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men's minds with the points of naked swords, and their understandings enlightened, so as to perceive the truth, by making bonfires of their bodies; that weak and fallible men, who will not order their unruly wills and affections, are infallible, and, like God, can neither be deceived nor deceive; in short, if I can but contribute any thing to make
my own countrymen more sensible of the great and invaluable blessing of the Reformation, and that the restoring Popish superstition under the venerable name of antiquity, and asserting its usurped infallible authority over our minds, &c. is putting an end to every thing for which life is worth the living, I have all my end.
DR. REYNOLD PECOCK,
BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH, &c.
Of the Bishop's Country, Family, and Education, and
studying the Controversy with the Lollards. 1. DR. REYNOLD PECOCK is said to have been born somewhere in the principality of Wales. The chief authority for this, so far as I can find, is his being styled, in the Pope's bulls of provision of him to the bishoprick of St. Asaph, a Presbyter of the diocese of St. David's ; Presbytewhich, very probably, he is called either on account of his rum Menebeing born there, or having a benefice in that country.
2. As the place of our Bishop's birth is so uncertain, so it is as little known when he was born, or of what family he was.
It is observed, that, at this time, instances were very common of persons of better rank than our Bishop's parents seem to have been, neglecting to take due care to preserve their pedigrees. However, we may, I believe, venture to say of the Bishop, as Sir Thomas More wrote of himself in his epitaph, that he was of a an honest family, though it was not much known or celebrated. If we sup
· Familia non celebri sed honesta natus.
CHAP. pose the Bishop to have died b 1460, about three years I.
after his deprivation, and that he was then about seventy years old, the time of his birth will fall about the year 1390.
3. But, not to dwell on things so obscure, and about which we cannot now be certain; of this we are sure, that the Bishop was educated in grammar-school learning; and being made fit for the prosecution of higher and more manly studies, was sent to the famous University of Oxford, and there admitted of Oriel or the Royal College. The studies which here he chiefly followed were, we are told, those of eloquence or rhetoric, or the art of speaking well, and of moral philosophy; both which he made subservient to that of divinity. The progress he made in these and his other studies soon made him taken notice of, insomuch that upon the election of Master Richard Garsdale, S.T.P. to be Provost of the College, Mr. Pecock was chosen fellow in his room, October 30, 1417.
4. As from Mr. Pecock's first admission in the University, he seems to have had his eye on holy Orders, and, with a just regard thereto, to have made choice of, and prosecuted his studies; so now being thought qualified for them, and to be of age and learning sufficient to enter into them, he applied himself to Dr. Richard Flemmyng, then Bishop of Lincoln, in which diocese Oxford then was, and of him obtained the favour of being ordained dAcolyth and
Subdeacon the same day, viz. December 21, 1420, and of A.D. 1420. being admitted to the order of Deacon the 15th of Febru
ary following, and to that of Priesthood the next month,
b Iste Reginaldus episcopus Assavensis valde fuit dispositus ad lepram corporis, et plures de parentela sua fuerunt leprosi. Etiam iste episcopus fuit leprosus mente ; i. e. Hereticus fama plurium. F. Gascoigne, Dict. MS.
c So I find it in some MS. notes, communicated to me by the late Bishop Kennett, though Mr. Wood takes no notice of any one of this name being Provost of this College.
d Reginaldus Pecock socius Coll. Oriell Oxon, ordinatur Acolitus et Subdiaconus eodem die videl. 12 Kal. Jan. 1420, a Ricardo Linc. Episcopo, et Diaconus ad titulum dicti Coll. ab eodem Ricardo Episcopo 15 Cal. Mart. 1420, et demum Presbyter ab eodem 8 Id. Mart. 1420. Reg. Flenimyng.
March 8, by virtue of the title of the fellowship which he CHAP. held.
5. These happy beginnings, it is observed, had such Leland Desuccess as virtue promises to her votaries and admirers, p. 458. namely, the very best; for Mr. Pecock having now finished the course of his academical studies, and been admitted into holy Orders, he took his Bachelor of Divinity's degree. This we are told he did e under a certain Monk of the Cistercian Order about the year 1445. But there seems to be some mistake in the figures, and that it ought to be 1425; about which time Mr. Pecock seems to have left the University.
6. At this time Humphry Duke of Gloucester was protector of the kingdom; and being a great patron of learned and virtuous men, and hearing the character of Mr. Pecock, who was now well known and much respected in his College and the University, he called him up to court. In what station he was there, I do not find; but Leland tells Descript. us, by what authority I know not, that Mr. Pecock was so serviceable to the court and his Prince, that in a little time he was endowed with very ample fortunes, and made a considerable figure.
7. Sir Thomas More tells us of this Duke Humphry, that he was a great wise man, and well learned, and intimates that he was no friend and encourager of those feigned miracles which at this time were so much in fashion. “As I remember me,” says he, “ that I have heard Dialog.
my father tell of a begger, that in King * Edward's days “ the fourth, came wyth hys wyfe to St. Albonys, and * Henry VI. “ there was walkyng about the towne, begging a five or “ six days before the King's coming thither, saying, that “ he was borne blinde, and never saw in his life, and was “ warned in his dreame, that he should come out of Ber“ wick, where he sayd he had ever dwelt, to seke St. Al“ bon, and that he had bene at his shrine, and had not ben
fol. 18. ed. 1529.
e Incepit in theologia sub quodam monacho Cistertiensis ordinisannum 1445. Gascoigne, Dict. Theol. MS.