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BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS

OF

COLLEGIATE FOUNDERS.

I.

Archbishop Chichele.

COLLEGIATE FOUNDERS.

Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury.

ENRY CHICHELE was born in, or about the year 1362, at Higham Ferrars in Northamptonshire, a town so called from the Ferrars', who at one time had been lords of it. His father, Thomas Chichele,

though undistinguished by rank or wealth, was probably in a respectable station of life, since we find him marrying Agnes Pyncheon, the daughter of a gentleman entitled to bear arms. The son received his education at the Winchester grammar-school, established by William of Wykeham, from which, in regular progression, he removed to New College, Oxford, where he devoted himself to the study of the civil and canon law. As in those days, either from there being less competition, or from some other cause, learning and genius were sure to win both wealth and honour for the possessor, Chichele soon obtained the notice of those who were neither wanting in power nor in disposition to advance him. Above all, it was his good fortune to find a patron in Richard Metford, Bishop of Salisbury, and after having obtained several lesser dignities, he was preferred to the archdeaconry of Salisbury, which, at a subsequent period, he exchanged for the chancellorship of the cathedral. Even the death of this powerful benefactor did not for a moment stay the march

D

of his advancement, though it was a loss that he deeply regret ted, with that tenacity of feeling which only belongs to our earliest attachments. Chichele had been recommended to the King, who now employed him upon an embassy to Pope Innocent VII., which he executed so much to the royal satisfaction, that in the same year he was entrusted with a mission to the court of France. In the April following he was sent ambassador to Pope Gregory XII., by whom he was presented to the vacant see of St. David's. Indeed it would seem that his talents as a negotiator were considered by all parties as being of no common order; for before he could go through all the ceremonies of his installation, he was summoned to a synod, called by Archbishop Arundel to deliberate upon the choice of proper persons to represent the English nation at the council of Pisa. By the unanimous suffrages of the synod, Chichele was elected one of the deputies on this occasion, and passed into Italy; but he did not stay long there, returning to England in the winter of the same year, where he remained in the earnest discharge of his pastoral duties till he was sent to France with some others to negotiate a renewal of the truce between the two kingdoms.

Henry V. had now succeeded to the throne, and while trusting much to the clergy in general, appears to have reposed a particular confidence in Chichele. He constantly employed the bishop in difficult and delicate affairs, requiring both temper and judgment in the highest degree; and it was perhaps even more in admiration of his name as a statesman, than of his merit as a churchman, however undeniable, that in 1414 he was translated to the see of Canterbury, which had become vacant by the death of Archbishop Arundel. When the church-delegates came to London, where he then was, with the offer of this new dignity, he demanded some time to consider of it, and the next day informed them that having united himself in the bonds of spiritual matrimony with the church of St. David's, he could not enter into new engagements till they were cancelled by the

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