Hugh Latimer (c. 1487 – 16 October 1555) was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555, under Queen Mary, he was burnt at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.
Latimer was born into a family of farmers in Thurcaston, Leicestershire. His birthdate is unknown. Contemporary biographers including John Foxe placed the date somewhere between 1480 and 1494. He started his studies in Latin grammar at the age of four, but not much else is known of his childhood. He attended Cambridge University and on 2 February 1510, he was elected a fellow of Clare College. He received the Master of Arts in April 1514 and he was ordained a priest on 15 July 1515. In 1522, Latimer was nominated to the positions of university preacher and university chaplain. While carrying out his official duties, he continued with theological studies and obtained the Bachelor of Divinity in 1524. The subject of his disputation for the degree was a refutation of the new ideas of the Reformation emerging from the Continent, in particular the doctrines of Philipp Melanchthon. Up to this time, Latimer described himself as "obstinate a papist as any was in England". A recent convert to the new teachings, Thomas Bilney heard his disputation and later came to him to give his confession. Bilney's words had a great impact on Latimer and from that day forward he accepted the reformed doctrines.
He became noted for his reformist teachings, which attracted the attention of the authorities. He became a noted preacher more widely. In 1535, he was appointed Bishop of Worcester, in succession to an Italian absentee, and promoted reformed teachings in his diocese. In 1539, he opposed Henry VIII's Six Articles, with the result that he was forced to resign his bishopric and imprisoned in the Tower of London (where he was again in 1546).
During the reign of Henry's son Edward VI, he was restored to favour as the English church moved in a more Protestant direction, becoming court preacher until 1550. He then served as chaplain to Katherine Duchess of Suffolk. However, when Edward VI's sister Mary I came to the throne, he was tried for his beliefs and teachings in Oxford and imprisoned. In October 1555 he was burned at the stake outside Balliol College, Oxford.
Latimer was executed beside Nicholas Ridley. He is quoted as having said to Ridley:
Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.
The deaths of Latimer, Ridley and later Cranmer — now known as the Oxford Martyrs — are commemorated in Oxford by the Victorian Martyrs' Memorial which is located near the actual execution site. The Latimer room in Clare College, Cambridge is named after him.
Hugh Latimer said, "It may come in my days, old as I am, or in my children's days, the saints shall be taken up to meet Christ in the air, and so shall come down with Him again" (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4).
- ↑ This is quoted in Actes and Monuments by John Foxe, but not in the first edition, in which he says that what Ridley and Latimer said to each other, "I can learn from no man." Tom Freeman posits that someone reported these words to Foxe, who seized upon them with alacrity. "Text, Lies and Microfilm," Sixteenth Century Journal XXX , 44.
- Chester, Allan G. (1978), Hugh Latimer: Apostle to the English, New York: Octagon Books, OCLC 3933258 . Reprint of edition published by University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1954.
- Darby, Harold S. (1953), Hugh Latimer, London: Epworth Press, OCLC 740084 .
- MacCulloch, Diarmaid (1996), Thomas Cranmer: A Life, London: Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-06688-0 .
- Wabuda, Susan (2004), "Latimer, Hugh (c.1485–1555)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press .
This entry includes public domain text originally from the 1890 Pronouncing Edition of the Holy Bible (Biographical Sketches of the Translators and Reformers and other eminent biblical scholars).
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- Foxe, John: Bishop Latimer in The Book of Martyrs on Wikisource
- "Latimer, Hugh". Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
|Church of England titles|
|Bishop of Worcester|
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