William de Cornhill

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William de Cornhill
Bishop of Coventry
Elected c. 9 July 1214
Term ended resigned before death in August 1223
Predecessor Geofrey de Muschamp
Successor Alexander de Stavenby
Other posts Archdeacon of Huntingdon
Consecration 25 January 1215
Personal details
Died August 1223
Buried Lichfield Cathedral
Denomination Catholic

William de Cornhill (or William of Cornhill; died 1223) was a medieval Bishop of Coventry.

Some sources say William was the son of Henry de Cornhill, who was sheriff of London from 1187 to 1189 and was a brother to Reginald de Cornhill, one of John's chief administrators.[1] Other sources say that William was either Reginald's son or nephew.[2] William served King John of England as a financial administrator, and in 1206 he the custodian of Malmesbury Abbey and the see of Winchester and the see of Lincoln.[3] He was archdeacon of Huntingdon by 1209, when he was serving as a royal justice.[4] In 1212 he once more served as a royal justice.[5] He was elected bishop about 9 July 1214, and consecrated on 25 January 1215.[6] His election involved the monks of Coventry refusing to allow the canons of Lichfield participate in the election, and then the monks rejected a number of candidates before finally settling on William.[7] The monks objected most to the fact that the papal legate, Niccolò de Romanis, cardinal bishop of Tusculum, repeatedly urged them to elect the abbot of Beaulieu, who was the choice of King John. Eventually, the monks were allowed to elect another royal clerk, William.[8] He was consecrated at Reading, England by Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury. William was present at Runnymede and was one of the advisors to John about Magna Carta. He also attended the Third Lateran Council in 1215 and was present at the first coronation of King Henry III of England in 1216.[2] He may have resigned before his death on 19 August or 20 August 1223,[6] as he had suffered a stroke in 1221 and lost the power of speech. He was buried in Lichfield Cathedral.[2]


  1. ^ Joliffe Angevin Kingship p. 290
  2. ^ a b c Franklin "Cornhill, William of" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Joliffe Angevin Kingship p. 285
  4. ^ Stenton English Justice p. 102 footnote 58
  5. ^ Stenton English Justice p. 109 footnote 98
  6. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 253
  7. ^ Richardson and Sayles Governance of Mediaeval England p. 351
  8. ^ Richardson and Sayles Governance of Mediaeval England p. 356


  • Franklin, M. J. (2004). "Cornhill, William of (d. 1223)" ((subscription or UK public library membership required)). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/6331. Retrieved 15 January 2008. 
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  • Joliffe, J. E. A. (1955). Angevin Kingship. London: Adam and Charles Black. OCLC 8936103. 
  • Richardson, H. G.; Sayles, G. O. (1963). The Governance of Mediaeval England: From the Conquest to Magna Carta. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. OCLC 504298. 
  • Stenton, Doris Mary (1964). English Justice Between the Norman Conquest and the Great Charter 1066–1215. Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society. OCLC 1136146. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Geofrey de Muschamp
Bishop of Coventry
Succeeded by
Alexander de Stavenby