Bishop of Lincoln; b. according to his epitaph c. 1440; d. February 4, 1520 or 1521. He was probably a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1480. In 1492 and 1493 he took the degree doctor of theology and in 1497 became vice chancellor of the university. He held this office in conjunction with others until 1502, for a time filling the post of chancellor left vacant by the death of Abp. John Morton. On June 21, 1504, he became canon of Windsor and registrar of the Order of the Garter. From 1506 to 1512 he was chancellor of the cathedral of Lincoln, exchanging the chancellorship on Oct. 30, 1512, for a prebend in the cathedral. In July of 1509 Atwater secured the prebendary of Ruscomb in Salisbury cathedral along with a coat of arms, and in September of the same year he obtained the appointment of dean of Salisbury. For a short time from 1509 to 1512 he was archdeacon of Lewes. From June 3 until November of 1514 he was archdeacon of Huntington. He was elevated to the bishopric of Lincoln in September of 1514 in succession to Wolsey and was consecrated at Lambeth on Nov. 12, 1514. His rise in the Church was due probably to the favor of Wolsey. On Oct. 22, 1514, he resigned the canonry of Windsor, but continued in the deanery of the chapel royal. He was buried in Lincoln Cathedral; an inscription above his grave states that at the time of his death he was 81 years old.
Bibliography: a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to a.d. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 1957–59). 1:73–74. p. gams, Series episcaporum ecclesiae catholicae (Regensburg 1873; suppl. 1879–86; repr. Graz 1957) 192. s. lee, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900) 1:713. r. van doren, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912—) 5:199.
[v. ponko, jr.]