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Walter de Cantilupe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walter de Cantilupe
Bishop of Worcester
William III de Cantilupe (d.1254) MatthewParis Historia Anglorum.png
Elected30 August 1236
Term ended12 February 1266
PredecessorWilliam de Blois
SuccessorNicholas of Ely
Ordination18 April 1237
Consecration3 May 1237
Personal details
Died12 February 1266

Walter de Cantilupe[a] (died 1266) was a medieval Bishop of Worcester.

Early life and career

Cantilupe came from a family that had risen by devoted service to the crown. His father, William I de Cantilupe,[1] and his elder brother William II de Cantilupe were named by Roger of Wendover among the evil counsellors of King John of England, apparently for no better reason than that they were consistently loyal to an unpopular master.[2]

Cantilupe at first followed in his father's footsteps, entering the service of the Exchequer and acting as an itinerant Justice in the early years of Henry III.[2][1]

But Cantilupe also took minor holy orders, and, in 1236, although not yet a deacon, received the see of Worcester.[2] He was elected on 30 August 1236 and was consecrated on 3 May 1237.[3] He was ordained a deacon on 4 April 1237 and a priest on 18 April 1237.[1]


As bishop, Cantilupe identified himself with the party of ecclesiastical reform, which was then led by Edmund Rich and Robert Grosseteste. Like his leaders he was sorely divided between his theoretical belief in the papacy as a divine institution and his instinctive condemnation of the policy which Pope Gregory IX and Pope Innocent IV pursued in their dealings with the English church. At first a court favorite, Cantilupe came at length to the belief that the evils of the time arose from the unprincipled alliance of crown and papacy.[2]

In 1240 Cantilupe conducted the significant Synod of Worcester, advancing many reforms for the church.[citation needed]

Cantilupe raised his voice against papal demands for money, and after the death of Grosseteste in 1253 was the chief spokesman of the nationalist clergy. At the parliament of Oxford in 1258 he was elected by the popular party as one of their representatives on the committee of twenty-four which undertook to reform the administration; from that time until the outbreak of civil war he was a man of mark in the councils of the baronial party. During the war he sided with Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and, through his nephew, Thomas de Cantilupe, who was then Chancellor of Oxford University, brought over the university to the popular side.[2]

Cantilupe was present at the Battle of Lewes and blessed the Montfortians before they joined battle with the army of the king; he entertained de Montfort on the night before the final rout and defeat of the Battle of Evesham. During Montfort's rule Cantilupe appeared only as a mediating influence; in the triumvirate of electors who controlled the administration, the clergy were represented by the Bishop of Chichester.[2]

Death and legacy

Cantilupe died on 12 February 1266.[3] He was respected by all parties, and, though far inferior in versatility and force of will to Grosseteste, fully merits the admiration which his moral character inspired. He is one of the few constitutionalists of his day whom it is impossible to accuse of interested motives.[2]


  1. ^ Also Cantelow, Cantelou, or Canteloupe; Latinised to de Cantilupo


  1. ^ a b c British History Online Bishops of Worcester accessed on 3 November 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e f g  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cantilupe, Walter de". Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 218.
  3. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 279


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William de Blois
Bishop of Worcester
Succeeded by
Nicholas of Ely
This page was last edited on 16 February 2021, at 21:04
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