(Bishop of Conventry and Lichfield)

Born: ABT 1470

Died: 25 Sep 1554, Eccleshall, Staffordshire, England

Bishop of Chichester and subsequently of Coventry and Lichfield. He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Paris, and Sens. Having become Doctor of Canon Law, he was appointed by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey chancellor and vicar-general in his Diocese of Tournay, where he lived till 1517.

Meanwhile he gained English preferment, becoming Dean of St. Stephen's, Westminster, and of the Chapel Royal (1516), Archdeacon of Cornwall (1517), and prebendary of Newbold (1519). From 1522 to 1525 he was Ambassador to Carlos V. He was now Dean of Windsor (1523), Vicar of Stepney (1526), and held prebends at St. Paul's and at Lichfield; he was also Archdeacon of Suffolk (1529). Being a man of no principle, and solely bent on a distinguished ecclesiastical career, he became one of Henry VIII's chief agents in the divorce proceedings, being rewarded therefor by the deanery of Lichfield in 1533, the rectory of Hackney (1534), and treasureship of Salisbury (1535).

On 11 Jun 1536, he was elected schismatical Bishop of Chichester, and as such furthered Henry's political and ecclesiastical policy, though not sufficiently thoroughly to satisfy Cranmer. On 19 Feb 1543, he was translated to Coventry and Lichfield on the royal authority alone, without papal confirmation. During the last years of Henry's reign he was President of the Council in the Marches.

He held his bishopric through the reign of Edward VI, though Dodd says he was deprived for recanting his disloyalty to the Pope. Godwin, the Anglican writer, and the Catholic Pitts, both agree that he did so retract, but are silent as to his deprivation. He wrote in defence of the royal prerogative "Oratio" (1533) and an explanation of the Psalms (1539-48) and of Romans (1546).

Left two motets in a MS dating from c.1517-1520: a four-part Psallite felices, believed to have been written in honor of Henry VIII, and a five-part Quam pulchra es. The latter, like Johnson's Domine in virtute tua, is noteworthy for its considerable use, early for England, of imitation technique. The English were in no haste to adopt the main musical characteristic of the Late Renaissance.

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