An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Latimer, Hugh

(1490-Oct. 16, 1555). Bishop and Reformation leader. He was born in Thurcaston, Leicestershire, England, and studied at Cambridge University. At first he was a bitter opponent of the Reformation. Consecrated Bishop of Worcester on Sept. 26, 1535, he quickly became one of the Reform leaders. Although he supported Henry VIII in the dissolution of the monasteries, he played little part in various attempts to introduce changes in church doctrine. His sermons stimulated interest in reform by attacking the superstitions of the clergy and the poverty of those whom they served. He had his greatest fame as a preacher. His career came to an abrupt end when he opposed the Six Articles of Henry VIII. Latimer's stand was in accordance with his Protestant beliefs. He resigned his see on July 1, 1539. For the remainder of Henry's reign, Latimer was in the shadow of virtual exile. When Edward VI came to the throne in 1547, Latimer again became a popular preacher. He denounced social and ecclesiastical abuse. His views were suspect when Queen Mary came to power in 1553. On Sept. 13, 1553, he was imprisoned in the Tower and placed in the same room with Thomas Cranmer and Nicholas Ridley. He was burned at the stake in front of Balliol College, Oxford. He exhorted Nicholas Ridley, his fellow victim, with the famous words, “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.” Latimer, along with Ridley and Cranmer, is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Oct. 16.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.