BILSON, THOMAS: Bishop of Winchester; b. at Winchester 1546 or 1547; d. there June 18, 1616. He studied at New College, Oxford (B.A., 1566; M.A., 1570; B.D., 1579; D.D., 1581); was made prebend of Winchester 1576, and became warden of the college there; was consecrated bishop of Worcester 1596, translated to Winchester 1597. He was a noted preacher, a man of much learning, and defended the Church of England against both Roman Catholics and Puritans. At the command of Queen Elizabeth he wrote The True Difference between Christian Subjection and Unchristian Rebellion (Oxford, 1585), in answer to Cardinal William Allen's Defence of the English Catholics (Ingoldstadt, 1584), and The Survey of Christ's Sufferings for Man's Redemption and of his Descent to Hades or Hell for our Deliverance (London, 1604), a reply to the Brownist Henry Jacob; in The Perpetual Government of Christ's Church (1593; new ed., with memoir, Oxford, 1842) he defended episcopacy. With Dr. Miles Smith he revised the King James translation of the Bible before its publication, and he added the summaries of contents at the head of each chapter.
Bibliography: A. 6, Wood, Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. P. Bliss. ii, 169-171, 4 vols., London, 1813-20; DNB, v, 43-44.