William of Ely

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5th Lord High Treasurer
In office
1196 – August 1215
Monarch Richard I
Preceded by Richard FitzNeal
Succeeded by Eustace of Fauconberg,
Bishop of London
Personal details
Relations Richard FitzNeal
Religion Roman Catholic
Archdeacon of Cleveland
Church Catholic
In office 1201
Personal details
Previous post Canon of St. Paul's
Prebend of Leighton Buzzard

William of Ely was an English churchman and the fifth Lord High Treasurer of England. He was a relative of Richard FitzNeal and supposed descendant of Nigel, Bishop of Ely, both previous Lord High Treasurers. He was appointed a Canon of St. Paul's just before being made Lord High Treasurer in 1196. He added the position of Archdeacon of Cleveland in 1201 and Prebendary of Leighton Buzzard in 1207.[1]

A story about William of Ely tells of his attempted escape from England during a time when he had fallen from favour with the King; he was disguised as a commoner but was stopped when he proved unable to respond to a simple question posed to him in English (illustrating the dominance of the French language among nobles and clergymen at the time).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Painter, Sydney (1979). The Reign of King John. Ayer Publishing. pp. 66–67. 
  2. ^ Walter, Henriette (1994). Aventure des langues en Occident : leur origine, leur histoire, leur géographie. Paris: Laffont. p. 379. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard FitzNeal
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
Eustace of Fauconberg