William Whittingham

Chester, Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority, Cheshire, England
Death 10 Jun 1579 (aged 57–58)
Durham, Durham Unitary Authority, County Durham, England
Burial Durham, Durham Unitary Authority, County Durham, England
Memorial ID 132098689 · View Source
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William Whittingham was an English Biblical scholar, Bible translator, exile from Marian policies of persecution, well-connected friend of English reformers, publisher of the Geneva Bible, an English Dean, preacher before Queen Elizabeth, and a Protestant, Reformed and Anglican reformer. John Calvin, the Reformer was the brother of his wife, Katherine Calvin.

He was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, and he became a Protestant and Reformed Churchman; as such, it was necessary to flee to France when Mary I ascended the throne of England and initiated her policies of hostility and persecutions against Reformed Churchmen.

By 1554, Whittingham made his way to Frankfurt, Germany, where he joined a group of Protestant exiles from Mary's reign. There, he met John Knox and became a supporter of Reformed Theology, a force that would inform and shape later Elizabethan divines. (This would later be pushed back by Laudian forces of anti-Calvinism in the 17th century.) He took over Knox's role as established, ordained and recognized minister to the English congregation of exiles in Geneva. In Geneva, he started the work for which he is best remembered, a Bible translation that came to be known as the Geneva Bible.

Whittingham took formal leave of the council at Geneva on May 30, 1560. In Jan. 1561, he was appointed to attend Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford during his embassy to the French court. In the following year he became a chaplain to Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, a minister at Le Havre, then occupied by the English under Warwick. He won general praise; but William Cecil complained of his neglect of conformity to the English Book of Common Prayer. He was collated on July 19, 1563 to the deanery of Durham, a promotion which owed to the support of Warwick and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, another Protestant and Reformed Churchman. On his way to Durham, he preached before Queen Elizabeth I at Windsor, Sep. 2, 1563.

He held the office of Dean of Durham until his death in 1579, at the age of 58 years.

He was buried in Durham Cathedral, where his tomb was destroyed by the Scots in 1640. His will, dated Apr. 18, 1579, is printed in ‘Durham Wills and Inventories' (Surtees Soc. ii. 14–19).

(ref. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 61, Pollard)

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  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Whittingham (1521–10 Jun 1579), Find A Grave Memorial no. 132098689, citing Durham Cathedral, Durham, Durham Unitary Authority, County Durham, England ; Maintained by Kline Lynch (contributor 47937188) .