Lupton, Roger (DNB00)

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LUPTON, ROGER (d. 1540), provost of Eton, and founder of Sedbergh school in Yorkshire, was probably a native of Sedbergh. It has been conjectured that he was the son of a Thomas Lupton of ‘Sadber’ (Sedbergh), who was set upon by one Oliver Branthwayt and slain ‘cum quodam gestro’ (qu. geso, ‘a spear’?) at Epiphany, 1477. The assailant, with two men called Riddyng who abetted him, afterwards took sanctuary at Durham (Sanctuarium Dunelmense, Surtees Society, p. 6). As another Thomas Lupton had been killed by Christopher Bowre near Sedbergh, at the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula (1 Aug.) ‘in or about’ 1470, and the slayer in this case also took sanctuary at Durham (ib. pp. 7, 213), it would seem that some local or family feud was then raging among the dalesmen. And it has been suggested that the foundation of chantries, for which Roger Lupton was afterwards distinguished, may have had its motive in these deaths by violence of a father or other relatives (Platt, Hist. of Sedbergh, p. 43).

Lupton does not appear to have been himself educated at Eton, though several of the name, and probably of the same family, were Etonians. Ralph Lupton of Sedbergh, described as being at a later time a considerable benefactor to Eton, went thence to King's College in 1506. In 1509 we find an Anthony Lupton B.A. of King's, who afterwards died abroad, in Germany; and in 1517 a Thomas Lupton, also a King's man, appears as a student of Clement's Inn. Roger Lupton is first traced at Cambridge in 1483, when he graduated as bachelor of laws. In September of the following year he was presented to the rectory of Harlton, Cambridgeshire, and in 1500 (24 Nov.) he obtained a canonry of Windsor. On 16 Feb. 1503–4 he was elected a fellow of Eton, and provost on the 27th of the same month (Cooper in his ‘Athenæ,’ i. 71, places this a year earlier). On this occasion he is styled a doctor of decretals. The college prospered under his rule. To him it owes the finely proportioned gateway and clock tower, still called by his name, which break the line of the western side of the cloister quadrangle; and the chantry, which he added to the collegiate church, the Eton Chapel. Lupton's rebus, lup on a tun, is still to be seen on one of the spandrils of the chantry screen (cf. Wood's MSS. D. 11).

In 1509 (29 July) a Roger Lupton, who may probably be identified with the provost, was made clerk of the hanaper, and on 21 Jan. following appointed a receiver of petitions. On 24 May 1512 the same person was on the commission of the peace for Buckinghamshire (Brewer, Letters and Papers, i. 365, 811, 3219). It seems certain that the provost of Eton before 23 March 1510 resigned the prebend of St. Michael, Warwick, being then styled king's chaplain (ib. i. 967), and that in 1512 he was vicar of Cropredy in Oxfordshire. In 1516 a license was granted to Thomas Pygot, Roger Lupton, and others, as feoffees of the manor of Portpool with its appurtenances in Holborn, to alienate the property to the House of Jesus of Bethlehem at Shene, the convent still continuing to let out the manor, in later times known as Gray's Inn, to students of the law (ib. ii. 1778).

By 1528 Lupton had completed the preparations for his great work, the foundation of a free school in his native town of Sedbergh, and the affiliation of it, after the example of Winchester and Eton, to a college in one of the universities. He had already endowed a chantry at Sedbergh, and this he now merged in a school, with his chantry priest, Sir Harry Blomer, for its first head-master (Platt, Hist. of Sedbergh, p. 43). At St. John's, Cambridge, he founded in the same year, on its commemoration day (6 May), six scholarships, and in 1536 two fellowships and two more scholarships, making eight in all, for scholars educated at Sedbergh school (Baker, Hist. of St. John's Coll., by Mayor, i. 352). His outlay on the Cambridge branch of his endowments might now be computed at some 17,000l. His fellows and scholars were enjoined to recite at every mass a special collect for their founder. Under Edward VI the endowment became legally forfeited, from ‘superstitious uses,’ but it was restored by an order of council on 3 Nov. 1552.

In 1531 Lupton and the rest of the governing body of Eton surrendered to Henry VIII the leper hospital of St. James, Westminster, with many acres of land adjacent, in exchange for estates situated elsewhere (Kennett's MSS. xlv. fol. 123). The king obtained much the best of the bargain. On 14 July 1534 Lupton and the vice-provost, William Horman, and the other fellows subscribed, apparently without a dissentient voice, an acknowledgment of the royal supremacy (ib.) The following year he resigned the provostship of Eton. Lupton died about 25 Feb. 1539–40, when he was buried with much ceremony in his own chantry at Eton.

[Authorities quoted; Mayor's ed. of Baker's Hist. of St. John's College, Cambridge; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabrigienses, 1500–1609; Harwood's Alumni Etonenses; Cole's MS. xiii. 142; Notes and Queries, VIII. iii. 247; Ripon Chapter Acts (Surtees Soc.), pp. 89, 128, 130; Lyte's Eton College; Harry Lupton's Hist. of Thame; Platt's Hist. of Sedbergh.]

J. H. L.