Skip to content

William the Conqueror

King of England and Duke of Normandy.

William was the natural son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, his mother, Herleva, being the daughter of a tanner of Falaise. In 1035 Robert set out upon a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, in which he died. Before starting he presented to the nobles this child, then seven years old, demanding their allegiance. "He is little", the father said, "but he will grow, and, if God please, he will mend." In spite of the murder of three of his guardians, and of attempts to kidnap his own person, the child, after a period of anarchy, became the ruler of Normandy in his father's place. He seems to have been a youth of clean life and of much natural piety, while the years of storm and stress through which he passed gave him an endurance and far-sighted resolution of character which lasted to his life's end. In 1047 a serious rebellion of nobles occurred, and William with the aid of Henry, King of France, gained a great victory at Val-ès-Dunes, near Caen, which led, the following year, to the capture of the two strong castles of Alençon and Domfront. Using this as his base of operations, the young duke, in 1054 and the following years, made himself master of the province of Maine and thus became the most powerful vassal of the French Crown, able on occasion to bid defiance to the king himself.

Meanwhile William had begun to take a great interest in English affairs. How far his visit to England in 1051 was directly prompted by designs upon the throne, it is impossible to say. It is in any case likely that his marriage, in spite of the papal prohibition, with Matilda, the daughter of the Earl of Flanders, in 1053, was intended as a check upon the influence exercised in that powerful quarter by Earl Godwin and his sons. Through the mediation of Lanfranc, the future archbishop, the union was legitimized by papal dispensation in 1059, but William and his wife consented to found two abbeys at Caen, by way of penance for their contumacy. Edward the Confessor had been brought up in Normandy, for he was the nephew of Duke Richard II (d. 1026). All through the reign, the king himself and at least a minority of his subjects had turned their eyes across the water, realizing that the Continent represented in general higher religious ideals and higher culture than prevailed at home. Whether any explicit promise of the succession had been made to the duke may be doubted, but one fact stands out clearly from a mass of obscure and often conflicting details: that King Harold, about the year 1064, finding himself on Norman soil, was constrained to take a solemn oath of allegiance to William. Neither can there be much doubt that this pledge was given with explicit reference to the duke's intention of contesting the English throne. The repudiation of this oath by Harold at the Confessor's death enabled William to assume the character of an avenger of perjury. He was probably sincere enough in believing himself constituted by God champion of the Church, and in obtaining from Pope Alexander II not only a blessing on his enterprise, but the gift of a specially consecrated banner as for a religious crusade. A century later Henry II, when projecting his conquest of Ireland, adopted a similar rôle. At the same time it is not now disputed by impartial historians (e.g. H. C. Davis, or C. Oman) that the claim to establish a better order of things was in fact justified by the event. "The Norman Conquest", says H. C. Davis, "raised the English to that level of culture which the continental people had already reached and left it for the Plantagenets of Anjou to make England in her turn 'a leader among nations'."

After the invasion and the decisive battle of Hastings, William at once marched on London, and there the best and wisest men of the kingdom—for example, such influential prelates as Aldred, Archbishop of York, and St. Wulstan, Bishop or Worcester &151; came in and tendered submission. Before the end of the year the king was crowned by Aldred (to the exclusion of Stigand) in the newly consecrated abbey-church of Westminster. In 1067 William revisited Normandy, but, owing perhaps in part to the tactlessness or incapacity of the regents, Odo of Bayeux and William Fitzosborn, he was recalled by an alarming series of popular outbreaks: first the south-west, with Exeter for a rallying-point, then the Welsh border, under the Earls Edwin and Morcar, then Northumbria, under Earl Gospatric, to be followed next year (1069) by a still more formidable rising in the north, assisted by the Danes. William met these attempts intrepidly, but sternly. In Northumbria, after the second insurrection, he inflicted a terrible vengeance. The whole country from York to Durham was laid waste, and we learn, for example, from the Domesday Book , that in the district of Amunderness, where there had been sixty-two villages in the Confessor's time, there were in 1087 but sixteen, and these with a vastly reduced population. Neither was this the only instance of such ruthless severity. A terrible penalty was exacted in other centres of rebellion, and we read not only of a wholesale use of fire and sword, but of mutilation and blinding in the case of individual offenders. The Conqueror could respect a brave foe, and he seems, in 1071, to have granted honourable terms to Hereward, the leader of the desperate resistance in the fen-country. But to Waltheof, after the collapse of the rebellion of the earls in 1075, no mercy was shown. The motive was probably political, for Lanfranc, who was with him at the last, pronounced him guiltless of the offence for which he died.

Having at last reduced the country to submission, William set to work with statesmanlike deliberation to establish his government on a firm and lasting basis. He rewarded his followers with large grants of land, but he was careful to distribute these grants in such a way that the concentration of great territorial power in the same hands was avoided. The new fiefs recorded in Domesday are vast, but scattered. Saxon institutions were as far as possible retained, especially when they might serve as a check upon the power of the great feudatories. For the most part William continued to govern through the sheriffs and the courts of the shire and of the hundred. The national levy of the fyrd was retained, and it helped to render the king less dependent upon his vassals. In spite of heavy taxation, the new government was not altogether unpopular, for the Conqueror had confirmed "the laws of Edward", and the people looked to him as their natural protector against feudal oppression. The least acceptable part of the Norman regime was probably the enforcement of the cruel forest laws ; but on the other hand, modern authorities are agreed that the chroniclers of a later age enormously exaggerated the devastation said to have been caused in Hampshire by the making of the New Forest.

