Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/54

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Oglethorpe
Oglethorpe
48

OGLETHORPE, OWEN (d. 1559) bishop of Carlisle, was, according to Wood, the third 'natural' or 'base-born' son of Owen Oglethorpe of Newton Kyme, near Tadcaster, Yorkshire (Strype, Memorials, vol. iii. pt.i. p.173). He was born at Newton Kyme, and was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1525 ; was admitted fellow about 1526, and graduated M.A. in 1529, being then in holy orders. He served the office of junior proctor in 1533. On 21 Feb. 1535 he was elected president of his college.and grarluated as B.D. 12 Feb. 1536, and D.D, five days later. He fulfilled the duties of vice-chancellor 'with great honour' in 1551. His ecclesiastical preferments were many. From Archbishop Heath, as a Yorkshireman, he received the rectory of Bolton Percy in 1534, and in 1541 a prebendal stall at Ripon (which in 1544 he exchanged for another in the same church). He also was collated to the stall of Lafford in Lincoln Cathedral in 1536. In 1538 Cranmer gave him the living of Newington, Oxfordshire, one of the archiepiscopal peculiars, which he held till his elevation to the episcopate in 1557. He was appointed to the college livings of Beeding and Sele, Sussex, in 1531, and to East Bridgeford in 1538; to the benefice of his native place, Newton Kyme, in 1541, and to that of Romald-Kirk in the same year, and of St. Olave, Southwark, in 1544. At an earlier period he had been one of the canons of Henry VIII's foundation, erected in 1532 on the suppression of Wolsey's 'Cardinal College;' and on the conversion of St. Frideswide's into a cathedral church in 1546, a pension of 20l. was reserved for him out of its revenues, He was appointed canon of Windsor in 1540. His standing as a theologian had been previously fully recognised, and in 1540 he was named by Cranmer one of the commissioners to whom were addressed the 'Seventeen Questions' on the sacraments, on the answers to which was founded 'The Erudition of a Christian Man' (Strype, Memorials, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 14 ; Cramner, i. 110, Appendix, Nos. xxvii. xxviii.)

The accession of Edward VI, which placed Somerset in supreme power, was the beginning of trouble to Oglethorpe. His conduct shows him to have being a man of no strength of character, with little love for the series of religious changes through which the clergy were being hustled, but reluctantly accepting them rather than forego the dignity and emoluments of office. The society of Magdalen College was at that time greatly divided in religious opinion. The majority, including Oglethorpe, adhered more or less openly to the old faith; while the reforming party, through a minority, by their violence made up for the inferiority of their numbers. Scenes of miserable confusion and acts of disgraceful sacrilege took place. Early in 1548 the new order of communion had been published, and letters were received from Somerset urging the college, in somewhat indefinite but unmistakable terms, to 'the Redress of Religion.' Oglethorpe felt that to keep his place he must comply. High mass was laid aside, and the English order of communion adopted, the president himself ministering. Not satisfied with this amount of compliance, some of the fellows sent a petition to the Protector accusing the president of attempting to dissuade the society from following his directions. The charge was categorically denied in a letter from Oglethorpe, dated 8 Nov. 1548, signed by himself and eighteen other members of the college (Bloxam, Magdalen College Registery vol. ii. pp. xliv, xlv, 300-3). In 1560 another fierce attack was made upon Oglethorpe by ten of the most puritanical of the fellows in a petition to the lords of the council, accusing him of persecuting the 'Godlie' and favouring the 'Papists,' their grievance being summed up in twenty-five articles. These he answered seriatim, denying some and explaining others (ib. pp. 309-317). He also drew up 'a further defence,' to set himself right with the Protector and his council. In this he repudiated the scholastic doctrine of transubstantiation and solitary masses, and declared his approbation of the new 'order and form' of service in English, provided 'it be used godly and reverently' (ib. p. 318), He was, however, summoned to London to answer the charges, and in May was reported to have been 'imprisoned for superstition,' and to be likely to lose his presidentship (Christopher Hales to Rudolph Gualter, Original Letters, Parker Soc. i. 187). The latter fear was not realised; he kept his headship, and it is curious to find him not long after (1 Aug.) entertaining the leading reformers, Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer, and the former for the second time together with Coverdale on 19 May of the following year. The changes recently made in the chapel by order of the visitors, such as the demolition of the high altar and the burning of the organ, cannot fail to have been very displeasing to Oglethorpe; and, though outwardly complying, it was abundantly clear that at heart he was hankering after the old system. In 1552, therefore, the king's council resolved on his removal; they believed that he would impede the further religious changes they had in view, and, by a tyrannical violation of the statutes, ap-