COMPTON, Henry (1632-1713)

COMPTON, Henry (1632–1713)

cons. 6 Dec. 1674 bp. of OXFORD; transl. 18 Dec. 1675 bp. of LONDON; susp. 6 Sept. 1686

First sat 13 Apr. 1675; last sat 8 June 1713

b. 1632, 6th s. of Spencer Compton, 2nd earl of Northampton, and Mary (d.1654), da. of Sir Francis Beaumont of Coleorton, Leics; bro. of James Compton, 3rd earl of Northampton, Sir Charles Compton, Sir Francis Compton, Sir William Compton. educ. Uppingham g.s.; Queen’s, Oxf., matric. 1654; travelled abroad (France and Italy) 1652-4, 1663-6; MA Camb. 1661; Christ Church Oxf., MA (incorp. from Camb.) 1666, ord. 1666, BD 1669, DD 1669. unm. d. 7 July 1713; will 31 Aug. 1708, pr. 8 Aug. 1713.1

PC 1676-85, 1689-d.

Dean, chapel royal 1675-85, 1689-d.; clerk of the closet 1675-85.

Rect. Llandinam, Mont. 1666-74, Cottenham, Cambs. 1671-4, Witney, Oxon. 1674-5; master, St Cross Hospital, Winchester 1667-75; canon Christ Church, Oxf. 1669-75; commr. ecclesiastical preferments 1681,2 Tangiers bef. 1684,3 hospitals 1691,4 prizes 1694, 1695,5 of appeal in Admiralty cases 1697,6 Q. Anne’s Bounty bef. 1705,7 redemption of captives 1707,8 for building 50 new churches 1711;9 founder mbr. SPG 1701.10

Cornet, Royal Horse Gds. 1661; lt. 1666.11

Likenesses: oil on canvas by Sir G. Kneller, c.1675, Christ Church, Oxf.; line engraving by David Loggan, 1679, NPG D34056; oil on canvas by John Riley, c.1680-5, Queen’s, Oxf.; oil on canvas by Sir G. Kneller, c.1712, NPG 2952.

In search of a career

Henry Compton, born into the English aristocracy, was urbane, cosmopolitan, royalist and fiercely anti-Catholic. He slid from the military into the Church in the 1660s and, with equal ease, took up arms in support of the Revolution of 1688. As one of the ‘immortal seven’ who signed the invasion petition to William of Orange, Compton became the heroic defender of the Protestant cause in both post-revolutionary propaganda and Whig historiography. His earliest biography appeared in the year of his death followed by a panegyric in 1715. Both set the tone for subsequent evaluations of his character and career.12

Compton’s father and older brothers fought for the royalist cause during the Civil Wars and he himself had travelled in Europe, and may have fought in Flanders, during the Interregnum. He returned to England at the Restoration. He was sent to Tangiers on military service in 1662, but by 1664 he was in France, considering the possibility of journeying on to Rome. He left France in 1666 to return to Oxford and an academic career under John Fell, the future bishop of Oxford.13 He was made master of St Cross Hospital in Winchester through the patronage of George Morley, bishop of Winchester, and the encouragement of his brother-in-law, Sir John Nicholas, who condemned the failure of the bishops who ‘do not enough consult the interest and concern of the Church in not encouraging the nobility and gentry to be of their profession’.14 A Christ Church canonry followed, but Compton had little interest in acquiring parochial experience, his livings functioning more as a form of income than employment. Simply and tellingly described as ‘expensive’, Compton was unable to subsist on a clerical income. By the early 1670s, he was in debt to the undersecretary of state, Joseph Williamson, and repeatedly failed to honour promises to repay him. There are indications that Williamson was not his only creditor.15 Compton had no great reputation either as a preacher or as a scholar, but he clearly had a good command of French and Italian and used his language skills to contribute to anti-Catholic propaganda. In 1666 he published a translation of Gregorio Leti’s Life of Donna Olimpia Maldachini, the notorious adviser to Pope Innocent X, and in 1669 he published a translation of the anti-Catholic diatribe, The Jesuits Intrigues. He remained virulently anti-Catholic and sympathetic to Huguenot, Bohemian, Vaudois and other European strands of protestantism for the rest of his life.16

Even before he entered the episcopate Compton used his clerical and aristocratic standing to make strategic recommendations to the higher clergy. In 1670 Compton and Nicholas helped to place Herbert Astley in the deanery of Norwich, where he could counter any lingering Presbyterian sympathies fostered by Edward Reynolds, the bishop there. Compton recommended Astley to Archbishop Gilbert Sheldon, but Sheldon was out of favour and readily admitted his difficulty in being heard at court; Nicholas then advised Astley to approach Compton’s brother, Northampton, for a recommendation to Henry Bennet, then Baron, later earl of, Arlington.17

Allied to Danby 1674-9

By March 1674 Compton, still in his early 40s, was tipped for elevation to the see of Oxford, probably through the influence of Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby (later marquess of Carmarthen and duke of Leeds). Gilbert Burnet, the future bishop of Salisbury would later describe him ‘as a property to Lord Danby … [who] was turned by him as he pleased’.18 Compton was elected prematurely by the Oxford chapter in a bureaucratic bungle and then again, correctly, on 10 Nov. 1674.19 His consecration sermon was preached by his chaplain, William Jane, a royalist Anglican who perceived both Catholics and Nonconformists as enemies of the Church. Jane would become increasingly important when Compton promoted the highfliers later in his career.20 Sheldon made ample use of his new bishop who was later described by Roger Morrice as the archbishop’s ‘tool and monkey to pull the chestnut out of the fire when he himself thought not fit to do it’.21 In November 1674 Williamson issued a warrant allowing Compton to keep several of his offices in commendam.22 He had incurred substantial expenses in the process of elevation and the income of the bishopric, less than £350 a year, was clearly insufficient to meet his needs.

On 13 Apr. 1675, the first day of a new session, Compton took his seat in the Lords, joining his brother, the earl of Northampton. Compton’s parliamentary career spanned 39 years. Of the 36 parliamentary sessions held during his episcopate, he attended every session, was in his seat on the first day for all but one session and took a wide-ranging role in the business of the House, contributing to debates, managing numerous conferences and being named to both select and sessional committees. The frequency with which he reported back to the House from select committees suggests that he not only served on committees but also chaired them. For 17 sessions he attended for more than three-quarters of all sittings and, as a member of the sessional committee, also examined the Journal.

In his first parliamentary session Compton attended 67 per cent of all sittings and was named to 15 select committees including the committee to uncover the publisher of A Letter from a Person of Quality. In the spring of 1675 he attended throughout the abortive attempt by Danby to secure a bill against the politically ‘disaffected’ and impose a ‘no alteration’ test. In July 1675 he was appointed as dean of the chapel royal, a post that placed him in charge of the religious education of Princesses Mary and Anne. The choice was resented deeply by their father, James Stuart, duke of York.23

During the brief autumn session of 1675, Compton attended 95 per cent of all sittings and was named only to the sessional committees. On 18 Oct. 1675 he received the proxy of Nathaniel Crew, bishop of Durham (another aristocratic bishop, whom he had succeeded at Oxford), which was cancelled 8 November. By that time it was already anticipated that he would be appointed to the newly vacant see of London. He was translated in December.24 His annual diocesan income increased to more than £2,000.25 Unusually, he was allowed to keep one commendam to augment that income; the treasury books also detail ad hoc payments (possibly for ceremonial duties).26 Compton now held a pivotal role in Danby’s ministry. His appointment to the Privy Council in January 1676 was part of a general political realignment for as he joined, George Savile, Viscount (later earl and marquess) Halifax, and Denzil Holles, Baron Holles, were removed. Concern about possible limitations on his ability to enforce clerical discipline led him to petition for an extension of his jurisdiction to the anomalous area of the Minories.27 He also instituted regular diocesan conferences where he led focused debates on subjects of interest to the parish clergy which both enabled him to impart his own views and provided an opportunity for the clergy to air their problems to their bishop.28

Compton’s relationship with York was damaged in December 1675 when he sought permission to confirm the Princesses Mary and Anne. York refused but the king commanded that the confirmation go ahead.29 The 1676 ‘Compton Census’, set in motion by Sheldon in January 1676, was part and parcel of Danby’s policy to assure the king that nonconformity was of little account and comprehension unnecessary for Protestant unity.30 Compton supported Danby’s policy of suppressing Dissent. In March 1676 Compton is reported to have said that any person could enjoy liberty of conscience in the privacy of his own home with five other people (a comment on the provisions of the Conventicles Act).31 On occasion he felt as though he lacked support in his campaign against recusants and Dissenters: on several days during June 1676 he was said to have shown the council a copy of a book reputed to have been written by Andrew Marvell, probably Mr Smirke or the Divine in Mode, hoping to convince others of its seditious nature, but as Marvell reported, ‘none takes notice’ and, indeed, it was not even minuted in the Privy Council registers.32

On 21 July 1676 Compton was present at the Privy Council when the bookseller Anthony Lawrence was brought before it for printing a translation of the mass entitled The Great Sacrifice of the New Law, and it was to Compton that the wardens of the Stationer’s company were directed to deliver copies seized for destruction. A similar order for ‘popish books’ to be seized and delivered to Compton for destruction was made on 9 August.33 This second set of books appears to have been an expanded edition of The Great Sacrifice printed at the order of the Portuguese ambassador, Francesco de Mello, and ostensibly intended for the use of the queen’s household. The ambassador claimed that he had authorized the printing of 100 copies for this purpose but that the licence mistakenly specified 900 copies which were accordingly printed. That same month Compton’s anti-Catholic zeal also led him to offend York by complaining to the king that York’s secretary, Edward Colman, had published a book in defence of papal supremacy. Colman denied the charge. York was said to have been all the more offended as Compton had not first consulted him and ‘the duke [having] formerly told him, if he did, he shou’d take it very ill’. As if this were not enough, Compton also complained to the king about Colman’s intervention to prevent the prosecution of nonconformists in Norfolk. The king advised York to discharge Colman which York ‘did highly resent from the bishop and told him as much, and is now afresh provoked’.34 According to a French diplomatic communiqué, Compton was fomenting trouble out of personal ambition: he was young, ‘and the only one, among all the clergy in England, who is distinguished by his birth: he sees that the archbishop of Canterbury is 80 years old, and he is trying to put in a bid for his position’.35 Compton was already effectively deputizing for the ageing archbishop and he (and others) must have been well aware that like Sheldon the previous four holders of the post had been promoted from London. What he does not seem to have realized was the continuing influence of York and the need to maintain a good relationship with him. In the same letter the French ambassador remarked on Compton’s tactless failure to pay ‘compliments’ to the queen and York.

Compton may have been acting as an intermediary between Danby and Sheldon, as in early January 1677 Compton informed Sheldon that a royal proclamation ‘puts some stress upon a full Parliament at the first meeting, so it is thought very requisite that you give my lords the bishops timely notice of sending their proxies up in good time’.36 Before the new session he received the proxy of Herbert Croft, bishop of Hereford (vacated at the end of the session), and that of William Lucy, bishop of St Davids (vacated by the latter’s death). On 15 Feb. 1677, after the long prorogation, Compton took his seat for the first time as the bishop of London. He attended the session for 81 per cent of all sittings and was named to 74 select committees on a wide range of public and private business.

On 4 Nov. 1677, during the adjournment, Compton conducted the wedding of Princess Mary and William of Orange, a cause of further irritation for York. Even before Sheldon’s death on 9 Nov. the archbishop’s ailing condition had prompted much speculation about his successor. Most commentators expected Compton to succeed but as early as 16 Oct. Sir Robert Southwell indicated that Compton was ‘greatly in want’ of favour and that his friendship with Danby would prove insufficient to secure the post. According to Southwell Compton ‘bends all his energies’ in favour of the candidacy of Richard Sterne, archbishop of York, ‘not only for having been his quondam tutor, but for being a man very positive and intractable in his way, and even older than my lord of Canterbury that is dying’.37 By 19 Nov. ‘common discourse’ in Cambridge (informed by statements from Compton’s domestic chaplain) correctly identified William Sancroft, currently serving under Compton as dean of St Paul’s, as Sheldon’s successor. According to Edward Lake (chaplain and tutor to the princesses), Danby deserted Compton and secretly promoted Sancroft’s candidacy instead, probably because Compton’s candidacy was opposed by York. Edward Colman made his master’s opposition clear when he ‘openly and freely said, that the bishop of London must not expect to be the man, because of his forwardness in persecuting the Roman Catholics, particularly the Portugal ambassador and himself’.38

On 15 Jan. 1678 the House resumed. On 29 Jan. Compton joined a group of nine, including York, the new archbishop, Sancroft, and Sterne, to dissent to the decision to release of Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke. Compton was acutely aware that Danby’s political power was already on the wane. In February he described Danby as ‘a lost man’. He, nevertheless, did his best to help Danby by wrapping up a warning against the influence of George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, in a sermon that was delivered that same month at court. Compton ‘did so particularly explain the dangers of ill-conversation, or the showing any degree of countenance or delight in those who were under marks and blemishes of evil life, that the meaning was very visible to all’.39

