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Restitutus (fl. 314) was a Romano-British bishop, probably from Londinium (London), one of the British delegation who attended the church synod or Council held at Arles (Arelate), in Gaul, in AD 314.

Bishop of London?
DioceseDiocese of London?
Personal details

The list of those who signed the Acta, the decisions made by the Council, included three bishops, along with a "presbyter" and a "deacon", from Britain.[1][2] The British bishops were Eborius "de civitate Eboricensi" – from the city of Eboracum (York); Restitutus "de civitate Londenensi" – from the city of Londinium (London); and Adelfius "de civitate Colonia Londenensium" – that is, from the "colonia of the people of London". The text, which survives only in a number of later manuscript copies, is clearly corrupt in assigning two bishops to London. Since London was not a colonia,[3] suspicion has fallen on the place of origin of Adelfius, bishop of the "colonia of the people of London".

Most authorities have suggested emending "Colonia Londenensium" to "Colonia Lindensium" – the colonia of the people of Lindum (Lincoln).[2][4][5]

However S. N. Miller considered that the word "colonia" was also suspect; he pointed out that although many other coloniae had sent bishops to Arles, among them Cologne, Trier and Lyons, none had been designated "colonia" in the list.[6] Miller argued that "de civitate Colonia Londenensium" was a mistake for "de civitate Camu/lodunensium" – "the city of the people of Camulodunum" (Colchester). This view was supported by archaeologist Sir Ian Richmond.[7] Others have identified Adelfius as Bishop of Caerleon-on-Usk.[6][8]

Notwithstanding the debate about the role of Adelfius, it seems most probable that the identification of Restitutus as Bishop of London was correct. However, no more is known about him, nor about his predecessors and successors in the Romano-British see of London. His name does not appear in the list of supposed early "Archbishops of London" that the 16th-century historian John Stow attributed to Jocelin of Furness.[9][10] Stow himself noted this anomaly, and the fact that Restitutus was listed as a bishop and not an archbishop; this, he felt, cast doubt on the authenticity of the list of archbishops.[9] Later writers attempted to reconcile the two sources, usually by inserting Restitutus into "Jocelin's" list, either between Hilarius and Guitelinus,[11][12] or after Guitelinus.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Munier, C., ed. (1963). Concilia Galliae a. 314-a. 506. Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina. (in Latin). 148. Turnhout: Brepols. pp. 15–22.
  2. ^ a b Rivet, A. L. F.; Smith, Colin (1979). The Place-Names of Roman Britain. London: Batsford. pp. 48–50.
  3. ^ There were only four coloniae in Roman Britain: Camulodunum (Colchester), Lindum (Lincoln) Eboracum (York) and Glevum (Gloucester). See Richmond, I. A. (1946). "The four Coloniae of Roman Britain". Archaeological Journal. 103: 57–84.
  4. ^ Mann, J. C. (December 1961). "The Administration of Roman Britain". Antiquity. 140: 316–20.
  5. ^ Thomas, Charles (1981). Christianity in Roman Britain to AD 500. London: Batsford. p. 197.
  6. ^ a b Miller, S. N. (1927). "The British bishops at the Council of Arles (314)". English Historical Review. 42: 80–1.
  7. ^ Richmond, I. A. (1946). "The four Coloniae of Roman Britain". Archaeological Journal. 103: 57–84 at p. 64.
  8. ^ Thackeray, Francis (1843). Researches into the ecclesiastical and political state of Ancient Britain under the Roman Emperors, with observations upon the principal events and characters connected with the Christian religion during the first five centuries (in Latin and English). Volume 1. London: Thomas Cadell, Strand. p. 275. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b Stow, John (1908). Kingsford, C. L. (ed.). A Survey of London. 2. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 125–6.
  10. ^ Birkett, Helen (2013). "Plausible fictions: John Stow, Jocelin of Furness and The Book of British Bishops". In Downham, Clare (ed.). Jocelin of Furness: Essays from the 2011 Conference. Donnington: Shaun Tyas. pp. 91–120. ISBN 9781907730337.
  11. ^ Godwin, Francis (1616). De praesulibus Angliae commentarius (in Latin). Part 1. London: John Bill. pp. 226–7.
  12. ^ Le Neve, John; Hardy, T. Duffus (1854). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae: or a Calendar of the Principal Ecclesiastical Dignitaries in England and Wales... 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 273–4. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  13. ^ Godwin, Francis (1601). A Catalogue of the Bishops of England, since the first planting of Christian religion in this Island... London: George Bishop. pp. 134–5.