Walter de Coventre lived from about 1315 to 1371. He became an important ecclesiastic, rising to become Bishop of Dunblane. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Walter de Coventre was probably born in Abernethy, south of Perth, and probably in about 1315. He first appears in the records in 1333, when we was awarded his BA degree by the University of Paris. He continued his studies and was awarded an MA by the University in 1335. He then moved to study law at the University of Orléans.
Walter seems to have moved back to Scotland at some point in the late 1350s, although he is on record as drawing the income associated with a number of ecclesiastical positions in various parts of the country from as early as 1345. These include a canonry in the Collegiate Church of Abernethy, a prebend in the diocese of Ross, a canonry in the diocese of Dunkeld and a benefice in the diocese of St Andrews. During his absence in France he was twice given permission by Pope Innocent VI to continue to draw his ecclesiastic incomes while continuing his studies, a suggestion that their role was to support him during his time in France.
Walter was elected to become the Bishop of Dunblane in early 1361, formally being appointed by the Pope at the papal court in Avignon on 18 June 1361. Bishop Walter's performance of his duties at Dunblane come to light in various documents suggesting he played a role in settling disputes and attending meetings of the Scottish Parliament. He also acted as an adviser to King David II, and represented the Scottish crown in peace talks with England that took place in London in May and June 1369. Walter last appears in the records when swearing fealty to the new king, Robert II, at Scone on 27 March 1371. On 27 April 1372, the Pope appointed Andrew Magnus as Walter de Coventre's successor as Bishop of Dunblane, suggesting that Walter had died some months earlier.
Walter de Coventre's biography is an odd one, constructed from glimpses caught fleetingly in a number of different types of official documents that have survived through the intervening centuries. But he is interesting as a representative of a new type of Scot, born into the lower nobility and University trained for careers in the Church.