Thomas Bentham

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Thomas Bentham (1513/14–1578), 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, serving from 1560 to 1579.


Bentham was born in 1513/14, to unknown parents, in Sherburn, Yorkshire (although which of the two places of this name is uncertain).[1] He was admitted perpetual fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, on 10 November 1546, proceeded M.A. in 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. John Foxe, another Fellow of Magdalen, includes anecdotes of Bentham in his Book of Martyrs.[3]


  1. ^ The two places are Sherburn in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, and Sherburn-in-Elmet (often referred to locally simply as "Sherburn"), near Selby.
  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.

Further reading[edit]

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Ralph Baines
Bishop of Lichfield
Succeeded by
William Overton