Thomas Winniffe

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Thomas Winniffe (1576–1654) was an English churchman, the Bishop of Lincoln from 1642 to 1654.

Bishop of Lincoln Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Lincoln is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lincoln in the Province of Canterbury.


Early life

He was born and baptised at Sherborne, Dorset, in 1576, the son of John Winniffe (1540?-1630), who was buried on 28 September 1630 in Lambourne church, Essex. He was educated at Sherborne [1] and matriculated from Exeter College, Oxford, on 22 Feb. 1594, and elected fellow in 1595; he graduated B.A. on 12 July 1598, M.A. on 17 May 1601, B.D. on 27 March 1610, and D.D. on 5 July 1610. In August 1605 he was one of those who disputed in moral philosophy before James I, his queen Anne of Denmark, and Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales on the occasion of their visit to Oxford. [2]

Sherborne town in Dorset, England

Sherborne is a market town and civil parish in north west Dorset, in South West England. It is sited on the River Yeo, on the edge of the Blackmore Vale, 6 miles east of Yeovil. The A30 road, which connects London to Penzance, runs through the town. In the 2011 census the population of Sherborne parish and the two electoral wards was 9,523. 28.7% of the population is aged 65 or older.

Dorset County of England

Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974 the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

Lambourne village in the United Kingdom

Lambourne is a civil parish in the Epping Forest district of Essex, England. It is located approximately 4.5 miles (7 km) South of Epping and 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Romford. It covers an area of 2,590 acres (1,050 ha), and in 2001 its population was 1,828, increasing to 2,013 at the 2011 Census.


On 5 May 1608 he was admitted to the rectory of Willingale-Doe, Essex, and on 15 June following to that of Lambourne in the same county, and on 30 June 1609 he resigned his fellowship at Exeter, having livings above the statutable value. [2]

After Prince Henry's death Winniffe became chaplain to Prince Charles. However, on 7 April 1622, when the Spaniards were overrunning the Electorate of the Palatinate, Winiffe preached a sermon denouncing Gondomar, and comparing Spinola with the devil. Sent to the Tower of London, Winiffe repented and appealed to the Spanish and imperial ambassadors, whose intercession caused his release a few days later. On 17 September 1624 he was nominated dean of Gloucester, and was installed on 10 November. He remained chaplain to Charles after his accession, and on 8 April 1631 was nominated dean of St. Paul's in succession John Donne, who bequeathed him a picture; he was also one of the three to whom Donne is said to have left his religious manuscripts. The canons elected Winniffe dean of St. Paul's on 18 April; on 15 March 1634 he took the oath as an ecclesiastical commissioner. [2]

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution.

Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, 1st Count of Gondomar Spanish diplomat

Don Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, Count of Gondomar, was a Spanish (Galician) diplomat, the Spanish ambassador to England from 1613 to 1622 and afterwards, as a kind of ambassador emeritus, Spain's leading expert on English affairs until his death.

Tower of London A historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.


When Bishop John Williams was promoted from Bishop of Lincoln to Archbishop of York on 4 December 1641, Winniffe was selected to succeed him. Although the King supposedly thereby intended to gratify parliament (on the ground of Winniffe's supposed Puritan tendencies), on 30 December Francis Rous moved in the House of Commons for the postponement of Winniffe's consecration. A mob also destroyed Winniffe's house in Westminster, although its leader, Sir Richard Wiseman, was killed. Nonetheless, Winniffe was elected on 5 January 1642, and consecrated on 6 February; he retained the deanery of St. Paul's, but resigned his livings in Essex. [2]

Francis Rous English politician

Francis Rous or Rouse was an English politician and a prominent Puritan. He wrote several theological and devotional works and was also Provost of Eton.

The outbreak of the First English Civil War disturbed his possession of his see, though according to his own account he was always at Buckden Palace and submitted to parliamentary ordinances. In November 1646 all bishops' lands were vested in trustees for the benefit of the commonwealth, and Winniffe retired to Lambourne. Early in 1654, on his petition to Oliver Cromwell, his arrears were paid up to November 1646. During his retirement, Winniffe assisted Brian Walton in the preparation of the 'Polyglot Bible.'

First English Civil War Civil war in England 1642–1646

The First English Civil War (1642–1646) began the series of three wars known as the English Civil War. "The English Civil War" was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651, and includes the Second English Civil War (1648–1649) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651). The wars in England were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, being fought contemporaneously with equivalents in Scotland and Ireland.

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Brian Walton (bishop) British bishop and scholar

Brian Walton was an English priest, divine and scholar.

Death and legacy

Rt.Rev. Winniffe died at Lambourne on 29 September 1654, and was buried within the altar-rails of the church. He was unmarried, and gave the advowson of Lambourne, which he had purchased, to his nephew, Peter Mews. His episcopate at Lincoln remained vacant for six years, until the election of Robert Sanderson in 1660. [2]

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  1. "The Sherborne Register 1550-1950" (PDF). Old Shirbirnian Society. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Pollard 1900.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
John Williams
Bishop of Lincoln
Succeeded by
Vacancy, Robert Sanderson in 1660