Monastic Wales.

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William of Wycombe (Wycumbe) , prior of Llanthony

Died: Not known   Active: c.1127–c.1148   

William was a canon of Llanthony Priory, Monmouthshire, from at least 1132 and perhaps earlier, when he was chaplain to Abbot Robert de Béthune (1127). In 1137 William was made prior of Llanthony, but was deposed by the community c. 1147 for the brethren opposed his strict regime. William retired to Frome, a cell of Llanthony, and wrote a life of Robert de Béthune. The date of his death is not known.

William was made prior of Llanthony at a difficult time for the community had fled from Wales following the uprising there and settled outside Gloucester at the cell later known as Llanthony Secunda. William was still presiding as prior in July 1147 but was deposed soon thereafter for the canons resented his strict rule; their opposition was encouraged by Llanthony's patron, Roger, earl of Hereford (d. 1155), who was unhappy with a piece of writing by William criticizing his father, Miles. William spent the rest of his life at Frome, a cell of Llanthony.

Gerald of Wales has left his rather bitter comments on Prior William:
All the priors who did harm to Llanthony were punished by God when their moment came to die. Prior William, who was the first to despoil the house of its herds and stores was deposed in the end and expelled by the brothers, with the result that he was held unworthy to be buried with the other priors.
[Gerald of Wales, Journey through Wales, pp. 98-9.]

Sites associated with this person

Llanthony Prima Priory, Monmouthshire (prior)

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

'The life of Robert de Bethune by William de Wycombe: translation with introduction and notes' (BLitt dissertation: University of Oxford, 1951)

Cowley, F. G., The Monastic Order in South Wales 1066-1349 (Cardiff, 1977) p. 151

Talbot, C. H., 'William of Wycombe, fourth prior of Llanthony', Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 76 (1958), pp. 62-69

Web links (open in new window)

Barrow, Julia, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online - William of Wycombe (View website) (Subscription reqd.)

Archival sources

Lambeth Palace, 'Life of Robert Bethune, by William Wycombe, fourth prior of Llanthony', (Document), (View website)

British Library, 'Life of Robert de Bethune by William Wycombe, fourth prior of Llanthony', (Document), (View website)