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Walter Reynolds

Walter Reynolds
Archbishop of Canterbury
Tomb of Reynolds in Canterbury Cathedral
Appointed 1313
Installed January 1314
Term ended 16 November 1327
Predecessor Thomas Cobham
Successor Simon Mepeham
Other posts Bishop of Worcester
Consecration 13 October 1308
Personal details
Died 16 November 1327

Walter Reynolds (died 1327) was Bishop of Worcester and then Archbishop of Canterbury (1313–1327) as well as Lord High Treasurer and Lord Chancellor.


Reynolds was the son of a baker from Windsor in Berkshire,[1] and became a clerk, or chaplain, in the service of Edward I.

Reynolds held several livings and, owing perhaps to his acting skill, he became a prime favourite with the prince of Wales, afterwards Edward II, whom he served as Keeper of the Great Wardrobe.[1] Just after the prince became king, on 22 August 1307 Reynolds was appointed Treasurer of England.[2] On 13 November 1307 he was elected Bishop of Worcester and consecrated on 13 October 1308.[3] He was also on 6 July 1310 named Keeper of the Great Seal and Lord Chancellor of England.[4][5] Amongst his duties as Bishop of Worcester was to act as the parton and appoint the Headmaster of the school that later became the Royal Grammar School Worcester.

Reynolds was one of the godfathers of the future Edward III when the prince was christened on 17 November 1312.[6]

When Robert Winchelsea, Archbishop of Canterbury, died in May 1313 Edward II convinced Pope Clement V to appoint his favourite to the vacant archbishopric,[citation needed] and Reynolds was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral in January 1314 as the 51st Archbishop.[7]

Although the private life of the new archbishop appears to have been the reverse of exemplary he attempted to carry out some very necessary reforms in his new official capacity; he also continued the struggle for precedence, which had been carried on for many years between the archbishops of Canterbury and of York. In this connection in 1317 he laid London under an interdict after William de Melton, the Archbishop of York, had passed through its streets with his cross borne erect before him.

Reynolds remained in general loyal to Edward II until 1324, when with all his suffragans he opposed the king in defence of the Bishop of Hereford, Adam of Orlton.[8] He then fought with Edward II over liturgical issues, and sent sums of money to Queen Isabella in her rebellion against Edward II.[9] Having fled for safety into Kent he returned to London and declared for Edward III, whom he crowned on 1 February 1327.[10] He was appointed as a member of the Regency Council for Edward III that was formed in February 1327.[11] In 1327 Reynolds popularised in England the political argument of vox populi, vox Dei, contrary to Alcuin's original warning to Charlemagne to resist such arguments, as the title of his sermon laying charges against Edward II.

He died at Mortlake on 16 November 1327.[7][12]


  1. ^ a b Weir Queen Isabella p. 21
  2. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 104
  3. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 279
  4. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 86
  5. ^ Weir Queen Isabella p. 52
  6. ^ Weir Queen Isabella p. 71
  7. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 233
  8. ^ Weir to his wife,Queen Isabella pp. 158-159
  9. ^ Weir Queen Isabella p. 234
  10. ^ Weir Queen Isabella p. 261
  11. ^ Weir Queen Isabella p. 264
  12. ^ Weir Queen Isabella pp. 305-306


  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  • Weir, Alison Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery and Murder in Medieval England New York: Ballantine 2005 ISBN 0-345-45319-0

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Walter Langton
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
John Sandall
Preceded by
John Langton
(Lord Chancellor)
Keeper of the Great Seal
Succeeded by
John Sandall
(Lord Chancellor)
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William Gainsborough
Bishop of Worcester
Succeeded by
Walter Maidstone
Preceded by
Robert Winchelsey
(Thomas Cobham
chosen but vetoed by the Pope)
Archbishop of Canterbury
Succeeded by
Simon Mepeham

12px This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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