Deane, Henry (DNB00)


DEANE, HENRY (d. 1503), archbishop of Canterbury, is claimed as a member of the ancient family of Dene in the Forest of Dean, but not much very definite evidence has been brought forward to substantiate the assertion. The obscurity of the subject and his absolute silence in his will about his family suggest a humbler origin. He is also claimed as a member both of Oxford and Cambridge, but absolutely no evidence supports the latter claim, while the assertion of Wood that he took the degrees in arts and divinity at the former university is only corroborated by a possible allusion in a letter written by him to the university, in which he speaks of it as his ‘benignissima mater.’ His name does not occur in the mutilated register of graduates between 1449 and 1463, which is still preserved (Boase, Register of University of Oxford, Oxford Historical Society). The statement of Godwin that he was a member of New College is a blunder, and is not confirmed by the records of that society.

The first well-authenticated fact of Deane's life is his appointment in the first year of Edward IV's reign as prior of the house of Austin canons at Llanthony, near Gloucester, in theory a cell of the original Llanthony in the remote Vale of Ewyas in what is now northern Monmouthshire, but long far outstripping in importance the parent monastery. Under Deane's careful rule the younger Llanthony increased its prosperity. Divine worship and the rule of the order were sedulously maintained, and a beautiful new gateway, on which his escutcheon of three choughs or ravens (Archæological Journal, xvii. 28) can still be seen, was erected. On 10 May 1481 Deane procured a royal order to unite the languishing mother with the flourishing daughter. In consideration of a gift of three hundred marks, Edward IV directed that the possessions and the advowson of the Welsh Llanthony should be annexed to the English house, provided that a prior and four canons, whose good conduct was secured by their being removeable at pleasure, were maintained in the Vale of Ewyas so long as the peace of the marches allowed them to remain (Dugdale, Monasticon, vi. 139; Archæologia Cambrensis, i. 229–30).

Deane was much employed upon affairs of state. He became a friend and councillor of Henry VII, who on 13 April 1494 appointed him custodian of the temporalities of the see of Bangor from the death of the last bishop (Fœdera, xii. 553). He was with Henry's approval elected bishop of Bangor, but before he had been consecrated he was appointed on 13 Sept. chancellor of Ireland (Gairdner, Letters and Papers of Richard III and Henry VII, ii. 374, Rolls Series), a country with which he must have had some previous acquaintance, as a notable part of the estates of his priory were situated there (Leland, Itinerary, iv. 173 a). The previous success of Simnel, the prevalence of the Yorkist cause in the Pale, the zeal shown for Warbeck, the unruliness of the great nobles, and the absolute independence of the native septs had induced Henry to send Sir Edward Poynings to Ireland as deputy for his second son Henry, appointed lieutenant on 11 Sept., while along with him he sent a number of English officials to assist him in taking the government out of the hands of the Anglo-Irish. Of these the prior of Llanthony was plainly the chief. On 13 Oct. Poynings landed at Howth and at once swore his chancellor and other English colleagues into the privy council. After some military operations a parliament met on 1 Dec. at Drogheda, and was opened by a speech from Deane as chancellor, at which ‘Poynings's Law,’ an act of resumption, and a long series of other important measures were passed. During Poynings's subsequent absence from Dublin on his campaigns in 1495 against Warbeck and Desmond in the south, Deane had practical charge of the government, and, bewildered perhaps by the difficulties of his position, besought the help of the O'Byrne for the safe keeping of the borders.

On 4 Jan. 1496 Poynings was recalled, leaving Deane as deputy governor. On 29 Jan. he was appointed deputy and justiciary of Ireland (Lansdowne MSS. xliv. 31). On 10 March he granted charters to Kilkenny (Rot. Pat. et Claus. Hib. p. 271). The chief work of the new ruler was the hasty completion of a dyke and wall to protect the boundary of the English pale, which he compelled the adjoining landowners to undertake. But the expense of such a policy seems to have been too great for King Henry to bear. He reverted to the old plan of governing Ireland cheaply if inefficiently through Norman Irish nobles. Kildare was relieved from his attainder and made lord deputy in August. This necessitated Deane's retirement. On 6 Aug. Walter, archbishop of Dublin, became chancellor in his stead. On 6 Oct. he received the temporalities of Bangor, a papal bull having ratified the much earlier election of the chapter. The date and place of his consecration and the names of the consecrating bishops are, however, unknown (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 73). The next three years Deane actively occupied himself with the administration of his bishopric, and though he was still a member of the royal council and prior of Llanthony, his vigour and activity produced remarkable results. He found the see of Bangor in a very neglected condition: the cathedral and bishop's palace, destroyed by Owain Glyndwr, were still in ruins, and the possessions of the bishopric had been stolen by the great men of the neighbourhood. He at once set to work at building, and had completed the present choir of the cathedral, when he left the bishopric. His activity in vindicating lost rights of his see is illustrated by his success in winning back the right of the fisheries in the Skerries. He went in person to the island, and in his presence, and with the consent of all but one of his tenants, his servants caught on one day, 7 Oct. 1498, twenty-eight fishes. But the one objector, Sir William Griffith of Penrhyn, who had bought up most of the shares of the Skerries (Record of Carnarvon, p. 253), itself an old possession of the church of St. Daniel, sent his son and a body of armed men, who chased away the men of the bishop and stole the fish they had caught; but Deane compelled them to pay amends, and ultimately managed to establish his claim to the fisheries.

