Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Blythe, John (d.1499)

BLYTHE, JOHN (d. 1499), bishop of Salisbury, was the son of William Blythe, of Norton, Derbyshire, by a sister of Thomas Rotheram, archbishop of York. His younger brother Geoffrey [q. v.] was bishop of Lichfield (1503–1533). He was educated at Cambridge, and in 1488 was the warden of King's Hall in that university. In 1477 Blyth was archdeacon of Stow, in 1478 archdeacon of Huntingdon, prebendary of Lincoln (1482–5), in 1484 prebendary of York, and in 1485 archdeacon of Richmond. He was master of the rolls from 5 May 1492 until his consecration to the bishopric of Salisbury, at Lambeth, 23 Feb. 1494. Between the years 1493 and 1495 he was chancellor of the university of Cambridge, and in that capacity he delivered an oration before Henry VII, his mother, the Countess of Pembroke, and Prince Arthur, at Cambridge (Letters, &c., Rich. III and Hen. VII, i. 422). As bishop he took part in the ceremonial of the creation of Henry, duke of York, 1494. He died 23 Aug. 1499, and was buried behind the high altar of his cathedral church, in a tomb which from its position lay north and south. A manuscript copy of his Cambridge oration exists in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and an outline of it with extracts has been printed in the ‘Letters of Richard III’ (Rolls Ser.). During Blyth's episcopate in 1496, the islands of Jersey and Guernsey were taken from the see of Coutances, and added to that of Salisbury, until in 1499 they were finally included in the bishopric of Winchester.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (ed. Bliss), ii. 691; Foss's Lives of the Judges, v. 38; Godwin, De Præsulibus; Letters and Papers Rich. III and Hen. VII (ed. Gairdner) (Rolls Ser.); Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy); Cassan's Lives of the Bishops of Salisbury; Jones's History of the Diocese of Salisbury.]

W. H.