In the House Compton immersed himself in business. He chaired the select committee on the bill to appropriate two rectories for the maintenance of St Asaph cathedral, reporting back to the House on 7 Mar. 1678 and the bill passed uneventfully to the royal assent.40 During the remainder of the session, he helped to manage conferences on the address for a war with France and for burying in woollen. He reported from select committees on the Protestant strangers bill in May and the bill to increase the revenue of the deanery of St Paul’s in June. On 6 June Compton received the proxy of William Lloyd, bishop of Llandaff and later of Peterborough, (vacated with the prorogation on 15 July). During the course of the year he made his own contribution to the hysteria of the popish plot allegations by reprinting his translation of the life of Olimpia Maldichini. As a member of the Privy Council Compton was in the forefront of investigating the plot, which served, at least temporarily, to shore up his and Danby’s position, especially during and after the arrest, trial and execution of his old enemy, Colman. In anticipation of the new parliamentary session in October 1678, Compton had received two proxies, the first from Lloyd of Llandaff (vacated with Lloyd’s attendance on 27 Dec.), the second from Richard Sterne, vacated at the end of the session.41

Compton resumed his seat on 21 Oct. 1678 and attended 91 per cent of all sittings during that session. He was named to 14 select committees, including that to consider the answers of the five impeached Catholic lords and the objections of the Commons. On 26 Oct. the Lords named Compton and Danby, amongst others, to examine Colman and other prisoners in Newgate.42 Two days later Compton was ordered by the House to seize any Catholic publications. On 29 Oct., after Danby had reported on the examination of prisoners, a contentious debate followed the motion (not minuted in the Journal) made by Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, that York’s letters be read. Nearly a fortnight earlier, on 16 Oct., Compton had been present when the council considered a report from the lord chancellor, Heneage Finch, then Baron Finch, later earl of Nottingham. Finch had examined Colman’s papers and concluded that York was not party to his designs.43 Yet on 29 Oct. Compton seconded Shaftesbury’s motion, in direct opposition to York, an action that was scarcely likely to help repair his relationship with the heir apparent.44 31 Oct. On 31 Oct. Compton was added to the subcommittee investigating the death of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey. The following day, the House ordered that a trunk of Catholic books seized from a bookseller should be delivered to Compton ‘to be disposed of as his lordship shall direct’. That day he was the only bishop named as one of the conference managers on the preservation of the king’s person and the safety of the Protestant state. On 15 Nov. Compton voted in favour of including a declaration against the fundamental Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation in the Test Act. In early December he, together with Sancroft and the two secretaries of state, were appointed to supervise the messengers who were to keep watch and identify unauthorized participants in the Catholic masses at the chapels of the queen and foreign ambassadors.45 He appears to have been an active member of the committee investigating the Popish Plot, for an examination taken before him was presented by the committee to the House on 21 December. On 26 Dec. he reported the results of Sterne’s investigations into an alleged nunnery in Ripley. He voted to insist on the Lords’ amendment relating to the payment of money into the exchequer on 26 Dec. and the following day voted against the committal of Danby. On 28 Dec. he was named to the committee to draw up reasons for a conference with the Commons on supply for disbanding the forces, helping to manage the subsequent conference.

The Exclusion Crisis 1679-80

Compton’s anti-Catholic vendetta, carried on in council as well as in the Lords, helped earn the king’s displeasure. The fall of Danby removed his closest ally at court and his precarious position may not have been helped by a quarrel with Arlington over the right to appoint Lent preachers, though the precise date of this dispute is unknown.46 Matters were made still worse when Compton failed to pay his respects to the king. On 14 Jan. 1679, fretting that ‘it is a grievous thing for a loyal person to lie under the displeasure of his prince’, Compton asked Sancroft

to let me know whether you have yet acquainted his majesty, that I did not fail at my first coming to town to present my most humble duty and respects by your grace’s mediation. For if it be not done … I find I shall lie under great reflections if I do not immediately take care to have it done some other way.47

In November 1678 Compton had been rumoured to be in ‘close counsels’ with Shaftesbury, but if true, the flirtation did not last long, for on 31 Dec. Compton was said to have ‘forsaken’ Shaftesbury.48 In the parliamentary elections that followed the dissolution in January 1679 Compton supported his diocesan chancellor, Sir Thomas Exton, as a candidate for Cambridge University. Shaftesbury judged Exton ‘vile’.

Compton attended every sitting of the first week of the new Parliament in early March, when virtually no business other than the taking of the new oaths was transacted. On 3 Mar. 1679 Compton was one of the witnesses to the king’s declaration in council that he had never been married to anyone other than the queen.49 He attended every sitting of the first week of the new Parliament in early March, when virtually no business other than the taking of the new oaths was transacted due to problems over choosing a speaker in the Commons. A new session began on 15 March. Compton then attended 98 per cent of all sittings. On 19 Mar. he spoke in the debate concerning the question of whether an impeachment started in a previous Parliament continued in the next. He agreed with Shaftesbury that it was inconvenient to raise disputes between the king and the Lords ‘because of the dangerous consequence’, but considered it vital to deal with the question of injury to a peer and the implications of imprisonment.50 On 21 Mar. he took part in the long debate resulting from the Commons’ demand that Danby be sequestered from Parliament and committed to safe custody. When Shaftesbury claimed that he could not forget how Danby ‘dallied with the king’s life’ in managing the Plot and moved that Danby be committed to Black Rod, Compton went on the attack:

our votes are a sufficient reason to the House of Commons; ... I am much confirmed in my opinion, since that lord who is so very able could make nothing but such trivial and slight arguments ... the Commons are so reasonable that when you are satisfied they will be so too.51

Like others present he interpreted the Commons’ request as posing a potential breach of the Lords’ privileges. Danby’s opponents and supporters alike then called for the debate to be adjourned. In April Compton voted against the passage of the bill of attainder and on 24 Apr. was named as one of the managers of a conference with the Commons on the subject of the five impeached Catholic peers. At the end of April he issued to his clergy an official broadsheet following up conferences he had held with them the previous year on baptism, the communion and catechizing, and urging them to compliance with the canons and rubrics in the Prayer Book.52

Despite his anti-Catholicism and difficult relationship with York, Compton retained his place on the Privy Council when the king dissolved it in April and created a new one. During May 1679, when the House debated the contentious issue of the right of the bishops to vote in ‘blood cases’, Compton intervened to insist that ‘we shall not do anything which our ancestors have not done’.53 On 10 May he voted against the appointment of a joint committee with the Commons to consider the method of proceeding against the impeached lords, but on 26 May was named as a conference manager on the preservation of ‘a good correspondence’ with the lower House.

The prorogation of 27 May 1679 was followed by the dissolution and parliamentary elections. In July 1679 Compton was approached by the justices of Middlesex to support the candidature of former royalist officer and property developer, William Smith, who had acquired a reputation for severity against both Catholic and Protestant nonconformists when chairing the Middlesex quarter sessions. Smith ran a lacklustre campaign and withdrew after polling only three votes.54 Meanwhile, the enmity of the duke of York was further exacerbated by information he received that Danby had made overtures to Presbyterians for his own advantage and that he considered the case proven by ‘the bishop of London’s violence against him’.55

On 16 July 1680 he was contacted by Secretary Sir Leoline Jenkins with an urgent request from the recorder of London, George Jeffreys, later Baron Jeffreys, who wanted Compton to intervene in the City elections and engage the clergy so that ‘the good men be chosen and that the ill ones have not so clear a view of their own strength’.56 It is likely that Compton complied willingly. In July too he sent out a new printed circular to the clergy of his diocese: in response to ‘the hellish plot of the papists’, churchmen must be found, he advised, ‘in the best posture ... against this common enemy’, and he warned about various subversive Catholic religious practices (including ‘half communion’, reading prayers in a foreign tongue and the invocation of saints, instructing clergy to prosecute the laws vigorously and warning that he would be checking at his forthcoming visitation that ‘not a recusant has escaped our notice’.57

With both anti-clericalist and anti-Catholic feelings running high, Compton took steps to promote and consolidate Protestant unity. In the late summer of 1680 he wrote to three prominent European Protestant leaders asking for their opinions about English nonconformity. All three replied that there was no justification for Protestants to separate from the Anglican Church. The following year these responses were included as an appendix to The Unreasonableness of Separation, a pamphlet published by Compton’s ally and dean of St Paul’s, Edward Stillingfleet, later bishop of Worcester.

The new Parliament opened on 21 Oct. 1680. Compton resumed his seat, attended 86 per cent of all sittings and was named to six select committees, two on the penal laws against Catholics and further investigations into the Popish Plot. In an unminuted Privy Council discussion (the clerks were asked to withdraw) early in October 1680, Compton was one of a small majority who voted that York should not be required to leave England; the king, nevertheless, instructed him to leave for Scotland.58 On 12 Nov. 1680, with debate on the exclusion bill imminent, John Pritchett, of Gloucester registered his proxy to Compton, the proxy being vacated six weeks later at Pritchett’s death. On 15 Nov. Compton spoke in the debate on the bill and voted to reject it on its first reading. On 23 Nov. Compton voted against the appointment of a committee to consider, with the Commons, the state of the kingdom. On 30 Nov., on behalf of the bishops, he requested the leave of the House for them to be absent from the trial of William Howard, Viscount Stafford, ‘by protestation, saving to themselves and their successors all such rights in judicature as they have by law, and of right ought to have’.

Parliament was prorogued on 10 Jan. 1681. On 27 Feb. the king ordered that no preferment in the Church or favour in the universities should be granted without the approbation of Compton and Sancroft. Nevertheless in June, against their express wishes, he appointed Nottingham’s chaplain, John Sharp, later archbishop of York, to the deanery of Norwich. In July and August he somewhat insultingly added ‘as referees’ four prominent laymen: Halifax, Laurence Hyde, Viscount Hyde (later earl of Rochester), Sir Edward Seymour and John Robartes, earl of Radnor.59 Meanwhile, in April the king ordered the prosecution of all Catholic recusants and at Sancroft’s request, Compton transmitted an attested copy of the order to all the bishops of the province.60

The Tory reaction 1681-5

When the new Parliament assembled in Oxford on 21 Mar. 1681, Compton attended every sitting of the week-long session and was again named to the select committee on the Plot. The ensuing four years without a Parliament were nevertheless full of political activity for the bishop. Throughout the Tory reaction Compton was a visible and repressive presence, hounding nonconformists and Catholics alike. Compton retaliated to attacks on his authority from the perpetually controversial cleric Edmund Hickeringill (1631-1708) by pursuing him through the courts, eventually suing him for scandalum magnatum and securing an award of £2,000, which he put towards the fund for rebuilding St Paul’s.61

In June 1682 Compton was using his ‘very great’ interest to secure the election of a complaisant alderman in the City, though the kudos he received for this from the government was offset by annoyance at his inability to control Dr Wells (probably John Wells, prebendary of St Paul’s) who had gone into the country ‘when he knew that all the nonconformist preachers were doing their utmost by way of solicitation against us in this matter’.62 In January 1683 he attempted to have the dissenting physician Sir John Baber banned from waiting on the king and the duke of York since it sent encouraging signals to nonconformists.63 One circular to his diocesan clergy in 1683 concentrated on the enforcement of regular church attendance; the second issued in July, against unlicensed preachers, adopted a distinctly military tone. The ‘body politic’ was under the strictness of martial law and only uniformity would maintain its security from enemy forces:

we are to consider our selves in the state of church-discipline, as watchmen and shepherds to guard and secure our flocks ... we must drive away all erroneous doctrines, and avoid disorderly walkers. We must drive away the bold wolves, the little foxes, and all beasts of prey.64

Over the period he helped to monitor county benches and corporations for their political stance and sought to have Whigs replaced with reliable Tories.65 In July 1683 Compton officiated at the wedding of Princess Anne and Prince George, the future duke of Cumberland. In 1684 he was one of those (the other being William Lloyd, bishop of Peterborough) to whom the dispute between Thomas Wood, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield and Sir Andrew Hacket, over dilapidations of the episcopal palace and other matters, was referred. Compton was Wood’s nominee.66 In February 1684 he issued a new printed circular to his clergy on Easter communion.67

The reign of James II, 1685-8

Within a week of the accession of James II, Compton and Sancroft were summoned to a private audience, at which they were discouraged from all anti-Catholic activism.68 Within ten days of James II’s accession, Compton composed a loyal address from his diocese, presenting it in person.69 Initially his position seemed secure as the king made a point of reappointing all those who had been members of Charles II’s existing Privy Council. During the subsequent election campaign for a new Parliament, Compton orchestrated support for Tory candidates, telling his rural deans on 21 Feb. 1685 that

You will likewise now have an opportunity to give a real evidence of your professed fidelity by using your utmost interest among the gentry and other freeholders ... to give their voices for such sober and prudent men as will seek the peace of the Church and the State by promoting the king’s and the kingdom’s service. I need not warn you of the great diligence used by the enemies of both, to make choice of factious and turbulent spirits; and I hope the truth and justice of your cause will make you no less industrious to prevent such wicked and pernicious designs, which bear so fatal an aspect upon all honest men.70

On 2 May 1685, as the new Parliament approached, Compton discussed tactics with Lloyd of Peterborough (formerly bishop of Llandaff), apparently unaware that Lloyd had already had a similar discussion with Sancroft. Lloyd and Compton ‘agreed that it was the interest, as well as the credit and safety of the bishops, to be unanimous in their votes and that it was not expedient, or perhaps safe, to propose or desire any new laws at the ensuing Parliament, how plausible soever they might seem to be’. Compton initially proposed that Sancroft summon a meeting of the bishops but was persuaded that this might be provocative and that it would be more expedient for them to receive Sancroft’s instructions individually.71

Compton resumed his seat at the opening of the new Parliament on 19 May 1685 and attended 88 per cent of all sittings. He was named to 12 select committees. Despite his recent discussion with Lloyd on the desirability of avoiding new measures, he introduced a bill on small tithes, but on 1 June he was given leave to withdraw it because counsel had made some errors in the draft. On 25 and 26 June he reported from the committee on the Bangor cathedral bill. Although still a member of the council, Compton’s attendance was now infrequent. He did not attend even during the period of the rebellion of James Scott duke of Monmouth. Whether this was by choice or because he was not regularly summoned is unknown. His record of harassing Catholics was an obvious factor in his alienation from the court. On 16 Oct. he received a warrant for stay of process against 13 recusants.72 An undated letter from Halifax which probably belongs to late October or early November 1685 listed Compton as one of the court lords who ‘wear red coats, that have leapt hedge and ditch in everything, but swear they will not give up these bills’ (the Tests).73

Compton ordered the reading throughout his diocese of the act to keep the anti-Catholic anniversary of 5 November.74 When Parliament re-assembled on 9 Nov. 1685, the king’s speech made particular mention of his intention to retain Catholic officers in the army, contrary to the Test Acts. According to one account, on 19 Nov., following the king’s acknowledgement of the address of thanks, Compton

courageously moved, in the name of himself and all his brethren, that the House would particularly debate the king’s speech, and the 23rd of this month was accordingly appointed; which as it was extraordinary and unusual in the House, so it was not less surprising to the king and court, who soon showed a particular jealousy at these proceedings.75

Another account identifies Compton as seconding the motion. Whether he proposed or seconded, it is clear that he made a long speech in opposition to the king in which he spoke ‘with great respect and deference to his majesty, yet very full and home; and when he ended, he said he spoke the sense of the whole bench, at which they all rose up’.76 James II responded by proroguing Parliament the next day.

