Tobias Matthew

Tobias Matthew (also Tobie and Toby; 13 June 1546  29 March 1628), was an English nobleman and bishop who was President of St John's College, Oxford from 1572 to 1576, before being appointed Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University from 1579 to 1583, and Matthew would then become Dean of Durham from 1583 to 1595. All three positions, plus others, were appointed to Matthew by Elizabeth I. Eventually, he was appointed Archbishop of York in 1606 by Elizabeth's successor, James I.

Tobias Matthew
Archbishop of York
official portrait as Archbishop (c.1608)
Term ended1628 (death)
PredecessorMatthew Hutton
SuccessorGeorge Montaigne
Other postsPublic Orator of Oxford University (1569–1572)
President of St John's College, Oxford (1572–1576)
Dean of Christ Church (1576–1579)
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University (1579–1583)
Dean of Durham (1583–1595)
Bishop of Durham (1595–1606)
Personal details
Birth nameTobias Matthew
Born13 June 1546
Bristol, England
Died29 March 1628(1628-03-29) (aged 81)
Cawood, North Yorkshire, England
BuriedYork Minster
DenominationChurch of England
ParentsSir John Matthew of Ross
Eleanor Crofton of Ludlow (1525–1546)
SpouseFrances Barlow
(married 1576; he died 1628)
ChildrenTobie (1577–1655)
Mary (1579–1583)
Samuel (1583–1660)
Mary Ann (1599–1666)
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford
Christ Church, Oxford

Early life

He was the son of Sir John Matthew of Ross in Herefordshire, England, and of his wife Eleanor Crofton of Ludlow.[1] Tobias was born at Bristol on 13 June 1546.

Matthew was educated at Wells, Somerset, and then in succession at University College and Christ Church, Oxford. He proceeded BA in 1564, and MA in 1566.[1]

Ties to Elizabeth I

He attracted the favourable notice of Elizabeth I, and his rise was steady though not quite rapid. He was first appointed a public orator in Oxford in 1569, and then President of St John's in 1572,[2] Dean of Christ Church in 1576, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University in 1579,[3][4] Dean of Durham in 1583, Bishop of Durham in 1595, and Archbishop of York in 1606.[1]

Years as Archbishop

In 1581, Matthew had a controversy with the Jesuit Edmund Campion, and published at Oxford his arguments in 1638 under the title, Piissimi et eminentissimi viri Tobiae Matthew, archiepiscopi olim Eboracencis concio apologetica adversus Campianam. While in the north he was active in forcing the recusants to conform to the Church of England, preaching hundreds of sermons and carrying out thorough visitations.[1]

In 1617, he delegated his trusted lieutenant Phineas Hodson to advise Roger Brearley, who had founded the Grindletonian nonconformist sect and been accused of heresy as a result, on how he might reconcile with the Church of England.[5]

Final years and death

During his later years he was to some extent in opposition to the administration of King James I. He was exempted from attendance in the parliament of 1625 on the ground of age and infirmities. His wife, Frances, was the daughter of William Barlow, Bishop of Chichester.[1] His son, Tobie Matthew was an MP and later a convert to Roman Catholicism. He died at Cawood on 20 March 1628 at 81 years old; he was buried in the Lady Chapel of York Minster.


  1.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Matthew, Tobias". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 896. (father and son article)
  2. H. E. Salter and Mary D. Lobel, ed. (1954). "St. John's College". A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford. Victoria County History. pp. 251–264. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  3. "Previous Vice-Chancellors". University of Oxford, UK. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  4. University of Oxford (1888). "Vice-Chancellors". The Historical Register of the University of Oxford. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 21–27. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  5. Capp, BS (1993). The World of John Taylor the Water-poet, 15781653. Oxford University Press. p. 211. ISBN 0-19-820375-6.

Academic offices
Preceded by
John Robinson
President of St John's College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Francis Wyllis
Preceded by
John Piers
Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
Succeeded by
William James
Preceded by
Martyn Colepeper
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Succeeded by
Arthur Yeldard
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Thomas Wilson
Dean of Durham
Succeeded by
William James
Preceded by
Matthew Hutton
Prince-Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
William James
Preceded by
Matthew Hutton
Archbishop of York
Succeeded by
George Montaigne
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