Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carpenter, John (d.1476)

CARPENTER, JOHN (d. 1476), bishop of Worcester, born probably at Westbury-on-Trym, Gloucestershire, was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, and proceeded D.D. About 1420 he became master of St. Antony's Hospital and School in the city of London, and was granted on behalf of the hospital several royal manors, and in 1440 the benefice of St. Benet Fink. He became prebendary of Lincoln in 1426 and provost of Oriel College in 1428, holding the office conjointly with the mastership of St. Antony's Hospital. About 1436 he was rector of St. Mary Magdalen in Old Fish Street, London, and with great liberality repaired some almshouses belonging to the parish. In consideration of this generous act Carpenter's name ‘was to be inscribed on the altar in the church.’ He was chancellor of Oxford University in 1437. On 20 Dec. 1443 he was appointed bishop of Worcester by papal bull, in succession to Thomas Bourchier (1404?–1486) [q. v.], and was consecrated at Eton on 22 March 1443–4. Carpenter was throughout his life a munificent benefactor to the village of Westbury. He elaborately rebuilt and richly endowed the college of priests attached to the church there. William Canynges of Bristol [q. v.] became dean of the college in 1469. Carpenter resigned his see a few weeks before his death. He retired to Northwick, and died there in 1476. He was buried, as he had directed, in Westbury Church. Much of his property was left to establish exhibitions at Oriel College. He is said to have built the gatehouse at Hartlebury Castle, the official residence of the bishop of Worcester. Carpenter was the intimate friend, and was probably the kinsman, of John Carpenter, town clerk of London [q. v.], who bequeathed to him several books on his death in 1441.

[Godwin, De Præsul. (1743), p. 467; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. iii. 61; Newcourt's Diocese of London, i. 285, 299, 471; Thomas Brewer's Life of John Carpenter, town clerk of London. The John Carpenter who, according to Boase's Oxf. Univ. Register (i. 16), proceeded B.A. 28 Jan. 1451–2, and M.A. 4 Dec. 1455, cannot be identical with the bishop.]

S. L. L.