[Foss's Judges of England; Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, ed. Nicolas, vi. 243; Topographer and Genealogist, i. 176; Whethamstede's Registrum, Rolls Ser. i. 206, 208, 303; Lysons's Magna Britannia, vol. v. pp. xciv–v, 91, 232; Ormerod's Cheshire, ii. 423, iii. 351; Newcome's Hist. of St. Albans, p. 361; Burke's Landed Gentry; Official Returns of Members of Parliament, 1878.]
POLE, REGINALD (1500–1558), cardinal and archbishop of Canterbury, was son probably the third of Sir Richard Pole (d. 1505), by his wife Margaret, who was of the blood royal [see Pole, Margaret]. Born in March 1500 at Stourton Castle in Staffordshire, he was carefully brought up by his mother, and then spent five years at the school of the Charterhouse at Sheen. Henry VIII was much interested in his education, and paid 121. for his maintenance at school in 1512. Soon afterwards he was sent to Oxford, to the house of the Carmelite friars. Subsequently he matriculated as a nobleman at Magdalen College. On 8 June 1513 the king ordered the prior of St. Frideswide's to give him a pension, which he was bound to give to a clerk of the king's nomination, until he could provide him with a competent benefice (Cal. of Henry VIII, vol. i. No. 4190). Pole's studies at Oxford were directed by Thomas Linacre [q.v.] and William Latimer (1460?-1545) [q. v.], and he is said to have attracted much attention in a disputation of some days' duration when still almost a boy. In June 1515 he graduated B.A. (Wood, Athenæ, i. 279). While a youth, and still a layman, he was presented to the collegiate church of Wimborne minster, the incumbent of which bore the title of dean (12 Feb. 1518; Cal. of Henry VIII, vol. ii. No. 3493), to the prebend of Boscombe (19 March 1517-18), and that of Yatminster Secunda (10 April 1519), both in Salisbury Cathedral. From infancy his mother had destined him for the church, and he intended taking orders later in life (ib. vol. xi. No. 92).
In February 1521, at his own wish, he was sent by the king to Italy, with 100l. towards his expenses for a year (ib. iii. p. 1544). At Padua, in May and June, he formed a friendship with the scholars Longolius, Bembo, Nicolas Leonicus, and his own countryman, Thomas Lupset [q. v.] His revenues from his benefices, together with the king's allowance, enabled him to practise much hospitality. Yet he preferred a quiet life, and was embarrassed on his arrival by the attentions paid to him as the king of England's kinsman by the magistrates of Padua. Longolius died in his house there, and left him his library (ib. iii. 2460, 2465). Pole wrote the anonymous life prefixed to Longolius's collected writings (Florence, 1524). He sent congratulations to Clement VII on his election (19 Nov. 1523), and received a kindly acknowledgment encouraging him in his studies. Erasmus opened a correspondence with him in 1525, introducing to him the Polish scholar John à Lasco [q. v.] (ib. No. 1685), and he himself wrote to Cardinal Wolsey that he was everywhere much sought after though he modestly believed it was on the king's account rather than his own (ib. No. 1529). He was urged by his family to return to England early in 1525; but he lingered in order to visit Rome, where he was received with great marks of distinction. He returned to England in 1527 after five years' absence. He met with a very cordial welcome from the king and queen, but continued his studies at the Carthusian monastery at Sheen.
During his absence from England, on 14 Feb. 1523-4 he was nominated fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, by Richard Foxe or Fox [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, the founder, but he never seems to have been admitted. On 12 Aug. 1527, though he was still a layman, he was elected dean of Exeter (Le Neve). In 1529, anxious to avoid the crisis likely to spring from the king's proceedings against Queen Catherine, he obtained with some difficulty the king's permission to pursue his studies at Paris. Henry paid him the usual 100l. 'for one year's exhibition beforehand,' in October 1529 (Cal. vol. iv. No. 6003, v. 315). At Paris he soon received a letter from the king requiring him to obtain from the university there opinions in his favour respecting the projected divorce. He sought to excuse himself on the ground of inexperience, and the king ultimately sent Edward Fox [q. v.] to assist him. But the work being only to obtain opinions which he could collect without compromising himself Pole did what he could, and won commendations at home for ' acting stoutly in the king's behalf (ib. vol.iv. No. 6252). Three hundred crowns, apparently in addition to the yearly exhibition, were remitted on 29 April 1530 'to Mr. Pole, the king's scholar' (ib. v. 749). The university of Paris came to the decision which Henry desired, owing to the interference of Francis I. In July Pole, by the king's orders, returned home.
Although he withdrew to the charterhouse at Sheen, he was invited, on Wolsey's death in November, to accept either the vacant archbishopric of York or the bishopric of Winchester. The king's aim was to obtain his avowed support for his divorce, and the archbishopric was vehemently pressed on him by the king's friends. Pole entertained