Born – c. 1420
Died – 15th September 1500
Father – Not known
Mother – Not known
Spouse – Not married
Children – None
John Morton was born in Dorset. The identity of his parents is not known.
John began his education at Cerne Benedictine Abbey.
Morton graduated in law from Balliol College Oxford. He began his practice the ecclesiastical courts in London.
John Morton became Subdeacon of Lincoln.
Morton was appointed Rector of Shellingford, Berkshire. He also became Principal of Peckwater Inn, Oxford.
1455 (22nd May)
The Wars of the Roses broke out. Fought between rival factions of the descendants of Edward III. The Lancastrians supported King Henry VI while the Yorkists supported Richard Duke of York.
John Morton supported the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses.
Morton was given the position of Chancellor to Edward Prince of Wales.
John Morton was made Prebendary of Salisbury and Lincoln.
Morton had attracted the eye of Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, and became a lawyer for the Crown. He helped to draft the Bill of Attainder against Richard Duke of York.
1461 (29th March)
Morton was present at the decisive Battle of Towton, which secured the throne for the Yorkist Edward IV. After the battle Morton was captured, attainted and sent to the Tower of London.
Having escaped imprisonment, Morton joined Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, in France. He became Keeper of the Privy Seal to the Lancastrian Henry VI in exile.
Morton attended the University of Louvain where he studied Theology.
Morton was present at negotiations that secured the support of the Earl of Warwick and Duke of Clarence for an invasion to restore Henry VI to the throne.
1470 (30th October)
King Henry VI was restored to the throne following a successful invasion by the Lancastrians. Edward IV had fled to his relatives in Burgundy.
1471 (14th March)
Edward IV landed at Ravenspur, Yorkshire with a Burgundian Yorkist army.
1471 (4th May)
The Lancastrians were defeated at the Battle of Tewekesbury. Edward Prince of Wales was killed during the fighting and Margaret of Anjou was captured and placed under house arrest. Henry was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
1471 (22nd May)
Edward IV made a triumphant entry into London. It is believed that Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London on the same day.
Having made peace with Edward IV, John Morton was given a royal pardon.
Morton was created Master of Chancery.
Morton was created Master of the Rolls.
Morton became Archdeacon of Winchester and Chester as well as Dean of the Court of Arches.
Morton became Canon of Wells.
Morton became Archdeacon of Berkshire.
Morton became Archdeacon of Norfolk.
John Morton and John Donne were sent to serve as ambassadors to the French court.
1478 (8th August)
Morton was appointed Bishop of Ely.
1483 (9th April)
King Edward IV died. His son Edward became King Edward V. Morton was named as an executor of the King’s will.
Having become a loyal supporter of King Edward IV, Morton became the enemy of Richard Duke of Gloucester when he took the throne in place of Edward IV’s son and heir, Edward V. Richard had Morton attainted and imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Morton was released from the Tower and placed under house arrest in the home of the Duke of Buckingham. He helped the Duke to organise an uprising against Richard III in support of Henry Tudor.
1483 (10th October)
The Duke of Buckingham rebelled against the rule of Richard III. However, the rebellion failed and the Duke was captured and executed. Morton managed to flee to Flanders where he worked to gain support for Henry Tudor.
John Morton built a residence ‘Bishops Ely’ north of London. It later became known as the Palace of Hatfield or Hatfield House.
1485 (22nd August)
Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Tudor was proclaimed King on the same day.
1486 (6th October)
John Morton was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury following the death of Thomas Bourchier.
John Morton became Lord Chancellor. He instigated a policy of taxation to replenish the treasury which had been emptied following the Wars of the Roses. This policy made him unpopular with the people.
Morton gained permission from the Pope to visit and reform the monasteries.
Thomas More became page to John Morton.
John Morton was created a Cardinal by Pope Alexander VI.
Morton was created Chancellor of the University of Oxford.
1500 (22nd August)
John Morton died at Knole House, Kent. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral.
Published Jan 24, 2022 @ 2:08 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2022). Cardinal John Morton 1420 – 1500.