Thomas Wynter

Last updated

Thomas Wynter or Winter (c. 1510 – c. 1546) was the Archdeacon of York, Richmond, Cornwall, Provost of Beverley, Dean of Wells Cathedral and the illegitimate son of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.

Contents

Biography

Thomas Wynter's exact date of birth is unknown, but most scholars argue that he was born sometime around the year 1510. [1] His mother is the supposed mistress of Thomas Wolsey, Joan Larke, daughter of Thetford innkeeper Peter Larke. [2] Some historians, such as Stella Fletcher, show some scepticism about Wynter's parentage, as Wolsey had two brothers and one sister that leave little trace in the historical record that could be the true parents of Wynter. [3] Most historians argue that Wynter was Wolsey's son because Wolsey had maintained a great interest in Wynter’s education and career. [4] Contemporary ambassadors and officials also believed Wynter was the cardinal’s son, and stated as much in their correspondence. Thomas Lupset, a tutor of Wynter's, wrote to Erasmus in August 1525, stating that Wolsey treated Wynter with so much affection that it was as if "he were his own legitimate offspring." [5] The Spanish diplomat Eustace Chapuys wrote to Emperor Charles V that "A son of [Wolsey's], who is in Paris following his studies, and of whom I have formerly written to your Majesty, has received orders to return," to England in October 1529. [6] Similarly, the ambassador from Milan referred to Wynter as Wolsey's son in a dispatch the following year. [7]

Wynter supposedly grew up North of London in an area (now part of London) called Willesden. [8] In August 1518 at roughly age nine, Wynter matriculated to the University of Louvain. [1] He studied Latin, among other elements of classical education, under his first known tutor, Maurice Birchinshaw. [9] Within a few years, Wynter received dispensation to start holding clerical offices, and obtained three benefices by June 1522, including the lucrative prebend of Milton at Lincoln Cathedral. [10] Wynter would go on to obtain several more benefices in England over the next few years, despite the fact that he was studying abroad almost constantly until 1529. He became Archdeacon of York on 31 August 1523, which he held longer than any other benefice, before surrendering it in June 1540. [11] When his father, Wolsey, spoke of Wynter in his correspondence, he referred to him as the Dean of Wells, a position he received in January 1526. [12]

Although Wynter studied in Paris with some of the best Humanists in Europe, he never showed any serious aptitude beyond normal intelligence. [13] Wynter certainly made strong attempts at learning, attending public lectures, and often dedicating much of his time to studying. [14] However, Wynter was instead a surrogate for his father's influence, as well as a source of income. Scholars in Paris praised Wynter partly for his own skills, but also for Wosley's sake. [15] Wynter would often entertain guests, and was forced to spend considerable sums of money on furniture and housing to befit the son of a Cardinal as important as Wolsey. [16] Besides his ecclesiastical income, Wynter also received the mineral rights to the bishopric of Durham, worth £185 per year, in 1528. [17] In total, Wynter's lands and benefices were worth about £1,575 per year in 1525, and would be worth £2,700 per year in November 1529. [18] Most of Wynter's income was siphoned off by Wolsey, who forwarded around £200 per year to Wynter in Paris, which helps explain Wynter's near constant requests for more money. [19] Despite his son's less than stellar intellect, Wolsey continued to try and bestow greater honours on Wynter, including a failed attempt to secure the Diocese of Durham in 1528. [20]

Historians have traditionally seen Wolsey's promotion of his son as an example of the corruption in late medieval Catholicism. Stanford Lehmberg wrote that the "most glaring example" of senior clergy granting their children benefices and skimming the profits. [21] Recently, scholars more sympathetic to Wolsey and the Church argue that Wolsey's actions were not unique to the time period. [22] Further, though there many prebends and benefices were held in pluralism, the parishioners of England were, for the most part, content with the state of the Church, and there were clergymen in the parishes to administer the sacraments. [23] Even so, Wolsey's decline from power beginning in 1528 only accelerated once Parliament wrote and submitted their formal protest against Wolsey in 1529. This included references to Wynter as recipient of "great treasures and riches" which Wolsey then acquired as a proxy. [24] Wynter was in Paris at the time of his father's downfall, and King Henry VIII summoned Wynter to return, as it seemed likely that his father would die soon. [25] Before his return to court in July 1530, Wynter resigned the majority of his benefices, though he kept his offices as the Archdeacon of York, Provost of Beverley, and a few other benefices. [1]

