Robert Stillington

Last updated
Robert Stillington
Bishop of Bath and Wells
Appointed30 October 1465
Term endedMay 1491
Predecessor Thomas Beckington
Successor Richard Foxe
Orders
Consecration16 March 1466
Personal details
Bornabout 1405
Nether Acaster, Yorkshire, England
Diedbefore June 1491
DenominationCatholic

Robert Stillington (about 1405 – May 1491) was an English cleric and administrator who was Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1465 and twice served as Lord Chancellor under King Edward IV. In 1483 he was instrumental in the accession of King Richard III, leading to later reprisals against him under King Henry VII.

Contents

Life

Stillington was Archdeacon of Taunton (1450–1465) and Archdeacon of Berkshire (1464–1465) [1] when he was made Keeper of the Privy Seal from 1460 to 1467. [2]

Stillington was selected as Bishop of Bath and Wells on 30 October 1465, and was consecrated on 16 March 1466. [3] He was appointed Lord Chancellor on 20 June 1467 and held the office until 29 September 1470, when Henry VI was restored to the throne. After the return of Edward IV, he was reappointed to his former office and held it until 18 June 1473, when Edward dismissed him. [4]

In 1478, Stillington spent some weeks in prison, apparently as a result of some association with the disgraced George, Duke of Clarence. It has been suggested [ by whom? ] that he gave Clarence information about the king's prior association with another woman, information that would have put Clarence in a position to claim the throne for himself [ citation needed ].

After Edward's death in April 1483, Stillington was a member of the council of the boy-king Edward V. Some time in June, a clergyman, identified as Stillington only by the writings [Mémoires, book VI chapter 17] of the French diplomat Philippe de Commines (who referred to him as "levesque de Bas" and "ce mauvais evesque"), told Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the Lord Protector, that the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville had been invalid on the grounds of Edward's earlier marriage to Lady Eleanor Talbot, at which he claimed to have officiated. This led to Elizabeth Woodville's children by Edward IV being declared illegitimate and the Duke of Gloucester ascending the throne as Richard III.

After Henry VII defeated Richard III at Bosworth in 1485, he immediately had Stillington imprisoned again. Henry had the bigamy charge against Edward IV reversed, and married Edward's daughter, Elizabeth of York.

Some years after Stillington's second release, he became involved in the plot to place the impostor Lambert Simnel on the throne in 1487. After finding refuge at Oxford University, he was eventually handed over to the king and imprisoned. [3] He was buried in a chapel of his own founding, since demolished, at Wells Cathedral. [5]

Citations

  1. Kingsford "Stillington, Robert" Dictionary of National Biography
  2. Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 95
  3. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 228
  4. Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 87
  5. Dictionary of National Biography

Related Research Articles

John Morton (cardinal) 15th-century Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor of England, and cardinal

John Morton was an English prelate who served as the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1486 until his death and also Lord Chancellor of England from 1487. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1493.

Edward IV of England King from 1461 to 1470 and 1471 to 1483

Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470, then again from 11 April 1471 until his death in 1483. He was a central figure in the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars in England fought between the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions between 1455 and 1487.

Elizabeth Woodville 15th-century Queen consort of England

Elizabeth Woodville was Queen of England from her marriage to King Edward IV on 1 May 1464 until Edward was deposed on 3 October 1470, and again from Edward's resumption of the throne on 11 April 1471 until his death on 9 April 1483.

George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence 15th-century English noble

George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, was the 6th son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the brother of English kings Edward IV and Richard III. He played an important role in the dynastic struggle between rival factions of the Plantagenets now known as the Wars of the Roses.

Anne Neville English queen

Anne Neville was Queen of England as the wife of King Richard III. She was the younger of the two daughters and co-heiresses of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. Before her marriage to Richard, she had been Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the only son and heir apparent of King Henry VI.

Lady Eleanor Talbot, also known by her married name Eleanor Butler, was an English noblewoman. She was a daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. After the death of Edward IV of England in 1483 it was claimed by his brother Richard, the future Richard III, that she had had a legal precontract of marriage to Edward, which invalidated the king's later marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. According to Richard, this meant that he, rather than Edward's sons, was the true heir to the throne. Richard took the crown and imprisoned Edward's sons, who subsequently disappeared.

