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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