Online Encyclopedia

JOHN LAMBERT [alias NICHOLSON] (d. 1538)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 108 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN LAMBERT [alias NICHOLSON] (d. 1538)  ,
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English
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Protestant martyr, was born at Norwich and educated at Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. and was admitted in 1521 a
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fellow of Queen's College on the nomination of Catherine of Aragon . After acting for some years as a " mass-priest," his views were unsettled by the arguments of Bilney and Arthur; and episcopal persecution compelled him, according to his own account, to assume the name Lambert instead of Nicholson . He likewise removed to Antwerp, where he became
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chaplain to the English factory, and formed a friendship with Frith and Tyndale . Returning to England in 1531, he came under the
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notice of Archbishop Warham, who questioned him closely on his religious beliefs . Warham's
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death in August 1532 relieved Lambert from immediate danger, and he earned a living for some years by teaching Latin and Greek near the
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Stocks Market in
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London . The duke of Norfolk and other reactionaries accused him of
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heresy in 1536, but reforming tendencies were still in the ascendant, and Lambert escaped . In 1538, however, the reaction had begun, and Lambert was its first victim . He singled himself out for persecution by denying the Real Presence: and Henry VIII., who had just rejected the Lutheran proposals for a theological union, was in no
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mood to tolerate worse heresies . Lambert had challenged some views expressed by Dr John Taylor, afterwards bishop of Lincoln; and Cranmer as arch-bishop condemned Lambert's opinions . He appealed to the king as supreme head of the Church, and on the 16th of November Henry heard the case in person before a large assembly of spiritual and temporal peers . For five hours Lambert disputed with the king and ten bishops; and then, as he boldly denied that the Eucharist was the
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body of Christ, he was condemned to death by Cromwell as vicegerent . Henry's condescension and
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patience produced a
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great impression on his Catholic subjects; but Cromwell is said by Foxe to have asked Lambert's pardon before his execution, and Cranmer eventually adopted the views he condemned in Lambert .

Lambert was burnt at Smithfield on the 22nd of November . See Letters and Papers of Henry VIII.; Foxe's Acts and Monuments;

Froude,
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History; Dixon, Church History; Gairdner, Lollardy and the Reformation, Dict. of Nat . Biog. and authorities there cited . (A . F .

End of Article: JOHN LAMBERT [alias NICHOLSON] (d. 1538)
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