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Walter de Merton (1200-1277)

A son was bornIn the year 1200 a son was born to William and Christina le Kuk, the child was the only son amongst seven daughters. This child was called Walter. Walter's mother held land in Basingstoke, her family were freeholders on Crown lands.

      At an early age Walter was sent to Merton Priory in surrey for his education, thenBishop onto Mauger Hall, Oxford. Walter was known by his birthplace, Basingstoke, until in 1233 he took the name of the priory and as Walter de Merton became Parson of Cuddington. Between 1236 and 1242  Walter went into the service of Nicholas Farnham, Bishop of  Durham, and travelled between London and the north. When the Bishop resigned in 1249 Walter returned south to become King's Clerk and Chancellor.

    It's good to be King  Walter was made Canon of St. Paul's in 1259 and from November 1272 until August 1274 he was in place of the King holding the great seal of England making him one of the most powerful men in the kingdom. Walter was elected Bishop of Rochester in July 1274. Walter never forgot his home town and founded a hospital in Basingstoke to commemorate his mother. He then extended the hospital, erecting more suitable buildings and a chapel and placed the hospital under the king's protection. He also founded Merton College,Holy bible Batman Oxford.

      On Wednesday the twenty seventh of October 1277 walter died and was buried in the Cathedral of Rochester. Merton College, Oxford is to this day responsible for the repair of the tomb. Although he may be long since dead his name still lives on in Basingstoke with Merton Road being named after him.