The archbishops: Gilbert Sheldon to John Moore

Pages 484-515

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1801.

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Gilbert Sheldon to John Moore

79. GILBERT SHELDON, S. T. P. bishop of London, succeeded next to this see, (fn. 1) being elected to it on August II, 1663. He was a native of the parish of Stanton, in Staffordshire, (fn. 2) and educated at Trinity college, in Oxford, and thence removed in 1622 to All Souls college, of which he was elected fellow, and (about which time he took orders) afterwards warden, at which time he was canon of the church of Gloucester, and soon afterwards he was made one of the king's chaplains and appointed clerk of his closet; other preferments were designed for him, as the mastership of the Savoy, and the deanry of Westminster; but the unsettled times prevented him from coming into the possession of these dignities; his steady attachment to the royal cause was so well known, that he was not only sequestered from his preferments, but imprisoned at Oxford in 1648. He had been, however, according to Le Neve, rector of Ickford, in Buckinghamshire, and afterwards vicar of Hackney, in Middlesex.

On his release from prison, he retired and lived privately till the approach of the restoration, when his wardenship being void by the death of the intruder, was reserved for him, but he never retook possession of it, but was appointed master of the Savoy, and clerk of the king's closet, and then dean of the chapel royal, and almost immediately upon the translation of bishop Juxon to the archbishopric of Canterbury, he was appointed his successor in the see of London, being consecrated on October 28, 1660; and again upon his death he was advanced to this metropolitical chair, as above-mentioned. In 1667 he was elected chancellor of the university of Oxford, but was never installed, nor ever was there after that time, not even so much as to see the noble theatre which he had caused to be erected there, nor even at Canterbury to be there personally inthroned archbishop, or upon any other occasion whilst he was so.

By some, he is said to have presided over this church with much prudence, discretion and integrity, but by others he is severely blamed for being the promoter, in conjunction with the earl of Clarendon, of all the severities against the non-conformists. He certainly was a man of very high principles in church and state, which his usage in the civil wars and under the Common Wealth did not at all abate; he opposed all the measures proposed for a comprehension, and wrote frequent letters to the several bishops of his province to put the laws in execution against the nonconformists; the remembrance of the severities he had undergone, and the destruction they had brought upon the episcopal church, and the desire he had for its future preservation, might well however plead his excuse for this behaviour to them, to annihilate every meaus they might again have, and which he well knew if they had, they would certainly make use of to overthrow the church again. But although he was a man of these high principles, yet when he saw the advances made in favour of popery, he retired from all public affairs, and if these severities are allowed to have been the effects of prudence and self preservation, his character was unblemished. He was a great example for his charities and public benefactions for the encouragement of learning, from the time of his being elected bishop of London, to the time of his death; among these were the building of the theatre in Oxford, which cost him more than 16,000l. besides the gift of 2000l. to buy lands worth 100l. per annum to keep it in repair; the library at Lambeth-house, built at his own charge; 2000l. towards the structure of St. Paul's cathedral; considerable sums of money to Trinity college in Oxford, and Trinity college in Cambridge, besides great and large sums of money annually bestowed, some to public and some to private charities; his legacies at his death to charitable uses amounted to 1500l. which afterwards were paid, part to All Souls college, part to the church of Canterbury, part to Harbledown hospital, and part to indigent persons.—The whole which he had expended in those purposes being not less than 66,000l. as appeared by his book of accompts. For some years before his death, he retired to Croydon, and there lived privately, concerning himself no more with state affairs, till his death, which happened there on Nov. 9, 1677, and he was buried by his own special direction, (fn. 3) in the church of Croydon, near the tomb of archbishop Whitgift, where there is a sumptuous monument with his effigies, in his pontisical habit lying on it, the whole unequalled for the curious workmanship of it. It is of white marble, a fine piece of sculpture made by Latham, the city architect, and Bonne. It is supposed that the head was finished by an Italian artist.

There is extant only one single sermon of his writing printed. Among the Harleian MSS. are two volumes of familiar Letters to and from him.

The archbishop bore for his arms, Argent, on a chevron, gules, three mullets of the first; on a canton, gules, a rose, or; as they are painted in one of the windows of Gray's-Inn hall.

80. WILLIAM SANCROFT, S. T. P. dean of St. Paul's was next advanced to the archiepiscopal throne on archbishop Sheldon's death, being consecrated on Jan. 27, 1677, in the abbey church of St. Peter, at Westminster. (fn. 4)

He was born at Fresingfield, in Suffolk, on Jan. 30, 1616, and educated in grammar learning at St. Edmondsbury, from whence he was sent to Emanuel college, in Cambridge, where having taken his degrees in arts, he was in 1642 chosen fellow of it, from which he was ejected in 1649, for refusing the engagement; upon which he went abroad, and was at Rome when king Charles II.'s restoration took place; upon which he returned to England, and became chaplain to Dr. Cosin, bishop of Durham, and two years afterwards was, by mandamus, created at Cambridge S. T. P. In 1664 he was promoted to the deanry of York, but upon the death of Dr. Barwick, was removed to that of St. Paul's; soon after which he resigned the mastership of Emanuel college, and the rectory of Hough ton, which, with a prebend in the church of Durham, had been conferred on him by bishop Cosin soon after his arriving in England; on his becoming dean of St. Paul's, he employed himself diligently in the repair of that cathedral, which had suffered greatly from the Puritans till the dreadful fire in 1666, when on the rebuilding of it he contributed 1400l. besides what he procured by his interest and solicitations towards it; besides which, he rebuilt the deanry and greatly improved the revenues of it.

