MORLEY, George (1598-1684)

MORLEY, George (1598–1684)

cons. 28 Oct. 1660 bp. of WORCESTER; transl. 14 May 1662 bp. of WINCHESTER

First sat 20 Nov. 1661; last sat 6 Mar. 1679

bap. 5 Mar. 1598, eldest s. of Francis Morley and Sarah, da. of William Denham and sis. of Sir John Denham, bar. of Exch. educ. Westminster 1611; Christ Church, Oxf. BA 1618, MA 1621, DD 1642; Lincoln’s Inn 1664; Gray’s Inn 1664. unm. d. 29 Oct. 1684. will 12 July-8 Oct. 1684, pr. 31 Oct. 1684.1

Chap. to Charles I 1641; PC, 1675-9.

Chap. to Robert Dormer, earl of Carnarvon, to c.1640-1, to Lady Ormond c.1650, to Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, c.1653; rect. Hartfield, Suss. 1640-8, Mildenhall, Wilts. 1641-5, Pennant, Mont. 1644-53, Gt. Haseley, Oxon. 1660; canon Christ Church Oxf. 1642-8, 1660, Wells 1660; dean Christ Church Oxf. 1660, chapel royal 1663-8.

Mbr. Westminster Assembly of Divines 1643; commr. Uxbridge treaty 1645.

Gov. Charterhouse, 1663; commr. for repair of St Paul’s bef. 1665.2

Likenesses: chalk drawing, after Sir P. Lely, NPG 491; oil on canvas, studio of P. Lely, oils, c.1662, NPG 2951.

Born in Cheapside to a well-connected gentry family in precarious financial circumstances, George Morley was orphaned by the age of 13. At Oxford, and through association with Lucius Carey, Viscount Falkland [S], and his friends at Great Tew in the 1630s, Morley would become close to key figures in the Restoration church and state, including Gilbert Sheldon, later archbishop of Canterbury, Edward Hyde, later earl of Clarendon, John Earle, later bishop of Worcester and Salisbury, and Robert Sanderson, later bishop of Lincoln. Morley’s relationship with Sheldon was a close political and personal partnership that endured until Sheldon’s death in 1677. Morley was described in the archbishop’s will as an especially close friend.3 Morley’s off-the-cuff response to the question about what the Arminians held—all the best bishoprics and deaneries, he was supposed to have said—may help to explain the failure of an exceptionally able churchman to receive significant preferment during the 1630s, though his friendship with men of the stamp of Sheldon, Henry Hammond and William Chillingworth, suggests that despite holding Calvinist views, he was in no sense doctrinaire; moreover serving as chaplain to the earl of Carnarvon would have exposed him to a well-known recusant family.4

Morley’s reputation was as a man who did not accumulate wealth for personal comfort, and the early part of his career—acting as a chaplain until securing a living at the age of 43—does not suggest careerism or a determination to secure a comfortable income. Planning notes for ecclesiastical appointments drawn up around 1659 reflected this. Morley was listed as a potential dean of the chapel royal, and a note by his name stated that ‘it must have one that desires not to gain by it, because it’s so much out of order’.5 As soon as he was made bishop of Worcester, he converted a £300 fine into gifts to Worcester Cathedral and Christ Church Oxford; by the end of 1661, Morley had spent £6,000 on cathedral repairs, a sum far in excess of the windfall diocesan revenues at the Restoration.6 Ascetic in personal habits and morality (George Hooper, later on bishop of Bath and Wells, could not cope with the rigours of Morley’s household), Morley chose to live in a tiny room with his own coffin whilst refurbishing his chapel and residences to a luxurious standard.7 He spent in excess of £4,000 buying Winchester House in Chelsea for use as an episcopal residence, £8,000 on refurbishments to Farnham Castle and Wolvesey House, and during his lifetime gave generously to Oxford colleges and Winchester Cathedral.8 Despite his own asceticism, Morley was so noted for his liberality that after his translation to the wealthy diocese of Winchester, the king declared he would never be the richer for his great income (nearly £4,000 a year in 1663-4).9 In September 1662, John Earle, then the dean of Westminster, referred to Morley’s reputation for ‘integrity, courage, eloquence, piety, and liberality’.10 Morley told Henry Compton, the future bishop of London, that he ‘never was nor ever will be a hoarder of money, but as it comes in, so it goes out’.11 Nevertheless by the time of his death, his will suggests that his residual wealth not already committed to various charitable and building projects was still in excess of £3,000.