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham English noble, born in Wales (1455–1483)

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, KG was an English nobleman known as the namesake of Buckingham's rebellion, a failed but significant collection of uprisings in England and parts of Wales against Richard III of England in October 1483. He was executed without trial for his role in the uprisings. Stafford is also one of the primary suspects in the disappearance of Richard's nephews, the Princes in the Tower.

Thomas Bourchier (cardinal) 15th-century Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor of England, and cardinal

Thomas Bourchier was a medieval English cardinal, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor of England.

Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers 15th-century English noble, courtier, and writer

Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, was an English nobleman, courtier, bibliophile and writer. He was the brother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville who married King Edward IV. He was one of the leading members of the Woodville family, which came to prominence during the reign of King Edward IV. After Edward's death, he was arrested and then executed by the Duke of Gloucester as part of a power-struggle between Richard and the Woodvilles. His English translation of The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers is one of the first books printed in England.

Thomas Rotherham 15th-century Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England

Thomas Rotherham, also known as Thomas (Scot) de Rotherham, was an English cleric and statesman. He served as bishop of several dioceses, most notably as Archbishop of York and, on two occasions as Lord Chancellor. He is considered a venerable figure in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, his town of birth.

John Alcock (bishop) 15th-century Bishop of Ely, Bishop of Rochester, Bishop of Worcester, and Chancellor of England

John Alcock was an English churchman, bishop and Lord Chancellor.

Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York Duke of York

Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, was the sixth child and second son of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, born in Shrewsbury. Richard and his older brother, who briefly reigned as King Edward V of England, mysteriously disappeared shortly after Richard III became king in 1483.

Catherine Woodville, Duchess of Buckingham

Catherine Woodville was a medieval English noblewoman.

John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk Duke of Suffolk

John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, KG, was a major magnate in 15th-century England. He was the son of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and Alice Chaucer, the daughter of Thomas Chaucer. His youth was blighted, in 1450, by the political fall and subsequent murder of his father, who had been a favourite of the king, Henry VI, but was increasingly distrusted by the rest of the nobility. Although the first duke of Suffolk had made himself rich through trade and – particularly – royal grants, this source of income dried up on his death, so John de la Pole was among the poorest of English dukes on his accession to the title in 1463. This was a circumstance which John felt acutely; on more than one occasion, he refused to come to London due to his impoverishment being such that he could not afford the costs of maintaining a retinue.

Sir Thomas Vaughan was a Welsh statesman and diplomat, who rose to prominence before and during the Wars of the Roses. He began as an adherent of Jasper Tudor and King Henry VI of England, and was appointed to several offices by Henry. He was nonetheless a Yorkist by inclination, as were many Welshmen of the time. After the Yorkist victory in 1461 he became a loyal and important servant of King Edward IV. In 1483, he was executed by Richard III as part of his seizure of the throne.

Peter Courtenay 15th-century Bishop of Exeter and Bishop of Winchester

Peter Courtenay was Bishop of Exeter (1478–87) and Bishop of Winchester (1487-92), and also had a successful political career during the tumultuous years of the Wars of the Roses.

John Russell was an English Bishop of Rochester and bishop of Lincoln and Lord Chancellor.

Events from the 1460s in England.

Events from the 1480s in England. This decade marks the beginning of the Tudor period.

Wars of the Roses Dynastic civil war in England from 1455 to 1487

The Wars of the Roses, known at the time and for more than a century after as the Civil Wars, were a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne in the mid-to-late fifteenth century, fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: Lancaster and York. The wars extinguished the male lines of the two dynasties, leading to the Tudor family inheriting the Lancastrian claim. Following the war, the Houses of Tudor and York were united, creating a new royal dynasty, thereby resolving the rival claims.

References

Political offices
Preceded by Lord Privy Seal
1460–1467
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Chancellor
1467–1470
Succeeded by
Lord Chancellor
1471–1473
Succeeded by
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Bath and Wells
1466–1491
Succeeded by