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Hubert Walter


Archbishop of Canterbury, chancellor of England; d. en route, Canterbury to Boxley, England, 1205. He was brought up in the household of his uncle, the great lawyer Ranulf de Glanville, and so was early prepared for the career of civil servant that he pursued with consummate skill. In 1186 he was appointed dean of york and in 1189, Bishop of salisbury. The following year he accompanied King richard i and Abp. baldwin of can terbury on the Third crusade where he distinguished himself by both his diplomatic ability and his practical care for the crusaders in distress. During the return journey to England he visited the imprisoned King Richard in Austria. Hubert was elected archbishop of canter bury in 1193; the next year Richard appointed him justiciar of England. As justiciar in Richard's absence Hubert governed England, devising new forms of taxation, new methods of local government, and a superior system of governmental record-keeping. Then in 1198, when inno cent iii renewed the ancient prohibition against priests holding secular office, Hubert resigned the justiciarship. But with the death of Richard the next year, he accepted the office of chancellor under King john and exercised that office with great efficiency until his death. In the course of his unceasing public work, Hubert became embroiled in many quarrels, some with saintly antagonists such as Bp. hugh of lincoln, others with egotists such as giraldus cambrensis, one with his own chapter at Christ Church, Canterbury. He incurred at times the wrath of kings and popes. As a result Hubert gained a somewhat justified reputation for being too worldly, though his foundation of premonstratensians at West Dereham, his solicitude for witham charterhouse, and his concern for his cathedral at Canterbury betoken genuine piety.

Bibliography: k. norgate, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 10:137140. c. r. cheney, From Becket to Langton (Manchester 1956). f. l. cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London 1957) 661.

[d. nicholl]

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