At this point, the familial thread begins to blend in with the religious. John’s uncle, also called John Whethamstede, was the prior of Tynemouth. The Priory of Tynemouth, though in Northumberland, was associated with St. Albans Abbey, a religious house much closer to London, because when the priory of Tynemouth had been decimated by the Danes in the tenth and eleventh centuries, William II had transferred monks from St. Albans to re-populate Tynemouth, which has remained in St. Albans’ jurisdiction ever since. With his uncle as the prior of Tynemouth, then, it is perhaps not surprising that John de Bostock of Whethamstede became a monk of St. Albans sometime after 1401.
|St. Albans Cathedral|
We see in these events that John would speak up when necessary, especially when he spoke on behalf of others, but that is not to say that John was attracted to anti-clerical movements that sprang up in England in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. He would have been a child when Wycliffe got into a world of trouble for translating the Bible into English, and though he may have heard discussion about Lollardy (a pre-Reformation movement to return Christianity to Biblical standards), he was not attracted by it. The DNB records, “He held a synod at St. Albans in 1426, before which he cited some persons suspected of heresy, inflicted penance on one man, and caused an [sic] heretical book to be burnt.” From this, we can only conclude that in these early English challenges to papal authority, John aligned himself with Rome.
Riley, Henry Thomas, ed. Registra quorundam abbatum monasterii S. Albani, qui saeculo XVmo floruere: Registra Johannis Whethamstede. . . London: Longman, 1878. 15 Jan. 2008. Web. 30 Mar. 2013. http://books.google.com/books/about/Registra_quorundam_abbatum_monasterii_S.html?id=8RsUAAAAYAAJ
St. Albans Cathedral.