As for William's ecclesiastical policy, he seems conscientiously to have carried out a programme of wise reform. His appointments of bishops mere on the whole excellent. The separation of the secular and spiritual courts was a measure of supreme and far-reaching importance. The influence of the great monastic revival of Cluny was now, through Lanfranc, brought to bear on many English foundations. To the pope, William was ever careful to show himself a considerate and respectful son, even on such occasions as when he firmly resisted the claim made by Gregory VII to feudal homage. On the other hand, St. Gregory himself commended the king for the zeal he had shown in securing the freedom of the Church, and he was content, while such a spirit prevailed, to leave the sovereign practically free in his appointments to English bishoprics. Altogether Mr. C. Oman does not exaggerate when he tells us that before the Conquest "the typical faults of the dark ages, pluralism, simony, lax observance of the canons, contented ignorance, worldliness in every aspect, were all too prevalent in England "; but he adds that by the Conqueror's wise policy "the condition of the Church alike in the matter of spiritual zeal, of hard work and of learning, was much improved". In the last years of William's reign a great deal of his attention was absorbed by the political complications which threatened his Continental dominions and by the undutiful attitude of his sons. It was in avenging a gibe levelled against him by the King of France that the Conqueror met with an accident on horseback, which terminated fatally 9 Sept., 1087. He had an edifying end and died commending his soul to Our Lady, "that by her holy prayers she may reconcile me to her Son, my Lord Jesus Christ ". The Saxon chronicler summed up William's character well when he wrote: "He was mild to good men who loved God, and stark beyond all bounds to those who withsaid his will."

(For further details see ENGLAND -- Before the Reformation. )

More Volume: W 303

Click/Touch the sub-volume below to view encyclopedia articles within the sub-volume.

1

Wörndle, Von, Family

Philip von Wörndle Of Adelsfried and Weierburg, major of a Tyrolese rifle-corps, commandant ...

× Close

4

Würtemberg, Kingdom of

In area the third and in population the fourth of the states of the German Empire. It is situated ...

Würzburg Abbeys

See also DIOCESE OF WÜRZBURG and UNIVERSITY OF WÜRZBURG ABBEYS ; The city of ...

Würzburg, Diocese of

(HERBIPOLENSIS). See also UNIVERSITY OF WÜRZBURG and WÜRZBURG ABBEYS ; Located ...

Würzburg, University of

See also DIOCESE OF WÜRZBURG and WÜRZBURG ABBEYS ; John I of Egloffstein ...

× Close

Wa 69

Waagen, Wilhelm Heinrich

Geologist, and palæontologist, born at Munich, 23 June, 1841; died at Vienna, 24 March, ...

Wace, Robert

Poet, born at Jersey, about 1100; died at Bayeux, 1174. His maternal grandfather, Toustein, was a ...

Wachter, Eberhard

Painter, born at Stuttgart, 29 February, 1762; died at Stuttgart, 14 August, 1852. He studied ...

Wadding, Luke

Historian and theologian, born at Waterford, Ireland, 16 October, 1588; died at St. Isidore's ...

Wadding, Michael

(GODINEZ). Mystical theologian, born at Waterford, Ireland, in 1591; died in Mexico, Dec. ...

Waire, Venerable

English friar and martyr, hanged, drawn, and quartered at St. Thomas Waterings in Camberwell (a ...

Waitzen, Diocese of

(VÄCZ or VACIENSIS). Located in Hungary ; suffragan of Gran ; probably founded by King ...

Wakash Indians

A linguistic family inhabiting the western coast of British Columbia from 50° 30' to Garden ...

Walafrid

(Walahfrid; surnamed Strabo -- "the Squinter"). German poet and theologian of the ninth ...

Walburga, Saint

(WALTPURDE, WALPURGIS; at Perche GAUBURGE; in other parts of France VAUBOURG, FALBOURG). Born ...

Waldeck, Principality of

(Or WALDECK-PYRMONT). A former state of the German Empire , with an area of 433 square miles; ...

Waldenses

An heretical sect which appeared in the second half of the twelfth century and, in a ...

Waldsassen, Abbey of

("Settlement in the woods"). Located on the River Wondreb, Upper Palatinate, near the border ...

Waldseemüller, Martin

(Graecized ILACOMILUS). Learned Humanist and celebrated cartographer, born at Wolfenweiler ...

Walenburch, Adrian and Peter von

Auxiliary bishops of Cologne and celebrated controversial theologians, born at Rotterdam at the ...

Wales

Wales is that western portion of Great Britain which lies between the Irish Sea and the River ...

Walkenried

Formerly one of the most celebrated Cistercian abbeys of Germany, situated in the Duchy of ...

Wall, Venerable John

Martyr, born in Lancashire, 1620; suffered near Worcester, 22 August, 1679; known at Douay and ...

Walla-Walla Indians

A Shahaptian tribe dwelling on the Walla-Walla (i.e. rushing water) River and the Columbia in ...

Wallenstein, Albrecht von

(WALDSTEIN). Born at Hermanic, Bohemia, 24 September, 1583; died at Eger, Bohemia, 24 ...

Wallon Henri-Alexandre

Historian and statesman, born at Valenciennes (Nord), in 1812); died at Paris, in 1904. Fellow of ...

Walmesley, Charles

Bishop of Rama, Vicar Apostolic of the Western District, England, b. 13 Jan., 1722; d. at Bath, ...

Walpole, Ven. Henry

English Jesuit martyr, born at Docking, Norfolk, 1558; martyred at York, 7 April, 1595. He was ...

Walsh, Edward

Irish poet, born at Derry actually Doire, near Kiskeam in County Cork in 1805; died at Cork, ...

Walsh, Patrick

Journalist, United States senator; born at Ballingary, Co. Limerick, Ireland, 1 January, 1840; ...

Walsh, Peter

Irish Franciscan, born at Mooretown, County Kildare, about 1608; died in London, 15 March, 1688. ...

