Thomas Robertson (priest)

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Thomas Robertson was an English clergyman and Dean of Durham in the Tudor era.

Dean of Durham

The Dean of Durham is the "head" and chair of the Chapter, the ruling body of Durham Cathedral. The dean and chapter are based at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham in Durham. The cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Durham and seat of the Bishop of Durham.

Robertson was from Yorkshire and a learned scholar. In 1532 he published a book on grammar dedicated to the Bishop of Lincoln and was rewarded by being appointed Archdeacon of Leicester in 1541. He served on a number of commissions, including the one producing the Bishop's Book under Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the one which investigated the validity of the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves. He was also selected to join a group set up by the king to produce a standard Latin grammar.

The Archdeacon of Leicester is a senior ecclesiastical officer in the Church of England.

In 1549 he was one of the committee led by Archbishop Cranmer which produced the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. A conservative at heart, he was appointed Dean of Durham under Mary I, keeping his Archdeaconry in commendam. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth he refused to subscribe to the Oath of Supremacy in 1559 and consequently forfeited his offices and retired to private life. He had also served as Vicar of Wakefield (1546 to 1559).

Oath of Supremacy Oath of allegiance to the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England

The Oath of Supremacy required any person taking public or church office in England to swear allegiance to the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Failure to do so was to be treated as treasonable. The Oath of Supremacy was originally imposed by King Henry VIII of England through the Act of Supremacy 1534, but repealed by his elder daughter, Queen Mary I of England, and reinstated under Henry's other daughter and Mary's half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I of England, under the Act of Supremacy 1559. The Oath was later extended to include Members of Parliament and people studying at universities. Catholics were first allowed to become members of parliament in 1829, and the requirement to take the oath for Oxford University students was lifted by the Oxford University Act 1854.

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