In October, 1668, he was admitted archdeacon of Canterbury, which dignity he resigned in 1670; he was also prolocutor of the lower house of convocation, and in that station he was, when the king advanced him, not expecting any such thing, to this see of Canterbury, in 1677. He attended on king Charles II. on his death bed, and made a very weighty exhortation to him, in which he is said to have used a great deal of freedom. In 1686 he was named the first in king James II.'s commission for ecclesiastical affairs, and two years afterwards joined with six of his brethren the bishops in the petition to the king, in which they set forth their reasons for not causing his declaration for liberty of conscience to be published in churches; for this petition, which was construed into a libel, they were committed to the tower, and being tried for a misdemeanor on June 29, were acquitted, to the great joy of the nation; after which, accompanied by eight of his brethren the bishops, he waited on the king, who had desired the assistance of their counsels, and advised him, among many other things, to annul the ecclesiastical commission; to desist from the exercising of a dispensing power, and to call a free and regular parliament; and a few days afterwards, though very earnestly pressed by the king, yet he refused to sign a declaration of abhorrence of the prince of Orange's invasion, and on king James's withdrawing himself, he signed and concurred with the lords spiritual and temporal in a declaration to the prince for a free parlia ment, for the security of our laws, liberties, properties, and of the church of England in particular; but notwithstanding this, when the prince came to St. James's, the archbishop neither went to wait on him, though he had once agreed to it, nor did he even send any message to him, and absented himself from the convention; and after king William and queen Mary were settled on the throne, he and seven other bishops refused to own the established government, from a conscientious regard to the allegiance they had sworn to king James, nor would the incorrupt sincerity of the archbishop's heart suffer him to take the oath of that allegiance to another, as appointed by the act of parliament.

In consequence of this, he was suspended on Aug. I, 1689, and deprived the 1st of February following.—The archbishop continued at Lambeth till June 23, being resolved not to stir till he was ejected by law, and a few weeks afterwards retired to Fresingfield, his native place, where he spent the remainder of his life in privacy, and retirement, and dying on Nov. 24, 1693, of an intermittent fever, æt 77, was buried very privately, as he had ordered it, in the church-yard there; soon after which a tomb was erected over his grave, with an inscription, composed by himself; on the right side of it there is an account of his age and dying day, in Latin; on the left side the following inscription in English:

WILLIAM SANCROFT, born in this parish, afterwards, by the Providence of God, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY; at last deprived of all, which he could not keep with a good conscience, he returned hitber to end his life, and professeth here at the foot of his tomb, that naked as be came forth, so naked be must return; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, (and as the Lord pleases so things come to pass) blessed be the name of the Lord.

He was a prelate of singular prudence and integrity, and he certainly gave the strongest instance pos sible of his sincerity, in sacrificing the highest dignity, to what he thought truth and honesty. He presided over this church at a time which required a proof of those qualities, in which he excelled, and happy it was that the church had so good and wise a prelate at the head of it, in those most difficult times.

He was exceeding liberal in his charities, and was particularly bountiful to Emanuel college, in Cambridge; he augmented the incomes of several small vicarages in the diocese of Canterbury, and discharged a debt of 67l. due from the hospital of St. Nicholas, Harbledown; and the amount of what he gave in his life time to charitable uses, was near 18,000l, for he did not waste his large revenues profusely in luxury and extravagance, but decently bestowed them in hospitality and deeds of charity, and he was remarkable for conferring his preferments with great propriety and discretion.

Stow says, the archbishop was a good benefactor to Sion college, after the fire of London.

Though of considerable abilities and uncommon learning, he published but little; the titles of the few things he wrote are enumerated in Wood's Athenæ besides which, the sermon, which he preached before the university of Cambridge, for his bachelor's degree, is still extant; and among the Harleian MSS. there are several letters to and from him, and other letters and miscellaneous matters relating to him. (fn. 5)

There is a very curious letter concerning this prelate, from Mr. Thomas Baker, of Cambridge, to Dr. Richard Rawlinson, of St. John's, Oxford, published in Gutch's Collectanea Curiosa, Ox. 1781, vol. i. p. xxxvi. &c, It was never before printed.

The archbishop bore for his arms, Argent, on a chevron, gules, three doves of the field, between three crosses formee of the second

81. JOHN TILLOTSON, S. T. P. dean of St. Paul's, was, on the archbishopric being deemed void by the ejection of archbishop Sancrost, next put into the possession of it. He had been dean of the church of Canterbury, which he quitted on being promoted to the deanry of St. Paul's, till which time, an account of him has already been given among the deans of Canterbury.

When Dr. Tillotson was made dean of St. Paul's, the king communicated to him his intention of advancing him to the metropolitical see, in case archbishop Sancrost should incur the sentence of deprivation, which it was strongly suspected he would; that sentence being at length passed, the dean, after some consideration, accepted the offer, and was nominated archbishop and consecrated on May 31, 1691; at which time many of the nobility attended to countenance his promotion, and shew their esteem for his character.—But this station he did not enjoy long, for on Nov. 18, 1694, he was seized, whilst in the chapel at Whitehall, with a sudden illness, which turned to a dead palsy, and on the 23d he died; his speech was much affected by the violence of this attack but he was heard to say, he had no burthen on his conscience.

His death was universally regretted, for whilst his talents commanded respect, his humility, benevolence, charity and moderation secured esteem. The king is said to have deplored his loss in this expressive tribute to his memory; I never knew an honester man, and I never had a better friend. The works of archbishop Tillotson are too well known to require a detail; his sermons interest the heart and convince the understanding; ease and perspicuity, good sense and sincere piety, are observed by that elegant writer Dr. Blair, to be their distinguishing character; some instances indeed occur of incorrect expressions and uninteresting stile; but when his many excellencies are considered, he must always maintain the reputation of being one of the best writers and ablest divines, that this nation can boast of; and of such influence was his example, that he is said to have taught more ministers to preach well, and more people to live well, than almost any other since the primitive times; and that he converted more dissenters to the established church, than any other divine of his time.

The ardour of his opposition to popery, it must be allowed, betrayed him into some very exceptionable assertions, which were exposed by his enemies with unsparing rancour. His discourse too on the Eternity of Hell Torments, occasioned no small clamour against him, and has been attacked by cavillers both at home and abroad. His opinions on this subject coincide with those of Episcopius, and some part of the discourse appears almost a literal translation from that celebrated Arminian. He was also charged with Socinianism, on which he published his sermons on the Divinity of Christ, to vindicate himself from that charge; but his spirits are said to have been greatly depressed by the petulance and the slander of his adversaries, though the wrongs which he experienced never prompted him to a revenge.