Walsh, Robert

Publicist, diplomat, born at Baltimore, MD., 1785; died at Paris, 7 Feb., 1859. He was one of the ...

Walsh, Thomas

Born in London, October, 1777; d. there, 18 February, 1849. His father, an Irish merchant, ...

Walsh, William

Bishop of Meath, Ireland (1554-77); b. at Dunboyne, Co. Meath, about 1512; d. at Alcalá ...

Walsingham Priory

Walsingham Priory stood a few miles from the sea in the northern part of Norfolk, England. ...

Walsingham, Thomas

Benedictine historian, died about 1422. He is supposed to have been a native of Walsingham, ...

Walter of Châtillon

(GAUTIER DE LILLE, GUALTERUS DE INSULIS; also GAUTIER DE CHATILLON, GAULTERUS DE CASTILLIONE). ...

Walter of Merton

Bishop of Rochester and founder of Merton College, Oxford, b. probably at Merton in Surrey or ...

Walter of Mortagne

A twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher, and theologian, b. at Mortagne in Flanders in the ...

Walter of St-Victor

Mystic philosopher and theologian of the twelth century. Nothing is known about Walter except ...

Walter of Winterburn

An English Dominican, cardinal, orator, poet, philosopher, theologian, b. in the thirteenth ...

Walter, Ferdinand

Jurist, born at Wetzlar, 30 November, 1794; died at Bonn, 13 December, 1879. After studying at the ...

Waltham Abbey

The Abbey of Waltham Holy Cross stood in Essex, some ten miles to the northeast of London, on ...

Walther von der Vogelweide

Minnesinger and old poet, born about 1170; died in 1228. Only one old document mentions the name ...

Walton, Brian

Biblical scholar, editor of Walton's Polyglot Bible, born at Seymour, or Seamer, near York, in ...

Wandelbert

Benedictine monk and theological writer, born in 813; died at Prüm after 850. Little is ...

Wangnereck, Heinrich

(WAGNERECK). Theologian, preacher, author, born at Munich in July, 1595; died at Dillingen, ...

War

War, in its juridical sense, is a contention carried on by force of arms between sovereign states, ...

Ward, Hugh

( Irish, ÆDH BUIDH MAC-AN-BHAIRD). Hagiographer, born in Donegal, about 1590; died 8 ...

Ward, James Harman

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1806; killed in attack on Matthias Point, Virginia, 27 June, ...

Ward, Margaret, Saint

Martyr, born at Congleton, Cheshire; executed at Tyburn, London, 30 Aug., 1588. Nothing is known ...

Ward, Mary

Foundress, born 23 January, 1585; died 23 January, 1645; eldest daughter of Marmaduke Ward and ...

Ward, Thomas

Born at Danby Castle near Guisborough, Yorkshire, 13 April, 1652; d. at St-Germain, France, ...

Ward, Ven. William

(Real name WEBSTER). Born at Thornby in Westmoreland, about 1560; martyred at Tyburn, 26 ...

Ward, William George

An English writer and convert, eldest son of William Ward, Esq., born in London, 21 March, ...

Warde, Mary Francis Xavier

Born at Belbrook House, Mountrath, Queen's County, Ireland, 1810; died at Manchester, N.H., 17 ...

Warham, William

Archbishop of Canterbury, born at Church Oakley, Hampshire, about 1450; died at Hackington, ...

Warsaw, Archdiocese of

(VARSAVIENSIS). Warsaw (Polish, Warszawa ), on the western bank of the Vistula, is the ...

Wartenberg, Franz Wilhelm, Count von

Bishop of Osnabrück and cardinal, eldest son of Duke Ferdinand of Bavaria and his ...

Washing of Feet and Hands

Owing to the general use of sandals in Eastern countries the washing of the feet was almost ...

Washington, D.C.

(DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA) Washington, the capital of the United States, is situated on the left ...

Washington, State of

One of the Pacific coast states, popularly known as the "Evergreen State", the sixteenth in size ...

Water, Holy

The use of holy water in the earliest days of the Christian Era is attested by documents of ...

Water, Holy, Fonts

Vessels intended for the use of holy water are of very ancient origin, and archaeological ...

Water, Liturgical Use of

Besides the holy water which is used by the Church in so many of her rites of blessing, and ...

Waterford and Lismore

(Waterfordiensis et Lismorensis), suffragan of Cashel. This diocese is almost coterminous with ...

Waterson, Ven. Edward

Born at London ; martyred at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 7 January 1594 (1593 old style). A romantic ...

Waterton, Charles

Naturalist and explorer, born in Walton Hall near Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, in 1782; died ...

Waterworth, James

Born at St. Helen's, Lancashire, 1806; d. at Old Hall, Newark, 28 March, 1876. Educated at ...

Watteau, Jean Antoine

French painter, and founder and leader of the school usually known as that of the painters of Les ...

Waverley, Cistercian Abbey of

Situated in Surrey, near Farnham, founded by William Gifford, Bishop of Winchester, on 24 Nov., ...

Way of the Cross

(Also called Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa). These names are used to signify ...

Way or State

The word state is used in various senses by theologians and spiritual writers. It may be ...

Way, Ven. William

( Alias MAY, alias FLOWER). English priest and martyr, born in Exeter Diocese ...

× Close

We 52

Wealth, Use of

The term "wealth" is not used here in the technical sense in which it occurs in treatises on ...

Wearmouth Abbey

Located on the river Wear, in Durham, England ; a Benedictine monastery founded in 674 by St. ...

Weathers, William

Titular Bishop of Amyela; born 12 November, 1814; died at Isleworth, Middlesex, 4 March, 1895. ...

