Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 27.djvu/311

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by six of the council, empowering Cranmer to consecrate him without the vestments. But this the archbishop refused to do. He, however, requested Ridley, bishop of London, to discuss with Hooper the question of wearing the episcopal dress. The discussion took place, and appears to have been angry and bitter. Hooper called the vestments impious. Martyr and Bucer were then asked by Hooper for their opinions, and both agreed that the vestments might lawfully be worn. Laski and Micronius, however, encouraged him in his resistance. Hooper was again called before the council, and, refusing to yield, was ordered to keep his house, and not to publish anything. This order he openly disobeyed, going about everywhere, and straightway publishing his ‘Confession of Faith.’ The council, sorely perplexed, ordered him into the Archbishop of Canterbury's custody (13 Jan. 1550–1). Cranmer soon reported that he could do nothing with him, and Hooper was committed to the Fleet (27 Jan.). Thereupon he signified to the council, and afterwards to Cranmer, his willingness to wear the episcopal dress. Accordingly, he was consecrated (8 March 1551) with the usual ceremonies. Bullinger, writing to Utenhovius 8 Nov. 1551, says that he heard the news of Hooper's submission ‘non sine dolore.’

Hooper at once went to his diocese of Gloucester, and displayed the utmost zeal in his work. He is said to have preached three or four times a day. He drew up a paper of fifty articles for the instruction of his clergy, and issued a large list of injunctions and interrogatories; but finding the replies not very satisfactory, he began a personal examination of his clergy as to their knowledge of the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, and the Lord's Prayer, in which simple subjects he is said to have found them very insufficiently informed. His nonconformist leanings appeared in the organisation of his diocese. He followed John Laski [q. v.] or the Zurich usage in appointing ‘superintendents’ instead of rural deans and archdeacons. Early in 1552 the see of Worcester was given to him to hold in commendam with the see of Gloucester. Later, Gloucester was made an archdeaconry merely, and Hooper was termed bishop of Worcester. He seems to have been forced to consent to the alienation of the revenues of Gloucester to the crown. Hooper endeavoured to carry out the same strict discipline at Worcester as he had inaugurated at Gloucester, but he appears to have met with greater resistance, his articles being denounced as illegal by two of the canons, with whom he held a disputation. When, in 1552, the commission for the confiscation of church goods was at work, Hooper, at Worcester, removed, as far as possible, all the plate and church furniture. He wrote to Cecil in October to correct any false rumours which his action might have given rise to. While Hooper was occupied at Worcester, the old practices which he had condemned were resumed at Gloucester, but he returned to his work there with unabated energy. He gained much reputation by his severe censure of the irregularities of Sir Anthony Kingston, who was so enraged at being censured that he responded with abuse, and even with blows. The day before Hooper's execution Kingston visited him, thanked him for reforming his morals, and urged him to recant and save his life. The bishop's liberality to the poor was unbounded, and in spite of his severity he appears to have been beloved at Gloucester. From 1551 he was a member of the commission of thirty-two which had to report upon the ecclesiastical laws.

Hooper was opposed to the attempt to set aside Mary in favour of Lady Jane Grey, which Cranmer and some other of the reforming bishops favoured, but he was nevertheless one of the first persons against whom proceedings were taken in her reign. The laws for the punishment of heresy not having been yet re-enacted, Hooper was sent to the Fleet on an apparently unfounded charge of owing a debt to the queen. His imprisonment was excessively rigorous. He complains that he was used ‘worse and more vilely than the veriest slave.’ On 15 March 1553–4 a commission was issued by Queen Mary to deprive him of his bishopric (Rymer, Fœdera, xv. 370). On 22 Jan. 1554–5 he was brought before the commissioners sitting in the church of St. Mary Overie at Southwark and accused of heresy. The principal charge against him was grounded on his teaching on the Eucharist. He refused to recant, was excommunicated and degraded, and handed over to the sheriffs of London, who put him in Newgate (Wriothesley, Chron. ed. Nichols, Camd. Soc. ii. 126). It was determined to send him to Gloucester for execution, and as his popularity there was well known, strict orders were given to prevent him speaking to the people at the stake. Full details of his last hours are given by Foxe. His sufferings were extreme, but his constancy remained unshaken. He was burned on 9 Feb. 1554–5. The lower end of the stake to which he was bound has recently been discovered.

By his actions and writings Hooper very effectively contributed to the popularising of extreme puritanic views of religion in England. Of his numerous works, both in Latin and English, the following have been printed: