Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ADAM (d. 1181 ), bishop of S. Asaph .

Godfrey , long absent from his see, which was now under Welsh control, was pressed in 1175 to return. Instead, he resigned. His place was filled by the election of Adam , a Welshman who had studied in the schools of Paris and risen to the dignity of a canon of that cathedral; he was consecrated at Westminster by archbishop Richard , 12 Oct. A similarity in the career of the two has led many writers, both ancient and modern, to identify him with the well-known schoolman , Adam du Petit Pont , also a canon of Paris and in his day a prominent theologian and disputant . But this cannot be reconciled with the account given by Gerald of Wales of the friendship between him and the bishop , when, as he says, they were fellow students in Paris , not well-to-do and in a private station, for the elder Adam appears as a canon of Paris and a champion of orthodoxy in 1147 , about the time that Gerald was born. Indeed, if we can trust John of Salisbury , Adam du Petit Pont was an Englishman (‘Anglicus noster’).

The new bishop was not long in taking advantage of his Welsh origin to further the interests of his see in Mid Wales . The region between the Wye and the Severn had in times past been reckoned a part of Powys , and the death of bishop David of S. Davids in May 1176 seemed to provide an opportunity to recover it for the northern bishopric. He resolved to make a beginning with the border church of Kerry and engaged the assistance of the local authorities, both lay and clerical. But this was to ignore the recently appointed archdeacon of Brecknock , none other than the formidable Gerald . The two opponents met on the spot and a contest ensued, in which each excommunicated the other. According to the archdeacon , it was the bishop who had to make a crestfallen retreat; certain it is that in the long run, Kerry was retained by the see of S. Davids .

Adam does not appear otherwise in connection with his diocese. He was much in England , attended royal conferences in the spring of 1177 , and was at the Lateran Council of 1179 , where he defended his late master, Peter Lombard , against Walter of S. Victor . He d. at Osney abbey in 1181 .

Sources:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating to Great Britain and Ireland , i, 377-8;
  • Giraldi Cambrensis Opera , Rolls Series, 1861–91 , i, 32-9.

Author:

Sir John Edward Lloyd, D.Litt., F.B.A., F.S.A. (1861-1947), Bangor

Published date: 1959