Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/382

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Lee
Lee
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and 1540 Lee commended petitions urging that the country was better as it was than as shire-ground. On 11 April 1540 he writes that he has been asked to head the commis- sion for translating Denbighland into shire- ground, but being asked his opinion, thinks it unwise (letters to Cromwell in Record Office). This is the last of Lee's extant letters to Cromwell, who was arrested two months later, and we hear little or nothing of the last three years of his presidency. Lee rarely found time to visit the eastern parts of his vast diocese, nor was he well fitted for pastoral oversight. From 24 June 1537 he had a suffragan bishop of Shrewsbury, Lewis Thomas, late abbot of Cwmhir (Owen and Blakeway, i. 316). When the clergy were required in 1535 to preach against the usurped power of the bishop of Rome, he declared himself ready to ride to his diocese and in his own person, 'though I was never hitherto in pulpit.' execute the order (Letters and Papers, viii. 839). He signed by proxy as a member of convocation the articles of religion of 1536 (Burnet, vol. i. pt, ii. p. 473), and in 1537 the preface to 'The Institution of a Christian Man' (Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 830). In June 1538 he was taken to task for not paying due heed to the 'Injunctions' of that year, but blamed his chancellor, and had them printed for his visitation (letter in Record Office ; Burnet, vol. iii. pt. i. p. 258, pt. ii. pp. 191-5). The catholics afterwards elievea that he disapproved of the separation from Home (ib. vol. 1. pt. ii. p. 430). He was on good terms with the abbots of his diocese, but received the surrender of the abbot and convent of Wigmore in November 1538 (letters to Cromwell). His intercession rescued the shrine of St. Chad in Lichfield Cathedral from the general confiscation in 1538, but he failed to save the great church of Coventry, which he begged (12 Jan. 1539) should be left standing for his own honour and the benefit of the town (Anglia Sacra, i. 457; Letters to Cromwell).

Lee's interests sometimes suffered by his absence from court. In 1537 the king insisted on his surrendering the London house of his see in the Strand 'without Temple-barre' to Viscount Beauchamp, afterwards duke of Somerset, and in spite of his protests he had to agree. He heard that there was some talk of superseding him as lord president in favour of the Bishop of Hereford (Letters and Papers, xii. 986). As a solatium he was granted the church of Hanbury, Staffordshire, on 28 Jan. 1538 (Fœdera, xiv. 585; letters to Cromwell). After pressing his claims for several years he obtained a grant of the estates of the Austin priory of St. Thomas, near Stafford, on 13 Oct. 1539 (Patent Bolls, 31 Henry VHI).

Lee's signature is appended to the document in which on 9 July 1540 the clergy declared the king's marriage with Anne Boleyn void (State Papers, i. 633). The privy council sent an order to him on 18 Sept. 1542 (Acts of Privy Council, p. 38). He died in the college of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury, of which his brother, George Lee, was dean, on 28 Jan. 1543, according to the 'Inquisitio post mortem' in the Record Office; on 24 Jan. according to another account (Anglia Sacra, i . 466); an early seventeenth-century chronicle of Shrewsbury (Owen and Blakeway, i. 340) gives 27 Jan. as the date, and adds that he brought Wales into civility before he died, and had said that 'he would make the white sheep keep the black.'

He was buried in St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, under a raised monument of marble without figure or inscription, before the high altar on the south, whence it was removed in 1720 'to make way to come up to the altar' (ib).

Father Forest in 1533 accused Cromwell of being the i maintainer of Dr. Lee against his wife' (Ellis, Letters, 3rd ser. ii. 249). Mr. Gairdner identifies this Dr. Lee with Roland Lee, but there is no other trace of his wife (Letters and Papers, v. 1525). Lee had one brother and a sister. The brother George Lee, LL.B., succeeded him in the benefice at Ashdon, and was by his means preferred to be master of St. John's Hospital, Lichfield, 23 March 1536, prebendary of Bishopshill, 7 May 1537, and of Wellington, 21 Dec. 1538, treasurer of Lichfield, which office he is supposed to have held until 1571, and lastly, dean of St. Chad's 8 Jan. 1542 (Chubton, Lives of Smyth and Sutton, p. 485 ; Owek and Blaxe- way, ii . 20 1 ). He was upwards of fifty years of age at his brother's death. Their sister Isabel married Roger Fowler of Bromehill, Norfolk, of an ancient Buckinghamshire family ; by their early deaths their five sons and three daughters came under the care of Lee, who married the daughters, and divided the St. Thomas estates among his four surviving nephews, descendants of one of whom are still seated in Staffordshire (Inquisitio post mortem of Lee ; letters in Record Office).

[The fullest information about Lee is obtained from his extensive correspondence with Cromwell, extending from 1530 to 1540, and preserved in the Record Office. It is calendared with other documents relating to him down to 1537. Wood, Kennett, and otbers used a short life, in the History of Lichfield, written, it is thought, by William Whitelock, canon of Lichfield about 1585, and printed in Anglia Sacra (i. 456). For his lord