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SALMON, JOHN (d. 1325), bishop of Norwich and chancellor, was probably of humble origin; his parents' names were Soloman and Amicia or Alice (Cal. Pap. Reg. ii. 140; Anglia Sacra, i. 802). He became a monk at Ely and was elected prior of that house before 1291 (Dugdale, Monast. Angl. i. 467). On the death of William of Louth in 1298 the majority of the chapter chose Prior Salmon as their bishop, but the minority chose John Langton [q. v.], the king's chancellor and afterwards bishop of Chichester. The archbishop decided in favour of Salmon, but Langton appealed to the pope. After much litigation both candidates abandoned their claims, and the pope translated the bishop of Norwich to Ely, while he conferred the see thus set vacant on Salmon (Dugdale, Monast. Angl. i. 487; Flores Historiarum, iii. 105–6, 298; Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 583–4). Salmon had license from the pope on 18 June 1299 to contract a loan of thirteen thousand marks for his expenses (ib. i. 582). The formal provision was dated 15 July 1299. Salmon received restitution of the temporalities on 19 Oct. (Cal. Pat. Rolls, Edw. I, 1292–1301, p. 442), and was consecrated by Archbishop Winchelsey on 15 Nov. (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 49). During the reign of Edward I Salmon is mentioned only as accompanying the king on a visit to St. Albans in the autumn of 1299 (Rishanger, Chron. p. 199, Rolls Ser.) and as going to the Roman court in January 1305 (Chron. Edw. I and Edw. II, i. 144). Edward II employed him in negotiating his marriage in November 1307 (Fœdera, ii. 11) and in March 1309 on a mission to the pope to obtain absolution for Piers Gaveston (Chron. Edw. I and Edw. II, i. 267; Cal. Close Rolls, i. 104, 198). Salmon was one of the ordainers elected on 20 March 1310. In August he was sent by the king on a mission to Gascony (ib. i. 253, 269, 277); on this business he remained abroad till September 1311 (ib. i. 376, 418). On his way home he was instructed to visit Abbeville and settle certain disputes there (Fœdera, ii. 127). In March 1312 Salmon was employed on the commission for the correction of the ordinances (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 437; Cal. Close Rolls, i. 451). In November he went to Paris to conduct certain negotiations relating to Aquitaine (ib. i. 488). He accompanied the king on his journey to Paris in May–July 1313. In March 1316 as one of the council he was busy with provision for the Scottish war. At the end of the year he went on a mission to Avignon to obtain a grant of a tenth from ecclesiastical goods. In March 1317 he was directed by the pope to warn Bruce against invading England or Ireland. For his services on this mission and as one of the council at London Salmon had a grant of 200l. on 10 June 1317 (ib. i. 580, ii. 251, 389, 420; Flores Historiarum, iii. 182; Cal. Pap. Reg. ii. 138). He proclaimed the king's agreement with the earls at St. Paul's on 8 June 1318 (Chron. Edw. I and Edw. II, i. 282), and was one of the council nominated to remain with the king on 9 Aug. On 26 Jan. 1319 he was nominated chancellor (Cal. Close Rolls, iii. 112, 219). In June 1320 he accompanied Edward on his visit to France. Though Salmon still retained the seal except during occasional visits to his diocese (ib. iii. 323, 676), his health was failing; in April 1321 he was relieved of the seal for a time during illness, and, though he was with the king at York in November 1322, he was again so ill in June 1323 that he finally resigned the seal (ib. iii. 366, 677, 714). But at the close of 1324 he had sufficiently recovered to go on a mission to Paris, where he arranged terms of peace. Salmon died on his way home, in the priory at Folkestone, on 6 July 1325 (Chron. Edw. I and Edw. II, i. 309, ii. 284), and was buried in the cathedral at Norwich.

Though not a court official by training, Salmon seems to have sided with Edward II throughout his troubles and to have been trusted by him. The Ely chronicler says that he always preserved his good will for his ancient priory, and at his death bequeathed the monks some vestments and two books of decretals (Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 639). He built the great hall in the bishop's palace at Norwich and founded a chapel in the cathedral in honour of St. John the Evangelist, to pray for his own and his parents' souls (Cal. Pap. Reg. ii. 140; Cal. Pat. Rolls Edward III, iii. 523). Salmon is also called Saleman and De Meire or De Melre, and is sometimes referred to as John of Ely. His arms were on a field sable, three salmons hauriant argent.

[Chronicles of Edward I and Edward II, Annales Monastici, iv. 452–3, Murimuth's Chronicle, Cotton, De Episcopis Norwicensibus p. 395 (these four in Rolls Ser.); Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. ii. 462; Rolls of Parliament; Fœdera, Record ed.; Foss's Judges of England; Blomefield's Hist. Norfolk, iii. 497–9; other authorities quoted.]

C. L. K.