William de Lamberton

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Image:WilliamLambertonSeal.jpg
The seal of Bishop William de Lamberton.

William de Lamberton, sometimes modernized as William Lamberton, was Bishop of St Andrews (elected 1297; consecrated 1298) during the Scottish Wars of Independence.

He is recorded in one source as coming from the ancient Barony of Kilmaurs, Ayrshire and his surname would in this case be Cunninghame, for the Lands of Lambroughton have an ancient origin inextricably linked to the Cunninghame family (McNaught 1912).

William may also have come from the settlement of Lamberton, near Berwick in the Scottish Borders (Logan Mack 1926). The name Lamberton here was derived from the Germanic name Lambert, whilst Lambroughton, sometimes spelt Lamberton, is derived from a corruption of the clan McLamroch.

He was appointed Bishop of St Andrews in 1298 by Pope Boniface VIII, at the behest of William Wallace, in succession to William Fraser. St Andrews was then the wealthiest and most powerful See in Scotland. He was consecrated in Rome on 1 June 1298, before joining other Scots on a diplomatic mission to France.

It was here he took a young James Douglas as a squire. They returned to Britain together, where Lamberton took Douglas to court to petition unsuccessfully for the return of his estates. James Douglas later became one of the closest friends of Robert the Bruce.

After William Wallace resigned as Guardian of Scotland, William de Lamberton was appointed along with Robert the Bruce and John Comyn. His role was to act as a third, neutral party between the two enemies. However, Bruce resigned in 1300, to be replaced by Sir Ingram de Umfraville. All three were replaced in 1301 by John de Soules.

William was also the Guardian of Scotland for a period during the inter-regnum troubles between the joint competitors for the throne of Scotland, Bruce, Comyn and Baliol. William supported Robert I (Robert the Bruce) with money and advise, even though Bruce was at one point excommunicated for killing the Red Comyn in Dumfries church.

He was active in the Wars of Independence from the beginning, supporting and financing William Wallace. He was present at the coronation of Robert the Bruce in March 1306, and may have placed the crown on his head (He was crowned again a few days later by Isabella MacDuff). Lamberton did this despite the fact that Bruce had been excommunicated by the Pope for murdering John Comyn in a church.

He was then captured and tried at Newcastle. On 11th - 12th August 1308, he swore fealty to Edward II of England, swearing to pursue the King's enemies, pay a ransom of £6000 in installments and remain within the boundaries of the See of Durham. However, by 16 March 1309 he was attending King Robert I at Parliament in Scotland.

After the Battle of Bannockburn, Edward II tried unsuccessfully to get the Pope to depose Lamberton as Bishop of St. Andrews.

William Lamberton rebuilt St. Andrew's Cathedral, which was dedicated at a ceremony remembered as a national thanksgiving for Scottish independence. King Robert I, seven bishops, fifteen abbots, and nearly all the nobility of the realm were present. He also rebuilt the castle of St Andrew's, and the fortified manor houses at Inchmurdo, Monimail, Dairsie, Torry, Muckhart, Kettins, Monymusk, Lasswade, and Stow.

He died on May 20 1328 and was buried on the north side of the high altar of his cathedral on 7 June 1328.


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Religious Posts
Preceded by:
William Fraser
Bishop of St. Andrews
1297/8-1328
Succeeded by:
James Bane

William de Lamberton

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