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Sandford, Fulk de (DNB00)


SANDFORD, FULK de (d. 1271), also called Fulk de Basset, archbishop of Dublin, was the nephew of Sir Philip Basset [q. v.], the son of Alan Basset (d. 1233), lord of Wycombe. He is more often called ‘Sandford’ than ‘Basset,’ though Matthew Paris (Hist. Major, v. 591) describes him solely as Basset, and the ‘Tewkesbury Annals’ (Ann. Mon. i. 159) as ‘Fulk Basset’ or ‘de Samford.’ Luard, Paris's editor, suspected that Paris had simply confused Fulk de Sandford with Fulk Basset [q. v.], bishop of London; but the fact of his relationship to the great Basset house is clearly brought out by a letter of Alexander IV, dated 13 June 1257, in which the pope grants ‘Philip called Basset’ a dispensation to marry ‘Ela, countess of Warwick,’ on ‘the signification of his nephew, the Archbishop of Dublin’ (Bliss, Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 345–6). It seems certain that Fulk was an illegitimate son of one or other of Philip's brothers, either Gilbert Basset (d. 1241) [q. v.] or Fulk Basset, bishop of London, but whether of the knight or the bishop there seems no evidence to determine. There was a Richard de Sandford, a prebendary of St. Paul's in 1241 (Newcourt, Repert. Eccles. Lond. i. 198), and John de Sandford [q. v.] archbishop of Dublin, was Fulk Sandford's brother, and is known to be illegitimate (Bliss, Cal. Papal Letters, i. 479). In April 1244, before his own consecration, Bishop Fulk Basset appointed Fulk Sandford to the archdeaconry of Middlesex (Newcourt, i. 78). Fulk was also prebendary of Ealdland in St. Paul's Cathedral, and is described in two letters of Alexander IV both as treasurer of St. Paul's and as chancellor of St. Paul's (Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. App. v. 207; Cal. Papal Letters, i. 345; cf. Le Neve, ii. 352).

On the death of Archbishop Luke of Dublin, Ralph de Norwich [q. v.] was elected as his successor by the two chapters of Dublin, and Henry III approved of his choice. But Alexander IV quashed the election and appointed Fulk de Sandford, who was accidentally at the papal court (Flores Hist. ii. 416). On 20 July he is already addressed by the pope as archbishop-elect, and allowed to retain his treasurership in London and all prebends and benefices which he has hitherto held. On 27 July 1256 Alexander issued a mandate to the two chapters, ordering them to accept his nominee. Henry III resisted the appointment for a time, and his subsequent acceptance of it was regarded by Matthew Paris as a sign of his falling dignity and influence. On 25 March 1257 Henry also restored to Fulk the deanery of Penkridge in Staffordshire, but only as it had been held by Archbishop Luke and saving the royal rights.

In 1257 Fulk was in England. He was present at the Mid Lent parliament, when Richard, earl of Cornwall (1209–1272) [q. v.], bade farewell to the magnates on his departure for Germany (Matt. Paris, Hist. Major, v. 625). On 25 May he officiated at Lichfield at the burial of the late bishop, Roger of Weseham (‘Burton Annals’ in Ann. Mon. i. 408). He received soon after a curious permission from the pope to ‘choose a discreet confessor’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. v. 207). About July 1259 he received royal license to visit the Roman court (Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1252–84, p. 101). It was probably his personal intervention that led Pope Alexander on 4 Nov. to permanently annex the deanery of Penkridge to the see of Dublin, and in 1260 to augment its revenues by conferring on the archbishops in perpetuity the prebend of Swords in Dublin Cathedral (Cal. Papal Letters, i. 368, 371). He was still with the pope at Anagni on 13 April 1260, and during his absence some of his suffragans had attempted to prejudice the rights of his see (Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. v. 208). The justice of Ireland, William le Dene, also took advantage of his absence to infringe the liberties of the church and try ecclesiastics in secular courts (ib.)

On 16 Feb. 1265 Henry III urgently begged Fulk Sandford to undertake the office of justice of Ireland as deputy of his son Edward, its nominal lord since 1254. Ireland, being threatened by discord among its magnates, king and council deemed Fulk a useful and necessary agent in the preservation of peace (Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1252–84, p. 123). As the king and his son were then in the hands of Simon de Montfort, this may signify that Fulk's sympathies were with the popular side. But in May another letter makes it clear that it was only during the temporary absence of the real justiciar, Richard de la Rochelle, that Fulk assumed the government, and even then only as chief counsellor to Roger Waspayl, or if Roger refused the proffered office (ib. p. 125). Finally, on 10 June, the baronial party made Hugh de Tachmon bishop of Meath, justiciar (ib. p. 126).

About September 1265 Fulk received letters of protection till Pentecost (ib. p. 126). In the spring of 1267 he had safe-conduct while visiting the English court (ib. p. 132). On 11 and 12 April he procured from Henry III at Cambridge grants that he might enjoy all the liberties and rights of his predecessors (ib. p. 132). This probably means a reconciliation between Fulk and the victorious royalists. Fulk showed great activity and tenacity in safeguarding the rights of the church and of his see, and a large number of documents in the register called ‘Crede Mihi’ attest his zeal in increasing or rounding off his possessions and in driving bargains with his neighbours and dependents (Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. v. 213–19; cf. Hist. and Municipal Doc. Ireland, pp. 141, 142). He had disputes with the Dublin citizens, which he settled before the justice, Robert Ufford (ib. p. 182). He was in debt to the Florentine bankers (ib. p. 166). He died at his manor of Finglas on 4 May 1271 (Cartularies, &c., of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin, ii. 290; Ware, Commentary on Prelates of Ireland, Archbishops of Dublin, p. 6 [1704], wrongly dates the death on 6 May). He was buried in St. Mary's Chapel (apparently a foundation of his own), within St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. After a seven years' vacancy, his see was filled up by John of Darlington [q. v.]

[Sweetman's Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, 1252–84; Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. App. v.; Newcourt's Repert. Eccl. Lond.; Bliss's Calendar of Papal Letters, vol. i. (many of the documents calendared by Bliss are printed in Theiner's Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et Scotorum Historiam illustrantia, Rome, 1864); Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. vol. ii. ed. Hardy; Matt. Paris's Hist. Major, vols. v. and vi.; Flores Hist. vol. ii.; Ann. Tewkesbury and Burton in Ann. Mon. vol. i.; Cartularies, &c., of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin; Historical and Municipal Documents, Ireland (the last five in Rolls Ser.]

T. F. T.