James Pilkington

c.1520-1576. Bishop of Durham. He was born near Rivington in Lancashire, and became a fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1539 and president in 1550. Being a warm supporter of the Reformation, during the persecutions of Mary he had to flee to the Continent and lived in Zurich, Basle, Geneva, and Frankfurt. He returned to England in 1558 and was the first to sign the “Peaceable Letter” to the English Church at Geneva. He was appointed to the commission for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer.* In 1559 he became master of St. John's College and regius professor of divinity. The following year he was appointed bishop of Durham, the first Protestant to hold that see. He had a hand in the drawing up of the Thirty-Nine Articles* in 1562 and in the diocese pursued a vigorous Protestant policy. He took action against superstitious ornaments, but also allowed many of the buildings in the diocese to fall into ruin. In 1566 he gave a charter to Durham city. In the 1569 northern rebellion he had to flee. He wrote some OT commentaries and a treatise entitled “The Burning of Paul's Church in London by Lightning.”