Compton’s support for Huguenots fleeing from French persecution led to his removal from the Privy Council and other offices in December 1685. The presence of large numbers of such refugees in England and particularly in London was a cause of alarm to the king, who regarded them as fundamentally anti-monarchical. In July 1685 he had tried to have a clause concerning the liturgy inserted into a general naturalization bill presented to the Commons which would effectively have annihilated the French church.77 The bill failed when Parliament was prorogued at news of Monmouth’s rebellion. There were also rumours that the king intended to take out a quo warranto against the French church.78 The quo warranto was probably not issued; instead the government seems to have given serious consideration to reviving the suggestion first made in 1670 that the method of worship in the French church be brought under closer control by transferring its governing structure to a superintendent. Such plans were subsequently subsumed into preparations for a charitable brief on behalf of the Huguenots.79 Compton was not present at the Privy Council on 23 Nov. 1685 when the brief was authorized; nor did he have any part in drafting it. According to Gilbert Dolben, Compton left London in December after receiving a ‘gracious reception’ from the king, but on 23 Dec. in his absence and apparently without his knowledge, the king dismissed him from the Privy Council. Dolben later reported that the king gave as his reasons for Compton’s dismissal, that he ‘cavilled and consulted with disaffected men’.80 (It was joked that the dismissal was for travelling to perform a marriage ceremony for his nephew on a Sunday – Lord’s Day observance had been the theme of Compton’s most recent diocesan circular, in April.)81 At least one modern commentator has suggested that whilst Compton’s dismissal was probably inevitable, its timing may have been influenced by the perception that he was the Huguenots’ champion and that removing him from office would encourage many of them to leave the country.82 Compton also lost his posts in the chapel royal and as clerk of the closet. That same month Compton secured a place for William Stanley (later dean of St Asaph) as chaplain to Princess Mary, thus ensuring a continuing ability to receive reliable intelligence from the Dutch court.83 Compton began to cold shoulder some of the king’s more trusted clerics, including Francis Turner, bishop of Ely, who complained that Compton had given one of his clients ‘a mortifying raillery in public ... and ... will not leave off affronting me perpetually in this manner’.84 It was now said that Compton’s ‘fame runs high in the vogue of the people’.85 Like others exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction, Compton found his authority undermined by the king’s intervention in individual cases. In March 1686, for example, the king directed him to halt proceedings against two suspected persons who had produced ‘certificates of the loyalty and sufferings of themselves and their families’.86

In March 1686 the brief for the Huguenots was finally issued. Unlike a similar brief issued by Charles II, it included a clause requiring recipients of the charity to take communion according to Anglican rites. Compton found himself blamed for a reluctance to distribute the money thus collected, when in reality he was constrained by the terms of the brief. It was said that only some 4,000 of the 20,000 plus refugees were able to benefit; many of the rest did, as James probably hoped, leave the country.87 In May 1686, in response to pressure to enforce greater conformity on the Huguenots, Compton told Sancroft that ‘it would be an insolent demand in me, to require more of the French Church in the Savoy, than the late king himself did in his constitution of them which only requires their conformity according to the usage of Guernsey and Jersey, where never surplice or sign of the cross were ever used or required and where they have always taken care of their churches by consistory.’88 English nonconformists were a different matter. That same month, Compton was reported to have sent out a bullish letter to his clergy, instructing them to act against Dissenters and remarking that ‘he would drive the Dissenters either to the Church, or to the devil’.89

Compton’s final breach with the king came on 14 June 1686 when James II instructed him to suspend John Sharp, then rector of St Giles and dean of Norwich (and later archbishop of York), for preaching an anti-Catholic sermon likely ‘to beget in the minds of his hearers an evil opinion of us and our government ... and to lead them into disobedience and rebellion’. Compton refused, insisting that he must ‘proceed according to law and … no judge condemns any man before he has knowledge of the cause, and has cited the party’.90 He was then summoned before the ecclesiastical commission, whose jurisdiction to act as what was essentially a court of law was contentious. Compton claimed that he would ‘run all hazards in maintaining the law, and thought it was best to demur to the jurisdiction of the court’. The eminent lawyer, Sir John Maynard, was less certain. He judged ‘it was not very advisable to demur to the jurisdiction of the court, lest it should be interpreted a disowning, or refusing to submit to the king’s supremacy’. Demurring to the court could thus lead to a charge of treason and incur ‘a far greater punishment than can be inflicted ... for the crime alleged by the commissioners’.91 Between 3 Aug. and 6 Sept. Compton appeared before the commission on four occasions. When he asked for a copy of the commission Jeffreys told him that he could read one in any coffee house, a riposte that shocked contemporaries for ‘that great measure and degree of rudeness and unmannerliness ... was monstrous in him that was lately raised to what he was by the king’s mere favour to treat a person of the bishop of London’s extraction, reputation and interest at such a rate.’92

Roger Morrice feared that Compton might be susceptible to any plan that secured his preferments: ‘whether he has a true principle of moral severity and integrity and honesty to bear him up under such great trials God only knoweth his life has not been free from notorious blemishes’.93 At the final hearing Compton questioned the authority of the court (in the light of the 1641 act for the abolition of the court of high commission) ‘but did not preclude himself from the liberty of pleading over’.

On 6 Sept. 1686 Compton was suspended from office although he was allowed to keep his episcopal income, a decision that suggests concerns at court that deprivation would spark an action at common law. Despite his suspension, in December 1686 Compton issued another of his annual circulars to his clergy, following a diocesan conference. It amounted to a summons to resistance, albeit to passive resistance.94 In the very first sentence, he wrote that nothing was more pernicious than to ‘carry the duty of submission beyond the bounds of just reason and due patience’. He continued,

we are forbid to declare, limit or bound the constitutive laws of the realm between prince and people ... because our business is to teach a Christian behaviour upon all occasions, without entering into the merits of any cause betwixt prince and people … But if we exalt the king’s prerogative above the law, we do as good tell the people, that notwithstanding their rights, the king may ravish their wives, spoil their goods, and cut their throats at pleasure ... I look upon it as a rule, that we ought in common prudence to set our selves in this affair; to be as cautious of flattering our prince into tyranny, as of stirring up the people to sedition and tumult … we have a prince of another religion ... and what the mercies of that religion are ... we all very well know. … If we be a lessening, hindrance or discredit to our own religion by disorderly walking, supine negligence, or any other fault ... he will then think it just to abandon us ... the least we can expect from one so wedded to that religion is that he should promote it all he could ... my daily prayer shall be ... that we may be courageous in this day of trial, and behave ourselves like men.

In March 1687 Compton petitioned the king for reinstatement; yet ‘he made no proper submission in it. He does not think that this will put a stop to his deprivation, but he thinks it will make it a little more difficult, and gain him some time’.95 As 1687 drew to a close, it was rumoured that the bishop would be deprived and replaced with Thomas Cartwright, bishop of Chester. In the somewhat feverish and fearful political atmosphere it was also suggested that the king was about to call convocation in order to confirm his supremacy and dispensing power and to command the clergy’s acknowledgement under threat of praemunire.96 Unsurprisingly, in the new year Compton was listed by Danby as an opponent of the government. On 12 May 1688 Compton dined at Lambeth, together with Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, and several bishops and was party to the discussions that led to the petition of the Seven Bishops against reading the Declaration.97 Although not a signatory to the actual petition, he signified his approval of its contents on 23 May.98 Compton was active on behalf of the Seven Bishops throughout their trial, coordinating intelligence and legal advice, and sending condolences ‘that his majesty has no more confidence in his best friends’.99

The Revolution of 1688

On 30 June, the day the Seven Bishops were acquitted, Compton became one of the ‘immortal seven’ who invited William of Orange to invade.100 In September the king issued a proclamation warning of the intended Dutch invasion. He also reinstated Compton and summoned him to court. Compton meanwhile had travelled north, ostensibly to visit his sister, but actually to recruit and coordinate support for rebellion.101 On 31 Oct., clearly suspicious that Compton might be one of the lords spiritual mentioned in the prince of Orange’s declaration, James II summoned him to a private audience. Confronted with the copy of William’s declaration, Compton obfuscated, telling the king that he ‘was confident, the rest of the bishops would as readily answer in the negative as myself’.102 On 2 Nov. together with Sancroft, Crew, Cartwright and Thomas Watson, bishop of St Davids, he attended the king yet again, this time to face the king’s demand that they issue an abhorrence of the Orange invasion. Sancroft may have been prepared to do so but Compton persuaded the bishops otherwise. They called instead for a Parliament.103 It was later alleged that in early November Compton had attended a gathering at the lodgings of his nephew, Hatton Compton, together with John Churchill, Baron Churchill (the future duke of Marlborough), Colonel Percy Kirke and Sir George Hewitt, where they agreed to deliver the king in person to the invading prince and, if necessary, to assassinate the king’s bodyguard.104

On the night of 25/26 Nov. Compton engineered Princess Anne’s escape from London, escorting her to Nottingham where they met up with other Orangist sympathizers, including Prince George.105 His letters for this period read more like those of a soldier than a bishop. He fretted that the forces with him were ‘raw’ and lacked discipline; he sought the prince’s advice; and he wrote to Danby (then in York) begging tactical guidance and cavalry, and sending intelligence about the king’s plans.106 He even drew up an undertaking for an association to protect the Revolution and to avenge any harm to William by killing all English Catholics.107 On 15 Dec. he was the only cleric among 15 of the nobility to enter Oxford. In breach of canon law, he rode as commander of Princess Anne’s guards, ‘in a purple cloak, martial habit, pistols before him, and his sword drawn’. His standard bore the motto, Nolumus leges Angliae mutari (we do not want the laws of England to be changed) written in letters of gold.108

Back in London, Compton met his clergy and agreed an address of thanks to William, which they presented together on 21 December.109 The same day, in response to William’s summons, he was one of the members of the House who attended the prince in the queen’s presence chamber to advise on how best to carry out the designs of his declaration. The following day he attended the meeting of the provisional government at the House of Lords. In the course of the debate on removing Catholics from London he added that those who held office but had not taken the Test should also be removed.110 Two of the three surviving accounts of the debate also add that he seconded the proposal of William Paget, 7th Baron Paget, that the king’s flight was a ‘demise’ in law; Mary could therefore be proclaimed queen and issue writs for Parliament in her own name. The third account agrees that Compton considered the government to be dissolved. After the debate, Compton was one of those named to ask the prince to assume the management of public affairs.111

Thwarted ambition 1689-91

In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution, Compton must have believed that his prospects for advancement were good, although Halifax’s notes of conversations with William suggest that even at this early stage it had probably already been decided that should the archbishopric become vacant, it would go to John Tillotson, dean of Canterbury.112 Nevertheless, in the short term Sancroft’s self-imposed detachment from public affairs meant that Compton became acting primate by default. On 3 Jan. 1689 he was appointed dean of the chapel royal, and in the course of the month sent a letter to his rural deans extolling ‘the great blessings we enjoy by this wonderful revolution, which has procured to us so full a deliverance from popery and arbitrary power’.113 He was even said to have instructed his clergy to leave out prayers for the royal family, in contravention of the Book of Common Prayer.114 It was Compton, rather than Sancroft, who officiated at the coronation on 11 Apr. 1689.

