John Sherwood (bishop)

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John Sherwood
Bishop of Durham
Church Catholic
Appointed 29 March 1484
Term ended 14 January 1494
Predecessor William Dudley
Successor Richard Foxe
Consecration probably 26 May 1484
Personal details
Died 14 January 1494
Previous post Archdeacon of Richmond

John Sherwood (or Shirwood; died 1494) was an English churchman and diplomat.


Sherwood was the son of the common clerk John Shirwod of York and his first wife, Agnes.[1] He graduated M.A. at University College, Oxford in 1450.[2] He learned Greek from the scribe Emmanuel of Constantinople, in 1455; for which he was later commended in a letter from Richard III of England to Pope Innocent VIII.[3][4] He was a papal lawyer, and then a diplomat,when he became the first permanent English ambassador, resident from 1479 in Rome.[3][5] He built up a noted classical library, and gained the support of George Neville, Archbishop of York.[6]

Sherwood was Archdeacon of Richmond in 1465[7] and later became Bishop of Durham, in 1484.[2] He was nominated on 29 March 1484, with Richard III on the throne, and probably was consecrated on 26 May 1484. Despite knowing of the Princes in the Tower, through their physician, he did nothing for them.[8] He visited Rome twice more as ambassador: in 1487, with Thomas Linacre and William Tilly of Selling; and in 1492-3, when he died there.[9]

Sherwood died on 14 January 1494.[10]


  1. Raines, Angelo, ed. (1864). Testamenta Eboracensia III. Durham: Andrews & Co. for the Surtees Society. p. 207.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Concise Dictionary of National Biography
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jonathan Hughes, Arthurian Myths and Alchemy: The Kingship of Edward IV (2002), p. 239.
  4. Jonathan Hughes, The Religious Life of Richard III (1997), p. 73.
  6. Hughes, Religious Life, p. 89.
  7. Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: volume 6: Northern province (York, Carlisle and Durham): Archdeacons: Richmond
  8. Hughes, Religious Life, p. 90.
  9. P. S. Allen, The Age of Erasmus (1963), p. 125.
  10. Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 242


  • Allen, P.S., `Bishop Shirwood of Durham and his library', English Historical Review 25 (1910), 445–56.
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Harris, Jonathan, 'Greek scribes in England: the evidence of episcopal registers', in Through the Looking Glass: Byzantium through British Eyes, ed. Robin Cormack and Elizabeth Jeffreys (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 121–6. ISBN 978-0-86078-667-2
  • Jones, B. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: volume 6: Northern province (York, Carlisle and Durham): Archdeacons: Richmond. Institute for Historical Research.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William Dudley
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
Richard Foxe