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William de Raley

William de Raley
Bishop of Winchester
Diocese Diocese of Winchester
Appointed 1 September 1242
Term ended 1250
Predecessor Peter des Roches
Successor Aymer de Valence
Other posts Bishop-elect of Coventry and Lichfield
Bishop of Norwich
Personal details
Died before 1 September 1250
Buried 1 September 1250
Denomination Roman Catholic

William de Raley (or William de Ralegh or William Raleigh;[1] died 1250) was a medieval judge, administrator and bishop.


In 1212 Raley was presented with the church of Bratton Fleming, with his occupation being described as "clerk".[2] He is known to have served as a clerk of the bench in 1214, and again from 1219 to 1229. From 1225 to 1229 he was the personal clerk of Martin of Pattishall, with whom he travelled the Eyre in the north between 1226 and 1227, where he acted as a commissioner for the assessment of Tallage. He became justice of the bench in 1229 following Pattishall's retirement, with Roger of Thirkleby being appointed as his clerk in 1231.[3]

Raley took part in an Eyre in Middlesex in 1229, and seven more Eyres elsewhere between 1232 and 1233. In 1233 he was made Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, a position he held until 1234 when he was appointed to the more senior position of Chief Justice of the King's Bench, becoming the most senior of the King's judges after the title of Justiciar, which was allowed to lapse.

Raley was a trusted royal councillor as well as a judge, and between 1236 and 1239 was one of the King's chief advisors, being responsible for part of the Statute of Merton in 1236, as well as other legal reforms. In February 1239 he was elected Bishop of Coventry and Bishop of Lichfield, which he declined. He was elected to the see of Norwich on 10 April, which he then accepted.[4]

Raley was translated to the see of Winchester on 1 September 1242,[5] but King Henry III of England objected and appealed to Pope Innocent IV, who rejected the appeal.[6]

Raley died shortly before 1 September 1250, the date he was buried.[6]

See also



  • British History Online Bishops of Winchester accessed on October 29, 2007
Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas of Moulton
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Succeeded by
Thomas of Moulton
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alexander de Stavenby
Bishop-elect of Coventry and Lichfield
Succeeded by
Nicholas Farnham
Preceded by
Simon of Elmham
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
Walter Suffield
Preceded by
Peter des Roches
Bishop of Winchester
Succeeded by
Aymer de Valence

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