John Prophet

John Prophet (1356–1416) was an English medieval Secretary to King Henry IV, Keeper of the Privy Seal and, Dean of Hereford and York. A distinguished and capable administrator he remained loyal to all kings through a mix of shrewdness, and cunning. Although guilty of simony and pluralism, Prophet was no lollard, but successfully made the transition from Richard II's extravagant court at Westminster to an indispensable servant of the Lancastrians.

Prophet was university educated and entered Holy Orders. Ordained a priest he served from 1380 onwards as a clerk in the Privy Seal office and clerk of the council under Richard II. Prophet was appointed Chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury, William Courtenay in 1382, during which time he was made a prebendary of Wingham church. He was then converted into the diocese at Lincoln, where he became a prebendary of the cathedral in 1384. A habit he continued as he was strictly guilty of pluralism. Among the curios of anomalous gifts was St Tyriocs chapelry in another diocese on Beachley Point. Nonetheless Prophet was a talented administrator and continued to rise; clever servants of the Crown were hard to find, and so were commonly rewarded thus. In 1389 Prophet was promoted a clerk of the royal household.[1] The energetic pursuit of agenda and minute-taking was his hallmark, introducing this system into a Register of proceedings; the Register, the first of its kind in England, ran until November 1393 on his collation to Dean of Hereford, but was thence discontinued.[2] By 1390 Prophet was already well-acquainted with Ledbury where he was presented with a portion of All Saints Parish Church appertaining to Upper Hall in Ledbury Park. He was also preferred as Rector of Orpington in Kent by 1392, and the following year elevated to the Deanery at the time that Richard was on expedition to quell a rebellion in Ireland.

Hereford was a lawless city on the Marches, where dean Prophet was responsible for the Coningsby Hospital. The Bishop Trefnant probably knew Prophet because he had already served with him on the royal council.[3] Master John Prophet was assaulted in its precincts by William Buryton as part of an ongoing feud between the Bishop and Dean and Chapter that spilled over into street violence. There was an inquiry, and later visitation by the Privy Council (which Prophet later chaired as Secretary) to investigate the possible defrocking of the Bishop.[4] Bishop Trefnant's instructions included a visitation to St Katherine's Hospital and Ledbury parish in 1397, which had not been administered since the days of Bishop Foliot. Conditions were poor, and the master William Pykersley was dismissed, to be replaced by an experienced administrator, John Malvern. A new jury was selected and sealed as ordinances on 2 November, submitted to the bishop at his palace of Whitbourne Hall for the confirmation on 16 December 1398. Prophet was determined to provide proper care for the poor, infirm and cure of the souls. Prophet laid down minimum standards by the Ordinances (1398) of food by weight, diet to guarantee wellbeing. Also at St Katherine's a board of discipline was established for the chaplains to ensure pay and conditions for 'life's necessities'. As well as a stipend they were to wear a uniform with a white cross. The chaplains were chosen mainly from local men who retained a vested interest, yet could not now be removed by the Master, but only on order of the Dean and Chapter. But masters of St Katherine's in late 14th and early 15th centuries had a national profile, and Prophet intended a new Mansion House: an H-Plan layout was sustained for the next 400 years providing, buttery, pantry, solar, and central hall with extensive accommodation. Prophet's essay on administrative reform was an unusual and unique legal instrument.[5]

Prophet's ambitious plan with fellow portionist of Lower Hall estate Robert Prees, was in April 1401 to build a newly founded college with eight chantry priests to celebrate mass in union with the premiere parish church in the land, was even for Bishop Trefnant too risky. Prophet accepted the weighty responsibility of royal and episcopal patronage in perpetuity could not be allowed to lead to unjust enrichment. The reduction of the size of the project to just a small chapel for St Katherine's underscored Prophet's shrewd capabilities.[6]

Prophet also received the rents of 70 acres at Little Marcle and 27 acres of coppice woodland at Dunbridge, while the tithe at the Hazle that came to the Master by rents allocated to his personal use during this period.[7] In 1414 he proposed a chantry chapel for Hereford Cathedral to be built by Henry V's royal stonemason 'Thomas the mason and other stone cutters, fellows and servants of his...' for he had great 'affection' for the church.