He had married in February, 1664, Elizabeth, the only daughter of Dr. Peter French, by Robina, the youngest sister of Oliver Cromwell; by her he had two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, both of whom died before him; the former of them was married to James Chadwick, esq. commissioner of the customs, the latter died young. (fn. 6) The archbishop's widow experienced the bounty of king William, according to his promise, on his promotion to the primacy, in case he should die before her; I promise to take care of her. The archbishop foresaw the great expence of taking possession of this see, which added to his generosity, so reduced his finances, that his debts could not have been paid, if the king had not forgiven his first fruits. He left not thing to his widow, but the copy of his posthumous sermons, which was afterwards sold for 2,500 guineas. The annuity granted at first by the king to her, was 400l. which on account of some unforeseen losses she had sustained, was augmented with 200l. more, both which were continued till her death in January, 1702; and so solicitous was the king for the regular payment of this pension, without any deduction, that he always called for the money quarterly, and sent it to her himself. (fn. 7)

The archbishop was buried in the church of St. Laurence Jury, London; on the left side of the altar, there is a neat marble monument erected to his memory with this inscription:

Reverendissimi et sanctissimi præsulis
Archiepiscopi Cantuariensis
Concionatoris olim hûc in Ecclesiâ
per annos xxx celeberrimi
Qui obiit xo Kal. Dec. MDCLXXXXIV,
Ætatis suæ LXIIII
Conjux illius mæstissima.

The archbishop bore for his arms, Azure, a bend cotized, between two garbs, or.

82. THOMAS TENISON, S.T.P. bishop of Lincoln, was next promoted to this archbishopric, (fn. 8) and was inthronized in person, at Canterbury, on May 16, 1695.

He was the son of the Rev. John Tenison, B.D. rector of Mundesly, in Norwich, and was born at Cottenham, in Cambridgeshire, on Sept. 29, 1636. He was first educated at the free-school of that city, whence he was sent to Cambridge, and admitted a scholar at Corpus Christi, alias Benet college. In 1657 he took the degree of A. B. in 1661 of A. M. and the next year was admitted fellow; in 1665 he at first studied physic, but afterwards took orders, and was one of the university preachers, and curate of St. Andrew the Great, in Cambridge. In 1667 he proceeded B. D. became rector of Holywell and Nedingworth, in Huntingdonshire, and was made chaplain to the earl of Manchester. In 1674 he was promoted to be upper minister of St. Peter's of Mancrost, in Norwich, and in 1680 took his degree of S. T. P. and was presented to the vicarage of St. Martin's in the Fields, by king Charles II. being then one of the king's chaplains. Soon after the revolution, he was made archdeacon of London, and in 1692 was consecrated bishop of Lincoln, and two years afterwards was promoted to this metropolitical see of Canterbury, in which he sat more than twenty years, and died at Lambeth palace, on Dec. 14, 1715, and was buried in the chancel of Lambeth church, in the middle of which there is a memorial for him; Anne his wife died the same year, on the 12th of February.

Archbishop Tenison's charities were very extensive, exclusive of his public foundations, and the uncommon number of legacies and benefactions at his death, for he yearly expended large sums in alms, for the relief of the poor; he founded, whilst vicar of St. Martin's in 1685, a free school in that parish, now called Castlestreet school, and a spacious library over it, with convenient lodgings contiguous for the librarian; and in 1697, being then archbishop, he gave 1000l. towards a fund for the support of it; and some time after, by the consent of Dr. Patrick, bishop of Ely, another sum of five hundred pounds which had been left them jointly in trust, to dispose of in charitable uses; which two sums, together with two leasehold messuages, he vested in trustees for the support of his school and library. (fn. 9) Besides this, the archbishop founded in 1704, a charity school, which he endowed with two farms, of 53l. per annum, for the education of twelve poor girls, in Back-street, in Lambeth, who are cloathed and taught; these are since increased to twenty, and will be still more so, according to the improvement of the estate; and another at Croydon. He gave the burial ground in the High street at Lambeth, for the burials of the parishioners. He built the apartments of brick, at Lambeth palace, between the entrance and the great hall there, and erected the archiepiscopal throne in the cathedral at Canterbury, at the expence of 2441. and upwards; he gave upwards of 2561. in books, to the library of St. Paul's cathedral; seventy guineas to the poor Palatines in 1709; 30l. towards beautifying the church of Cranbrooke; 461. to Lambeth church for a velvet pall; 3000l. to Benet college, Cambridge; 501. to advance printing in the university; 1000l. to the society for the propagation of the gospel; 1000l. to the governors of queen Anne's bounty, for augumenting small livings in Kent; 500l. for the relief of clergymen's widows and children; fifty guineas for the repairs of Bromley college, and the like sum to the widows of it; 100l. to the French protestant refugees; he gave a piece of ground for a burying place to the parish of Lambeth; 100l. to archbishop Whitgift's hospital at Croydon, with 400l. to the school founded there in his life time; 10l. each to ten poor rectors or vicars in the diecese of Canterbury; 40l. each to the poor of Canterbury, Lambeth and Croydon; 30l. each to the parishes of St. Martin's in the Fields and St. James's, Westminster; 10l. each to five parishes in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and 50l. to Dr. Lilly Butler, minister of Aldermanbury, who had several children. (fn. 10)

As archbishop Tenison lived in times of the severest trial, so his character has been variously represented; but he is by most allowed to have been a prelate, who in general, through the whole of his life, practised that integrity and resolution he at first set out with; nor was he influenced by the changes of the times he lived in, to act contrary to the pure and peaceable spirit of the gospel. He adorned his high station with an exemplary piety and a munificent charity; and he was endowed with such a happiness of temper, as enabled him to steer the church with steadiness through those violent storms of party, the rage of which too much affected the too mild and tender spirit of his predecessor. His character as a writer, is seen in his performances of that kind, which set his abilities far enough above contempt; yet his stile is undoubtedly both heavy and inelegant. (fn. 11)

In 1670, the archbishop gave a public specimen of his learning and abilities, by publishing, in octavo, the creed of Mr. Hobbs, examined in a feigned conference between him and a student in divinity; in 1678 he published a discourse on idolatry, and in king James II.'s reign, when the controversy with the Papists was professedly agitated, he published eight or nine pamphlets; in 1679 he put out in octavo, Baconiana, or certain genuine remains of Sir Francis Bacon, &c. in 1681, being the year after he became vicar of St. Martin's, he published a sermon upon the discretion of giving alms, which was attacked by Poulton the jesuit; and in 1688 being one of the ecclesiastical commissioners appointed to prepare matters to be lard before the convocation, he published a discourse concerning the ecclesiastical commission. (fn. 12) He bore for his arms, Gules, a bend, azure, engrailed and voided, argent, between three lions beads, pierced by fleurs de lis.

