Welsh Marches, Wales
|Died||between May 1208 and September 1210|
Map claimed Welsh origin and to be a man of the Welsh Marches (marchio sum Walensibus); He studied at the University of Paris, apparently around 1160 when Gerard la Pucelle was teaching there. He encountered Thomas Becket before 1162. As a courtier of King Henry II of England, he was sent on missions to Louis VII of France and to Pope Alexander III, probably attending the Third Lateran Council in 1179 and encountering a delegation of Waldensians. On this journey he stayed with Henry I of Champagne, who was then about to undertake his last journey to the East.
Map held a prebend in the diocese of Lincoln by 1183 and was chancellor of the diocese by 1186. He later became precentor of Lincoln, a canon of St Paul's, London, and of Hereford, and archdeacon of Oxford in 1196.
Map was a candidate to succeed William de Vere as Bishop of Hereford in 1199, but was unsuccessful. He was once more a candidate for a bishopric in 1203, this time as Bishop of St David's, but was once more not consecrated. He was still alive on 28 May 1208, but had died by September 1210. His death is commemorated on 1 April at Hereford Cathedral.
Map's only surviving work, De Nugis Curialium (Trifles of Courtiers) is a collection of anecdotes and trivia, containing court gossip and a little real history, and written in a satirical vein. Along with William of Newburgh, he recorded the earliest stories of English vampires.
The French language Prose Lancelot cycle claims him, "Gauthier Map," as an author, though this is contradicted by internal evidence; some scholars have suggested he wrote an original, but lost Lancelot romance that was the source for the later cycle. Others say that, since Walter Map's alleged patron was the King of England, it would have been more likely for him to have written an Arthurian tale detailing King Arthur or another "English" hero like Gawain, rather than a French one. Map was alleged to have written a quantity of Goliardic poetry, including the satirical Apocalypse of Golias.