Alexander De Bicknor

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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De Bicknor, Alexander, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord-Chancellor of Ireland, an Englishman, favourite of Edward II., who, after being employed by him on several foreign missions, was consecrated Archbishop of Dublin at Avignon, 22nd July 1317. In 1320 he made vigorous efforts to found a university in Dublin, and obtained the Pope's sanction; but he was unable to carry out the plan for want of funds. In 1323 he was deputed by the King ambassador to France.

He was concerned in the surrender of the town of La Royalle to the French, and thereby incurred the displeasure of the King, who tried to induce the Pope to banish him. In 1325 he was entrusted with the Great Seal of Ireland, the King, however, sequestering the profits of his archdiocese. In 1330 he was appointed by the Pope to collect the Pontifical tax. Disputes relative to precedence with the Archbishop of Armagh followed. De Bicknor was empowered by commission to establish a militia for preserving the peace of Meath and apprehending all traitors and their abettors. His high functions did not prevent him descending to peculation and malversation of moneys, for which, however, he received a formal pardon from the Crown in 1347.

He died 14th July 1349, having practically administered the government of Ireland for a considerable period, with ability. His opponent, the Archbishop of Armagh, took advantage of his last illness to enter Dublin with crozier erect, and otherwise to assert the precedence of his see.

Sources

76. Chancellors of Ireland, and Keepers of the Great Seal: J. Roderick O'Flaherty. 2 vols. London, 1870.

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