Webb, Benjamin Joseph

Editor, historian, born at Bardstown, Kentucky, 25 February, 1814; died at Louisville, Kentucky, ...

Webbe, Samuel

English composer, born in England in 1742; died in London, 29 May, 1816. He studied under ...

Weber, Beda

Benedictine professor, author, and member of the National German Parliament, born at Lienz in the ...

Weber, Friedrich Wilhelm

Physician, member of the Prussian House of Deputies, and poet, born at Alhausen, near Driburg, ...

Weber, Heinrich

German Church historian, born at Euerdorf in the Diocese of Würzburg , 21 June, 1834; died ...

Weber, Karl Maria Friedrich Ernst von

Composer, born at Eutin, Lower Saxony, 18 December, 1786; died in London, 5 June, 1826. His ...

Weedall, Henry

Born in London, 6 September, 1788; died at Oscott, 7 November, 1859. Both his parents died ...

Week, Liturgical

The week as a measure of time is a sufficiently obvious division of the lunar month, and the ...

Wegg-Prosser, Francis Richard

Only son of Rev. Prebendary Francis Haggit, rector of Newnham Coutney, born at Newnham Courtney, ...

Weingarten

(MONASTERIUM VINEARUM, AD VINEAS, or WEINGARTENSE). A suppressed Benedictine abbey, near ...

Weis, Nicolaus von

Bishop of Speyer, born at Rimlingen, Lorraine, 8 March, 1796; died at Speyer, 13 December, ...

Weislinger, Johann Nikolaus

Polemical writer, born at Puttlingen in German Lorraine, 1691; died at Kappel-Rodeck in Baden, 29 ...

Weiss, Johann Baptist

Born at Ettenheim, Baden, 17 July, 1820; died at Graz, 8 March, 1899. After completing his ...

Weissenau, Monastery of

(Originally OWE_AUGIA, then MINDERLAU-AUGIA MINOR, and finally WEISSEN AU-AUGIA ALBA or CANDIDA). ...

Weitenauer, Ignatius von

Litterateur, exegete, and Orientalist, born at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, 1 November, 1709; died at ...

Welbourne, Ven. Thomas

Martyred at York, 1 August, 1605. Nothing is known about about this martyr except the scanty ...

Weld

The name of an ancient English family (branches of which are found in several parts of England ...

Weld, Frederick Aloysius

Youngest son of Humphrey Weld, born at Chidcock Manor, Dorset, 1823; died there, 1891. He was ...

Welle, Prefecture Apostolic of

Located in the extreme north of Belgian Congo, Africa, separated by a Decree of the Propaganda ...

Wellington, Archdiocese of

(WELLINGTONIENSIS). Located in New Zealand, originally formed part of the Vicariate of ...

Wells in Scripture

It is difficult for inhabitants of a more humid climate to realize the importance which a country ...

Wells, Ven. Smithin

English martyr, born at Brambridge, Hampshire, about 1536; hanged at Gray's Inn Lane, London, ...

Welser, Bartholomeus

German merchant prince, born at Augsburg, 1488; died at Amberg, near Turkheim, Swabia, 1561. His ...

Welsh Church

In giving separate consideration to the Church of Wales, we follow a practice common among ...

Welsh Monastic Foundations

Few saints of the early British Church, as it existed before the Saxon invasion, are known to ...

Welte, Benedict

Exegete, born at Ratzenried in Würtemberg, 25 November, 1825; died 27 May, 1885. After ...

Wenceslaus, Saint

( Also Vaclav, Vaceslav.) Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at ...

Wendelin of Trier, Saint

Born about 554; died probably in 617. His earliest biographies, two in Latin and two in German, ...

Weninger, Francis Xavier

Jesuit missionary and author, born at Wildhaus, Styria, Austria, 31 October, 1805; died at ...

Wenrich of Trier

German ecclesiastico-polical writer of the eleventh century. He was a canon at Verdun, and ...

Werburgh, Saint

(WEREBURGA, WEREBURG, VERBOURG). Benedictine, patroness of Chester, Abbess of Weedon, ...

Werden

(WERTHINA, WEERDA, WERDENA). A suppressed Benedictine monastery near Essen in Rhenish ...

Werner, Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias

Convert, poet, and pulpit orator, born at Konigsberg, Prussia, 18 November, 1768; died at ...

Wessel Goesport, John

(GANSFORT). A fifteenth-century Dutch theologian, born at Gröningen in 1420; died there ...

Wessenberg, Ignaz Heinrich von

Vicar-General and Administrator of the Diocese of Constance, born at Dresden, 4 November, 1774; ...

Wessobrunn

(WESSOGONTANTUM, AD FONTES WESSONIS). A suppressed Benedictine abbey near Weilheim in Upper ...

West Syrian Rite

The rite used by the Jacobite sect in Syria and by the Catholic Syrians is in its origin ...

West Virginia

A state of the American Union, bounded on the northeast by Pennsylvania and Maryland, on the ...

Westcott, Sebastian

English organist, born about 1524, was a chorister, under Redford, at St. Paul's Cathedral, ...

Westeraas, Ancient See of

(AROSI, AROSIENSIS). Located in Sweden. The Catholic diocese included the lands of ...

Western Schism

This schism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries differs in all points from the Eastern ...

Westminster Abbey

This most famous of all English abbeys is situated within the precincts of the Royal Palace of ...

Westminster Cathedral

As a national expression of religious faith given by Roman Catholics to England since the ...

Westminster, Archdiocese of

(WESTMONASTERIENSIS). Erected and made metropolitan in 1850, comprises the Counties of ...

Westminster, Matthew of

The name given to the supposed author of a well-known English chronicle, the "Flores Historiarum". ...

