Within the league table of thirteenth-century English bishops, Master Alexander ‘de Stavensby’ has generally been considered no more than a second division player. The standard biographies do their best to credit him with a network of associations that includes such luminaries as St Dominic and Stephen Langton, but the evidence is uncertain, or at least has never been probed sufficiently deeply to achieve certainty. Master Alexander remains a shadowy figure; a scholar of strange dreams and visions; a rootless cosmopolitan whose family and even whose birthplace remain unknown. Yet it is possible to trace his earlier career with greater precision. His origins and his close association with Stephen Langton and the early friars can be traced more exactly, and once established they help to illuminate his achievements as bishop.