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HAMILTON, WILLIAM de (d. 1307), chancellor, was a landowner in Cambridgeshire, and an ecclesiastic. In 1280 he was a justice in itinere for Hampshire and Wiltshire, but for pleas of forest only. In 1282 he was custos of the bishopric of Winchester and of the abbey of Hide (Abbr. Rot. Orig. i. 40, 42). He then became a clerk in chancery, and in 1286 vice-chancellor to the king, having occasional custody of the great seal (Public Records Commission, 7th Rep. App. xii. 242-51). On the death of Bishop Burnel on 25 Oct. 1292, the great seal was delivered into the wardrobe under his seal, and until he set out as the bishop's executor with his corpse for the funeral at Wells he sealed writs (Close Roll 20 Edw. I ; Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 55 ; Rot. Parl. i. 117). During absences of the next chancellor, John de Langton, from 4 to 30 March, and 22 to 27 Aug. 1297, and from 20 Feb. to 16 June 1299, he also had charge of the great seal. Meantime he had received ecclesiastical preferment of various kinds. In 1287 he received the prebend of Warthill, York, and in 1288 was appointed archdeacon of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and in December 1298 dean of York. He also held the deanery of the church of St. Burian in Cornwall (Rot. Parl. i. 421 a ; Le Neve, iii. 122, 132, 220 ; Cole, Documents, p. 421). He is mentioned in the Year-Book as engaged in a lawsuit with Robert le Veyl in 1303. In December 1304 the then chancellor, Grenefield, resigned the seals in order to proceed to Rome and induce the pope to permit his consecration as archbishop of York. Hamilton, though absent, was nominated his successor by the king at Lincoln on 29 Dec., and until his arrival the seal was placed in the wardrobe under the seal of Sir Adam de Osgodebey, the master of the rolls. On 16 Jan. 1305 Hamilton returned and received the seal from the treasurer, the Bishop of Coventry (Rot. Pat. 33 Edw. I, p. 1. m. 29). Shortly after his appointment on 6 April he was admonished by the king in full parliament against granting letters of protection from suits brought against them to persons absent in Ireland (Rot. Parl. 33 Edw. I). During his term of office he sealed the statute de tallagio non concedendo and the commission for the trial of Sir William Wallace. He died on 20 April 1307, while in attendance upon the king at Fountains Abbey, and was succeeded by Ralph de Baldock, bishop of London. He is described as a man of business of moderate abilities.

[Foss's Judges of England ; Campbell's Lives of the Chancellors; Madox, i. 74.]

J. A. H.