Weston, William

Jesuit missionary priest, born at Maidstone, 1550 (?); died at Valladolid, Spain, 9 June, ...

Westphalia

A province of Prussia situated between the Rhine and the Weser. It is bounded on the northwest ...

Wettingen-Mehrerau, Abbacy Nullius of

A Cistercian abbey near Bregenz, Vorarlberg, Austria. The Cistercian monastery of Wettingen ...

Wetzer, Heinrich Joseph

Learned Orientalist, born at Anzefahr in Hesse-Cassel, 19 March, 1801; died at Freiburg in ...

× Close

Wh 23

Wharton, Ven. Christopher

Born at Middleton, Yorkshire, before 1546; martyred at York, 28 March, 1600. He was the second ...

Wheeling, Diocese of

(WHELINGENSIS). Comprises the State of West Virginia except the following counties, which are ...

Whipple, Amiel Weeks

Military engineer and soldier, born at Greenwich, Massachusetts, 1818; died at Washington, D.C., ...

Whitaker, Venerable Thomas

Born at Burnley, Lancashire, 1614; martyred at Lancaster, 7 August, 1646. Son of Thomas ...

Whitbread, Venerable Thomas

( Alias HARCOURT). Born in Essex, 1618; martyred at Tyburn, 30 June, 1679. He was ...

Whitby, Abbey of

(Formerly called Streoneshalh). A Benedictine monastery in the North Riding of Yorkshire, ...

Whitby, Synod of

The Christianizing of Britain begun by St. Augustine in A.D. 597 was carried on with varying ...

White Fathers

(MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF AFRICA OF ALGERIA). This society, known under the name of ...

White, Andrew

Missionary, b. at London, 1579; d. at or near London, 27 Dec., 1656 (O.S.). He entered St. ...

White, Charles Ignatius

Editor, historian, born at Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. 1 February, 1807; died at Washington, ...

White, Edward

Grandfather of Stephen Mallory White , born in County Limerick, Ireland, in the latter part of ...

White, Eustace, Venerable

Martyr, born at Louth, Lincolnshire, in 1560; suffered at the London Tyburn, 10 December, 1591. ...

White, Richard, Venerable

( Vere GWYN). Martyr, born at Llanilloes, Montgomeryshire, about 1537; executed at Wrexham, ...

White, Robert

English composer, b. about 1530; d. Nov., 1574; was educated by his father, and graduated Mus. ...

White, Stephen

Antiquarian and polyhistor; b. at Clonmel, Ireland, in 1574; d. in Galway, 1646. He belonged to a ...

White, Stephen Mallory

American statesman; born at San Francisco , California, 19 January, 1853; died at Los Angeles ...

White, Thomas

( Alias BLACKLOW, BLACLOE, ALBIUS, ANGLUS). Born in Essex, 1593; died in London, 6 July, ...

Whithorn Priory

Located in Wigtownshire, Scotland, founded about the middle of the twelfth century, in the reign ...

Whiting, Blessed Richard

Last Abbot of Glastonbury and martyr, parentage and date of birth unknown, executed 15 Nov., ...

Whitsunday

A feast of the universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the ...

Whitty, Ellen

In religion Mary Vincent, born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, a village seven miles form the town of ...

Whitty, Robert

Born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, 7 January, 1817; died 1 September, 1895. In 1830 he entered ...

Whitty, Rose

Born at Dublin, Ireland, 24 November, 1831; died 4 May, 1911. Of her two sisters one became a ...

× Close

Wi 121

Wibald

Abbot of Stavelot ( Stablo ), Malmedy, and Corvey, b. near Stavelot in Belgium in 1098; d. ...

Wichita Indians

A confederacy of Caddoan stock, formerly dwelling between the Arkansas River, Kansas, and the ...

Wichita, Diocese of

(WICHITENSIS). Erected in 1887, from the Diocese of Leavenworth . The territory of the new ...

Wichmans, Francis

In religion AUGUSTINE, born at Antwerp, 1596; died 1661. Having finished his classical studies, ...

Widmer, Joseph

Catholic theologian, born at Hohenraim, Lucerne, Switzerland, 15 Aug., 1779; died at ...

Widow

I. Canonical prescriptions concerning widows in the Old Testament refer mainly to the question ...

Widukind

Saxon leader, and one of the heads of the Westphalian nobility. He was the moving spirit in the ...

Widukind of Corvey

Historian who lived in the tenth century in the Benedictine Abbey of Corvey, Germany. He was a ...

Wiener-Neustadt, Diocese of

(NEOSTADTIENSIS). A suppressed see in Lower Austria. Upon the request of Frederick III it was ...

Wiest, Stephan

Member of the Order of Cistercians, b. at Teisbach in Lower Bavaria, 7 March, 1748; d. at ...

Wigand, Saints

( Also rendered VENANTIUS). Three saints of this name are mentioned in the Roman ...

Wigbert, Saint

Companion of St. Boniface, born in England about 675; died at Hersfeld about 746. Positive ...

Wigbod

(WICBODUS, WIGBOLD, WIGBALD). Theological writer of the eighth century. Of his works there is ...

Wigley, George J.

Died in Rome, 20 January, 1866. By profession he was an architect, but subsequently devoted ...

Wilberforce, Henry William

Born at Clapham, 22 September, 1807; died at Stroud, Gloucestershire, 23 April, 1873. He was third ...

Wilberforce, Robert Isaac

Born at Clapham, 19 December, 1802; died at Albano, near Rome, 3 Feb. 1857. He was the second son ...

Wilcannia, Diocese of

(WILCANIENSIS). Located in New South Wales, one of the six suffragan sees of Sydney; consists ...

