(Bishop of Bath and Wells)
Died: 15 May 1491
Robert Stillington, already Keeper of the Privy Seal and Bishop of Bath & Wells (1466), became Chancellor of England in 1468. By Edward IV, he was sent on a mission, the object of which was to induce the Duke of Brittany to deliver up the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who had taken refuge with him. On this occasion, Bishop Stillington made for himself a bitter enemy in Richmond.
It is alleged by some that it was he who presented evidence that the marriage of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville was invalid due to Edward's earlier betrothal to Eleanor Talbot.
In 1478 he spent some weeks in prison, apparently as a result of some association with the disgraced George, Duke of Clarence. He was imprisoned again in 1485, shortly after Henry VII's victory at Bosworth. Some say this was due to Stillington's involvement in the matter of Edward IV's bigamy, for the new King needed to reverse the bigamy charges that made his future queen, Elizabeth of York, illegitimate.
Some years after his second release, Stillington became involved in the plot to place the impostor Lambert Simnel on the throne (1487).
At any rate, after the fall of Simnel, Stillington was accused of high treason and compelled to take refuge in Oxford. For some time the University refused to deliver him, asserting that to do so would be a violation of their privileges, since he was among them, to all appearance, for the prosecution of study. The crime of high treason, however, could not be covered even by the high privileges of medieval Oxford. Bishop Stillinton was at length (1487) given into the hands of the King's messengers, by whom he was conveyed to Windsor.
He remained there in close custody until his death in 1491. He had built for himself a stately chantry adjoining the cloisters of his cathedral at Wells in which he was buried.
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