Cardinal Wolsey died in November 1530, and Wynter was left without a protector. He reached out and became a patron of two of the leading ministers in Henry VIII's government, being Bishop Gardiner [26] and Thomas Cromwell. [1] In 1530, Wynter was joined the influential association of patronage and learning known as the Doctors Commons, whose members included such powerful civilians and bishops as Thomas More, Cuthbert Tunstall, Nicholas West, among others. [27] From there, Wynter went about raising funds to return to schooling on the continent. By 1533, Wynter was studying law in Padua, Italy, thanks to his benefices and the generosity and influence of Thomas Cromwell. [28] Wynter regularly wrote Cromwell to update him on his studies, and whatever international news or gossip as he heard while meeting ambassadors and scholars from across Europe. [29] Despite Cromwell's assistance and his benefices, Wynter could not reconcile his spending and his budget. Wynter wanted to maintain a life of a financially independent scholar, where wealth was "a great assistance to study and an ornament to life." Wynter stated his problem simply, as "I am devoted to letters but desire to keep my preferments," and by the end of 1533, he could not do both. [30]

Wynter returned to England and court in July 1534 in poverty. He managed to get an audience with Henry VIII and Queen Anne Boleyn, who took pity on Wynter. She told Wynter that he was beloved by the King, and that he had "many friends who wish you well. Reckon me among that number." [31] Wynter remained in England for the next several years, resident at either Cawood Castle in his Archdeaconry of York, or Beverley where he still held the provostship. [32] Wynter was eventually stable enough in England to have clients of his own, including Richard Morison and Edmund Harvel. [1] [33] Eventually, Cromwell was able to get a new preferment for Wynter in the southwest of England. On 10 October 1537 Wynter was collated and installed by proxy to the Archdeaconry of Cornwall. [34] As most of Wynter's lands and other property were in the East Riding of Yorkshire, he decided to rent out the Archdeaconry to one William Bodye, a servant of Cromwell. [35] Renting out the rights to hold Archdeacon's courts, receive probate fees, and perform visitations was common in the sixteenth century, and many Archdeacons were not resident. Unfortunately for Wynter, his flock in Cornwall came to despise Bodye, which would heighten tensions in the area for years to come.

Bodye purchased the rights to the Archdeaconry for thirty five years, for £30 per year, and a £150 down payment. [36] Over the next three years, Bodye received the rents and fees due to Wynter, slowly building up a resentment among the parishioners and the resident clergy. In 1540, Bishop John Vesey of Exeter brought suit against Wynter, citing that Wynter had "indulged in prohibited games and in other things contrary to the office of an archdeacon", largely as a front to nullify the lease between Wynter and Bodye. [37] Following this citation, Bodye was refused admittance into the Church in Cornwall and forcibly prevented from trying to collect payments from the parishioners. Bodye scuffled with John Harrys, the priest of the church, and threatened him with a knife. The chaos and lawsuits that followed lasted years as the people of Cornwall tried to remove Bodye, and Bodye sought to protect his rights. [38] Besides bringing suits in Chancery and Star Chamber, Bodye managed to convince Cromwell and the King order Vesey and the Dean and Chapter of Exeter to confirm the lease under their Episcopal and Chapter seals. [39]

Over the course of the unfolding events and lawsuits involving William Bodye, Wynter resigned his positions as Archdeacon of York. [40] Once the suits in Star Chamber settled in 1543, Wynter quietly resigned as Archdeacon of Cornwall and Provost of Beverly in exchange for a pension of £86 per year for the first five years, and diminishing to £30 per year after. [1] [41] Wynter after his resignations falls into obscurity. Wynter appears to have possessed a small prebend in tenure of Thame Abbey in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, in the first half of 1535. [42] The same Thomas Wynter held on to this prebend through the dissolution of the Abbey, and had his ownership confirmed in 1546. [43] Whether or not this Thomas Wynter was the same as the son of Wolsey, Wynter had faded from political importance years before, and for one who received his first clerical office in his preteen years, he had all but used up his influence before he was thirty-five.

