Booth, William (1390?-1464) (DNB01)

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BOOTH or BOTHE, WILLIAM (1390?–1464), archbishop of York, born in Eccles parish, Lancashire, probably about 1390, was third or fourth son of John Booth of Barton in that county, by his first wife, Joan, daughter of Sir Henry Trafford of Traftbrd. Lawrence Booth [q. v.] was his half-brother, and from his brother Robert were descended the barons Delamere. A third brother, John (d. 1478), was dean of the collegiate church of Manchester, archdeacon of Richmond, chancellor of Cambridge in 1463, secretary to Edward IV, and bishop of Exeter from 1465 until his death on 5 April 1478.

William is said to have studied common law at Gray's Inn, and then, disliking that pursuit, to have moved to Cambridge, possibly to Pembroke Hall, where his brother Lawrence was educated. After being ordained he was collated on 9 April 1416 to the prebend of Oxton in Southwell collegiate church. He became sub-dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in or before 1420, and in 1421 he was appointed chancellor of the same cathedral; he was also rector of Hackney and of Prescott in Lancashire. On 18 Oct. 1420 he was installed in the prebend of Dunholm in Lincoln Cathedral, but resigned it in 1421, being on 28 May in that year made prebendary of Cosumpta-per-Mare in St. Paul's. On 2 May 1429 he was made archdeacon of Middlesex, and in 1434 he was collated to the prebend of Langford Ecclesia in Lincoln Cathedral. On 2 Nov. 1443 he received the prebend of Chamberlainwood in St. Paul's Cathedral, and on 26 April 1447 he was provided by papal bull to the bishopric of Coventry and Lichfield, being consecrated on 9 July following.

Booth seems to have rendered himself unpopular by taking part with the Lancastrian ministers, Suffolk and Somerset; and in 1450, according to Gascoigne, there were hostile demonstrations against him in his diocese. On 20 Jan. 1450-1 he was one of the persons named by the House of Commons as causes of the recent disturbances, and they demanded his banishment from the kingdom. No notice was taken of this request, and on 21 July 1452 Booth was, through Somerset's influence, translated to the archbishopric of York; he was enthroned on 4 Sept. Unlike his brother Lawrence, he took little part in politics; but it appears to have been he, and not Lawrence, who was chancellor to the queen, Margaret of Anjou (Letters of Margaret of Anjou, Camden Soc, pp. 153, 156; Gascoigne, Loci e Libro Veritatum, p. 40). He acquiesced in Edward IV's accession and assisted at his coronation. On 10 Aug. 1464 he was exempted from attendance at parliament on account of his debility and old age (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1461-7, p. 341). He resided chiefly at Southwell palace, where he made his will on 26 Aug. and died on 12 Sept. 1464. He was buried in the chapel of St. John Baptist in Southwell Minster, where an unpretentious monument was erected to his memory. His will, proved on 24 Nov. 1464, is printed in 'Testamenta Eboracensia' (Surtees Soc. ii. 264-7), William Worsley [q. v.] being one of the witnesses. With Archbishop Kempe he rebuilt Southwell Minster, and he left his ring and crdzier to York Cathedral, where they are still preserved. According to Gascoigne, whose testimony must be somewhat discounted. Booth was 'neither a good grammarian, nor knowing, nor reputed virtuous, nor a graduate of either university' (Loci e Libro Veritatum, p. 194).

[Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461-7, passim; Rotuli Parliamentorum; Proc. Privy Council, ed. Nicolas; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, passim; Hennessy's Novum Rep. Eecl. Londin.; Testamenta Eboracensia (Surtees Soc), pts. ii. and iii. passim; Gascoigne's Loci e Libro Veritatum, ed. Thorold Rogers, pp. 42, 47-8, 52, 194; Letters of Margaret of Anjou (Camden Soc.); Baines's Lancashire, iii. 149, iv. 779; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Ramsay's Lancaster and York.]

A. F. P.