|Archbishop of Canterbury|
|Appointed||30 July 1381|
|Term ended||31 July 1396|
|Other post(s)|| Bishop of Hereford |
Bishop of London
|Consecration||17 March 1370|
|Died||31 July 1396 (aged around 54)|
Maidstone, Kingdom of England
William Courtenay (c. 1342 –31 July 1396) was Archbishop of Canterbury (1381–1396), having previously been Bishop of Hereford and Bishop of London.
Courtenay was a younger son of Hugh de Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon (died 1377), and his wife Margaret, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford and granddaughter of Edward I. He was said to have been born at the family's estate at Exminster.
Being a native of the west of England, Courtenay was educated at Stapledon Hall, Oxford, and after graduating in law was chosen chancellor of the university in 1367. Courtenay's ecclesiastical and political career began about the same time.
Having been made prebendary of Exeter, of Wells and of York, he was consecrated bishop of Hereford on 17 March 1370,was translated to the see of London on 12 September 1375, and became Archbishop of Canterbury on 30 July 1381, succeeding Simon of Sudbury in both these latter positions.
As a politician, the period of Courtenay's activity coincides with the years of Edward III's dotage, and with practically the whole of Richard II's reign. From the first he ranged himself among the opponents of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster; he was a firm upholder of the rights of the English Church, and was always eager to root out Lollardry. In 1373 he declared in convocation that he would not contribute to a subsidy until the evils from which the church suffered were removed; in 1375 he incurred the displeasure of the king by publishing a papal bull against the Florentines; and in 1377 his decided action during the quarrel between John of Gaunt and William of Wykeham ended in a temporary triumph for the bishop.
Wycliffe was another cause of difference between Lancaster and Courtenay. In 1377 the reformer appeared before Archbishop Sudbury and Courtenay, when an altercation between the duke and the bishop led to the dispersal of the court, and during the ensuing riot Lancaster probably owed his safety to the good offices of his foe. Having meanwhile become archbishop of Canterbury Courtenay summoned a synod, in London, the so-called "Earthquake Synod", which condemned the opinions of Wycliffe; he then attacked the Lollards at Oxford, and urged the bishops to imprison heretics.
Courtenay was for a short time chancellor of England during 1381,and in January 1382 he officiated at the marriage of Richard II with Anne of Bohemia, afterwards crowning the queen. In 1382 the archbishop's visitation led to disputes with the bishops of Exeter and Salisbury, and Courtenay was only partially able to enforce the payment of a special tax to meet his expenses on this occasion. During his concluding years the archbishop appears to have upheld the papal authority in England, although not to the injury of the English Church.
In 1390 Courtenay protested against confirmation of the Statute of Provisors 1350, and in 1393 he was successful in slightly modifying the Statute of Praemunire 1392. Disliking the extravagance of Richard II, Courtenay publicly reproved the king; and, after an angry scene, the royal threats drove him for a time into Devon. In 1386, he was one of the commissioners appointed to reform the kingdom and the royal household, and in 1387 he arranged a peace between Richard and his enemies under Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester.
Courtenay died at Maidstone on 31 July 1396, [ citation needed ]and was buried towards the east end of the quire in Canterbury Cathedral. He was responsible for the expansion of his family's chantry foundation in Somerset, Naish Priory, as well as significant building works at Christ Church Canterbury and Maidstone College.
John Wycliffe was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, Catholic priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford. He became an influential dissident within the Catholic priesthood during the 14th century and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism. Wycliffe questioned the privileged status of the clergy, who had bolstered their powerful role in England, and the luxury and pomp of local parishes and their ceremonies.
Simon Sudbury was Bishop of London from 1361 to 1375, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1375 until his death, and in the last year of his life Lord Chancellor of England. He met a violent death during the Peasants' Revolt in 1381.
Simon de Langham was an English clergyman who was Archbishop of Canterbury and a cardinal.
William Sawtrey, also known as William Salter was an English Roman Catholic priest and Lollard martyr. He was executed for heresy.
Philip Repyngdon was a bishop and cardinal.
Henry Yevele (c. 1320 – 1400) was the most prolific and successful master mason active in late medieval England. The first document relating to him is dated 3 December 1353, when he purchased the freedom of London. In February 1356 he was sufficiently well known as a mason that he was chosen as one of a commission of six cutting masons who were to inform the mayor and aldermen about the acts and articles of the craft.
Richard Courtenay was an English prelate and university chancellor, who served as Bishop of Norwich 1413-15.
Robert Waldby was a native of York and friar of the Order of Saint Augustine who followed Edward, the Black Prince into Aquitaine. After studying at Toulouse, he became professor of theology there. He later became close to Edward's son, King Richard II. He was a firm opponent of John Wycliffe, wrote a book denouncing him, and was a member of the Synod which assembled at Oxford in 1382 to judge his orthodoxy.
John Fordham was Bishop of Durham and Bishop of Ely.
Events from the 1340s in England
Ralph Ergham was the English bishop of Salisbury from 1375 to 1388, and then bishop of Bath and Wells from 1388 to 1400.
Events from the 1370s in England.
Ralph of Maidstone was a medieval Bishop of Hereford.
Events from the 1380s in England.
Margaret de Bohun, Countess of Devon was the granddaughter of King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, and the wife of Hugh Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon (1303–1377). Her seventeen children included an Archbishop of Canterbury and six knights, of whom two were founder knights of the Order of the Garter. Unlike most women of her day, she received a classical education and was a lifelong scholar and collector of books.
Naish Priory in East Coker, Somerset, England, contains portions of a substantial house dating from the mid 14th century to around 1400. Emery says the building was not a priory as it had been termed by the late 19th-century owner Troyte Chafyn Grove, and there appears no evidence of ownership by a religious house or the residence of a large community of monks on the site. However, there is evidence of a dormitory and communal living dating from the 14th century, and the extant buildings grew on a foundation that had religious obligations by way of chantry to the de Courtenay Earls of Devon from at least 1344. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building, with the attached Priory Cottage and northern boundary railings.
Nicholas [of] Hereford was an English Bible translator, Lollard, reformer on the side of John Wycliffe, Fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford and Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 1382. He was a Doctor of Theology, which he achieved at Oxford University in 1382.
Richard le Scrope was an English cleric who served as Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield and Archbishop of York and was executed in 1405 for his participation in the Northern Rising against King Henry IV.