Somercote, Lawrence (DNB00)


SOMERCOTE, SWINERCOTE, or SOMERTON, LAWRENCE (fl. 1254), canonist, was born in the south of England. He was brother or kinsman of Cardinal Robert Somercote [q. v.], and became, like him, subdeacon to the pope. Walter, bishop of Norwich, appointed him his official in 1240, and instituted him to the vicarage of Woolpit. He was made canon of Chichester, and was official to the bishop there, Richard de Wyche [q. v.], in 1247. On Richard's death in April 1253, he wrote a ‘Treatise on the Canonical Election of Bishops,’ which he finished in July 1254. An account of the numerous manuscripts of this work and extracts therefrom have been printed in ‘Lincoln Cathedral Statutes’ (1897, pt. ii.) On 23 July 1254 Walter, bishop of Norwich, and John, bishop of Chichester, chose Lawrence to collect tithe in Ireland. Writing from Dublin on 20 May 1256, he begged to be relieved of his employment, declaring that he would not willingly stay in Ireland for double his salary.

[Tanner's Bibliotheca; Bradshaw and Wordsworth's Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, pt. ii. pp. cxxiv sqq.; Shirley's Letters and Memorials of Henry III, ii. 117.]

M. B.