William (d.1075) (DNB00)

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WILLIAM (d. 1075), bishop of London, a Norman priest, and one of the clerks or chaplains of Edward the Confessor [q. v.], was chosen bishop of London in 1051, during the absence of Earl Godwin [q. v.], in place of Spearhafoc to whom Archbishop Robert of Jumièges [q. v.], had refused consecration, and was consecrated by Robert. On the return of Godwin in September 1052, he fled from London in company with Robert (A.-S. Chron. ‘Abingdon,’ sub an.), but, as he was popular on account of his goodness of heart, he was soon recalled and reinstated in his see (Flor. Wig.) The Conqueror's charter to London is addressed to him as well as to the portreeve, his name coming first. He was perhaps, in or about 1068, one of three commissioners appointed to arrange the general redemption by the English of their lands (Freeman, Norman Conquest, iv. 26, 725). He consecrated Lanfranc to the see of Canterbury in 1070, was present at the council that Lanfranc held in London in 1075, and died in that year. The citizens of London are said to have long kept his day, honouring him doubtless for his connection with the Conqueror's charter, and they placed a laudatory epitaph on his tomb in the middle of the nave of St. Paul's Church (copied by Godwin, De Præsulibus, pp. 174–5). That in spite of his nationality he was restored to his see is a sufficient witness to his high character. The Conqueror enabled him to retain some lands that belonged to his see (Norman Conq. v. 741).

[Authorities quoted; Will. of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontiff. p. 66 n.; Vita Lanfranci, p. 300, ed. Giles.]

W. H.