Rival bishops, rival cathedrals: the election of Cormac, archdeacon of Sodor, as bishop in 1331

Sarah E Thomas

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Abstract

On 6 July 1331, two procurators arrived in Bergen claiming that
Cormac son of Cormac had been elected bishop of Sodor by the clergy of Skye
and the canons of Snizort. Their arrival is recorded in a letter sent by Eiliv,
archbishop of Nidaros, to two canons of the church of Bergen ordering that
there be an examination of the election in the cathedral of Bergen on 12 July
1331. Cormac’s election was contentious for three main reasons: firstly, there
was already a new bishop of Sodor; secondly the right to elect a bishop of Sodor
seems to have lain with the clergy of Man; and thirdly the king of Scots had the
right to present the candidate to the archbishop of Nidaros. This paper examines
the identities and careers of both Cormac and his successful rival, Thomas de
Rossy, and the potential reasons for Cormac’s claim and its ultimate failure.
Therefore, this study reveals some of the underlying geopolitical realities of the
diocese of Sodor in the mid-fourteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalInnes Review
Volume60
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • medieval
  • Scotland
  • Norway
  • church
  • papacy
  • Hebrides

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