Pandulf Masca

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"Pandulph" redirects here. For other uses, see Pandulph (disambiguation).
Pandulf Masca
Bishop of Norwich
"King John Absolved by Pandulph" 1797 line engraving by William Blake after Henry Fuseli
Diocese Diocese of Norwich
Appointed 1215
Term ended 16 September 1226
Predecessor John de Gray
Successor Thomas Blunville
Other posts sometime papal legate
Consecration 29 May 1222
Personal details
Born Rome, Papal States
Died 16 September 1226(1226-09-16)
Rome, Papal States
Buried Norwich, England
Denomination Roman Catholic

Pandulf Masca (or Pandolph or Pandolfo or Pandulph; died 16 September 1226) was a Roman ecclesiastical politician, papal legate to England and bishop of Norwich.

Historical career[edit]

Pandulf was born in Rome, and first came to England in 1211, when he was commissioned by Innocent III to negotiate with King John. He is often erroneously called Cardinal Pandulph due to being confused with Cardinal Pandolfo Masca of Pisa.[1]

Obtaining no satisfactory concessions, Pandulf is said to have produced the papal sentence of excommunication in the very presence of the king. In May 1213 he again visited England to receive the king's submission. The ceremony took place at the Templar church at Dover, and on the following day John, of his own motion, formally surrendered England to the representative of Rome to receive it again as a papal fief.

Pandulf repaid this act of humility by using every means to avert the threatened French invasion of England. For nearly a year he was superseded by the cardinal-legate Nicholas of Tusculum; but returning in 1215 was present at the conference of Runnymede, when the Magna Carta was signed. He rendered valuable aid to John who rewarded him[citation needed] with the see of Norwich, England in 1215, however he was not consecrated for a number of years.[2][3] The arrival of the cardinal-legate Gualo in 1216 relegated Pandulf to a secondary position; but after Gualo's departure in 1218 he came forward once more, after having been appointed papal legate again on 1 September 1218.[3]

As representing the pope Pandulf claimed a control over Hubert de Burgh and the other ministers of the young Henry III; and his correspondence shows that he interfered in every department of the administration. His arrogance was tolerated while the regency was still in need of papal assistance; but in 1221 Hubert de Burgh and the primate Stephen Langton successfully moved the pope to recall Pandulf and to send no other legate a latere (of the highest rank) in his place. His legatine commission was terminated by the summer of 1221.[3] He was finally consecrated bishop on 29 May 1222.[2]

Pandulf retained the see of Norwich, but from this time drops out of English politics.[citation needed] He died in Rome on 16 September 1226,[2] but his body was taken to Norwich for burial.

In literature[edit]

Pandulf's role in King John's reign made him a character in later literary and dramatic works that deal with the monarch, like Shakespeare's King John and Robert Davenport's King John and Matilda.


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Pandulph". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  2. ^ a b c Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 261
  3. ^ a b c British History Online Bishops of Norwich accessed on 29 October 2007


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John de Gray
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
Thomas Blunville