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William of March (or William March;[1] died 1302) was a medieval Treasurer of England and a Bishop of Bath and Wells.

William of March
Bishop of Bath and Wells
Elected30 January 1293
Term ended11 June 1302
PredecessorRobert Burnell
SuccessorWalter Haselshaw
Other postsCanon of Wells
Consecration17 May 1293
Personal details
Died11 June 1302
BuriedWells Cathedral
In office
August 1290 – August 1295
MonarchEdward I of England
Preceded byJohn Kirkby
Succeeded byJohn Droxford


William was always referred to as magister, and may have attended and graduated from Oxford University.[2] He was controller of the wardrobe from 1283 to 1290 and Dean of St. Martin's-le-Grand before being selected as Treasurer in August 1290. He was Treasurer until he was dismissed in August 1295.[3] While treasurer, he introduced the practice of keeping Exchequer Journal rolls, or as accountants know them day books, which recorded the total amount in the treasury at the start of each day along with all payments made that day. This practice began in 1293, and did not record any payments made before taxes arrived at the treasury.[1]

William was a canon of Wells by 20 March 1291 and a royal clerk.[4]

William was elected bishop on 30 January 1293 and consecrated on 17 May 1293.[5] As treasurer he was instrumental in putting forward administrative changes in the way the department was run. For the first time, monies coming into the treasury were recorded on special accounts and the officials of the department became more involved in the collection and assessment of taxes and other varieties of income.[6] However, in August 1295 William was dismissed as treasurer, although the financial policies did not change. It may be that King Edward I used March as a scapegoat, or it may be that some charges that citizens of London brought against the treasurer were felt to be valid.[7] After his dismissal from the treasurership in 1295, he devoted himself to the care of his diocese, and was regarded as a pious bishop.[8]

William died on 11 June 1302[5] although current historical research is challenging that date.[2] He was buried at Wells Cathedral in the south transept wall on 17 June 1302.[4] In 1325 there was a petition for him to be canonized,[4] which continued to be supported by kings Edward II and Edward III. William is supposed to have built the chapter house at Wells. His will named a brother, John March, and a nephew, Robert Urry, to whom William left monies to go on crusade in William's name.[2]


  1. ^ a b Clanchy From Memory to Written Record p. 94
  2. ^ a b c Jewell "March, William" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 104
  4. ^ a b c Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 7: Bath and Wells: Bishops
  5. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 228
  6. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 343
  7. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 405
  8. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 139


  • Clanchy, C. T. (1993). From Memory to Written Record: England 1066–1307 (Second ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-631-16857-7.
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
  • Greenway, Diana E. (2001). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 7: Bath and Wells: Bishops. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  • Jewell, Helen M. (2004). "March, William (d. 1302)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18032. Retrieved 15 November 2007.(subscription or UK public library membership required)
  • Prestwich, Michael (1997). Edward I. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07157-4.
Political offices
Preceded by
John Kirkby
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
John Droxford
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Robert Burnell
Bishop of Bath and Wells
Succeeded by
Walter Haselshaw