Item 5 - Receipt: John Fisher & Hugh Ashton

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GB 1859 SJLM/7/1/5


Receipt: John Fisher & Hugh Ashton


  • 1519 (Creation)

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1 item, parchment

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John Fisher was an English bishop, theologian and humanist academic, who was instrumental in the founding of St John's College. He is venerated as a martyr and saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Born in the town of Beverley, Yorkshire, in 1469, Fisher was a student at Cambridge in the 1480s, gaining his BA in 1488. He was subsequently elected Fellow of Michaelhouse, one of the two Colleges later refounded as Trinity College by Henry VIII. He became chaplain and confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort, and in 1504, was appointed as Bishop of Rochester. At Cambridge, Fisher was made Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1501 and served as President of Queens’ College from 1505 to 1508. He also encouraged the creation of the University’s oldest professorship, the Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity, in 1502, and was elected as its first occupant.

It was through Fisher’s influence that Lady Margaret was moved to support the foundation of Christ's College (1505) and St John's College, and it was Fisher who was to secure the establishment of St. John’s in 1511, after Lady Margaret’s death in 1509. Fisher fiercely opposed the dissolution of Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, a position which brought him into grave conflict with the King. Fisher’s refusal to take an oath supporting Henry's right to act as Supreme Head of the Church in England led ultimately to his imprisonment in the Tower of London in 1534. Since such a refusal was considered a treasonable offence, Fisher was tried and sentenced to death, despite his late appointment to the office of cardinal by Pope Paul III. He was executed on Tower Hill on 22 June 1535.

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Ashton was a member of Lady Margaret Beaufort’s household and served as her receiver-general from around 1502, before rising to the position of comptroller from late 1508. He began an MA at Oxford in 1507, but was quickly granted permission to transfer to Cambridge in order to study canon law. Among his various subsequent appointments, Ashton served as canon and prebendary of St. Stephen’s, Westminster from 1509; Archdeacon of Winchester, 1511-1519; Archdeacon of Cornwall from 1515; Rector of Grasmere to 1511; and Archdeacon of York from 1516.

Ashton was an early fellow of and benefactor to St. John’s College. His tomb and effigy were transferred from their chantry in the old College chapel to the new chapel in 1868 and are still visible in the north transept today.

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Indenture of receipt for 250 marks by John Fisher and Hugh Ashton, Lady Margaret's executors; the eighth installment of £2800 from Katherine, Countess of Devonshire, due by indenture 20 July 1313.

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See Cooper's Lady Margaret p. 212

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Indenture, dated 24 June 1519, that John [Fisher], Bishop of Rochester, Hewe Ayscheton [Hugh Ashton], clerk, two of the executors of the Lady Margaret, have received from Princess Katyrin [Katherine or Catherine], Countess of Devon at the fountaine yard of the Cathedral Churche of Sent Poule [Saint Paul] in London, between the owrys [hours] of ix and xij be for myde day, 250 marks for the viij th. part of payment of £2800, accordyng to the tenure of certyn endentures [indentures], dated 20 July 1515.


Princess Katherine, is Katherine or Catherine of York, the ninth child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

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  • Box: 146/ESTATES