Lowe, John (d.1467) (DNB00)

LOWE, JOHN (d. 1467), bishop successively of St. Asaph and Rochester, is said to have been a native of Worcestershire. Nash (Worcestershire, ii. 95) connects him with the Lowe family of the Lowe in Lindridge, Worcestershire, and makes him a descendant of Henry and Isabella Lowe, who lived in the reign of Richard II. He became an Augustinian eremite, and studied at Droitwich. He seems to have also been at Oxford, and is said to have been created a doctor there. He certainly came to London, where in 1428 he was prior of the house of his order, and provincial for England. About 1432 he was confessor to Henry VI. He became bishop of St. Asaph by bull dated 17 Aug. 1433, and was translated to the see of Rochester on 26 Oct. 1444. He made an agreement with the citizens of Rochester respecting his jurisdiction in the town, and before 1459 built a new palace. In politics Lowe was a Yorkist. In 1460 he joined Warwick's force at Rochester, went to Dunstable, and was sent as an emissary to Henry VI at Northampton. He did not, however, see the king, but in the same year was commissioned by the Londoners to accompany the bishop of Ely and others when they went to ask Edward's intentions respecting the crown. He made his will on 15 Aug. 1460, and feeling very infirm in 1465 wished to resign. Edward wrote to the pope on the subject, but before any decision was arrived at Lowe died in 1467, and was buried on the north side of Rochester Cathedral, where there is an altar monument to him with an inscription. According to Tanner he wrote: 1. ‘Sermones coram Rege.’ 2. ‘Conciones per annum.’ 3. ‘Lecturæ ordinariæ.’ 4. ‘Temporum Historiæ.’ 5. ‘Disputationes Theologicæ.’ It is more certain that he founded the fine library in Austin Friars, which was dispersed at the dissolution. Bury, in the epistle prefixed to his ‘Gladius Salomonis,’ an adverse criticism of Pecock's ‘Repressor,’ praises Lowe's learning and piety, and says that Lowe helped him with his book. Lowe was certainly of Bury's way of thinking, and was one of those who took part in Pecock's condemnation in 1457 [see under Bourchier, Thomas, 1404?–1486].

[Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vi. 91; Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner, i. 134; Fasciculi Zizaniorum, ed. Shirley (Rolls Ser.), p. 416; Hasted's Kent, ii. 6, 30, 40; Thorpe's Registr. Roff. p. 701; Waurin's Chroniques, 1447–71 (Rolls Ser.), pp. 293–8, 316; Syll. of Rymer's Fœdera, ii. 60; Pecock's Repressor of over-much blaming the Clergy, ed. Babington (Rolls Ser.), ii. 572–3; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.]

W. A. J. A.