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Royal Genealogy

Guillaume de Savoie
Bishop of Valence


Positions Held

Bishop of Liège, 1238[2]

Main Events

Guillaume was destined by his father for a clerical career. He was never consecrated as bishop of Valence, but administered the see as Procurator. During his tenure, he displayed firmness and tact when settling the disagreements and disputes arising from the rivalries of some of his neighbours. He had successfully opposed an insurrection of his rebellious subjects at Valence. At the same time, he also acted as arbiter for his brothers during their dispute over their inheritance after their father's death. But he was pre-eminently a warrior, and his fame in this latter capacity was well established in Europe.[1][3]

In 1236, he was sent to accompany his niece Eleanor of Provence, the child-bride of King Henry III, to England. He was most likely her tutor during her early period as a young queen. Count Thomas I of Savoy had already established good relations with the king, and records show that one of his sons, most likely Guillaume, received the living of Combe by papal provision in 1220. Henry III soon fell under the charm of Guillaume, and made him principal advisor of the Council, lavishing riches and estates upon him. He held the livings of St Michael's-on-Wyre in Lancashire and Bingham in Nottinghamshire (by patent), and the honour of Richmond in 1237. He was also probably rector of Reculver.[1][2][3]

Guillaume's elevation gave rise to jealousy and feelings of indignation towards him, and he soon quarrelled with the barons until he decided to leave the country. Henry III allowed him to return and proposed that he be elected bishop of Winchester in 1238, but the church council opposed the nomination. He went on to serve as Bishop of Liège. He was allegedly poisoned.[2][3]

Place of death: Viterbo[2]
Place of burial: Hautecombe Abbey[2]



1. C.W. Previté-Orton. The Early History of the House of Savoy. Cambridge: University Press, 1912.

2. C. Cawley. Medieval Lands - A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families. The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. ©2018.

3. A. Wiel. The Romance of the House of Savoy, 1003-1519. New York; London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1898.

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