William of Kilkenny

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William of Kilkenny
Bishop of Ely
Memorial to Bishop William de Kilkenny in Ely Cathedral.jpg
Memorial to Bishop William de Kilkenny in Ely Cathedral
Elected c. 29 September 1254
Term ended 21 September 1256
Predecessor Hugh of Northwold
Successor Hugh of Balsham
Consecration 15 August 1255
by Boniface of Savoy
Personal details
Died 21 September 1256
Denomination Catholic

William of Kilkenny (died 21 September 1256) was a Lord Chancellor of England and Bishop of Ely.


William may be the same William of Kilkenny who was elected Bishop of Ossory in 1231, but resigned the office in 1232 before being consecrated. Whether that William is the same William that later became Bishop of Ely, the man who later became bishop was a king's clerk by 1234. He was sent to Rome on royal business twice, once in 1234–1235 and again in 1237. In 1238 he left royal service, and was employed by two successive bishops of Durham, Nicholas of Farnham and Richard Poore. By May 1247 he was back in royal service, for in that month King Henry III of England sent him overseas.[1]

William was Archdeacon of Coventry,[2] from November 1247,[1] as well as controller of the wardrobe from 1249 to 1252, and chancellor from 1250 to 1255.[3]

William was elected to the see of Ely about 29 September 1254[4] and consecrated on 15 August 1255 at Bellay in Savoy by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Boniface of Savoy.[1]

William died on 21 September 1256,[4] in Spain where he had gone on a diplomatic mission for the king. His heart was sent to Ely for burial in Ely Cathedral. His only known relative was a nephew who held land in Waterford and was knighted in 1254.[1] He had constructed an elaborate tomb that remained empty, and is now located near the high altar in the north choir aisle of Ely Cathedral. His heart was buried near the altar of Saint Etheldreda.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Stacey "Kilkenny, William of" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces): Ely: Bishops
  3. Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 85
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 244
  5. Sayers "Once 'Proud Prelate'" Journal of the British Archaeological Association pp. 77–78


Political offices
Preceded by
Sir John Lexington
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
Henry Wingham
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Hugh of Northwold
Bishop of Ely
Succeeded by
Hugh of Balsham