Wilcox, Robert, Venerable

English martyr, born at Chester, 1558; suffered at Canterbury, 1 October, 1588. He arrived at ...

Wild, Johann

Scriptural commentator and preacher, better known by his Latin name FERUS, b. in Swabia, 1497; d. ...

Wilfrid, Saint

Bishop of York, son of a Northumbrian thegn, born in 634; died at Oundle in Northamptonshire, ...

Wilgefortis

A fabulous female saint known also as UNCUMBER, KUMMERNIS, KOMINA, COMERA, CUMERANA, HULFE, ...

Wilhelm of Herle

Painter, born at Herle in Dutch Limburg at an unknown date in the fourteenth century; time and ...

Wilhelm V

Son of Duke Albrecht V. Born at Munich, 29 September, 1548; died at Schlessheim, 7 February, ...

Wilhering, Cistercian Abbey of

(HILARIA). Situated on the right bank of the Danube, in the Diocese of Linz, Austria. Ulric ...

Will

(Latin voluntas, Greek boúlesis, "willing" German Wille, French volonté ). ...

Will and Testament of Clerics

Roman law allowed clerics to dispose of their property by will or otherwise. Bishops, however, ...

Will, Free

RELATION OF THE QUESTION TO DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY HISTORY Free Will in Ancient ...

Willaert, Adrian

Composer and founder of the Venetian school, b. at Bruges, or, according to other authorities, ...

Willehad, Saint

Bishop at Bremen, born in Northumberland before 745; died at Blecazze (Blexen) on the Weser, 8 ...

Willems, Pierre

Philologist, born at Maastricht, 6 January, 1840; died at Louvain, 23 February, 1898. Following ...

William

Born in Brittany, died at Marmoutiers, 23 May, 1124. For a time he was Archdeacon of Nantes, ...

William

Abbot of Saint-Bénigne at Dijon, celebrated Cluniac reformer, b. on the Island of ...

William Carter, Venerable

English martyr, born in London, 1548; suffered for treason at Tyburn, 11 January, 1584. Son of ...

William Exmew, Blessed

Carthusian monk and martyr ; suffered at Tyburn, 19 June, 1535. He studied at Christ's ...

William Filby, Blessed

Blessed William Filby Born in Oxfordshire between 1557 and 1560; suffered at Tyburn, 30 May, ...

William Hart, Blessed

Born at Wells, 1558; suffered at York, 15 March, 1583. Elected Trappes Scholar at Lincoln ...

William Lacy, Blessed

Born at "Hanton", Yorkshire (probably Houghton or Tosside, West Riding); suffered at York, 22 ...

William of Auvergne

Bishop of Paris, medieval philosopher and theologian. Born at Aurillac in Auvergne towards ...

William of Auxerre

A thirteenth-century theologian and professor at the University of Paris . William's name ...

William of Champeaux

A twelfth-century Scholastic, philosopher, and theologian, b. at Champeaux, near Melun, in the ...

William of Conches

A twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher and theologian, b. about the year 1100. After having ...

William of Digulleville

(DEGULLEVILLE). A French poet of the fourteenth century. Nothing is known of his life, except ...

William of Ebelholt, Saint

(Also called WILLIAM OF PARIS and WILLIAM OF THE PARACLETE.) Died on Easter Sunday, 1203, and ...

William of Gellone, Saint

Born 755; died 28 May, c. 812; was the second count of Toulouse, having attained that dignity in ...

William of Jumièges

(Surnamed CALCULUS.) Benedictine historian of the eleventh century. Practically nothing seems ...

William of Maleval, Saint

(or ST. WILLIAM THE GREAT). Died 10 February, 1157; beatified in 1202. His life, written ...

William of Malmesbury

Born 30 November, about 1090; died about 1143. He was educated at Malmesbury, where he became a ...

William of Moerbeke

Scholar, Orientalist, philosopher, and one of the most distinguished men of letters of the ...

William of Nangis

(GUILHELMUS). A medieval chronicler, who takes his name from the City of Nancy, France. ...

William of Newburgh

Historian, b. at Bridlington, Yorkshire, 1136; d. at Newburgh, Yorkshire, 1198, where he went as ...

William of Norwich, Saint

Born 1132; died 22 March, 1144. On Holy Saturday, 25 March, 1144, a boy's corpse showing signs of ...

William of Ockham

Fourteenth-century Scholastic philosopher and controversial writer, born at or near the village ...

William of Paris, Saint

Abbot of Eskill in Denmark, born 1105; died 1202. He was born of a noble French family, and ...

William of Perth, Saint

(Or ST. WILLIAM OF ROCHESTER). Martyr, born at Perth ; died about 1201. Practically all that ...

William of Poitiers

Norman historian, born of a noted family, at Préaux near Pont Audemer, Normandy, about 1020. ...

William of Ramsey

Flourished about 1219. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a monk of Crowland Abbey ...

William of Sens

A twelfth-century French architect, supposed to have been born at Sens. He is referred to in ...

William of Shoreham

( Or de Schorham.) An English religious writer of the Anglo-Norman period, born at ...

William of St-Amour

A thirteenth century theologian and controversialist, born in Burgundy in the first decades of ...

William of St-Thierry

Theologian and mystic, and so called from the monastery of which he was abbot, b. at ...

William of Turbeville

(TURBE, TURBO, or DE TURBEVILLE). Bishop of Norwich (1146-74), b. about 1095; d. at Norwich ...

William of Tyre

Archbishop of Tyre and historian, born probably in Palestine, of a European family which had ...

William of Vercelli

(Or WILLIAM OF MONTE VERGINE.) The founder of the Hermits of Monte Vergine, or Williamites, ...

William of Ware

(William de Warre, Guard, Guaro, Varro or Varron.) Born at Ware in Herts; the date of his ...

