Tobias Matthew
Archbishop of York
official portrait as Archbishop (c. 1608)
Term ended1628 (death)
PredecessorMatthew Hutton
SuccessorGeorge Montaigne
Other post(s)Public 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
Tobias Matthew

13 June 1546
Died29 March 1628(1628-03-29) (aged 81)
Cawood, West Riding of 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)
ChildrenTobias (1577–1655)[1]
Mary (1579–1583)
Samuel (1583–1601)[1]
Mary Ann (1599–1666)
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford
Christ Church, Oxford

Tobias Matthew (also Tobie and Toby; 13 June 1546 – 29 March 1628), was an Anglican 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.

Early life

He was the son of Sir John Matthew of Ross in Herefordshire, England, and of his wife Eleanor Crofton of Ludlow.[2] 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.[3] He proceeded BA in 1564, and MA in 1566.[2]

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,[4] Dean of Christ Church in 1576, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University in 1579,[5][6] Dean of Durham in 1583, Bishop of Durham in 1595, and Archbishop of York in 1606.[2]

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.[2]

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.[7]

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.[2] His son, Tobie Matthew was an MP and later a convert to Roman Catholicism. Tobias died at Cawood on 29 March 1628 at 81 years old; he was buried in the Lady Chapel of York Minster.[8]

Matthew left his fortune not to his sons or the church but to his wife Frances Matthew. Amongst his possessions were 600 books, valued then at £300. Frances later give them all to York Minster. These books are the basis of the library (now at Old Palace, York). Frances had been his wife for over fifty years and she died the following year and was buried in York Minster's lady chapel.[8]


  1. ^ a b Alumni Cantabrigienses : a Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900. Volume 1 Part 3. From the Earliest Times to 1751. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2011. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-108-03609-2. OCLC 889946716.
  2. ^ a b c d e  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Matthew, Tobias". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 896.
  3. ^ Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714, Mascall-Meyrick
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Previous Vice-Chancellors". University of Oxford, UK. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  6. ^ University of Oxford (1888). "Vice-Chancellors". The Historical Register of the University of Oxford. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 21–27. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  7. ^ Capp, BS (1993). The World of John Taylor the Water-poet, 1578–1653. Oxford University Press. p. 211. ISBN 0-19-820375-6.
  8. ^ a b Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B., eds. (23 September 2004), "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. ref:odnb/72735, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/72735, retrieved 17 October 2022
Academic offices Preceded byJohn Robinson President of St John's College, Oxford 1572–1577 Succeeded byFrancis Wyllis Preceded byJohn Piers Dean of Christ Church, Oxford 1577–1583 Succeeded byWilliam James Preceded byMartin Culpepper Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University 1579–1580 Succeeded byArthur Yeldard Church of England titles Preceded byThomas Wilson Dean of Durham 1583–1595 Succeeded byWilliam James Preceded byMatthew Hutton Bishop of Durham 1595–1606 Archbishop of York 1606–1628 Succeeded byGeorge Montaigne