Compton resumed his seat in the House at the start of the Convention on 22 Jan. 1689 when he and several other bishops were asked by the House to compose a prayer for a day of thanksgiving. He attended the session for 85 per cent of all sittings. It was reported that Compton told the king in January that it was only illness that kept Sancroft from the Convention and that he was holding the archbishop’s proxy, but no such proxy was entered in the proxy books.115 When the question of a regency was debated on 29 Jan. 1689 in a committee of the whole, he was either (according to one account) the only bishop to vote against it, or (according to two others) one of only two to vote against it.116 Two days later he is somewhat confusingly listed as having voted in favour of declaring William and Mary king and queen, yet also voting against agreeing with the Commons that the throne was vacant. On 4 Feb. 1689 he opposed the use of the word ‘abdicated’ instead of ‘deserted’, helping to manage two conferences against the use of the word ‘abdicated’ on 4 and 5 February. Then on 6 Feb. he changed sides and voted to agree with the Commons that the king had abdicated and the throne was vacant. On the 8th he was named as a conference manager on the declaration of the new monarchs and the oaths and on 12 Feb. as a manager of the conference on proclaiming them. On 13 Feb. 1689, after the declaration of William and Mary as monarchs, Compton preached before them in the Whitehall Chapel, taking as his text Galatians 6:15, ‘For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature’.117 The following day he was appointed to the new Privy Council.118

Compton seems to have been supportive of the new regime’s ecclesiastical policy. In an undated letter that appears to belong to spring 1689, he informed Sancroft that Parliament would consider comprehension and toleration bills: ‘two great works in which the being of our church is concerned … for though we are under a conquest God has given [us] favour in the eyes of our rulers’.119 To signify his assent to the legislation, he took 100 of his own clergy to kiss hands at court; he also thought it expedient that the nonconformist ministers did likewise, ‘the rather because the present conjuncture made it somewhat necessary to give them some countenance who were so universally and inflexibly devoted to the king’. It is unlikely that they needed his encouragement: 90 or more Presbyterian and Congregational ministers had attended the Prince of Orange on 2 Jan. to congratulate him on the success of his ‘hazardous and heroical expedition’. On that occasion they were introduced not by Compton but by William Cavendish, fourth earl and later duke of Devonshire, Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton, and Charles Powlett, then styled Lord Wiltshire (later 2nd duke of Bolton). A further address, couched in extravagant and visionary language, followed on 28 Feb. after the prince and princess were declared to be king and queen.120

On 2 Mar. 1689 Compton was punctual in taking the oaths to the new monarchs. During debates on the oaths he spoke at length against multiplying oaths and forcing the bishops to take them but when he tried to make it clear that he did not speak for himself and said that there ‘was not nor could be made an oath to the present government that he could not take’ the House descended into laughter.121 On 5 Mar. 1689 he helped to manage the conference on assisting the king and, on the following day registered his protest against the passage of the bill for the better regulating the trials of peers. On 16 Mar. he was named as one of the peers to question the Catholic James Cecil, 4th earl of Salisbury, about his younger brothers, who had allegedly been sent into France to be educated there. On 8, 16 and 17 Apr. 1689 he was a conference manager on the bill to remove Catholics from the cities of London and Westminster. On 20 and 22 Apr. 1689 he was one of the conference managers on the bill for abrogating the oaths. He was also added to the select committee on simony. On 7 May 1689 he received the proxy of the ageing Thomas Barlow, bishop of Lincoln (vacated at the end of the session), and the following day helped to manage the conference on the bill for the convicting and disarming of Catholics. On 31 May he voted against the reversal of the two judgments of perjury against Titus Oates. He was named as a conference manager on the bill and subsequently voted to adhere to the Lords’ amendments. On 19 June 1689 he received the proxy of William Beaw, bishop of Llandaff, although since Beaw attended the House the following day, it was probably not effective until 21 June. During July he was one of seven Tory bishops who dissented from the decision to proceed with the impeachment of the Jacobites Sir Adam Blair and his co-defendants. He helped to manage the conference on the bill concerning the succession on 12 July and, on 25 and 27 July, the conference on the tea and coffee duty bill.

Closely associated with William Lloyd, then bishop of St Asaph, later successively bishop of Lichfield and Coventry and Worcester, it seems likely that Compton was involved with him in negotiations to prevent a nonjuring schism after 1 Aug. 1689, the date set by the Act for Abrogating the Oaths (by which bishops and other office holders were required to take the oaths to the new monarchs).122 A letter from Compton to an Essex clergyman, which by internal evidence must belong to the period between the declaration of the new monarchs and the dissolution of the Convention on 9 Feb. 1690, probably belongs to the summer or autumn of 1689. It reflected the propaganda needs of the new regime, especially with regard to those who either were, or were in danger of becoming, nonjurors. It seems likely that the letter circulated more widely than to its ostensible recipient, for a copy survived to be published in 1710 as part of a different propaganda initiative – the case against Dr Sacheverell. In it Compton argued that ‘all the best lawyers’ had justified ‘our obedience to a king de facto, tho’ he is not de jure’ and that the Convention (‘the body of the nation assembled in the best manner, the present exigencies of affairs will permit’) was the arena in which disputes between king and people should be decided, ‘For if we will not upon such occasion submit to their determination, we set up that private spirit in civil policy, which by experience we have so justly condemned in ecclesiastical’.123 It was probably in response to news of this letter that Compton was accused of

unworthy compliances under all sorts of government ... not contenting yourself to have renounced your faith and allegiance, and the personal homage done the king at his coronation, you ... justify the taking the new oaths, and thereby endeavouring as much as in you lies, to involve the whole nation in the guilt of perjury.124

When Archbishop Sancroft was formally suspended on 1 Aug. 1689 as a result of his failure to take the oaths, Compton was upset to discover that the archi-episcopal jurisdiction was to be entrusted to Tillotson as dean of Canterbury. This was in accordance with precedent during a vacancy, but Compton, clearly anxious that Tillotson enjoyed a favoured position at court, argued unsuccessfully that Sancroft’s suspension did not amount to a vacancy in the ordinary sense.125

In September 1689 William and Mary issued a commission to Thomas Lamplugh, archbishop of York, Compton and others empowering them to review the liturgy for approval by Convocation and presentation to Parliament.126 The second session of the Convention began the following month. Compton was present for the first day, 23 Oct. 1689, and attended 91 per cent of all sittings. In a list compiled between October 1689 and February 1690, Carmarthen (as Danby was now known) reckoned Compton to be a court supporter, although one to be spoken to. On 8 Nov. 1689 Compton reported from the select committee on the bill to relieve those who had not taken the oaths within the set time limits. Three days later he was added to the Lords’ committee for inspections. On 12 Nov. 1689 he again received the proxy of Thomas Barlow (vacated at the end of the session) and on 15 Nov. reported from the committee on the church rates bill. On 19 Nov. he protested against the third reading of the bill to prevent clandestine marriages on the grounds that once religiously contracted and consummated, no marriage could be annulled.

Events in Convocation impinged directly on Parliament’s own legislative programme. On 26 Nov. Compton was authorized by the crown to preside over Convocation and to lead discussions over alterations to the liturgy.127 In elections for prolocutor of the lower House, Compton’s former chaplain, the high Tory William Jane, was elected in opposition to Tillotson. Tillotson had no doubt that Compton ‘was at the bottom of it, out of a jealousy that I might be a hindrance to him in attaining what he desires’. Jane’s election guaranteed that Convocation would reject those liturgical changes that tended to comprehension. Despite failing to meet the August deadline for taking the new oaths, the nonjuring bishops had been given a further six months to comply although the reaction in convocation suggested that any attempt to deprive them risked creating considerable controversy.128 Compton and Lloyd of St Asaph continued to negotiate with the nonjuring bishops. In October the nonjurors had refused a suggestion that they give recognizances for good behaviour.129 In December further expedients were proposed, one of which was a short act of Parliament to enable the king to dispense with the requirement for taking the oaths. This too was refused.130 Such a proposal would have avoided controversy whilst at the same time robbing Tillotson of the primacy, perhaps allowing Compton further breathing space to repair his career chances. Compton’s earlier devotion to Princess Anne provides the background to a complaint to the House on 17 Jan. 1690 that a Stephen Howard was in custody under privilege of Parliament for accusing Compton of plotting to make Anne queen of England. Howard apologized and was released three days before the end of the session.

Shortly before or just after the dissolution, the king sought a change in the London lieutenancy, asking Compton, Carmarthen, Charles Talbot, 12th earl (later duke) of Shrewsbury, and Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, to review both the lieutenancy and the commission of the peace. According to Burnet the king wanted them to name some moderate churchmen to the commission ‘so the two parties in the City might be kept in balance’; instead, Compton gave him a list of ‘the most violent Tories in the city, who had been engaged in some of the worst things that passed in the end of king Charles’ reign’.131 Compton threw himself into the 1690 election campaign on behalf of the Tories, writing at length to both the clergy and the laity and advocating the re-election of the sitting Members for Middlesex, Tories Sir Charles Gerard and Ralph Hawtrey. He even forbade his clergy ‘upon canonical obedience’ to vote for the Whig candidate Sir John Maynard.132 Compton ‘appeared in the field’ at the Essex election, together with a full ecclesiastical retinue, the episode evoking his military escapade during the Revolution. The Tories were nevertheless defeated.133

The new Parliament opened on 20 Mar. 1690. Compton, resuming his seat at the start of business, attended 95 per cent of all sittings, still acting as a quasi-archbishop by collating and presenting the excuses of those bishops who wished to be excused attendance.134 On 5 and 8 Apr. he reported back to the House on the small tithes bill. On 8 Apr. the House debated the bill for the recognition of the king and queen, and the legitimacy of the Convention. Much contention was caused by one particular clause and when the clause in question passed unaltered Compton was one of several Tory Members to enter a protest. Two days later, together with Nottingham and others, Compton protested against expunging the reasons for the protest on the grounds that to do so suggested that they had voted against the bill as a whole ‘which is contrary to our sense and intentions’. On 12 Apr. 1690 he registered his proxy in favour of Edward Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester, to cover a three day absence. On 30 Apr. 1690 Compton received the proxy of Nicholas Stratford, bishop of Chester, which was vacated two days later when both Compton and Stratford attended a long debate on the abjuration bill. Compton spoke against the bill, arguing that it offered no security and would merely ‘raise scruples’.135 On 6 May 1690 when the bill was discussed in a committee of the whole, Compton and Charles Mordaunt, earl of Monmouth, proposed a new test ‘which was well received and the former (which caused such great heats) thrown out’.136 On 9 May 1690 Compton received the proxy of Gilbert Ironside, bishop of Bristol (vacated at the end of the session on 23 May 1690).

In the summer of 1690 Compton intervened in Irish church affairs, sending a long list of candidates for preferment to senior posts to Sir Robert Southwell, secretary of state for Ireland. He justified his intervention on the grounds that the primate, Michael Boyle of Armagh, was so partial in promoting his relations that he was in ‘no way fit to advise the king’.137 In September he again intervened in English electoral politics. Somewhat oddly, given that received opinion considered that the Church interest in Harwich was dependent on the candidature of Charles Cheyne, Viscount Newhaven [S], he asked Lady Albemarle to allow Cheyne to take his seat as Member for the Cornish borough of Newport (to which he had also been elected). Compton intended to recommend another candidate ‘for the government and Church’s sake’ but his request was unsuccessful.138 Equally oddly, an undated note amongst the king’s papers that appears to belong to 1690, referred to Compton as having ‘influence over most of the Whig party’.139

The 1690-1 session opened on 2 Oct. 1690; Compton attended 88 per cent of all sittings and on 7 Oct. again received Ironside’s proxy (vacated at the end of the session). On 6 Oct. he voted for the discharge of the earl of Salisbury and of Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough, from their imprisonment in the Tower. He spent much of the session engaged in Irish affairs, providing forms of prayer to be used for the Irish day of thanksgiving on 16 Nov. and working with senior clerics on the royal commission to settle the church in Ireland.140 On the last day of the session, 5 Jan. 1691, he helped to manage all four conferences on the bill for the suspension of the navigation and corn acts.

Following revelations of the possible involvement of Turner of Ely in the Preston Plot, news circulated that Compton, together with Lloyd of St Asaph, Nottingham and Carmarthen, had ‘vehemently pressed’ the king to fill the vacant bishoprics before leaving for Holland.141 In what may have been a last-ditch effort to change the king’s mind over Tillotson’s imminent promotion, he accompanied William to The Hague in February 1691.142 By mid March he was back in England. According to Sancroft, Compton learned that he was not to get Canterbury as he was on his way into the council chamber on 23 Apr. 1691 ‘when a friend pulled him by the sleeve, and shewed him the whole scheme’. Sancroft, who clearly enjoyed the thought of Compton’s discomfiture, reported that he had then ‘retreated’. If he did retreat, it must have been after the meeting had begun for he is listed in the attendance list that day.143

Living with disappointment 1691-1702

Compton appears to have been responsible for ensuring that the popular Robert Frampton, bishop of Gloucester, remained at his Standish rectory after deprivation—a favour that Sancroft contemptuously regarded as an attempt to persuade the remaining nonjurors that ‘we too might at last have had a feather of our own goose, restored, to stick in our caps’.144 When Compton visited Lambeth on 29 Apr. 1691, a scornful Sancroft waspishly observed ‘O quantum mutatus ab illo Hectore! [How changed from that Hector] So kind, so debonair, and so obliging, that it would have pleased you to observe it’.145 Compton was conspicuously absent from Tillotson’s consecration and from his swearing-in at the Privy Council.146 He buried himself in ecclesiastical affairs, becoming an enthusiastic supporter of missionary work in the colonies and the foundation of Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

He maintained his vigour as a parliamentarian, resuming his seat at the start of business on 22 Oct. 1691 and attending the session for 70 per cent of all sittings. From 24 Nov. until the end of the session, he held Gilbert Ironside’s proxy. On 27 Dec. he signed the bishops’ petition to the king to implement the penal laws against impiety and vice.147 On 2 Jan. 1692 he dissented from the arguments of the Lords for a conference on the Commons’ decision to publish their desire for an address for the incorporation of the East India Company in their votes and also from the decision not to send for the original record of a precedent cited in a debate on the subject on 18 Dec. 1691. On 4 Jan. 1692 the House gave a first reading to the bill to allow Compton to sell Bushey Manor for the improvement of his bishopric. The bill was committed the following day (with Compton named to the select committee); it passed the House on 8 January.

