Geoffrey Plantagenet, Archbishop of York
d.12 Dec 1212 Normandie, France
Facts and Events
Geoffrey (c. 1152 – 12 December 1212), sometimes called Geoffrey Plantagenet, fitzPlantagenet, or fitzRoy, was an illegitimate son of Henry II, King of England, who became bishop-elect of Lincoln and archbishop of York. The identity of his mother is uncertain, but she may have been named Ykenai. Geoffrey held several minor clerical offices before becoming Bishop of Lincoln in 1173, though he was not ordained as a priest until 1189. In 1173–1174, he led a campaign in northern England to help put down a rebellion by his legitimate half-brothers; this campaign led to the capture of the William, King of Scots. By 1182, Pope Lucius III had ordered that Geoffrey either resign Lincoln or be consecrated as bishop; he chose to resign and became Chancellor instead. He was the only one of Henry II's sons present at the king's death.
Geoffrey's half-brother Richard I nominated him archbishop of York after succeeding to the throne of England, probably to force him to become a priest and thus eliminate a potential rival for the throne. After some dispute Geoffrey was consecrated archbishop in 1191. He soon became embroiled in a conflict with William Longchamp, Richard's regent in England, after being detained at Dover on his return to England following his consecration in France. Geoffrey claimed sanctuary in the town, but he was seized by agents of Longchamp and briefly imprisoned in Dover Castle. Subsequently a council of magnates ordered Longchamp out of office, and Geoffrey was able to proceed to his archdiocese. The archbishop spent much of his archiepiscopate in various disputes with his half-brothers: first Richard and then John, who succeeded to the English throne in 1199. Geoffrey also quarrelled with his suffragan bishops, his cathedral chapter, and other clergy in his diocese. His last quarrel with John was in 1207, when the archbishop refused to allow the collection of a tax and was driven into exile in France. He died there five years later.