Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Yonge, John (1463-1526)

YONGE, JOHN (1463–1526), bishop of Callipoli, born at Newton Longville in Buckinghamshire in 1463, entered Winchester as a scholar in 1474, at the age of eleven, and obtained a scholarship at New College, Oxford, in 1480, becoming a fellow of the college in 1482. He seems to have been in residence till 1499, and in 1502 resigned his fellowship, which was filled up on 9 April of that year. He became about this time doctor of divinity, but not—as Wood and others state—rector of St. Martin's, Oxford, as it was to his namesake, John Yonge (1467–1516) [q. v.], afterwards master of the rolls, that the living was given.

After leaving Oxford he was appointed rector of All Hallows, Honey Lane, London. The appointment is not entered on the bishop's registers; he resigned the living on 30 Oct. 1510 (Reg. Lond. Fitzjames, f. 23). On 15 Sept. previously he was nominated master or warden of the hospital of ‘St. Thomas of Acon in the Cheap, London’ (ib. f. 18). The choice had been left by the president and convent to Richard Fitzjames [q. v.], bishop of London. The bishop's selection of Yonge was fully justified by his zeal on behalf of the hospital. He found it on his accession in debt to the amount of 718l. 17s. 5½d., but by the end of eight years he had raised sufficient money not only to discharge the debt, but also to carry out necessary repairs at the additional cost of 1,431l. 1s. 10½d. In the will—dated 18 Aug. 1510—of Edward Dudley [q. v.], executed for treason, Yonge was appointed jointly with the bishop of London, Doctor Colet, and Sir Andrew Windsor to have the guiding of Dudley's son Jerome, till twenty-two years of age, and in furtherance of this charge he and his co-trustees in 1514 obtained from the king the grant of Dudley's goods and chattels (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, i. 1212, 5427). A bull of Leo X, now in the British Museum, and dated 28 Feb. 1515, conferred on him, as master of St. Thomas of Acon, the power to grant indulgences.

Yonge accepted, after much hesitation, the proposal made in 1513 by Richard Fitzjames, bishop of London, to become his suffragan. He finally decided to accept the office in order to obtain for the Mercers' Company the right of appointing the master of the hospital in future, for which he also obtained a papal bull. He is said by Wood to have owed the promotion to his friendship with Cardinal Wolsey. The bishop of London accordingly consecrated him in the church of St. Thomas of Acon on 13 June 1513 as suffragan bishop, under the title of bishop of Callipoli in Thrace, for which he made profession of obedience to the archbishop of Heraclius, his titular superior (Reg. Lond. Fitzjames, f. 41). His responsibilities as suffragan must have been largely increased by Bishop Fitzjames's blindness. He was already on 26 Jan. 1513 made vicar of St. Christopher le Stocks, but resigned the living on 28 April next year, having succeeded William Horsey on 28 March in the archdeaconry of London (ib. f. 49d, 51, 50d). On 12 June 1519 he was elected prior of the Augustinian priory of Shulbred in Sussex (Reg. Chic. C. f. 29 d), and apparently visited it to be installed. He obtained a grant of land for the priory, but cannot have resided there often, as he was constantly in London during his short rule over the house, which terminated on 21 March 1521 (Reg. Chic. C. f. 40). According to Wood he assisted the bishop of Lincoln in 1520 to draw up the privileges which Henry VIII granted to the university of Oxford two years later. He took up his permanent residence at Oxford in 1521. On 23 April 1521 he became warden of New College, Oxford. He was given the living of Colerne in Wiltshire on 14 Nov. 1524 (Reg. Cant. Warham, f. 309 d), and was also dean of Chichester, an appointment which he may have owed to the friendship of Bishop Robert Sherburne [q. v.], himself a former fellow of New College. He died at New College, Oxford, on 28 March 1526, being buried in the college chapel, where a brass, representing him in the habit of a bishop, was placed in his memory.

Much confusion has been made between his career and that of two of his contemporaries of the same name. All three were scholars of Winchester and fellows of New College; John Yonge [q. v.], master of the rolls, is noticed separately, and the other was probably a relative of the bishop of Callipoli; he was born at Newton Longville, entered Winchester as a scholar in 1506, and was made fellow of New College in 1512, and became rector of Newton Longville about 1525.

[Authorities as in text; also Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 737, and History and Antiquities of Oxford; Kirby's Winchester Scholars; Watney's Hist. of the Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Lansdowne MS. 979, f. 45; Letters and Papers, Foreign and Dom., of Henry VIII; Boutell's Monumental Brasses.]

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