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William of Malines (or Mesines), of Flanders (died 1145/6), was the second William who was Prior of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, from 1127 to 1130[1] and was thereafter elected Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, which he remained until his death. He is sometimes called William I to distinguish him from William of Agen, second patriarch of that name as well as his protege William of Tyre.

William of Tyre described William of Mesines as a man of "praiseworthy habits".[2] As Patriarch, he was an important supporter of Melisende during her regency and is described as a man capable yet pliable.[3] He received a letter from Bernard of Clairvaux urging him to support the Knights Templar, who had received their papal privileges at the same time as William's embassy to Rome.[4] William took the initiative in constructing a castle, the "Castrum Arnaldi" (or Chastel Arnoul) at Yalo, to guard the road between Jerusalem and Jaffa in 1132–33, along with some citizens. It was later a Templar stronghold.[5]

In 1139 Patriarch William was displeased by the actions of Archbishop Fulcher of Tyre (of Angoulême), who travelled to Rome to receive his pallium from the Pope and protest the division of his archdiocese into two ecclesiastical territories: the northern suffragans were under the authority of the Patriarch and only the southern sees remained under Fulcher's control. Perhaps fearing that Fulcher would try to remove his entire archdiocese to the Principality of Antioch (so that he might exercise control over it all as Archbishop), William took direct control over the southern sees of Tyre in Fulcher's absence,[6] for William would not allow the archbishop of Tyre, whose archdiocese lay within the boundaries of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and his patriarchate, to become the subject of another.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The first William who was prior of the Holy Sepulchre was William the Englishman who went on to become Archbishop of Tyre. In his history, William II of Tyre, the historian, wrote, “in the fourth year after Tyre had been [captured] (that is, in 1127/28), the king, patriarch, and other leading men elected (as archbishop of Tyre) William, the venerable prior of the church of the Sepulchre of the Lord”, adding that this William was “an Englishman by birth, and a man of most exemplary life and character”. A few chapters later, William of Tyre reports that when the Patriarch Stephen died (in 1130), “he was succeeded by William, prior of the church of the Sepulchre of the Lord…He was Flemish by birth, a native of Mesines.” Two Williams were prior of the Holy Sepulchre at an early time then, with William of Mesines (Flanders) probably directly succeeding William the Englishman as Prior of the Holy Sepulchre. This also means that William of Mesines could only have been prior from 1127 (the year of the election of William the Englishman to the archbishopric of Tyre) to 1130, the year of his own election as Patriarch. See William of Tyre, "A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea", Vol. 1, trans. Emily Babcock and A.C. Krey, Bk. XIII, Ch. 23 and Bk. XIII, Ch. 26.
  2. ^ Christopher Tyerman, England and the Crusades, 1095–1588 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 29.
  3. ^ Nicholson, 444.
  4. ^ Malcolm Barber, The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 59.
  5. ^ Marianne Ailes and Malcolm Barber, The History of the Holy War: Ambroise's Estoire de la Guerre Sainte, II. Translation (Boydell Press, 2003), 125.
  6. ^ William of Tyre, "A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea", Vol. I, Bk. 14, Ch. 11-13
  7. ^ Jean Richard, "The Political and Ecclesiastical Organization of the Crusader States", A History of the Crusades, V: The Impact of the Crusades on the Near East (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 240–41.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William the Englishman
Prior of the Holy Sepulchre
Succeeded by
Peter of Barcelona
Preceded by
Stephen of La Ferté
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Succeeded by
Fulcher of Angoulême