✝ Saint Thomas de Cantilupe

Bishop of Hereford, Former Chancellor of Oxford


Game History:
- Grand Master of the Knights Templar for the region of Britain
- Chancellor of Oxford

Historical Biography: (this may or may NOT be true in our game)
Thomas de Cantilupe was a son of William de Cantilupe, the 2nd baron (d. 1251), one of King John’s ministers, and a nephew of Walter de Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester (d. 1266). He was born at Hambleden in Buckinghamshire and was educated in Paris and Orléans.

Cantilupe became a teacher of canon law at Oxford and Chancellor of the University in 1261.

During the Barons’ War, Cantilupe favoured Simon de Montfort and the baronial party. He represented the barons before St Louis of France at Amiens in 1264.

He was made Lord Chancellor of England on 25 February 1264, when Archdeacon of Stafford but was deprived of the chancellor’s office after Montfort’s death at Evesham, and lived out of England for some time. Returning to England, he was again Chancellor of Oxford University, lectured on theology, and held several ecclesiastical appointments.

In 1274, he attended the Second Council of Lyons, and about 14 June 1275 he was appointed Bishop of Hereford and was consecrated on 8 September 1275.

Cantilupe was now a trusted adviser of Edward I and lived at Earley in Berkshire when attending royal councils in Windsor or Westminster. Even when differing from the king’s opinions, he did not forfeit his favour.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Kilwardby, was also his friend; but after Kilwardby’s death in 1279 a series of disputes arose between the bishop and the new archbishop, John Peckham. The disagreements culminated in Peckham excommunicating Cantilupe, who proceeded to Rome to pursue the matter with the pope.

Cantilupe died at Ferento, near Orvieto, in Italy, on 25 August 1282; he was buried in Hereford Cathedral. Part of the evidence used to secure his canonisation was the supposed resurrection of William Cragh, a Welsh rebel who was hanged in 1290, eight years after Cantilupe’s death. A papal inquiry was convened in London on 20 April 1307 to determine whether or not Cantilupe had died excommunicate; if he had, then he could not be canonised. Forty-four witnesses were called and various letters produced, before the commissioners of the inquiry concluded that Cantilupe had been absolved in Rome before his death.

On 17 April 1320, Cantilupe was canonised by Pope John XXII, after a papal investigation lasting almost 13 years. His feast day was fixed on 2 October. His shrine became a popular place of pilgrimage, and its base can still be seen there today. Since 1881, a reliquary containing his skull has been held at Downside Abbey in Somerset.

Cantilupe appears to have been an exemplary bishop in both spiritual and secular affairs. His charities were large and his private life blameless. He was constantly visiting his diocese, correcting offenders and discharging other episcopal duties, and he compelled neighbouring landholders to restore estates which rightly belonged to the see of Hereford.

Source: Edited from Wikipedia

✝ Saint Thomas de Cantilupe

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