(Abt 1220-Abt 1286)
Beatrice and her son Robert were involved in a long running dispute with Roger, the Rector of Whitfield church, who accused them of appropriating the revenues of the church. They relied on the liberty, not only to withhold secular remedies from their adversary, but to shield them from arrest and imprisonment when Roger pleaded with successive Bishops of Durham to excommunicate Robert and Beatrice Whitfield. Unsurprisingly Roger, rector of Whitfield, eventually petitioned Edward I to excommunicate the pair and in 1286 he complained to the Scottish king that, about 1270 Andrew and Sir Simon Fraser had sent 32 of their servants, who bound him, and took him with his feet tied under the belly of a sumpter horse [cheapest horse available] into Scotland, robbed him of his goods, and at the end of eight days severely wounded him and left him for dead about midnight in the forest of Selkirk. Meanwhile Beatrice de Whitfield and her son Robert, cousins of the said malefactors, forcibly entered his church of Whitfield, took possession of the same, and were stealing its property. Based upon these actions the Bishop of Durham excommunicated Beatrice and Robert. The priest Roger wanted the Scottish king to make the Frasers compensate him for their actions. While no record of the outcome of this dispute is available, it is known that the excommunication of Beatrice and Robert lasted at least 14 years. This was certainly a considerable embarrassment to the Whitfields.
1 Guild of One-Name Studies, The Whitfield One-Name Study (https://whitfield.one-name.net/ : accessed 15 Jun 2021).
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