About John de Ufford, Archbishop-designate of Canterbury
John de Ufford, sometimes John de Offord or John Offord (died 20 May 1349) was chancellor and head of the royal administration to Edward III as well as being appointed to the Archbishopric of Canterbury.
He was sent, along with Nicholas de Luna and Hugh Neville to Avignon in the summer of 1344 as envoys to a council held by Pope Clement VI to mediate peace during the Peace of Malestroit (January 1343 – September 1346), a breathing space for both sides during the Hundred Years War. The mediation came to naught.
He was the chancellor to Edward III, keeper of both the great seal and the privy seal. He was entrusted with the privy seal in 1342 (thus becoming Lord Privy Seal), and the great seal on 26 October 1345, which was the duty of the Lord Chancellor. He resigned the office of Lord Privy Seal after 29 September 1344, but held the office of Chancellor until his death.
De Ufford held the position of Dean of Lincoln from 1344 to 1348.
Archbishop of Canterbury
After the death of Archbishop John de Stratford, Edward chose de Ufford as Archbishop of Canterbury, though the canons of the chapter had elected Thomas Bradwardine, the king's trusted confessor, a great intellectual and diplomat. De Ufford was appointed to the see of Canterbury by papal bull dated 24 September 1348 and was granted the temporalities of the see on 14 December 1348.
Death and afterward
Any developing contention between the chapter and the king was rendered a dead issue when John de Ufford, already aged and infirm, was carried off by the Black Death, before being consecrated, on 20 May 1349.
From Antient Funeral Monuments, of Great-Britain, Ireland, and the Islands ... By John Weever. Page 24:
Here lieth, obscurely buried, John Ufford, brother to that illustrious knight of the garter, Robert De Ufford earl of Suffolk: (SIC: see comments) brought up in Cambridge, and made doctor of law, promoted first unto the deanry of Lincoln, then to the chancellorship of England, and lastly to this archbishopric. Which he never enjoyed, being cut off by the plague (which consumed nine parts of the men in England) before he received either his pall, or consecration, June 7, anno 1348.
From Genealogical Memoirs of the Extinct Family of Chester of Chicheley ..., Volume 1 By Robert Edmond Chester Waters.
Several writers (154.) have ventured to assert that Robert Earl of Suffolk had two sons besides those whom I have enumerated, and that he was the father of John and Andrew de Offord, two ecclesiasties of high distinction, who were engaged in the principal diplomatic transactions of their time. John de Offord, Dean of Lincoln 1344, was constantly employed from 1334 in embassies to foreign courts by Edward HI., and was appointed Lord Chancellor of England 26th Oct. 1345. He was still chancellor when he was named Archbishop of Canterbury by a bull of Pope Clement VI., dated 24th Sept. 1348, and as archbishop elect had the temporalities of his see restored to him on 14th Dec.; but he died before receiving the pall on 20th May 1349, being one of the first victims of the great pestilence. (155) Andrew Offord, Archdeacon of Middlesex, was his brother's administrator, and had been associated with him in many of his employments. He had a prebendal stall at York ratified to him by the King on 14th May 1350, which he held with his archdeaconry until his death early in 1358. (156)
It is chronologically impossible that these two brothers could be the sons of the Earl of Suffolk, and therefore it has been suggested that they were his brothers.* (157) But there is no evidence whatever for supposing that they were of his family, except from the similarity of name, and this disappears on closer investigation. For the Lord Chancellor is usually styled De Offord in records, and it is almost certain that he belonged to a family who derived their name from OffordDarcy in Huntingdonshire, for John de Offord was lord of that manor in 1276, (158) and the custody of this same manor during the minority of the heir was granted in 1331 to Master John do Offord, who was afterwards Chancellor. (159)
- Campbell in his Lives of the Chancellort adopts, as usual, the wrong story in its worst form, and embellishes it with some circumstances of his own invention. He boldly asserts the Chancellor was the ton of the Earl, and owed his preferment to his family interest, and adds that 'he was suddenly struck with a disease of which he died on 26th August 1348' 1 (160)
From 'Parishes: Offord Darcy', in A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2, ed. William Page, Granville Proby and S Inskip Ladds (London, 1932), pp. 322-327 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hunts/vol2/pp322-327 [accessed 13 February 2015].
The bishop was succeeded in 1321 by his nephew, Edmund Peverel, son of his sister Alice and Sir Robert Peverel. (fn. 26) Edmund died in 1331, leaving a year-old son John, (fn. 27) when the king committed the manor during the minority of the heir to Master John de Offord, one of the king's clerks, but on the discovery that the manor was held of the honour of Huntingdon, the royal mandate was withdrawn and the custody of the manor was granted by the executors of Eleanor de Brus to the same Master John de Offord, described as canon of St. Paul's, rendering a rent to Alice, daughter of Eleanor and her second husband, Sir Richard Waleys, and what was due as dower to Edmund's widow Alice. (fn. 28) In 1340 John de Offord was reappointed by the crown and obtained a grant of free warren in the demesne lands of the manor in 1348. (fn. 29) He leased the manor to Thomas Moyne and Lawrence de Pabenham, and died in 1349
- Cambridge alumni database S. of Robert, Earl of Suffolk. (SIC: see comments) 'Probably educated at GONVILLE HALL' (Fuller, Hist. of Cambridge, 109).