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Walter Giffard
(Died 1279)

Bishop of Bath & Wells
Archbishop of York
Died: April 1279


Walter was a member of a wealthy and powerful family from Boyton in Wiltshire. Little is known of his early history. In 1264, he became Bishop of Bath & Wells and was Lord Chacellor of England in 1265, resigning that office on his translation to York the following year. He was a great favourite with King Edward I, who, when starting on crusade in 1270, drew up his will, in which he made Giffard one of the tutors of his sons. In 1275, he was one of those to whom the charge of the kingdom was entrusted during Edward's absence.

Archbishop Giffard is recorded in the Lanercost Chronicle as "formosus et illustris clericus," and in another place as "socialis et dapsilis". He was greatly in debt throughout the whole course of his episcopate; but was certainly most charitable, full of attention to his diocese, and a fearless reformer of abuses. His register, preserved at York, is full of information relating to the ecclesiastical state of the North of England, and contains curious details of the Archbishop's private charities and expenditure. Giffard's tomb, in the choir at York Minster, was removed to the presbytery by Archbishop Thoresby.

Edited from Richard John King's "Handbook to the Cathedrals of England: Southern Division" (1903).

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