Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Skip, John
SKIP, JOHN (d. 1552), bishop of Hereford, seems to have been a Norfolk man. He may have been the ‘Sr Skypp Bacheler beynge in Cambridge’ who is mentioned as a legatee under the will of Margaret Norman of Norwich in 1516. If so, he was possibly brother of the ‘wellbeloved to me, Sr Richard Skypp,’ who was named supervisor of the will in question, and was the parish priest of St. John's, Ber Street, Norwich. He was educated at Gonville Hall, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1514–15, and proceeding M.A. in 1518, B.D. in 1533, and D.D. in 1535. He was a scholar of his college from Lady-day 1513 to Michaelmas 1516, and then fellow till 1536. From 1519 to 1521 he was president of Physick Hostel. He was early noted as a scholar, and declined an offer of a studentship at Cardinal College (afterwards Christ Church), Oxford. According to an entry in the ‘Letters and Papers of Henry VIII’ (ii. 1549), one John Skip was as early as 1518 an almoner to the queen. He was certainly chaplain and almoner to Anne Boleyn when queen, and Strype writes of his influence in 1534 in directing the bestowal of her charity on scholars.
From the first Skip to some extent favoured the reformed way of thinking. At the university he was one of those who used to meet for edification in Christian knowledge at the White Horse, afterwards nicknamed Germany in consequence. In February 1530, when Gardiner went to Cambridge to gather arguments in favour of Queen Catherine's divorce, Skip was among the supporters of the court's opinions. In 1534 he was sent with Simon Heynes [q. v.] to preach and argue at Cambridge in favour of the royal supremacy (Strype, Memorials, I. i. 260; cf. art. Ascham, Roger). On 9 Feb. 1534–1535 he became vicar of Thaxted, Essex. In April 1535 he had a grant of a canonry and prebend at St. Stephen's, Westminster, vacant by the promotion of Nicholas Shaxton [q. v.] On Passion Sunday 1536 he preached a sermon in the king's chapel on the text ‘Quis ex vobis arguet me de peccato?’ It seems to have been of a conservative turn, and he was examined in consequence. The matter did not go further. He was frequently with Queen Anne Boleyn during her imprisonment. On 19 May 1536 Sir William Kingston wrote to Cromwell: ‘Sir, her Almoner is continewaly with hyr, and has bene syns ii of the clock after midnight.’ In July 1536 he signed the declaration touching the sacrament of holy orders. On 1 Oct. 1538 he was in a commission against the anabaptists.
Skip was rapidly promoted. He had been made master of Gonville Hall in 1536, and on 1 Nov. 1536 archdeacon of Suffolk. On 7 Jan. 1537–8 he became rector of Newington, Surrey, and on 7 Nov. 1539 bishop of Hereford, in succession to Bonner. On 9 Nov. 1539 he was licensed to hold the archdeaconry of Dorset, and he is said to have held the priory of Wigmore in commendam (but see Letters and Papers, XII. ii. 120). He resigned his mastership at Cambridge in 1540.
Despite his support of the divorce and his early protestantism, Skip was at heart conservatively inclined, and, after Cromwell's fall, he and Heath tried to bring Cranmer to their opinions. He had regarded with approval the ‘Institution of a Christian Man,’ but during the reign of Edward VI he protested against the first prayer-book (cf. Dixon, Hist. of the Church of England, iii. 2, 3); he had a hand, however, in preparing the second prayer-book. At Hereford he is said to have wasted the property of the see by a long lease of the London house of the bishops. He appears to have died in London on 30 March 1552, and was buried at St. Mary Mounthaw, London (not at Hereford; cf. Havergal, Fasti Herefordenses, pp. 27, 173). He gave a copy of ‘Valerius Maximus’ to his college library. He was on familiar terms with Parker, and some of Parker's letters to him are printed in the ‘Parker Correspondence.’[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 109; information very kindly furnished by Dr. Venn; Norfolk Arch. i. 124; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII; Wright's Suppression Letters, p. 48; Dingley's Hist. from Marble, ii. 96; Narrative of the Reformation, p. 248 (Camd. Soc.); Gasquet and Bishop's Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer, pp. 140, 171; Dixon's Hist. of the Church of England, iii. 268; Cranmer's Works (Parker Soc.), I. xvii, II. 81, 152.]