Savaric FitzGeldewin

Savaric FitzGeldewin

Savaric, sometimes Savaric FitzGeldewin or FitzGoldwin or Savaric de Bohun, (died 8 August 1205) was a nobleman who became Bishop of Bath and Glastonbury in England.


His date of birth is unknown. His father was Geldwin a member of the Bohun family and who was probably a second cousin of Reginald fitz Jocelin, Bishop of Bath. Geldwin's father was Savaric Fitzcana, who held Midhurst in Sussex. The elder Savaric's wife was Muriel, who was a granddaughter of Humphrey de Bohun. His mother Estrangia was a Burgundian and related to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. Thus the younger Savaric was a cousin of Emperor Henry VI and also of his predecessor as Bishop of Bath. He was archdeacon of Northampton in 1175 and Treasurer of Salisbury from 1174. In December of 1191, while on the continent with the crusaders, he was elected Bishop of Bath, and the following year was ordained priest at Rome, as well as being consecrated on 20 September 1192 by the Bishop of Albano. He went on the Third Crusade with King Richard I of England. He was also one of the negotiators for the ransom of Richard. Savaric's election was held under controversial conditions, for Savaric had obtained from Richard I letters allowing Savaric to be elected to the next available bishopric. When Savaric's cousin Reginald was elected to Canterbury in 1191, Reginald went to Bath and pressed the clergy there to select Savaric as Reginald's successor. On the strength of the letters from Richard, the justiciar Walter de Coutances ratified the election of Savaric. The canons of Wells objected because they had not been consulted, but Savaric was ordained a priest and consecrated as bishop on 19 September 1192. It may have been while he was in Germany negotiating about Richard's ransom that he was named imperial chancellor of Burgundy, but as he was not named by that title until 1197, the exact date of his occupation of the office is unclear.

Pope Celestine III consented to the annexation of Glastonbury Abbey to the bishopric of Bath, and Savaric's plan was to be joint Bishop of Bath and Glastonbury. The monks of Glastonbury objected to the incorporation and appealed to Rome, but their appeal was disallowed in 1196. In spite of the fact that Savaric had been one of the hostages at Mainz for the ransom of the English king Richard I, the king, on his release, supported the monks. It was not till 1199 that the bishop, after a forcible entry, was enthroned in the abbey. A second appeal of the monks to the new pope, Innocent III, was dismissed, and in 1202 Savaric was again declared abbot. From that time all opposition vanished and Savaric became a considerable benefactor to Glastonbury. At Wells he instituted a daily Mass in honour of Our Lady, and left instructions for the feeding of 100 poor persons both at Wells and at Bath. Savaric also gave a charter to Wells, and persuaded King John to grant a charter from the crown to that city. Not the least of his services to Bath was his intervention to save the treasury of the abbey from being emptied for the ransom of Richard I. Savaric died at Civitavecchia or Siena on 8 August 1205 while in Rome on business for Peter des Roches, Bishop-elect of Winchester. He was buried at Bath.




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