Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nicholas of Fakenham

NICHOLAS of Fakenham (fl. 1400), Franciscan, may have been a native of Fakenham, Norfolk, or one of a family of that name; several Fakenhams were employed in the service of Richard II (e.g. Pat. Roll, 19 Ric. II. pt. i. m. 25). Nicholas enjoyed the favour and patronage of the king. In 1395 he was D.D. of Oxford, and provincial minister of his order. On 5 Nov. of that year he ‘determined’ at Oxford, probably at his inception, on the papal schism, by the king's command. In this lecture he advocated the punishment of the schismatical cardinals as the first measure in restoring unity. He was absolved from the provincialate about 1402, probably at the general chapter at Assisi. In 1405 he was appointed commissioner by the protector of the order, Cardinal-bishop of Sabina, to examine into the charges against John Zouch, then provincial minister, whose arbitrary conduct had produced ‘a great and scandalous schism’ among the English Minorites. The commissioners deposed Zouch, called a chapter at Oxford (3 May 1405), and elected a successor. Zouch was reappointed by the general chapter, at the instance of the protector, and confirmed by the pope; but the commissioners refused to obey him, and seem to have been generally supported by the friars. Bale, referring to ‘a register of the Minorites,’ says that Nicholas died in 1407. He was buried at Colchester.

His ‘Determinatio’ in 1395, with other pieces on the schism by the same writer, are preserved in Harl. MS. 3768.

[Eulogium Historiarum, vol. iii.; Monumenta Franciscana, vol. i.; Wadding's Annales Minorum, vol. ix.; Bodl. MS. Seld. supra, p. 64; The Grey Friars in Oxford (Oxf. Hist. Soc.).]

A. G. L.