Payne, John (d.1506) (DNB00)

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PAYNE, JOHN (d. 1506), bishop of Meath, was an Irishman by birth, and early entered the order of St. Dominic. Proceeding to Oxford, he became D.D., and professor of theology in the Dominican convent there. He was subsequently elected provincial of the Dominicans in England. On 17 March 1483–4 he was appointed to the bishopric of Meath by a bull of Sixtus IV, having been granted custody of the temporalities a year before; he was enthroned on 4 Aug. following. He formed a close friendship with Gerald Fitzgerald, eighth earl of Kildare [q. v.], and, like most of the inhabitants of the Pale, was a strenuous Yorkist. When Lambert Simnel landed in Ireland in 1487, Payne became one of the foremost of his adherents; he preached the sermon at Simnel's coronation in Christ Church, Dublin, on Whit-Sunday, 24 May 1487. But after the battle of Stoke he was among the first to make his peace with Henry VII. He accompanied Sir Richard Edgcumbe (d. 1489) [q. v.], whom Henry had sent over to ‘settle Ireland’ from Malahide to Dublin, and was also employed as an intermediary between him and Kildare. Henry VII had asked the pope to excommunicate Payne, but on 25 May 1488 the bishop received a general pardon for his share in the rebellion, and he appears to have sought to further ingratiate himself with the king by accusing his metropolitan, Octavian de Palatio, archbishop of Armagh, of complicity in the rebellion (Letters and Papers of Henry VII, ed. Gairdner, i. 384, ii. 370). He was selected by Edgcumbe to proclaim the pope's absolution and the king's pardon to all who should return to their duty, and was subsequently commissioned by Kildare and the council to assure Henry VII of their allegiance, and to thank him for his pardon.

From this time Payne's relations with Kildare became strained. On one occasion, after a fray, the earl pursued the bishop into the chancel of a church and made him prisoner, only releasing him on a peremptory command from the king (Book of Howth, pp. 178–80). When Kildare was in England in 1496, Payne accused him vehemently to the king, and the earl is said to have retorted by making revelations about the bishop's character; but the story is not more credible than it is creditable to the bishop's morals. It was on this occasion that the bishop is reported to have said of Kildare to the king, ‘You see, all Ireland cannot rule this man,’ and the king to have replied, ‘Then this man shall rule all Ireland.’

In 1489 Payne assisted at a provincial synod in St. Mary's Church, Ardee, and was arbitrator between the rival claims of Thomas Brady and Cormac to the bishopric of Kilmore. He seems to have remained loyal during Warbeck's attempt, but was obliged to give pledges for the observance of peace. In July 1495 he attended the provincial synod of Drogheda, and issued a pastoral which is printed in Brady's ‘Episcopal Succession’ (pp. 86–7) and Cogan's ‘Diocese of Meath’ (i. 376–7). After his return from England he was on 3 Oct. 1496 appointed master of the rolls in Ireland. He died on 6 May 1506, and was buried in the Dominican church of St. Saviour's, Dublin. Ware says he was noted for hospitality and almsgiving.

[Letters and Papers of Henry VII, ed. Gairdner, i. 95, 379, 384, ii. 305, 370; Book of Howth, pp. 179–80; Annals of the Four Masters, v. 1289; Cotton's Fasti, iii. 114; Lascelles's Liber Mun. Hibern. i. 99, ii. 10, &c.; Rymer's Fœdera, xii. 196, and Syllabus; De Burgo's Hib. Dominicana, ed. 1762–72, pp. 86, 195, 477; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 696; Dodd's Church Hist. i. 181; Ware's Annals of Ireland and Bishops, i. 151–2; Echard's Scriptt. Ord. Prædicatorum, vol. i. p. xxvi; Brady's Episcopal Succession, i. 234; Lansdowne MS. 978, f. 74; Cotton MS. Titus B. xi., ff. 332–377; Bacon's Henry VII; Wright's Hist. of Ireland, i. 252, 256; Smyth's Law Officers of Ireland, p. 54; O'Flanagan's Lord Chancellors of Ireland, i. 139, 150; Gilbert's Viceroys, pp. 428–9, 436–437, 461; Richey's Lectures on Irish Hist. i. 217; Cogan's Diocese of Meath, i. 81, 376; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors, i. 104.]

A. F. P.