Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wauton, Simon de

WAUTON, WATTON, WALTON, or WALTHONE, SIMON de (d. 1266), bishop of Norwich, probably a native of Walton d'Eiville, Warwickshire (Dugdale, Warwickshire, p. 576), was one of the clerks of King John, and received from him the church of St. Andrew, Hastings, on 9 April 1206, and two other livings in the two following years. He acted as justice itinerant for the northern counties in 1246, and his name constantly appears in later commissions in eyre for various counties; a fine was levied before him in 1247, so that he may be held to have then been a judge of the common pleas, and in 1257 he was apparently chief justice of that bench (Foss). In 1253 he was presented to the rectory of Stoke Prior, Herefordshire, by the prior and convent of Worcester, and in 1254 received from them a lease of the manor of Harvington, Worcestershire; his connection with the convent doubtless being through Robert de Walton, the chamberlain of the house, possibly his brother. Walter Suffeld [q. v.], bishop of Norwich, having died on 18 May 1257, Wauton was elected to that see, and obtained confirmation from the king and the pope without difficulty, but is said to have spent a good sum through messengers sent by him to Rome who obtained the pope's license for him to retain the revenues of his other preferments along with his bishopric for four years. He was consecrated on 10 March 1258. Later in that year he was one of four bishops summoned to Oxford to settle a reform of the church, apparently with special reference to monasteries; but their scheme came to nothing. In common with the Archbishop of Canterbury and John Mansel [q. v.], he was commissioned by the pope to absolve the king and others from the oath to maintain the provisions of Oxford. His consequent action in that matter greatly irritated the baronial party, and when war broke out in 1263 he had to flee for refuge to the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. He died at a great age on 2 Jan. 1265–6, and was buried in his cathedral church.

[Foss's Judges, ii. 508; Blomefield's Norfolk, iii. 492; Matt. Paris, v. 648, 667, 707, vi. 268, 299; Cotton, pp. 137, 139, 141; Ann. de Dunstap., Ann. de Wigorn., Wykes ap. Ann. Monast. iii. iv. passim (all Rolls Ser.); Fœdera, i. 406.]

W. H.