He was educated at Eton College. He took his B. A. at King’s College, Cambridge in 1510, and proceeded to travel. He studied Greek with William Grocyn in London and Oxford, and then with Erasmus and Aleander in Paris in 1511. In 1514 he was called to the University of Leipzig, where he remained for some years. Among his pupils were Joachim Camerarius, Hieronymus Dungersheim, and Caspar Creuziger. He was replaced by Petrus Mosellanus. As a young man he was identified as a follower of Erasmus, who at this period was constructing his editio princeps of the New Testament in Greek (Basle, 1516).
He was recalled by John Fisher in 1519 to teach Greek at Cambridge; it had been in abeyance since Erasmus’s time 1511-13, and he was Cambridge’s second lecturer in Greek. He became public orator at Cambridge in 1522, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge in 1523 and Doctor of Divinity in 1524. He quarreled with Fisher over college matters in the latter 1520s. In 1529 and 1530 he was acting for Henry VIII in Italy, in the matter of the king's intended divorce from Catherine of Aragon; earlier he had tutored Henry in Greek. While seeking canon lawyers to support Henry's side of the argument, he also contacted humanists (such as Girolamo Ghinucci) and sought manuscripts.
He was a witness at the 1555 trial of Thomas Cranmer.