Bainbridge, Christopher

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Cardinal archbishop of York, civil servant; b. Hilton, near Appleby, Westmorland, England, between 1462 and 1464; d. Rome, Italy, July 13 or 14, 1514. His family were gentry, and he was a nephew of Thomas Langton, bishop of Winchester. In 1479 he received a papal dispensation that allowed him to receive any benefice, with or without cure of souls, once he turned 16 years old. At Oxford he was a master of arts by 1486, after which he studied in Italy, at Ferrara (148788) and at Bologna, where he was admitted doctor of civil law (1492); by 1498 he was also a doctor of canon law. He incorporated as a doctor of civil law at Cambridge (150304); in 1505 he became a student of English common law at Lincoln's Inn. Meanwhile he had become provost of Queen's College, Oxford, in 1496 (until 1508); successively prebend in several cathedral churches; and dean of York in 1503. While dean he was concurrently master of the Rolls (150407) and then bishop of durham by papal provi sion (150708). In 1508 he was translated to york as archbishop, largely in absentia. henry viii sent him in 1509 as his orator to Rome, where he remained until his death. Pope julius ii created him cardinal priest in 1511 and entrusted him with siege operations at Ferrara. An intense rivalry developed between Bainbridge, who was anti-French, and Silvestre Gigli, absentee bishop of Worcester and resident English ambassador at Rome, who was pro-French. Possibly as a result of Gigli's machinations, Bainbridge was poisoned by one of his Italian chaplains, Rinaldo de Modena, who confessed under torture that he had acted on Gigli's orders. Bainbridge was buried in what has since become the English College at Rome, where his fine tomb with recumbent effigy remains.

Bibliography: a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to a.d. 1500 1:9193. j. leneve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541 v. 6. d. s. chambers, Cardinal Bainbridge in the Court of Rome, 150914 (London 1965).

[h. s. reinmuth, jr.]