William de Cantilupe (died 1239)

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Seal of William de Cantilupe showing on an escutcheon his arms 3 fleurs de lys.[a]
Arms of William de Cantilupe: Gules, three fleurs-de-lys or ("Cantilupe Ancient"). These arms changed in the late 13th century to jessant-de-lys

William de Cantilupe (died 7 April 1239) (anciently Cantelow, Cantelou, Canteloupe, etc, Latinised to de Cantilupo)[2] was an Anglo-Norman baron and royal administrator.

Personal life[edit]

Cantilupe was born around 1159 in Buckinghamshire,[citation needed] the son of Walter de Cantilupe, recorded in 1166 as a minor landowner in Essex and Lincolnshire, who was a younger brother of Fulk de Cantilupe (died 1217/18), Sheriff of Berkshire in 1200/1.[3] The family probably originated from the Norman manor which is now the small hamlet of Canteloup,[b] in Normandy, 11 miles east of Caen.

Cantilupe married Mazilia (or Marcelin) Braci, who had brought him lands in Kent, and was succeeded by his eldest son William de Cantilupe (died 1251). His younger son Walter de Cantilupe (died 1266) became Bishop of Worcester, of which see William had had custody in 1208. A daughter, Isabel, married Stephen Devereux[4][non-primary source needed][5][non-primary source needed]

Cantilupe died on 7 April 1239[6] and was buried at Studley Priory, Warwickshire.

Career under John[edit]

In 1198 Cantilupe was steward to John, Count of Mortain, the future King John, in which year his uncle Fulk de Cantilupe was also a member of the John's household. From 1200 to 1204 he served as Sheriff of Worcestershire and in 1204 as Under-Sheriff of Herefordshire. In 1205 he took part in the ineffectual expedition to Poitou. In 1207, he was Sheriff of Worcestershire, serving until the end of the John's reign in 1216. In 1209, following his appointment as Sheriff of Warwickshire and Sheriff of Leicestershire, his main residence became Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire.[7]

Cantilupe was granted several manors formerly held by rebel barons during 1215–16, at the time of the signing of Magna Carta in 1215. He was commissioned by John to negotiate the return of such rebels to peaceable relations. He served as gaoler of baronial hostages, which action probably gained him the description by the contemporary chronicler Roger of Wendover as one of John's "evil counsellors".[8]

In 1204, Cantilupe was granted the Warwickshire manor of Aston, to which as was usual, was appended his family name. The location now has a modern cartographical spelling as "Cantlow", one of the many ancient variants of the family name. This manor had previously been held by William the Chamberlain de Tankerville before it escheated to the crown.[9]

In 1205, Cantilupe was granted the manor of Eaton,[10] Bedfordshire, (from 16th-century "Eaton Bray") which became the caput of the Cantilupe feudal barony. The grant, for knight-service of one knight, was in exchange for the manor of Coxwell, Berkshire, which had been previously granted to him. Eaton had been held at the time of William the Conqueror by the latter's brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, but later escheated to the crown. At Eaton, Cantilupe built a castle.

Career under Henry III[edit]

Following the death of John in 1216, many of the royal appointees to governorships of royal castles were reluctant to hand over their castles to the regency council which governed during the minority of his son, Henry III. They believed themselves obliged to hold their castles until Henry should have achieved 14 years of age,[11] when he would be able to follow his own policy.[12] These many refusals met with a forceful response from the council.

In 1217, under the regency council, during which year he was a Baron of the Exchequer, Cantilupe was at the siege of Mountsorrel Castle, Leicestershire, which was razed to the ground, and was also at the Second Battle of Lincoln. He served the council at the siege of Bedford in 1224.[7] He later served in Wales (1228 and 1231) and Brittany (1230).

Manors held[edit]

Among the many manors held by Cantilupe were:[citation needed]

  • Eaton, Bedfordshire.
  • Ipsley, Warwickshire, as tenants of which the Hubbard family took the later arms of Cantilupe ("Cantilupe modern"), 3 leopard's faces jessant-de-lys.
  • Brentingby, Leicestershire, as tenants of which the Woodforde family took the later arms of Cantilupe ("Cantilupe modern"), reversed.[13]
  • Calne, Wiltshire.
  • Calstone, Wiltshire.


  1. ^ Original full legend probably: SIGILLUM WILLELMI DE CANTILUPO (Seal of William de Cantilupe).[citation needed] His seal was on occasion used to authenticate the letters of the young King Henry III.[1] The arms of his descendants evolved in the late 13th century to 3 leopard's faces jessant-de-lys
  2. ^ Modern French cartographic spelling, Michelin Road Atlas of France


  1. ^ Holden 2004b; John Nichols in his "History & Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire" (4 vols.), 1800, notes the existence of the seal of william de Cantilupe in connection with a deed dated 1215 relating to his manor of Brentingby: "3 fleurs-de-lys circumscribed"
  2. ^ The spelling used by modern historians is "de Cantilupe", which is followed in this article
  3. ^ Holden 2004a.
  4. ^ Lyte, HC Maxwell, ed. (1902). "Close Rolls, March 1228: membrane 11". Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry III (1227–1231). 1. British History Online.
  5. ^ Sharp, J.E.E.S., ed. (1906). "George de Cantilupo, 4 Nov, 1 Edward I". Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem Edward I, File 2. 2. British History Online. pp. 11–23.
  6. ^ Holden 2004b.
  7. ^ a b Luard 1886.
  8. ^ ODNB, p. 961, quoting Mathew Paris's "Chronicles"
  9. ^ Sanders, p. 40
  10. ^ Charter Rolls, vol.1, p.147; Annales Monastici, vol.3, p. 66, as quoted by Sanders p. 39
  11. ^ For 14 as royal age of majority see Carpenter, op.cit., e.g. p.124
  12. ^ Carpenter, David. The Minority of Henry III
  13. ^ "The Woodforde Family – Index Page". Woodforde.co.uk. Retrieved 17 March 2014.