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Burnell, Robert

Burnell, Robert (d. 1292). Clerical statesman. One of Edward I's chief advisers, Burnell was born at Acton Burnell in Shropshire, took holy orders, and came under the patronage of Edward when prince, accompanying him on many journeys. He acted as a guardian of the realm when Henry III died in 1272 while Edward was on crusade. On the king's return in 1274 he nominated Burnell chancellor, a post he held for the rest of his life. The following year he was made bishop of Bath and Wells. He took a prominent part in Welsh and Scottish affairs and in legal reform. By the end of his life he was said to have acquired more than 80 manors in nineteen counties. He was reputed to have fathered a number of children and, despite the king's powerful support, was passed over for promotion either to Winchester or to Canterbury.

J. A. Cannon

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