Despite his rise in the Ricardian church, he continued to enjoy royal patronage under the Lancastrians. The new King Henry IV recalled him to the royal council in 1400, with a retainer salary of £100. He was made a prebendary of the York Minster (1404), and the King had promoted Prophet to secretary from 1402 to 1406. In late 1402 Prophet was sent with Lord Say as the King's representatives to inform Parliament that they could not expect to be called as a matter of right, nor without Henry's consent. But in November 1403 a papal release licence came from the Pope to allow Prophet to relinquish his deanery duties in Hereford. By 1404 Prophet held several prebendaries at Lincoln, Salisbury, York, and St Asaph's cathedrals, as well as Abergwili, Tamworth, and Crediton.[8] Yet another prebendary, followed this time at Leighton Buzzard in the diocese of Lincoln in 1405. Nevertheless, he had to resign his portion of Upper Hall Ledbury when in 1407 he was collated Dean of York (until his death in 1416).[9] He never fulfilled the ambition of building a chantry chapel there, but converted the old Dean's residence at Pocklington into a Tythe Barn and farmyard Ad fut rei mem eaque pro commodo, whilst simultaneously in December 1409 refurbished a house at Thornton for his own dwelling. "John Prophete of Pocklington" as he was known in the charters, was unusual not being an absentee. The Bishop's Peculiar Court had always been at Pocklington manor, when judging matters ecclesiastical in the 14th century, including blasphemy and breaches of the sabbath.[10]

From 1406 he was the Keeper of the Privy Seal,[11] retaining the confidence of Prince Hal when his father fell ill from 1411. One of his last meetings as Secretary was early in February 1415 when the Council met at the Blackfriars house in London. They discussed the certainty of war and the failure of negotiations to come. They would safeguard the seas and borders during the King's absence, and would repair the King's castle at Berwick. The Council wanted a full report into the state of the King's finances and expenditures since his coronation, only then could he make his voyage to France.

Transition of Henry IV's to Henry V's Court Officers
Name Office held from 1413 and 1415
Henry Beaufort Lord Chancellor of All England
Thomas, Earl of Arundel Treasurer of the Royal Household
Sir Thomas Erpingham Steward of the Royal Household
Sir Thomas More Keeper of the Wardrobe
Sir Henry Fitzhugh Chamberlain of the Royal Household
John Wodehouse Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
John Prophet Keeper of the Privy Seal (1406–15)
John Wakeryng Keeper of the Privy Seal (1415- )
Sir Roger Leche Treasurer of the Royal Household (1415- )
John Stone King's Secretary.[12]

Prophet attended Henry V's disciplined court at Westminster with other officers of the royal household, particularly at key feast days in the Christian calendar, like Christmas. On 21 February 1415, the King's Council met to discuss the grave state of the nation's safety abroad: ambassadors had returned from Paris having failed to find a peace settlement with Charles VI, and there would be war. The Council's advice had not altered since October 1414.[13] But on Monday 3 June 1415, the last of Henry IV's courtiers was removed from office, and the sixty-year-old stepped aside. Yet when the fleet invaded in August, the complete victory was within the administration's grasp. Elusive for 200 years – it was achieved through naval control of the Channel, and a strong chain of military command and control.[14] One of Prophet's last duties was to travel north for Henry V in 1416 to report on conditions in St Leonard's Hospital, a royal hospital outside Walmgate Bar, York.[15]

On his death in 1416 he was buried in the parish church at Ringwood, Hampshire, in a church of which he had been rector. In 1410 he had built a chantry chapel there with Sir John Berkeley; a monumental brass marked his grave.[16] His will was proven in 1418, where his executors included his nephew Master Thomas Felde, and Richard Rede, chaplain from Ringwood.[17]

See also


  1. ^ J Hillaby, 'Early Christian and pre-Conquest Leominster' TWNFC, p.45ii (1987), p.648-9
  2. ^ for the full text of the Register, see Baldwin, The King's Council, pp.489-504.
  3. ^ Reg Trefnant, pp.56-8, 138-40
  4. ^
  5. ^ HD&CA 3333; Hillaby, p.198
  6. ^ Reg Mascall 170; CPR, 1408-13, p.168, 1413-16, p.226; gentleman's mag., 77i (1807) 1001; Hillaby, St Katherine's, pp.116-7
  7. ^ Valor Ecclesiasticus, n16, III, p.46, HD&CA 4248, 3564, 3754; Hillaby, p.198
  8. ^ Emden, Biog Reg to 1500, n185, 1522; CPR 1381-5, p.490, 1385-92, p.308; 1401-5, p.327; Reg Trefnant, pp.178, 186
  9. ^ Hillaby, St Katherine's, p.117
  10. ^ 1410. 18 Kal Dec f.42d, Castel San Pietro, near Bologna, Confirmation of John Prophete, Dean of York's Petition, administracionibus iconomics exequendis.
  11. ^ Proceedings of the Council, 2 Hen IV, vol.1, pp.12b, 14b.; Rotluli Parliamentorum, 13 Hen.IVi.m.10.
  12. ^ I Mortimer, 1415, p.214
  13. ^ N.H.Nicolas (ed), Privy Council, ii, pp.145-8; I.Mortimer, Henry V, pp.34, 79
  14. ^ Nicolas, Royal Navy, vol.2, p.406-7; Rodger, p.146
  15. ^ Calendar of Pipe Rolls, 1413-16, p.410
  16. ^ Scott Robertson, Archaeologia Cantiana, vol.14 (1882), p.163; Gentleman's Magazine, 77i (1807), p.1001
  17. ^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/629, year 1418;; 7th entry


