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LANFRANC (d. 1089)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 170 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LANFRANC (d. 1089)  , archbishop of Canterbury, was a Lombard by extraction . He was born in the early years of the 11th century at Pavia, where his
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father, Hanbald, held the rank of a magistrate . Lanfranc was trained in the legal studies for which
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northern Italy was then becoming famous, and acquired such proficiency that tradition links him with Irnerius of Bologna as a
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pioneer in the renaissance of
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Roman law . Though designed for a public career Lanfranc had the tastes of a student . After his father's
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death he crossed the
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Alps to found a school in France; but in a short while he decided that
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Normandy would afford him a better field . About 1039 he became the master of the
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cathedral school at
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Avranches, where he taught for three 'years with conspicuous success . But in 1142 he embraced the monastic profession in the newly founded house of Bec . Until 1145 he lived at Bec in absolute seclusion . He was then persuaded by Abbot Herluin to open a school in the monastery . From the first he was celebrated (totius Latinitatis magister) . His pupils were
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drawn not only from France and Normandy, but also from Gascony, Flanders, Germany and Italy . Many of them afterwards attained high positions in the Church; one, Anselm of Badagio, became pope under the title of Alexander II .

In this way Lanfranc set the

seal of intellectual activity on the reform
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movement of which Bec was the centre . The favourite subjects of his lectures were logic and dogmatic
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theology . He was therefore naturally invited to defend the
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doctrine of transubstantiation against the attacks of Berengar of
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Tours . He took up the task with the greatest zeal, although Berengar had been his
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personal friend; he was the protagonist of orthodoxy at the
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councils of Vercelli (1050), Tours (1054) and Rome (10J9) . To his influence we may attribute the
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desertion of Berengar's cause by Hildebrand and the more broad-minded of the cardinals . Our knowledge of Lanfranc's polemics is chiefly derived from the tract De
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cor
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pore et sanguine Domini which he wrote many years later (after 1079) when Berengar had been finally condemned . Though betraying no signs of metaphysical ability, his
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work was regarded as conclusive and became a text-
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book in the
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schools . It is the most important of the
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works attributed to Lanfranc; which, considering his reputation, are slight and disappointing . In the midst of his scholastic and controversial activities Lanfranc became a
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political lei-cc . While merely a prior of Bec he led the opposition to the uncanonical
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marriage of Duke William with Matilda of Flanders (1053) and carried matters so far that he incurred a sentence of exile . But the
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quarrel was settled when he was on the point of departure, and he undertook the difficult task of obtaining the pope's approval of the marriage . In this he was successful at the same council which witnessed his third victory over Berengar (1059), and he thus acquired a lasting claim on William's gratitude .

In 1066 he became the first abbot of St

Stephen's at
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Caen, a house which the duke had been enjoined to found as a penance fol his disobedience to the
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Holy See . Henceforward Lanfranc exercised a perceptible influence on his master's policy . William adopted the Cluniac programme of ecclesiastical reform, and obtained the support of Rome for his
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English expedition by assuming the attitude of a crusader against
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schism and corruption . It was Alexander II., the former pupil of Lanfranc, who gave the Norman
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Conquest the papal benediction—a notable
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advantage to William at the moment, but subsequently the cause of serious embarrassments . Naturally, when the see of
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Rouen next fell vacant (1067), the thoughts of the electors turned to Lanfranc . But he declined the honour, and he was nominated to the English primacy as soon as Stigand had been canonically deposed (1070) . The new archbishop at once began a policy of reorganization and reform . His first difficulties were with Thomas of
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Bayeux, archbishop-elect of York, who asserted that his see was
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independent of Canterbury and claimed jurisdiction over the greater
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part of midland England . Lanfranc, during a visit which he paid the pope for the purpose of receiving his
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pallium, obtained an order from Alexander that the disputed points should be settled by a council of the English Church . This was held at Winchester in 1072 . Thanks to a skilful use of forged documents, the primate carried the council's verdict upon every point . Even if he were not the author of the forgeries he can scarcely have been the dupe of his own partisans .

