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Scrope, Richard


Archbishop of York; b. c. 1346; d. York, England, June 8, 1405. Born of a noble Yorkshire family, he is said to have studied arts at Oxford and law at Cambridge. He was doctor of both laws by 1379 and was chancellor of Cambridge University (137879). He was elected bishop of chichester in 1385, but King Richard II quashed the election. However, he did become bishop of coventry and Lichfield in 1386 and was made archbishop of york in 1398 through Richard's influence. He served Richard as emissary to Scotland and in Rome (where he petitioned unsuccessfully for Edward II's canonization), but was in the deputation that received Richard's resignation; he joined Thomas arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, in enthroning King Henry IV (1399). Although closely associated with the rebel Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, Scrope was not openly opposed to the government until 1404, when he and Arundel protested parliamentary proposals to confiscate church property. In 1405 Scrope circulated a manifesto charging the King with injustice and demanding reforms. Northern insurgents met the royal army on Shipton Moor, where Scrope and others were captured by trickery. Henry appointed a trial commission headed by Chief Justice Sir William Gascoigne; but he, knowing the law, refused to try a prelate and was replaced. Arundel arrived to protest, but Scrope was summarily convicted of treason and executed, dying with exceptional courage. Pope innocent vii prepared a bull of excommunication against Scrope's murderers; but since England's support was needed against Avignon (see western schism), it remained unpublished. Scrope's tomb in York Minster became a center of pilgrimage, and Northerners called him saint and martyr. Contemporary chroniclers attest to his sanctity. His archiepiscopate saw completion of the rebuilding of York Minster choir.

Bibliography: j. h. wylie, History of England under Henry the Fourth, 4 v. (London 188498) v.2, for relevant chronicle sources. j. tait, The Dictionary of National Biography From the Earliest Times to 1900, 17:108285. a. b. emden, Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 2:165960. a. b. emden, Biographical Register of the Scholars of the University of Cambridge before 1500, 513514.

[r. w. hays]

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