WILLIAM COURTENAY (c. 1342-1396), English prelate, was a younger son of Hugh Courtenay, earl of Devon (d.
Having accompanied the king to Harfleur in August 1415, Courtenay was attacked by dysentery and died on the 15th of September 1415, his body being buried in Westminster Abbey.
Having meanwhile become archbishop of Canterbury Courtenay summoned a council, or synod, in London, which condemned the opinions of Wycliffe; he then attacked the Lollards at Oxford, and urged the bishops to imprison heretics.
When it became known in France that Peter of Courtenay was dead, his eldest son, Philip, marquess of Namur, renounced the succession to the Latin empire of Constantinople in favour of his brother Robert, who set out to take possession of his distracted inheritance, which was then ruled by Conon of Bethune as regent.
Several of the viceroy's measures, notably the Ilbert Bill of 1883 - so named after its author Sir Courtenay Ilbert - irritated the Anglo-Indian population, and it was fiercely assailed.
In the 18th century the manor passed by marriage to the Courtenays, afterwards earls of Devon, and Robert de Courtenay in 1220 gave the king a palfrey to hold an annual fair at his manor of Okehampton, on the vigil and feast day of St Thomas the Apostle.
This did not make Mary Tudor any more friendly,and,although the story that Elizabeth favoured Courtenay and that Mary was jealous is a ridiculous fiction, the Spaniards cried loud and long for Elizabeth's execution.
In the 14th century it passed to the Courtenays, and in 1698 Sir William Courtenay was confirmed in the right of holding court leet, view of frankpledge and the nomination of a portreeve, these privileges having been surrendered to James II.
Only Bishop Courtenay refused to be terrorized; he chose this moment to open a campaign against the dukes ally, John Wycliffe, who was arraigned for heresy before the ecclesiastical courts.