Walter de Coutances was the son of Reinfrid and Gonilla and though his family probably originated in Normandy, he was a native of Cornwall. He had a brother, Roger, son of Reinfrid (fitz Reinfrid) who was a royal servant. Walter was a Master, probably studying in Paris and became a canon of Rouen Cathedral by 1169, and treasurer there in 1177. In 1173 or 1174 he also became archdeacon of Oxford and was a royal clerk at that time. He was also a vice-chancellor. Walter was elected to the see of Lincoln on 2 May 1183, ordained priest on 11 June and consecrated bishop on 3 July at Angers, being enthroned at Lincoln on 11 December. In the summer of 1184 he was elected archbishop of Rouen, though he continued to serve the English king. He had two nephews, Master John de Coutances, bishop of Worcester (1196-98) and Richard, archdeacon of Rouen, and may have been related to several canons at Lincoln and Rouen who bear the 'de Coutances' toponymic surname.
R.V. Turner, 'Walter de Coutances (d.1207)', ODNB (2004), ???; [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/6467]