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Adam

(c. 1152—1222) abbot of Melrose and bishop of Caithness


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Bishop of Caithness 1213–22. Adam became a Cistercian monk when a young man and was later abbot of Melrose. William, king of Scotland, appointed him as bishop in a remote area where his own power was weak and that of the Norse earls strong. Adam attempted to enforce law and order, including canon law, and the payment of tithes. The customary offering of a span of butter for twenty cows was increased by Adam to one for fifteen, then one for twelve, and finally one for ten. The people revolted, forced an entry into the bishop's house at Halkirke, and burnt him and his followers to death. His body, although ‘roasted with fire and livid with bruises, was found entire under a heap of stones and buried honourably in the church’. An unofficial cult grew up. Feast: 15 September.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.


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