Cardinal Adam Easton, O. S. B.

In his book, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century, W. A. Pantin praises Worcester monks for their ability to record lecture notes.[1] One such set of notes is contained within the fourteenth-century F65, folio 13, and is entitled ‘Derterminacio Ade de Estone. Vtrum Adam pro statu innicencie visionem habuit immediatam diuine essence’, (‘Decision of Adam of Easton. Whether Adam in the state of innocence had a natural vision of the divine essence.’)

 

Manuscript F65, folio 13r. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

 

Manuscript F65, folio 13v. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

 

Further notes associated with Adam Easton are also recorded in folios 20v and 21.

 

Manuscript F65, folio 20v and 21r. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

 

These lectures were delivered and recorded at Oxford. Easton was a well-respected scholar in fourteenth-century England, which may account for the fact that notes of his lectures were made and kept. As many of Easton’s writings are no longer extant it is interesting that these notes have survived.

Adam Easton was born c. 1325. He was a monk at the Benedictine, Cathedral Priory in Norwich and was sent to study at Gloucester College, Oxford. As well as being a respected scholar, Easton was a gifted preacher, and was summoned back to Norwich sometime between 1357 – 1363 in order to preach to the laity in the Cathedral Church instead of the friars who were no longer welcome there. He became the principal of Gloucester College in 1366, but soon went to Rome and became a cardinal in 1381. Unfortunately, he was imprisoned by Pope Urban VI in 1385 because he was thought to have been disloyal to the Pope. However, Easton was restored to his position in 1389, and died in 1397. His tomb is in St Cecilia’s Church in Trastevere.

During his life-time Eason wrote many works, some of which have not survived. In his Defensorium ecclesiastice potestatis Book 1, (books 2-6 are no longer extant), he argues against the ideas of John Wyclif, but in a courteous fashion. In 1391 Easton supported calls for St Bridget of Sweden to be canonized. St Bridget was the first woman to set up a religious order, so this shows that Easton was able to move with the times. Easton was an avid collector of books, which he left to the priory at Norwich when he died. They were transported from Rome to Norwich in six barrels. Some of these books still exist today, and are on a variety of topics.

Abigail Penfold

[1] W.A. Pantin, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955), p.118

Bibliography

 Pantin, W.A., The English Church in the Fourteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955).

Thomson, R. M., A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts in Worcester Cathedral Library (D. S. Brewer on behalf of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral, 2001).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] W.A. Pantin, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955), p 118.

 

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