The archbishop married the daughter of Dr. Love, master of Benet college, in Cambridge, who died about a year before him.

83. WILLIAM WAKE, S. T. P. bishop of Lincoln, was the next archbishop, being promoted to it in 1715, on the death of archbishop Tenison. (fn. 13) He was descended of a genteel family, being the son of William Wake, esq. a gentleman of considerable fortune at Blandford, in Dorsetshire; at the age of fifteen he was admitted a student of Christ-church, in Oxford, and in 1682, went chaplain to the lord viscount Preston to the court of France, and after his return home, was chosen preacher to the society of Gray's Inn. After the revolution, he was appointed deputy clerk of the closet, and one of the king's chaplains. In 1689 he was created S. T. P. made canon and afterwards dean of Christ church, in Oxford, and in 1693 was inducted to the rectory of St. James's, Westminster; his preferments were afterwards as rapid, for he was in 1701 promoted to the deanry of Exeter, in 1705 consecrated bishop of Lincoln, from whence, on the decease of archbishop Tenison, he was translated by that prelate's recommen lation, to this archbishopric, in which he continued upwards of ten years. He died, æt. 79, at his palace at Lambeth, on Jan. 24, 1737, on which as well as at Croydon, in which latter he built the great gallery, he laid out much money and was interred in a private manner in a vault in Croydon church, his tomb being in the chancel of it.

As a writer, archbishop Wake's publications best speak his character; his letters written by him to several divines of the Sorbonne, on effecting an union between the two churches of England and France, were so full of energy and argument as to excite the admiration even of pope Clement XI. who declared, that it was a pity that the writer of such profound letters, was not a member of their church. (fn. 14) As a man, he was of extensive liberality and charity, which was reached out to the unfortunate and distressed object, as well as the industrious and necessitous poor. He expended near 11,000l. in repairing the two palaces of Lambeth and Croydon, and 700l. in repairing the vicarage-house of the latter. By his last will he gave his library of printed books and manuscripts, together with a curious collection of coins, to Christchurch college, in Oxford, valued at 10,000l. besides which he died very rich, leaving his youngest surviving daughter, married to Dr. Lynch, dean of Canterbury, his residuary legatee.

He bore for his arms, Or, a trefoil slipt, sable, between two bars, gules, in chief three torteauxes.

The archbishop married Etheldred, daughter and coheir of Sir William Howell, who died in 1731, and was buried at Lambeth, but on the archbishop's death was taken up and carried to Croydon, and interred in the same vault there with him; by her he had issue eight daughters, viz. I. Amye, married to Henry Seymer, esq. 2. Etheldred, to Thomas Bennet, esq. 3. Hester, married first to Richard Broadrep, esq. secondly to Thomas Strode, esq. 4. Dorothy, to James Pennyman, esq. 5. Magdalen, to William Churchill, esq. 6. Elizabeth died unmarried; 7. Mary married to John Lynch, dean of Canterbury; and 8. Catherina, who died an infant.

84. JOHN POTTER, S. T. P. bishop of Oxford, was successor to archbishop Wake in this archiepiscopal see, being nominated to it directly after his death. (fn. 15) He was the son of Mr. Thomas Potter, of Wakefield, in Yorkshire, where he was born about the year 1674, and being put to school at the same place, he made an uncommon progress in a short time in the Greek and Latin languages; at the early age of fourteen he was sent to University college, Oxford, where he took the degree of A.B. in 1694 he was chosen a fellow of Lincoln college, and commenced A. M. in 1704 B. D. and was appointed chaplain to archbishop Tenison, and went and resided at Lambeth. In 1706 he proceeded S. T. P. and soon after was appointed one of the queen's chaplains; the year after which he was promoted to the chair of the regius professor of divinity, and to a canonry of Christ-church, in Oxford. In 1715 he was consecrated bishop of Oxford and in January, 1737, on the death of archbishop Wake, was translated to this archbishoplic, which he continued to fill during the space of ten years with great reputation, wholly attentive to the duties of his ecclesiastical function, without engaging too busily in the secular affairs incident to his high office. Thus employed, he fell into a lingering disorder which put an end to his life, and he died on October 10, in the year 1747, æt. 74, and was buried in the vault in Croydon church, in the chancel over which his tomb remains.

He left behind him the character of a prelate of distinguished piety and learning, strictly orthodox in respect to the established doctrines of the church of England, and a zealous and steady guardian of it against all the attempts that were made to subvert and undermine it, during his presiding over this see. He was remarkably studious of regularity, order, and æconomy; at the same time he was not unmindful of supporting the metropolitical dignity by a suitable carriage and deportment, which gave room to some to censure it, as proceeding from a spirit of pride and haughtiness, tinctured with too great severity of manners. (fn. 16)

Archbishop Potter was a learned and voluminous writer; in 1693, at the age of nineteen, he published Variantes Lectiones & novæ ad Plutarchi Librum de audiendis Poetis & ad Basilii magni orationem ad Juvenes, quomodo cum fructu legere possunt Gracorum Libros, 8vo. In 1697 he printed his edition of Lycophron, fo io, reprinted in 1702; in the same year 1697, he published likewise the first volume of his Antiquities of Greece, which was followed by the second volume in the year after; several additions being made by him in the subsequent editions of this useful and learned book, of which the seventh edition was published in 1751. These works established his same in the republic of letters, both at home and abroad, and engaged him in a correspondence with Grævius and other learned foreigners. In 1707 he published a Discourse on Church Government; in 1715, being the same year in which he became bishop of Oxford, he published an edition of the works of Clemens Alexandrinus, in two folio volumes. His theological works, containing his Sermons, Charges, Discourse on Church Government, and Divinity Lectures, were published at Oxford in 1753, in 3 vol. 8vo.

The archbishop bore for his arms, Sable, a fess, between three cinquefoils, argent.

