Bernard Gilpin (1517-1583) was descended from a powerfulCumbrian family. He was born in Kentmere, went to Queens College, Oxford and was ordained in 1542.
He was not interested in the Reformation at first, although he did preach against the abuses of the clergy when preaching in front of Edward VI in 1552. He went to live in France at the beginning of Mary's reign and was there until 1556. While he was there he became a stronger advocate of the Reformation.
On his return to England, through the influence of his Uncle, Bishop Tunstall, he was appointed to be rector of Easington and later, Houghton-le-Spring. His reformation views got him into trouble, and despite protection from his uncle, he was arrested and would have doubtless been burned at the stake had he not broken his leg on the way to London. By the time he was ready to travel, Mary had died.
Gilpin was known for his ministry to the poor and his extensive journey's to people in the North of England, hence his title, 'The Apostle of the North.' He is also known for his founding of a school in the town.
His death was unusual in that he was knocked over by an ox in the market-place in Durham. He is buried in the church,