Thomas Sampson

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Thomas Sampson
Born c. 1517
Died 1589
Occupation Theologian

Thomas Sampson (c. 15171589) was an English Puritan theologian. A Marian exile, he was one of the Geneva Bible translators. On his return to England, he had trouble with conformity to the Anglican practices. With Laurence Humphrey, he played a leading part in the vestments controversy, a division along religious party lines in the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England.

Geneva Bible English translation of the Bible

The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English, preceding the King James Version by 51 years. It was the primary Bible of 16th-century English Protestantism and was used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Knox, John Donne, and John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim's Progress (1678). It was one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower. The Geneva Bible was used by many English Dissenters, and it was still respected by Oliver Cromwell's soldiers at the time of the English Civil War, in the booklet "Cromwell's Soldiers' Pocket Bible".

Vestments controversy

The vestments controversy or vestarian controversy arose in the English Reformation, ostensibly concerning vestments or clerical dress. It was initiated by John Hooper's rejection of clerical vestiments in the Church of England under Edward VI, and was later revived under Elizabeth I. It revealed concerns within the Church of England over ecclesiastical identity, doctrine and church practices.

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.



He was said to have been born at Playford, Suffolk, but possibly came from Binfield in Berkshire. [1] He was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. [2] In 1547 he joined the Inner Temple. He married a niece of Hugh Latimer; [3] Latimer and Sampson influenced the conversion of John Bradford, a Marian Protestant martyr. [4] He has been described as perhaps the most eloquent of all the new generation of evangelical preachers. [5]

Inner Temple one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns. It is located in the wider Temple area of the capital, near the Royal Courts of Justice, and within the City of London.

Hugh Latimer British bishop

Hugh Latimer was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555 under the Catholic Queen Mary he was burned at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.

John Bradford English Protestant Reformer and martyr

John Bradford (1510–1555) was an English Reformer, prebendary of St. Paul's, and martyr. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London for alleged crimes against Mary Tudor. He was burned at the stake on 1 July 1555.

After Sampson's conversion to Protestantism in 1551, he became rector of All Hallows, Bread Street, London. [6] When the dean of Chichester, Bartholomew Traheron, resigned in December 1552, he recommended Sampson to succeed him, calling him a preacher … of such integrity as I would be glad to see placed here and he was duly preferred to the post the following February. [1] However Sampson was never installed: Mary Tudor's accession intervened. His arrest was ordered as early as August 1553, however, he did not move out of the country until May 1554 when he went to Strasburg. [1]

Protestantism division within Christianity, originating from the Reformation in the 16th century against the Roman Catholic Church, that rejects the Roman Catholic doctrines of papal supremacy and sacraments

Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.

All Hallows, Bread Street Church in London

All Hallows Bread Street was a parish church in the Bread Street ward of the City of London. It stood on the east side of Bread Street, on the corner with Watling Street. First mentioned in the 13th century, the church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The church was rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren and demolished in 1878.

Dean of Chichester list of persons

The Dean of Chichester is the dean of Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England.

His successor as rector at All Hallows, Laurence Saunders, was burned at the stake.

Lawrence Saunders was an English Protestant martyr whose story is recorded in Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

Sampson was strongly anti-Catholic through the rest of his life. [7] He communicated to his parishioners his distaste for Catholic prayers for the dead. [8]

Elizabethan era

He did not return immediately upon Elizabeth's accession, waiting until 1560. [9] In that year he became canon of Durham, and in 1561 Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. [1]

In the controversy over clerical dress, Matthew Parker ordered the Anglican clergy to wear surplice and caps. Sampson attempted to give the debate a broader Protestant dimension, involving correspondence with Heinrich Bullinger. He was ultimately unsuccessful, since Bullinger sided with Parker. [10] The Court of High Commission ruled against Sampson, after summoning him in 1565. [11] He was deprived of his position as Dean, despite being thought a very effective administrator. [12]

He subsequently held other positions. He was prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral in 1570. He became Master of Whittington College. The old College of St. Spirit and St. Mary and almshouse set up by Richard Whittington at St. Michael Paternoster Royal had been shut down, first by Edward VI and then for good by Elizabeth, [13] but he lectured there regularly. The spectacular case of Peter Birchet, who wounded John Hawkins in 1573, mistaking him for Christopher Hatton, brought attention to Sampson, since Birchet had heard him preach on the morning of the attack. [14] Afflicted by bad health, Sampson gave that post up. He was then appointed Master of the Hospital of William de Wygston, at Leicester. [15]

Sampson continued to argue his position. He prepared a summary of Martin Bucer's De Regno Christi, which he passed to Lord Burghley during the 1570s. [16]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Alec Ryrie, ‘Sampson, Thomas (c.1517–1589)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 25 Feb 2011
  2. "Sampson, Thomas (SM541T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. Brook, p. 375;
  4. Townships - Blackley | British History Online
  5. John Foxe's Book of Martyrs Archived 2011-05-17 at the Wayback Machine .
  6. John Foxe's Book of Martyrs
  7. Claire Cross, The Puritan Earl (1966), p. 38.
  8. Peter Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England (2002), p. 113.
  9. History of Our English Bible
  10. David Englander (editor), Culture and Belief in Europe, 1450-1600: An Anthology of Sources (1990), from p. 448.
  11. Cross, p. 33.
  12. Patrick Collinson, Elizabethan Essays (1994), p. 73 note.
  13. Colleges - Whittington's College | British History Online
  14. Alexandra Walsham, Frantick Hacket: Prophecy, Sorcery, Insanity, and the Elizabethan Puritan Movement. The Historical Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1, p. 53 note.
  15. Joan Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England (1979), p. 324.
  16. Basil Hall, Martin Bucer in England, in David F. Wright, Martin Bucer: Reforming Church and Community (1994), p. 158.