|Bishop of Winchester|
|Appointed||29 January 1487|
|Term ended||23 September 1492|
|Died||23 September 1492 (aged 59–60)|
|Previous post(s)|| Bishop of Exeter |
Dean of Windsor
Dean of Exeter
Peter Courtenay (c. 1432 – 23 September 1492) was Bishop of Exeter (1478–87) and Bishop of Winchester (1487-92), and also had a successful political career during the tumultuous years of the Wars of the Roses.
Courtenay was the third son of Sir Philip Courtenay (d. 1463) of Powderham by Elizabeth Hungerford, daughter of Walter Hungerford, 1st Baron Hungerford (d. 1449), by his first wife Catherine Peverell, daughter of Sir Thomas Peverell, MP, of Parke and Hamatethy, Cornwall.He was a grandson of Sir Philip Courtenay (d. 1406) of Powderham, a younger son of Hugh Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon (d. 1377). Courtenay was also a grand-nephew of Richard Courtenay (d. 1415), Bishop of Norwich, and a great-grand-nephew of William Courtenay (d. 1396), Archbishop of Canterbury. He came from a family of six brothers and four sisters.
According to Horrox, Courtenay was admitted bachelor of civil law at University of Oxford in 1457, and continued his legal studies at the University of Cologne, matriculating in the faculty of law there in November 1457. By April 1461 he was studying law at the University of Padua,where he was elected rector.
Courtenay enjoyed ecclesiastical preferment from 1448 on.Among other appointments he was made Archdeacon of Exeter on 8 June 1453, prebendary at Lincoln in 1483, Archdeacon of Wiltshire in 1464, Master of St. Anthony's Hospital, St Benet Fink in the City of London in 1470, Dean of Exeter from October 1476 to March 1477, and Dean of Windsor in April 1477. On 14 June 1478 Courtenay was elected Bishop of Exeter, with papal provision taking place on 9 September 1478. He received his temporalities on 3 November, and was consecrated on 8 November at St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster.
Courtenay's ecclesiastical career ran side by side with involvement in the political affairs of the day. By June 1462 he had left Padua and was back in England, where he entered the service of King Edward IV, and was sent by the King to offer the Duke of Milan the Order of the Garter. In November 1463 he acted as the King's proctor in the papal curia. However, in 1470 both he and his elder brother, Sir Philip Courtenay, had joined King Edward's brother, the Duke of Clarence, in opposition to the King. Courtenay accommodated himself to the Lancastrian regime during the readeption, serving as secretary to King Henry VI. However, in 1471 he rejoined Clarence, and by March 1472 was secretary to Edward IV, who had taken back the throne. Courtenay was still serving as King Edward's secretary in May 1474, and appears to have become a member of the King's council in 1477–8.
After the death of Edward IV on 9 April 1483, Courtenay initially supported the new King, Richard III.However, in the fall of 1483 both he and his younger brother, Walter Courtenay (d. 7 November 1506), attempted to incite a rising in Devon and Cornwall on behalf of Henry Tudor, the future King Henry VII. The rising failed, and Courtenay fled to the continent, joining Tudor in exile at Vannes, Brittany. In January 1484 he was attainted by Parliament, and his temporalities were forfeited. Courtenay accompanied Henry Tudor on his return to England, and after the victory at Bosworth and the death of Richard III, was made Keeper of the Privy Seal on 8 September 1485, and was one of the bishops who officiated at the new King's coronation. His attainder was reversed by Henry VII's first Parliament, and on 29 January 1487 he was translated to become Bishop of Winchester.
Courtenay continued to play a political role until his death, being present at the ratification of a treaty with Spain on 23 September 1490 and the creation of the King's eldest son, Arthur, as Prince of Wales on 29 November 1491. Courtenay died on 23 September 1492, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Courtenay's rising against Richard III is mentioned in Act IV Scene iv of Shakespeare's Richard III, although Shakespeare erroneously refers to Sir Edward Courtenay, the Bishop's cousin, as his brother:
Mess. My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
As I by friends am well advertised,
Sir Edward Courtney and the haughty prelate,
Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother,
With many moe confederates, are in arms.
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470, then again from 11 April 1471 until his death in 1483. He was a central figure in the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars in England fought between the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions between 1455 and 1487.
Francis Lovell, 9th Baron Lovell, 6th Baron Holand, later 1st Viscount Lovell, KG was an English nobleman who was an ally of King Richard III during the War of the Roses. Sir William Catesby, Sir Richard Ratcliffe and he were among Richard's closest supporters, famously called "the Cat, the Rat and Lovell our dog" in an anti-Ricardian squib. In addition to being an ally, Lovell is described as Richard's best friend.
Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, was the sixth child and second son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, born in Shrewsbury. Richard and his older brother, who briefly reigned as King Edward V of England, mysteriously disappeared shortly after Richard III became king in 1483.
The title of Earl of Devon was created several times in the English peerage, and was possessed first by the de Redvers family, and later by the Courtenays. It is not to be confused with the title of Earl of Devonshire, held, together with the title Duke of Devonshire, by the Cavendish family of Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, although the letters patent for the creation of the latter peerages used the same Latin words, Comes Devon(iae). It was a re-invention, if not an actual continuation, of the pre-Conquest office of Ealdorman of Devon.
Sir Richard Grey was an English knight and the half-brother of King Edward V of England.
Walter Hungerford, 1st Baron Hungerford was an English knight and landowner, from 1400 to 1414 a Member of the House of Commons, of which he became Speaker, then was an Admiral and peer.
Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough, Yorkshire, was a courtier and soldier during the reigns of Richard III, Henry VII and Henry VIII.
Richard Courtenay was an English prelate and university chancellor, who served as Bishop of Norwich 1413-15.
The Courtenay family of Tremere was a cadet line of the prominent Courtenay family seated at Powderham in Devon, itself a cadet line of the Courtenay Earls of Devon of Tiverton Castle, feudal barons of Plympton and feudal barons of Okehampton.
Sir William Parr, KG (1434–1483) was an English courtier and soldier. He was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Parr (1405–1461) and his wife Alice, daughter of Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland, Lancashire.
William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, feudal baron of Okehampton and feudal baron of Plympton, was a member of the leading noble family of Devon. His principal seat was Tiverton Castle, Devon with further residences at Okehampton Castle and Colcombe Castle, also in that county.
Edward Hastings, 2nd Baron Hastings, KB PC was an English peer.
John Blount, 3rd Baron Mountjoy was an English peer and soldier.
Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, KG was an English nobleman. He was a member of the ancient Courtenay family.
Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham, Devon, was the senior member of a junior branch of the powerful Courtenay family, Earls of Devon.
Buckingham's rebellion was a failed but significant uprising, or collection of uprisings, of October 1483 in England and parts of Wales against Richard III of England.
Katherine Stourton, Baroness Grey of Codnor was an English noblewoman. Her life reflects the turbulence of English political life in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries; her first husband was attainted for treason, and her third husband holds the record for the longest period of imprisonment in the Tower of London.
Sir William Courtenay"The Great", of Powderham in Devon, was a leading member of the Devon gentry and a courtier of King Henry VIII having been from September 1512 one of the king's Esquires of the Body. He served as Sheriff of Devon three times: from February to November 1522, 1525/6, and 1533/4. He was elected Knight of the Shire for Devon in 1529.
Sir William Huddesfield of Shillingford St George in Devon, was Attorney General for England and Wales to Kings Edward IV (1461–1483) and Henry VII (1485–1509). He built the tower of St George's Church, Shillingford.