John Skypp

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John Skypp [1] (c. 1495-1552) was the Bishop of Hereford from 1539 until 1552.

Born of humble parents, Edmund and Alice Skyppe who both died in 1507 in Irstead Norfolk he graduated from Gonville College in 1518,[2] and later was Master of Caius college. He embarked on a clerical career that saw him become Vicar of Newington, Shepway in Essex. Skip went to London to the court where he met with Boleyns and the reformers in the church. Skip was well-read and learned in the scriptures, a biblical scholar and fundemntal interpretationist, he used his knowledge of the Holy Bible to the furtherance of his own Protestant views.

Skypp was almoner to Anne Boleyn at the height of her power. On the dissolution of the monasteries he managed to persuade Queen Anne that all proceeds should go to charity and education of the poor, a cause Anne took to Henry. It may have been a source of intense rivalry with Crowell and a contributory factor in her downfall during a parallel with the Persian Xerxes's 'wicked minister'.[3] On Passion Sunday, Skip preached a sermon from John chapter 8, verse 46. Skip rose defiantly to defend the ravages of the agents of the Vicar-General on behalf of his mistress. He warned against the 'evil counsellors' making scarcely velied references to Cromwell's role as chief enforcer. Skip was a liturgical traditionalist in the ancient customs of the church, and the maintenance of the universities. Skip elaborately embellished the symbolism borrowing the reformist Lutheran method of damning with faint praise the venal practices of the church. he clearly believed the Crown was motivated by greed; it was enough for onlookers to imagine sowing the seeds of doubt. For Skip's the Old Testament King Solomon the Wise was rich but sensual, havingtaken too many wives and concubines to satisfy his carnal appetites. Solomon like, Henry VIII, was a towering figure in Jewish history, who had risked his kingdom for 'fool's gold.' Alison Weir postulates Skip may have seen Solomon in the stained glass windows of King's College, Cambridge. Cromwell accused the Queen's almoner of 'preaching seditious doctrines and slandering the King's Highness, his counsellors, his lords and nobles and his whole parliament.'[4] For courageous as Queen Anne Boleyn was, she recruited Archbishop Cranmer, another reformist, against Cromwell'aims. Henry VIII knew that he needed the repeal of Act of Succession 1534, which only parliament could have done a fortnight later.[5]

Archdeacon of Suffolk before elevation to the Episcopate.[6]

He was buried in the churchyard of St Mary Mounthaw, a church in the City of London which was destroyed during the Great Fire of London.


  1. ^ Spelt by some sources John Skip
  2. ^ "Skipp, John (SKP513J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ Hamer, Anne Boleyn; Weir, The Fall, p.53
  4. ^ Hamer, ibid; Bernard, 'Anne Boleyn's Religion'; Letters and Papers; Weir, p.55-6
  5. ^ Letters and Papers; Ives, Weir, The Lady, p.59
  6. ^ D. G. Newcombe, ‘Skip, John (d. 1552)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 14 April 2008 The first edition of this text is available as an article on Wikisource:  "Skip, John". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Edmund Bonner
Bishop of Hereford
Succeeded by
John Harley