List of Offices and Benefices

Office or BeneficeDate of AssumptionDate of Resignation
Canon and Prebend of Timsbury Unknown7 December 1529 [44]
Prebend of Bedwyn 25 March 1522 [45] 4 December 1529 [45]
Prebend of Milton Ecclesia1 April 1522 [46] 1 December 1529 [46]
Prebend of Palishal at Overhall 2 June 1522 [47] 2 August 1522 [47]
Prebend of Norwell at Overhall 2 August 1522 [47] before 12 December 1529 [48]
Prebend of Fridaythorpe 30 September 1522 [49] 9 January 1523 [50]
Prebend of Strensall 9 January 1523 [51] 20 December 1529 [51]
Archdeacon of York31 August 1523 [52] 26 June 1540 [52]
Rector of Winwick c. 1525 [53] 24 November 1529
Dean of Wells Cathedral c. January 1526 [1] [54] before November 1529 [55]
Prebend of St. Peters, Beverley before 28 February 1526 [56] before 1535 [57]
Archdeacon of Richmond 24 March 1526 [58] 7 December 1529 [58]
Rector of St. Matthew's, Ipswich before 26 March 1526 [54] before or c. 26 June 1528 [59]
Prebend of Lutton before 26 March 1526 [54] before November 1529 [60]
Prebend of Odiham before 26 March 1526 [54] c. February 1530 [61]
Chancellor of Diocese of Salisbury before 26 March 1526 [54] 4 February 1530 [62]
Rector of Rudby before 26 March 1526 [54] after 7 April 1533 [63]
Provost of Beverleybefore 26 March 1526 [54] after July 1540 [64]
Archdeacon of Suffolk 12 November 1526 [65] before 25 April 1529 [66]
Prebend of Ramptonafter 30 October 1527 [67] 8 November 1540 [68]
Warden of St. Leonard's Hospital 17 July 1528 [69] 11 December 1529 [70]
Archdeacon of Norfolk before 23 August 1528 [71] 1 March 1530 [72]
Vicar of Atwick before 1535 [73] after or c. 1535 [73]
Vicar of Ratcliffe-on-Soar before 1535 [74] after or c. 1535 [74]
Prebend of Saunderton before 1535 [42] c. 1546 [43] [75]
Archdeacon of Cornwall 8 October 1537 [76] before 25 May 1543 [76]

Related Research Articles

Robert of Ghent or Robert de Gant was Lord Chancellor of England and Dean of York in the 12th century. The younger son of a nobleman, Robert was probably a member of the cathedral chapter of York before his selection as chancellor by King Stephen of England in the mid-1140s. He is not mentioned often in documents from his time as chancellor, but why this is so is unknown. He became dean at York Minster around 1147. Robert was slightly involved in the disputes over who would be Archbishop of York in the late 1140s and 1150s, but it is likely that his chancellorship prevented his deeper involvement in diocesan affairs. He was no longer chancellor after the death of Stephen, but probably continued to hold the office of dean until his death around 1157 or 1158.

Roger Northburgh 14th-century Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield and Treasurer of England

Roger Northburgh was a cleric, administrator and politician who was Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield from 1321 until his death. His was a stormy career as he was inevitably involved in many of the conflicts of his time: military, dynastic and ecclesiastical.

William Knight was the Secretary of State to Henry VIII of England, and Bishop of Bath and Wells.

John Chishull or John de Chishull was Lord Chancellor of England, Bishop of London, and Lord High Treasurer during the 13th century. He also served as Dean of St. Paul's.

William Zouche 14th-century Archbishop of York and Treasurer of England

William de la Zouche (1299–1352) was Lord Treasurer of England and served as Archbishop of York from 1342 until his death.

Alexander Neville was a late medieval prelate who served as Archbishop of York from 1374 to 1388.

Lawrence Booth 15th-century Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England

Lawrence Booth served as Prince-Bishop of Durham and Lord Chancellor of England, before being appointed Archbishop of York.

John Booth (bishop) 15th-century Bishop of Exeter

John Booth was a 15th-century English prelate who held numerous appointments in the church and royal service.

John Arundel (bishop of Chichester) 15th-century Bishop of Chichester

John Arundel was a medieval Bishop of Chichester.

William Kingsmill alias William Basyng was Prior of the Benedictine St. Swithun's, Winchester until the Dissolution of the Monastery in 1539. He was appointed as the first Dean of Winchester Cathedral at the foundation of the new chapter in 1541.

The Archdeacon of Leicester is a senior ecclesiastical officer in the Church of England.

The Archdeacon of Buckingham is the senior ecclesiastical officer in charge of the Church of England in Buckinghamshire.

