Peter of Blois or Petrus Blesensis (c. 1135 – c. 1203) was a French poet and diplomat who wrote in Latin. Peter studied law in Bologna and theology in Paris. It was probably during his student years that he composed a number of Latin sequences after the manner of the Goliards, some of which were preserved in the Carmina Burana collection.
Peter went with Stephen du Perche and Walter of the Mill to Sicily in 1166 and there became the tutor to King William II in 1167. He was one of the few Frenchmen to survive the tumult of Stephen's years as chancellor of Sicily. Around 1173, he went to England, where he served Henry II and successive archbishops of Canterbury as a Latin secretary. He later served as Latin secretary to Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry's widow. Many of his letters still survive. He is incorrectly associated with Pseudo-Ingulf's Croyland Chronicle.
Peter of Blois or Petrus Blesensis, Archdeacon of Bath (c. 1130 – 1211 or 1212) was a French theologian, diplomat and poet, some of whose verses were included in the Carmina Burana. His best-known works are his letters to Henry II of England, Thomas Becket, John of Salisbury and others.
PETER OF BLOIS [PETRUS BLESENSIS] (c. 1135 - c. 1205), French writer, the son of noble Breton parents, was born at Blois. He studied jurisprudence at Bologna and theology in Paris, and in 1167 he went to Sicily, where he became tutor to the young king William II., and keeper of the royal seal (sigillarius) .. But he made many enemies and soon asked permission to leave the country; his request was granted and about 1170 he returned to France. After spending some time teaching in Paris and serving Rotrou de Perche, archbishop of Rouen, as secretary, Peter entered the employ of Henry II. of England about 1173. He quickly became archdeacon of Bath and soon afterwards chancellor, or secretary, to Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, and to Richard's successor, Baldwin, being sent on two occasions to Italy to plead the cause of these prelates before the pope. After the death of Henry II. in 1189, he was for a time secretary to his widow, Eleanor, in Normandy; he obtained the posts of dean of Wolverhampton and archdeacon of London, but he appears to have been very discontented in his later years. He died some time after March 1204.
Peter's writings fall into four classes, letters, treatises, sermons and poems. His Epistolae, which were collected at the request of Henry II., are an important source for the history of the time; they are addressed to Henry II. and to various prelates and scholars, including Thomas Becket and John of Salisbury. His treatises include De Ierosolymitana peregrinatione acceleranda, an exhortation to take part in the third crusade, and Dialogus inter regem Henricum II. et abbatem Bonaevallensem; his extant sermons number 65 and his poems are unimportant. Peter's works have been printed in several collections, including the Patrologia of J. P. Migne and the Historiae francorum scriptores of A. Duchesne. Of separate editions the best are those by Pierre de Goussainville (Paris, 1667) and J. A. Giles (Oxford, 1846-1847).
See the Histoire litteraire de la France, Tome xv.; W. Stubbs, Lectures on Medieval and Modern History (Oxford, 1886); Sir T. D. Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating to the History of Great Britain (1862-1867), and C. L. Kingsford in vol. xlv. of the Dictionary of National Biography (1896).