Wakering, John (DNB00)

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WAKERING, JOHN (d. 1425), bishop of Norwich, derived his name from Wakering, a village in Essex. On 21 Feb. 1389 he was instituted to St. Benet Sherehog in the city of London, which he resigned early in 1396 (Newcourt, Repertorium Ecclesiasticum, i. 304). In 1395 he was already a master or clerk in chancery, acting as receiver of petitions to parliament (Rot. Parl. iii. 337 b, 348 a, 416 a, 455 a, 486 a, &c.). On 15 Oct. 1399 he was appointed chancellor of the county palatine of Lancaster and keeper of its great seal (Wylie, Henry IV, iii. 301). He did not hold this continuously, for on 20 May 1400 the chancellor of the duchy was William Burgoyne; but on 28 Jan. 1401 Wakering was again chancellor, and again on 3 Sept. 1402 and 20 Feb. 1403 (Wylie, iii. 301 n.)

On 2 March 1405 Wakering became master of the domus conversorum, and keeper of the chancery rolls, offices he held for more than ten years (Newcourt, i. 340; Wylie, iii. 301, from Issue Roll, 7 Hen. IV). On 26 May 1408 he is called clerk of the chancery rolls and of the domus conversorum (Wylie, iii. 301 n.). He also held the prebend of Thame till 1416 (Le Neve, Fasti, iii. 221). On 10 March 1409 Wakering was appointed archdeacon of Canterbury (Wylie, iii. 301; cf., however, Le Neve, Fasti). He became canon of Wells on 30 July 1409 (Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 417).

Wakering was probably the John who, with the bishops of Durham and London, treated in 1407 for the renewal of the Scottish truce (Wylie, ii. 396). From 19 to 31 Jan. 1410 he was keeper of the great seal, and while Sir Thomas Beaufort was absent from London from 7 May to 18 June 1411 Wakering acted as deputy-chancellor (ib. iii. 301, iv. 24; Fœdera, viii. 694).

On 3 June 1415 Wakering resigned the mastership of the rolls on becoming keeper of the privy seal (Kal. and Inv. Exch. ii. 130, 132). On 24 Nov. he was elected bishop of Norwich (Capgrave, Chron. Engl. p. 311), and the same day the royal assent to the election was given. He was consecrated at St. Paul's on 31 May 1416 (Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 64; Godwin, De Præsul. Angl. pp. 438, 439). On 27 May he received restitution of his temporalities (ib.; Fœdera, ix. 354).

On 20 July 1416 Wakering was nominated joint ambassador to the council of Constance (ib. ix. 370). Monstrelet says that, at the instance of Sigismund, Wakering was in 1416 (cf. Creighton, i. 368) sent as English ambassador to the king of France, and went first to Calais (probably in August) and thence to Beauvais, where he treated, but nothing was accomplished (Monstrelet, iii. 147, ed. Société de l'Histoire de France).

Wakering had left England for Constance by 16 Dec. 1416 (Fœdera, ix. 254, 371, 420), and was no doubt present in January 1417 at the curious demonstration by the English bishops which accompanied the return of Sigismund to Constance as the close ally of England (Von der Hardt, iv. 1088, 1089, 1091). Wakering appears to have acted in absolute unanimity with Hallam, who since 20 Oct. 1414 had led the English ‘nation’ and directed its policy in the council. Together they urged that the reformation of the church should be immediately dealt with. Sigismund and the German nation emphasised the English demand. But the cardinals declared that the next work of the council should be the papal election. On 4 Sept. Hallam died. The cardinals chose this moment to bring forward on 9 and 11 Sept. protests urging a papal election (ib. i. 921). The English party, for some unexplained reason, suddenly changed its front, deserted Sigismund, and appointed deputies to confer with the cardinals on the manner of election (ib. iv. 1426). Henry V himself seems to have been content with the change of policy of September 1417, and to have consented to Henry Beaufort [q. v.] (afterwards cardinal) visiting Constance to strengthen the diplomatic compromise which Wakering and his allies had established. Wakering was one of the English deputies for the conclave (ib. iv. 1474) which on 11 Nov. 1417, St. Martin's day, elected Oddo Colonna pope. Lassitude now settled down on the council, and some of its leading members returned home. Before leaving Constance, Wakering obtained from Martin that papal ratification to his appointment which had been so long delayed (Anglia Sacra, i. 417). He was back in England before 26 March 1418, when he held an ordination at Norwich. It was his first appearance in his diocese.

