present at Richard's coronation, and at the councils of Sadberge and Pipewell. During 1191 he took part in the opposition to Longchamp, whose commands he refused to execute. About the same time also he ordered the remains of Fair Rosamund to be removed from Godstow Priory. Hugh was concerned in the dispute between the chapter of York and Archbishop Geoffrey in 1194—5, and in the latter year refused to suspend Geoffrey, declaring he would rather be suspended himself. Hugh had supported Richard against John, whom he excommunicated in February 1194, but when the occasion came was fearless in his opposition to the king. In a council held at Oxford early in 1198, Hubert Walter asked for a grant in aid of the king's wars; Hugh, together with Bishop Herbert of Salisbury, opposed him, and the archbishop had to yield. Bishop Stubbs describes this as 'a landmark in constitutional history, the first clear case of refusal of a money grant demanded directly by the crown' (Hoveden, vol. iv. preface, p. xci). Richard, in fury at this opposition to his demands, ordered the immediate confiscation of the bishop's goods. Hugh went to him in Normandy, determined to make him retract the sentence. The interview between them took place in the chapel of Roche d'Andeli. The bishop's unflinching courage was completely successful, and excited the king's admiration. Not long afterwards he was involved in another quarrel with Richard, who had made a heavy demand on the canons of Lincoln. Hugh again went abroad to settle matters, and arrived just before the death of Richard. He took part in the funeral rites of the king at Fontevrault, and immediately afterwards had many colloquies with John, who was very anxious to secure the great influence of Hugh in his support. The bishop appears to have thoroughly gauged John's worthless character, and spoke very plainly to him.

Hugh returned to England, and was present at John's coronation on 27 May 1199, but he was soon again in France, summoned by the king to aid in affairs of state. He now formed the project of paying a visit to the scene of his earlier life, the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, and early in June 1200 he quitted Paris to make this journey. Everywhere he was received with the greatest honour, and on reaching Grenoble, where the city was splendidly decorated for his reception, he celebrated mass in company with the archbishop, and had the pleasure of greeting his elder brother "William, lord of Avalon, and his brother's young son, who was baptised by him. The next day the bishop and his party visited the Grande Chartreuse, where they were received with the highest honour. On his return journey the bishop fell ill of a low intermittent fever, and being unskilfully treated he landed in England in a state of great exhaustion, and was with difficulty conveyed to London, where, in the old Temple, the house of the bishops of Lincoin, he lay lingering for some months, edifying all his attendants by his patience and great devotion, till at length on 16 Nov. the end came. His body was conveyed to Lincoln to be interred in the cathedral, which he had been chiefly instrumental in rebuilding after its partial destruction by the great earthquake of 1185. The obsequies of Hugh were very remarkable. King John, who was then holding a council at Lincoln, took part in carrying the coffin. The bishop was interred in the chapel of St. John Baptist in; the north-eastern transept of the cathedral, 24 Nov. 1200. Worship at the tomb immediately commenced. In 1220 Hugh was canonised as a saint by the Roman church, and his body was translated to a place in the church more convenient for the crowds of worshippers. Sixty years later (1280), upon the completion of the angels' choir, it was again translated, and a shrine, said to have been of pure gold, was erected over it. The translation took place in the presence of Edward I and his queen and a great concourse of noble persons. The worship of St. Hugh soon assumed almost as great proportions in the north as that of St. Thomas of Canterbury did in the south of England. St. Hugh's church is held to be one of the best examples of the fully developed pointed architecture. He also built, or at any rate commenced, the great hall in the episcopium or bishop's house adjoining the cathedral. To aid in these works he established the guild of St. Mary, the members of which all bound themselves to contribute a certain sum for the building of the cathedral. The central tower and nave as they now stand are of somewhat later date; the end of St. Hugh's work may be easily recognised in the eastern walls of the western transepts.

[Magna Vita S. Hugonis Episcopi, ed. Dimock, London, 1864; Metrical Life of St. Hugh, ed. Dimock, Linc. 1860; Giraldus Cambrensis, vol. vii., ed. Dimock, London, 1877; Rogeri de Hoveden Historia, ed. Stubbs, London, 1870; Benedicti Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi, ed. Stubbs, London, 1867; Life of St. Hugh of Avalon by the present writer, London, 1879.]

G. G. P.