Pillars Character

Waleran Bigod of Kingsbridge

Bishop Waleran
Waleran as he appears in the TV series.
Vital Stats
Gender Male
Rank Bishop of Kingsbridge
Nationality English
Status Alive
Family Unknown
Civil War Allegiance Bishop Henry, Stephen's brother.
Novels Appeared The Pillars of the Earth (Appears)
TV Series Yes
TV Series Potrayal Ian McShane|-

Waleran Bigod is one of the main antagonists in The Pillars of the Earth. He is the arch enemy of Prior Philip and is constantly trying to undermine his dream to build the Kingsbridge Cathedral. As a person, Waleran is quite impersonal and emotionless. He is, however, cunning and manipulative. Waleran often uses William Hamleigh to further his own goals to become ever more powerful and destroy Philip.


Ten years or so before the events of The Pillars of the Earth Waleran was part of the conspiracy to murder the King's heir and send England into an anarchy. He testified against Jack Cherbourg, claiming that he caught Jack Jackson's father stealing a jeweled goblet. He was the 'Priest' seen in the Prologue.

The Pillars of the EarthEdit

Part IEdit

Waleran Bigod is first seen in the present when Philip goes to him to report the plot against King Stephen. He takes control of the situation, much to Philip's relief, and promises to do something where he can, though Philip correctly guesses that it will be when the information is most beneficial to Waleran. He escorts Philip outside and is shocked when he sees Ellen with Tom Builder.

The next time Waleran is seen is when he comes to Kingsbridge in response to Philip's letter for help. He says he will ensure that the Bishop recommends Philip as Prior, but only if Philip in turn nominates him as Bishop of Kingsbridge when the former one dies. Philip agrees and becomes Prior. However, Waleran tricked Philip and later tells the village of Kingsbridge that the Bishop is dead, thus being in control of the future election the whole time by securing Philip's promise.  

Appearance and PersonalityEdit

Waleran is a thin man, with pale skin and lank, black hair. he is often descibed as a spider and he alomost always wears black robes and an expression of disdain and arrogance.

Waleran is a very self-centred man who believes himself superior to most men. When he needs to, he can bow to other men, but he is very ambitious and grasps for power in any way possible. Walean has a shrewd, calculating mind and anything he does for others has a ulterior motive. He rarely displays his emotions and hides them behind a mask of indifference. Despite his crimes throughout the novel, he believes that everything he does is for God, and that he is God's tool on earth. Waleran has a flexible religious view.


  • Waleran in the TV Series is much older than the orginal character from the book, who was described as (in Part I) being only a few years older than Philip himself, putting him in his early thirties.
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