ANIAN (died 1306?), bishop of Bangor

Name: Anian
Date of death: 1306?
Gender: Male
Occupation: bishop of Bangor
Area of activity: Religion
Author: John Edward Lloyd

Succeeded Richard (died 1267) in that see. The chapter had permission to elect on 8 November 1267, and on 12 December the Crown assented to the choice of Master Anian, archdeacon of Anglesey, whose consecration at Canterbury followed before the end of the year.

The peace of Montgomery in the previous autumn had left Llywelyn ap Gruffydd as the dominant figure in Welsh affairs, and for a few years Anian acted in close accord with him. He was an arbitrator for the prince under the agreement concluded with the earl of Gloucester in Cantref Selyf in Brecknock on 27 September 1268. He joined the bishop of S. Asaph in negotiating a settlement between Llywelyn and his brother David at Berriw in 1269. Another compact in which he was concerned was that made in April 1272 between the prince and his brother Rhodri. In September 1273 he was with him and of his counsel.

But, as the clouds gathered for the conflict of 1277, his position became difficult. He was, indeed, a Welshman and Llywelyn's confessor, but he was not prepared to defy the royal power. Soon after 21 March of this year he fled to England and found refuge in the abbey of S. Albans. His relatives fought on the king's side, and the slaughter among them was by no means unwelcome to the prince. Anian was reduced to financial straits through the cutting off of his normal sources of income, and the peace of Conway did not for some time bring about the return of cordial relations. At last, in July 1280, archbishop Peckham is found expressing pleasure at the healing of old sores. But the restored harmony did not last long; the Welsh upheaval of 1282 sent Anian again to the king's side, where he appears, at Rhuddlan, on 28 July of that year.

On the death of Llywelyn he came back, in the company of the king, to his diocese, and was active in the settlement of North Wales. He received privileges in acknowledgment of his help, the return of writs and other legal rights in the lands of the bishopric, licence to make a will, and a share of the tithes of royal dues in Englefield. There is, however, no warrant for the statement that his gains included manors bestowed upon him as having baptized the infant Edward at Caernarvon.

The remaining twenty years of his life were uneventful. In July 1291 he held a synod of the clergy of the diocese in the church of Llanfair Garthbrannan, i.e. Old S. Mary's, a little to the north of his cathedral. This fact is recorded upon a blank leaf of Anian's 'Pontifical' or service-book, which, after some vicissitudes, is now a treasured possession of the see. In 1298 he had occasion to complain, as an old man and far from robust, at the encroachment of royal officials upon his episcopal rights. He swore fealty on 28 April 1301 at Conway to the new prince of Wales, and is last heard of in May 1305. His successor was consecrated on 26 March 1307. It was in his time, in July 1280, that the see acquired the property in Shoe Lane, in the city of London, whereon was erected Bangor House, the London home of the bishops until the early 17th century


Published date: 1959

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