Christopher Urswick

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Christopher Urswick (1448 – 1522) was a priest and confessor of Margaret Beaufort. He was Rector of Puttenham, Hertfordshire, and later Dean of Windsor. Urswick is thought to have acted as a go-between in the plotting to place her son Henry VII of England on the throne.



Urswick was born at Furness in 1448. His father, John Urswick, and his mother were lay brother and sister of Furness Abbey. [1]

He was Archdeacon of Wilts (1488–1522), Archdeacon of Richmond (1494–1500) and Archdeacon of Norfolk (1500–1522). Circa 1486 he was given the prebend of Chiswick in St Paul's Cathedral. He was also Dean of York from 1488 to 1494, a Canon of St George's Chapel, Windsor from 1492 to 1496 and then Dean of Windsor from 1495 to 1505. He was the Lord Almoner from 1485 to 1495. [2]

He declined the position of Bishop of Norwich in 1498 and was collated Archdeacon of Oxford in 1504.

Amongst his more important positions, Urswick became Rector of the Parish of Hackney in 1502, where he ordered the medieval parish church to be rebuilt. St Augustine's Tower is the only remnant.

He also built a new parish house (Urswick House, now demolished), where he lived for a time; and he remains commemorated in Urswick Road in nearby Homerton, as well as The Urswick School which he founded and was until recently called Hackney Free and Parochial School in Hackney Central. [3] The Urswick Chantry in St. George's Chapel commemorates him. [4]

He appears as a minor character in Shakespeare's Richard III. He opened a school for 12 poor boys which is now known as The Urswick School (Hackney Free).

Urswick died on 24 March 1522 in Hackney (parish) and was buried in St Augustine's Church, Hackney. [5]

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The Urswick School is a co-educational secondary school and sixth form located in the Hackney Central area of the London Borough of Hackney, England. The school is named after Christopher Urswick, the Rector of the Parish of Hackney from 1502 to 1522, and a close friend of King Henry VII and his mother, Margaret Beaufort.


  1. Urswick, Christopher. "Urswick, Christopher". Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  2. Thompson, Benjamin. Political Society in Later Medieval England. p. 226.
  3. "The History of the School". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  4. "Unknown Person - The Urswick Chantry, St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle". Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  5. "No offence!". College of St George Windsor. Retrieved 23 October 2019.

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