John of Crema

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John of Crema[1] (died before 27 January 1137[2]) was an Italian papal legate and cardinal. He was a close supporter of Pope Callistus II.[3]


John undertook a significant papal mission to Henry I of England in 1124-5, sent by Callistus (who died in 1124) and confirmed by his successor Pope Honorius II. At this time, England was generally closed to papal diplomats;[4] of nine legates to England in Henry's reign, John was the only one to be able to use his authority.[5]

Modern historians have speculated[6] that this permission was a quid pro quo after Callistus had annulled the marriage to Sibylla of Anjou of William Clito, who was struggling against Henry in Normandy. John, with Peter Pierleone and Gregory of San Angelo, had upheld the annulment.[7] Fulk V of Anjou, Sibylla's father, took this badly, and in late 1124 a stand-off developed. Fulk imprisoned the papal legates and treated them roughly, and was excommunicated. Shortly Fulk submitted, and William Clito's position deteriorated in consequence.[8]

John held a legatine council at Westminster Abbey on 9 September 1125.[9] Here he claimed precedence over William of Corbeil.[10]

One of John’s tasks related to enforcement of the celibacy of the clergy.[11] A contemporary story, mentioned by Roger of Hoveden,[12] and repeated in David Hume’s history,[13][14] is that he had been surprised in bed with a woman (perhaps supplied by the bishop of Durham[15]). This is treated now as probably being a rumour, put about by Henry of Huntingdon.[16]


John became Cardinal around 1117[17] and rebuilt his titular church of San Crisogono in Rome, from about 1120.[18][19]


  1. ^ John de Crema, Giovanni da Crema, Johannes Cremensis.
  2. ^, note 2.
  3. ^ Mary Stroll, Calixtus II (1119-1124): A Pope Born to Rule (2004), p. 164.
  4. ^ Stroll, p. 165.
  5. ^ A. L. Poole, Domesday Book to Magna Carta (1955 edition), p. 184.
  6. ^ Reginald Allen Brown (editor), Anglo-Norman Studies VI: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1983(1984), p. 86.
  7. ^ I. S. Robinson, The Papacy 1073-1198(1990), p. 158.
  8. ^ C. Warren Hollister, Henry I (2001), p. 305.
  9. ^ Edward Carpenter, Cantuar: The Archbishops in Their Office(1997), p. 116.
  10. ^ Hollister, pp. 378-9.
  11. ^ Unholy Mother Archived 16 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Elfinspell:Annals of Roger de Hoveden Pt 20: Henry T. Riley's English translation; Medieval History; online text; primary source
  13. ^ Book 1, Ch. 2 - The Conquest to King John | British History Online
  14. ^ Hume, David (nd). History of England. 1. Boston: Aldine Book Publishing Co. p. 265.
  15. ^ Philip Schaff, History Of The Christian Church, with emendations (Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
  16. ^ Hollister, p. 11 and p. 307-308.
  17. ^ The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church - Titles
  18. ^ Medieval Rome
  19. ^ Peter Cornelius Claussen, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom in Mittelalter 1050-1300 (2002), p. 387.


  • Hicks, Sandy Burton "The Anglo-Papal Bargain of 1125: The Legatine Mission of John of Crema", Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Winter, 1976), pp. 301–310

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