Close, Nicholas (DNB00)


CLOSE, NICHOLAS, D.D. (d. 1452), bishop, a native of Westmoreland, was one of the six original fellows of King's College, Cambridge, appointed by the founder, Henry VI, in 1443. Of his previous life nothing has as yet been discovered. The accounts of King's College show that he was frequently employed on important business, and in 1447 he became overseer of the building works ('magister operum'). In 1448 he was made warden of King's Hall in the same university. In 1449 (10 July) he appears as one of the English commissioners for proclaiming a truce with Scotland, and is described in the letters patent as chancellor of the university of Cambridge. In the following year (14 March 1449–50) he was made bishop of Carlisle, at which time he was also archdeacon of Colchester. In 1451 he was a commissioner for investigating whether the conservators of the truce with Scotland had been negligent in their duty or not; and in 1452 (30 Aug.) he was translated to the bishopric of Coventry and Lichfield. He died before the end of October in the same year. Close received a grant of arms from Henry VI 'for the laudable services rendered by him in many diverse ways, both, in the works of the building of our College Royal and in other matters.' There is reason for believing that this grant should be dated 30 Jan. 1450. The arms are: Argent, on a chevron sable three passion-nails of the first; on a chief sable three roses argent. A nail, clou, was probably chosen as canting on the name Close. After he became a bishop he sent several valuable presents (jocalia) to King's College, and either gave or bequeathed his library to it.

[Willis and Clark's Arch. Hist. of the Univ. of Cambridge, i. 468 and notes; Rymer's Fœdera, ed. 1704–35, xi. 231, 284; Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ; Bentley's Excerpta Historica, p. 362.]

J. W. C.