The most controversial legislation during the 1692 session was the divorce bill for Henry Howard, duke of Norfolk. Compton was present on 12 Jan. for the initial debate, when counsel for the duchess argued that the case should not be heard until it had come before the ecclesiastical courts.148 When the House decided to receive the bill, 19 Tories, including Compton, protested against it. On 21 Jan. 1692 Compton received the proxy of Thomas Sprat, of Rochester. It was vacated by Sprat’s attendance on 16 Feb., the day that the House voted not to use proxies in future divisions on the Norfolk divorce bill. On 17 Feb. Norfolk lost his cause by five votes. Compton voted with the majority against the bill but it was noted that ‘all the new bishops’ supported Norfolk.149 Meanwhile, on 13 Jan. 1692 Compton reported on the Cambridge University bill and was subsequently added to the new subcommittee. He again reported back to the House on 16 February.

During spring 1692 Compton seemed resigned to his situation. His circular letter to his clergy that year, dated 29 Mar., concentrated at length on problems arising from toleration and a strategy to combat immorality and irreligion through vigorous pastoral activity and by engaging Dissenters in respectful conversation.150 On 11 Apr., Tillotson convened a pastoral meeting at Lambeth which proved unexpectedly harmonious, Compton concurring ‘cheerfully’ with the proposals.151 In July he became involved in a dispute with the queen over his right to present Dr Peter Birch to St James Piccadilly. Birch had once been one of William’s chaplains but was subsequently regarded as one of the discontented. The queen’s candidate was William Wake, who became bishop of Lincoln in 1705 and archbishop of Canterbury in 1716.152 That same month, as relations soured between the court and Princess Anne, it was rumoured that Compton had been forbidden from attending the princess. Nevertheless, he dined with her and Prince George a few days later ‘which is taken notice of’.153 In an attempt either to ingratiate himself with the queen or to ensure that Birch was in good standing with her, in October he instructed Birch to obey the queen’s instructions and to snub Anne should she attempt to worship at St James.154

He resumed his seat in the Lords at the start of the new session on 4 Nov. 1692 and attended 82 per cent of all sittings. On 2 Jan. 1693 Compton again voted to throw out Norfolk’s divorce bill. The following day he voted with the majority of bishops in accordance with the wishes of the court against the passage of the place bill. Meanwhile, in the the Essex by-election held on 10 Jan. 1693 Compton canvassed on behalf of the Tory Sir Eliab Harvey. Harvey lost amidst accusations of electoral malpractice.155 On 17 Jan. Compton twice dissented from the Lords’ resolutions against the Banbury peerage claim and on the 25th voted to commit the bill to prevent dangers from disaffected persons. On 11 Feb. he was one of the bishops named to the committee to draw up address of advice to the king on the employment of foreigners at the board of ordnance or as keeper of stores in the Tower. On 18 Feb. the bill that would allow Compton and Monmouth to exchange episcopal land in Fulham for other property of a similar value was reported to the House by Thomas Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford and passed the House. On 14 Mar., the last day of the session, Compton was named as a conference manager on the bill to prohibit trade with France and for the encouragement of privateers.

During the summer of 1693 an energetic Compton conducted a demanding visitation of his diocese during which he again rehearsed his visceral hostility to catholicism.156 He was back at Westminster for the new session on 7 Nov. and attended 85 per cent of all sittings. On 5 Jan. 1694 after a conference on the place bill, the Commons accepted all but one of the Lords amendments. The Lords then gave way to the Commons, sparking a protest from Rochester and Compton who were unhappy that the Speaker of the Commons should be excepted from the bill, maintaining that the Speaker ‘if he can be capable of being corrupted, may, by himself alone, do much more mischief than a great many of the members can do together’. Another Essex by-election was held in February 1694, resulting in the return of the Church candidate Sir Charles Barrington, with Compton’s support.157 On 17 Feb. Compton voted in favour of reversing the court of chancery’s dismission in the cause Montagu v. Bath, and on 6 Mar. was named as a conference manager on the mutiny bill. On 3 and 4 Apr. he reported from the select committee on the small tithes bill. On the 5th he helped to manage the conference on the private bill for William Stawell, 3rd Baron Stawell.

Compton was back in the House at the start of business in the following session on 12 Nov. 1694 and attended for three-quarters of all sittings. At the death of Tillotson on 22 Nov. 1694 the king again overlooked Compton and translated Thomas Tenison, bishop of Lincoln, to Canterbury.158 The following month, according to his earliest biographer, Compton experienced ‘unexpressable grief’ at the death of the queen, though his relations with her can scarcely have been close.159 He waited on the king on 10 Jan. 1695 to express his condolences and, on 16 Jan., having apparently come to terms with his failure to secure promotion, attended Tenison’s confirmation.160 Over the years many bills for the more easy recovery of small tithes had been introduced and subsequently lost. Compton appears to have been responsible for the one that received its first reading in the Lords on 11 Feb. 1695. It passed the House but was lost in the Commons after as a result of a nonconformist campaign against it.161

The dispute over Compton’s right of presentation to St James came before the House in January 1695. Compton had lost the case in king’s bench and sought to appeal the decision by means of a writ of error. On 11 Jan. the Lords heard counsel for Compton; the verdict in king’s bench was upheld the following day by a majority of ten votes.162 That same day the king drew up plans for a ‘commission for the better disposal of ecclesiastical preferments’. In what was clearly intended as a snub, and probably a commentary on his growing identification with the Tory highfliers, Compton was omitted from its membership.163 On 23 Jan. Compton dissented from the decision to postpone implementation of the bill to regulate treason trials. On 12 Feb. he reported from the select committee on the bill to confirm a grant of St Martin’s churchyard made by the rector of the united parishes of St Michael Royall and St Martin’s in the Vintry, London. He held Ironside’s proxy from 16 Feb. to the end of the session in May. On 16 and 23 Feb. and 15 and 20 Apr. he was one of the conference managers on the trials for treason bill.

After the dissolution in October 1695, Compton was again involved in electioneering, supporting Tory candidates in opposition to the court. He and Sprat supported Sir William Trumbull at Oxford; he was also actively involved, with varying degrees of success, in the campaigns in Westminster, Essex and Cambridge University.164 Resuming his seat in the new Parliament on 22 Nov. 1695, Compton attended 84 per cent of all sittings. On 9 Jan. 1696, following a division on the bill to regulate silver coinage, he protested against the rejection of a clause requiring that the deficiency on all clipped coin be made good and, on 31 Mar., dissented to the passage of the bill to encourage the import of plate to the Mint. His continuing loyalty to the regime, irrespective of his opposition to court policies, was demonstrated on 27 Feb. when, in the wake of the discovery of the Assassination Plot, he signed the Association in the House and again on 10 Apr, when he signed the ‘repugnance’ at the absolution by nonjuring clergy of the convicted plotters Sir William Parkyns and Sir John Friend.165 On 9 Apr. 1696 he reported back to the House on the bill to encourage ‘charitable gifts and dispositions’.

Parliament was prorogued on 27 Apr. 1696. Compton had meanwhile fallen out with the king over the arrest and imprisonment of the deprived bishop Robert Frampton on suspicion of Jacobite plotting. The arrest warrant was issued on 18 Mar. and according to Frampton’s biographer, he surrendered himself shortly afterwards.166 Compton is said to have insisted that Frampton was no threat and to have offered to house him in his own lodgings but

The king answered, I have heard his character and know him to be ill affected to my government and I am very sorry that you will protect any of my enemies. If you will keep any of my enemies in your house in private you may. But I desire not in public.167

Compton attended the 1696-7 parliamentary session for 84 per cent of sittings. The session was dominated by the controversial bill of attainder brought against Sir John Fenwick. There was insufficient evidence to convict Fenwick in the ordinary way and this turned the parliamentary proceedings into both a travesty of justice and a party political issue.168 Compton, like most Tories, was appalled. On 15 Dec. he dissented from the resolution to read a witness statement that would have been inadmissible in a court of law. Notes taken at the second reading on 18 Dec. show that he argued that the ‘best discouragement to the enemy is to show that notwithstanding such a base attack the country was proceeding according to its laws’. The proceedings might possibly be justified by ‘unavoidable necessity’ but that was ‘not so in this case as the prisoner is too unimportant to have the safety of the king and government in his hands’.169 When the bill received its third reading on 23 Dec. he observed that if the true intent of the bill was to force a confession from Fenwick, it was ‘equivalent to a torture’. He voted against the bill and registered another protest at its passage.170

On 23 Jan. 1697 Compton dissented from the rejection of the bill to further regulate parliamentary elections. In early February a bill to allow Compton and Nottingham to exchange a number of advowsons passed rapidly through the House, receiving its third reading on 8 February. It passed equally rapidly through the Commons and received the royal assent on 8 March. On 5 Mar. 1697 Compton helped to manage the conference on the bill to prohibit the import of Indian silks and on 17 Mar. reported back from the committee on the bill to complete St Paul’s and to repair Westminster Abbey. He received Ironside’s proxy on 18 Mar. (vacated nine days later when Ironside resumed his seat). On 25 Mar. he reported from the committee of the whole on the bill to pave and regulate the Haymarket and on 13 Apr. the bill to enable easier land partition held in coparcenary, joint tenancy, and tenancy in common.

On 2 Dec. 1697 Compton conducted the thanksgiving service for the peace of Rijswijk at St Paul’s.171 The following day he took his seat for the start of the new session, attending the session for 73 per cent of all sittings. He held proxies from Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of Exeter, from 16 May and from Watson from 24 May 1698. Both were vacated by the end of the session on 5 July. He reported from a committee of the whole on 25 Feb. 1698 on the bill for suppressing atheism and blasphemy. On 15 Mar. the bill to punish Sir Charles Duncombe was lost by a single vote, Compton being one of those who voted against it. The Lords’ bill against atheism and blasphemy having been lost in favour of one that originated in the Commons, on 2 May Compton reported, again from a committee of the whole, on the Commons’ bill. On 13 May he reported on the bill for tea and coffee duties. On 25 May he reported back to the House from the conference on the Lords’ amendments to the blasphemy bill. On 6 June Compton reported on a naturalization bill and, on 20 June, he helped to manage the conference on the Alverstoke waterworks bill for Peter Mews, bishop of Winchester. Nine days later he reported back to the House on the bill to encourage the Royal Lustring Company and to prevent fraudulent imports of ‘lustrings and alamodes’, the weaving industry (in which Compton’s protégés, the Protestant strangers, had a prominent role) needing protection from the illegal import of silks from the continent. On 1 July 1698 he protested against the second reading of the bill to establish the two million fund to settle the East India trade. Three days later he reported back to the House on the bill to allow the Sally Rose (formerly taken as prize) to arrive, import her cargo and trade as an English-built ship.

Following the dissolution of Parliament on 7 July 1698, Compton was again involved in elections. In a heated campaign for Middlesex, Compton proved ‘a great stickler’ for the Tory Warwick Lake who ousted one of the sitting Members. In Essex, Compton endorsed the choice of the gentry, supporting Barrington and Edward Bullock. At Cambridge University, Compton sent ‘his chaplain and forty letters’ in support of Nottingham’s favoured candidate the high churchman Anthony Hammond.172

Compton took his seat in the new Parliament on 6 Dec. 1698, attending the session for 60 per cent of all sittings. On 8 Feb. 1699 he voted against the committee resolution to assist the king in retaining the Dutch guards and registered his dissent when it passed. On 29 Mar. he also dissented from the address to the king requesting that the bishop of Derry and others be sent for in custody in relation to the case of the London Ulster Society v. Bishop of Derry. On 25 Apr. he was named to the committee to draw up reasons for their insistence on retaining the Lords proviso on the Billingsgate market bill. Whether he participated in the committee’s deliberations is unknown, but he was not in the House on 26 Apr., the day the committee met.

Over the course of the summer he was one of the bishops appointed to assist Tenison in the hearing of the politically motivated case against the Tory, and probable Jacobite sympathizer, Watson of St Davids. When Watson was convicted on 3 Aug. Compton was a dissenting voice. He agreed that Watson was guilty on various lesser charges but found that the most serious accusation, that of simony, was unproven. As a result of the proceedings, Watson was nevertheless deprived of his bishopric. During the next (1699-1700) session (which Compton attended for 72 per cent of sittings) Watson tried to bring his case before the House as a matter of privilege. Compton argued Watson’s case in a lengthy debate on 6 Dec. 1699, but the House ruled that bishops had no privilege against the jurisdiction of the archbishop.173

On 8 Feb. 1700, Compton protested against putting the question of whether the Scottish colony of Darien was inconsistent with the good of the English plantation trade. It had been forecast that Compton would support the bill to continue the East India Company as a corporation and, on 23 Feb. 1700, he duly voted for an adjournment during pleasure to allow the House to go into a committee of the whole to discuss amendments to the bill. On 8 Mar. he protested against the second reading of the new divorce bill for the duke of Norfolk. Four days later, Compton dissented to the passage of the bill.