Wakering mercilessly sought out lollards throughout his diocese, though in no case was a heretic actually put to death (Foxe, Actes and Monuments, bk. vi.). In the nine years of Wakering's episcopate 489 deacons and 504 priests were ordained in the diocese, most of them, however, by his suffragans, for Wakering was chiefly non-resident, being first in Constance and, after 1422, much in London. Appropriation of church property by the religious houses had been stopped by statutes of the previous reign, but that this had already been rife in the diocese of Norwich is clear from Wakering's report to the exchequer in 1424, which states that sixty-five benefices in his diocese had been despoiled for the benefit of ‘poor nuns and hospitallers’ alone. He put Wymondham under an interdict because the bells were not rung in his honour when he visited the town (Wylie, iii. 301). He completed a fine cloister, paved with coloured tiles, leading from his palace to the cathedral, and a chapter-house adjoining (Godwin, De Præsul. Angl. pp. 438, 439). Both are now destroyed. He presented his cathedral with many jewels, and was famous for generosity (cf. Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 417).

Wakering, however, was soon summoned to matters outside his bishopric. On 3 Nov. 1422 he accompanied the funeral cortège of Henry V from Dover to London (Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, iii. 5). On 5 Nov. he was present at a royal council on the day before the meeting of parliament (ib. iii. 6). In the parliament of 9 Nov. Wakering was appointed one of the seventeen lords who were to undertake ‘the maintenance of law and the keeping of the peace’ (ib.) During 1422 and 1423 he was frequently a trier of petitions (Rot. Parl. iv. 170, 198 a). On 20 Oct. 1423 he was an assistant councillor of the protectorate and a member of the king's council (ib. 1756, p. 201 a). His routine work as member of council kept him busily engaged in London (Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, iii. 69, 74–7, 118, 137, 143, 144, 146, 147, 149–52, 165, 166). On 3 March 1425 Wakering offered the king ‘in his necessities’ the sum of five hundred marks (ib. pp. 167, 168). He died on 9 April 1425 at his manor of Thorpe (Le Neve, Fasti, ii. 466). He was buried in his own cathedral on the south side of the steps before the altar of St. George. He established in the cathedral a perpetual chantry of one monk (Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 417; Blomefield, Norfolk, ii. 376). The long stone seat, with a panelled seat and small figures, now at the back of the choir, opposite the Beauchamp chapel, was part of Wakering's monument, which was shattered during the civil war. His will, which was dated 29 March 1425, was proved on 28 April.

[Rymer's Fœdera, vols. viii. ix.; H. von der Hardt's Constantiensis Concilii Acta et Decreta, ed. 1698, bk. i. iv. v.; Le Neve's Fasti, vols. i. ii.; Newcourt's Repertorium Eccl. Lond. vol. i.; Rolls of Parliament, vols. iii. iv.; Monstrelet, ed. Société de l'Histoire de France, vol. iii.; Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, vol. iii.; Godwin, De Præsulibus Angliæ, pp. 438, 439; Continuatio B. Cotton. in Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 417; Hasted's Kent, vol. xii.; Blomefield's Norfolk; Wylie's Henry IV, vols. ii. iii. iv.; Creighton's Papacy, vol. i.; Foss's Biographia Juridica, p. 695; Jessopp's Diocesan Hist. of Norwich; Ramsay's Lancaster and York, i. 326; Foxe's Actes and Monuments, ed. Townsend.]

M. T.