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Adam Orleton

Adam Orleton
Bishop of Winchester
Church Catholic
See Diocese of Winchester
In office 1333–1345
Predecessor John de Stratford
Successor William Edington
Personal details
Died 18 July 1345
Previous post Bishop of Hereford
Bishop of Worcester

Adam Orleton (or Adam of Orlton, Adam de Orlton, Adam de Orleton) (died 1345) was an English churchman and royal administrator.


Orleton was born into a Monmouthshire family. His nephews were John Trilleck, Bishop of Hereford and Thomas Trilleck, Bishop of Rochester.[1]

Orleton was nominated bishop of Hereford on 15 May 1317, and consecrated on 22 May 1317.[2] He was translated to be bishop of Worcester on 25 September 1327,[3] and lastly to the position of bishop of Winchester on 1 December 1333.[4] He was responsible for the building of the great central tower, a wonder of its day and still marvelous to perceive.

Orleton was a supporter of Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer against Edward II of England, playing a significant role in the events of 1326.[5]

British historian Ian Mortimer has recently argued that Orleton's sodomy accusations against Edward II in 1326-1327 may have been false, and that they may have been related to contemporary smear campaigns against one's political adversaries, such as previous similar aspersions cast against Pope Boniface VIII by Guillaume de Nogaret, Chancellor to King Philip IV of France, as well as those involved in dispossession of the Knights Templar, during which Orleton was a primary antagonist of the order [6]

One assessment stated that:

Bishop Adam, wary, unscrupulous, but at the same time vigorous and of unusual ability, played a great part in politics to the end of the wretched King's life. Some historians still believe that he recommended the murder; he certainly supported the deposition in Parliament, and went to Kenilworth as one of the commissioners to force the King's resignation. If thus interested in secular politics, he was no less watchful and vigilant in the affairs of his bishopric and the cathedral.[7]

In 1327 Orleton briefly held the office of Lord High Treasurer, from January through March.[8]

Orleton died on 18 July 1345.[4]

In literature

In Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II, Orleton is given a role in Edward's death. This traditional story is not given credence by contemporary historians.



  • Haines, Roy Marti The Church and Politics in Fourteenth-Century England: The Career of Adam Orleton c. 1275–1345 1978
  • McKisack, May, The Fourteenth Century
  • [unreliable source]
  • Weir, Alison Isabella: She-Wolf of France, Queen of England 2005

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John de Stratford
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
Henry Burghersh
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Richard Swinefield
Bishop of Hereford
Succeeded by
Thomas Charlton
Preceded by
Wulstan Bransford
Bishop of Worcester
Succeeded by
Simon Montacute
Preceded by
John de Stratford
Bishop of Winchester
Succeeded by
William Edington

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