Rokeby, John (DNB00)

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ROKEBY, JOHN (d. 1573?), canonist, was probably second son of Sir Robert Rokeby of Rokeby Morton (Harl. Soc. Publ. xvi. 268). He joined St. Nicholas's Hostel, Cambridge, where he graduated bachelor of civil law in 1530, and doctor in 1533. He was engaged as a tutor at Cambridge (Ellis, Original Letters, 3rd ser. ii. 243). On 11 Feb. 1536–7 he was admitted a member of Doctors' Commons (Coote, Civilians, p. 33), and practised in the court of arches and the exchequer court of York. According to the statement of his nephew, Ralph Rokeby (d. 1596), (see under Rokeby, Ralph, 1527?–1596; and Whitaker, Richmondshire, i. 173), he was counsel for Henry VIII in the divorce, and so confounded the pope by his canon law that Henry offered him the bishopric of London, which he declined. He became vicar-general of York. According to his nephew, he held for thirty-two years the post of ‘justice’ in York. During that period no sentence of his was annulled on appeal (ib.) In May 1541 he was appointed a commissioner for the visitation of All Souls' College, Oxford (Strype, Cranmer, p. 130). In 1545 he became chaunter or precentor of York, with the prebend of Driffield attached. On 7 Sept. 1558 he was admitted prebendary of Dunham in Southwell Cathedral. Both these preferments he held till his death (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ii. 719; Le Neve, Fasti). From the accession of Edward VI to 1572 he was a member of the king's council in the north (Thomas, Hist. Notes, i. 461). In later years he was sent as commissioner into Scotland with Sir Thomas Gargrave and others to reform the law of the marches. Rokeby probably died before 10 Dec. 1573 (cf. Le Neve, iii. 156 with p. 419).

[Authorities as in text; Burnet's Reformation, ii. 331–3; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr.; Grindal's Remains (Parker Soc.), p. 151; Retrospective Review, new ser. ii. 484; Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. pt. iv. p. 84.]

W. A. S.