During the recess, Compton was engaged in his usual combination of political and ecclesiastical affairs. Parliament was dissolved on 19 Dec. 1700 and Compton was involved in the elections the following spring. On 7 Jan. 1701, he once again backed the Essex gentry’s choice of Barrington and Bullock, informing his clergy that ‘they cannot do better than to use their interest for them’. Barrington was returned, but Compton’s backing could not help Bullock, who was defeated due to rival East India interests and his own political ambivalence.174

The new Parliament opened on 6 Feb. 1701 and Compton attended 70 per cent of all sittings. On 17 Feb., he helped to manage the conference on the Lords’ address to the king; on 20 Mar., he protested against the refusal to send the address on the second Partition Treaty to the Commons. Throughout April and June, he registered protests against resolutions concerning the impeachment of the Whig lords. On 17 June he voted against the acquittal of John Somers, Baron Somers and protested twice about procedural resolutions relating to the trial.

Following the prorogation on 24 June, Compton attended a meeting at Lambeth where he was chosen as a founder member of the corporation to propagate religion in foreign plantations.175 During the elections that followed the dissolution of Parliament on 11 Nov. 1701 Compton again backed Barrington and Bullock in Essex; once again Barrington was returned and Bullock was defeated.176

In December 1701 Compton took his seat in the new Parliament but sat for only 36 per cent of all sittings. The parliamentary session was accompanied by a session of Convocation, where party rivalries were being acted out with increasing ferocity. Compton and his protégé Francis Atterbury, the future bishop of Rochester, were deeply involved in the controversies that encouraged the lower clergy to believe that they had rights independent of the upper House, setting in train a decade of controversy which fed into Parliament.177 In the Lords, on 20 Feb. 1702, Compton was the only bishop to protest against the passage of the bill to attaint the exiled Mary Beatrice, widow of James II, for high treason. Four days later, Compton and Sprat were the only bishops to dissent from the passage of the succession of the crown bill, which required an abjuration of Jacobite claims, on the grounds that ‘some worthy men ... may be entangled by it’.178

Reign of Anne 1702-13

The accession of Anne changed Compton’s public and political profile. His first biographer attributed this to the queen’s sense that she ‘knew his heart as well as her own to be entirely English, and that no consideration whatsoever should ever be able to divert him from the true interest of the Church and the crown’.179 It was clearly also Compton’s expectation that his former loyalty would now be rewarded. On 5 May 1702, in an overt display of favour towards her former rescuer, she visited Compton at Fulham, ‘the first her majesty made since her coming to the crown’, but that was virtually the sum of his rewards.180 The elections that followed the dissolution of Parliament on 2 July 1702 again saw Compton’s intervention on behalf of the Tory Church interest in Essex, but he had softened in tone, merely asking his rural deans, ‘to let the clergy of your deanery know that I earnestly desire of them to appear at the time, and give their votes according to their conscience’.181 In the Middlesex election campaign, Compton demonstrated his support for Warwick Lake when they both waited on the queen with a delegation of local gentry in early May 1702 to express their support for her foreign and domestic policies.182

Over the summer, Compton persuaded the queen not to renew the commission for ecclesiastical affairs which had played so prominent a role in the preferment of whiggishly inclined clergymen. He may have hoped to increase his own influence thereby, but by the end of the year ecclesiastical management had passed to Robert Harley, later earl of Oxford.183 Compton took his seat at the start of the new Parliament on 20 Oct. 1702 and attended the session for 62 per cent of all sittings. In Convocation on 25 Nov. 1702, Compton, Sprat and Trelawny broke episcopal ranks in the upper house and voted that the bishops should not deny the lower the additional session they sought. On 3 Dec., back in the Lords, when the bill against occasional conformity had its second reading, Compton voted against the amendment proposed by Somers which limited the scope of the bill to those covered by the Test Act. The following day, Compton voted against another proposed amendment to the effect that office-holders receive the sacrament four times a year and attend Church once a month. To Compton and the Tories this was a ‘farther prostitution’ of the sacrament and they successfully voted to reject it. On 7 Dec. in the ‘grand debate’ on leaving out the proposed financial penalties, Compton voted to keep them in, no doubt well aware that since the bill had originated in the Commons such an alteration would be considered an infringement of its privileges by the lower House and lead to the loss of the bill in its entirety. On 9 Dec., aware that the Commons’ strategy for securing the passage of the bill involved tacking it to a money bill, he voted against the resolution that deemed tacking to be unparliamentary. On 17 Dec., after a conference demanded by the Commons on the amendments to the occasional conformity bill, the House divided on an adjournment. The Tory minority, including Compton, voted for the delay, but the motion was defeated.184

In or about January 1703, Compton was unsurprisingly forecast as a supporter of the legislation against occasional conformity and on 16 Jan. he voted against retaining the Lords’ wrecking amendment on penalties. Five days earlier Compton had voted with the minority in the division for an adjournment during the debate on a declaratory bill to explain the Act of Succession. On 19 Jan. his name appears in the attendance list, although William Nicolson, bishop of Carlisle, indicates that he arrived late and came into the chamber during the debate in a committee of the whole on the prince of Denmark’s bill. Nicolson’s account of the voting, which may be unreliable, indicates that Compton voted in favour of resuming the House.185

During January and February 1703 Compton reported back to the House on a wide range of bills on ecclesiastical and economic matters: to improve ground in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields for the use of the poor; the Gloucester poor bill; the St Paul’s Cathedral bill; to continue acts concerning leather exports and vagrancy; to encourage the consumption of malted corn; and to prevent illegal imports of French and foreign brandy. On 4 Feb. 1703, Compton again revealed his ecclesiastical Toryism when he moved the House that clergymen already instituted into vacant livings should not be deprived if they refused the oath of abjuration. On 8 Feb. he brought a petition into the House from the lord mayor of London and aldermen concerning the appeal brought by Thomas Wharton, 5th Baron Wharton.186

In the recess following the prorogation of 27 Feb. 1703, Compton was authorized to seek out in Essex persons suspected of ‘unlawful correspondence’.187 During November 1703 he was twice forecast by Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, as a supporter of another occasional conformity bill. He attended the 1703-4 session for just over half of all sittings. On 14 Dec. 1703 he voted with the Tories in favour of the new occasional conformity bill, dissenting from the resolution to throw it out before its second reading. On 14 Jan. 1704 he dissented from the Lords’ grant of a writ of error in Ashby v. White and on 3 Mar. from the resolution that the key to the ‘Gibberish Letters’ be made known only to the queen and to the lords examining the Scotch Plot. On 16 Mar. he entered dissents during the passage of the bill for examining the public accounts, one to the removal of the Robert Byerley from the list of commissioners and another to the resolution to replace him with a further three commissioners. On 21 Mar. 1704 he registered three dissents concerning the bill for raising recruits for the armed forces: against the failure to adjourn the House; against the rejection of a rider that would require the consent of the churchwardens and overseers of the poor; and against the passage of the bill on the specific grounds that it enabled the compulsory conscription of ‘such able-bodied men as have not any lawful calling or employment, or visible means for their maintenance and livelihood’. Four days later he again dissented in the matter of the plotter Ferguson, believing that failure to pass censure or to arrest and prosecute him encouraged the enemies of the crown.

In advance of the 1704-5 session he received the proxy of William Beaw (vacated at the end of the session). He took his seat on 24 Oct. 1704. Now over 70 years of age, his attendance was beginning to decline; he was present for just 47 per cent of sittings. On 9 Nov. he again received Trelawny’s proxy (vacated at the end of the session). He attended the House on 15 Dec. when the queen was present and the Commons brought up the latest occasional conformity bill; Compton spoke for the bill in a lengthy debate and voted for a second reading, using Trelawny’s proxy. When the House voted to throw out the bill, he registered his dissent. As usual he joined the St Stephen’s dinner at Lambeth, showing solidarity with the Whig bishops only in their shared Protestant evangelism.188

After the dissolution on 5 Apr. 1705 Compton campaigned vigorously for the Tories, having used his influence to create freemen where possible to affect the franchise. On 10 May, Charles Montagu, Baron (later earl of) Halifax, complained to the duchess of Marlborough that at Maldon no one could stand for election, ‘or can pretend to stand till the humour is much altered in Essex, for they have made all the persons and creatures of the bishop of London free of the town’. Two tackers won the Maldon poll with Compton’s backing.189 His success was not repeated in Essex where 16 Tories had been removed from the deputy lieutenancy. Compton’s candidates were defeated amidst rancorous accusations of foul play, not least a suspicious increase in the size of the electorate.190

Compton attended the opening of the new Parliament on 25 Oct. 1705 but he attended the session for only 19 per cent of sittings. On 20 Nov. in the debate on a regency in the event of the queen’s death, he was one of six Tory bishops who voted against the attempt of Rochester and Nottingham to exclude Sidney Godolphin, Earl Godolphin, from being an ex officio regent. Compton and George Hooper, bishop of Bath and Wells alone voted that the lord mayor of London be one of the regents.191 On 28 Nov. he again received Beaw’s proxy (vacated at the end of the session), almost certainly for divisions on the succession. Two days later he dissented from the resolution that no further instructions be given to the committee of the whole on the bill to secure the person of the queen and the Protestant succession (regency bill). On 3 Dec. he protested three times during the passage of the bill on the rejection of riders to prevent the lords justices from repealing what were perceived to be fundamental constitutional laws, including the Habeas Corpus Act, The Toleration Act, the Test Acts of 1673 and 1678 and the Act of Succession.

Loyal to his own Tory principles but determined to protect the queen from the criticism implied in the ‘Church in danger’ campaign, Compton spoke at length in the House on 6 Dec. 1705, venting his anger indiscriminately on a range of issues:

[He] prefaced his discourse with professing his entire confidence in the queen and in the present great ministry at court ... but complained that the minds of the inferior subjects were debauched by atheistical and lewd pamphlets. He lamented his own fruitless struggle with Hickeringill ... he then took notice (in an odd manner) of reports that had passed in relation to briberies in election of members of the other House.

He also raged against Toland’s Memorial of the State of England, the Calves-head club and the Scots, and disparaged the sermons of Benjamin Hoadly, later bishop of Bangor, especially one on civil government preached recently in the City.192 His censure of the Scots infuriated Burnet who responded that Compton could not with integrity criticize any doctrine of resistance or ‘he did not know what defence his lordship could make for his appearing in arms at Nottingham’.193 Compton voted against the motion that the Church was not in danger and subsequently registered his protest when it passed. On 31 Jan. 1706, during debate on the repeal of the place clause in the Act of Succession, Compton and Sharp abstained by withdrawing from the House before the division.194

He resumed his seat in the Lords at the start of business on 3 Dec. 1706, but attended for only 22 per cent of all sittings. Compton may have been involved in the negotiations relating to the crisis caused by the queen’s desire to elevate the Tories William Dawes, to Chester, and Offspring Blackall, to Exeter. The sermon preached at his funeral referred obscurely to Compton’s claim to have given the queen ‘such reasonable (and to her own pious inclinations, such agreeable) advice, upon the vacancy of two dioceses, as occasion’d their being well fill’d, when ’twas little expected’.195 The queen, however, always insisted that she and she alone had taken the decision to promote Dawes and Blackall.

Back in the House on 13 Jan. 1707 for the debate on union with Scotland, Compton voted against the ‘Scotch Acts’, which were perceived as a threat to the Church of England.196 On this particular issue he was allied to Tenison, supporting the archbishop’s bill for the security of the Church. On 3 Feb. he protested against the resolution not to instruct the committee of the whole to insert a clause declaring the 1673 Test Act ‘perpetual and unalterable’ and on 15 Feb. voted to postpone consideration of the first article of union. Compton attended the debate on the ratification bill on 3 Mar. and voted against it.197

Compton attended the short April 1707 parliamentary session for 30 per cent of sittings. He took his seat for the next session at the start of business on 23 Oct., attending for 32 per cent of all sittings. Nevertheless, he was increasingly withdrawn from public life, professing an aversion both to London and to business.198 He joined both archbishops and lord chief justice Sir John Holt on 12 Jan. 1708 to discuss a bill on libels. He opposed (unsuccessfully) Somers’ church statutes bill (which favoured Nicolson rather than Atterbury in their dispute over the rights of the deanery of Carlisle), defying a directive from Lambeth that he support the legislation.199 On 19 Mar. 1708 Compton reported back from the committee of the whole on St Paul’s bill. His close alliance with Harley meant that after the latter’s fall from power, Compton was even more distanced from the ministry.

