Tiptoft, John

, Earl of Worcester, a patron of learning, and one of the few literary ornaments of England in the fifteenth century, was born at Everton, or Eversten, in Cambridgeshire, and educated at Baliol college, Oxford. He was son of the lord Tibetot, or Tiptoft, and Powys, and was created a viscount and earl of Worcester by king Henry VI. and appointed lord deputy of Ireland. By Edward IV. he was made knight of the garter, and constituted justice of North Wales for life. Dugdale says, he was soon after made constable of the Tower for life, and twice treasurer of the king’s exchequer, but other historians say he was twice lord high constable, and twice lord treasurer: the first time, according to Lud. Carbo, at twenty-five years old; and again deputy of Ireland for the duke of Clarence. But whatever dispute there may be about his titles in the state, there is no doubt that he was eminently at the head of literature, and so masterly an orator, that he drew tears from the eyes of pope Pius II. otherwise Æneas Sylvius, a munificent patron of letters. This was on pronouncing an oration before the pontiff when he visited Rome, through a curiosity of seeing the Vatican library, after he had resided at Padua and Venice, and made great purchases of books. He is said to have given Mss. tonne value of 500 marks to duke Humphrey’s library at Oxford. He was about this time on his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, which expedition is partly attributed to the suspence of his lordship’s mind between gratitude to king Henry and loyalty to king Edward; but he seems not to have been much influenced by the former, in the opinion of lord Orford. It is certain that Richard Nevil, earl of Warwick, did not ascribe much gratitude to him, nor did Worcester confide much in any merit of that sort; for, absconding during the short restoration of Henry, and being taken concealed in a tree in Wey bridge-forest in Huntingdonshire, he was brought to London, accused of cruelty in his administration of Ireland, particularly towards two infant sons of the earl of D^mon.il, and condemned and beheaded at the Tower in 1470. For his imputed offences, some authors are inclined to allow a foundation, but in these | turbulent times malice and political intrigue are supposed to have frequently had a share in fallen greatness. Pennant, however, is of opinion that all his love for the sciences did not protect him from imbibing the temper of the unhappy times he lived in.

Caxton, who was his printer, says that he “in his tyme flowred in vertue and cunnyng, and to whom he knew none lyke emong the lordes of the temporalite in science and moral vertue.” He translated “Cicero de Amicitia,” and “Two Declarations made by Publius Cornelius Scipio, and Gayus Flamyneus, competitors for the love of Lucrece,” which he dedicated to Edward IV. He also wrote some other orations and epistles, and Englished “Ceaser’s Commentaries, as touching British affairs,” published without the name of printer, place, or date, but supposed to be printed by Rastell, from its type. The margin contains the original Latin in Roman character. In the reign of Edward IV. he drew up “Orders for placing the nobility in all proceedings,” and “Orders and Statutes for justs and triumphs,” both Mss. in the Cotton library. In the Ashmolean collection are “Ordinances, statutes, and rules, made by John Tiptoft, earle of Worcester, and constable of England, by the king’s commandment, at Windsor, to be observed in all manner of justes of peirs within the realm of England, &c.” These ordinances were again revived in the 4th of> Elizabeth, and are printed in Mr. Park’s edition of Harrington’s “Nugge Antique.” He is also said to have written “A petition against the Lollards,” and an “Oration to the citizens of Padua” In the Mss. belonging to the cathedral of Lincoln, lord Orford mentions a volume of some twenty epistles, of which four are written by our earl, and the rest addressed to him; but the late MrGough, after a careful search, could not find them in that collection. 1


Royal and Noble Authors, by Park. Fuller’s Worthies. Oldys’s Librarian, p. 235. —Leland. Bale, Pits and Tanner. -Wood’s Hist, et Antiq.