Bateman, William

, bishop of Norwich in the fourteenth century, and founder of Trinity hall in Cambridge, was born at Norwich, the son of a citizen of good repute in that place. He was, from his tenderest years, of a docile and ingenuous disposition, and having made good proficiency in learning, he was sent to the university of Cambridge. There he particularly studied the civil law, in which he took the degree of doctor before he was thirty years of age, a thing then uncommon. On the 8th of December 1328, he was collated to the archdeaconry of Norwich. Soon after this, he went and studied at Rome, for his further improvement; and so distinguished himself by his knowledge and exemplary behaviour, that he was promoted by the pope to the place of auditor of his palace. | He was likewise advanced by him to the deanery of Lincoln, and twice sent by him as his nuncio, to endeavour to procure a peace between Edward III. king-of England, and the king of France. Upon the death of Anthony de Beck, bishop of Norwich, the pope conferred that bishopric upon Bateman, on the 23d of January 1343, after which he returned into his native country, and lived in a generous and hospitable manner. Of pope Clement VI. he obtained for himself and successors, the first fruits of all vacant livings within his diocese; which occasioned frequent disputes between hhnsJ.f and his clergy. In 1347, he founded Trinity-hall in Cambridge, for the study of the civil and canon laws, by purchasing certain tenements from the monks of Ely, for which he gave some rectories in exchange, and converted the premises into a hall, dedicated to the holy Trinity. He endowed it with the rectories of Briston, Kymberley, Brimmingham, Woodalling, Cowling, and Stalling, in the diocese of Norwich: and designed that it should consist of a master, twenty fellows, and three scholars; to study the canon and civil law, with an allowance for one divine. But being prevented by death, he left provision only for a master, three fellows, and two scholars. However, by the munificence of subsequent benefactors, it now maintains a master, twelve fellows, and fourteen scholars. Bishop Bateman, from his abilities and address, was often employed by the king and parliament in affairs of the highest importance; and particularly was at the head of several embassies, on purpose to determine the differences between the crowns of England and France. In 1354, he was, by order of parliament, dispatched to the court of Rome, with Henry duke of Lancaster, and others, to treat (in the pope’s presence) of a peace, then in agitation between the two crowns above mentioned. This journey proved fatal to him; for he died at Avignon, where the pope then resided, on the 6th of January 1354-5, and was buried with great solemnity, in the cathedral church of that city. With regard to his person, we are told that he was of an agreeable countenance; and tall, handsome, and well made. He was, likewise, a man of strict justice and piety, punctual in the discharge of his duty, and of a friendly and compassionate disposition. But he was a stout defender of his rights, and would not suffer himself to be injured, or imposed upon, by any one, of which we have the following instance upon record, | which perhaps does not more display his resolution than the abject state into which the king and his nobles were reduced by the usurped powers of the church of Rome Robert lord Morley having killed some deer in his parks, and misused his servants, he made him do public penance for the same, by walking uncovered and barefoot, with a wax taper of six pounds in his hands, through the city of Norwich to the cathedral, and then asking his pardon. And all this was done notwithstanding an express order of the king to the contrary, and though his majesty had seized the bishop’s revenues for his obstinacy. But the king was soon after reconciled to him. It remains to be mentioned that bishop Bateman was executor to Edmund Gonville, the founder of the college so called, which gave rise to the report by Godwin and others that he had founded that college or hall, which is evidently a mistake.1

1 Biog. Brit. Peck’s Desiderata, vol. II. and Memoirs of Cromwell, Collections, p, 1. Wharton’s Anglia Sacra.