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Alcock, John


Cambridge scholar, bishop; b. Beverley, Yorkshire, England, 1430; d. Wisbech Castle, Isle of Ely, Oct. 1, 1500. The son of William Alcock of Beverley, he studied at cambridge, where he was a doctor of civil law by 1459. In 1461 he became rector of St. Margaret's, Fish Street, London, after which he rapidly accumulated benefices. In 1472 he became bishop of rochester by papal provision, keeper of the great seal (until June 1473), tutor of Edward, Prince of Wales, and president of his council. He was transferred to the bishopric of worcester in 1476 and to ely (1486), where he proved an able administrator. At Ely cathedral he began his own chantry chapel in 1488 and built the great hall in the episcopal palace; at Downham he rebuilt the episcopal residence. His greatest fame rests in his founding of Jesus College, Cambridge (1496), upon the site of the dissolved convent of St. Radegund. His original endowment was small, and the college was limited to six priestfellows in residence; a boys' grammar school was attached to the college. Still in evidence, decorated with his device of a cock on a globe, are the college buildings, principally remodeled conventual structures. His educational interests are further revealed by his residing at Peterhouse, Cambridge, in the early 1490s and by his foundation of a chantry and grammar school at Hull, Yorkshire. His literary remains include: (1) Mons perfeccionis, the hyll of perfeccion, (2) In die innocencium sermo pro episcopo puerorum, (3) an English sermon on the text of Luke 8.8, (4) Desponsacio virginis Christo: Spousage of a virgin to Cryste (all printed

by Wynkyn de Worde, 149697), (5) Gallicantus ad confratres suos curatos in sinodo apud Barnwell, Sept. 25, 1499, (6) The Abbay of the Holy Gost, an English commentary on the seven penitential Psalms, and (7) Castle of Labour translated from the French by P. Gringoire.

Bibliography: j. alcock, Register as Bishop of Worcester in the Worcester Diocesan Record Office, St. Helen's Church, Worcester; Register as Bishop of Ely in the University Library, Cambridge, with a printed calendar by j. h. crosby in Ely Diocesan Remembrancer (19081910). j. b. mullinger, The Dictionary of National Biography From the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 1:236237. The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, ed. l. f. salzman et al. (London 193859) v.2, 3, 4. a. gray and f. brittain, A History of Jesus College, Cambridge (London 1960). a. b. emden, Biographical Register of the Scholars of the University of Cambridge before 1500 (Cambridge, Eng. 1963) 56, 669.

[h. s. reinmuth, jr.]

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