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Alexander de Balscot

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Name  Alexander Balscot

Alexander de Balscot, also known as Alexander Petit (died 1400) was one of the leading Irish clerics of the late fourteenth century, who held the offices of Bishop of Ossory, Bishop of Meath, Treasurer of Ireland and Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

He was born at Balscote in Oxfordshire; Nicholas de Balscote, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer 1313-1319, was probably his cousin, though of an earlier generation. He is first heard of in Ireland in 1358; he became vicar of Dungarvan in 1359, Bishop of Ossory in 1371 and Bishop of Meath in 1386. He was criticised for spending large sums of money to influence his election to Ossory, but received a royal pardon for the transgression.

He was appointed Treasurer of Ireland in 1372 and again in 1376; he acted as Justiciar of Ireland in 1379. Richard II appointed him Lord Chancellor in 1386, and a key member of the Irish government of the pre-eminent royal favourite, Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland. Following de Vere's downfall after the Battle of Radcot Bridge in 1388, de Balscot was dismissed from office, along with most of his colleagues, including John Stanley, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond, the Governor, and Sir Robert Crull, the Lord High Treasurer of Ireland. Later that year, King Richard II reappointed all of them to their old positions.

De Balscot later also acted as Chancellor and Justiciar at intervals until his death in 1400. He died at his official residence at Ardbraccan and was buried in Trim at St. Mary's Abbey.

Elrington Ball describes him as a man of great wisdom and learning; although he was in disfavour for parts of his career he was always restored to a position of influence, as his advice was found to be indispensable. O'Flanagan similarly refers to his extraordinary reputation for wisdom and learning.


Alexander de Balscot Wikipedia

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