|Henry's pals gang up on Little Tommy Becket|
As bishop of Holar, Gudmundur Arason defended the Church Court's jurisdiction in, the prosecution of a priest. In specific, the local padre had knocked some poor penitent girl up and was under prosecution to make some provision for her. Like Becket, who had become archbishop with Henry's support, Gudmundur owed his position in part to Kolbeinn Tumason, the chieftain of the Asbirning clan.
Ecclesiastical immunity from regular criminal courts was no more a popular idea then than it would be now, but Gudmundur was the bishop so he defended the point. You might think that a bunch of Vikings like the Icelanders would be more violent than some tea-sipping Brits, but not in this case. Perhaps because the lesson of Becket had already spread through Christendom, or perhaps because it was just the right way to do it -- the archbishop called Gudmundur to Norway until everyone cooled off. [To be fair, Thomas a Becket spent a few years in exile in France before returning to England and drawing the foul.]
|The statue of Gudmundur near Holar.|
Here's the plot twist! [I hope you hung in for it.] The Bishop's men killed Tumi! I know, what a reversal, right? And just like Henry, Gudmundur took the heat, though he didn't get killed for it or anything. He was once more recalled by the archbishop to Norway, where he no doubt did a lot of penitential things for months on end. By the time he got back to Holar, he was just the sort of quiet, pensive old bishop that a chieftain would hope to find down at the cathedral, the kind to read his Bible and say the Mass and not make any more trouble.