Aylmer, John

Aylmer, John bishop of London, born in 1521, of a good family, in Norfolk. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge, but chiefly at the latter; and after leaving the universities was appointed tutor to the celebrated Lady Jane Grey. In 1553 he was made archdeacon of Stow, but on the accession of Queen Mary was obliged to leave England, and retired to Zurich. In 1562 he became archdeacon of Lincoln, and in 1576 succeeded Sandys in the see of London. He seems to have been as vigorously opposed to the Puritans as to the Romanists; and unhappily, amid many excellencies of character, he had a persecuting spirit. On more than one occasion his severity was rebuked by the privy council. In the case of a clergyman named Benison, who was imprisoned by Aylmer for a supposed irregularity in regard to his marriage, the bishop was desired by the privy council to make him compensation, lest in an action for false imprisonment he should recover damages "which would touch his lordship's credit." By the Puritans Aylmer was ridiculed in pamphlets, scandalous reports were actively circulated to his injury, and frequent complaints of his conduct were made to the privy council. Aylmer would gladly have exchanged into a more retired diocese, but none of his plans for this purpose succeeded; and he was still bishop of London when he died on June 3d, 1594. See Maitland, Essays on the Reformation; Neal, Hist. of Puritans, 1, 224, 365, etc.

 
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