Post-classical history

William of Villaret (d. 1305)

Master of the Hospitallers (1296-1305).

William came from a Provençal noble family, several of whose members are known to have joined the Order of the Hospital.

By 1269 William was draper of the order’s central convent and was delegated to France to administer the vacant priory of Saint-Gilles (1270/1271-1296), although he repeatedly ignored his obligation to travel to Outremer to report on his priory’s status. Pope Gregory X appointed him administrator of the Venaissin in 1274 (the post was renewed by Nicolas III in 1278 and by Martin IV in 1282). In 1295 William and Boniface of Calamandrana, grand preceptor of all Hospitallers in the West, presented Pope Boniface VIII with complaints concerning the conduct in the office of the master, Odo of Pins, and after Odo’s death (1296) William was elected master in absentia. His failure to relocate to the order’s new headquarters in Cyprus, and his plan to hold a general chapter in Avignon, provoked the opposition of the central convent (1299).

William was forced to move to Cyprus (1300), and in the following years a series of statutes was issued curbing the master’s influence (1300-1304). William died on 9 June 1305 and was succeeded by his nephew Fulk of Villaret.

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