85. THOMAS HERRING, S. T. P. bishop of Bangor, was next promoted to this see in 1747. (fn. 17) He was the son of the Rev. John Herring, rector of Walsoken, in Norfolk, where he was born in 1693; he was first educated at the school of Wisbech, in the Isle of Ely, and in 1710 was admitted at Jesus college, in Cambridge, where he took the degree of A.B. in 1716; the year after which he was chosen fellow of Bennet college, and commenced A. M. and was successively minister of Great Shelford, Stow cum Qui, and Trinity, in Cambridge. In 1722 he was made chaplain to Dr. Fleetwood, bishop of Ely, rector of Rettington, in Essex, and of Barley, in Hertfordshire. In 1724 he took the degree of B. D. in 1726 was made preacher of Lincoln's inn, and one of the king's chaplains. In 1728 he commenced S. T. P. at Cambridge, and in 1731 was inducted to the rectory of Blechingley, in Surry, and was promoted to the deanry of Rochester. In 1737 he was consecrated bishop of Bangor, with which preserment he kept his deanry in commendam. In 1743 he was made archbishop of York, and in 1747 was translated to the archbishopric of Canterbury; in these high stations he treated his friends with the same ease and courtesy as before; for he knew how to condescend without detracting from the reverence due to his character; to which may be added, that his love for his country in the time of real danger, was equal to his reverence for religion, it was great and undissembled, and that he had great candour and moderation to those who differed from him either in political or religious sentiments. He died at Croydon, where he generally resided, which palace he had compleatly fitted up and repaired, on March 13, 1757, æt. 64, and was buried in the vault of Croydon, church, the poor of that parish only attending his suneral, having absolutely forbid any monument to be erected for him, though there is a tomb for him in the chancel above the vault.

Dr. Jortin, in his Life of Erasmus, having quoted the excellent character which that author gives of archbishop Warham, takes occasion from thence to give the following just one of archbishop Herring, saying, that besides the good qualities in which he resembled Warham; he had piety without superstition, and moderation without meanness; an open and liberal way of thinking, a constant attachment to the cause of sober and rational liberty, both civil and religious. Thus he lived and died, and few great men passed through this malevolent world better beloved and less censured than he.

By his will he gave 100cl. to the society for the relief of the widows and sons of poor clergymen, and 1000l. to the master and fellows, for the rebuilding of Corpus Christi college, in Cambridge: He improved the palace of Bishopsthorpe, and being exceedingly partial to Croydon palace, which he found in a ruinuous state, he laid out much cost in the repairs of it, and rendering it commodious, making it afterwards his constant summer's residence; and being exceedingly fond of botany, formed a garden there, which became the chief and constant object of his vacant amusement; here and at the palace and gardens at Lambeth, he expended upwards of 6000l.

His sermons, which are printed, contain that true relifion which he felt and practised himself.

The archbishop bore for his arms, Azure, semee of cross croslets, six berrings, three, two and one.

86. MATTHEW HUTTON, S. T. P. archbishop of York, was next advanced to this archbishopric in 1757. He was a direct descendant lineally from Dr. Matthew Hutton, archbishop of York in queen Elizabeth's reign. He was born at Marske, in Yorkshire, on Jan. 5, 1693, and was educated at Rippon free school, in that county, and in 1710 was admitted of Jesus college, in Cambridge; he took the degree of A. B. in January, 1713, and of A. M. in 1716, and was elected fellow of Christ's college, in that university, in 1717; being chaplain to the duke of Somerset, he was presented by him, in 1726, to the rectory of Trowbridge, in Wiltshire, which vacated his fellowship; in 1728 he was created S. T. P. at the royal commencement, and in 1729 was presented by the duke to the valuable rectory of Spofforth, in Yorkshire; in 1730 he was appointed one of the king's chaplains, and in 1735 prebendary of Langtoft, in the church of York; he attended king George II. to Hanover in 1736, the year after which he was appointed canon of Windsor, which he resigned about two years afterwards for a prebend of Westminister; upon the promotion of Dr. Herring to the archbishopric of York, he was nominated to the see of Bangor, and was consecrated on Nov 13, 1743; and on that prelate's promotion to the archbishopric of Canterbury, he succeeded him in that of York, being confirmed on Dec. 10, 1747, and the next year was appointed lord high almoner; on the death of archbishop Herring in 1757, he succeeded him in the archbishopric, and was confirmed on April 29, that year. He died at his house in Duke-street, Westminster, not having ever resided at his palace of Lambeth, on March 19, 1758, æt. 65, from an inflammation in his bowels, caused by too long an abstinence from food during a tedious attendance in the house of lords. He was buried in a vault in the chancel of Lambeth church, on March 27, and there is a monument erected for him on the south side of the chancel there, the inscription on it being written by Dr. Lort; Mary, the archbishop's wife, died in 1779, æt. 86, leaving two sons, who put up the monument in 1781.

The archbishop bore for his arms, Gules, on a fess, or, a fleur de lis, between three cushions, ermine, tasselled of the second.

87. THOMAS SECKER, LL. D. succeeded on the death of archbishop Hutton to this see in the same year. He was a native of Sibthorp, a small village in Nottinghamshire, in which he was born in the year 1693; his father, who was a Protestant diffenter, residing there on a small paternal fortune; he received his education at several private schools, at which, before the age of nineteen, he had made a considerable progress in different learned languages, and being destined by his father for the ministerial office among the diffenters, his studies during the last years of his education, were chiefly turned towards divinity, in which, by the time he was twenty-three, he had made quick advances, but yet doubts arose in his mind, as he pursued his studies, insomuch that he could not bring himself to a determination what communion he should embrance; he resolved to pursue some profession, in which he should not be obliged to declare publicly, opinions which he had not yet throughly settled in his own mind.

About the end of the year 1716, therefore, he applied himself to the study of physic in London, dur ing that and the following winter; after which he went to Paris, where he attended different lectures, especially a course of them in midwisery, and during his continuance in that city, became acquainted with Albinius, afterwards professor at Leyden, father Montfaucon, and several other persons of note; here likewife was his first acquaintance with Mr. Martin Benson, afterwards bishop of Gloucester.

From the time of his leaving England, he had kept up a constant correspondence with Mr. Butler, afterwards bishop of Durham, who recommended him to Mr. Talbot, who promised to engage his father then bishop of that see, to provide for him in case he chose to take orders in the church of England; which proposal Mr. Butler communicated to him on or about the beginning of May, 1720.

