Millyng, Thomas (DNB00)

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MILLYNG, THOMAS (d. 1492), bishop of Hereford, became about 1447, when quite a youth, a monk at Westminster, and thence proceeded to the Benedictine College, Gloucester Hall (now Worcester College), Oxford, where he remained till he graduated D.D. He then returned to Westminster, and in 1465 succeeded the chronicler John Flete [q. v.] as prior. The abbot George Norwych had wasted the revenues and incurred large debts, and he was now forced to retire to another Benedictine house, with an annual pension of a hundred marks. Although he retained the nominal title of abbot, Millyng, aided by two senior monks, one of whom, John Esteney, was afterwards (1474) abbot, governed the house, and on Norwych's death in 1469 was ‘unanimously’ elected in his place. The wars of the roses were then raging, and when in October 1470 Edward IV fled abroad, his queen, Elizabeth Woodville [q. v.], took sanctuary at Westminster. The abbot received her in his lodgings, where her elder son, afterwards Edward V [q. v.], was born on 2 or 3 Nov., and christened without pomp by the sub-prior on 4 Nov., the abbot and prior (Esteney) standing godfathers. The royal family remained in sanctuary, receiving ‘half a loafe and two muttons daily’ from the abbot till Edward's return in April 1471. The king rewarded Millyng by making him a privy councillor, and three years later advanced him to the bishopric of Hereford, to which see he was consecrated in the lady chapel at Westminster 21 Aug. 1474. The temporalities were restored on 15 Aug. Millyng died at Hereford before 11 March 1492, and was buried in the centre of St. John the Baptist's Chapel; the stone coffin, with the Hereford badge (a cross fleury), resting on Fascet's tomb, is most probably his. It was removed to make room in the vaults for other interments in the seventeenth century. Millyng was noted for his learning, especially for his knowledge of Greek, a rare accomplishment for monks in those days. He was also a good preacher. Leland (De Script. Brit. p. 483) speaks of his works, but had never seen any, and none are known to be extant.

[Godwin's Catalogue of Bishops, p. 380; Pits, de Rebus Angl. p. 916; Fabyan and Holinshed's Chronicles; Camden's Reges … in Eccles. … West. p. 60; Keepe's Monumenta Westm. p. 122; Syllabus of Rymer's Fœdera, ii. 705, 725–7; Dart, Widmore, Neale, and Brayley's Histories of the Abbey; Stanley's Memorials, pp. 221, 357.]

E. T. S.