Civil War to Restoration

Nominated to the Westminster Assembly of Divines in June 1643, Morley did not attend it and probably spent the Civil War in Oxford. In 1645 he was a royalist delegate at the Uxbridge peace talks. Active in the resistance of the university of Oxford to the parliamentary visitors, he was ejected from his canonry in 1648. In early 1649, he attended Arthur Capell, Baron Capell, to the scaffold before going into exile.12 He was later joined by his nephew Francis Morley, who was linked to a plot to assassinate Oliver Cromwell.13 Much of his time was spent in the royal court, some of it in association with his friend Hyde: from 1650 to around 1653 he was living in Hyde’s household in Antwerp where he gave religious instruction to his children.14 Alert to potential obstacles to the Restoration, he warned James Stuart, duke of York, in 1659 that the latter had fallen under suspicion of Catholicism and should exercise caution.15

With a reputation as an effective political operator, connections with some of the most important continental reformed divines (including Claude Saumaise and Samuel Bochart), and closeness to Charles II’s key minister Edward Hyde, Morley was well known to the English Presbyterian community before the Restoration. He was despatched to England in March 1660 in order to ‘enter into conversation, and have frequent conferences with the Presbyterian party’ in order to ‘reduce them to such a temper as is consistent with the good of the Church’.16 He also saw it as his job to ensure that non-Presbyterian clergy would maintain a moderate and peaceable stance, despite their growing jubilation. Hyde was confident that Morley, who appears to have arrived in England by the end of March, would ‘do all he can to advance the affairs of the Church’17 On 4 Apr. 1660, questioned by the Council of State, he undertook ‘to act nothing prejudicial’.18 He reported back to Hyde the following day with his initial impressions.19 On 13 Apr. Morley reported his progress to Hyde. The restoration of episcopacy, he told him, was still a difficult issue. The ‘chief Presbyterians’ were willing to ‘admit the name’ but wanted limitations on the power of bishops and Morley had had to assure them that ‘the canons, ecclesiastical laws and a free synod’ would prevent an arbitrary episcopacy. He had managed to satisfy Edward Reynolds, who would later become bishop of Norwich, but others were proving more difficult even though Edward Montagu, 2nd earl of Manchester, had promised his assistance in persuading them to be well disposed to episcopacy. Morley aimed to convince the Presbyterian leaders that they had nothing to fear from a restoration of monarchy or from Hyde’s prominence amongst the king’s counsellors, defended York against allegations of catholicism and keeping the more extreme Anglican clergy from expressing their sentiments.20 Three days later, in a letter to James Butler, marquess of Ormond [I], later duke of Ormond, he was arguing that the royal party should declare their acquiescence ‘in what this present council of state, and future Parliament, should determine, as well as in order to our ecclesiastical as to civil concernments without so much as disputing or debating, and much less anticipating, or predetermining, what is now, and shall be in deliberation’, and also commenting on suspicions of the Protestantism of the duke of York and John Berkeley, Baron Berkeley of Stratton.21 John Mordaunt, later Viscount Mordaunt, wrote approvingly of how Morley’s moderation was defusing Presbyterian enmity.22 The Presbyterian leader Richard Baxter was among those who sought him out to ascertain the real intentions of any restored regime. At this stage, Baxter wrote, he unquestioningly accepted that Morley really was ‘a moderate, orthodox man’.23

Sheldon had arrived in London by 1 May and he and Morley began to work together, Sheldon conveying concerns of the royalists while Morley continued to talk to Presbyterians, including Matthew Hale, who was anxious to obtain assurances from him about the king’s commitment to Protestantism.24 By 4 May, having secured acceptance of episcopacy and a set liturgy from leading Presbyterians such as Reynolds and Manchester, Morley recommended that a handful of their leaders be ‘gratified’ with preferments. This would be ‘a great means to bring over their whole party’ which ‘though... it be not so powerful as absolutely to hinder, yet it is strong enough I fear to give the king much trouble’. The big obstacle to Presbyterian acceptance of an episcopal settlement, he recognized, was the question of the validity of Presbyterian orders, and he recommended to Hyde the solution of ‘hypothetical’ episcopal reordination, which would fudge the issue. He also attempted to mollify Presbyterian concerns that the king did not sufficiently recognize their services, and warned Hyde about attempts to remove him from his position close to the king, and complaints about the king’s failure to honour promises of office (including those of his cousin, Denham).25 Two days later he remarked to Ormond that there was still ‘a mischievous and malicious spirit’ in the army.26 On 9 and 10 May, writing to Hyde, he was anxious to stamp on a proposal for a synod ‘of the three nations’ with the involvement of foreign divines.27 Working together with Mordaunt, Thomas Wriothesley, 4th the earl of Southampton, Sir Orlando Bridgeman and Geoffrey Palmer, sending recommendations to Hyde for clerical appointments, Morley was in mid-May one of the pivotal figures of the king’s party in London.28