Primary Sources
  • Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1381–5, 1385–92, 1401–5, 1413–1416
  • Hereford Dean and Chapter Archives, 3333, 4248, 3564, 3754
  • Pleas of the Court of Common Pleas, TNA
  • The Register of Bishop Mascall
  • The Register of Bishop Trefnant
  • Rotuli Parliamentorum of the Reign of Henry IV
  • Robertson, Scott (1882). "Brass Monuments at Ringwood". Archaeologia Cantiana. 14: 163.
  • Chapters in the Administrative History of medieval England
  • Nicolas, Sir Nicholas Harris (1834–1837), Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of England, 7 vols
  • Valor Ecclesiasticus, Record Commission, 6 vols (1810-1824)
Secondary Sources
  • Baldwin, J.F. (1969). The King's Council in England during the Middle Ages. London. pp. 149–52, 364–5, 389–91.
  • Allmand, Christopher (1993). Henry V. Yale UP.
  • Emden, A.B. A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to AD 1500. 3 vols (1957-9). pp. 149–52, n185, 354–5, 389–91.
  • Hillaby, Joe (2005) [1982]. Ledbury: A Medieval Borough (3rd ed.). Ledbury. p. 66.
  • Hillaby, Joe (2003). St Katherine's Hospital c.1230-1547. Ledbury. pp. 107–108.
  • Gillespie, J.L. (1997). The Age of Richard II. Sutton publishing.
  • Hillaby, Joe (1987). Early Christian and pre-Conquest Leominster. Transactions of Woolhope Naturalists Field Club. 45ii. pp. 648–9.
  • Mortimer, Ian (2009). 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory. London: Bodley Head.
  • Saul, Nigel (1997). The Oxford History of Medieval England. Oxford University Press.
  • Rodger, N.A.M. (1997). The Safeguard of the Seas: History of the Navy of Britain, 660-1649. London.
  • Tuck, J.A. (1973). Richard II and the English Nobility. Arnold.
  • Wylie, J.H. (1888). England in the Reign of King Henry IV. 2 vols. London.
Political offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Bubwith
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
John Wakering
Chapel (comics)

Chapel is a fictional supervillain/antihero comic book character appearing in books published by his creator, Rob Liefeld. Liefeld created the character in 1992 as member of the government superhero group Youngblood, which started in their series of the same name.

Church of All Saints, Leighton Buzzard

All Saints Church, Leighton Buzzard is the fine Early English parish church for the town of Leighton Buzzard in the English county of Bedfordshire.

City of London (elections to the Parliament of England)

The City of London was a Parliamentary constituency of the Parliament of England until 1707.

Dean of Hereford

The Dean of Hereford is the head (primus inter pares – first among equals) and chair of the chapter of canons, the ruling body of Hereford Cathedral. The dean and chapter are based at the Cathedral Church of Blessed Virgin Mary and St Ethelbert in Hereford. The cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Hereford and seat of the Bishop of Hereford. The current dean is Michael Tavinor.

Dean of York

The Dean of York is the member of the clergy who is responsible for the running of the York Minster cathedral. As well as being the head of the cathedral church of the diocese and the metropolitical church of the province, the Dean of York holds preeminence as the Vicar of the Northern Province.


Diorios or Dhiorios (Greek: Διόριος, Turkish: Tepebaşı) is a village in the Kyrenia District of Cyprus, 2 km west of Myrtou. It is under the de facto control of Northern Cyprus.

Hereford (UK Parliament constituency)

Hereford was, until 2010, a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Since 1918, it had elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first-past-the-post voting system.

Previously, Hereford had been a parliamentary borough which from 1295 to 1885 had elected two MPs, using the bloc vote system in contested elections. Under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 the borough's representation had been reduced to one seat at the 1885 general election, and for the 1918 general election the borough was abolished and replaced with a county division which carried the same name but covered a wider geographical area.

John Prophet (MP died c. 1399)

John Prophet (died c. 1399), of Hereford, was a medieval merchant and mayor, whose real identity is uncertain.

John Prophet was a clothier in Hereford. Circa 1377 he was one of twenty-five citizens appointed by Richard II as Custodians of the city with full powers as Commissioners of Array to marshall the town's defences. From 1385 onwards he was regularly employed to witness deeds. He was entitled to amortize messuages by royal licence to sponsor a chapel chantry for the Holy Rood in All Saints Church in the centre of the city to pray for the souls of their ancestors.