Nevertheless, over the summer of 1708 Compton commuted between Colchester and Fulham, preparing for the general election.200 Although the Essex electorate followed the national trend for Whig success, Compton sustained his influence in Maldon, where Sir Richard Child was elected following the creation of Tory freemen.201 Following the death of Prince George at the end of October 1708, Compton visited the queen to comfort her every day. Her welfare was not his only concern; he was agitating behind the scenes for the election of Atterbury as prolocutor of Convocation.202 When Parliament opened on 16 Nov. 1708, Compton resumed his seat but he came to the House for only 20 per cent of sittings. He was by now suffering from regular attacks of gout and it was gout that kept him from the House on 21 Jan. 1709 for the vote on whether Scots peers with British titles could vote in the elections for Scots representative peers. In April, together with James Douglas, 2nd duke of Queensberry [S], and duke of Dover, he received a report from Nicolson about the case of the episcopal clergy in Aberdeen who were trying to have an address presented to the queen concerning their grievances under Prebysterian domination. Queensberry, the Scottish secretary of state, had proved to be unsympathetic and it was Compton who presented the address to the queen on 25 May.203

Compton resumed his seat on the first day of the November 1709 session and attended 40 per cent of all sittings. On 25 Feb. 1710 the Lords received an appeal from the court of exchequer concerning Compton’s right to present to the chapel at Hammersmith. The appeal was delayed pending the trial of Henry Sacheverell. Compton, an ardent supporter of Sacheverell, was determined, despite ‘a fit of the gravel’, to attend the trial and to use Trelawny’s proxy in Sacheverell’s favour. The trial began in Westminster Hall on 27 Feb., with Compton attending throughout. On 14 Mar. he voted unsuccessfully to secure an adjournment and entered his protest. He also protested against the resolution that it was not necessary to include in an impeachment the particular words supposed to be criminal. At the start of the debate on 16 Mar. into the impeachment articles, Compton spoke against the first article, blaming Sacheverell for his ‘heat and indiscretion, yet thought he was far from deserving an impeachment of high crimes and misdemeanours’.204 He ‘justified the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance but disapproved of the doctor’s way of maintaining it’.205 He went on to protest against putting the question and against the resolution that the Commons had made good the first article of impeachment. The following day he registered further protests against the measure. He also protested against the resolution limiting peers to a single verdict of guilty or not guilty. On 20 Mar. he found Sacheverell not guilty, dissented against the verdict and, the following day, dissented against the censure. A week later he was ‘a little revived with the distant hopes that this impeachment may turn one day or other to the advantage of the Church’.206

With the Sacheverell case out of the way there was time for the House to settle the Hammersmith case. The dispute clearly reflected a division within what was then the hamlet of Hammersmith. The case against Compton had been dismissed in exchequer, apparently because it was the wrong venue, but sympathetic remarks by the judges encouraged his opponents (said to be ‘the meaner sort of inhabitants’) to take possession of the chapel, and prevent its use until their appeal was determined. An order from the House, issued on 25 Mar., failed to dislodge them so an order for their attachment was issued on 27 March. Compton finally won his case on 1 April. Compton’s chaplain, Ralph Bridges, who thought Compton’s right ‘was as clear as day’ but who nevertheless found it desirable to lobby at least one peer for support, reported that ‘My Lord Wh[arto]n & some other Whig lords did all they could to make a party cause of this private matter, which was carried for my lord [Compton], but by one vote.’207

Later in April 1710 Bridges wrote that Compton had tried to advise Sacheverell on his conduct, but that his guidance had been spurned. Just what the advice was remains a matter for speculation, but Bridges thought that ‘it will be best for us to be silent about it, till the wind turns, which may be very quickly with him as it has been with much greater men before him’ which seems to imply that Compton wanted Sacheverell to keep a low profile. After the prorogation, Compton returned to Fulham and, on 30 Apr. 1710, confirmed three ‘Indian kings’ (converted native Americans).208 Early in August, with a cabinet reshuffle imminent, Compton assured Harley that he would abandon the election campaign and rush to London if his presence were required. Within days he had arranged to travel to London with ‘all haste possible’ but he clearly had no idea why his presence was required, ‘being utterly a stranger to all late transactions, so that I must entreat you to direct somebody to instruct me a little what it is you would have me do’.209

With Godolphin out of the treasury and Harley restored to the ministry, Compton began a series of visits to the clergy. On 21 Aug. 1710, he assembled them at St Paul’s to subscribe an address to the queen, designed particularly as counter propaganda to The Good Old Cause, a ‘very pernicious book’ by Charles Leslie. The address was given greater currency and increased circulation by being published, in a prominent position, in the London Gazette of 22-24 Aug., inserted there at the specific request of the secretary of state, William Legge, 2nd Baron (later earl of) Dartmouth.210 Whigs naturally perceived this as ‘unrestrained Toryism’ and subjected Compton to virulent attack, calumniating such addresses ‘as reproaches unjustly fastened on the Church and more becoming an inflam’d headless mob, than men setting up as the only patrons of religion and, and patriots of the constitution’.211

With a general election in the offing, Compton wrote to Harley on 31 Aug. 1710 warning him that many of their Tory supporters were worried about Whig domination of local government so that ‘unless the most obnoxious of the justices of peace and deputy lieutenants be left out, and new commissions with some of the queen’s best friends put in, it will not be in their power to choose whom they like best for fear of ill usage from tyrants’.212 When Parliament was dissolved on 21 Sept., Compton swung into action for the forthcoming elections. In Essex the Tories gained only one of the two seats but even this was seen as a major victory for the Church. Compton also intervened at Colchester on behalf of William Gore, husband of his great-niece Mary. Gore lost but was subsequently seated on petition.213

Compton also sustained his interest in overseas issues. He wrote to Dartmouth about appointing a chaplain to the English trading factory in Leghorn: ‘so many public transactions are now on foot in the City ... the persons concerned in sending this chaplain over to Leghorn are many of the most considerable merchants in London’.214 Maintaining an interest in the fate of the Church in the colonies, in October 1710 he also informed Dartmouth of the ‘great disorderliness of several parishes in the Leeward Islands ... by pretending to a separate ecclesiastical jurisdiction’.215

Compton attended the opening of Parliament on 25 Nov. 1710 but, riddled with gout, attended only 17 per cent of all sittings. He was confined at home from 18 Dec. to mid-March 1711, thus missing the queen’s attempts to placate the Tory lower clergy in Convocation and the issue of a licence empowering him and other Tory bishops to ‘expedite’ matters and which was clearly calculated to undermine Tenison. He also missed the Lords’ debates on the Spanish war and the conduct of the previous ministry.216 On 6 Feb. 1711, one day after the Tories had failed to secure the repeal of the Whig Act of General Naturalization, he registered his proxy in favour of John Sharp. Compton’s absence meant that the appeal brought by the Scottish Episcopalian minister, James Greenshields, was deliberately delayed ‘because the bishop of London who is his great friend could not come to the House’.217 Compton returned to the House on 13 March. On 18 Apr. he attended Convocation to vote on the Whiston heresy charge, protesting against an address to the queen to refer the case to the judges on whether the synod had the power to censure for heresy.218 The dispute in Hammersmith rumbled on and was taken to chancery. Early in May Compton won the case there but his opponents promptly applied to the Lords for a writ of error, only to have their case dismissed on 18 May.

Compton planned his summer visitation with half an eye on Tenison’s poor health, apparently sure the queen would translate him to Lambeth in the event of his death.219 He also sought the rewards of loyalty from Harley, newly ennobled as earl of Oxford. In June 1711 he asked Oxford to intervene with the queen on behalf of his nephew George Compton, 4th earl of Northampton; Northampton was re-admitted to the Privy Council in December and made constable of the Tower in the new year. It also seems to have been Compton’s influence that secured the deanery of Christ Church for Atterbury.220

Compton took his seat at the start of the new session on 7 Dec. 1711. He attended one third of all sittings, receiving Hooper’s proxy on the first day of business and holding it for the whole session. Compton missed the December vote on the Hamilton peerage case and did not return to the House until 14 Jan. 1712. He was again absent on 31 Jan. when the House received his petition complaining that the inhabitants of Hammersmith had failed to pay the costs in their appeal of the previous year. The House ordered the offending litigants to be attached; costs were then paid and the order discharged on 8 February.

In February 1712 Alexander Rose, the nonjuring bishop of Edinburgh, wrote to Compton and others about the Scottish toleration bill, ‘begging them for God’s sake to stop the passing of that bill for it would ruin their interest here’.221 The problem with the bill was that it included a requirement to take the oath of abjuration and would thus exclude nonjurors from its provisions. Nevertheless, on 26 Feb. Compton voted with the majority in favour of the bill as it had been received from the Commons.222 Three days later he received the proxy of Thomas Sprat (vacated on 6 June).

Compton was now entering his final decline. On 8 Oct. 1712 he wrote to Oxford that although ‘the world believes me to be on the mending hand’ the reality was that his case was dangerous ‘and I must change my address from desiring a pension to beg a charity’. He had hitherto kept his financial embarrassments secret but now revealed them to Oxford. He needed £3,000 ‘immediately to prevent the utmost shame’ and asked for the money ‘as secret service by bank bills’.223 Whether the money was paid is as yet unknown. Compton continued to press Oxford for favours for relatives and clients.224 He was also still actively pursuing the interests of the Church in the colonies. In December 1712 he proposed ‘the building a church in each of the two towns where Indians inhabit in Virginia and maintaining a minister and assistant at each of them with 200l. per an. for that purpose’. In the following April he was involved in plans to send a chaplain to the Leeward Islands.225

Compton was still seen as one of the leaders of the Tory bishops. On 9 Feb. 1713 Hooper asked him to act as an intermediary in obtaining leave of absence from the House and court duties; he had already tried and failed to contact Sharp of York for the same purpose and he seems to have made no attempt to secure Tenison’s support.226 Although he was present for the start of the new session on 9 Apr., Compton attended this, his final session, for only 13 per cent of all sittings. He attended on 5 June for the debate on the malt tax bill, presumably voting on the side of the court since John Elphinstone, 4th Baron Balmerinoch regretted that they had lacked the support of several members including ‘the poor old bishop of London’.227 Later that month he was estimated by Oxford as a supporter of the bill confirming the eighth and ninth articles of the French commercial treaty but by then he was too ill to attend the House. On 4 July Bridges reported that ‘we are preparing ourselves to part with him’.228 Compton died on the evening of 7 July aged 81. He bequeathed his books to Sion College, St Paul’s and the Free School of Colchester and the impropriate tithes and glebe of Mark’s Tey in Essex for the maintenance of a minister. His residuary heir and executor was his nephew, Hatton Compton, appointed lieutenant of the Tower of London in 1715.

The glowing sermons that were printed after his death testify to the high regard in which Compton was held by his clergy.229 Compton’s earliest biography began as the sermon delivered at his funeral by one of his chaplains, Thomas Gooch, who became bishop of Norwich in 1738 and of Ely in 1747.230 Gooch regarded Compton as a man who had been let down by those in power after the Revolution, a view that was probably shared by Compton himself but which ignores the extent to which Compton’s aristocratic background provided him with a confidence in his own destiny that was not matched by his political skills.. He was buried on 15 July 1713 in Fulham parish churchyard.


