Merton, Walter de

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Merton, Walter de (d. 1277). Clerical statesman. Educated at Oxford, Walter became a clerk in Chancery and amassed a large number of livings. He was employed by Henry III to negotiate from the pope recognition of Edmund, the king's son, as king of Sicily. In 1261–3 he was chancellor but was forced out by de Montfort's party and not reinstated after the royal victory at Evesham. But he acted as chancellor once more 1272–4 after Henry's death and while Edward I was absent on crusade, and was thanked on the new king's return. For the last three years of his life he was bishop of Rochester. The careful rules he laid down for the governance of his foundation Merton College, Oxford, in 1264 were copied at Peterhouse, the oldest of the Cambridge colleges, and greatly influenced the development of both universities.

J. A. Cannon