Aldred, or Ealdred (d. 11 September 1069), English ecclesiastic, became abbot of Tavistock about 1027, in 1044 was made bishop of Worcester, and in 1060 archbishop of York.
He had considerable influence over King Edward the Confessor, and as his interests were secular rather than religious he took a prominent part in affairs of state, and in 1046 led an unsuccessful expedition against the Welsh. In 1050 he was largely instrumental in restoring Sweyn, the son of Earl Godwin, to his earldom, and about the same time went to Rome "on the king's errand."
In 1054 he was sent to the emperor Hungary with King Andrew I. In this mission he was successful and obtained some insight into the working of the German church during a stay of a year with Hermann II, archbishop of Cologne.
After his return to England he took charge of the sees of Hereford and Ramsbury, although not appointed to these bishoprics; and in 1058 made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, being the first English bishop to take this journey.
Having previously given up Hereford and Ramsbury, Aldred was elected archbishop of York in 1060, and in 1061 he proceeded to Rome to receive the pallium. On his arrival there, however, various charges were brought against him by a synod, and Pope Nicholas II not only refused his request but degraded him from the episcopate. The sentence was, however, subsequently reversed, and Aldred received the pallium and was restored to his former station.
It is stated by Florence of Worcester that Aldred crowned King Harold II in 1066, although the Norman authorities mention Stigand as the officiating prelate. After the battle of Hastings, Aldred joined the party who sought to bestow the throne upon Edgar the Aetheling, but when these efforts appeared hopeless he was among those who submitted to William the Conqueror at Berkhamstead.
Selected to crown the new king he performed the ceremony on Christmas Day 1066, and in 1068 performed the same office at the coronation of Matilda, the Conqueror's wife. But though often at court, he seems to have been no sympathiser with Norman oppression, and is even said to have bearded the king himself. He died at York on the September 11, 1069 and was buried in his own cathedral.
Aldred did much for the restoration of discipline in the monasteries and churches under his authority, and was liberal in his gifts for ecclesiastical purposes. He built the monastic church of St Peter at Gloucester, and rebuilt a large part of that of St John at Beverley. At his instigation, Folcard, a monk of Canterbury, wrote the Life of St John of Beverley.
- The Anglo_Saxon Chronicle, edited by C. Plummer (Oxford, 1892-1899).
- Florence of Worcester, Chronicon ex Chronicis, edited by B. Thorpe (London, 1848-1849).
- William of Malmesbury, De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum, edited by N. E. S. A. Hamilton (London, 1870).
- W. H. Dixon, Fasti Eboracenses, vol. i., edited by J. Raine (London, 1863).
- T. Stubbs, Chronica Pontificum Ecclesiae Eboracensis, edited by J. Raine (London, 1879-1894).
- E. A. Freeman, History of the Norman Conquest, vols. ii., iii., iv. (Oxford, 1867-1879).
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica.