Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/St. Paul, John de

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ST. PAUL, JOHN de (1295?–1362), archbishop of Dublin, was probably a native of Owston in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where he subsequently endowed a chaplain to celebrate divine service for himself, his brother William, and other members of the family. He may have been a son of Thomas and brother of Robert de St. Paul, lord of Byram in the same Riding, on whose behalf he obtained from Edward II the remission of fines imposed on Robert for his adherence to Thomas of Lancaster (Parl. Writs, II. ii. 1387). He was possibly connected with Mary de St. Paul or St. Pol, daughter of the Count de St. Pol, who married Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, and frequently made John de St. Paul her attorney during her absence from England. The family probably came originally from Guienne, and it had many descendants settled in Yorkshire (cf. Testamenta Eboracensia, v. 26, &c.). Before 1330 John de St. Paul received a papal dispensation from the disabilities attending illegitimacy, but in 1339 the bishop of Winchester was directed by the pope to affirm St. Paul's legitimacy, ‘his father and mother having intermarried in the presence of their curate without publication of banns and not in the church’ (Bliss, Cal. Papal Letters, ii. 312, 546, 556). Born probably about 1295, he became a clerk in the chancery before 1318 (Cal. Close Rolls, 1318–23, pp. 106, 683). He was rector of ‘Asshebydavid’ in the diocese of Lincoln in 1329, and next year received a license to hold another benefice with it. He was appointed, with two other officers, to guard the great seal from 13 Jan. to 17 Feb. 1334 during the absence of John de Stratford, the chancellor (Rot. Claus. 7 Edward III, p. 2. m. 4). On 18 Oct. 1336 he was made a prebendary of Brightling in Chichester Cathedral, and on 6 Dec. 1337, prebendary of Penkridge (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1334–8, pp. 328, 557). On 28 April 1337 he was created master of the rolls (Rot. Claus. 11 Edward III, p. 1. m. 13), and two years later received a grant of the house of converts in Chancery Lane for life. While he was master of the rolls the great seal was twice temporarily deposited with him and the other clerks, and from 16 Feb. to 28 April he was appointed sole lord-keeper (Rymer, Fœdera, Record ed., II. ii. 1140 et seq.; Cal. Rot. Pat. in Turri Lond. pp. 132, 134, 137, 146). In 1339 he was rector of Sutton in the diocese of Salisbury, and in the same year he acted as counsel for the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, which gave him a yearly pension of sixty shillings in recognition of his services (Literæ Cantuar. ii. 204–5).

In 1340 the indignation of Edward III was aroused by the malversations of his officials, and, returning hastily from the siege of Tournai, he removed several from their posts; John de St. Paul was cast into prison (Murimuth., Contin., Rolls Ser., p. 117). He was able, however, to obtain his release as a priest through the intervention of Archbishop Stratford. Although the mastership of the rolls had been taken from him, he was allowed in a short time to resume his position as a master of chancery. In 1346 he was archdeacon of Cornwall (Le Neve, Fasti, i. 398), and shortly after prebendary of Dunnington in the see of York (ib. iii. 181). In 1349 he was advanced by a papal provision to the archbishopric of Dublin, having previously been a canon of the see. In 1351 he received a commission from Clement VI to proceed against certain heretics who had fled from the persecution of Richard Lederede [q. v.], bishop of Ossory, and had been protected by Alexander Bicknor [q. v.], the previous archbishop of Dublin. John found himself involved at his accession in the controversy concerning the primacy which was then raging between the archbishops of Dublin and Richard Fitzralph [q. v.], archbishop of Armagh. He succeeded in inducing Edward III to revoke his letters in favour of Armagh, and in 1353 the cause was removed for trial to Rome, where it was not decided for many years.

In 1350 John de St. Paul was appointed chancellor of Ireland, and, save for a brief period at the end of 1354, held the post for six years. In 1358 he was appointed a member of the privy council, and the lord-deputy was enjoined to pay great deference to his advice (Rymer, Fœdera, iii. 432–4). In 1360 he was placed on a commission of three to explore for mines of gold and silver, and to direct their management when discovered (ib. p. 482). In 1361 he received a special summons to a great council held in Dublin. On its assembly he laboured to win the government to a more conciliatory policy, and especially to obtain a general amnesty for the English and Irish rebels. He died on 9 Sept. 1362, and was buried in Christ Church, Dublin (Chart. of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin, ii. 282). During his episcopate he obtained many privileges for his see. He also much enlarged and beautified the church of the Holy Trinity.

[Walsingham's Hist. Anglicana, i. 224, 236, (Rolls Ser.); Cal. Patent and Close Rolls passim; Calend. Inquis. post mortem, ii. 255; Foss's Judges of England, iii. 487; Ware's Bishops of Ireland, pp. 76, 332; D'Alton's Archbishops of Dublin, p. 134; Wadding's Annales Minorum, viii. 49; Barnes's Edward III, p. 217.]

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