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Robert Stllington
(Died 1491)

Bishop of Bath & Wells
Died: 15th May 1491


Robert Stillington, already Keeper of the Privy Seal and Bishop of Bath & Wells (1466), became Chancellor of England in 1468. By Edward IV, he was sent on a mission, the object of which was to induce the Duke of Brittany to deliver up the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who had taken refuge with him. On this occasion, Bishop Stillington made for himself a bitter enemy in Richmond and on the accession of the latter to the crown of England, the Bishop is said to have supported, though to what extent is uncertain, the imposture of Lambert Simnel. At any rate, after the fall of Simnel, Stillington was accused of high treason and compelled to take refuge in Oxford. For some time the University refused to deliver him, asserting that to do so would be a violation of their privileges, since he was among them, to all appearance, for the prosecution of study. The crime of high treason, however, could not be covered even by the high privileges of medieval Oxford. Bishop Stillinton was at length (1487) given into the hands of the King's messengers, by whom he was conveyed to Windsor. He remained there in close custody until his death in 1491. He had built for himself a stately chantry adjoining the cloisters of his cathedral at Wells in which he was buried. The chantry was destroyed, however, by Sir John Gates in the time of Elizabeth I, for the sake of the lead with which it was covered. Men, says Godwin, who when boys had seen the bishop alive and had witnessed his interment, beheld in their old age, his chantry destroyed and his remains themselves rudely shaken from the lead in which they had been wrapped.

Edited from Richard John King's "Handbook to the Cathedrals of England: Southern Division" (1903).

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