Quivil, Peter de (DNB00)
|←Quinton, James Wallace||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 47
Quivil, Peter de
QUIVIL or QUIVEL, PETER de (d. 1291), bishop of Exeter, a native of Exeter, was son of Peter and Helewisia Quivel. The surname sometimes appears erroneously Wyville or Quiral, but Peter was usually styled Peter of Exeter. Before 1258 he was instituted vicar of Mullion, Cornwall, but resigned before 7 July 1262, when he was succeeded by John Quivel, priest, apparently a kinsman (Hingeston-Randolph, Episcopal Registers of Bronescombe, Quivil, &c. p. 175, cf. p. xix). His description as ‘master’ suggests an academical degree. In 1263 he became archdeacon of St. David's. On 9 Dec. 1276 he was collated by Bishop Bronescombe to a prebend at Exeter. On 22 June 1280 Bishop Bronescombe died. On 7 Aug. Edward I gave the chapter license to elect his successor. The canons chose ‘Master Peter of Exeter’ (ib. p. xix; Ann. Osney, p. 284; Ann. Waverley, p. 394). On 7 Oct. the royal assent was given. On 10 Nov. Richard Gravesend, bishop of London, consecrated Peter in Canterbury Cathedral by mandate of the archbishop.
Quivil, who took no part in political work, seldom left his diocese. In the spring of 1282 the diocese was visited by Archbishop Peckham. In 1285 Edward I spent Christmas at Exeter (Oxenedes, p. 266), and commemorated the occasion by grants and licences to the bishop and chapter (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1281–92, pp. 215, 217). It is said that the king took up his residence at the bishop's palace (Oliver, Hist. of Exeter, p. 63). In April 1287 Peter held a diocesan synod which drew up a long and important series of canons, mostly declaratory of the ordinary law of the church (Wilkins, Concilia, ii. 129–68).
Quivil was a liberal benefactor to the cathedral and to its clergy (cf. Oliver, Monasticon Dioc. Exon. pp. 48, 230). He enforced residence and removed abuses, though in these respects he could not escape the criticisms of Archbishop Peckham. His chief work was in connection with the cathedral fabric. Bishop Bronescombe had begun the transformation of the Norman cathedral. Quivil first completed a part of the work, and seems to have procured plans for the whole building; so that, though most of the present structure was erected by his successors, his energy and care gave the church its unity in designs and details. It is with good reason that he was called the founder of the new work (‘fundator novi operis,’ Freeman, Architectural History, p. 12, from the Fabric Roll of 1308). Quivil's most memorable work was the reconstruction of the two transept towers of Bishop Warelwast's Norman church. He took down part of the inner side, enriched and enlarged the great Gothic arches that opened out into the nave, adorned the severe romanesque interior with fluted columns and shafts of Purbeck marble, and pierced through the masonry the north and south transept windows, whose beautiful ‘wheel tracery’ suggested the type for most of the ‘decorated’ windows of other parts of the church. He added to the transept-towers the two eastern chapels of St. John the Baptist and St. Paul. He completed the lady-chapel; possibly began the choir, and almost certainly built the eastern bay of the nave. Quivil's care extended to the precinct of the cathedral, the defenceless condition of which led to disorders at Exeter as elsewhere; and on 1 Jan. 1286 he obtained from the king licence to enclose the churchyard and precinct with a stone wall, with sufficient gates and posterns, to be closed at night and opened at daybreak (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1281–92, p. 215). He also obtained in 1290 licence to crenellate his house at Exeter and strengthen it with a wall (ib. p. 393). As the palace adjoined the cathedral precinct, the effect of these measures was to make the whole close defensible.
Quivil died on 1 Oct. 1291 (Hingeston-Randolph, pp. xxi–ii), and was buried in his new lady-chapel before the altar, where a marble slab covered the grave. This slab was in 1820 restored to its original place, and the half-effaced cross and inscription recut. This runs: ‘Petra tegit Petrum: nichil officiat sibi tetrum.’
Quivil's register—the second to survive of the Exeter episcopal registers—is extant in a small vellum book of twenty-four folios. Both ends are imperfect, and parts are badly damaged. Prebendary Hingeston-Randolph published in 1889 an alphabetical digest of the whole, and printed in full those parts which, owing to the defaced state of the manuscript, are rapidly becoming illegible.[The Registers of Bronescombe and Peter Quivil, &c., by F. C. Hingeston-Randolph, pp. 309–95, including, besides the digest of the register, an itinerary of the bishop and a valuable summary (pp. xix–xxiii) of his acts; P. Freeman's Architectural History of Exeter Cathedral, xx. 11–14, gives details of his building operations; Oliver's Lives of the Bishops of Exeter contains a modern biography; Oliver's Monasticon Dioc. Exoniensis, pp. 48, 230; Oliver's Hist. of the City of Exeter (1861), pp. 61–71; Ann. of Waverley and Osney, Oxenedes and Peckham's Letters, the last four in Rolls Ser.; Wilkins's Concilia, ii. 83, 129–68; Wharton's Anglia Sacra; Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1281–1292; E. A. Freeman's Hist. of Exeter, pp. 80–4, 184 (Historic Towns); Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. i. 308, 370, ed. Hardy; Godwin, De Præsulibus, pp. 406–7 (1743); Stubbs's Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum, p. 47.]