Bishop Walter de Cantelupe. Worcester Cathedral

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Bishop Walter de Cantelupe Gothic effigy tomb

 

This mid 13th century tomb of Bishop Walter de Cantelupe (1236-d1266) is made of Purbeck marble. The relief of the effigy is more rounded than that of the tomb of his predecessor the bishop of Worcester William de Blois (d1236), whose tomb is still in the Romanesque style, Walter's tomb shows the development to the more rounded forms of Gothic sculpture in the intervening 30 years.

 

Walter's early career was in the revenue service and as a travelling justice. However, he entered the church and in 1236 was made Bishop of Worcester, although he was not ordained as a priest until 1237. Under his leadership the Synod of Worcester in 1240, brought about a number of reforms in accordance with the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) conducted by pope Innocent III. This synod stipulated that a child should have three godparents.

 

Bishop Walter de Cantelupe

 

A supporter of Robert Grosseteste's opposition to the appointment of foreign prelates to English church livings, he also supported Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, when the barons reasserted their rights under Magna Carta and attempted to gain more powers to the baronial council. In 1258 when the barons forced Henry III to agree to the Provisions of Oxford, Walter was elected as one of the committee of 24 that were empowered to reform the administration. During the Second Baron's War of 1264-1267 he blessed the de Montfort troops before the Battle of Lewes (1264), and entertained Simon de Montfort on the night before the Battle of Evesham (1265) where de Montfort was killed. Walter died a year later on February 4, 1266.