Brown, Thomas (d.1445) (DNB00)

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BROWN or BROUNS, THOMAS (d. 1445), was bishop of Rochester and Norwich. Nothing is Known of his parentage or birthplace, nor of what university he was LL.D. As, however, Cardinal Repington, bishop of Lincoln, collated him to the subdeanery of Lincoln in 1414, and as Repington was chancellor of Oxford, it is probable that Brown was of that universitv. In 1419 he was made archdeacon of Stow, m 1422 prebendary of Biggleswade, in 1423 prebendary of Langford Manor (all in the diocese of Lincoln), in 1425 prebendary of Flixton in the diocese of Lichfield, in 1427 archdeacon of Berkshire, and in 1431 dean of Salifibnry. He held all these preferments together till his promotion to the see of Rochester in 1435, being at the same time vicar-general to Chichele, archbishop of Canterbury. Can Thomas Gascoigne be referring to Brown when he says, in his usually extravagant manner, 'Novi unum fatuum qui habuit unum magnum archidiaconatum et xii. prscbendas magnas' ? (Loci e Libro Ventatum, Clarendon Press, 4to, 1881, p. 43). In 1429 he was elected to the bishopric of Chichester, and was approved by the king ; but the pope, Martin V, quashed the election, and he had to wait four years before he was raised to the episcopate. He was consecrated bishop of Rochester at Canterbury on 1 May 1435, and next year, while attending at the council of Basle, was translated by Eugenius IV to the bishopric of Norwich. Henry VI taking offence at this, Brown submitted himself to the king's pleasure, and with so good a grace that his apology was accepted, and he was allowed to take possession of his see. In 1439 he was sent as ambassador to negotiate a peace with France, and to make a commercial treaty with the Flemings. His episcopate is uneventful, except that he was a peacemaker on the occasion of a serious dispute between the citizens of Norwich and the priory. Possibly his award may have been displeasing to the convent, for soon after this the prior behayed with exceeding disrespect to the bishop, and the quarrel ended in an appeal to Rome, when the prior was compelled to submit to his diocesan. Brown died at Hoxne on 6 Dec. 1445, and was buried in the cathedral. His will has been preserved. In it, besides other legacies, he leaves money for the support of poor scholars at both universities.

[Le Neve's Fasti, ii. 40, 79, 567, 634 (Hardy); Rymer's Fœdera, x. 433, 608, 724, 728, 730; Rolls of Parliament, v. 13; Blomefield's Norfolk, iii. 533; Stubbs's Reg. Sac. Anglic.; Brown's will, Lambeth Reg. Stafford, 1316; Genealogist, v. 324.]

A. J.