- Robert de Fyvie
name = Robert de Fyvie
Roman Catholic Church
Diocese of Ross
Bishop of Ross
Period = 1275–1292 × 1295
April 8, 1275
Predecessor = Matthew
Successor = "
Adam de Darlington" / Thomas de Dundee
Archdeacon of Ross(1249 × 1269–1275) | ordination =
date of birth = unknown
place of birth = unknown
date of death =
November 17, 1292× November 18, 1295
place of death =
Robert de Fyvie [also de Fyvin] (d. 1292 × 1295) was a
prelatebased in the Kingdom of Scotlandin the last quarter of the 13th century. Perhaps coming from Fyviein Formartine, from a family of Teesdaleorigin, Robert was Archdeacon of Rossand a student at the University of Bolognaby 1269. In 1275, he was not only a graduate but the new Bishop of Ross, a post he held until his death in the first half of the 1290s.
Earl life and career
There has been confusion over his name in some sources. Papal sources use "S" instead of "F", "Syvin" instead of "Fyvin", while Scottish sources use the "F";
Walter Bowererroneously believed his forename was "Thomas", a mistake that was followed by the early modern ecclesiastical historian Robert Keith. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 213; Keith, "Historical Catalogue", p. 187; Watt, "Dictionary", p. 208.] His name almost certainly indicates that he came from Fyvie, a royal burghin the province of Formartine, a royal demesne territory under heavy influence from the immigrant le Cheyne family as well as the Comyn-controlled earldom of Buchan.Watt, "Dictionary", p. 208.]
He is found as a student at the
University of Bolognaon December 5, 1269, when along with one Alan de Edinburgh he gave a receipt for 20 marks to some Florentine merchants; in this appearance he is recorded as Archdeacon of Ross, a position which, under the Fortrose Cathedral constitutionof 1256, meant he must have already been in deacon's orders, as this constitution made that a prerequisite for holding the archdeaconry. [Watt, "Dictionary", p. 208; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 285.] He must have become Archdeacon of Ross sometime after the last known archdeacon, Robert, had become consecrated as Bishop of Ross, that is, after either 1249 or 1250, though there may have been one or several unrecorded archdeacons in an intervening period. [Watt, "Dictionary", p. 208; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", pp. 267, 285.]
It is extremely probable that his accession to the archdeaconry owed something to Comyn influence, Fyvie being from Comyn's area of influence and
Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan, being sheriffof Dingwall in the 1260s (1264-1266). [Reid & Barrow, "Sheriffs of Scotland", p. 10; Watt, "Dictionary", p. 208.] It is likely that Robert was still in Bolognain 1272; in that year, Robert was not one of the five "compromissarii" selected by the Ross cathedral chapterwho elected Matthew as Bishop of Ross, but the chapter did appoint him to accompany Matthew to the papal court at Orvieto, presumably because he was conveniently still in Italy. [Watt, "Dictionary", pp. 208, 385.] Robert had graduated with a Master's degreeby 1275.
Bishop of Ross
Robert de Fyvie was back in Scotland when, on
April 8, 1275, Pope Gregory Xgranted Robert de Fyvie, now Bishop-elect of Ross, mandate for local confirmation and consecration; the election had occurred at some point after the death of Bishop Matthew at the Second Council of Lyonsin the summer of 1274. [Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 267.] The decree of election had been presented to the Pope by Donnchadh and Master William, canons of the diocese of Ross; having been examined and approved by three cardinals, the mandate was sent to William Wishart, Bishop of St Andrews, and Hugh de Benin, Bishop of Aberdeen, instructing them to examine his fitness for the bishopric and, if they approved, consecrate him with the assistance of a third bishop. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 213.] The bishopric was still in crown hands in June, but it is probable that Robert was consecrated by August 6, the date of the meeting of the Scottish prelates with the papal tax collector at Perth.Watt, "Dictionary", p. 208; Watt, Fasti Ecclesiae, p. 285.]
Bishop Robert appeared next on
September 16, 1278, at "Eddyrdor" (now Redcastle), witnessing alongside three of his canons and Uilleam II, Earl of Ross, a grant to Beauly Priory. On September 27, 1279, at Kiltarlityin Inverness-shire, and on March 26, 1280, at Kinlossin Moray, Bishop Robert, along with his cathedral dean and the Prior of Beauly, acted as a papal judge-delegate in a dispute between Archibald, Bishop of Moray, and the lord of Beaufort, a French settlement in the Aird that had the Scottish name "Dùnaidh" (Dounie). On July 18, 1285, Pope Honorius IVissued Bishop Robert a letter protecting the bishop and his churches against alleged oppressions conducted by the officials of King Alexander III of Scotland; it is possible that Bishop Robert had travelled to the papal curiaat Tivolito obtain this protection.
However, five years later the bishop found himself in trouble with the papacy. On
November 28, 1290, Pope Nicholas IVcommanded the Bishop of Aberdeen, Henry le Chen, Thomas de Balmerino, Abbot of Scone, and John de Haddington, Prior of St Andrews, to ensure that certain complaints regarding Bishop Robert were redressed; Bishop Robert's dean and cathedral chapter were unhappy regarding his alleged abuse of property, particularly the granting of money and benefices to his kinsmen and friends at the expense of the clergy of the diocese. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 213; Watt, "Dictionary", p. 208.] Men who benefited under Robert's episcopate included a large number of Englishmen from the area around the river Tees, including Adam de Darlington, Thomas de Jar and John de Hedlam, perhaps indicating that Robert's family may have taken its ultimate origin from that area of England.
Bishop Robert was one of the Scottish political figures present when the
Treaty of Salisburywas confirmed as the Treaty of Birghamon March 17, 1290; he subsequently became one of the Comyn-backed auditors appointed for the case of John de Balliol at Norham, in the Great Cause. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 213; Watt, "Dictionary", pp. 208-9.] Bishop Robert de Fyvie swore fealty to King Edward I of Englandon August 1, 1291, along with the Earl of Ross and Henry le Chen. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 213; Watt, "Dictionary", p. 209.] He can be found as an auditor at Berwickduring the proceedings, on June 21, November 6and November 17, 1292. [Watt, "Dictionary", p. 209.]
The bishop cannot be found in the records after November 17, though no successor to the bishopric is known until
November 18, 1295, making Bishop Robert's date and year of death something of a mystery. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 213; Watt, "Dictionary", p. 209; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 267.]
* Dowden, John, "The Bishops of Scotland", ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
* Keith, Robert, "An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops: Down to the Year 1688", (London, 1824)
* Reid, N. H., & Barrow, G. W. S., "The Sheriffs of Scotland: An Interim List to C.1306", (St. Andrews, 2002)
* Watt, D. E. R., "A Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Graduates to A. D. 1410", (Oxford, 1977)
* Watt, D. E. R., "Fasti Ecclesiae Scotinanae Medii Aevi ad annum 1638", 2nd Draft, (St Andrews, 1969)
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