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.
30 July 1176
3 kal. Aug., after a council at Northampton in January 1176