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Adam de Marisco
(or ADAM MARSH)
A Franciscan who probably came from the county of Somerset, but the date of his birth is unknown; died at the end of 1257 or the beginning of 1258. He was educated at Oxford, where he acquired a great reputation. He had been for three years rector of Wearmouth, in Durham, when he joined the Friars Minor about 1237. He succeeded Robert Grosseteste as lecturer at the Franciscan house in Oxford, and soon became acquainted with many of the most distinguished men of the time. The extent and character of his correspondence shows how widespread was his personal influence, and is a striking illustration of the moral force exerted by the early Franciscans in England. Adam was intimate with Grosseteste and Archbishop Boniface, with Richard of Cornwall and Simon de Montfort. Always a reformer himself, he must have helped to give Earl Simon, who began his career in England as a foreign favourite, his deep patriotic and religious interest in the cause of reform. Over Henry III a no direct influence, but he had friends at Court and he was most anxious to combine peace and reform. Unfortunately he died just when the great political crisis of the reign was beginning. Before his death his name was proposed by Archbishop Boniface for the See of Ely, where there had been a disputed election, but he seems to have been opposed by the monastic interest. As a man of learning Adam had much to do with the organization of studies at Oxford, and as "Doctor Illustris" was known throughout Europe. Roger Bacon professed for him the same perhaps rather excessive admiration with which he regarded Grosseteste, calling them the "greatest clerks in the world". Among the works attributed to Adam are commentaries on the Master of the Sentences, on parts of Scripture, and on Dionysius the Areopagite.
The chief source of information is Adam's own correspondence published in BREWER, Monumenta Franciscana (Rolls Series). ECCLESTON, De Adventu Minorum, GROSSETESTE'S Letters and MATTHEW PARIS'S Chronicle should also be consulted. Modern works: BREWER, Preface to Monumenta; RASHDALL, Universities of the Middle Ages, II (Oxford, 1895); STEVENSON, Life of Grosseteste (London, 1899); CREIGHTON in Dict. Nat. Biog., s. v. Adam de Marisco.
F. F. URQUHART.