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 Walter Giffard

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PostSubject: Walter Giffard   Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:56 pm

Walter Giffard
(d.1279)

Bishop of Bath and Wells (1264); Chancellor of England (1265 - 1266); and Archbishop of York (1266). Walter was one of three regents for King Edward I of England (1272 - 1274, 1275).

Walter was born in Wiltshire and as a young man came to the attention of Adam de Marisco, who recommended him to the Chancellor of Oxford University as a talented scholar.

Walter took Holy Orders at Wells where he became not only a Canon, but also an Archdeacon. Walter's brother Godfrey had also taken Holy Orders and was the Bishop of Worcester whilst his sister Mabel was Abbess of Shaftesbury.

Walter was elected as Bishop of Bath and Wells (22/5/1264) and was duly consecrated (1/9/1264) - however, he was required to travel to France where Boniface, Primate of all England was for his consecrated to be effected in Paris, France (4/1/1265). This consecration on "foreign" soil did not go down too well with the local Barons who rampaged throughout his lands causing much destruction. One of the leading Barons, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester was excommunicated by Walter by order of Boniface, Primate of all England.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Evesham (10/8/1265) where the forces of King Henry III prevailed over the Barons led by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, Walter was made Chancellor and awarded a pension of 500 marks per annum. One year later, Walter was one of those responsible for the Award of Kenilworth (1266) under whose terms those Barons previously disinherited could make approbation and reclaim their estates.

Walter was appointed Archbishop of York by Pope Clement IV (15/10/1266) - he was required to resign as Chancellor of England and consecrated the following month (1/11/1266). Unfortunately, shortly after this (December 1266), Walter became involved in a dispute with Boniface, Primate of all England - the argument was over Walter's right to carry his Cross erect in the southern provinces which came under Boniface's jurisdiction as Archbishop of Canterbury. Walter appealed to Rome - and paid quite heavily (ie: financially) in order to expiate matters (1270).

Prior to his departure on Crusade, Prince Edward (later King Edward I) appointed Walter as tutor to one of his sons. And upon the death of King Henry III and the succession of the absent Edward I (20/11/1272), the Great Seal was delivered unto Walter, who governed as Regent of England with Roger Mortimer and Robert Burnell until Edward's return from the Holy Land.

Walter died at York (April 1279) and was buried in the Cathedral.

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