SAVARIC (d. 1205), bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, son of Geldewin, by his wife Estrangia, was of noble descent, being on his father's side a grandson of Savaric Fitz Chana, lord of Midhurst, Sussex (Recueil des Historiens, x. 241, xi. 534; Madox, Hist. of the Exchequer, i. 561; Gent. Mag. new ser. November 1863, xv. 621–3; Epistolæ Cantuarienses, Introd. p. lxxxvii). His aunt Lucy was the third wife of Robert, eldest son of Hugh [q. v.] of Grantmesnil (Orderic, p. 692). By the marriage of his grandfather Savaric FitzChana with a daughter of Richard de Meri, son of Humphrey I of Bohun, he was a cousin of Jocelin, bishop of Sarum, and his son Reginald FitzJocelin [q. v.], bishop of Bath and archbishop-elect of Canterbury (Church, Chapters in Wells History, p. 379). Bishop Savaric was also a cousin of the emperor Henry VI (Epp. Cantuar. p. 350)—probably through his mother Estrangia, which name is perhaps a corruption, and Beatrix, mother of Henry VI and daughter of Reginald III, count of Burgundy.
In 1172 Savaric, being then in orders, was fined 26l. 3s. 4d. for trying to carry off a bow from the king's foresters in Surrey (ib.). Conjointly with two others, he was instituted archdeacon of Canterbury in 1175; but this arrangement did not answer, and he ceased to hold the office in 1180, in which year he appears as treasurer of Sarum (Diceto, i. 403; Le Neve, i. 38; Register of St. Osmund, i. 268 sq.). About that date, too, he was made archdeacon of Northampton, signing as such after that year (Wells Manuscripts, p. 14). In 1186 he was in disgrace with the king, who sent messengers to Urban III to complain of him; the dispute was probably about money (Gesta Henrici II, i. 356). Having taken the cross, Savaric went on the crusade with Richard, and in 1191 obtained a letter from the king at Messina, which he sent to his cousin Reginald, bishop of Bath, directing the justiciaries to sanction Savaric's election should he be chosen to a vacant bishopric. He was already well known at Rome, and went off thither to forward his plans, probably accompanying the queen-mother Eleanor (1122?–1204) [q. v.], who left Messina for Rome on 2 April (Richard of Devizes, c. 34). These plans were that Bishop Reginald should be promoted to the see of Canterbury, which had fallen vacant in the November previous, and that he should himself succeed Reginald as bishop of Bath. Savaric secured the help of his cousin the Emperor Henry and of Philip of France (Epp. Cantuar. pp. 350–1). Reginald was elected in November and died in December; but before his death he obtained a pledge from the convent that they would elect Savaric. The monks of Bath did so without waiting for the assent of the canons of Wells; the canons protested, but the chief justiciar Walter, archbishop of Rouen, did not heed them, and, acting on the king's letter, confirmed the election (Rich. of Devizes, sec. 58). Savaric received priest's orders and was consecrated at Rome on 8 Aug. 1192 by the cardinal bishop of Albano (Diceto, ii. 105–6).
