Whittingham, William

, the puritan dean of Durham, the son of William Whittingham, esq. by a daughter of Haughton, of Haughton Tower, was born in the city of Chester, in 1524. In his sixteenth year he became a commoner of Brasenose college, Oxford, where he made great proficiency in literature. After taking his degree of bachelor of arts, he was elected fellow of All Souls in | 1545, and two years afterwards was made one of the seniors of Christ-church, on the foundation oi Henry VIII. In May 1550, having obtained leave to travel for three yearsj he passed his time principally at Orleans, where he married the sister of Calvin. He returned to England in the latter end of the reign of Edward VI. but, as he was a staunch adherent to the doctrines of the reformation, he found it necessary to leave home, when queen Mary came to the throne, and joined the exiles at Francfort. Here he became one of those who took part against the ceremonies of the Church of England being observed among the exiles, and afterwards became a member of the Church of Geneva. On the Scotch reformer, Knox, leaving that society to return to his own country, Whittingham was prevailed upon by Calvin to take orders in the Geneva form, and was Knox’s successor. While here, he undertook, along with other learned men of the same society, an English translation of the Bible, which was not completed when those employed upon it had an opportunity to return to England, on the accession of queen Elizabeth. Whittingham, however, remained at Geneva to finish the work, during which time he translated into metre five of the Psalms, inscribed W. W. of which the 119th was one, together with the ten commandments, and a prayer, all which make part of the collection known by the names of Sternhold and Hopkins. Soon after his return to England, he was employed to accompany Francis, earl of Bedford, on his embassy of condolence for the death of the French king, in 1560. And he attended Ambrose, earl of Warwick, to Havre de Grace, to be preacher there, while the earl defended it against the French; and Wood says, he preached nonconformity in this place. Warwick appears to have had a very high opinion of him, and it was by his interest that Whittingham was promoted to the deanery of Durham in 1563, which he enjoyed for sixteen' years. During this time he was one of the most zealous opponents of the habits and ceremonies, and so outrageous in his zeal against popery, as to destroy some of the antiquities and monuments in Durham cathedral, and even took up the stone coffins of the priors of Durham, and ordered them to be used as troughs for horses to drink in.

Notwithstanding his opposition to the habits, when in 1564 the order issued for wearing them, he thought proper to comply, and being afterwards reproached for this by one | who was with him at Geneva, he quoted a saying of Calvin’s, “that for external matters of order, they might not neglect their ministry, for so should they, for tithing of mint, neglect the greater things of the law.” It had been well for the church had this maxim more generally prevailed. Whittingham did essential service to government in the rebellion of 1569, but rendered himself very obnoxious at court, by a zealous preface, written by him, to Christopher Goodman’s book, which denied women the right of government. He was probably in other respects obnoxious, generally as a nonconformist, which at last excited a dispute between him and Dr. Sandys, archbishop of York. In 1577 the archbishop made his primary visitation throughout the whole of his province, and began with Durham, where a charge, consisting of thirty- five articles, was brought against Whittingbam, the principal of which was his being ordained only at Geneva. Whittingham, refused to answer the charge, but denied in the first place the archbishop’s power to visit the church of Durham. On this Sandys proceeded to excommunication. Whittingbam then appealed to the queen, who directed a eowimission to the archbishop, Henry earl of Huntington, lord president of the north, and Dr. Hutton, dean of York, to hear and determine the validity of his ordination, and to inquire into the other misdemeanours contained in the articles; but, this commission ended only in some countenance being given to Whitaker by the earl and by Dr. Hutton, the latter of whom went so far as to say, that “Mr. Whittinghgm wasordained in a better sort than even the archbishop himself.” Sandys then obtained another opmmission directed to himself, the bishop of Durham, and 10rd president, the chancellor of the diocese, and some others. This was dated May 14, 1578, and maybe seen in Rymer’s Feedera, vok XV. Here, as Whittingham had Bothing to produce but a certinqate or call from the church of Geneva, it was objected to, but the lord president said that “it would be ill taken by all the godly and learned, both at home and abroad, that we allow of popish massing priests in our ministry, and disallow of ministers leade in the reformed church.” It does not appear that any thing was determined, and Whittingham’s death put an end to the question. He died June 10, 1579, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and his remains were interred in the cathedral of Durham, with a monumental inscription, | which was afterwards destroyed by another set of innovators. He appears to have been a man of talents for business, as well as learning, and there was a design at one time of advancing him at court. He published little except some few translations from foreign authors to promote the cause of the reformation, and he wrote ome prefaces. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Hutchinson’s Hist, of Durham. —Strype’s Life of Parker, pp. 135, 156. —Strype’s Grindal, p. no. —Strype’s Annals. Brook’s Lives of the Puritans.