Mascall, Robert (DNB00)

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MASCALL, ROBERT (d. 1416), bishop of Hereford, was born at Ludlow, Shropshire, where at an early age he became a Carmelite friar. Thence he proceeded to Oxford, where his industry gained him distinction, first in philosophy, in which he took Aristotle as his guide, and afterwards in theology. Probably in 1400 Henry IV appointed Mascall his confessor, in succession to William Syward, and on 21 Jan. 1401 granted him custody of the temporalities of the bishopric of Meath, which had been vacant since the death of Alexander de Balscot on 10 Nov. 1400 (Rymer, Fœdera, ill. iv. 190). He was exempted from the penalties attached to absenteeism, but in 1402 the see was filled by the appointment of Robert Montain, and various sums were granted Mascall for his maintenence at court (ib. iv. i. 17). On j 26 May 1402 he witnessed an instrument appointing John Peraunt and others to negotiate a marriage between Prince Henry and Catherine, daughter of Eric IX, king of Sweden (ib. p. 28; cf. Royal Letters, ed. Hingeston, No. xxviii.) On 2 July 1404 Mascall was promoted to the see of Hereford by papal provision, receiving back the temporalities on 25 Sept, 1404 (Le Neve, i. 463; Rymer, iv. i. 72). Le Neve states that he made his profession of obedience in the church of Coventry on 28 Sept.; but according to the 'Royal Letters' Mascall had been sent on some mission to the continent, and on his return from Middleburg was attacked by pirates; the crew made some resistance and were flung into the sea; 'our most dearly beloved in God, Brother Robert Mascall, lately our confessor,' was thrown into prison at Dunkirk, and refused release except for a ransom ruinous to his estate (Royal Letters, ed. Hingeston, No, cxiii., dated 10 Sept. 1404, and No. cxv., dated 10 Sept. 1404; Wylie, pp. 465–6). The king's envoys to the court of Burgundy, Croft, Lysle, and De Ryssheton, made repeated demands for his release, and Henry himself wrote to the Duchess of Burgundy with the same object (Royal Letters, Nos, cxiii. cxxiii. cxl.); the demand was apparently complied with.

Mascall received the same favour from Henry V as from his father; in 1413 he took part in the condemnation of Cobham (cf. Foxe, Acts and Monuments, iii. 337), and in 1415 he was appointed one of the delegates to the council of Constance. In the same year he was granted 'pardonatio de omnibus proditionibus murdris, etc.' (Cal. Patent Rolls, p. 264 b). He died on 22 Dec. 1416, and his will, dated 23 Nov. 1416, was proved on 17 Jan. 1417. According to Weever, Godwin, Newcourt, Stow, Willis, and Le Neve, he was buried in the church of the White Friars, London, which he is said to have adorned with its choir, presbytery, and belfry; but Gough (Sepulchral Monuments, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 49*), following Bishop Kenneths correction of Godwin, argues that this is a mistake for Ludlow, where Mascall's will directed that he should be buried. According to Weever, he was 'a man for his good learning and good life admired and beloved of all men.'

Villiers de St. Etienne (Bibliotheca Carmel.) attributes to Mascall the following works: 1. 'Sermones coram Rege lib. i.' 2. 'Sermones vulgares lib. i.' 3. ' De Legationibus suis lib. V 4. ' Sermones Herefordences et Salopiences lib. i.; ' this was directed against Sir John Oldcastle, who was making special efforts to spread lollardism in his Herefordshire estates. Tanner mentions a ' Liber contra Oldocastellum,' which may be identical with the last-mentioned work.

[Calendar Patent Rolls, 264 b; Royal Letters, ed. Hingeston (Rolls Ser.); Memorials of Henry V, ed. Coles (Rolls Ser.); Capgrave's Chronicle of England (Rolls Ser.), p. 308; Tanner, p. 517; Leland; Bale; Pits; Harpsfield's Hist. Eccles. Anglicanæ, pp. 611, 652; Simler's Epitome Bibliothecæ Gesner. ed. 1583, p. 730; G. J. Vossius, De Historicis Latinis, ed. 1627, p. 511; Antonio Possevino's Apparatus Sacer, ii. 344; Bzovius's Annales Eccles. s. a. 1419; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 569; Godwin, De Præsulibus Angliæ, p. 490; Rymer's Fœdera, III. iv. 196, IV. i. 17, 28, 72; Weever's Funerall Monuments, p. 437; Willis's Cathedrals, i. 518; Stow's Survey, p. 458; Duncumb's County of Hereford, i. 478; Villiers de St. Etienne's Biblioth. Carmelitana; J. H. Wylie's England under Henry IV, pp. 465–6, 482.]

A. F. P.