Mr. Secker had not at this time any thoughts of quitting the profession of physic, but having seriously deliberated in his own mind on Mr. Butler's unexpected proposal, and his former doubts having lessened, he resolved to embrace the offer, and for this purpose he quitted France about the beginning of August, 1720. Upon his arrival in England, he was introduced to Mr. Talbot, with whom his acquaintance was, however, but of short duration, for he died in the December following, at the early age of twenty nine. This event seemed to put an end at once to all his hopes, but as he had taken his resolution, he was determined to perservere, especialy as he found, that Mr. Talbot had, on his death bed, recommended him to his father's notice.

It was now judged necessary by him, that he should have a degree at Oxford, and he found that if he previously took the degree of doctor of physic at Leyden, (fn. 18) it would facilitate his taking the other; upon which he went to that university, and there took his degrees in March, 1721, and on the 1st of April following, having returned to England, he entered himself a gentleman commoner of Exeter college, in Oxford; about a year after which he obtained the degree of A. B. in that university, in consequence of the chancellor's recommendatory letter to the convocation, and in Dec. 1722, he was ordained deacon, and soon afterwards priest, by bishop Talbot in St. James's church, where he preached his first sermon on March 28, 1723; the bishop then appointed him one of his domestic chaplains, and before the end of the year, promoted him to the valuable rectory of Houghton le Spring.

In the course of those frequent visits of gratitude which Mr. Secker paid to Mrs. Talbot, the widow of his deceased friend, by whom she had a daughter, born five months after his death; he became acquainted with the sister of his friend Mr. Benson, who had been for some time Mrs. Talbot's inseparable companion, and his preserment now putting it in his power to settle in the world, he made her proposals of marriage, which being accepted, they were married by bishop Talbot, on October 28, 1725; and at the earnest desire of both, Mrs. Talbot consented to live with them, and the two families from that time became one.

The residence at Houghton being exceedingly damp, he exchanged it for the more healthy one of Ryton, to the rectory of which, and a prebend of the church of Durham, he was instituted in 1727; in consequence of which exchange, he divided his residence between those two preferments. In 1732 he was appointed one of the king's chaplains, and not long afterwards, upon a proposal made by bishop Gibson, that his son-in-law, Dr. Tyrwhit, should resign the rectory of St. James's, and should be made resi dentiary of St. Paul's, and that Mr. Secker should succeed him in that rectory, the arrangement was so acceptable to those in power, that he was instituted rector in 1733, and in the beginning of July he went to Oxford, and took his degree of LL. D. not being of sufficient standing for that of divinity; on this occasion it was, that he preached his celebrated act sermon, on the advantages and duties of an academical education; it was printed at the desire of the heads of houses, and quickly passed through several editions.

In December, 1734, he received notice by letter, from bishop Gibson, that the king had fixed on him to be bishop of Bristol, and in the following month he was consecrated in Lambeth chapel, and held with the bishopric, the prebend of Durham and the rectory of St. James's, in commendam, for the use of the parishioners of which, he drew up those lectures on the Church Catechism, which have been since published, and not only read there once every week on the usual days, but every Sunday evening, either at the church, or one of the chapels belonging to it, where they were received with universal approbation, and the sermons which he at that time composed, rendered him one of the most popular preachers of his time.

In 1737, the bishopric of Oxford being vacant, was offered to Dr. Secker, who at first declined it, but he was at length prevailed on to accept of it, and was confirmed bishop of that see in May that year. In 1750 the deanry of St. Paul's becoming vacant, the lord chancellor Hardwick immediately wrote to Hanover, where the king then was, recommending the bishop of Oxford for that preserment, which he was to take in exchange for the rectory of St. James's and the prebend of Durham; to which the king consenting, he was installed in December, 1750. About two years before this exchange took place, the bishop's wife died, and he had not been long in possession of his dignity, before he experienced the loss of three friends, the bishops Butler, Benson and Berkeley, with each of whom he had been most intimate, and who were all cut off within the space of one year.

During the whole time of his being dean of St. Paul's, he attended his duty and resided there at the deanry constantly in winter, and in the summer months at his episcopal house at Cuddesden, in Oxfordshire, where he regularly preached in his parish church every Sunday morning, and read a lecture on the catechism in the evening. In this see of Oxford he continued upwards of twenty years; at length, however, he was removed from this station, being promoted in 1758, on the death of archbishop Hutton, to the metropolitical see of Canterbury.

Whilst in this patriarchal chair, he patronized with zeal and generosity, every design and institution that tended to advance morality and religion; he contributed largely to the maintenance of schools for the poor, and to the repairing of parsonage houses and places of worship. To the society for promoting Christian Knowledge, he was a liberal benefactor, and to the society for propagating the Gospel in foreign parts, of which he was president, he paid much attention; and when a pamphlet was published by Dr. Mayhew, of Boston, in New England, which charged the society with a misapplication of the money they had collected, the archbishop thought himself called upon to resute it, and accordingly published an answer to it.

The conduct which the archbishop observed towards the several denominations of religious sects in this kingdom, was such as plainly discovered his way of thinking towards all Protestant persuasions, to whom he demeaned himself with great mildness and moderation, and he appeared to be at all times sincerely desirous of cultivating a good understanding with the differences, whom he looked upon as a con scientious and valuable set of men, with the most eminent of whom, he maintained an intercourse of friendship, and was highly reverenced and esteemed by them, and to such as needed help, he shewed equal kindness and liberality, as to those of the established church.

He resided usually at Lambeth, where he was seized on July 30, 1768, with his last illness, and next evening in the raising of him from his couch, his thigh bone broke, (which appeared to have been carious and the internal part destroyed for some time before); this put him in great agonies of pain, insomuch, that a fever soon ensued, and he became lethargic, and continued so till the next evening, when he expired with much calmness, in the 75th year of his age, and except in some very slight defects of memory, he retained his faculties in their full vigour till within a few days of his death.

