Thomas Bentham

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Thomas Bentham (1513–1578), Bishop of Coventry, was a Protestant minister, one of the Marian exiles, who continued secretly ministering to an underground congregation in London. On his return to England he was made the first Elizabethan bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, 1560 to 1579.


He was born at Sherburn, Yorkshine,[1] in 1512-13. He was admitted perpetual fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, on 10 November 1546, proceeded, M.A. 1547, and 'about that time did solely addict his mind to the study of theology and to the learning of the Hebrew tongue,' in which last he was most excellent, as in those of Greek and Latin.' On the accession of Mary he was turned out of his fellowship 'for his forward and malapert zeal against the catholic religion in the time of Edward VI, by the visitors appointed by her to regulate the university. [2]

He retired to Zurich and afterwards to Basle, and became preacher to the exiles there, to whom he delivered an exposition of the Acts of the Apostles. He was a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, as was John Foxe, who includes anecdotes of Bentham in his Book of Martyrs.[3]


  1. ^ There are two places in Yorkshire called Sherburn: Sherburn, North Yorkshire and Sherburn-in-Elmet (often referred to locally simply as 'Sherburn'). After 500 years, the puzzle as to which was Bentham's birthplace may be insoluble.
  2. ^ Grossart 1885.
  3. ^ Book of Martyrs

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGrosart, Alexander Balloch (1885). "Bentham, Thomas". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


  • The Letter Book of Bishop Thomas Bentham, conserved at the National Library of Wales was edited by R.O'Day and J. Berlatsky, 1979, in Camden Miscellany, 27 (Camden, 4th ser., 22, London: RHS), 113–238.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Ralph Baines
Bishop of Lichfield
Succeeded by
William Overton