In August 1499 Bishop Blyth of Salisbury died, and on 7 Dec. of the same year the king granted his ‘faithful counsellor,’ the Bishop of Bangor, the custody of the temporalities and other properties of the see, for which the dean and chapter of Salisbury had agreed to compound at the rate of 1,021l. 7s. 11d. a year (Fœdera, xii. 735). Thither Deane was translated by papal bull early in 1500, the restitution of the temporalities taking place on 22 March (ib. xii. 748). On 13 Oct. he was also appointed, in succession to Archbishop Morton, keeper of the great seal (Dugdale, Origines Juridiciales, Chronica Series, p. 76), and as that office was now commonly combined with the highest dignity in the church, he was made archbishop of Canterbury, after Bishop Langton of Winchester, originally selected as Morton's successor, had died suddenly of the plague. He was elected on 26 April 1501, confirmed by papal bull on 26 May, and on 2 Aug. his temporalities were restored, with the accrued profits since Morton's death, as a sign of the ‘special favour and sincere love’ of the king for the new archbishop (Fœdera, xii. 772–4; Le Neve, Fasti Eccles. Angl. i. 24, whose date, 7 Aug., for restitution of temporalities is wrong). It is worth noting that the patent of restitution is dated Llanthony, whither the king had probably gone on a visit to Deane, who still apparently held the priory in commendam. Deane was never installed at Canterbury, probably on the ground of expense.

On 28 Nov. Deane was appointed chief of the English commissioners deputed to negotiate the marriage of Margaret, King Henry's daughter, with James IV of Scotland (Fœdera, xii. 791), his colleagues being the Bishop of Winchester and the Earl of Surrey. On 24 Jan. 1502 the treaty of marriage was signed at Henry's favourite palace, Richmond, whither the Scottish commissioners, headed by the Archbishop of Glasgow, had proceeded (Fœdera, xii. 787–92). On the same day and at the same place the same negotiators signed a second long and important treaty of perpetual peace between England and Scotland (ib. xii. 793–800); and a third treaty which provided for the maintenance of order on the borders (ib. 800–3). To have got through so much business in so short a time speaks well for Deane's powers as a diplomatist. On 27 July 1502 he resigned the custody of the great seal. On 14 Nov. of the same year he officiated, ‘with nineteen bishops mitred,’ at the magnificent marriage of Arthur, prince of Wales, with the Infanta Catherine of Aragon (Hall, p. 493, ed. 1809). Other acts of his archbishopric are his rebuilding of the manor house at Otford, the repairing of the great bridge at Rochester, and the strengthening of its coping with ironwork, and some dealings with the university of Oxford, in which he was thought by the scholars to be attacking their privileges, a construction of his proceedings he himself denies (see his letter of 11 Oct. 1502 in Archæological Journal, xviii. 267). He was assisted in the government both of the archbishopric and previously of Salisbury by John Bell, bishop of Mayo, who acted as his suffragan (Wharton in Bibl. Top. Brit. pp. 40, 42, 43; Archæological Journal, xviii. 265). He died at Lambeth on 15 Feb. 1503. In his will he had left very minute instructions for his burial, which were carried out by two of his chaplains, one of whom was Thomas Wolsey, then just rising into notice. The body was borne by water to Faversham in a barge, and then conveyed on a hearse to Canterbury, accompanied by the thirty-three sailors arrayed in black who had conducted it down the river. At last, on 24 Feb. it was buried with great pomp in the Martyrdom, near the tomb of Archbishop Stafford, ‘under a flat stone of marble’ (Leland, Itin. vi. 5), which has now disappeared, though its inscription may still be read in Weever (Ancient Funeral Monuments, p. 232). The rest of his will was less faithfully executed. The customary commemoration of thirty days was withheld on account of his poverty, for though he left considerable property, his executors disgracefully plundered his estate. It is highly creditable to a ministerial bishop like Deane that he should have died poor. That his reputation was great is shown by Bishop Fisher, in a sermon at the funeral of the queen the very day before Deane himself was buried, coupling his loss with that of Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales. Bacon mentions the ‘prior of Llanthony’ amidst a list of the ‘ablest men that were to be found,’ whose valuable services enabled Henry VII's affairs to ‘prosper as they did’ (History of Henry VII). Hall speaks of him as a ‘man of great wit and diligence’ (Chronicle, p. 470, ed. 1809).

[The principal materials for Deane's life have been collected by the Rev. J. B. Deane in a paper in the Archæological Journal, xviii. 256–267, where is also printed his curious will, taken from the book Blamyr in the Prerogative Office. From the same volume Dr. Stubbs discovered a portion of Deane's hitherto missing Register. Hook's Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, vol. v. ch. xxiii., is a good working up of Deane's materials; short lives are in Parker, De Antiq. Brit. Eccl.; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 690; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. i. 6, 520; Foss's Judges of Engl. v. 45; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 24, 103, ii. 604, ed. Hardy; and Godwin, De Præsulibus. For Bangor, see B. Willis's Survey of Bangor; for Salisbury, Cassan's Lives of the Bishops of Salisbury; for Ireland, Gilbert's Hist. of Viceroys of Ireland, pp. 449–61; for Llanthony, Dugdale's Monasticon, vi. 127 et seq., and a paper by the Rev. G. Roberts in Archæologia Cambrensis, i. 201–245. Rymer's Fœdera, vol. xii., original edition; Hall's Chronicle of the Union, ed. 1809; Gairdner's Letters and Papers of reigns of Richard III and Henry VII; Bergenroth's Calendar of Spanish State Papers, vol. i.; Wharton's Anglia Sacra.]

T. F. T.