Even after the return of Charles II to England, with the lord chancellor Sir Edward Hyde, Morley remained a key informant for Hyde, warning him of Lord Falkland’s unhappiness about the appointment of a lord lieutenant for Oxfordshire in early June,29 In July 1660, Sheldon and Morley, together with John Earle, were entrusted with making recommendations for the use of part of the crown’s ecclesiastical patronage.30 Morley was a central figure in the continuing negotiations with the Presbyterians over a Church settlement during the summer and early autumn. Morley pushed for the ‘hypothetical ordination’ solution to the question of Presbyterian orders in the discussions that led to the Worcester House Declaration at the end of October, although this did not in fact form part of the final Declaration. Morley was optimistic about the Declaration, writing (in advance of the final negotiations on the ordination question) on 23 Oct. that he hoped it would

give abundant satisfaction to the honest and peaceably minded men of both parties, and make them cease to be parties any longer, but unanimously to join against the common enemy the papists, who will grow much more insolent than ever they were if somewhat be not quickly done to prevent it.31

Speed was indeed of the essence since the queen mother’s arrival was imminent ‘which’ Morley continued, ‘will be a great countenance and encouragement’ to the Catholics. 

Bishop of Worcester and the Act of Uniformity, 1660-62

Morley’s appointment as bishop of Worcester (he was consecrated on 28 Oct. 1660) was a recognition of the fact that he and Sheldon were, as Gilbert Burnet, the future bishop of Salisbury wrote, among the men who had the greatest credit at court.32 He helped to cajole a reluctant John Gauden into accepting the diocese of Exeter.33 On 10 Apr. 1661 the election in Morley’s new diocese saw the return, with Morley’s help in ‘securing... voices to him in case they had been necessary’, of the royalist Sir John Pakington for Worcestershire.34 Pakington, a persecutor of Dissent, would be a strong supporter of the Church and a close ally of Morley: his wife, the daughter of Thomas Coventry, 2nd Baron Coventry, maintained correspondence with Morley and the bishop lent Pakington £500 towards a portion for one of his daughters.35

On 23 Apr. 1661, Morley preached at the coronation.36 In May, still excluded from the Lords, he was one of the main episcopal managers at the Savoy conference, ‘the chief speaker of all the bishops, and the greatest interrupter of us’, Baxter wrote.37 On 12 Sept. 1661, Morley went into his diocese for enthronement. He was accompanied into Worcester by Thomas Windsor, 7th Baron Windsor, ‘most of the gentry and all the clergy’ and accompanied by ‘ten trumpets... volunteer militia horse, the trained bands... and clergy band of foot in arms, giving divers volleys of shot’. He then processed to the cathedral choir for the formal ceremony of enthronement and a subsequent ‘noble treatment’ at the episcopal palace.38 Morley’s relations with Richard Baxter (who had in 1660 regarded him as a moderate) had worsened during the Savoy conference, and took a further dive when he refused to allow him a licence to preach. Baxter resorted to publishing his complaints about what he perceived to be Morley’s intransigence at the Savoy Conference and his role in obstructing him from obtaining a licence to preach in the Kidderminster parish from which he had been ejected by the returning incumbent. Baxter’s letter to his parishioners is dated 11 Nov.; Morley responded in vitriol in a pamphlet that must have appeared at the end of 1661 or early January 1662, defending himself against ‘a generation of men (St John Baptist would have called them a generation of vipers) who in the art of holy juggling and malicious slandering have out done the Pharisees themselves’. He was provoked to fury against Presbyterians in general and Baxter in particular:

is it any wonder that those that are such enemies to kings, should not be friends to bishops? or that one (who hath done what he could to make the late king odious unto his people) should do what he can likewise to make the pastor odious unto his flock? to this flock I say; for it is the bishop of Worcester, and not Mr Baxter that is pastor of Kidderminster, as well as of all other parochial churches in that diocese… Mr Baxter was never either parson, vicar or curate there or any where else in my diocese; for he never came in by the door, that is, by any legal right or lawful admission into that sheepfold, but climbed up some other way, namely, by violence and intrusion, and therefore by Christ’s own inference he was a thief and a robber.39

The exchange resulted in a further attack, by Edmund Bagshaw, in January 1662, and further responses by Samuel Holden and Roger L’Estrange, 40

