Repington, Philip (DNB00)

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REPINGTON or REPYNGDON, PHILIP (d. 1424), bishop of Lincoln and cardinal, was, according to Fuller, a native of Wales, but his family were probably connected with Repton. He was educated at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, and was an Augustinian canon of St. Mary de Pré, Leicester, previously to 1382. While still a bachelor of divinity he preached the Wiclifite doctrine on the sacrament of the altar at Brackley, Northamptonshire. He was soon a very prominent supporter of Wiclif at Oxford, but enjoyed universal esteem for his moderate and kindly bearing ('Fasciculi Zizaniorum, pp. 296-7). He incepted as doctor of divinity in the summer term 1382. On 5 June 1382 he was appointed by the chancellor, Robert Rygge [q. v.], to preach at St. Frideswide's. In his sermon he defended the Wiclifite doctrine on the sacrament, and is said to have stirred up the people to insurrection, declaring that temporal lords ought to be more commended in sermons than the pope or bishops (cf. Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ii. 66, and Fasciculi Zizaniorum, p. 299). Two days later he publicly disputed in the schools, declaring that his own order was better when ten years old than when a thousand. Peter Stokes [q. v.], the Carmelite, determined against him on 10 June. Repington afterwards incepted as doctor of divinity. In the council at Blackfriars, London, on 12 June the chancellor was ordered to suspend Repington, Nicholas Herford [see Nicholas], and others. Rygge, under pressure, published the sentence at Oxford on 15 June. Repington and Herford at once appealed without success to John of Lancaster. On 18 June they were ordered to reply to the conclusions formulated against them, and, after some postponements, were condemned and excommunicated at Canterbury on 1 July [see further under Nicholas of Hereford]. In the royal letter of 13 July it was ordered that any one harbouring Repington at Oxford was to be expelled from the university. After a few months Repington made his peace with Archbishop Courtenay, and was restored to his scholastical acts by a letter of the archbishop on 23 Oct. In the convocation held at Oxford on 18 Nov. Repington again publicly abjured his heresies (Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 167, 169, 172).

Repington's abjuration was complete, and there is no further question of his orthodoxy. In 1394 he became abbot of St. Mary de Pré. The abbey had an ancient connection with the house of Lancaster, and this may have brought him into notice with the future Henry IV, whose close friendship he long enjoyed. In 1397 he became chancellor of the university of Oxford, and held that office again in 1400, 1401, and 1402 (cf. Fœdera, iii. 191–2). Henry IV, soon after his accession, made Repington his chaplain and confessor, and in a document dated 5 May 1400 Repington is styled ‘clericus specialissimus domini regis Henrici’ (Wood, Fasti, p. 35). In 1400 Repington was commissioned, with Adam of Usk, to hold an inquiry into certain irregularities that had occurred in the convent at Nuneaton (Usk, p. 56). On 4 May 1401, being then at London, he addressed a long letter of expostulation to the king on the unhappy state of the realm (Correspondence of T. Bekynton, i. 151–4; Usk, pp. 63–7, where Repington is not named as the author). Though the letter was apparently written at Henry's request, it does not appear to have had any effect. Stronger evidence as to Repington's influence with the king is afforded by the circumstance that, after his victory at Shrewsbury on 21 July 1403, Henry summoned a servant of the abbot who was present in the army, and sent him in haste to Leicester with the news of his success (Reg. Leycest. ap. Tanner, p. 622). On 19 Nov. 1404 Repington was papally provided to the bishopric of Lincoln. The temporalities were restored on 28 March 1405, and on the following day Repington was consecrated by Archbishop Arundel at Canterbury (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 62). Among his first acts as bishop, Repington granted a general license to the graduate and non-graduate theologists of Oxford and to the masters and bachelors of arts of the university to preach anywhere in his diocese (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. i. 541). This license seems to have been prompted by the lack of properly qualified preachers in the diocese; it was certainly not due to any lurking sympathy with lollardism (Church Quarterly Review, xix. 74). William Thorpe [q. v.], the lollard, in his confession in 1407, referred to ‘how now Philip Rampington pursueth Christ's people.’ Archbishop Arundel, in reply, declared that Repington ‘neither holdeth now, nor will hold, the learning that he taught when he was canon of Leicester. For no bishop of this land pursueth now more sharply them that hold this way than he doeth’ (Wordsworth, Ecclesiastical Biography, i. 262). On 21 Aug. 1406, when the king was at Bardney Abbey, Repington rode over from Lincoln to meet him (Martene, De Antiquis Monachorum Ritibus, p. 855). In July 1408 he was present in a special convocation held at St. Paul's.

