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Bernard Gilpin

1517-1583. Anglican divine. Born in Westmorland, he was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, and became thereafter a student at Christ Church. At first he had no inclination toward the Reformed faith, and disputed against John Hooper and Peter Martyr, but during the reign of Edward VI, while continuing to attack changes in and neglect of the externals of worship, he proceeded slowly toward the Reformed position. From 1552 to 1556 he resided in France, but returned home when he was presented by his great-uncle, the easy-going Bishop Tunstall of Durham, to the living first of Easington and then of Houghton-le- Spring. Now began his lifelong series of missionary tours and his social and educational work among the neglected masses which earned him the title “Apostle of the North.” Arrested in 1558, he would undoubtedly have perished in the flames but for Queen Mary's timely death. Gilpin accepted Elizabeth's religious settlement, albeit with some hesitation, his most significant example being followed by most of the clergy of the north. In the 1570s the growing Puritan party made approaches to him, but his innate conservatism precluded active support. To the end he continued his tours, denouncing ecclesiastical scandals and arousing hostility.