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.
He was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School (which was then called 'The Free School at Lancaster')
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.
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.
Urswick died on 24 March 1522 in Hackney (parish) and was buried in St Augustine's Church, Hackney.
He appears as a minor character in Shakespeare's Richard III.
He built a parish house in Hackney (Urswick House, now demolished), where he lived for a time. He is commemorated in Urswick Road in nearby Homerton.
He founded The Urswick School for 12 poor boys, and was until recently called Hackney Free and Parochial School in Hackney Central.The Urswick Chantry in St. George's Chapel commemorates him.
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St Augustine's Tower stands in St John's Church Gardens, in central Hackney, in the London Borough of Hackney, just off the southern end of the Narrow Way. It is all that remains of the early 16th century parish church of Hackney of St Augustine, which replaced the 13th century medieval church founded by the Knights of St John. The Tower comprises four stages beneath a restored parapet with diagonal buttressing. A fine working 16th century turret clock has remained on the third floor of the Tower since at least 1608. The Tower and contents are Grade I listed.
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St John at Hackney is a Grade II* listed Anglican Church in the heart of the London Borough of Hackney with a large capacity of around 2,000. It was built in 1792 to replace Hackney's medieval parish church, of which St Augustine's Tower remains, at the edge of its churchyard. The church faces north towards Clapton Square, with the nearby Sutton House and Hackney Central station also accessible from the churchyard to the east and south, respectively.
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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, London.