Bishop, William

, vicar apostolical in England, and the first popish bishop that was sent thither after the reformation, was born in 1553, at Brayles in Warwickshire. He studied in the university of Oxford; Wood thinks, either in Gloucester-hall (now Worcester college), or in Lincoln college, the heads of both which were secret favourers of popery from Oxford he went to Rheims and Rome, and having been sent back to England, as a missionary, he was arrested at Dover, and confined in prison in London until the end of the year 1584. Being then released, he went to Paris, took his degree of licentiate, and | came again to England in 1591. In two years he returned to Paris, completed his degree of doctor, and soon after his arrival in England, a dispute arising among the popish clergy here, he was sent to Rome with another missionary to appeal to the pope. In 1612 we find him again in England, and in confinement, on account of the oath of allegiance, to which, however, he was not so averse as many of his brethren. He had, in fact, written against the bull of pope Pius V. to prove that the catholics were bound to be faithful to their sovereigns, and in 1602 he had signed a declaration of the same principle, without any equivocacation or mental reservation, which gave great offence to the Jesuits. Out of respect, however, to the authority of the pope, who had proscribed that oath, he refused to take it, and was committed to prison. On his release he went to Paris, and wrote some tracts against those eminent protestant divines, Perkins and Abbot. Since the death of Watson, bishop of Lincoln, the last of the popish bishops who outlived the reformation, it had often been intended to re-establish the episcopal government in England; and the marriage of the prince Charles, afterwards Charles I. with the Infanta of Spain, seemed to offer a fair opportunity for carrying this scheme into execution, the hopes of the catholics being considerably raised by that match. Accordingly, Dr. Bishop was consecrated at Paris, in 1623, by the title of bishop of Chalcedon, and being sent to England, began his career by forming a chapter, appointing grand vicars, archdeacons, and rural deans, &c. but did not enjoy his promotion long, as he died April 16, 1624. His party speak liberally of his zeal, virtues, and learning, and he undoubtedly was the more useful to their cause in England, as he contrived to exercise his functions without giving much offence to government. Dodd and Wood have given a list of his controversial writings, which are now in little request, but it must not be forgot that he was the publisher of Pits’ s very useful work, “De illustribus Anglic Scriptoribus,1623, to which he wrote a verylearned preface. 1


Wood’s Ath. vol. I. Dodd’s Ch. Hist. vol. II. Fuller’s Worthies. Biog. Universelle.