People of Medieval Scotland
1093 - 1371

Document 2/131/39 (Glas. Reg., no. 38)

Pope Alexander III writes to the bishops of Scotland commiserating with their problems and promising what help he can. He is grieved that King Henry of England has compelled them to swear to obey the English church, which is an affront to God and to Alexander himself, and an attack on ecclesiastical liberty. Kings and princes have no right to arrange ecclesiastical matters. The pontiff, therefore, unwilling for the bishops’ liberty to be lessened, commanded the archbishop of York, papal legate, not to exercise metropolitan jurisdiction over them until, through examination by the Roman pontiff, it is determined whether such jurisdiction is proper. King Henry was warned not to compel this obedience or to support any such compulsion. Alexander commands the bishops to show that obedience due by metropolitan right to no one except to the Roman pontiff until either in his presence or in the presence of a catholic successor, if the archbishop of York wishes to contest, the matter is settled.
Firm date
30 July 1176
Dating Notes
3 kal. Aug., after a council at Northampton in January 1176
Place date (modern)
Place date (document)
Related Place
Source for Data Entry
Glasgow Registrum, i, no. 38
Trad. ID
Glas. Reg., no. 38
Calendar number
Charter type
Papal letter

Total number of associated factoids: 5

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Date Short Summary Primary Witnesses
30 Jul. 1176 Command of obedience to pope until matter concerning obedience is settled yes