soldiers acting under orders from the constable of Dover Castle, and his wife, a sister of the chancellor.
John seized upon this outrage as a pretext for organising a general attack upon William. Bishops and barons gathered round him, and William was summoned by the assistant justiciars to meet them on 5 Oct. at the bridge over the Lodden, between Reading and Windsor, and defend his conduct if he could. After issuing a counter-summons to John's adherents, he proceeded to Windsor, but failed to appear at the meeting, excusing his absence by a plea of ill-health. On 6 Oct. the bishops excommunicated him, and after a vain attempt to buy peace with John, he promised to stand his trial at the Lodden bridge next day. In the morning, however, he learned that his enemies were marching upon London, and he at once turned in the same direction. He met some of them on the road, but fought his way through them, entered the city, and shut himself up in the Tower. A three days' blockade forced him to surrender, and on 10 Oct. the other justiciars and the barons formally deposed him from all secular offices, and sentenced him to deliver up the castles in his custody, to give hostages, and then to depart the realm. Submitting under protest, he gave up the keys of the Tower and of Windsor Castle, and was allowed to withdraw to Dover. Thence he twice attempted to escape in disguise over sea, but was caught and detained till the castles were all surrendered, when he was permitted to sail on 29 Oct. for Flanders (cf. English Hist. Rev. v. 316–9); he afterwards proceeded to France and Normandy.
The justiciars sequestrated William's see, in spite of a threat of papal excommunication. Next spring he took advantage of their strained relations with John to revisit England and demand restitution, and bribed John himself into supporting the demand. The justiciars, however, managed to outbid him, and he returned to France. Early in 1193 he joined his imprisoned sovereign in Germany. Richard seems to have attributed the settlement soon afterwards arrived at between himself and the emperor to his ‘dearest chancellor,’ to whom he committed his instructions for the collection of the money and the transmission of the hostages required from England for the royal ransom, and the emperor's golden bull proclaiming the treaty (19 April). Before the English justiciars would allow William to land they made him swear to meddle with nothing outside his immediate commission; and they treated this as limited to the presentation of the bull, to receive which they met him at St. Albans in June. He had landed at Ipswich and thence gone to St. Edmunds, where the abbot, regarding him as excommunicate, stopped the celebration of mass in his presence (Joc. Brakelonde, pp. 38, 39). He then went to London, and there made trial of his power by ordering the seizure of some houses belonging to the rebel bishop of Coventry. A storm of popular fury drove him to change his attitude, and at St. Albans he declared that he merely came ‘as a simple bishop,’ and on a brief visit as the king's messenger. But the council was deaf to his protestations; the archbishop of Rouen refused him the kiss of peace, and the queen-mother and the barons unanimously declined to trust him with the care of the hostages. By 29 June William was back at Worms with his king. He was next sent to negotiate a peace with Philip of France at Mantes on 9 July. In December he went to Normandy to arrange terms between Richard and John. In February 1194 he was again with Richard at Mainz, and he accompanied the king on his last visit to England, March–May 1194. At the council of Nottingham, 30 March, he sought to buy the sheriffdoms of Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Northamptonshire, but was outbid by wealthier purchasers. On 17 April he walked, as chancellor, at the king's right hand in the coronation procession to Westminster; and on 24 April his quarrel with Geoffrey of York was formally settled by Richard.
On 23 July, when Richard was in Aquitaine, William was in Normandy negotiating with Philip another truce, with which Richard on his return professed to be so dissatisfied, that he for a moment deprived William of the seals. His anger was, however, merely assumed to colour a scheme for the repudiation of all engagements made under the old seal, in order to raise money by the sale of confirmations to be issued under a new one. The chancellor was immediately reinstated, and the change of seal was, in fact, not carried out till after his death (Wyon, Great Seals, pp. 149, 19). In the summer of 1195 he narrowly escaped capture on his way through France to Germany, whither he was sent to ascertain how far the emperor would assist the English king in an invasion of France. At the close of the following year Richard despatched him, with two other bishops, on a mission to Rome to appeal against the interdict with which Walter of Rouen was avenging the building of Château-Gaillard. William fell sick at Poitiers, died there on 31 Jan. (R. Diceto, ii. 150; ‘Hist. Eliens.’ in Angl. Sacra, i. 633) or 1 Feb. (Gerv. Cant. i. 543) 1197, and was buried in the neigh-