Rokeby, William (DNB00)

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ROKEBY, WILLIAM (d. 1521), archbishop of Dublin, born at Kirk Sandall or Halifax, was the eldest of the five sons of John Rokeby of Kirk Sandall, near Doncaster. Both his parents died in 1506; his brother Sir Richard Rokeby, comptroller to Wolsey's household and treasurer of Ireland, is buried in the Savoy Chapel, London (Œconomia Rokebeiorum, f. 311). William was educated at Rotherham and at a hostel in St. Aldate's parish, Oxford, perhaps Broadgates Hall (afterwards Pembroke College), where he graduated doctor of canon law. According to Cooper (Athenæ Cantabr. i. 25), he became fellow of King's Hall (afterwards merged in Trinity College), Cambridge. On 4 Aug. 1487 he was presented to the rectory of Kirk Sandall by the monks of Lewes, who in 1502 nominated him to the vicarage of Halifax. In 1496 he was collated to the rectory of Thorpland, Norfolk, and on 5 June 1501 he was instituted to the rectory of Sproatley, Yorkshire, on the presentation of the prior and convent of Bridlington; he resigned the living in February 1502–3, receiving a retiring pension of 4l. a year, and at the same time being collated to the stall of St. Andrew's at Beverley. In the following June he was presented to the free chapel at Ferrybridge.

In 1507 Rokeby was provided by Julius II to the bishopric of Meath in succession to John Payne (d. 1506) [q. v.], and was sworn of the privy council in Ireland. On 26 Jan. 1511–1512 he was transferred to the archbishopric of Dublin in succession to Walter Fitzsimons [q. v.] On 12 May following he succeeded Fitzsimons as lord chancellor of Ireland. All the authorities state that he was appointed lord chancellor in 1498, but the official record is wanting and the statement is highly improbable. In 1514 he brought to a conclusion the long-standing disputes between the archbishop and dean and chapter of St. Patrick's. On 20 Feb. 1515–16 he officiated at the christening of the Princess Mary at Greenwich. In 1518 he confirmed the establishment of Maynooth College, which had been founded by Gerald, earl of Kildare, and drew up rules for its government. In the same year he held an important provincial synod, in which he enjoined the discontinuance of the use of the chalice at mass, the payment of tithes, and appraisement of the goods of persons dying intestate by two valuers appointed by the bishop; he also prohibited the disposal of church property by laymen, and the playing of football by clergymen, under penalty of paying three shillings and fourpence to the ordinary, and a similar sum for the repair of the parish church. In 1520 he was appointed archdeacon of Surrey, and in the same year was sent by the Earl of Surrey, on his arrival in Ireland, to Waterford to mediate between Sir Pierce Butler [q. v.] and the Earl of Desmond [cf. Howard, Thomas, third Duke of Norfolk]. He died on 29 Nov. 1521, and his body was buried in St. Patrick's, but his heart and bowels were interred in the choir of the church at Halifax, where they have been more than once dug up. By his will he left 200l. towards building St. Mary's Church at Beverley, and provided for the erection of a sepulchral chapel at Sandall, which is described as the most perfect specimen extant of what mortuary chapels used to be.

[Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer (where several of Rokeby's letters to Wolsey are calendered), passim; Cal. Irish State Papers and Carew MSS.; (Œconomia Rokebeiorum in Addit. MS. 24470, ff. 310–11; Ware's Bishops, ed. Harris; Brady's Episcopal Succession, i. 234, 325; Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hiberniæ; Lascelles's Liber Mun. Hib.; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 25, 526; Wood's Athenæ Oxon.; Monck Mason's Hist. of St. Patrick's; Cogan's Diocese of Meath, p. 82; Dodd's Church Hist.; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib.; Coote's Civilians, p. 16; Coxe's Hibernia Anglicana; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors, i. 131, 290, 291; D'Alton's Archbishops of Dublin, pp. 178–82; J. R. O'Flanagan's Lord Chancellors of Ireland, pp. 152–7; Foster's Yorkshire Pedigrees; Testamenta Eboracensia (Surtees Soc.), v. 141; Whitaker's Loidis et Elmete, p. 383; Hunter's South Yorkshire, i. 200; Poulson's Holderness; Watson's Halifax, p. 387; Blomefield's Norfolk, vii. 99; Oliver's Beverlac; Manning and Bray's Surrey; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Lansd. MS. 979, ff. 4, 6.]

A. F. P.