A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Latimer, Hugh

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Latimer, Hugh (1485-1555). -- Reformer and divine, s. of a Leicestershire yeoman, went to Camb. in 1500, and became Fellow of Clare Hall. Taking orders, he was at first a defender of the ancient faith, but convinced by the arguments of Bilney, embraced the reformed doctrines. He was called to appear before Wolsey, but dismissed on subscribing certain articles. His opposition to the Pope, and his support of the King's supremacy, brought him under the notice of Henry, and he was appointed chaplain to Anne Boleyn, and in 1535 Bishop of Worcester. For preaching in favour of the reformed doctrines he was twice imprisoned in the Tower, 1539 and 1546, and on the former occasion resigned his bishopric, which he declined to resume on the accession of Edward VI. On the accession of Mary he was with Ridley, Bishop of London, thrown into prison (1554), and on October 16, 1555, burned at Oxf. His words of encouragement to his fellow-martyr are well known, "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." He holds his place in English literature by virtue of his sermons -- especially that on The Ploughers -- which, like himself, are outspoken, homely, and popular, with frequent touches of kindly humour.