Peckham, John

, archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Edward 1. was born in the county of Sussex, about 1240, and educated in the monastery at Lewes, whence he was sent to Oxford, and became a minorite friar. Hid name occurs in the registers of Merlon-college, which was founded in his time, but not with sufficient precision to enable us to say that he was educated there. He was, however, created D. D. at this university, and read public lectures. Pits says he was professor of divinity, and afterwards provincial of his order in England. He appears to have been twice at Paris, where he also read lectures with great applause. He went from Paris, after his second | visit, to Lyons, where he obtained a canonry in the cathedral, which Godwin and Cave inform us was held with the archbishopric of Canterbury for two centuries after. Fuller says it was a convenient half-way house between Canterbury and Rome. He then went to Rome, where the pope appointed him auditor or chief judge of his palace, but Leland calls the office which the pope bestowed upon him that of Palatine lecturer or reader, “lector, ut vocant, Palatinus.” In 1278, this pope consecrated him archbishop of Canterbury, on Peckham’s agreeing to pay his holiness the sum of 4000 marks, which there is some reason to think he did not pay; at least it is certain he was so slow in remitting it, that the pope threatened to excommunicate him.

On his arrival in England, he summoned a convocation at Lambeth, reformed various abuses in the church, and punished several of the clergy for holding pluralities, or for being non-residents; nor did he spare the laity, of whatever rank, if found guilty of incontinence. In 1282 he went in person to the prince of Wales, then at Snowdon, in order to bring about a reconciliation between him and the king (Edward I.) but was unsuccessful, and therefore, when on his return he passed through Oxford, he excommunicated the prince and his followers. He died at Mortlake, in 1292, and was buried in Canterbury cathedral, near the remains of St. Thomas a Becket. Godwin represents him as a man of great state and outward pomp, but easily accessible and liberal, except to the Jews, whom he persecuted severely. He founded a college at Wingham, in Kent, which at the dissolution had an annual revenue of 84l. Wood, in his “Annals,” makes frequent mention of Peckham’s attention to the interests of the university of Oxford; and in some of his regulations he showed his taste and learning in censuring certain logical and grammatical absurdities which prevailed in the schools, and appears to have always promoted discipline and good morals. Tanner enumerates a great number of his works on divinity, which show him accomplished in all the learning of his age. These remain, however, in manuscript, in our different libraries, except some of his letters published by Wharton, and his statutes, institutions, &c. in the “Concil. Mag. Brit, et Hib. vol. II.” Two only of his works were published separately, and often reprinted; viz. his “Collectanea Bibiiorum libri quinque,Colon. 1513, 1591; Paris, | 1514 and his “Perspectiva Communis,Venice, 1504 Colon. 1592, Norimb. 1542, and Paris, 1556, 4to. 1


Tanner.—Cave.—Wharton’s Anglia Sacra.—Archæologia, vol. C.