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Bonner, Edmund

Bonner, Edmund (c.1500–69). Bishop of London. Born in Cheshire and educated at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, Bonner in turn loyally served Wolsey as his chaplain until his death and then, strongly anti-papalist, Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell by courageously pleading Henry's divorce (1532) and his appeal to the pope against excommunication (1534). Successively bishop of Hereford (1538) and London (1539), he was deprived and imprisoned under Edward VI for objecting to the new Book of Common Prayer (1549). He was restored by Mary (1553) to his London see, which was now enthusiastically puritan. Coerced by the court, he had to implement repression under the re-enacted medieval statutes. His contemporary description, ‘bloody Bonner’, was ill deserved, for the council accused him of leniency. To accompany repression with positive re-education, he published Profitable and Necessarye Doctrine (1555–6). Deprived again by Elizabeth, he died in Marshalsea prison.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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