William Giffard Lord Chancellor, Bishop of Winchester
- Died: Bef 25 Jan 1129
- BuriedMale: 25 Jan 1129
Another name for William was Guillaume Giffard.
WILLIAM Giffard. Bishop of Winchester. The History of the foundation of St John´s abbey, Colchester names "Rohaisam…soror Willielmi Giffardi episcopi Wintoniæ" as wife of "Ricardi…filius Gilberti comitis". "…Willelmi Giffardi episcopi…" subscribed a charter dated 14 Sep 1101 under which Henry I King of England donated property to Bath St Peter.
William Giffard (d. 23 January 1129, was the Lord Chancellor of England of William II and Henry I, from 1093 to 1101, and Bishop of Winchester (1100-1129).
William was the son of Walter Giffard, Lord of Longueville and Ermengarde, daughter of Gerard Flaitel. He also held the office of Dean of Rouen prior to his election as bishop. On 3 August 1100 he became bishop of Winchester by nomination of Henry I. Henry nominated him probably in an attempt to win the support of the clergy in Henry's bid to claim the throne directly after the death of William Rufus. He was one of the bishops elect whom Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury refused to consecrate in 1101 as having been nominated and invested by the lay power.
During the investitures dispute William was on friendly terms with Anselm, and drew upon himself a sentence of banishment through declining to accept consecration from Gerard Archbishop of York in 1103. He was, however, one of the bishops who pressed Anselm, in 1106, to give way to the king. He was finally consecrated after the settlement of 1107 on 11 August and became a close friend of Archbishop Anselm. As bishop, William aided the first Cistercians to settle in England, when in 1128 he brought monks from the French abbey of L'Aumone to settle at Waverly Abbey. He also restored Winchester Cathedral with great magnificence.
Among William's actions as bishop was the refounding of a religious house at Taunton and the staffing of it with Austin canons. The canons were drawn from Merton Priory. He was known for the close and good relations that he had with the monks of his cathedral chapter, sharing their meals and sleeping with them instead of in his own room.
William died shortly before 25 January 1129, the date he was buried.