Bullingham, John (DNB00)
|←Buller, George||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 07
BULLINGHAM, JOHN (d. 1598), bishop of Gloucester, was a native of Gloucestershire. He was elected a probationer fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, July 1550, being then B.A. He was slow in embracing the tenets of the reformers. His adherence to the doctrines of the unreformed church and his distrust at the innovations introduced by the influence of the foreign reformers in the latter part of Edward VI's reign drove him as 'a voluntary exile' to France, where, in his own later words, a 'friendless and moniless' fugitive 'for the wicked pope's sake,' he took refuge at Rouen, in which city he remained some time. On the accession of Queen Mary he returned to England, and was restored to his place. He took his degree of M.A. 1 June 1554. A letter relating to his friend Julius Palmer is printed in Foxe's 'Acts and Monuments' (iii. 616); Palmer had also been an exile for his religion, and was converted to protestantism by a perusal of Calvin's 'Institutes.' Palmer paid the penalty of his change of faith, being burnt alive at Newbury 16 July 1556, while his former associate basked in favour as domestic chaplain to Bishop Gardiner of Winchester, and rector of Boxwell and of Withington in his native county of Gloucester. The accession of Elizabeth temporarily clouded his fortunes. He at first maintained his old faith, and was, in Foxe's words, 'quite and clean despatched from all his livings for his obstinacy.' His 'obstinacy,' however, could not have been of very long duration, for we find him appointed by Grindal to the prebendal stall of Wenlocks-barn in St. Paul's Cathedral, 1 Aug. 1565, and admitted to the degree of B.D. at Oxford under the new protestant regime, 'after twelve years' studying,' 8 July 1566 (Wood, Athenae, ii. 842; Boase, Reg. of Univ. of Oxford, p. 225). The next year, 27 Dec. 1567, he was appointed archdeacon of Huntingdon, in room of Dr. Beaumont, master of Trinity, by his namesake, probably his kinsman, Nicholas Bullingham [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln. He held the post till 1576 (Le Neve, Fasti, ii. 53). Dignities rapidly succeeded one another for the new convert, and he 'became well beneficed' (Wood). He was created D.D. by his university 12 July 1568, and received from Bishop Bullingham the stall of Louth in Lincoln Cathedral 10 Sept. of the same year, and still retaining his other preferments was installed canon of Worcester 13 Oct. 1570 (Strype, Parker, ii. 48). He was incorporated D.D. of Cambridge 7 July 1575. When Grindal in 1576 held a visitation of his province by commission, Bullingham was one of those appointed to visit the diocese of Hereford (Strype, Grin- dal, p. 316, bk. ii. ch. 7). He was raised to the episcopate in 1581, being consecrated in 3 Sept. of that year at Croydon to the see of Gloucester (Strype, Grindal, p. 397, bk. ii. ch. 12). He was allowed to hold the recently created bishopric of Bristol in commendam as well as the prebend of Norton in Hereford Cathedral, to which he was installed 16 Jan. 1582. He held the see of Bristol till the appointment of Fletcher, at whose consecration he assisted, 14 Dec. 1589 (Strype, Whitgift, i.617, bk.iv. ch. 1). The rectory of Kilmington, in the county of Somerset, was given him in compensation for the loss of the second bishopric and his Hereford stall. He served as commissioner for the confirmation of Whitgift's election as archbishop, 27 Aug. 1583 (Strype, Whitgift, bk. ii. ch. 2), and in 1584 was commissioned by the new primate to visit his own diocese of Gloucester metropolitically (ib. bk. iii. ch. 12, i. 410). When the see of Oxford fell vacant in 1592, Aylmer, then bishop of London, at his request unsuccessfully endeavoured to obtain it for Bullingham, pleading that 'it was very fit for him from the nearness of the place and to make some addition to his poor portion' (Strype, Aylmer, p. 110). Bullingham died at Kensington 20 May 1598, and was, according to some authorities, buried in his own cathedral.
Bullingham does not appear to have been conspicuous either for learning or refinement. On this ground as well as for his tardy conversion to the protestant faith he became the object of the scurrilous attacks of 'Martin Mar-Prelate.' Among other choice epithets lavished upon him by that foul-mouthed satirist we find him termed 'a mass-monger,' an 'old papist priest,' one whom 'beef and brewis' had made a papist, and an 'old steal-counter mass-priest' (Epistle to the Terrible Priests, pp, 41, 60, 63; Hay, any work for a Cooper, pp, 10, 34, Petheram's edition). This low estimate of Bullingham's learning and ability is fully borne out by a letter from Archbishop Parker to Sir W. Cecil, 2 Feb, 1571, in which he describes him as 'an honest true-meaning man,' whom, 'on the credit of others much commending him,' he had once appointed to preach before the queen, but he would never do so again since he 'had perceived in him neither "pronunciationem aulicam" nor "ingenium aulicum," not meet for the court' (Strype, Parker, ii. 400, bk. iv. ch. 1; Parker Correspondence, pp, 318, 378).
The only works attributed to Bullingham are 'a translation of John Venerus's oration in defence of the Sacrament of the Aultare,' 1554, 8vo, and the letter above referred to, containing an account of Julius Palmer the martyr, printed in Foxe's 'Acts and Monuments,' iii. 616, ed. 1784.[Godwin, De Praesul. ii. 133; Wood's Athenae. ii. 842; Boase's Register of Univ. of Oxford, p. 325; Le Neve's Fasti, ll. cc.; Strype's Parker, ll. cc.; Aylmer. 110; Martin Mar-Prelate, ll. cc.; Foxe's Acts and Monuments. iii. 616, ed. 1784; Rymer's Foedera, xv. 27, 540.]