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William la Zouche


Archbishop of York; d. Cawood, Yorkshire, England, July 19, 1352. He was probably son of the first Baron La Zouche of Harringworth, Northamptonshire. By 1330 he had taken orders, and by 1335 had obtained, possibly at Oxford, the degrees of master of arts and bachelor in Canon Law. A king's clerk as early as 1328, La Zouche became keeper of the wardrobe in 1329, controller of the wardrobe in 1334, keeper of the privy seal in 1335, and treasurer of England in 1337. Ecclesiastical preferment kept pace with his advance in the royal service, leading to the deanship of York in 1335. His election to the See of york in 1340 ran counter to the wishes of Edward III, who favored William Kilsby, then keeper of his privy seal. A personal journey by La Zouche to avignon, marked by his abduction and ransom at Geneva, gained for him papal confirmation; he was consecrated by clement vi at Avignon in 1342. Henceforth, his attention was centered almost wholly on problems facing the north of England, in particular the shortage of clergy following the plague, and the continuing menace of the Scots. La Zouche, in fact, commanded one of the three victorious English divisions at Neville's Cross in 1346. His resistance to a papal appointment to the deanship of York led to his excommunication in 1349. Otherwise, his was a comparatively quiet tenure of office, free from internal discord. He is buried in York Minster before St. Edward's altar.

Bibliography: w. h. dixon, Fasti eboracenses. Lives of the Archbishops of York, ed. j. raine (London 1863). t. f. tout, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 21:133538. j. r. l. highfield, "The English Hierarchy in the Reign of Edward III," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser., 6 (1956) 115138. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 2:111516.

[f. d. logan]

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