Thomas Merke

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Thomas Merke
Bishop of Carlisle
Appointedbefore 23 April 1397
Term ended1409
PredecessorRobert Reed
SuccessorWilliam Strickland
Consecration23 April 1397
Personal details

Thomas Merke (or Merks; died 1409) was an English priest and Bishop of Carlisle from 1397 to 1400.

Educated at Oxford University, Merke became a Benedictine monk at Westminster Abbey[citation needed] and was consecrated bishop about 23 April 1397.[1] He served Richard II as ambassador to various German princes in 1397, was one of the commissioners who negotiated the dowry of Isabella of Valois in 1398, and accompanied the king to Ireland in 1399.

Merke supported Richard against the usurper Henry IV and in 1400 was imprisoned in the Tower of London and deprived of his bishopric as a result. Although released and conditionally pardoned the following year, he was not restored to the bishopric, instead serving as a deputy and acting bishop in the Diocese of Winchester several times. He was one of those churchmen who sided against Pope Gregory XII at Lucca in 1408.[citation needed] He died in 1409.[1]

Merke's role in supporting the king is represented in William Shakespeare's play Richard II.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 235


  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Robert Reed
Bishop of Carlisle
Succeeded by
William Strickland