William of Kilkenny
Bishop of Ely
Memorial to Bishop William de Kilkenny in Ely Cathedral.jpg
Memorial to Bishop William de Kilkenny in Ely Cathedral
Electedc. 29 September 1254
Term ended21 September 1256
PredecessorHugh of Northwold
SuccessorHugh of Balsham
Other post(s)Archdeacon of Coventry
Consecration15 August 1255
by Boniface of Savoy
Personal details
Died21 September 1256
Lord Chancellor
In office
MonarchHenry III of England
Preceded byJohn Lexington
Succeeded byHenry Wingham

William of Kilkenny (died 21 September 1256) was a Lord Chancellor of England and Bishop of Ely.


William may be the same William of Kilkenny who was elected Bishop of Ossory in 1231, but resigned the office in 1232 before being consecrated. Whether or not that was the case, the man who later became bishop of Ely was a king's clerk by 1234. He was sent to Rome on royal business twice, once in 1234–1235 and again in 1237. In 1238 he left royal service, and was employed by two successive bishops of Durham, Nicholas of Farnham and Richard Poore. By May 1247 he was back in royal service, for in that month King Henry III of England sent him overseas.[1]

William was Archdeacon of Coventry,[2] from November 1247,[1] as well as controller of the wardrobe from 1249 to 1252, and chancellor from 1250 to 1255.[3]

William was elected to the see of Ely about 29 September 1254[4] and consecrated on 15 August 1255 at Bellay in Savoy by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Boniface of Savoy.[1]

William died on 21 September 1256,[4] in Spain where he had gone on a diplomatic mission for the king. His heart was sent to Ely for burial in Ely Cathedral. His only known relative was a nephew who held land in Waterford and was knighted in 1254.[1] He had constructed an elaborate tomb that remained empty, and is now located near the high altar in the north choir aisle of Ely Cathedral. His heart was buried near the altar of Saint Etheldreda.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Stacey "Kilkenny, William of" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces): Ely: Bishops
  3. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 85
  4. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 244
  5. ^ Sayers "Once 'Proud Prelate'" Journal of the British Archaeological Association pp. 77–78


  • 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.
  • Greenway, Diana E. (1971). "Ely: Bishops". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300. Vol. 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces). Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 25 October 2007.
  • Sayers, Jane (2009). "A Once Proud Prelate: An Unidentified Episcopal Monument in Ely Cathedral". Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 162: 67–87. doi:10.1179/006812809x12448232842376.
  • Stacey, Robert C. (2004). "Kilkenny, William of". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/15527. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
Political offices Preceded byJohn Lexington Lord Chancellor 1250–1255 Succeeded byHenry Wingham Catholic Church titles Preceded byHugh of Northwold Bishop of Ely 1254–1256 Succeeded byHugh of Balsham