Early in 1193 Savaric, who was still abroad, was engaged in negotiating with the emperor for Richard's release (Rog. Hov. iii. 197). He was mindful of his own interests, for at his instance the emperor caused Richard to agree to Savaric's proposal that he should annex the abbey of Glastonbury to the bishopric of Bath. At the same time, however, Savaric was hoping to get the archbishopric of Canterbury, and the king unwillingly, and under the emperor's compulsion, wrote to the convent of Christ Church recommending him. Richard, however, was fully determined that Hubert Walter [q. v.] should be archbishop, and on 8 June wrote to his mother charging her to secure his election, and to pay no heed to his letter on behalf of Savaric (Epp. Cantuar. pp. 364–5), and Hubert was elected accordingly. Towards the end of the month Savaric went to Worms and was present at the conclusion of the treaty between the emperor and Richard for the king's release (Rog. Hov. iii. 215). He applied to Celestine III to sanction his annexation of Glastonbury, returned to England, summoned Harold, the prior, to Bath on 8 Dec., and told him and the monks with him that he was their abbot. On the same day his proctors went to the abbey, and by royal authority claimed it for the bishop; the monks gave notice of appeal to the pope (Domerham ii. 357–8). Savaric returned to Germany, was at Mainz on 4 Feb. 1194 when the king was released, and was one of the hostages for the payment of his ransom, being bound not to leave Germany without the emperor's consent (Rog. Hov. u.s. 233; Diceto, ii. 113). The emperor appointed him chancellor of Burgundy, that is apparently of the county. Meanwhile the monks of Glastonbury were defending the independence of their house, and in August the king, evidently displeased at the way in which Savaric had taken advantage of his captivity to advance his own projects, revoked his grant and deprived him of the abbey (Domerham, ii. 360). The news of this check seems to have led Savaric to leave Germany; he was at Tours in the spring of 1195, and while there received a privilege from Celestine III declaring the union of the churches of Bath and Glastonbury, making Glastonbury equally with Bath a cathedral church, and directing that Savaric and his successors should use the style of bishops of Bath and Glastonbury (ib. pp. 361–3), which Savaric accordingly adopted. He went on to England, and was at Bath in November (Bath Chartularies, pt. ii. No. 683). The Glastonbury monks having appealed, he went to Rome. In 1196 he procured a second privilege from the pope, together with an order to the archbishop to put him in possession of the abbey, and a letter inhibiting the monks from electing an abbot. His agents took these to Glastonbury in February 1197, and the monks sent a protest to the archbishop, who told them that they were too slack in their own cause, for the bishop did not sleep, and that Savaric would have had possession before then if he had not hindered him (Domerham p. 369). Savaric was sent to Richard by the emperor to propose a compensation for the king's ransom, and in October was with Richard at Rouen. The archbishop, in November, unable longer to delay obedience to the pope's orders, commanded the monks to obey the bishop, and Savaric's proctors took possession of the abbey. Savaric went to England, and is said to have begun to distress the monks. In 1198, however, the king encouraged them in their appeal to the new pope, Innocent III, and in August, acting on the archbishop's advice, deprived Savaric of the abbey and took it into his own hands. He employed Savaric along with other bishops at this time to propose terms of reconciliation to Geoffrey (d. 1212) [q. v.], archbishop of York. In October he gave the monks authority to elect an abbot, and in November they elected William Pyke (Pica). The next day Savaric sent his official and others to the abbey to announce that he had excommunicated Pyke and his supporters.
On Richard's death Savaric renewed his attempts on Glastonbury. He was present at John's coronation on 27 May 1199, and is said to have purchased the king's assent to his taking possession of the abbey. On 8 June Bernard, archbishop of Ragusa (called in Hearne's Adam de Domerham, ii. 382, ‘Arragonensis’), and the archdeacon of Canterbury were sent with royal letters to insist on the submission of the monks and to enthrone Savaric, who accompanied them with a band of armed men. He had the gates of the abbey forced, and was enthroned in the church. His guards shut the recalcitrant monks in the infirmary and kept them without food until the next day, when he summoned them to the chapter-house and there had some of them beaten before him, and induced most of the convent, some by fear and others by cajolery, to submit to him. It was probably at this time that he caused one of the beneficed clerks of the abbey to be beaten in his presence so grievously that the man died a few days afterwards (ib. p. 406). He then accompanied the king to Normandy, and later went to Rome, where the monks were pressing their appeal. It was believed that he applied for leave to deprive Bath of