Whittingham was a senior student of Cardinal College (Christ Church), Oxford (BA 1545), then traveled in France, Germany, and Geneva, Switzerland, returning to England in 1553.
As Julian puts it,
He fled from the Marian reign to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1554, then to Geneva in 1555.
There he married John Calvin’s sister Catherine, and succeeded John Knox as pastor of the English congregation.
Whittingham played a leading role in the translation of the Geneva Bible, and stayed behind the main body of the exiles to finish it. His thanks to the magistrates for their hospitality to him and his companions were given May 30, 1560, and he no doubt then left Geneva for England.
He left England, however, the same year with the Earls of Bedford and Warwick. He was made Dean of Durham in 1563, and while there corresponded with Knox.
He was fond of music, and is said to have introduced the use of the metrical canticles in the cathedral.
When Archbishop Sandys visited Durham during the vacancy of the see, Whittingham refused to see him. Sandys excommunicated him, and tried to invalidate his Genevan orders, received from Calvin. Whittingham’s death in 1579 came before the struggle ended.
Whittingham wrote 12 psalms in the English psalter, and 16 in the Scottish. Julian states,
His influence on the Psalter was, in the first place, that of scholarly revision of the works of Sternhold, and of Hopkins’ seven early psalms from his knowledge of Hebrew; and in the second, imitation of French metres, especially notable in the 1560 Christ Church.
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