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Walter Branscombe
(died 1280)

Bishop of Exeter
Died: 22nd July 1244

Bishop Walter Branscombe of Exeter was, like his predecessor and Bartholomew Iscanus, the son of a poor Exeter citizen. He was not in priest's orders, although Archdeacon of Surrey, at the time of his election in 1258. It is recorded that, within a fortnight his election, he was accepted by the King, confirmed by the Archbishop and ordained both priest and bishop! He did much for his see, though not without sundry accusations of craft and underhand policy. He was the founder of the College of Glaseney in Cornwall and, besides building an episcopal residence at Bishop's Clyst, some earlier portions of the existing cathedral - part of the chantries adjoining the Lady-chapel - were his work. The Fabric Rolls, which have been preserved, commence in the last year but one of his episcopate (1279). His magnificent tomb (only the effigy on which is of his own time) is on the south side of the Lady-chapel. His birth in Exeter was thus commemorated in the inscription, now illegible (in Latin): "The people of Exeter, both the choir and the laity, rejoice with great adulation for he had been born in this city."

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

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