Colton, John (DNB00)

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COLTON, JOHN (d. 1404), archbishop of Armagh, is said to have been born at Terrington in Norfolk. He was chaplain to William Bateman [q. v.], bishop of Norwich, who may have introduced him to Edmond Gonville, the founder of Caius and Gonville College, Cambridge, of which he was appointed the first master in 1348. In this year he proceeded doctor of canon law, and on the death of his patron Gonville (1350) succeeded to his parish of Terrington, near King's Lynn. Twenty-seven years later his name appears as prebendary of Bugthorpe in the diocese of York (Hardy, Le Neve, iii. 179); but it would seem that he had been serving in Ireland at least as early as 1372 (Rot. Pat. et Claus. Hib. p. 87; {sc|Mason}}). In this year he distinguished himself by defeating a body of Irish plunderers, who had burned the priory of Athy in Kildare. For this purpose he had levied twenty-six knights at his own expense. A little later he pawned his goods for money to defend 'Newcastle

Mackynegan' against the O'Brynnes, and had his horse slain on the same occasion or in the defence of Carrickmain. According to Mason, he was probably appointed dean of St.Patrick's between 20 Aug. and 25 Oct. 1374; and he is certainly styled both dean of St. Patrick's and treasurer of Ireland in a document dated 25 Oct. of this year (Rot. Hib. p. 87). On 6 Sept. he appears as dean of St. Patrick's only (ib. p. 896). Mason says that he was made chancellor in 1379; he certainly held this office in December 1380 (ib. p. 106), and according to the same authority (Ann. of St. Pat. p. 127, &c.) till 26 Nov. 1381. On the death of Edmund, earl of March (26 Dec. 1381), whom he was attending in his progress through Munster, he summoned the English barons to meet at St. Peter's, Cork, for the purpose of appointing a justiciar in the place of the deceased nobleman. Both Ormonde and Desmond refused the office, which was finally conferred upon Colton on or before 20 Jan. (Mason; Rot. Hib. p. 111 a, b). Mason considers that he occupied this office for only a very short time; and he is probably correct in this supposition, as Colton seems to have gone to England about 6 March, and is simply styled ' lately dean of Dublin ' in a document dated 1 April 1382 (ib. pp. 115, 118 b). He had resigned the chancellorship on 19 Feb. (Mason). On the death of Milo Sweetman, archbishop of Armagh (11 Aug. 1380), he seems to have been appointed guardian of the temporalities of that see, and was made archbishop in 1381. He died on 27 April 1404, having shortly before resigned his see, and was buried in the church of St. Peter at Drogheda (Reeves). Two of his provincial constitutions are still extant, and Tanner, quoting from Bale, makes mention of two treatises written by him against the papal schism, viz. 'De Causis Schismatis' and 'De Remediis ejusdem.' Dr. Reeves has edited his visitation of the diocese of Derry (1397) for the Irish Archaeological Association (Dublin, 1850).

[Mason's History and Annals of St. Patrick's Church, Dublin; Rotuli Patentes et Clausi Cancellariæ Hiberniæ, vol. i. pt. i.; Reeves' s Colton's Visitation, pref.; Tanner's Bibliotheca, 192. The dates given by Mason do not agree in all ases with those of the Irish Rolls.]

T. A. A.