Peyto (Peto), William
PEYTO (PETO), WILLIAM
English cardinal and Franciscan friar, a courageous figure at the time of the Reformation; b. Warwickshire, c. 1477; d. probably Greenwich, 1558. Presumably legitimate but of uncertain parentage, he was a relative of the Throckmorton family of Coughton, Warwickshire. He was educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and as a member of the Observant Franciscans (the Grey Friars), he acted as confessor to mary tudor when she was a girl. On Easter Sunday, March 31, 1532, as head of the English province he preached a sermon before henry viii condemning the proposed marriage to Anne Boleyn. The warden at Greenwich, Henry Elston, supported Peyto's statement some weeks later. In consequence, both priests were imprisoned, and on their release in 1533 they immediately fled to Antwerp. Peyto, attainted in 1539, spent 20 years on the Continent working with the counter reformation. In 1543 Paul III appointed him bishop of Salisbury, but he later resigned from this purely nominal position. After the accession of Mary, he returned to England and lived quietly in the restored friary at Greenwich. When Paul IV recalled Cardinal Reginald pole from England, he appointed Peyto to succeed him as cardinal and legate (June 1557) despite the friar's plea that he was too old and otherwise unsuitable.
Bibliography: m. haile, The Life of Reginald Pole (New York 1910). d. knowles, The Religious Orders in England, 3 v. (Cambridge, Eng. 1948–60) v. 3. l. pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages, 40 v. (London–St. Louis 1938–61) v. 14. j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present Time, 5 v. (London-New York 1885–1902; repr. New York 1961) 5:300–303. j. gairdner, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900; repr. with corrections, 21 v., 1908–09, 1921–22, 1938; suppl. 1901–) 15:974–975.
[m. r. o'connell]