But the political dangers to be apprehended from the disruption of the English Church were sufficiently serious to palliate the

fraud . This was not the only occasion on which Lanfranc allowed his
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judgment to be warped by considerations of expediency . Although the school of Bec was firmly attached to the doctrine of papal
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sovereignty, he still assisted William in maintaining the independence of the English Church; and appears at one time to have favoured the idea of maintaining a neutral attitude on the subject of the quarrels between papacy and
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empire . In the domestic affairs of England the archbishop showed more spiritual zeal . His
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grand aim was to extricate the Church from the fetters of the state and of secular interests . He was a generous
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patron ofmonasticism . He endeavoured to enforce celibacy upon the secular clergy . He obtained the king's permission to
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deal with the affairs of the Church in synods which met apart from the
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Great Council, and were exclusively composed of ecclesiastics . Nor can we doubt that it was his influence which shaped the famous ordinance separating the ecclesiastical from the secular courts (c . 1076) . But even in such questions he allowed some
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weight to political considerations and the wishes of his
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sovereign . He acknowledged the royal right to veto the legislation of
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national synods .

In the cases of

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Odo of Bayeux (ro82) and of William of St
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Calais, bishop of Durham (io88), he used his legal ingenuity to justify the trial of bishops before a
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lay tribunal . He accelerated the
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process of •substituting
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Normans for Englishmen in all preferments of importance; and although his nominees were usually respectable, it cannot be said that all of them were better than the men whom they superseded . For this admixture of secular with spiritual aims there was considerable excuse . By long tradition the primate was entitled to a leading position in the king's councils; and the interests of the Church demanded that Lanfranc should use his power in a manner not displeasing to the king . On several occasions when William I. was absent from England Lanfranc acted as his vicegerent; he then had opportunities of realizing the close connexion between religious and secular affairs . Lanfranc's greatest political service to the Conqueror was rendered in 1075, when he detected and foiled the conspiracy which had been formed by the earls of Norfolk and
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Hereford . But this was not the only occasion on which he turned to good account his influence with the native English . Although he regarded them as an inferior
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race he was just and honourable towards their leaders . He interceded for Waltheof's
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life and to the last spoke of the
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earl as an innocent sufferer for the crimes of others; he lived on terms of friendship with Bishop Wulfstan . On the death of the Conqueror (1087) he secured the succession for William Rufus, in spite of the discontent of the Anglo-Norman baronage; and in 1088 his exhortations induced the English militia to fight on the side of the new sovereign against Odo of Bayeux and the other partisans of Duke Robert . He exacted promises of just government from Rufus, and was not afraid to remonstrate when the promises were disregarded . So long as he lived he was a check upon the worst propensities of the king's administration .

But his restraining

hand was too soon removed . In 1089 he was stricken with fever and he died on the 24th of May amidst universal lamentations . Notwithstanding some obvious moral and intellectual defects, he was the most eminent and the most disinterested of those who had co-operated with William I. in riveting Norman
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rule upon the English Church and
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people . As a statesman he did something to uphold the traditional ideal of his office; as a primate he elevated the
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standards of clerical discipline and
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education . Conceived in the Hildebrandine spirit, his reforms led by a natural sequence to strained relations between Church and State; the equilibrium which he established was unstable, and depended too much upon his personal influence with the Conqueror . But of all the Hildebrandine statesmen who applied their teacher's ideas within the sphere of a particular national church he was the most successful . The chief authority is the Vita Lanfranci by Milo,
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Crispin, who was precentor at Bec and died in 1149 . Milo drew largely upon the Vita Herluini, composed by Gilbert Crispin, abbot of . Westminster . The Chronicon Beccensis abbatiae, a 14th-century compilation, should also be consulted . The first edition of these two
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sources, and of Lanfranc's writings, is that of L. d'Achery, Beall Lanfranci opera omnia (Paris, 1648) . Another edition, slightly enlarged, is that of J .

A .

Giles, Lanfranci opera (2 vols., Oxford, 1844) . The correspondence between Lanfranc and Gregory VII. is given in the Monumenta Gregoriana (ed . P . Jaffe, Berlin, 1865) . Of
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modern works A . Charma's Lanfranc (Paris, 1849), H . Boehmer's Die Fdlschungen Erzbischof Lanfranks von Canterbury (
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Leipzig, 1902), and the same author's Kirche una Staat in England and in der Normandie (Leipzig, 1899) are useful . See also the authorities cited in the articles on WILLIAM I. and WILLIAM II . (H . W . C .

End of Article: LANFRANC (d. 1089)
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