Archbishop Secker was buried, according to his own directions, in a covered passage leading from a private door of the palace, to the north door of Lambeth church, and he forbade any monument or epitaph to be placed over him, notwithstanding which there is a memorial for him there. He gave in his life-time 500l. towards building a chapel at Stockwell. By his will he appointed the Rev. Dr. Burton, canon of Christ-church, and Mrs. Catherine Talbot, above-mentioned, his executors, and left 13,000l. in the three per cent. annuities, to Dr. Porteus and Dr. Stinton, his chaplains, in trust, to pay the interest of it to Mrs. Talbot and her daughter, during their joint lives, or the life of the survivor, and after both their deaths, 11,000l. and upwards, of the above sum, to be transferred to the following charitable uses, viz. To the society for the propogation of the Gospel, 1000l. for the general uses of it; to the same society for the establishment of bishops in America, 1000l.— to the society for promoting Christian Knowledge, 500l.—to the Irish Protestant working schools, 500l.—to the corporation of the sons of the clergy, 500l.—to Bromley college, 500l.—to the archbishop's hospitals at Croydon, St. John's, in Canterbury, and St. Nicholas, Harbledown, 500l. each; to the society of the stewards of the corporation of the sons of the clergy, 200l. to St. George's and the London hospital, and the Lyingin hospital in Brownlow street, 500l. each; to the Asylum, in the parish of Lambeth, 400l. to the Magdalen hospital, the Lock hospital, the Small Pox hospital, and the Inoculation hospital, 300l. each; to the incurables of Luke's hospital, 500l. and towards repairing or rebuilding the houses belonging to poor livings in the diocese of Canterbury, 2000l. (fn. 19)

Besides these benefactions, he left 1000l. to be distributed among his servants; 200l. to such indigent persons, as he had assisted in his life time; 5000l. to the two daughters of his nephew Mr. Frost; 500l. to the widow of his nephew the Rev. Dr. George Secker; after the payment of these and some other smaller legacies, he left his real and the residue of his personal estate to his nephew Mr. Thomas Frost, of Nottingham.

He had expanded in his life time upwards of 300l. in arranging and improving the archbishop's library at Lambeth, then under the care of Dr. Ducarel, the librarian of it; and having observed with concern, that the printed books in the library had received no addition since the time of archbishop Tenison, he made it his care to collect books in all languages, from most parts of Europe, at a very great expence, with a view of supplying that chasm, which he accordingly did, by leaving to it at his death, out of his private library, all such books as were not in the archiepiscopal one be fore, which comprehended much the largest and most valuable part of his own collection. He bequeathed likewise to the manuscript part of the library, a variety of learned and curious pieces, written by himself, to be preserved there under the sole care of the archbishop for the time being, and to be inspected by no one without the archbishop's express permission.

Archbishop Secker was in his person, tall and comely, in the early part of his slender and rather consumptive, but as he advanced in years, his constitution gained strength, and his size increased, yet never to that over degree of corpulency that was disproportionate or troublesome; his countenance was florid and manly, nor was it easily varied, so as to betray the sentiments of his mind; although he might be said to receive his company with politeness, yet there was a shyness in his behaviour, which he had caught from the diffenters in his early part of life, nor was he in general assable and courteous; there was such a reserve and coldness in his manner, and such an affected quaintness in the tone of his voice that threw a damp on conversation, and prevented strangers from being at ease before him, and made them doubt his sincerity towards them. It was remarkable, that he always chose rather to talk of things, than persons, that he was very sparing of giving characters, and very candid when he did.

The archbishop bore for his arms, Gules, a bend engrailed, between two bulls heads erased, or.

Not long after the archbishop's decease, his executors, in pursuance of an order left under his own hand, published a letter to the Hon. Horace Walpole, written in 1750, concerning Bishops in America, in which his own sentiments on that subject are fully explained, and an answer given to the principal objections against such a proposal.

The archbishop left his lectures on the catechism, and his manuscript sermons, to be revised and pub lished by his two chaplains Dr. Stinton and Dr. Porteus, which they accordingly were, the former in two volumes, the latter in seven, with some account of his life before them; they published likewise in one volume, the archbishop's eight charges delivered to the clergy of the dioceses of Oxford and Canterbury, to which are added instructions to candidates for orders, and a Latin speech intended to have been spoken at the opening of the convocation in 1761.

The nine sermons on the War and Rebellion, published in 1758, by the author himself, when bishop of Oxford, which were out of print and much sought after, have been also reprinted with the addition of the answer to Dr. Mayhew, and the letter to Mr. Walpole; which volume, together with the fourteen occasional sermons printed by the archbishop in 1766, and the publications enumerated above, complete his works in tweleve volumes octavo.

88. FREDERICK CORNWALLIS, S. T. P. was next promoted to this see in 1768. He was the seventh son of Charles, the fourth lord Cornwallis, and was born on Feb. 22, 1713, being a twin brother with the late Lieut. General Edward Cornwallis. He was educated at Christ college, in Cambridge, where he took the degrees of A. M. and S. T. P. tanquam nobilis, and was chosen a fellow of that society; in 1740 he was presented by his brother to the rectory of Chelmondeston, in Suffolk, with which he held that of Titteshall St. Mary, in Norfolk; after which he was made one of the king's chaplains in ordinary, and promoted to a canonry of Windsor; on Feb. 8, 1750, he was consecrated bishop of Lichfield and Conventry; and no Nov. 28, 1766, made dean of St. Paul's.

On the death of archbishop Secker on August 13, 1768, he was promoted to the archbishopric of Canterbury, in the chair of which he sat not quite fifteen years, when dying on March 19, 1783, æt. 70, at his palace at Lambeth, after a few days illness; he was buried in St. Mary's church, adjoining to it, in bishop Thirlbye's grave, whose body was found entire, his funeral being attended by Dr. Beilby Porteus, bishop of Chester, as chief mourner, and Dr. Vyse, rector of Lambeth, and Dr. Lort, his chaplains; and there has been a monument erected to his memory on the south side of the chancel there, the inscription on the slab being much the same as that for his predecessor Hutton, just by it.

Although archbishop Cornwallis was not deeply learned, yet he had a competent share of learning, and, what is better, a purity and benevolence of heart, which, joined to his affability and courtesy of manners, gained him the respect and love of every one.

At his first residence at Lambeth, he abolished that disagreeable distinction of his chaplains dining at a separate table, for however the parade and state of the archbishop's houshold, and as well as the manners of former times might have made it consistent for them to sit at table with his upper domestics, yet the change of manners and the alteration of the times, had long made it odious and complained of by every one; and it remained for an archbishop of Dr. Cornwallis's noble birth to declare, that they should be seated at the same table with himself, where his hospitality, as well on his public days, (fn. 20) as at other times, was as noble, as his own moderation in the enjoyment of it was exemplary. In 1769 the archbishop improved the palace with two handsome additional rooms.

