Suffeld, Walter (DNB00)

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SUFFELD or SUTHFELD, WALTER (d. 1257), who is also called WALTER CALTHORP, bishop of Norwich, was a native of Norfolk, and studied at the university of Paris, where he was ‘regens in decretis.’ He was elected bishop of Norwich towards the end of 1243, but Henry III withheld his assent till 9 July 1244, hoping to prevent the translation of the former Bishop William de Raleigh [q. v.] He was confirmed by Boniface, the elect of Canterbury, at St. Albans the same year, and consecrated at Norwich by Fulk Basset, bishop of London on 19 Feb. 1245 (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 41; Matt. Paris, iv. 261, 378; Ann. Mon. ii. 336, i. 166). Soon afterwards he went to the Roman curia at Lyons, returning about March 1246 (Matt. Paris, iv. 555). Suffeld preached the sermon at Westminster on 13 Oct. 1247, when the vase containing the holy blood was brought thither by the king. He attended the parliament at London in February 1248, and in the following October went to the papal court, whence about a year later he returned with ‘a shameful privilege for extorting money in his bishopric’ (ib. iv. 642, v. 5, 36, 80). He was one of the bishops who attended the meeting at Dunstable on 24 Feb. 1251 to protest against the archbishop's right of visitation. Suffeld attended the parliament at London in April 1253, when the king promised to observe the charters. At the end of the year he was appointed by the pope to collect the tenth of ecclesiastical property which had been granted to the king. He was busy with this during all the subsequent year, and the new valuation of ecclesiastical property which was made under his direction was known as the ‘Norwich taxation,’ and became the basis of nearly all later clerical assessments (ib. v. 451, vi. 296; Ann. Mon. i. 326, 363–4, iii. 191).

Suffeld died at Colchester on 19 May 1257, and was buried in Norwich Cathedral. Miracles are said to have been worked at his tomb, for in a time of famine he had given all his plate and treasure for the use of the poor (Matt. Paris, v. 638). He founded the hospital of St. Mary and St. Giles at Norwich for poor priests and scholars (Cal. Papal Registers, i. 312), and built the lady-chapel of the cathedral. A synodal constitution and some statutes of his are printed in Wilkins's ‘Concilia,’ i. 708, 731. A document, ‘De potestate archiepiscopi Cantuariensis in prioriatu Cantuariensi,’ which was drawn up by Suffeld, is printed in Wharton's ‘Anglia Sacra,’ i. 174–5. There are two of his letters in the additamenta to Matthew Paris's ‘Chronica Majora,’ vi. 231–2. The substance of his will is given at length by Blomefield in his ‘History of Norfolk.’ His bequests included one to the scholars of Oxford. William de Calthorp, his nephew, was his heir.

[Matthew Paris's Ann. Monast. and Flores Historiarum, Cotton De Episcopis Norwicensibus (all three in Rolls Ser.); Blomefield's Hist. of Norfolk, iii. 486–92; Wharton's Anglia Sacra; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 700.]

C. L. K.