Bourne, Gilbert (DNB00)

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BOURNE, GILBERT (d. 1569), bishop of Bath and Wells, the son of Philip Bourne of Worcestershire, entered the university of Oxford in 1524, and was a fellow of All Souls' College in 1531, 'and in the year after he proceeded in arts, being then esteemed a good orator and disputant' (Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 805). In 1541 he was made one of the prebendaries of the king's new foundation at Worcester; in 1545 he received a prebend (Wildland) at St. Paul's and took another (Brownswood) in its place in 1548; in 1547 he was proctor for the clergy of the diocese of London; and in 1549 he became rector of High Ongar in Essex, and archdeacon of Bedford. He is described, probably in error, by Foxe and Wood as archdeacon of Essex and Middlesex, and by Godwin as archdeacon of London. He became chaplain to Bishop Bonner in the reign of Henry VIII, and preached against heretics (Wood and Foxe). His preferments prove that he must have complied with the religious changes of the reign of Edward VI. In spite, however, of this compliance, he did not desert his patron, for he stood by Bonner during the hearing of his appeal in 1549. On the accession of Mary he acted as one of the delegates for Bonner's restitution, and on 13 Aug. of the same year (1553) preached a sermon at Paul's Cross justifying the conduct of the bishop, and enlarging on his sufferings in the Marshalsea. His hearers, enraged at the tone of his discourse, raised a hubbub, and a dagger was thrown at the preacher. The weapon missed its aim, and Bradford and Rogers, who were popular with the Londoners, led him out of the tumult, and put him in safety within the door of the grammar school. Three days after this Bradford was arrested. On being brought to trial the next year, Bradford was accused of having excited the people to make this disturbance. He pleaded the help he had given to Bourne, but that was not allowed to profit him (Foxe, Acts, &c.; Heylin, Hist. Reform.; Burnet, Hist. Reform.} As Bourne's uncle, Sir John Bourne, was principal secretary of state, his advancement in the church was certain. Accordingly he was elected bishop of Bath and Wells on 28 March 1554 in the place of Barlow, who was deprived of his office. He was consecrated on 1 April along with five others, and received the temporalities of his see on 20 April. He received from the queen the office of warden of the Welsh marches. As bishop he was zealous in restoring the old order of the church. Immediately after his consecration he commissioned Cottrel, his vicar-general, to deprive and punish 'all in holy orders keeping in adulterous embraces women upon show of feigned and pretensed matrimony;' and 'married laics who in pretence and under colour of priestly orders had rashly and unlawfully mingled themselves in ecclesiastical rights, and had obtained de facto parish churches, to deprive and remove from the said churches and dignities, and those so convicted to separate and divorce from their women or their wives, or rather concubines, and to enjoin salutary and worthy penances, as well to the same clerks as to the women for such crimes' (Strype, Eccl. Mem. III. i.) Accordingly no less than eighty-two cases of deprivation, and an unusually large number of resignations, appear in the Register of this bishop. Bourne was much employed in the proceedings taken against heretics. In April 1554 he took part in the disputation held with Cramner, Latimer, and Ridley at Oxford, and at different dates acted on commissions for the trial of Bishop Hooper, Dr. Taylor, Tomkins, and Philpot. In these proceedings, however, he always did what he could for the prisoners, checking Bonner's violence, and earnestly exhorting them to save themselves by recantation. Proofs of this unwillingness to allow men to suffer may be found in Foxe, who records the repeated endeavours he made to induce Mantel (1554) to save himself, the appeal he made to Tomkins (1555), and the interruption he made when Bonner was about to pass sentence on Philpot somewhat eagerly (1555). In his own diocese it does not appear that any one was put to death for religious opinions. The imprisonment of two clerks is noticed in his Register under 11 April 1554, and in 1556 a certain Richard Lush was condemned and sentenced to be committed to the sheriffs. A certificate of this condemnation was sent by the bishop to the king and queen, but as not even Foxe has been able to find any record of Lush's martyrdom (Acts and Mon. viii. 378), it may be taken for granted that he was not put to death. Zealous then as he was for his own religion, Bourne saved Somerset from any share in the Marian persecution. He did all that lay in his power to regain some of the possessions of which his church had been robbed in the late reign, and recovered what had fallen to the crown. Banwell was regained for the bishopric, and Long Sutton and Dulverton for the chapter of Wells. He sent his proxy to the first parliament of Elizabeth in 1558, in which year he was lord-president of Wales. Next year he and other disaffected bishops were summoned to appear before the queen, possibly in convocation, and were bidden to drive all Romish worship out of their dioceses. He was one of the bishops appointed by the queen for the consecration of Matthew Parker; but the commission failed, probably through the unwillingness of those nominated to carry it out. Bourne refused to take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, and with six other bishops was committed to the Tower. The recusant bishops were treated with indulgence, and allowed to eat together at two tables. When the plague visited London in 1562, they were removed from the Tower for fear of infection. Bourne was committed to the keeping of Bullingham, bishop of Lincoln, and dwelt with him as a kind of involuntary guest. He was an inmate of his household in 1565, and in that year seems to have stayed for a while in London. He was also kept by Dean Carey of Exeter. He died at Silverton in Devonshire on 10 Sept. 1569, and was buried there on the south side of the altar. Such property as he had he left to his brother, Richard Bourne of Wiveliscombe. 'He was,' Fuller says, 'a zealous papist, yet of a good nature, well deserving of his cathedral.'

[Strype's Annals, i. i. 82, 211, 220, 248, ii. ii. 51; Ecclesiastical Memorials, iii. i. 180, 286, 327, 352; Memorials of Abp. Cranmer, 459; Life of Abp. Parker, i. 106, 172, 282 (8vo ed.); Foxe's Acts and Monuments, v, vi, vii, viii passim (ed. 1846); Heylin's Hist, of Reformation, 286 (ed. 1674); Fuller's Church History, ii. 449, iv. 180, 367 (ed. Brewer); Burnet's Hist, of Reformation; Nichols's Narratives of the Reformation, 142, 287, Camden Society; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (ed. Bliss), ii. 805; Le Neve's Fasti; Godwin, De Præsulibus (1742), p. 388; Cassan's Lives of the Bishops of Bath and Wells, i. 462; Bourne's Register, MS. Wells.]

W. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.33
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
28 i 19f.e. Bourne, Gilbert: after prebend insert (Wildland)
18f.e.  after prebend insert (Brownswood)
29 i 28  after 1558 insert in which year he was lord president of Wales