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Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury

Male - 1205


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  • Name Hubert Walter 
    Suffix Archbishop of Canterbury 
    Gender Male 
    Died 13 Jul 1205  Teynham, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried 14 Jul 1205  Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I300  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 5 Sep 2018 

    Father Hervey Walter,   b. of Weeton, Amounderness, Lancashire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Maud de Valognes,   b. of Parham, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F2436  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • He was raised in the household of his uncle, the justiciar of England Ranulph de Glanville, along with his brother Theobald Walter (who would become chief butler of England and Ireland and the founder of enduring lordships in Munster and Leinster); Geoffrey fitz Peter (who would succeed Hubert as justiciar, serving in that office while Hubert was chancellor); and, for a few years in the early 1180s, the future king John.

      One of the truly remarkable figures of his day, he was an essential part of England's ecclesiastical and secular power structures from the later years of Henry II all the way to king John. Parallel to his ecclesiastical career, first as bishop of Salisbury and then as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was justiciar of England under Richard and then chancellor of England under John. In both offices he was a reformer of uncommon energy. Among his many innovations was the triplicate chirograph record now known as the "feet of fines," so crucial to modern historical and genealogical research.

      As a sidebar, he can also lay claim to having been England's most quietly effective Crusader. He arrived to the Holy Land in September 1190 in an expedition that included his uncle Ranulph, the then-archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury, and the earl of Derby. Conditions were dire, and by November all three of those worthies were dead. Hubert then set about reorganizing matters. He was an executor of Baldwin's will, so he was able to use some of the dead archbishop's possessions to pay the common soldiers the wages owed them. He personally led sorties against Saladin. By the time Richard arrived in June 1191, the crusader encampment was in far better shape. Hubert continued to be essential, not just as a competent commander, but also as go-between in the endless disputes between temperamental crusader leaders. When Richard took sick in 1192, it was Hubert who arranged a truce with Saladin; shortly afterward, Hubert negotiated the longer-term treaty with Saladin that gave Western Christians access to Jerusalem and to restored Latin services in Bethlehem and Nazareth. As everybody knows, Richard was taken captive in the Holy Roman Empire on his way back to England and Normandy. Inevitably, it was Hubert Walter who was among the first of Richard's subjects to reach him in captivity, and it was Hubert Walter who negotiated the terms for his release.

  • Sources 
    1. [S76] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-ongoing).