« Bonizo (Bonitho) Bonner, Edmund Bonnet, Alfred Maximilien »

Bonner, Edmund

BONNER, EDMUND: Bishop of London; b., probably at Hanley, Worcestershire, about 1500; d. in the Marshalsea prison, at Southwark, near London, Sept. 5, 1569. He studied at Pembroke College (then called Broadgate Hall), Oxford (B.C.L., 1519; D.C.L., 1525), and was ordained about 1519. He received his first preferment from Cardinal Wolsey; after the death of Wolsey (1530) he served the king, received a number of benefices, and was employed at different times as ambassador to the pope, to the king of France, and to the emperor; he was made bishop of London in 1539. He fell out with the privy council, which undertook to govern under Edward VI (1547), and in 1549 was reprimanded for not enforcing the use of the new prayer-book, deprived of his bishopric, and imprisoned. The accession of Mary (1553) brought his release and reinstated him in his see. He is remembered chiefly by his connection with the religious persecutions of the reign of Mary and it is said that in three years he condemned more than two hundred persons to the stake. In 1559, after the accession of Elizabeth, he refused to take the oath of supremacy and was imprisoned and kept in confinement till his death. It has been usual to represent Bishop Bonner as unprincipled and cruel; yet his firmness in following the unpopular course and the suffering undergone in consequence do not indicate a lack of principle; to judge and condemn heretics was one of the duties of his position, and it is not clear that he took delight in undue severity; there is documentary evidence that he acted under pressure from the queen and her husband (Philip II of Spain). He was unpopular in London apart from the persecutions. He wrote a preface for the second edition of Gardiner's De vera obedientia (Hamburg, 1536) and published a collection of Homilies for his diocese (London, 1555, and many later editions).

Bibliography: The sources for a life are in the State Papers of Henry VIII, in the Rolls Series, 15 vols., ed. by various hands, London, 189–. Consult also: S. R. Maitland, Subjects Connected with the Reformation in England, London, 1849; DNB, vi, 356–360.

« Bonizo (Bonitho) Bonner, Edmund Bonnet, Alfred Maximilien »
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