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William Peyto

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(P ETO, P ETOW ).

Cardinal ; d. 1558 or 1559. Though his parentage was long unknown, it is now established that he was the son of Edward Peyto of Chesterton, Warwickshire, and Goditha, daughter of Sir Thomas Throckmorton of Coughton. He was educated by the Grey Friars and took his degree of B. A. at Oxford ; but he was incorporated in Cambridge university, 1502-3, and became M. A. there in 1505. He was elected fellow of Queen's College in 1506, and on 14 June, 1510, was incorporated M. A. at Oxford. Entering the Franciscan Order , he became known for his holiness of life, and was appointed confessor to Princess Mary. Later on he was elected Provincial of England and held that office when in 1552 he denounced the divorce of Henry VIII in the king's presence. He was imprisoned till the end of that year, when he went abroad and spent many years at Antwerp and elsewhere in the Low Countries, being active on behalf of all Catholic interests. In 1539 he was included in the Act of Attainder passed against Cardinal Pole and his friends (31 Hen. VIII, c. 5), but he was in Italy at the time and remained there out of the king's reach. On 30 March, 1543, Paul III nominated him Bishop of Salisbury. He could not obtain possession of his diocese, nor did he attempt to do so, on the accession of Queen Mary in 1553, but resigned the see and retired to his old convent at Greenwich. There he remained till Paul IV, who had known him in Rome and highly esteemed him, decided to create him cardinal and legate in place of Pole. But as Peyto was very old and his powers were failing, he declined both dignities. He was, however, created cardinal in June, 1557, though Queen Mary would not allow him to receive the hat, and the appointment was received with public derision. It was a tradition among the Franciscans that he was pelted with stones by a London mob, and so injured that he shortly afterwards died ( Parkinson, op. cit. below, p. 254). Other accounts represent him as dying in France. The date frequently assigned for his death (April, 1558) is incorrect, as on 31 October, 1558, Queen Mary wrote to the pope that she had offered to reinstate him in the Bishopric of Salisbury on the death of Bishop Capon, but that he had declined because of age and infirmity.

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