Cuthbert Tunstall, the former Bishop of Durham, who refused to take Elizabeth I's Oath of Supremacy, died under house arrest at Lambeth Palace, the "guest" of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury on November 18, 1559. He had survived the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I by accepting royal decisions on religion. Tunstall might at first oppose religious changes under Henry and Edward, but then he would accept the king's decision and enact it completely, as Albert Frederick Pollard explains in the Dictionary of National Biography:
He did not escape trouble during the reign of Edward VI, however, although the accusations against him were political, not religious, and he ended up in the Tower of London:
After being released from the Tower after the accession of Mary, Tunstall again became Bishop of Durham, and deprived various Edwardine bishops from their offices. Pollard emphasizes that Tunstall would not participate in the prosecution of Protestants or heretics.
He finally opposed the religious changes under Elizabeth I:
Immediately after her accession Elizabeth wrote to Tunstall on 19 Dec. 1558, dispensing with his services in parliament and at her coronation. He refused to take the oath of supremacy, and was summoned to London, where he arrived on 20 July 1559, lodging ‘with one Dolman, a tallow chandler in Southwark’ (Machyn, p. 204). On 19 Aug. he wrote to Cecil, saying he could not consent to the visitation of his diocese if it extended to pulling down altars, defacing churches, and taking away crucifixes; but on 9 Sept. he was ordered to consecrate Matthew Parker as archbishop of Canterbury. He refused, and on the 28th he was deprived, in order, says Machyn, that ‘he should not reseyff the rentes for that quarter’ (Diary, p. 214). He was committed to the custody of Parker, who treated him with every consideration at Lambeth Palace.
I think his career, even though Edward Burton accepts Pollard's assessment of Tunstall in the Catholic Encyclopedia (Despite his weakness under Henry VIII, we may endorse the verdict of the Anglican historian, Pollard, who writes: "Tunstall's long career of eighty-five years, for thirty-seven of which he was a Bishop, is one of the most consistent and honourable in the sixteenth century. The extent of the religious revolution under Edward VI caused him to reverse his views on the royal supremacy and he refused to change them again under Elizabeth".) demonstrates consistent weakness and compliance with the royal will on matters too important to acquiesce to until it was too late.
Pollard makes much of Tunstall's refusal to prosecute Protestants and heretics in his diocese under the laws passed by Mary I's Parliament (revivals of earlier laws), but Tunstall was willing to stand by as Thomas and the Carthusians were prosecuted and martyred. He preached a sermon against the Pope's spiritual authority knowing that men who would suffer execution were forced to be present; he encouraged Thomas More to attend Anne Boleyn's coronation, knowing what a position that placed More in. He obviously had influence--Henry VIII wanted him away from Parliament during crucial votes--but he did not use it to protect the truth until it was too late.
It's perhaps ironic to note that he died on November 18, since that is the anniversary of Pope Boniface VIII's Unam Sanctum in 1302, declaring that the papacy's spiritual authority was greater than any monarch's temporal authority.