Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PETER of LEE (‘de Leia’) (d. 1198 ), bishop of S. Davids .

His origin is unknown, but he is said to have been the uncle of Reginald Foliot , canon of S. Davids . After 1170 he was prior of Much Wenlock in Shropshire . Much of our information about Peter is possibly biased as it comes from Giraldus Cambrensis who was defeated by Peter in the election to the see of S. Davids in 1176 . Giraldus says that Peter was imposed on Wales by a tyrannical English king , that the bishop was forced to remain away from S. Davids as he quarrelled both with the Welsh and the chapter of the cathedral and that he failed to uphold the metropolitan claims of S. Davids . It is also stated that the lordRhys , shortly before he died, was excommunicated by the bishop and that he could be buried at S. Davids only after his dead body had received absolution. There is every reason to believe that Peter began the rebuilding, in 1181-2 , of the cathedral which had been destroyed. The bishop must have been absent for long periods from S. Davids , for he was active in the king's counsels and business . In 1184 the monks of Canterbury unsuccessfully nominated him for election as archbishop ; in 1188 he took the Cross but was absolved in 1189 . He d. 16 July 1198 ; his monument is said to have been in S. Davids cathedral , in the aisle south of the high altar.


  • Giraldi Cambrensis Opera (1861–91) ;
  • Browne Willis , A survey of the cathedral church of St. David's, and the edifices belonging to it, as they stood in the year 1715 (1717) ;
  • J. C. Davies , Episcopal acts and cognate documents relating to Welsh dioceses 1066-1272 (1946-48) , i, 1946.


Ivor John Sanders, M.A., (1911-91), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959