Kirkby, John de (DNB00)


KIRKBY, JOHN de (d. 1352), bishop of Carlisle, was an Augustinian canon at Carlisle, and afterwards prior of the house. He was elected bishop of Carlisle on 8 May 1332, the royal assent was given on 18 May, the temporalities were restored on 9 July, and on 19 July he was consecrated by William de Melton, archbishop of York, at South Burton, near Beverley (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 53). He was present at the installation of Richard de Bury as bishop of Durham on 5 June 1334, and when Edward Baliol did homage for Scotland at Newcastle a fortnight later. In September 1337, in company with Thomas Wake and other barons, he plundered Teviotdale and Nithsdale during twelve days. When in October the Scots retaliated by invading England, and burnt the suburbs of Carlisle, the Lords Percy and Neville came to the rescue, and the Scots were defeated (17 Oct.). At the beginning of November the Scots besieged the English in Edinburgh; Kirkby and Ralph Dacre collected the men of Westmoreland and Cumberland, and marching into Scotland raised the siege. In 1341 the treasury was ordered to pay Kirkby 200l., part of arrears of 529l. 4s. due to him for carrying on the war with the Scots. Next year he accompanied Henry of Lancaster, earl of Derby, in an expedition to raise the siege of Lochmaben Castle. In 1343 he was a commissioner with Richard de Bury to treat for peace with Scotland (Fœdera, ii. pt. ii. p. 1230), and next year was directed to assist Edward Baliol (ib. iii. pt. i. p. 21). In 1345 the Scots, under Sir William Douglas, made a raid into Cumberland, and were defeated by Kirkby and Robert Oggill; the bishop, who distinguished himself by his valour, was unhorsed during the engagement and nearly captured. According to Geoffrey le Baker, Kirkby was also one of the English leaders at the battle of Neville's Cross on 17 Oct. 1346 (p. 87, ed. Thompson). In 1348 he was sent to escort Joan, daughter of Edward III, to her affianced husband, Alfonso of Castile. Kirkby died in 1352; permission to elect his successor was granted on 3 Dec. 1352. His episcopate was a troublous one, owing to the frequent Scottish raids. He also suffered from disorders within his own borders, and on at least three occasions, in 1333, 1337, and 1342, was attacked by brigands in the neighbourhood of his cathedral city (Raine, Letters from Northern Registers, pp. 364–8, Rolls Ser.) As a consequence he was frequently compelled to hold his ordinations outside his diocese. Kirkby is said to have been engaged in many disputes with his chapter and archdeacons, and to have been excommunicated for the non-payment of tenths on certain lands to the pope.

[Walsingham's Historia Anglicana, i. 254, 266–7 (Rolls Ser.); Chron. Lanercost, pp. 276–277, 291–3 (Bannatyne Club); Nicolson and Burn's Hist. Westmorland and Cumberland, ii. 264–6; Jefferson's Carlisle, pp. 194–5; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. iii. 235.]

C. L. K.