Richard Palmer (Archbishop)

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Born in England, Richard Palmer (* before 1157; † August 7, 1195 in Messina ) was Elect from 1157 , then Bishop of Syracuse from 1169 and Archbishop of Messina from 1183 until his death . He belonged to the families of Kings Wilhelm I and Wilhelm II of Sicily and was thus a leading member of the Norman court in Palermo.


Signature of 1182

Information about the place and time of his birth or his family background is not available. England is named as home on its epitaph in Messina. Although the Treaty of Benevento had already achieved a fundamental settlement of the conflict between the Pope and the Sicilian king in 1156, Richard showed no hurry to obtain the episcopal ordination. Since he had successfully campaigned for the liberation of the king who had been imprisoned in a noble conspiracy after the murder of Ammiratus ammiratorum Maio of Bari , he became a close advisor to Wilhelm I, who, according to the testimony of Romuald of Salerno, took him and the magister notarius Matheus of Salerno the Queen Margarita as a family member for the time of the immaturity of his son and successor to Wilhelm II. This initially put the Kaid Petrus at the head of the family council. After his escape, she called her relative Stephan von Perche to Sicily, appointed him Chancellor and had him elected Electen of Palermo. Richard's plan to become Archbishop of Palermo himself had thus failed, especially since Bishop Gentilis of Agrigento was one of his opponents. Through the election of Walter as archbishop after Stephen's forced departure to the Holy Land in 1168, this office was permanently barred to him and the elevation to Archbishop of Messina in 1183 also meant the de facto exclusion from the inner circle of power at the court of Palermo, to which he was part Walter and Matheus had heard for over ten years.

On April 28, 1169 he received from Pope Alexander III. the pallium , in 1170 he negotiated with him in Anagni on behalf of the Sicilian king in favor of Henry II of England . He was in correspondence with Peter von Blois , who had temporarily worked at the royal court of Palermo, and with Thomas Becket . A promise from the English king to get him the bishopric of Lincoln was not realized.

Richard also headed the delegation of Sicilian dignitaries that Heinrich's daughter Johanna received in St. Gilles to accompany her to Palermo, where she was married to Wilhelm II in February 1177. On the Dotal deed for Johanna he is in the list of witnesses after Walter von Palermo and Archbishop Alfanus von Capua in third place before the Archbishops Rainald von Bari , Nikolaus von Messina and Rufus von Cosenza . From then on he was regularly mentioned in the dating of the datars from which Bartholomew of Agrigento , Walter's brother, had temporarily displaced him.


  • Salvatore Fodale, Richard Palmer , in Lexikon des Mittelalter 7, Sp. 824
  • Norbert Kamp , Church and Monarchy in the Staufer Kingdom of Sicily. I: Prosopographical foundation: Dioceses and bishops of the Kingdom 1194-1266 , Part III [Münstersche Medieval Writings, 10.I, 3], Munich 1975, 1013-1018, 1234.

Individual evidence

  1. Wilhelm II's document from December 1166 with Richard and Matheus as data files PDF, 37.6 kB. See the preliminary remark by Horst Enzensberger there .
  2. The first reliable evidence is Wilhelm II's diploma for Salerno from August 1167; PDF 36.3 kB
  3. In May 1183 the Archbishop of Messina is mentioned for the last time among the Datars: DWII. 128
  4. Dotal certificate of Wilhelm II. PDF, 283 kB