Matthew (bishop of Ross)

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Bishop of Ross
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Diocese of Ross
In office 1272–1274
Predecessor Robert (II.)
Successor Robert (III.)
Consecration × 25 December 1274
Personal details
Born unknown
Died 1274
Lyons, France (?)
Previous post Succentor of Ross (fl. 1255 × 1271)

Matthew (died 1274) was a 13th-century cleric based in the Kingdom of Scotland. Walter Bower called him Macchabeus,[1] a Latinization (literature) of the Gaelic name Mac Bethad or Mac Beathadh, previously held by a 12th-century bishop.[2] Either Bower is confused or Matthew changed his name or took a pseudonym more appropriate to the environment of the "international" church, a practise not unusual in the period.[3]

He was given the title of Magister ("Master") by Bower, indicating the completion of a university education and more particularly of a Masters' degree at some stage in his life, but details of this have not survived and the title may be spurious.[4] He is found as succentor of the cathedral of Ross in a Moray document dating between 1255 and 1271; he is the first person known to have held this position, and probably the first to have held this new position under the new cathedral constitution of 1256.[5]

After the death of Robert, Bishop of Ross, Matthew was part of the team of five compromissarii (delegated electors) who voted for the new bishop; as it happened, it was Matthew who was elected.[6] He travelled to the papal court at Orvieto, along with the archdeacon Robert de Fyvie, and without waiting very long, was consecrated by Pope Gregory X personally (per nos ipsos) by 28 December 1272, on which date a mandate was issued authorising him to proceed to his bishopric.[7]

Presumably after returning to Ross, he travelled back to continental Europe to attend the Second Council of Lyon in France, held in the summer of 1274.[4] There, according to Bower, he died (of unspecified causes); Bower on this occasion calls him Magister Matthaeus episcopus Rossensis, "Master Matthew Bishop of Ross" rather than Macchabeus.[8] Whether or not Bower's claim about his death at Lyons is true, the bishopric was certainly vacant by the following Christmas.[9]


  1. Dowden, Bishops, p. 212; Watt, Dictionary, p. 385.
  2. Watt, Fasti Ecclesiae, p. 266.
  3. Bartlett, England, pp. 538-41.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dowden, Bishops, p. 213; Watt, Dictionary, p. 385.
  5. Innes (ed.), Registrum Episcopatus Moraviensis, no. 282; Watt, Dictionary, p. 385; Watt, Fasti Ecclesiae, p. 284.
  6. Dowden, Bishops, pp. 212-3; Watt, Dictionary, p. 385.
  7. Dowden, Bishops, pp. 212-3; Watt, Dictionary, p. 385; Watt, Fasti Ecclesiae, p. 267.
  8. Dowden, Bishops, p. 213; Watt, Dictionary, pp. 385-6.
  9. Watt, Dictionary, p. 386; Watt, Fasti Ecclesiae, p. 267.


  • Bartlett, Robert, England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, (Oxford, 2000)
  • Dowden, John, The Bishops of Scotland, ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
  • Innes, Cosmo Nelson, Registrum Episcopatus Moraviensis; E Pluribus Codicibus Consarcinatum Circa A.D. Mcccc., Cum Continuatione Diplomatum Recentiorum Usque Ad A.D. Mdcxxiii, (Edinburgh, 1837)
  • Watt, D. E. R., A Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Graduates to A. D. 1410, (Oxford, 1977)
  • Watt, D. E. R., Fasti Ecclesiae Scotinanae Medii Aevi ad annum 1638, 2nd Draft, (St Andrews, 1969)
Religious titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Ross
Succeeded by
Robert de Fyvie