Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Haxey, Thomas

HAXEY, THOMAS (d. 1425), treasurer of York minister, was probably a native of Haxey, in the isle of Axholme in Lincolnshire, to which village he left benefactions in his will. In 1384 he became rector of Pulham in Norfolk, which he exchanged in the same year for the living of St. Nicholas Cole-Abbey in the city of London. Early in 1386 he was presented by the king to the rectory of Toppesfield in Essex, but resigned it after half a year on becoming rector of Crawley in Buckinghamshire. In 1387 he went back into Essex as rector of Dengie, but resigned this benefice early in the following year. In 1390 he was inducted to the church of St. Andrew at Histon, in the diocese of Ely, and from 1393 to the beginning of 1408 he held the living of Laxton, Nottinghamshire, in the diocese of York. He was also rector of Brington in Northamptonshire.

Haxey's prebendal appointments, if less numerous, were hardly less varied than his parochial ones. At the beginning of 1390 he was collated to the prebend of Tarvin in Lichfield Cathedral, in 1391 to that of Beaminster Secunda at Salisbury, and in 1395 to that of Scamlesby at Lincoln, which he quitted in 1402 for the stall of Farrendon-cum-Balderton. Early in 1405 he was made prebendary of Barnby in York Cathedral, and became canon residentiary, and before the year was over he received, at the king's presentation, the prebend of Rampton in the collegiate church of Southwell, of which he is named as canon in 1395. He was also prebendary of Howden in the East Riding (then in the diocese of Durham). In 1418 he was made treasurer of the church of York, and gave up his prebends both in that cathedral and at Southwell. In 1419 he exchanged his prebend at Salisbury for that of Monkton at Ripon, and this again in 1423 for that of St. Catharine at Beverley. Lastly, he was master of Lasenby Hospital, near Northallerton, an office which he held, together with his prebends (at least) at Lichfield and Lincoln, at the time of his death.

In October 1396 ‘Sir’ Thomas Haxey and Sir William Bagot were appointed attorneys for the Earl of Nottingham, then captain of Calais (Rymer, Fœdera, vii. 844), and possibly, through this connection requiring his attendance at London, Haxey was chosen to attend the parliament summoned for 22 Jan. 1396–7. That he was (as Hallam maintains) a member of the house is altogether unlikely. It must rather be supposed, with Bishop Stubbs, that, as his name is absent from the returns of elections to this parliament, he was ‘a proctor of the clergy in attendance under the præmunientes clause.’ Haxey here made himself conspicuous by bringing forward an article in a bill of complaints reflecting upon the extravagance of the king's household; and on 2 Feb. Richard II, when he learned the purport of the bill, called upon the speaker to give up the name of the member responsible for the obnoxious article. When the bill was produced, Haxey's specific attack was found to be directed against the residence of the bishops at court away from their dioceses, and against a particular tax levied on the clergy; but the commons were frightened, and offered a humble apology. Haxey was made the scapegoat for a bill which they had accepted. He was tried in the White Chamber before the king, the lords temporal, and the commons on 7 Feb., and was condemned to death as a traitor. Archbishop Arundel, however, with the other bishops, succeeded in claiming him as a clergyman, and he was afterwards (27 May) pardoned. In the first parliament of Henry IV the judgment was reversed.

During his residence at York Haxey was active in watching over the repair and enlargement of the fabric of the minster. His work there is attested by the presence of his coat of arms (or, three buckets in fess, sable) on the windows of the library and elsewhere. He also presented some plate to the cathedral. During the vacancy of the see, in 1423–4, he was twice appointed by the dean and chapter to be keeper of the spiritualities. He died probably on 8 Jan. 1424–5, and was buried in York Minster.

[An exhaustive memoir by the Rev. J. Raine, canon of York, appears in the Fabric Rolls of York Minster (Surtees Soc.), 1859, pp. 203–6. Where the two differ, Mr. Raine's statements have usually been accepted in preference to those in Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic. ed. Hardy. See also W. H. Jones's Fasti Eccl. Sarisb. 1879, p. 359. The proceedings relative to Haxey's parliamentary action are in Rot. Parl. iii. 338 f., 341; they are recited with additional details in the king's pardon, ib. 407 f. The commons' petition for the reversal of the judgment is printed, ib. 434. The case is discussed by Hallam, Middle Ages, ed. 1872, iii. 75 ff., and Stubbs, Const. Hist. of Engl., library edit. 1880, ii. 535 ff.]

R. L. P.