|Archbishop of York|
|Diocese||Diocese of York|
|See||Archbishop of York|
|Term ended||1041 and 1051|
|Died||22 January 1051
Ælfric first appears in the historical record as the provost of New Minster, Winchester. He was probably a native of Wessex. He became Archbishop of York in 1023, but did not hold the see of Worcester at the same time, which had been traditional for a number of years. He was consecrated by Æthelnoth, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was replaced as Bishopric of Worcester by Lyfing, Abbot of Tavistock.
Ælfric travelled to Rome in 1026 to receive his pallium from Pope John XIX. He was the first archbishop of York to travel to Rome for their pallium, all other palliums held by the archbishops previous to this having been sent to York. During King Cnut of England's reign, Ælfric received the manor of Patrington in Holderness from the king and his wife Emma of Normandy. In 1036 he may have been the bishop who crowned Harold Harefoot king of England, since the Archbishop of Canterbury of the time was Æthelnoth, who supported Harold's rival Harthacnut.
However, when Harthacnut became king, Ælfric became a supporter of Harthacnut. During Harthacnut's reign, Ælfric was sent with others to disinter Harold's body and throw it away. In 1040, Lyfing was accused of taking part in the murder of Alfred and Ælfric used the temporary disgrace of Lyfing to acquire Worcester. In fact, the chronicler John of Worcester relates the story that it was Ælfric himself who accused Lyfing of being involved in Alfred's murder, although whether to curry favor with the new king Harthacnut or in order to acquire Worcester is unclear. Ælfric was deprived of both his sees in 1041.
Ælfric's main political activities took place during Harthacnut's reign, although he attested charters of Cnut, Harold Harefoot and Edward the Confessor also.
Ælfric translated the relics of John of Beverley into a new shrine at Beverley in 1037, and worked to foster the cult of that saint, by providing new buildings and giving endowments to the church. An oddity of his time as archbishop was that instead of the normal descriptor archiepiscopus on charters, Ælfric used archipraesul instead. He continued the work of his predecessor in founding houses of canons in his archdiocese. A late medieval source recorded by the early modern antiquarian John Leland claims that Ælfric created the offices of sacristan, chancellor, and precentor at Beverley.
Under Edward the Confessor
In 1042, Æthelric, who had succeeded to the see of York, was deprived of York and Ælfric was returned to York. Ælfric officiated with Archbishop Edsige of Canterbury at the coronation of Edward the Confessor at Winchester on 3 April 1043. Ælfric died at Southwell on 22 January 1051 and is buried in Peterborough Cathedral. While the later medieval chronicler William of Malmesbury felt that Ælfric deserved rebuke, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle called him "very venerable and wise". Ælfric left his vestments and altar to Peterborough Abbey.
Ælfric's nickname, or byname, "Puttoc" probably means "kite" (the type of bird; confer Old English pyttel, "kite; little hawk"), and may have been an invention by the monks of Worcester to belittle Ælfric. It may have meant "buzzard" also. It never occurs without the Ælfric, so it is unlikely to have been a true second name. The Northumbrian Priests' Law which is usually attributed to Ælfric's predecessor Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York, might have been authored instead by Ælfric, or possibly Ælfric's successor Cynesige.
- Hunt "Ælfric (d. 1051)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Cooper Last Four Anglo-Saxon Archbishops p. 14
- Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 224
- Cooper Last Four Anglo-Saxon Archbishops p. 16
- Fletcher Bloodfeud p. 104
- Barlow English Church 1000–1066 pp. 72–74
- Walker Harold p. 16
- Barlow English Church 1000–1066 p. 234
- Cooper Last Four Anglo-Saxon Archbishops p. 17
- Barlow, Frank, Edward the Confessor p. 61
- Barlow Edward the Confessor p. 104
- Knowles The Monastic Order in England p. 73
- Quoted in Barlow English Church 1000–1066 p. 73
- Fletcher Bloodfeud p. 113-114
- Fletcher Bloodfeud p. 128
- Barlow, Frank (1970). Edward the Confessor. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01671-8.
- Barlow, Frank (1979). The English Church 1000–1066: A History of the Later Anglo-Saxon Church (Second ed.). New York: Longman. ISBN 0-582-49049-9.
- Cooper, Janet M. (1970). The Last Four Anglo-Saxon Archbishops of York. Borthwick Papers Number 38. York, UK: St Anthony's Press. OCLC 656290.
- Fletcher, R. A. (2003). Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516136-X.
- Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
- Hunt, William (2004). "Ælfric (d. 1051)" ((subscription or UK public library membership required)). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. revised by Marios Costambeys. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/191. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
- Knowles, David (1976). The Monastic Order in England: A History of its Development from the Times of St. Dunstan to the Fourth Lateran Council, 940–1216 (Second reprint ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-05479-6.
- Walker, Ian (2000). Harold the Last Anglo-Saxon King. Gloucestershire, UK: Wrens Park. ISBN 0-905778-46-4.
|Catholic Church titles|
|Archbishop of York
|Bishop of Worcester
|Archbishop of York