  • 1 TNA, PROB 11/535.
  • 2 CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 187.
  • 3 CTB, 1681-5, pp. 1252-67.
  • 4 CSP Dom. 1690-1, pp. 240-1, 484.
  • 5 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 204; CSP Dom. 1695 and Addenda 1689-95, pp. 111-12.
  • 6 CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 510-11.
  • 7 Nicolson, London Diaries, 297.
  • 8 Add. 61543, ff. 4-5b, 61544, ff. 4-6b.
  • 9 HMC Lords, n.s. ix. 176; Commissions for Building Fifty New Churches ed. M.H. Port, pp. xxxiv-xxxvii.
  • 10 Bodl. Ballard 7, f. 100.
  • 11 CSP Dom. 1666-7, p. 9.
  • 12 Pious and Exemplary Life, of the Right Reverend Father in God Dr Henry Compton (1713); N. Salmon, Life of Compton (1715); E. Carpenter, Protestant Bishop.
  • 13 CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 458; Bodl. Tanner, 47, f. 184; Tanner 115, f. 146.
  • 14 Eg. 2539, f. 105.
  • 15 CSP Dom. 1670, pp. 137, 223; 1671-2, p. 369; 1673, p. 572; 1673-4, p. 127.
  • 16 Add. 29584, f. 30; CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 366, 378; CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 2, 306; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 363; CSP Dom. 1683-4, p. 331; CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 242; CSP Dom. 1703-4, p. 12; Tanner 34, f. 268; Tanner 35, f. 124; Tanner 36, f. 187; HMC 7th Rep. pt. 1, 372.
  • 17 Tanner 44, f. 215; Norf. RO, DCN 29/2, f. 300.
  • 18 Bodl. ms Film 293, Folger Lib. Newdigate mss, LC.32; Burnet, ii. 98-100.
  • 19 Add. 72520, ff. 82-84.
  • 20 W. Jane, Sermon Preached at the Consecration of the Honourable Dr Henry Compton (1675).
  • 21 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 230.
  • 22 Tanner, 147, f. 67.
  • 23 Pols. of Relig. ed. T. Harris et al. 84.
  • 24 Worcs. RO, Hampton (Pakington) mss, 705:349/4657/ (i) /17; Tanner, 134, f. 206.
  • 25 Hirschberg, ‘Episcopal Incomes’, 216.
  • 26 Tanner 142, f. 1; CTB, v. 1324-35.
  • 27 CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 132.
  • 28 Carpenter, 52, 61-67.
  • 29 Life of James II, i. 502.
  • 30 Compton Census of 1676 ed. A. Whiteman.
  • 31 Verney, ms mic. M636/29, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 16 Mar. 1676.
  • 32 Add. 70120, A. Marvell to Sir E.Harley, 1 July 1676.
  • 33 TNA, PC 2/65, pp. 295, 336; CSP Dom. 1676-7, pp. 237, 269-70.
  • 34 Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxii), 137-9.
  • 35 TNA, PRO 31/3/133, ff. 45-46.
  • 36 Tanner 40, f. 44.
  • 37 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 381.
  • 38 Cam. Misc. i. 19.
  • 39 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 106, 401.
  • 40 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/3, pp. 244-5.
  • 41 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 364.
  • 42 HEHL, HM 30315 (177).
  • 43 TNA, PC 2/66, p. 421.
  • 44 Verney, ms mic. M636/32, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 1 Nov. 1678.
  • 45 CSP Dom. 1678 and Addenda 1674-9, pp. 556-7.
  • 46 CSP Dom. 1678 and Addenda 1674-9, p. 612.
  • 47 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 278; CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 187, 228, 393; Tanner 39, f. 155.
  • 48 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 470.
  • 49 TNA, PC 2/67, p. 121.
  • 50 Carte 228, ff. 229-30.
  • 51 Add. 28046, f. 49ff.
  • 52 The Bishop of London his Letter to the Clergy of his Diocese (1679).
  • 53 Carte 81, f. 565v.
  • 54 Verney, ms mic. M636/33, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 31 July 1679; HP Commons, 1660-90, i. 309, iii. 445.
  • 55 HMC 14th Rep. IX, 414.
  • 56 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 557.
  • 57 H. Compton, Bishop of London’s Second Letter to the Clergy of his Diocese (1680).
  • 58 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 459; Chatsworth, Devonshire Coll. Group 1/G. Gell to Devonshire, 21 Oct. [1678].
  • 59 CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 187, 364.
  • 60 Tanner 36, ff. 7, 17; Tanner 282, f. 80; Harl. 7377, f. 69.
  • 61 Negotiating Power in Early Modern Soc. ed. M.J. Braddick and J. Walter, 243-6; E. Hickeringill, Scandalum Magnatum: or the Great Trial at Chelmnesford Assizes (1682).
  • 62 CSP Dom. 1682, p. 245.
  • 63 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 341.
  • 64 H. Compton, Churchwardens of our Diocese Having been Generally Very Remiss in Making Due Presentments (1683); Lord bishop of London’s Fourth Letter to the Clergy of his Diocese (1683).
  • 65 Tanner 131, ff. 76, 85, 92, 95, 100, 102; Tanner 141, f. 126; HMC Downshire, i. 32-33.
  • 66 Tanner 32, f. 97; Tanner 45, f. 265; Tanner 104, ff. 137-44, 311-13; Tanner 131, ff. 95, 101, 102, 103; HMC Downshire, i. 32-33.
  • 67 Tanner 34, f. 265.
  • 68 Von Ranke, Hist. Eng. iv. 218.
  • 69 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 512; Carpenter, 79.
  • 70 Ibid. 80.
  • 71 Tanner 31, f. 52.
  • 72 CSP Dom. 1685, p. 355.
  • 73 Halifax Letters, i. 455.
  • 74 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 53.
  • 75 Timberland, i. 316.
  • 76 Bramston Autobiog. 216-17; HMC 6th Rep. pt. 1, 463.
  • 77 CJ ix. 755.
  • 78 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 126; CSP Dom. 1686, p. 149.
  • 79 Huguenot Soc. Pub. xxii. 41-50.
  • 80 TNA, PC 2/71, p. 179; Add. 72481, ff. 95, 99.
  • 81 HMC Portland, iii. 392; Episcopalia, or Letters of the Right Reverend Father in God, Henry, Lord Bishop of London (1686), 93ff.
  • 82 EHR, lxxxxii. 832.
  • 83 Carpenter, 107.
  • 84 Tanner 31, f. 244.
  • 85 Ellis Corresp. i. 3.
  • 86 CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 72.
  • 87 Verney ms mic. M636/41, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 11 Aug. 1686.
  • 88 HSP, xxii. 41-50; EHR, lxxxxii. 820-33; TNA, PC 2/71, p. 150; Tanner 92, f. 120.
  • 89 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 224-5.
  • 90 Exact Account of the Whole Proceedings against … Henry, Lord Bishop of London [1688], 7-9.
  • 91 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 211, 224-5; Verney, ms mic. M636/41, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 25 Aug. 1686.
  • 92 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 222.
  • 93 Ibid. 228-33.
  • 94 H. Compton, Bishop of London’s Seventh Letter, of the Conference with his Clergy Held in the Year 1686 (1690).
  • 95 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 390.
  • 96 Add. 34515, f. 40; UNL, Pw A 2112/1-4.
  • 97 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 171.
  • 98 Tanner 28, f. 35.
  • 99 J. Gutch, Collectanea Curiosa, i. 343, 355, 357.
  • 100 CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 223.
  • 101 Bramston Autobiog. 318; Albion, iv. 151; JEH, xxiii. 214, 217; J. Childs, Army, Jas. II, and the Glorious Revol. 149.
  • 102 Tanner, 28, ff. 219-21.
  • 103 Gutch, i. 425, 429, 444-5; Macpherson, Orig. Pprs. i. 279.
  • 104 Macpherson, i. 281.
  • 105 HMC 9th Rep. 461; Carte 198, f. 66.
  • 106 Dalrymple, Mems. ii. 250; LPL, ms 1834, f. 17; HMC 9th Rep. 461; Eg. 3336, f. 34.
  • 107 Add. 19253, ff. 191-3; Albion, iv. 160, 163-4.
  • 108 HMC Le Fleming, 229-30; The Universal Intelligencer, 18 Dec. 1688.
  • 109 Morrice, iv. 423; The English Currant, 21 Dec. 1688.
  • 110 Kingdom without a King, 124, 154.
  • 111 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 235; Dalrymple, ii. 262-63; Kingdom without a King, 160-2.
  • 112 Halifax Letters ii. 216-18, 225-7.
  • 113 Carpenter, 149.
  • 114 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 477; LPL, ms 930, no. 7.
  • 115 HMC Portland, iii. 422.
  • 116 Timberland, i. 339; HMC Portland, iii. 425; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss File ‘N’, folder 10812.
  • 117 HMC Kenyon, 217.
  • 118 TNA, PC 2/73, p. 1.
  • 119 Tanner 27, f. 50.
  • 120 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 29; Address of the Nonconformist Ministers (in and about the city of London) (1689); Address of the Dissenting Ministers (in and about the City of London) (1689).
  • 121 Burnet, iv. 80.
  • 122 Lansd. 1013, f. 15; Bodl. Rawl. Letters 98, ff. 93-94.
  • 123 H. Compton, Letter Concerning Allegiance (1710), 4.
  • 124 Tanner 27, f. 132.
  • 125 E. Stillingfleet, Miscellaneous Discourses (1735), 234-42.
  • 126 CSP Dom. 1689-90, pp. 242-3.
  • 127 Ibid. 332.
  • 128 Letters of Lady Rachel Russell (1853), ii. 46, 242; Lathbury, Hist. of Convocation, 325.
  • 129 Tanner, 27, f. 92.
  • 130 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 299.
  • 131 Salop RO, Attingham mss, Carmarthen to Abingdon, 15 Feb. 1690; Burnet, ii. 40.
  • 132 Add. 70014, f. 291; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 404.
  • 133 HP Commons, 1690-1715, i. 66.
  • 134 Add. 4274, f. 263.
  • 135 Eg. 3347, ff. 4-5.
  • 136 Add. 29564, f. 355.
  • 137 Morgan Lib. MA 420, pp. 47-48.
  • 138 Sloane 4066, f. 299.
  • 139 CSP Dom. 1690-1, p. 210.
  • 140 Ibid. 156; Patrick, Works, ix. 532.
  • 141 Tanner 27, f. 237.
  • 142 Add. 45511, f. 56.
  • 143 LPL, ms 3894, f. 11; TNA, PC 2/74, p. 156.
  • 144 Evans, Life of Frampton, 189-90; Tanner, 26, f. 57. LPL, ms 3894, f. 27.
  • 145 LPL, ms 3894, ff. 7-8.
  • 146 TNA, PC 2/74, p. 193; Carte 79, ff. 348, 358.
  • 147 Add. 70015, f. 276.
  • 148 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 335-6.
  • 149 Ballard 22 f. 22.
  • 150 H. Compton, Bishop of London’s Eighth Letter to his Clergy (1692), 3.
  • 151 Add. 4236, f. 253.
  • 152 Add. ms 17677 PP, ff. 122-5.
  • 153 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 521, 525.
  • 154 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 1, Box 2, folder 105.
  • 155 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 178.
  • 156 Bishop of London’s Charge to the Clergy of his Diocese… ann. 1694, (1696).
  • 157 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 178.
  • 158 Ballard 21, f. 54.
  • 159 Salmon, Life of Compton, 60.
  • 160 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 425.
  • 161 J. Gough, Hist. of the People called Quakers, iii. 410-14.
  • 162 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 339; Henry, Lord Bishop of London, and Peter Birch, Doctor of Divinity, Plaintiffs.The King and Queen’s Majesties, Defendants (1695).
  • 163 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 379; Essays in Mod. English Church Hist. ed. G.V. Bennett, 124.
  • 164 HMC Downshire, i. 561-2; HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 49, 178, 396.
  • 165 State Trials, xiii. 413.
  • 166 TNA, PC 2/76, p. 335; Evans, Life of Frampton, 193-4.
  • 167 Add. 35107, f. 20.
  • 168 Kings Law Jnl. 19.3, 507-24.
  • 169 WSHC, 2667/25/7.
  • 170 Staffs. RO, Persehowse pprs. D260/M/F/1/6, f. 96.
  • 171 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 498.
  • 172 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 49, 178, 369, iv. 169, 585; CSP Dom. 1702-3, p. 523; Bramston Autobiog. 392, 406.
  • 173 Bodl. Rawl. B 380, ff. 191, 211, 224.
  • 174 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 178, iii. 401.
  • 175 Bodl. Ballard 7, f. 100.
  • 176 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 178, iii. 401.
  • 177 Gibson, Church of England 1688-1832, 71; Lathbury, 309; Atterbury, Epistolary Corresp. iii. 11.
  • 178 Collectanea Trelawniana, 269.
  • 179 Life of Dr Henry Compton, 64.
  • 180 Add. 70073-4, newsletter 5 May 1702.
  • 181 HP Commons, 1690-1715, i. 206-7.
  • 182 Ibid. ii. 369.
  • 183 Gooch, Sermon … on Occasion of the ... Death of ... Henry [Compton,] ... Bishop of London (1713), 12; EHR, lxxxii. 729.
  • 184 Nicolson, London Diaries, 133 137-42, 146.
  • 185 Ibid. 166, 175, 179.
  • 186 Ibid. 196-7, 199-200.
  • 187 CSP Dom. 1702-3, p. 614.
  • 188 Nicolson, London Diaries, 253-4, 260.
  • 189 Add. 61458, ff. 158-9; HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 197.
  • 190 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii.178; iii. 526.
  • 191 Nicolson, 307.
  • 192 Ibid. 321; B. Hoadly, Sermon Preach’d before the Right Honourable the Lord-Mayor, Aldermen, and Livery-Men (1705).
  • 193 Timberland, ii 156.
  • 194 Nicolson, 368.
  • 195 Gooch, Sermon, 17.
  • 196 TCD, King mss, item 1246, Annesley to King, 8 Mar. 1707.
  • 197 Nicolson, 415, 417-18, 422.
  • 198 Add. 72540, f. 108.
  • 199 Nicolson, 432, 441; Christ Church Lib. Oxf. Wake 17, f. 185; Atterbury, Epistolary Corresp. iii. 284-5.
  • 200 Add. 72494, ff. 66-69, 72-73, 80, 83.
  • 201 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 178, 197.
  • 202 HMC Downshire, i. 863.
  • 203 Nicolson, 490n141, 496.
  • 204 Add. 72494, ff. 157-8, 171-2.
  • 205 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 46, ff. 259-60.
  • 206 Add. 72495, f.1.
  • 207 Ibid. f.1.
  • 208 Ibid. ff. 2-5.
  • 209 Add. 70219, Compton to Harley, 6 and 10 Aug. 1710.
  • 210 Add. 72495, ff. 15-18.
  • 211 Some Short Remarks upon the Late Address of the Bishop of London (1711).
  • 212 Add. 70219, Compton to Harley, n.d. [c. late Aug. 1710].
  • 213 HP Commons, 1690-1715, ii. 178, 186, 191, iv. 46.
  • 214 Bennett, White Kennett, 119.
  • 215 HMC Dartmouth, i. 298.
  • 216 Add. 72495, ff. 40-42; Nicolson, London Diaries 537, 545.
  • 217 NLS, Advocates’ mss, Wodrow pprs. Quarto 5, ff. 141-2.
  • 218 Add. 72495, ff. 64-67.
  • 219 Ibid. ff. 71-72.
  • 220 Add. 70219, Compton to Oxford, 21 June [1711]; 72495, ff. 92-93.
  • 221 NLS, Advocates’ mss, Wodrow pprs. letters Quarto 6, f. 119r.
  • 222 Nicolson, 573-4.
  • 223 HMC Portland, v. 233.
  • 224 Add. 70219, Compton to Oxford, 6, 25 Nov. 1712; Add. 70323, same to same, 5 Nov., 8 Dec. 1712.
  • 225 CTB, xxvi. 542; xxvii. 197.
  • 226 Add. 70242, Hooper to Compton, 9 Feb. 1713.
  • 227 Scot. Hist. Soc. Misc. xii. 159.
  • 228 Add. 72496, ff. 86-87.
  • 229 J. Cockburn, Blessedness of Christians after Death (1713); W. Whitfield, Sermon on the Death of the Late Lord Bishop of London, (1713).
  • 230 Add. 72496, ff. 94-95.