+ December 1558
A brief biography.
John Hopton was member of the Dominicans by 1516, in Oxford. He was educated at the University of Bologna in Italy and at Oxford University, where he took a doctorate in theology. During the reign of Edward VI, Hopton was Chaplain to Mary Tudor, later Queen Mary I, and was summoned before the Privy Council in 1549 and ordered to stop celebrating the Catholic Mass.
When Mary acceded to the throne, Hopton was appointed Bishop of Norwich, and was consecrated on 28 October 1554. John Foxe, in his 'Acts and Monuments' described him as a ruthless persecutor of Protestants, "in such sort, that many of them he perverted, and brought quite from the truth, and some from their wits also".
John Hopton was the chairman of the Inquisition in the process of Thomas Cranmer (02.07.1482-21.03.1556), Archbishop of Canterbury who died at the stake in Oxford on 21 March 1556.
Thomas Cranmer was the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury (1533-1556), adviser to the English Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI. As Archbishop, he put the English Bible in parish churches, drew up the Book of Common Prayer, and composed a litany that remains in use today.
Cranmer's most influential adviser was probably Martin Bucer from Strassburg, whose position on the Eucharist is reflected especially in the communion service of the second Prayer Book. Other advisers were the Pole Jan Laski the Younger and the Englishman Nicholas Ridley.
Denounced for promoting Protestantism by the Catholic Mary I, Cranmer was convicted of heresy and burned at the stake in presence of John Hopton in Oxford, 21 March 1556.
John Hopton died in December 1558, and he is buried in Norwich Cathedral.
On this page: at the left John Hopton.
Cranmer, on the day of
his execution, stood up for his conscience before God rather than obedience to
At the stake, he first thrust into the flames the
hand that had once written the recantations.
Great Britain 1984 Booklet: The story of our Christian Heritage.
Mi Heftchen-Blatt 1984, 119; Sc BK 1984, 148.
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