What is confusng is that the King's Secretary was also Master John Prophet, Dean of Hereford, so that on his appointment there arose a conflict of interest with the civic offices of the town's alnagers. This may explain the dean's mugging in church lane, and possibly Master Prophet's decision to seek preferment elsewhere. Permission had to be obtained both from the king and the bishop, which was not completed until June 1391. It seems that in 1391 he travelled to the west midlands with seven other deputies on behalf of the chief alnager of England, William Hervy, and was holding the office of an alnager when returned a burgess Member of the Parliament of England for Hereford in 1391.

Then he was made Mayor of Hereford for 1392–93. There is apparently a brass monumental inscription over a south transept door reading "here lies John Prophet, once a Mayor of Hereford". Although it is clear that he was probably different man from the Dean, it is uncertain if he was ever made mayor in 1391, but was an MP.

John Prophet (disambiguation)

John Prophet (died 1416), was Dean of Hereford and York.

John Prophet may also refer to:

John Prophet (MP died 1416), see City of London (elections to the Parliament of England)

John Prophet (MP died c.1399), MP for Hereford

John the Prophet, known also as Venerable John

John Wakering

John Wakering (or Wakeryng; died 9 April 1425) was a medieval Bishop of Norwich.

Wakering was appointed Archdeacon of Canterbury from 1408, resigning in 1415.

Wakering was named Lord Privy Seal in June 1415 and dismissed from that office in July 1416.Wakering was elected Bishop of Norwich about 24 November 1415 and was consecrated on 31 May 1416. He died on 9 April 1425.

Judith (Giraudoux)

Judith is a play written in 1931 by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux.

Lord Privy Seal

The Lord Privy Seal (or, more formally, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal) is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. Originally, its holder was responsible for the monarch's personal (privy) seal (as opposed to the Great Seal of the Realm, which is in the care of the Lord Chancellor) until the use of such a seal became obsolete. The office is currently one of the traditional sinecure offices of state. Today, the holder of the office is invariably given a seat in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.

Though one of the oldest offices in government anywhere, it has no particular function today because the use of a privy seal has been obsolete for centuries; thus the office has generally been used as a kind of minister without portfolio. Since the premiership of Clement Attlee, the position of Lord Privy Seal has frequently been combined with that of Leader of the House of Lords or Leader of the House of Commons. The office of Lord Privy Seal, unlike those of Leader of the Lords or Commons, is eligible for a ministerial salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975. The office does not confer membership of the House of Lords, leading to Ernest Bevin's remark on holding this office that he was "neither a Lord, nor a Privy, nor a Seal".During the reign of Edward I, prior to 1307, the Privy Seal was kept by the Controller of the Wardrobe. The Lord Privy Seal was the president of the Court of Requests during its existence.

Nicholas Bubwith

Nicholas Bubwith (1355-1424) was a Bishop of London, Bishop of Salisbury and Bishop of Bath and Wells as well as Lord Privy Seal and Lord High Treasurer of England.

Bubwith was collated Archdeacon of Dorset in 1397 and again in 1400. He was selected as Bishop of London on 14 May 1406 and consecrated 26 September 1406.Bubwith was Lord Privy Seal from 2 March 1405 to 4 October 1406. He was Lord High Treasurer from 15 April 1407 to 14 July 1408. He also planned the building of St Savior's Wells hospital but actual construction of the building started after his death.

Bubwith was translated to the see of Salisbury on 22 June 1407.Bubwith was then translated to the see of Bath and Wells on 7 October 1407. He died 27 October 1424.

Prophet (comics)

Prophet is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Image Comics. Created by Rob Liefeld, he first appeared in Youngblood #2 (July 1992).

Prophet has starred in three ongoing series bearing his name; these monthlies debuted in 1993, 1995, and 2012, respectively. A fourth series, named Prophet: Earth War, began in January 2016.

St Bartholomew's Church, Tong

The Collegiate Church of St Bartholomew, Tong (also known as St Bartholomew's Church) is a 15th-century church in the village of Tong, Shropshire, England, notable for its architecture and fittings, including its fan vaulting in a side chapel, rare in Shropshire, and its numerous tombs. It was built on the site of a former parish church and was constructed as a collegiate church and chantry on the initiative of Isabel Lingen, who acquired the advowson from Shrewsbury Abbey and additional endowments through royal support. Patronage remained with the lords of the manor of Tong, who resided at nearby Tong Castle, a short distance to the south-west, and the tombs and memorials mostly represent these families, particularly the Vernons of Haddon Hall, who held the lordship for more than a century. Later patrons, mostly of landed gentry origin, added further memorials, including the Stanley Monument which is inscribed with epitaphs specially written by William Shakespeare.

The church was the site of a minor skirmish during the English Civil War and also hosts the grave of Little Nell from Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, despite the character being entirely fictitious. The building is grade I listed and had its lead roof replenished with steel during 2017 to deter thieves. Due to its many monuments inside the church and ornate architecture, it is sometimes labelled as The Westminster Abbey of The Midlands, often featuring as one of the best churches in The Midlands and in England.

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