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William of Kilkenny


English bishop, royal chancellor; d. Spain, Sept. 21, 1256. He was perhaps of a Durham family, though probably of Irish descent; he studied Canon and civil law at Oxford. He was elected to the See of Ossory, Ireland, in 1231, but resigned before consecration in 1232. By 1247 he was archdeacon of Coventry. He was elected bishop of ely in 1254 and consecrated in 1255, one example of the many who rose to bishoprics through royal service in the 13th century. A clerk for King Henry III by 1232, he acted as king's proctor in Rome (123438), in which capacity he took part in various negotiations. From 1249 to 1252 he was controller of the king's wardrobe. In 1250 he was appointed keeper of the great seal, or acting chancellor, with Peter of Rivaux. From 1253 to 1255 he was sole keeper with the title of chancellor, and during Henry's absence in Gascony (125354) he was actual head of the administration with Richard of Cornwall. He was an envoy to Alphonso X of Castile (1256).

Bibliography: c. l. kingsford, The Dictionary of National Biography from Earliest Times to 1900 11:104105. t. f. tout, Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England 6 v. (New York 192033) v.1. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 2:104849. m. gibbs and j. lang, Bishops and Reform 12151272 (London 1934; repr. 1962).

[h. mayrharting]

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