Antonio del Corro

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Antonio del Corro (Corrano, de Corran, Corranus) (Seville, 1527-London, 1591) was a Spanish monk who became a Protestant convert. A noted Calvinist preacher and theologian, he taught at the University of Oxford and wrote the first Spanish grammar in English.


Spain and exile on the Continent[edit]

He was a Hieronymite of the Abbey of San Isidro, Seville. Influenced by Cipriano de Valera, he came into contact with the Protestant ideas of Luther, Melanchthon and Bullinger.[1]

Against the Inquisition

He left Spain with others in 1557, fearing the Spanish Inquisition.[2][3] Some scholars considered that he may be behind the pseudonym Reginaldus Gonsalvius Montanus (Renaldo Gonzalez Montano), who published in 1567 the account Sanctae Inquisitionis Hispanicae Artes aliquot detectae ac palam traductae, a major source for subsequent accounts of the Inquisition; however others believe it belonged to Casiodoro de Reina.[4][5][6][7][8]

European travels

He travelled to Lausanne and Geneva, but came to quarrel with Jean Calvin.[9] On Calvin's recommendation, however, he became tutor to Henry of Navarre.[10]

In France he used the name Bellerive,[11] and served as a minister in Béarn.[12] He was supported by both Jeanne d'Albret and Renée of France;[9] the latter made him her chaplain at Montargis.[11]

He became pastor of the Spanish church in Antwerp,[13] but caused offence[clarification needed] there too.[9]

In England[edit]

He came to England in the period 1567-70, and settled there. Having behind him the influence of William Cecil, he held positions as pastor of the Spanish church in London, 1568–70, and lecturer at the Temple Church, 1571-4.[14] Later Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester was an important patron. In England del Corro moved away from Calvinism to more tolerant and even free-thinking positions, while being a controversialist. It has been suggested that his qualified acceptance stemmed from political expediency.[15]

At the Temple Church he showed the influence of the Lutheran theologian Hemmingius in his preaching. He retreated from the Calvinist view of predestination. This shift brought him under criticism from Richard Alvey, Master of the Temple.[16]

Controversy over his views followed him to Oxford, where he did tutoring and catechism work (at Hart Hall,[17] also at Oriel College and St John's College[10]), and became reader in theology in 1578.[9] It brought him the opposition of the Puritan John Rainolds, who blocked his degree as Doctor of Divinity in 1576.[16] He persisted in views favouring free will, for example in glossing the Epistle to the Romans, 5:22.[18]

In Oxford, his pupils included John Donne and Thomas Belson, a Catholic martyr.[10][19]

The Spanish Grammar (1590) was an English translation by John Thorie of a grammar written by del Corro to teach Spanish to French speakers, and published in Oxford in 1586.[20][21]

In his recent work "Silence : A Christian History", Diarmaid MacCulloch has drawn attention (pp 170,287) to "The Life and Works of Antonion del Corro, 1527-91", an unpublished PhD thesis by W.McFadden, and to a published work, much indebted to McFadden but with additional material, "Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford", Oxford 1983, pp 119–122. MacCulloch notes that del Corro made "cautious and unmistakable statements of Unitarianism" but still ended his days "in comfort as a prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral in London."


  1. ^ Mattinson, Christopher (1983) Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford (1983), p. 111.
  2. ^ Kamen, Henry (1985) Inquisition and Society in Spain, p. 73.
  3. ^ Chapter 2: Aristocrats and Traders
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ Vermaseren, B. A. (1985) "Who was Reginaldus Gonsalvius Montanus?" Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance; 47, pp. 47-77
  6. ^ Beyond the Myth of The Inquisition: Ours Is "The Golden Age
  7. ^ The survey by Kimberly Lynn Hossain (2007) "Unraveling the Spanish Inquisition: Inquisitorial Studies in the Twenty-First Century" History Compass; 5 (4), 1280–1293.
  8. ^ But: Peter Brooks, Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (2000), p. 156, suggests the work was joint with Casiodoro de Reina
  9. ^ a b c d Wyatt, Michael (2005) The Italian Encounter with Tudor England: a Cultural Politics of Translation, p. 150.
  10. ^ a b c Asquith, Clare "Oxford University and Love's Labours Lost", p. 86, in Dennis Taylor, David N. Beauregard (editors), Shakespeare and the Culture of Christianity in Early Modern England
  11. ^ a b The Reina-Valera Bible: From Dream to Reality | Literatura Bautista Archived 2007-09-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Pettegree, Andrew (ed.) (1992) The Early Reformation in Europe, p. 234.
  13. ^ McRie: chapter 8
  14. ^ Concise Dictionary of National Biography, under Corro.
  15. ^ Adams, Simon (2002) Leicester and the Court: essays on Elizabethan politics, p. 228.
  16. ^ a b Secor, Philip Bruce (1999) Richard Hooker: Prophet of Anglicanism, p. 95.
  17. ^ Jones, Norman Leslie (2002) The English Reformation: religion and cultural adaptation, p. 29.
  18. ^ Poole, William ( -?- ) Milton and the Idea of the Fall, p. 35.
  19. ^ Thomas Belson Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ Auroux, Sylvain (2000) History of the Language Sciences, p. 720.
  21. ^ "The Spanish Grammar, London, 1590". Copac. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 

Bromber, Robert, Antonio del Corro: Spanish Mirror for Gloriana (1997) unpublished thesis, Arizona State University

See also[edit]


  • Hauben, Paul J. (1967) Three Spanish heretics and the Reformation : Antonio Del Corro, Cassiodoro De Reina, Cypriano De Valera. Geneva : Libr. Droz
  • McFadden, William (1953) The Life and Works of Antonio del Corro (1527-1591)
  • Peters, Edward (1988) Inquisition. New York: Free Press ISBN 0-02-924980-5

External links[edit]