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Walter of Cantelupe


Bishop, ecclesiastical administrator, political reformer; d. Blockley, Worcester, England, Feb. 4, 1266. Walter was second son of William, first Baron Cantelupe and steward of the royal household; he probably studied at Oxford. He was elected bishop of worcester in 1236 and consecrated in 1237. Living during the reign of King henry iii, Cantelupe was a member of the committee appointed to draw up proposals for constitutional reform in 1244, and was a consistent supporter of simon de mont-fort's baronial plan of reform between 1258 and 1265. During this period he was the leading spokesman of the bishops favoring reform. Although he had spoken in favor of pluralism in 1237, Cantelupe was a notable ecclesiastical reformer, as is evidenced by his diocesan statutes of 1240. These statutes were wide in their scope and detailed, including sections on the administration of the Sacraments, on the life and conduct of the clergy (arranged ingeniously under the titles of the seven deadly sins), and on archdeacons' visitations. They provided much material for the diocesan statutes of the next generation.

In 1245 he attended the Council of lyons, where he supported Bp. robert grosseteste on taxation of clergy. Cantelupe had a local reputation for sanctity, and after his death miracles were said to have been worked at his tomb. Proposals for his canonization may have been made.

Bibliography: h. r. luard, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 18851900) 3:904906. c. r. cheney, English Synodalia of the 13th Century (Oxford 1941). f. m. powicke, King Henry III and the Lord Edward, 2 v. (New York 1947). a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the Scholars of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 1:349350. m. gibbs and j. lang, Bishops and Reform, 12151272 (London 1934; repr. 1962).

[h. mayr-harting]

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