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Gilpin
Gilpin
379

quently he was soon denounced to the bishop as a heretic, but Tunstall replied to his accusers: ‘Father's soul! let him alone; he hath more learning than you all.’ The bishop even conferred on Gilpin the important rectory of Houghton-le-Spring, ‘being a very large parish, containing fourteen villages, with very large possessions’ (Carleton). His house was like a bishop's palace, and far superior to many palaces, and his position that of a clerical magnate. Gilpin now entered upon that extended sphere of work and influence which gained for him the title of the ‘Apostle of the North.’ Taking compassion on the miserably neglected state of parts of Northumberland and Yorkshire, he used every winter to make a progress through Riddesdale and Tyndale and some other districts, where scarcely any preachers were to be found, preaching and distributing alms. The people almost worshipped him, and numerous anecdotes are preserved by his biographers of the extraordinary influence which he had over them. At Houghton Gilpin's charities were on the most extensive scale. He would sometimes strip his cloak off and give it to an ill-clad beggar. Riding with his servants in the country on one occasion, he saw a poor husbandman's horse fall down dead in the plough. Immediately Gilpin told one of his servants to unsaddle his horse and give it to the poor man. His habit was on Sundays to feast all his parishioners, in three divisions, according to their ranks, at his table. But his most valuable work was the foundation, on a scale of great munificence, of a grammar school. From this school many scholars were sent to the universities. Some were supported there at Gilpin's cost. A large number of the boys attending the school were boarded and lodged in Gilpin's house free of all charge. Gilpin's zeal and munificence soon made for him a great and dangerous reputation. His enemies, unable to persuade Tunstall to proceed against him, laid thirty-two articles of accusation before Bonner, bishop of London. The bishop, acting probably under the queen's commission, sent a pursuivant to bring him to London. On the way Gilpin accidentally broke his leg, which probably saved his life, as before he was able to travel Queen Mary died. At the death of Oglethorpe, bishop of Carlisle (1559), Gilpin was much pressed to accept the bishopric. But he steadily refused, his reason being that, having so many friends and kindred in the diocese who were not in accord with him in opinions, he would be much hampered in his work. In the following year the provostship of Queen's College, Oxford, was offered to him. This he also declined. When, after the passing of Queen Elizabeth's Injunctions, commissioners went through the country to enforce conformity, Gilpin had considerable difficulty in signing the required declaration. Sandys, bishop of Worcester, Gilpin's cousin, was one of the commissioners, and he insisted on Gilpin preaching before them at Auckland against the supremacy of the pope. This he consented to do; but a sermon preached the day before by Dr. Sandys on the Eucharist so shocked him that he had the greatest difficulty to bring himself to perform his task. On the next day, when the subscription was to be made, Gilpin endeavoured to avoid it, but was told that if he refused all the clergy in the north would follow his example. This induced him at last to consent, though he does not appear to have been fully satisfied with the settlement of the church of England. In June 1560 Gilpin entertained at Houghton Sir William Cecil and Dr. Wotton, sent as ambassadors to Scotland. During the northern rebellion (1569) his house and barns were plundered by the rebels; but upon its repression Gilpin was very active in endeavouring to save the lives of the misguided people implicated. Great attempts were now made by the puritan party to obtain the countenance and support of Gilpin for their ‘discipline.’ He was intimate with Bishop Pilkington, the successor of Tunstall at Durham, who was much inclined to favour the puritans, and with Thomas Lever, another puritan leader. But his great reverence for the fathers and for primitive antiquity preserved him from accepting these modern views. His laborious ministrations, his boundless charities, and, above all, his unsparing and outspoken denunciation of the abuses then prevalent, made Gilpin many enemies. Among these was Richard Barnes [q. v.], who succeeded Pilkington as bishop of Durham. Barnes was not congenial to Gilpin, and his brother, who acted as chancellor, was notorious for gross abuses. The bishop insisted, at a visitation at Chester-le-Street, that Gilpin should preach. Gilpin was not prepared with a sermon, but, being urged by the bishop, delivered in the plainest and most forcible language a strong censure of the proceedings of the bishop and chancellor. The bishop accompanied Gilpin to his house, and on entering it seized his hand, exclaiming: ‘Father Gilpin, I acknowledge you are fitter to be bishop of Durham than myself parson of this church of yours. I ask forgiveness for errors past; forgive me, father. I know you have hatched up some chickens that now seek to pick out your eyes; but so long as I shall live bishop of Durham be secure, no man