William of Wayneflete

Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, b. towards the end of the fourteenth century; ...

William of Wykeham

Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England and founder of Winchester College ; b. between ...

William Perault

(PERAULD, PERALDUS, PERALTUS). Writer and preacher, b. at Perault, France ; d. at Lyons ; ...

William the Clerk (of Normandy)

French poet of the thirteenth century. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a clerk of ...

William the Conqueror

King of England and Duke of Normandy. William was the natural son of Robert, Duke of ...

William the Walloon

Date of birth unknown; d. (probably) 22 Dec., 1089. He became Abbot of St. Arnoul at Metz in ...

William, Blessed

Abbot of Hirschau, monastic reformer, born in Bavaria ; died at Hirschau, 5 July 1091. He ...

William, Saint

(WILLIAM FITZHERBERT, also called WILLIAM OF THWAYT). Archbishop of York. Tradition ...

William, Saint

Bishop of St-Brieuc, born in the parish of St. Alban, Brittany, between 1178 and 1184; died ...

Williamites

There were two minor religious orders or congregations of this name: (1) a Benedictine ...

Willibald and Winnebald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Willibrord, Saint

Bishop of Utrecht, Apostle of the Frisians, and son of St. Hilgis, born in Northumbria, 658; ...

Willigis, Saint

Archbishop of Mainz, d. 23 Feb., 1011. Feast, 23 February or 18 April. Though of humble birth ...

Williram

(WALTRAM, WILTRAM). Scriptural scholar, b. in Franconia (near Worms), Germany ; d. in 1085 at ...

Wilmers, Wilhelm

Professor of philosophy and theology, b. at Boke in Westphalia, 30 January, 1817; d. at ...

Wilmington, Diocese of

(WILMINGTONIENSIS). Erected 3 March, 1868. It includes what is known as the Delmarvia ...

Wilton Abbey

A Benedictine convent in Wiltshire, England, three miles from Salisbury. A first foundation was ...

Wilton, Richard

Died December 21, 1239. He was a medieval scholar of whom little is known except that he was an ...

Wimborne Minster

( Also WIMBURN or WINBURN). Located in Dorsetshire, England. Between the years 705-23 a ...

Wimmer, Boniface

Archabbot, b. at Thalmassing, Bavaria, 14 January, 1809; d. at St. Vincent Archabbey, Beatty, ...

Wimpfeling, Jakob

Humanist and theologian, b. at Schlettstadt, Alsace, 25 July 1450; d. there, 17 Nov., 1528. He ...

Wimpina, Konrad

(WIMINAE, WIMINESIS). Theologian, b. at Buchen in Baden, about 1465; d. at Amorbach in Lower ...

Winchester, Ancient See of

(WINTONIA, WINTONIENSIS). This diocese came into existence in 635 when the great ...

Winckelmann, Johann Joachim

Archaeologist and historian of ancient art, born at Stendal near Magdeburg, in 1717; assassinated ...

Windesheim

An Augustinian monastery situated about four miles south of Zwolle on the Issel, in the Kingdom ...

Winding Sheet of Christ, Feast of the Holy

In 1206 one of the (supposed) Winding Sheets used at the burial of Christ was brought to ...

Windischmann, Friedrich Heinrich Hugo

Orientalist and exegete, b. at Aschaffenburg, 13 December, 1811; d. at Munich, 23 August, ...

Windischmann, Karl Joseph Hieronymus

Philosopher, b. at Mainz, 25 August, 1775; d. at Bonn, 23 April, 1839. He attended the gymnasium ...

Window, Rose

A circular window, with mullions and traceries generally radiating from the centre, and filled ...

Windows in Church Architecture

From the beginning Christian churches, in contrast to the ancient temples, were intended to be ...

Windsor

A town of great antiquity, on the Thames, in Berkshire, England ; quaintly rendered Ventus ...

Windthorst, Ludwig

Born near Osnabrück, 17 January, 1812; died 14 March, 1891. He came from a family of ...

Wine, Altar

Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid ...

Winefride, Saint

Born at Holywell, Wales, about 600; died at Gwytherin, Wales, 3 Nov., 660. Her father was ...

Wingham, Thomas

Born in London, 5 January, 1846; died there, 24 March, 1893. He studied music at Wylde's London ...

Winnebago Indians

A tribe of Siouan stock closely related in speech to the Iowa, Missouri, and Oto, and more ...

Winnebald and Willibald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Winnoc, Saint

Abbot or Prior or Wormhoult, died 716 or 717. Three lives of this saint are extant: the best of ...

Winona, Diocese of

(WINONENSIS). Established in 1889, suffragan of St. Paul, comprises the following counties in ...

Winslow, Jakob Benignus

(WINSLOW). Physician and anatomist, b. at Odense, Denmark, 27 April, 1669; d. in Paris, 3 ...

Winwallus, Saint

Abbot of Landevennec; d. 3 March, probably at the beginning of the sixth century, though the ...

Winzet, Ninian

Benedictine abbot and controversial writer, b. at Renfrew, Scotland, 1518; d. at Ratisbon, 21 ...

Wipo

(WIPPO). Apparently a native of Burgundy, lived in the first half of the eleventh century. He ...

Wireker, Nigel

Satirist, lived about 1190. He describes himself as old in the "Speculum Stultorum", which was ...

Wirt, Wigand

Theologian, born at Frankfort about 1460; died at Steyer, 30 June, 1519. He entered the ...

Wisconsin

Known as the "Badger State", admitted to the Union on 29 May, 1848, the seventeenth state ...

Wisdom, Book of

One of the deutero-canonical writings of the Old Testament, placed in the Vulgate between the ...

Wisdom, Daughters of

(LES FILLES DE LA SAGESSE). Founded at Poitiers by Blessed Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort ...

Wise Men (Magi)

(Plural of Latin magus ; Greek magoi ). The "wise men from the East" who came to adore ...

Wiseman, Nicholas Patrick

Cardinal, first Archbishop of Westminster ; b. at Seville, 2 Aug., 1802; d. in London, 15 ...

Witchcraft

It is not easy to draw a clear distinction between magic and witchcraft. Both are concerned with ...

Witness

One who is present, bears testimony, furnishes evidence or proof. Witnesses are employed in ...

Witt, Francis Xavier

Reformer of church music, founder of the St. CeciliaSociety for German-speaking countries, ...

Wittenberg

The city is in Prussian Saxony and was founded by Albert the Bear (d. 1170). He had conquered ...

Wittman, George Michael

Bishop-elect of Ratisbon, b. near Pleistein, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, 22 (23?) Jan., 1760; d. at ...

Wittman, Patrizius

Catholic journalist, b. at Ellwanger, Würtemberg, 4 January, 1818; d. at Munich, 3 ...

Witzel, Georg

(WICELIUS). Theologian, b. at Vacha, Province of Hesse, 1501; d. at Mainz, 16 Feb., 1573. He ...

× Close

Wl 1

Wladislaw, Diocese of

(Polish WLOCLAWEK; Latin VLADISLAVIENSIS ET POMERANLAE). The historical origin of this ...

× Close

Wo 23

Wolff, George Dering

Editor, b. at Martinsburg, West Virginia , 25 Aug., 1822; d. at Norristown, Pennsylvania, 29 ...

Wolfgang, Saint

Bishop of Ratisbon (972-994), born about 934; died at the village of Pupping in upper Austria, ...

Wolfram von Eschenbach

Generally regarded as the greatest of Middle-High-German epic poets, date of birth unknown; d. ...

Wolgemut, Michael

Painter and engraver, b. at Nuremberg, 1434; d. there, 1519. He was the most prominent artist of ...

Wolowski, Louis-François-Michel-Reymond

Born at Warsaw, 31 Aug., 1810; d. at Gisors, Eure, 15 Aug., 1876. His father, a member of the ...

Wolsey, Thomas

Cardinal, Archbishop of York, b. at Ipswitch, the usually accepted date, 1471, being probably ...

Wolstan, Saint

Benedictine, and Bishop of Worcester, b. at Long Itchington, Warwickshire, England, about 1008; ...

Woman

Of late years the position of woman in human society has given rise to a discussion which, as part ...

Wood, Thomas

Priest and confessor, b. about 1499; d. in Wisbech Castle before 1588. After being prebendary ...

Wood-Carving

In general, the production from wood of objects of trade or art by means of sharp instruments, as ...

Woodcock, Venerable John

English Franciscan martyr, b. at Leyland, Lancashire, 1603; suffered at Lancaster, 7 August, ...

Woodhead, Abraham

Born at Almonbury, Yorkshire, about March, 1609; died at Hoxton, Middlesex, 4 May, 1678. This ...

Woodhouse, Blessed Thomas

Martyr who suffered at Tyburn 19 June, 1573, being disembowelled alive. Ordained in Mary's ...

Woods, Julian Edmund Tenison

Priest and scientist, b. at Southwark, London, 15 Nov., 1832; d. at Sydney, New South Wales, 7 ...

Worcester, Ancient Diocese of

(WIGORNIENSIS.) Located in England, created in 680 when, at the Synod of Hatfield under ...

Words (in Canon Law)

To give the right value to words is a very important factor in the proper interpretation of ...

World, Antiquity of the

Various attempts have been made to establish the age of the world. Two groups of scientists have ...

Wormwood

( Hebrew la'anah .) Wormwood, known for its repulsive bitterness ( Jeremiah 9:15 ; 23:15 ; ...

Worship, Christian

NOTION AND CHARACTERISTICS The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe , "honour"; from worth , ...

Worsley, Edward

Born in Lancashire, England, 1605; died at Antwerp, 2 Sept., 1676. He is said to have been ...

Worthington, Thomas, D.D.

Third President of Douai College , b. 1549 at Blainscough Hall, near Wigan, Lancashire; d. at ...

Wounds, The Five Sacred

Devotion The revival of religious life and the zealous activity of St. Bernard and St. ...

Wouters, G. Henry

Historian, b. at Oostham, Belgian Limburg, 3 May, 1802; d. 5 January, 1872. In 1829 he became ...

× Close

Wr 2

Wright, Venerable Peter

Martyr, b. at Slipton, Northamptonshire, 1603; suffered at Tyburn, 19 May, 1651. After spending ...

Wright, William

Born at York, 1562; died 18 Jan., 1639. Though he came late (23) to his studies, he then made ...

× Close

Wu 2

Wulfen, Franz Xaver Freiherr von

Botanist, b. at Belgrade, 5 November, 1728; d. at Klagenfurt, 17 March, 1805. He was the son of ...

Wulfram, Saint

(VULFRAMNUS.) Bishop of Sens, missionary in Frisi, born at Milly near Fontainebleau, probably ...

× Close

Wy 5

Wyart, Théophile-Louis-Henri

(In religion DOM SEBASTIAN). Abbot of Cîteaux and Abbot-General of the Order of ...

Wyche, Saint Richard de

Bishop and confessor, b. about 1197 at Droitwich, Worcestershire, from which his surname is ...

Wyclif, John

(WYCLIFFE, or WICLIF, etc.). Writer and "reformer", b. probably at Hipswell near Richmond, ...

Wyntoun, Andrew of

Scottish chronicler, born (as we know from the internal evidence of his writings) in the reign ...

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.