Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Scrope, Thomas

SCROPE, THOMAS (d. 1491), bishop of Dromore, was also called Bradley from his birthplace in the parish of Medburne, Leicestershire; in the Austin priory there he is supposed to have received his early education. His epitaph (Weever, p. 768) affiliates him to the noble family of Scrope. In the bull appointing him bishop he is called Thomas Scropbolton (Tanner, p. 658), and the barons Scrope of Bolton were lords of Medburne and patrons of Bradley priory. His great age at his death and the arms on his tomb formerly in Lowestoft church (Scrope of Bolton quartering Tiptoft, differenced by a crescent) suggest that his father may have been one of the two sons of Richard le Scrope, first baron Scrope of Bolton [q. v.], who married Tiptoft heiresses. Roger, who became second baron, had, however, a son Thomas who was an esquire as late as 1448. Nor do the pedigrees give a son Thomas to Roger's younger brother, Stephen, ancestor of the Scropes of Castle Combe, and his wife, Millicent Tiptoft. He may perhaps have been illegitimate.

It does not appear what authority Bale and Pits had for the statement that, before becoming a Carmelite at Norwich, Scrope had been successively a Benedictine monk and a Dominican friar. Possibly his dedication of two of his works on the Carmelite order to Richard Blakney, a Benedictine, suggested his having been a member of the same order (Tanner). One of these books was written as early as 1426. He dedicated a translation of a foreign treatise on his order to Cyril Garland, prior of the Norwich Carmelites. But before the date just mentioned he had adopted the stricter life of an anchorite, and about 1425 excited the indignation of Thomas Netter or Walden [q. v.] by going about the streets clothed in sackcloth and girt with an iron chain, crying out that ‘the New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, was shortly to come down from heaven prepared for her spouse.’ According to his epitaph, he was drawn from his retirement by Eugenius IV, to whom he dedicated another of his books. It was probably Eugenius who sent him as a papal legate to Rhodes. Nicholas V in January 1449 (? 1450) made him bishop of Dromore in Ireland, and he was consecrated at Rome on 1 Feb. 1450 (Tanner; cf. Ware, i. 261). He still held that see when, on 24 Nov. 1454, he was instituted to the rectory of Sparham, Norfolk. He is usually said, on the authority of Pits, to have resigned Dromore about 1460, but there is some reason to suppose that this date is too late [see under Misyn, Richard]. He had been vicar-general of the bishop of Norwich since 1450, and remained his suffragan until 1477 (Stubbs, Registrum Sacrum, p. 148; Tanner). He was instituted to the vicarage of Trowse, Norfolk, on 3 June 1466, and collated to that of Lowestoft on 27 May 1478 (ib.). In his old age he is said to have given all his goods to pious works, and to have gone about the country barefoot every Friday inculcating the law of the decalogue (Bale). He died on 25 Jan. 1491, nearly a hundred years old, and was buried in Lowestoft church. A long Latin epitaph was inscribed on his monument.

Scrope wrote: 1. ‘De Carmelitarum Institutione.’ 2. ‘De Sanctis Patribus Ordinis Carmeli’ (Bodl. MS. Laud, G. 9), written in 1426. 3. ‘De Origine et Vita Sanctorum xvii Ordinis Carmeli.’ 4. Another work on the same order, dedicated to Eugenius IV, of which Bale had a manuscript. 5. ‘Compendium Historiarum et Jurium,’ in nine books. 6. ‘Privilegia Papalia.’ 7. ‘De Fundatione, Antiquitate, Regula et Confirmatione ordinis Carmeli’ (‘MS. olim in auctione Cecilii,’ note by TANNER). 8. ‘De Sectarum Introitu ad Angliam.’ 9. ‘De sua Profectione ad Rhodios.’ 10. ‘Sermones de Decem Præceptis.’ 11. An English version of the ‘De peculiaribus Carmelitarum Gestis’ of Philippe Ribot of Châlons (MS. Lamb. 192 f.), dedicated to Cyril Garland.

[Scrope and Grosvenor Roll, ed. Nicolas, ii. 72; Leland's Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis; Bale's Scriptores Majoris Britanniæ; Pits, De Illustr. Angliæ Scriptoribus; Tanner's Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica; Fuller's Worthies; Ware's Catalogue of Irish Bishops; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ, iii. 278; Nichols's History of Leicestershire, ii. 509; Blore's History of Rutland; Tanner's Notitia Monastica, ed. 1787; Blomefield's Norfolk.]

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