William Zouche

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William Zouche
Archbishop of York
Elected2 May 1340
Term ended19 July 1352
PredecessorWilliam Melton
SuccessorJohn Thoresby
Other postsDean of York
Ordinationc. 1317
Consecration7 July 1342
by Pope Clement VI
Personal details
Lubbesthorpe, Leicestershire
Died19 July 1352
Cawood Palace, Yorkshire
BuriedYork Minster
DenominationRoman Catholic
Coat of armsWilliam Zouche's coat of arms

William Zouche or William de la Zouche (1299–1352) was a medieval Lord Treasurer of England, and Archbishop of York from 1342 to 1352.


A lineal descendant of the noble house of Zouche, he was the youngest son of Sir Roger de la Zouche of Lubbesthorpe in Leicestershire, who died in 1302,[1] by his wife Juliana née de Brascy.

Zouche was educated at Oxford University where he graduated as a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Canon Law, before taking holy orders.


Zouche served as a royal chaplain before entering the treasury and was appointed Keeper of the Wardrobe from 1329 to 1334, Controller of the Wardrobe from 1334 to 1335 and Lord Privy Seal from 1335 to 1337.[2]:94 In 1337 he was promoted as Lord Treasurer, a post which he held until March 1338, and then once more was Lord Treasurer from December 1338 to May 1340.[2]:104

After preferment to various Church livings, he was appointed Archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1329,[3] collated Archdeacon of Exeter on 12 July 1330[4] and made Dean of York in 1336.

Upon the death of Archbishop Melton of York, King Edward III wanted his secretary, William de Kildesby (of Kilsby) elected to the post.[5] However, the Canons of York elected Zouche, their Dean, on 2 May 1340.[2]:282 The king endeavoured to set aside the election, but without effect, and, after a delay of two years, Zouche was consecrated at Avignon by Pope Clement VI on 7 July 1342.[2]:282

Zouche had been in the employ of Edward III before his elevation to the see, but had fallen into disfavour. He was not forgiven until the year 1346, when he was appointed a Warden of the Marches. In this capacity, he led one of the bodies of English troops which defeated the Scots at the Battle of Neville's Cross, close to Durham, on 18 October 1346. The King was extremely thankful and Archbishop Zouche was asked to continue his careful watch over the Scots border.

While archbishop, the plague known as the Black Death spread throughout England and his province, so Zouche had to take action in 1349 to ensure extra burial grounds were consecrated and get approval from the pope to ordain replacement clergy.[6]:401–402

Zouche died on 19 July 1352[2]:282 at Cawood Palace and was buried before the altar of St Edward in the nave of York Minster. He founded, and himself began the building of, a chantry adjoining the south wall of the choir. This appears to have been taken down when Thoresby's choir (wider than the old one) was built and no trace of it remains.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bennett, Nicholas (2004). "Zouche, William (d. 1352)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30303. Retrieved 5 November 2013. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ a b c d e Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd ed.). Cambridge: University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-56350-5.
  3. ^ Horn, Joyce M., ed. (1964). "Archdeacons: Barnstaple". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541. 9, Exeter Diocese (Online ed.). London: Institute of Historical Research. pp. 19–21. Retrieved 22 February 2015 – via British History Online.
  4. ^ Horn, Joyce M., ed. (1964). "Archdeacons: Exeter". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541. 9, Exeter Diocese (Online ed.). London: Institute of Historical Research. pp. 12–15. Retrieved 22 February 2015 – via British History Online.
  5. ^ Waugh, Scott L. (2004). "Kilsby, William (d. 1346)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/50146. Retrieved 22 February 2015. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  6. ^ Raine, James (ed) (1873). Historical Letters and Papers from the Northern Registers.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ King, Richard John (1869). Handbook to the Cathedrals of England. Vol. 1, Part 2. London: John Murray.
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Tawton
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
Richard Bintworth
Preceded by
Henry Burghersh
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
Robert Wodehouse
Preceded by
Robert Wodehouse
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
Robert Sadington
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William Melton
Archbishop of York
Succeeded by
John of Thoresby