On 18 Sept. 1408 Repington was created a cardinal, by the title of SS. Nereus and Achilleis, by Gregory XII. Gregory had previously sworn to create no cardinals, and at the council of Pisa, on 5 June 1409, he was deposed, and all his acts done after May 1408 annulled. This may have invalidated Repington's position for the time; but the sentence was cancelled at the council of Constance, when Gregory resigned. Up to this date it had been maintained that a cardinalate could not be held in England with an English bishopric. But there does not seem to have been any formal objection taken at the time, whether owing to the favour of Henry IV or to the doubtful character of Repington's cardinalate. Repington is not styled cardinal in English official documents. It is possible that Repington left England and was for a time in the company of Gregory XII, for he was during this period absent from his diocese (Church Quarterly Review, xix. 79). But it is clear that he was not, as one biographer (ib.) supposes, permanently absent. He was a commissioner for an aid in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire in 1410, and was present in the royal council on 19 March 1411 and 16 April 1415 (Nicolas, Proc. and Ord. Privy Council, i. 343, ii. 7, 156). Moreover, in 1413, he proposed to hold a visitation of the university of Oxford on account of the prevalence of heresy (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. i. 555). Again, he assisted at the consecration of Robert Lancaster as bishop of St. Asaph at Lincoln on 28 June 1411, and at that of John Wakering as bishop of Norwich at St. Paul's on 31 May 1416 (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. pp. 63–4). In 1419 he issued a proclamation against those who did not reverence processions (Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 396). On 10 Oct. 1419, perhaps in consequence of the objection which Henry V had taken to the proposed promotion of Henry Beaufort to the cardinalate, Repington resigned his bishopric. The pope accepted the resignation on 21 Nov., and the acceptance was intimated to Repington on 1 Feb. 1420, after which date he ceased to perform any episcopal acts (Godwin). The dates seem to show that Repington was at this time in England (cf. also documents dated October–November 1419 in Cartularium de Rameseia, iii. 202–3, Rolls Ser.) Repington was still alive in 1422–3 (Pat. Roll, 1 Henry VI, ap. Tanner). His will was proved on 1 Aug. 1424; it may therefore be supposed that he died shortly before. In his will Repington desired that he should be buried in the churchyard of St. Margaret, but he was buried in Lincoln Cathedral, near the grave of Grosseteste. His tomb bore the inscription:

    Marmoris in tumba simplex sine felle columba
    Repington natus jacet hic Philippus humatus.
    Flos adamas cleri, pastor gregis ac preco veri,
    Vivat ut in cœlis, quem poscat quique fidelis.

Repington was described in his lifetime as ‘a powerful and God-fearing man, a lover of truth and hater of avarice’ (Wood, Fasti, p. 35). He does not appear to have possessed any great force of character, and his promotion was perhaps chiefly due to his friendship with Henry IV. It is to his credit that he avoided complying with the decree of the council of Constance ordering the disinterment of Wiclif's remains. Besides his letter to Henry IV already referred to, the writings of Repington which have survived are ‘Sermones super Evangelia;’ or ‘Sermones Dominicales,’ beginning ‘Evangelicæ tubæ comminatio.’ These sermons exist in Corpus Christi College, Oxford, MS. 54, Lincoln College MS. 85, Caius College MS. 246, Pembroke College, Cambridge, MS. 49, and Laud. MS. Misc. 635 in the Bodleian Library. They ‘have no Wicliffist leaven in them,’ and were apparently written between 1382 and 1393 (Church Quarterly Review, xix. 72). Repington may also be the author of some sermons (‘De Jejunio’) in Trinity College, Oxford, MS. 79. Bale also ascribes to Repington ‘De Sæculari Dominio,’ ‘Defensorium Wiclevi,’ and ‘Pro doctrina morali ejusdem.’ Repington was a benefactor of the library at Oxford (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. ii. 913).

[Walsingham's Historia Anglicana, ii. 57, 66; Munimenta Academica, p. 237; Fasciculi Zizaniorum, pp. 289–329; Wright's Political Songs, i. 262–3 (Rolls Ser.); Adam of Usk's Chronicle, ed. Thompson; Godwin, De Præsulibus, ed. Richardson, p. 296; Foxe's Acts and Monuments; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. ii. 16; Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, II. i. 76; Wood's History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford, i. 492, 502–10, 541, 555, and Fasti, pp. 34–6; Ciaconius's Vitæ Pontificum, ii. 769, 775; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 622; Wylie's History of Henry IV, i. 199–201, 301, 483–4, ii. 460, iii. 296 n., 348, 352, 448. The notice in Williams's English Cardinals, ii. 1–32, is sketchy and very inaccurate. There is a much better account in the Church Quarterly Review, xix. 59–82 (the writer has made some use of the Lincoln records, but the latter part seems to be mainly conjectural); other authorities quoted.]

C. L. K.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.233
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
26 ii 31 Repington, Philip: after pp. 296-7). insert He incepted as Doctor of Divinity in the summer term, 1382.
28 i 16  for Marmorea read Marmoris
19  for quisque read quique