Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Trevor, John (d.1410)

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TREVOR or TREVAUR, JOHN (d. 1410), bishop of St. Asaph, was a native of Powys (Usk, p. 32). Appointed precentor of Bath and Wells in 1386, he seems to have held that office until April 1393 (Le Neve, i. 170). In the meantime, on a vacancy occurring (December 1389) in the see of St. Asaph, Trevor was elected by the chapter, and obtained a royal license (2 March 1390) to go to Rome to secure the pope's confirmation of their choice (Rot. Parl. iii. 274). But Urban VI had, as he feared, already appointed another. Settling at Rome as auditor of the palace (Wylie, ii. 10), he was more fortunate when St. Asaph again fell vacant in August 1394; the chapter once more elected him, and Boniface IX issued a provision in his favour. Receiving the king's license to accept this on 9 April 1395, he obtained the temporalities on 6 July and the spiritualities on 15 Oct. following (Fœdera, vii. 797; Le Neve, i. 69). He was consecrated at Rome (Reg. Sacrum).

Richard II employed Trevor in negotiation with Scotland in 1397, but the bishop was one of the first to desert him, thus obtaining from his rival the post of chamberlain of Chester, Flint, and North Wales (16 Aug. 1399) even before Richard was actually a prisoner (Rot. Scot. ii. 142; Ellis, Letters, 2nd ser. i. 6; Wylie, ii. 10). The captive king handed him the seals at Lichfield on 24 Aug. ‘in the presence of Henry, duke of Lancaster,’ who, after his accession, confirmed him (1 Nov. 1399) in the post, which he retained till 1404.

Trevor was a member of the parliamentary commission which pronounced sentence of deposition on Richard in September, and he read the sentence in full parliament before Henry took his seat on the vacant throne (Rot. Parl. iii. 424; Usk, p. 32). In the same session he angrily rebuked the commons for praying the king not to make grants unreservedly, and specially of such things as belonged to the crown. ‘The king ought not to be fettered in his inborn goodness by his subjects. He who sought unjustly or unworthily should be punished’ (ib. p. 38). After a mission to Spain to announce Henry's accession to his brother-in-law of Castile, Trevor accompanied the English army into Scotland in August 1400 (Ann. Henrici IV, p. 320; Wylie, ii. 10). In February 1401 he warned parliament of the danger of driving Glendower and the Welsh to extremities, but all he got for his answer was ‘se de scurris nudipedibus non curare’ (Eulogium, iii. 388). His protest was no doubt sharpened by the exposed position of his diocese. His impaired revenues had to be made up a few months later by a license to hold in commendam the church of Meifod with the chapels of Welshpool and Guilsfield (Fœdera, viii. 222). In April he appears as chancellor of Cheshire, Flint, and Carnarvon, unless this is a mistake for chamberlain (Wylie, u.s.). He acted as the Prince of Wales's deputy in North Wales in the early months of 1402, and on 22 April 1403 the prince made him his lieutenant for Chester and Flint (ib.) He came to the prince's muster before Shrewsbury at the head of ten esquires and forty archers, and probably fought on the winning side in that battle on 23 July 1403 (ib.) But his loyalty was shaken when the Welsh burnt his cathedral, and left not a stick standing of his palace and three of his manor-houses (Thomas, p. 67). Reduced to poverty, he was aggrieved that the king did nothing for him directly, and, refusing to be dependent on the bounty of the archbishop of Canterbury, he stole away in the summer of 1404 and joined Glendower (Ann. Henrici IV, p. 396). His goods were seized, the chamberlainship was granted to another, and his see was declared vacant, though a successor was not appointed until his death. In July 1405 Glendower sent him to concert action with Northumberland, with whom he fled to Scotland on the failure of his rising (Scotichronicon, ii. 441; Liber Pluscardensis, i. 348). As late as May 1409 the ‘episcopus prætensus’ is still referred to as a leader of the rebels in Wales (Fœdera, viii. 588). Being shortly afterwards sent by Glendower on a mission to France, he appears to have died in Paris on 10 or 11 April 1410. There can be practically no doubt that he is the ‘John, bishop of Hereford in Wales,’ of the epitaph in the infirmary chapel of the abbey of St. Victor, to which Browne-Willis first called attention (Le Neve, i. 70), though the suspicion that he was there confused with John Trefnant, bishop of Hereford, who had been dead six years, is not unnatural. That 1410 was the year of Trevor's death is confirmed from other sources. He built the bridge at Llangollen (Wylie, ii. 11). There is a list of books belonging to him in the British Museum Additional MS. 25459, f. 291 (ib.)

[Rotuli Parliamentorum; Rymer's Fœdera, orig. edit.; Rotuli Scotiæ, ed. Record Comm.; Annales Ricardi II et Henrici IV (with Trokelowe) in Rolls Ser.; Adam of Usk, ed. Maunde Thompson; Scotichronicon, ed. 1775; Liber Pluscardensis in Historians of Scotland; Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, ed. Hardy; Browne-Willis's Survey of St. Asaph, 1801; Thomas's History of the Diocese of St. Asaph; Stubb's Registrum Sacrum; Wylie's History of Henry IV.]

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