Ralph de Warneville

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Ralph de Warneville
Bishop of Lisieux
Sceau de Raoul de Varneville.jpg
See Diocese of Lisieux
Appointed July 1181
Predecessor Arnulf of Lisieux
Successor William of Rupière
Other posts Treasurer of Rouen
Archdeacon of Rouen
Personal details
Died 10 September 1191
Denomination Catholic

Ralph de Warneville (died 1191; sometimes Ralph de Varneville[1] or Ralf of Wanneville[2]) was the twentieth Lord Chancellor of England as well as later Bishop of Lisieux in Normandy.

Ralph was probably from Varneville aux Grès in Normandy, from which he derived his name.[3][a]

Ralph became Treasurer of Rouen sometime between 11 July 1146, the last appearance of his predecessor in office, and 27 September 1146 when Ralph is named as treasurer for the first time. He held the office of treasurer until 1176.[5] He acquired the office of Archdeacon of Rouen in 1170, holding the office along with the treasurership of Rouen for a few years.[6][b] After he left the treasurership, Ralph was accused by the cathedral chapter of Rouen of misusing some of the funds of the cathedral, and the dispute dragged on until 1188, when it was heard by a papal commission.[5]

Ralph also held offices in England. He was Treasurer of York from 1167 until 1181,[3] and was Archdeacon of the East Riding at about the same time.[7] Ralph served King Henry II of England as Lord Chancellor from 1173 to 1181.[8]

Ralph was a friend of Arnulf of Lisieux, Bishop of Lisieux, and benefited from Arnulf's intercession with the Bishop of Poitiers. But during Ralph's chancellorship, Ralph was one of the royal officials that urged Arnulf to resign his bishopric.[5] Arnulf was suspected by King Henry of supporting Henry's sons in their Revolt of 1173–74, and eventually Arnulf was forced to resign his see.[9] Ralph also had custody of the castle and royal lands at Vaudreuil in Normandy in the 1180s, and was still owing accounts for his administration at his death.[2]

Ralph was appointed Bishop of Lisieux in July 1181, after his resignation from the office of Chancellor. He was not consecrated until after 1182, as he was still being recorded as bishop-elect then.[10]

Ralph died on 10 September 1191,[10] as his death was commemorated on 10 September at St Evroul.[3]


  1. ^ However, the village of Varneville aux Grès (now Varneville-Bretteville) had a different name in the 12th century. The village is really known as Wattnevilla or Watnevilla in 1050 - 1060, and then Wadnevilla in the 12th century and Wasnevilla in 1192 - 1198[4]
  2. ^ The historian David Spear contradicts himself in Personnel of the Norman Cathedrals on when Ralph quit the treasurership of Rouen. On page 214 when discussing the archdeacons of Rouen, he states about Ralph that "by 1172 he seems to have given up the treasurership",[6] but on page 219, discussing the treasurers of Rouen, he states that the last occurrence of Ralph as treasurer was in 1176.[5]


  1. ^ Turner and Heiser Reign of Richard Lionheart pp. 178-179
  2. ^ a b Powicke Loss of Normandy p. 70
  3. ^ a b c Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 6: York: Treasurers of York
  4. ^ François de Beaurepaire Les Noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Seine-Maritime p. 160.
  5. ^ a b c d Spear Personnel of the Norman Cathedrals p. 219
  6. ^ a b Spear Personnel of the Norman Cathedrals p. 214
  7. ^ Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 6: York: Archdeacons: East Riding
  8. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 84
  9. ^ Warren Henry II p. 211
  10. ^ a b Spear Personnel of the Norman Cathedrals p. 171


Political offices
Preceded by
Geoffrey Ridel
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Arnulf of Lisieux
Bishop of Lisieux
Succeeded by
William of Rupière