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AYLMER, JOHN (1521-1594), English divine, was born in the year
1521 at Aylmer Hall, TivetsHall St Mary, Norfolk. While still a boy, his
precocity was noticed by Henry Grey, marquis of Dorset, afterwards duke
of Suffolk, who sent him to Cambridge, where he seems to have become a
fellow of Queens' College. About 1541 he was made chaplain to the duke,
and tutor to his daughter, Lady Jane Grey. His first preferment was to
the archdeaconry of Stow, in the diocese of Lincoln, but his opposition
in convocation to the doctrine of transubstantiation led to his
deprivation and to his flight into Switzerland. While there he wrote a
reply to John Knox's famous Blast against the Monstrous Regiment of
Women, under the title of An Harborowe for Faithfull and Trewe
Subjects, &c., and assisted John Foxe in translating the Acts
of the Martyrs into Latin. On the accession of Elizabeth he returned
to England. In 1559 he resumed the Stow archdeaconry, and in 1562 he
obtained that of Lincoln. He was a member of the famous convocation of
1562, which reformed and settled the doctrine and discipline of the
Church of England. In 1576 he was consecrated bishop of London, and while
in that position made himself notorious by his harsh treatment of all who
differed from him on ecclesiastical questions, whether Puritan or Papist.
Various efforts were made to remove him to another see. He is frequently
assailed in the famous Marprelate Tracts, and is characterized as
"Morrell," the bad shepherd, in Spenser's Shepheard's Calendar
(July). His reputation as a scholar hardly balances his inadequacy as a
bishop in the transition time in which he lived. He died in June 1594.
His Life was written by John Strype (1701).
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