William Warham was a late-medieval English ecclesiastical administrator who was Archdeacon of Canterbury from c. 1505 to 1532 during the archiepiscopate of his uncle William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Archdeacon of Cornwall is a senior cleric in the Church of England Diocese of Truro.

The Archdeaconry of Barnstaple or Barum is one of the oldest archdeaconries in England. It is an administrative division of the Diocese of Exeter in the Church of England.

William Cosyn was priest, a JP for Somerset from 1506–1516, and Dean of Wells Cathedral from 1498–1525.

Provost of Beverley Minster

The Provost of St John's, Beverley is a position said to have been created by Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux (1070–1100). The provost had responsibility for the administration of the lands owned by the minster and for the general revenues of the chapter. He was an external officer with authority in the government of the church, but with no stall in the choir and no vote in chapter.

Edmund Steward otherwise Stewart or Stewarde was an English lawyer and clergyman who served as Chancellor and later Dean of Winchester Cathedral until his removal in 1559.

Thomas Butiller was an English priest in the late 14th and early15th centuries.

William Hutchinson was an English priest in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online (ODNB), "Thomas Wynter" by Julian Lock.
  2. Peter G. Bietenholz and Thomas B. Deutscher, eds. Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation, 3 volumes (Toronto, Canada: 1985-7) 3:455-6.
  3. Stella Fletcher, Cardinal Wolsey: A Life in Renaissance Europe, (London, U.K.: 2009) pp. 7, 17.
  4. Peter Gwyn, The King's Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey, (London, U.K.: 1990) pp. 301–302.
  5. Charles G. Nauert, Jr. and Alexander Dalzell, eds. Collected Works of Erasmus, Volume 11: Letters 1535–1657, (Toronto, Canada: 1994) p. 235 (Letter No. 1595).
  6. Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, 1529–1530, (London, U.K.: 1879) No. 194, p. 304.
  7. Calendar of State Papers, Milan, 1385–1618, (London, U.K.: 1912) No. 817, p. 540.
  8. A. F. Pollard, Wolsey: Church and State in Sixteenth-Century England, (New York, NY: 1929) p. 308.
  9. Bietenholz and Deutscher, eds. Contemporaries, 1:148.
  10. John Le Neve, et al., Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, 1300–1541, 12 volumes (London, U.K.: 1962–1967) 1:92; Pollard, Wolsey p. 309.
  11. Le Neve, et al. Fasti, 1300–1541, 6:19.
  12. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII (L&P), 37 volumes in 21 (London, U.K.: 1862–1920) Volume 4, nos. 2054, 4521, 4824.
  13. Thomas F. Mayer, Thomas Starkey and the Commonweal: Humanist Politics and Religion in the Reign of Henry VIII, (Cambridge, U.K.: 1989) pp. 47–48.
  14. L&P, Volume 4, nos. 3955, 4015, and 4294.
  15. L&P, Volume 4, no. 2805.
  16. Wynter furnished the house and entertained the Duke of Suffolk and the Earl of Southampton during their stay in Paris in 1529. L&P, Volume 4, nos. 5598, 3955, 4015.
  17. Pollard, Wolsey, p. 309; L&P, Volume 4, no. 4229 (7).
  18. Nauert and Dalzell, Collected Works of Erasmus, Volume 11, p. 235; Pollard, Wolsey, p. 311; Edward Herbert, The Life and Reign of King Henry the Eighth, (London, U.K.: 1649) p. 270.
  19. Pollard, Wolsey, p. 311; ODNB, "Wynter" by Lock.
  20. Arthur F. Leach, Memorials of Beverley Minster: The Chapter Act Book of the Collegiate Church of St. John of Beverley, 1286–1347, Volume 2, (Durham, U.K.: 1903) p. xcvii; L&P, Volume 4, no. 4824.
  21. Lehmberg, The Reformation Parliament, 1529–1536, (Cambridge, U.K.: 1970) p. 85.
  22. Gwyn, King's Cardinal, p. 302.
  23. G. W. Bernard, The Late Medieval English Church: Vitality and Vulnerability before the Break with Rome, (New Haven, CT: 2012) pp. 63–78.
  24. L&P, Volume 4, no. 5749 (p. 2552).
  25. L&P, Volume 4, no. 6023 (p. 2683).