This palace in 1780 became once more exposed to the sury of the mob. The insatuated rioters, amidst their zeal against popery, had been prepossessed that the archbishop was a favourer of the Roman Catholics, and on June 6, a party of several hundred per sons, who had been previously assembled in St. Geroge's fields, came to it, crying No Popery. They knocked at the gate, which was secured, and receiving no answer they went away, saying they would return in the evening. Upon this alarm, the archbishop was prevailed on to leave Lambeth, with his family, and afterwards removed for greater safety from place to place, and at last to lord Hilsborough's, at Westerham, where he remained till the disturbances were over. In the mean time application was made for some soldiers to desend the palace, and a detachment of the guards was immediately sent, and centinels were placed on the tower and at all the avenues, and afterwards a party of the militia were ordered here, who continued for some weeks, and kept strict garrison duty in the palace. The officers being entertained by the chaplains, and the soldiers having their meals in the great hall, where they remianed till August 11, when they quitted the palace, all apprehensions having subsided.

The archbishop married in 1759, Caroline, daughter of the Hon. William Townshend, a son of the lord viscount Townshend, whom he left surviving, but left no issue by her.

He bore for his arms, Sable, guttee d'ean; on a fess, argent, three Cornish choughs proper, a rose for difference; as for the seventh son.

89. JOHN MOORE, S. T. P. bishop of Bangor, was next promoted to this archbishopric, being confirmed on April 26, 1783.

He was born in the city of Gloucester, and was educated at Pembroke college, in Oxford; after being recommended to the late duke of Marlborough, he was intrusted by him with the education of his two younger sons, lords Charles and Robert Spencer, with whom, as tutor, he travelled to Rome; in 1761 he had a prebend of Durham conferred on him, and in May 1763, a canonry of Christ-church, in Oxford; in Nov. 1769, he was inducted to the rectory of Ryton, and on Sept. 20, 1771, was installed dean of Canterbury, (fn. 21) from which he was removed on the death of bishop Ewer, in 1775, to the bishopric of Bangor, and from thence translated, as above-mentioned, to this metropolitical see of Canterbury, over which he still presides with that strict and uninterrupted propriety of conduct, which adds a lustre to his character, and renders it as respectable in public, as it is amiable in private life.

He bears for his arms, Argent, on a chevron, sable, two swords, their hilts, or, the blades argent, their points crossing each other upwards; between three Moors heads couped at the neck, proper.

The coat of arms borne by the archbishop of Canterbury, as belonging to the archiepiscopal see, is—Azure, an episcopal staff in pale, or; ensigned with a cross-pattee, argent, surmounted by a pall of the last, edged and fringed of the second; charged with four crosses formee fitchee, sable.


  • 1. See Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 3666; vol. vi. p. 4742.
  • 2. He was the youngest son of Roger Sheldon of that parish, where he was born on July 19, 1598. See an account of him in Wood's Ath. vol. ii. col. 1162.
  • 3. His will is among the Harleian MSS. No. 6835, among which is a grant of arms to him, No. 1172—153; and the trophies carried at his funeral, No. 1478–6.
  • 4. See Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 3582; vol. vi. p. 4369.
  • 5. He left behind him a vast multitude of papers and collections in manuscript, which, upon his decease, came into his nephew's hands; after whose death they were purchased by bishop Tanner, who gave them, with the rest of his manuscripts, to the Bod leian library.
  • 6. See Noble's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 277.
  • 7. See Birch's and Le Neve's Life of the Archbishop, and Todd's Lives of the Deans of Canterbury.
  • 8. See Biog, Brit. vol. vi. p. 3923.
  • 9. Out of the profits of these benefactions, the librarian has an allowance of 10l. per annum; the schoolmaster, besides a dwelling-house, has a salary of 30l. per annum; and the usher the same salary without an apartment; for which they teach thirty boys, the sons of the inhabitants of St. Martin's parish. The library consists of upwards of 4000 volumes.
  • 10. On archbishop Tenison's death, his successor made great demands for dilapidations, both at Lambeth and Croydon; and on a survey they were valued at 3500l. on which great disputes ensued, which were carried to a great length by archdeacon Tenison, on the part of the deceased archbishop's executors, and he printed several very scurrilous letters to archbishop Wake and others, on this business; at last, it was decided in November, 1716, by the chief justice and the dean of the arches, that the late archbishop's executors should pay 2800l. for dilapidations.
  • 11. Among the Harleian MSS. are some notes of archbishop Tenison's, touching the lord Verulam, No. 6867—25.
  • 12. Biog. Brit. vol. xiv.
  • 13. Ibid. vol. vii. p. 4083.
  • 14. See a short account of archbishop Wake, and a list of some of his early writings, in Wood's Athenæ vol. ii. col. 1059.—In the 13th of George I. anno 1727, an act passed, for vesting several sums of money in the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of Ely, given for the augmentation of the maintenance of poor vicars, within the dioceses of Canterbury and Ely; and to empower them to lay out the same in the purchase of lands, to be vested in other trustees for the same purposes.
  • 15. See Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 3417. Wood's Ath vol. ii. col. 941. The archbishop had issue two sons: John, dean of Canterbury; and Thomas Potter, esq. whom he made his heir; and four daughters, who married, the eldest to the Rev. Dr. Sayer. archdeacon of Durham, &c. the second to Dr. Tanner, prebendary of Canterbury, rector of Hadleigh, in Suffolk, &c. the third to Dr. Milles, dean of Exeter; and the fourth to Dr. Tenison, prebendary of Canterbury.
  • 16. See more of him and the family above, among the deans of the church of Canterbury, in the account of his son, Dr. John Potter, dean of it; and his life, in Biog. Brit. vol. x.
  • 17. See Biog. Brit. vol. vii. appendix, p. 89.
  • 18. Whilst at Leyden, he published his Thesis De Medicina Statica, the only medical book he ever printed.
  • 19. Miss Talbot, the daughter, died in 1779; and Mrs. Talbot, her mother, in 1784; upon which the several benefactions above-mentioned, were paid to the respective charities.
  • 20. It is the custom for the archbishop, when resident at Lambeth palace, to keep a public table, one day in every week, during the sittings of parliament.
  • 21. The archbishop at his coming to the see greatly improved the palace itself, and laid out the gardens and paddock, containing thirteen acres, in the modern taste, at no inconsiderable expence. See a further account of him and of his family in the List of Deans of Canterbury, p. 48.