Courtenay, Peter

, Bishop of Winchester
(1432–1492)
   Although part of the Yorkist branch of his prominent West Country family, Peter Courtenay, bishop of Winchester, was an active member of the political opposition to RICHARD III during the dynastic struggles of the 1480s. Educated at Oxford and at the University of Padua in Italy, Courtenay rose steadily through the church hierarchy, becoming archdeacon (i.e., a diocesan official under the bishop) of Exeter in 1453 and of Wiltshire in 1464; dean (i.e., head of a community of clergy resident at a cathedral) of Windsor in 1476 and of Exeter in 1477, and bishop of Exeter in 1478. A member of the Courtenays of Powderham, cousins of the Lancastrian earls of Devon and clients of George PLANTAGENET, duke of Clarence, Courtenay was secretary to Clarence and, during the READEPTION in 1470–1471, to HENRY VI. After 1471, the Powderham Courtenays returned with Clarence to their Yorkist allegiance, which they continued after the duke’s execution in 1478 (see Clarence, Execution of). In July 1483, Bishop Peter Courtenay followed his father and brothers in supporting Richard III’s usurpation of his nephew’s throne. However, in the autumn of 1483, for reasons that remain obscure, Courtenay abandoned the house of YORK, joined the uprising led by Henry STAFFORD, duke of Buckingham, and assisted various of his Courtenay kinsmen in encouraging opposition to Richard across the West Country.
   After the failure of BUCKINGHAM’S REBELLION, Courtenay was attainted and fled to BRITTANY to join the growing group of exiles surrounding Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond. The bishop returned to England in 1485, after Richmond won the Crown at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD on 22 August. Courtenay acted as seneschal at Richmond’s coronation as HENRY VII in October 1485, and the bishop’s ATTAINDER was reversed in the first PARLIAMENT of the reign. Appointed keeper of the privy seal in 1485, Courtenay was elevated to the wealthy bishopric of Winchester in 1487. Until his death in September 1492, Courtenay continued to serve Henry VII in various capacities.
   See also all entries under Courtenay
   Further Reading: Chrimes, S. B., Henry VII (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1999); Gill, Louise, Richard III and Buckingham’s Rebellion (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1999); Ross, Charles, Richard III (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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  • Courtenay —   [kurtə nɛ], weit verzweigtes französisches Adelsgeschlecht, das im Mittelalter v. a. in den Kreuzfahrerstaaten aufstieg, ferner in England. Der Name geht zurück auf die Burg Courtenay (heute zur gleichnamigen Stadt im Département Loiret).… …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • Courtenay [2] — Courtenay (spr. kurt nä), altes franz. Geschlecht, genannt nach der Stadt und Herrschaft C. (s. oben), die Hatto, Sohn des Kastellans von Château Renard, um 1010 gründete. Josselin II., Enkel Hattos, machte den ersten Kreuzzug mit und erhielt… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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