  26. L&P, Volume 5, no. 1453.
  27. James K. McConica, English Humanists and Reformation Politics under Henry VIII and Edward VI, (Oxford, U.K.: 1965) pp. 52–54.
  28. Jonathan Woolfson, Padua and the Tudors: English Students in Italy, 1485–1603, (Toronto, Canada: 1998), p. 286.
  29. L&P, Volume 5, nos. 1210, 1452; Volume 6, no. 299; Volume 7, no. 100.
  30. L&P, Volume 7, no. 280.; W. Gordon Zeeveld, Foundations of Tudor Policy, (Cambridge, MA: 1948) pp. 92–94.
  31. Eric Ives, Anne Boleyn, (New York, NY: 1986) pp. 329–330.
  32. L&P, Volume 10, no. 86.iii.
  33. L&P, Volume 8, nos. 132, 511, 579; Volume 9, no. 101; Volume 10, nos. 418, 661.
  34. A. L. Rowse, Tudor Cornwall: A Portrait of a Society, new edition (New York, NY: 1969), pp. 148.
  35. John Le Neve, et al. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, 1541–1857: Volume 12, Exeter, (London, U.K.: 2007) p. 26.
  36. Rowse, Tudor Cornwall, p. 150.
  37. Frances Rose-Troup, The Western Rebellion of 1549, (London, U.K.: 1913) p. 60.
  38. J. B. W. Chapman, List of Proceedings in the Court of Star Chamber, 1485–1558, (London, U.K.: 1901) pp. 23 (), 45 (); Barrett L. Beer, Rebellion and Riot: Popular Resistance in England during the Reign of Edward VI, revised edition, (Kent, OH: 2005), p. 46.
  39. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Fifth Report, Appendix, (London, U.K.: 1876) p. 296.
  40. Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 6:19; L&P, Volume 15, no. 861.
  41. Leach, Memorials of Beverley Minster, pp. xcviii–xcix.
  42. 1 2 John Caley and Joseph Hunter, eds., Valor Ecclesiasticus Temp. Henr. VIII, 6 Volumes (London, U.K.:1810–1834) 2:214.
  43. 1 2 L&P Volume 17, no. 881 (26); Volume 21, Part 2, no. 648 (25) (p.336)
  44. Herbert Chitty, ed. Registrum Thome Wolsey, Cardinalis Ecclesie Wintoniensis Administratoris (Oxford, U.K.: 1926), pp. 63, 180; Victoria County History of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Volume 4 (London, U.K.: 1911) p. 488.
  45. 1 2 Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 3:30.
  46. 1 2 Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 1:92.
  47. 1 2 3 A. F. Leach, ed. Memorials of Southwell Minster, (London, U.K.: 1891) p. 152.
  48. Leach, Memorials of Southwell Minster, p. 158.
  49. Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 6:52.
  50. Leach, Memorials of Beverley Minster, p. xcv.
  51. 1 2 Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 6:82.
  52. 1 2 Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 6:19.
  53. L&P Volume 4, Appendix no. 61;Victoria County History of Lancashire, Volume 4, (London, U.K.: 1911) p. 127.
  54. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 L&P, Volume 4, no. 2054.
  55. L&P, Volume 4, no. 6047 (p. 2697); Lehmberg, Reformation Parliament, pp. 80–81.
  56. L&P, Volume 4, no. 2001.
  57. Caley and Hunter, eds. Valor Ecclesiasticus, 5:132.
  58. 1 2 Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 6:27.
  59. L&P, Volume 4, nos. 4423, 4424.
  60. Held as Dean of Wells. Victoria County History of Somerset, Volume 2, (London, U.K.: 1911) p. 164.
  61. Attached to the Chancellorship of Salisbury. Chitty, ed. Registrum, p. xxiv.
  62. Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 3:18.
  63. L&P, Volume 6, no. 314.
  64. L&P, Volume 15, no. 861.
  65. Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 4:34.
  66. L&P, Volume 4, no. 5492.
  67. Leach, Memorials of Southwell Minster, p. 159.
  68. L&P, Volume 16, no. 275.
  69. L&P, Volume 4, no. 4526.
  70. L&P, Volume 4, no. 6091.
  71. L&P, Volume 4, no. 4659.
  72. Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 4:30.
  73. 1 2 Caley and Hunter, Valor Ecclesiasticus, 5:121.
  74. 1 2 Caley and Hunter, Valor Ecclesiasticus, 5:167.
  75. Victoria County History of Buckingham, Volume 3, (London, U.K.: 1925) pp. 94–95.
  76. 1 2 Le Neve, Fasti, 1300–1541, 9:17.