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Hugh Ashton (d. 1522) by unknown sculptor © Crown copyright. NMR

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Ashton, Hugh (d. 1522), Catholic ecclesiastic and university benefactor, apparently never himself had a formal university education, his main expertise lying in administration and estate management. He probably first encountered Lady Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and Derby, in Lancashire, his native county, and rose to prominence through this association. On 7 January 1496 he was admitted to the rectory of ...

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Badew, Richard (d. 1361), university principal and founder of University Hall, Cambridge, was born, towards the close of the thirteenth century, into an established knightly family which took its name from Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, Essex, where it had estates dispersed among several neighbouring villages. According to ...

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Balliol, Dervorguilla de, lady of Galloway (d. 1290), noblewoman and benefactor, was a daughter of Alan, lord of Galloway (b. before 1199, d. 1234), and his second wife, Margaret, eldest daughter of David, earl of Huntingdon (d. 1219). Born some time after 1209, the date of her parents' marriage, her distinctive Gaelic name, ...

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Balliol [Baliol], John de (b. before 1208, d. 1268), magnate and benefactor, was the eldest son and heir of Hugh de Balliol (d. 1229), lord of Barnard Castle in co. Durham and of Bailleul-en-Vimeu in Picardy. Probably named after King John, to whom his father, exceptionally among the baronage of the north of ...

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Balsham, Hugh of (d. 1286), bishop of Ely and benefactor, took his name from Balsham, Cambridgeshire, one of Ely Priory's manors. Nothing is known of his background, except that during the controversy aroused by his election as bishop it was alleged that he was of servile origins. He became a monk at ...

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Bateman [Norwich], William (c. 1298–1355), diplomat, founder of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and bishop of Norwich, was probably born in Norwich (from which he was sometimes named), the third son of William and Margery Bateman. His father was many times bailiff of the city, and in 1326–7 its member of ...

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Berkeley [née Clivedon], Katherine, Lady Berkeley (d. 1385), benefactor, was the daughter of Sir John Clivedon, a knight of Somerset and Worcestershire, and his wife, Emma. After an unrecorded childhood, she became, about the mid-1330s, the second wife of Sir Peter Veel...

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Beverley [Ingelberd], Philip (d. 1323x5), benefactor, was the son of Robert and Alice Ingelberd, and is first recorded in January 1303, when he was nominated to the church of Keyingham near Hull in Holderness, close to Beverley, on the recommendation of Walter Langton (...

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Bingham [Byngham], William (d. 1451), ecclesiastic and founder of Christ's College, Cambridge, may have been the William Byngham who was presented to the vicarages of Hutton, near Beverley, Yorkshire, and Alverstoke, Hampshire, by Henry IV in 1401–2. More probably, the future founder of ...

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See Women traders and artisans in London

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Brome, Adam (d. 1332), administrator and first founder of Oriel College, Oxford, was probably the son of Thomas of Brome, who took his name from Brome near Eye in Suffolk; according to the inquisition held after the death of Edmund, earl of Cornwall...

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Browne, William (d. 1489), merchant and benefactor, was the son of John Browne (d. 1442), a Stamford draper and Calais stapler, and his wife, Margery (d. 1460). He was born into a family that can be traced in Stamford back to the mid-fourteenth century. His date of birth is uncertain, though it seems likely that he was born during the decade following 1410. It is possible that he was the ...

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Canynges, William (1402–1474), merchant and ecclesiastical benefactor, was one of the younger of seven children of John Canynges, clothier and merchant of Bristol, and his wife, Joan Wotton. He was born into a notably successful Bristol family. William Canynges (d. 1396) was a wealthy clothier who was five times mayor of ...

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Chestre, Alice (d. 1485), trader and benefactor, in common with many fifteenth-century women, seems particularly to have come into her own after the death of her husband. Henry Chestre, a Bristol draper, had been prosperous and was numbered among the worthy men of his parish, ...

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Clare, Elizabeth de [Elizabeth de Burgh; known as lady of Clare] (1294/5–1360), magnate and founder of Clare College, Cambridge, was usually known as Elizabeth de Burgh, and was described by herself and others as lady of Clare. She was the youngest daughter of ...

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John Colet (1467–1519) after Pietro Torrigiano, c. 1520 The Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Colet, John (1467–1519), dean of St Paul's and founder of St Paul's School, was born in January 1467, as attested by a contemporary document; Erasmus, always vague as to chronology, believed him to have been about thirty, two or three months younger than himself, when they first met in 1499. ...

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Collier [Collyer], Richard (1480x85?–1533), mercer and benefactor, was born at Horsham, Sussex. The identity of his parents is unknown. He was closely related to the Caryll family of the neighbouring parish of Warnham, but the precise nature of that kinship remains unclear....

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Cooke, John (d. 1528), mercer and benefactor, was born in Minsterworth, a few miles west of Gloucester, the son of Thomas and Alice Cooke. The loss of Gloucester's early civic records means that little can be said of his career there, except that he prospered greatly in the town. He served as sheriff—the equivalent of bailiff—in 1494 and 1498, and became an alderman in 1501, the year in which he was first chosen to be mayor; he was elected again in 1507, 1512, and 1519. In June of 1513 he was involved, as mayor, in a dispute over common rights with the abbot of ...