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  • Fisher
  • Fisher John
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John Fisher (1469)

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Saint John Fisher (1459 /c. 19 October 1469 – 22 June 1535) was an English Roman Catholic scholastic, bishop, cardinal and martyr. He shares his feast day with Saint Thomas More on 22 June in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and 6 July on the Church of England calendar of saints. Fisher was executed by order of King Henry VIII during the English Reformation for refusing to accept him as Supreme Head of the Church of England and for upholding the Catholic Church's dogma of papal primacy.


 early life
John Fisher was born in Beverley, Yorkshire, England in the year 1469, the eldest son of Robert Fisher, a modestly prosperous merchant of Beverley and Agnes, his wife. He was one of four children. His father died when John was eight. His mother remarried and had five more children by her second husband, William White. Fisher seems to have had close contacts with his extended family all his life. Fisher's early education was probably received in the school attached to the collegiate church in his home town. He attended Beverley Grammar School, an old foundation claiming to date from the year 700. In the present day, one of the Houses at the school is named in Fisher's honour.

Fisher studied at the University of Cambridge from 1484, where at Michaelhouse he came under the influence of William Melton, a pastorally-minded theologian open to the new current of reform in studies arising from the Renaissance. Fisher earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1487 and in 1491, proceeded to a Master of Arts degree. The same year he was elected a fellow of his college. During college, he was given the nickname 'Barry Buttock' because of an illness regarding the rear that he sufered from. He was also made Vicar of Northallerton, Yorkshire. In 1494 he resigned his benefice to become proctor of the university and three years later was appointed master debator, about which date he also became chaplain and confessor to Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of King Henry VII. On 5 July 1501, he became a doctor of sacred theology and 10 days later was elected Vice-Chancellor of the University. Under Fisher's guidance, his patroness Lady Margaret founded St John's and Christ's Colleges at Cambridge, and a Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity at each of the two universities at Oxford and Cambridge, Fisher himself becoming the first occupant of the Cambridge chair. He was also in the years 1505 to 1508 the President of Queens' College. At the end of July 1516 he was at Cambridge for the opening of St John's College and consecrated the chapel.

Fisher's strategy was to assemble funds and attract to Cambridge leading scholars from Europe, promoting the study not only of Classical Latin and Greek authors, but of Hebrew. He was in his heart and soul a priest, and placed great weight upon pastoral commitment, above all popular preaching by the endowed staff. Fisher's foundations were also dedicated to prayer for the dead, especially through chantry foundations. Fisher had a wide and deep vision to which he dedicated all his personal resources and energies. A scholar and a priest, harsh with himself, humble and conscientious, he managed despite occasional opposition to carry with him and administer a whole university, one of only two in England. He conceived and saw through long-term projects, following them when he saw the chance. His production of learned and spiritual publications in the midst of a busy life and his attitude to persevere with learning Latin and Hebrew even when he was older show the man's willingness to achieve the extraordinary.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "John Fisher", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.