Alcock, John

, successively bishop of Rochester, Worcester, and Ely, in the latter end of the fifteenth century, was born at Beverley in Yorkshire, and educated at the University of Cambridge, where he took the degree of doctor of laws. In 146 1, he was collated to the church of St. Margaret’s, New Fish-street, London, by Thomas Kemp, bishop of that diocese, and in the same year was advanced to the deanry of St. Stephen’s college, Westminster. In 1462 he was appointed master of the rolls. Six years after, he obtained two prebends; one in the church of Sarum, and the other in that of St. Paul’s, London. In 1470, he was made a privy counsellor, and one of the ambassadors to the king of Castille; and next year, he was, together with others, a commissioner to treat with the commissioners of the king of Scotland. About the same time, he was appointed by Edward IV. to be of the privy council to his son Edward, prince of Wales, He was also in 1471 promoted to the bishopric of Rocheser; and in 1472, constituted lord high chancellor of England, in which office he does not appear to have continued longer than ten months. In 1476,. he was translated to jhe see of Worcester, and appointed lord president of Wales. During his being bishop of Worcester, he very elegantly enlarged the church of Westbury. He was in | disgrace with the Protector Richard duke of York, and was removed from his office of preceptor to Edward V. on account of his attachment to that young prince. Soon after the accession of Henry VII. he had again, for a short time, the custody of the great seal. At length, in 1486, he was raised to the bishopric of Ely, and according to A. Wood, he was made president of the council of king Edward IV. in the same year, which is a palpable mistake, as Henry VII. came to the crown in 1485. Bishop Alcock, in 1488, preached a sermon at St. Mary’s church at Cambridge, which lasted from one o’clock in the afternoon till past three.

He was a prelate of singular learning and piety, and not only a considerable writer, but an excellent architect, which occasioned his being made comptroller of the royal works and buildings, under Henry VII. He founded a school at Kingston upon Hull (Fuller says, at Beverley); and a chapel on the south side of the church in which his parents were buried. He built the beautiful and spacious hall belonging to the episcopal palace at Ely, and made great improvements in all his other palaces. Lastly, he founded Jesus college, Cambridge, for a master, six fellows, and as many scholars; which, under the patronage of his successors, the bishops of Ely, has greatly increased in buildings and revenues; and now consists of a master, sixteen fellows, and thirty scholars. He wrote several pieces, particularly “Mons perfections ad Carthusianos,” Lond. 1501, 4to; “Galli Cantus ad Confratres suos curatos in Synodo apud Barnwell, 25 Sept. 1498,” Lond. per Pynson, 1498, 4to. At the beginning is a print of the bishop preaching to the clergy, with a cock (his crest) at each side, and there is another in the first page. “Abbatia Spiritns sancti in pura conscientia, fundata,” Lond. 1531, 4to. “In Psalmos penitentiales,” in English verse. “Homilise vulgares.” “Meditationes piae.” “Spousage pf a virgin to Christ,1486, 4to. Bishop Alcock died Oct. 1, 1500, at his castle at Wisbech, and was buried in the middle of a sumptuous chapel, which he had built for himself at the east end of the north aile of the presbytery pf Ely cathedral, and which is a noble specimen of his skill in architecture. 1


ms Life by rev. W. Cole, of Milton, abridged in Bentham’s 'Ely. Biog. Brit. Bale. Tanner. Fuller’s Worthies. —Warton’s Hist, of Poetry, vol. I. p. 307; II. p. 249, 419.