Bishop of Worcester and Reformer
Hugh Latimer (c. 1487 – 16 October 1555) was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and 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.
Born in Leicestershire and educated at Cambridge, Latimer was at first antagonistic to the Reformation in England. He was converted in his thinking under the influence of Thomas Bilney, one of the leaders of a group of reformed theologians who met for discussion at the well-known White Horse Tavern. Latimer quickly became one of the leading spokesmen for the Reformation.
Latimer was chaplain to King Henry VIII and, in 1535, was made Bishop of Worcester. However, his reformed views led to charges of heresy, and he endured two brief imprisonments during times when Henry reacted against reform.
Latimer is best known as a powerful preacher, and he was a favorite preacher in the royal court under Edward VI. He placed great emphasis on the reading of Scripture and is thought to be the author of the homily "A Fruitful Exhortation to the Reading of Holy Scripture," in the "First Book of Homilies."
Arrested during the persecution of Reformers under Queen Mary, Latimer, along with Nicholas Ridley, was burned at the stake, in Oxford, on October 16, 1555. As the fires were lit, Latimer cried out to his companion, "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!"
Works by Hugh Latimer
Although at first an enemy of the Reformation in England, Hugh Latimer quickly became one of its leading advocates after having a change of mind. Henry VIII appointed him Bishop of Worcester a few years later. Under Catholic Queen “Bloody” Mary, however, Latimer’s teaching and preaching, rather than encouraged by the English monarchy, was outlawed and condemned. Along with Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, Latimer was burned at the stake in 1555 for heresy. When the crown allowed him to preach freely, Latimer not only defended the reformed faith from the pulpit, but often spoke on the practical teachings of Christ and St. Paul. This volume contains a number of his pastoral sermons as well as ceremonial sermons delivered before the English nobility.
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