its cathedral dignity and transfer his see to Glastonbury (Rog. Hov. iv. 85), and it is asserted that he had actually done so by King Richard's authority (Ralph de Coggeshall, p. 162), but this is erroneous. A long record of the outrages committed by him and his agents was laid before the pope, who in 1200 annulled Pyke's election, confirmed the union of the churches of Bath and Glastonbury, ordered Savaric to abstain from violence, and appointed commissioners to draw up terms between him and the abbey. Pyke died at Rome on 3 Sept., and at Glastonbury it was believed possible that Savaric had caused him to be poisoned (Domerham, ii. 399). In October and November Savaric was in attendance on the king at Lincoln and elsewhere. The award of the pope's commissioners, made in 1202 and confirmed by the pope, gave the abbey to Savaric, assigned to him and his successors certain of its estates calculated to bring in a fourth of the revenue of the house, gave him rights of patronage and government, and ordered that he should bear his proportion of the liabilities of the convent, and should make compensation to certain whom he had injured (ib. pp. 410–25). Savaric, having thus gained the victory in his long conflict, became gracious to the monks, and conferred some benefits on the convent (ib. p. 422). He made some grants to the Wells chapter, which had strenuously supported him in his struggle with Glastonbury, and he carried out what was evidently a definite policy of strengthening the secular chapter of the church of Wells, which, though not in his day a cathedral church, was of prime importance in his bishopric, by bringing into it the heads of the greater monastic houses within, or connected with, his diocese; for besides annexing the abbacy of Glastonbury to his see, he founded two new prebends and attached them to the abbacies of Athelney and Muchelney, and, after some dispute, prevailed on the abbot of Bec in Normandy to hold the church of Cleeve in Somerset as a prebend of Wells (Wells Cathedral Manuscripts, pp. 13, 22, 25, 29, 34, 294; Church, p. 119). He instituted a daily mass at Wells in honour of the Virgin, and another for all benefactors, and endowed a daily mass for his own soul, and ordered that a hundred poor should be fed on his obit. He granted a charter to the city of Wells, and prevailed on King John to grant one also in 1201 (ib. pp. 386–91). When the treasures of churches were seized to make up Richard's ransom, he saved the treasure of the cathedral priory of Bath, and gave some gifts to the convent, which celebrated his obit as at Wells (Bath Chartularies, pt. ii. No. 808). In 1205 he was at Rome, and was engaged in obtaining the bishopric of Winchester for Peter des Roches. He died at Civita Vecchia (Senes la Vieille, said also to be Siena) on 8 Aug. He was buried in his cathedral at Bath, his epitaph, which seems to have been placed on his tomb there, being:
Notus eras mundo per mundum semper eundo,
Et necis ista dies est tibi prima quies.
(R. de Coggeshall, p. 163; comp. Godwin, De Præsulibus, p. 370). Savaric left many debts, but his credit was good, for in a gloss in the ‘Decretals of Gregory IX’ (vol. iii. tit. xi. c. 1) a man is described as praying that he might be included in the legion of Savaric's creditors (Church, p. 122). The name Barlowinwac, which Richardson (De Præsulibus, u.s.) says that he bore, is simply a misreading of some passage (see Rog. Hov. iii. 233), where the name Savaric was followed by that of Baldwin Wac or Wake (Gent. Mag. u.s.). A pastoral staff with a splendid crozier head and a pontifical ring, which were found in the burial-ground of Wells Cathedral between 1799 and 1812, have been ascribed to Savaric by popular tradition, which is in this case obviously erroneous (Archæologia, vol. li. pt. i. p. 106, with coloured plate; see also for engravings, Chapters in Wells History, u.s., and Reynold's Wells Cathedral).
[Gent. Mag. 1863, ii. 621–33, by Bishop Stubbs; Church's Chapters in Wells History, pp. 88–126, 379–93, contains a life of Savaric, reprinted with additions from ‘Archæologia,’ 1887, vol. li.; Adam de Domerham, ii. 355–425; John of Glaston. i. 185 sq., 197–8 (both ed. Hearne); Epp. Cantuar. Introd. lxxvii. n. pp. 350–1, 364–5, ap. Mem. of Ric. I, R. de Diceto, i. 403, ii. 105–6, 113, Rog. Hov. iii. 197, 215, 231, 233, iv. 30, 85, 90, 141, Gervase of Cant. i. 504, 517, 534, Ann. of Wav. ap. Ann. Monast. ii. 248, 252, R. de Coggeshall, p. 162, Gesta Hen. II, i. 356, Reg. of St. Osmund, i. 268 sq. (these eight Rolls Ser.); Ric. of Devizes, sect. 34, 58 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Recueil des Hist. x. 241, xi. 534; Rot. Scacc. Normann. vol. ii. pref. p. xxxi, ed. Stapleton; Orderic, p. 692, ed. Duchesne; Madox's Hist. of Excheq. i. 561; Rep. on Wells Cath. MSS. pp. 13, 14, 16, 22, 25, 29, 294 (Hist. MSS. Comm.); Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic. i. 130, ii. 55 (ed. Hardy); Chartularies of Bath Priory, pt. ii. Nos. 683, 808 (Somerset Record Society); Dugdale's Baronage, i. 187 and Monasticon, i. 5; Somerset Archæological and National History Society, xii. i. 39–41, by J. R. Green.]