Morley had returned to London in order to take his seat along with the other re-admitted bishops on the first day after the recess, 20 Nov. 1661, the beginning of a parliamentary career of nearly 18 years’ duration. He attended all but four sessions in the reign of Charles II and became a familiar presence in the House, attending seven sessions for more than 90 per cent of sittings and a further five for more than 70 per cent. He was an active parliamentarian, invariably in the House on the first day of the session (and thus usually appointed to the sessional committees), sitting on select committees (he was nominated to more than 280), examining the Journal, helping to draft legislation and exchanging proxies. He used Parliament constantly to buttress Church interests. Lobbied by John Parker, bishop of Elphin, to secure an advantageous religious settlement for the Church of Ireland, he was later commended by Michael Boyle, archbishop of Dublin, as a man who would never let a chance slip to advance the interests of the Church ‘either at the council table, or in the Parliament house’.41

In his first parliamentary session, Morley attended 63 per cent of sittings, was added to the standing committees for privileges and the Journal and to 43 select committees, including the bills on Quakers, corporations, the uniformity bill and the reversal of the attainder of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford. On his second day in the Lords, he was named to a committee to prepare an address to the king for a proclamation ‘that all suspicious and loose persons may be forthwith sent out of these towns of London and Westminster and the liberties thereof, for some time’. On 14 Dec. Morley was one of the managers of the conference on the bill to confirm private acts and on 7 Jan. 1662 of the conference on the dissolution of the joint committee concerning the recent plot.

Morley was deeply concerned along with Clarendon (as Hyde had now become) and Sheldon in the arguments over achieving a final settlement of the Church. These began to come to a head with the heated discussions in February 1662 over the confirmation of the Convention’s Act for settling ministers, a precursor to the arguments that would ensue over the Act of Uniformity. Clarendon was said to have engaged Morley, Sheldon, York, George Digby, 2nd earl of Bristol, and ‘all the popish lords’ to secure confirmation.42 Morley had been named to the Lords committee considering the bill on 17 Jan., and he is recorded in the committee proceedings on 27 Feb. insisting that any amendments to the Book of Common Prayer should be made under the authority of Convocation, rather than the House of Lords. The committee that day seems also to have ordered that ‘what was lately promised to the House of Commons to be provided for by way of conformity may be done accordingly’—the incorporation of the Commons amendments to the ministers’ confirmation bill into the uniformity bill.43 On 24 Feb., he was one of the bishops who attended the Privy Council to present to the king the revised Book of Common Prayer.44 Burnet later claimed that at some point between late December 1661 and February 1662, in order to remove some nonconformist objections, Morley had supported Gauden’s proposal for the restoration to the Prayer Book of the ‘black rubric’ that explained that the requirement to kneel at communion did not constitute idolatry. If so (and it is not clear that Burnet was correct) Morley may have disagreed with Sheldon.45 Morley implied in his rebuttal of Baxter’s accusations that the question of kneeling was indifferent as far as he was concerned, but uniformity of practice was essential:

he that kneeleth at the sacrament, will be thought to be idolatrous or superstitious by him that kneeleth not, and him that kneeleth not will be thought wilful, or weak, by him that kneeleth. And thus from diversity grows dislike, from dislike enmity, from enmity opposition, and from opposition, first separation and schism in the Church, and then faction, sedition and rebellion in the state; which is a progress very natural, and I would we had not found it to be so by our own experience; for as the state depends upon the safety of the Church, so the safety of the Church depends upon unity, and unity it self depends upon uniformity, and uniformity there cannot be, as long as there is diversity or divers ways of worship in the same Church, which will be always, unless it be lawful for public authority to oblige all particulars to one way of public worship, and that under such penalties, as the law-givers shall think necessary to prevent the disturbing of the public peace and safety.46

During the passage of the uniformity bill, Morley continued to make support moderating provisions. After the bill was reported to the House, Morley backed Clarendon over a series of provisos designed to moderate it (a proviso ‘for avoiding re-ordination’ was quite possibly Morley’s proposal, echoing his interest in the issue in 1660, though it did not make it to the final bill). On 18 Mar., both he and Sheldon supported Clarendon in the face of opposition from the earl of Bristol, George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, and even John Cosin, bishop of Durham, over the attempt to insert a proviso that would allow the king to dispense individual clergymen from using the surplice and cross in baptism; the proviso was subsequently thrown out by the Commons.47 On 7 Apr. 1662, when the House continued its debates on the bill, Morley offered another clause to dilute the declaration abjuring the Covenant (by declaring that there no longer remained any formal obligation from the oath), but this was discarded after debate on 8 April. On the same day, the Lords ordered a committee to draft a clause that would allow the king to make provision for the support of the ejected clerics; it was an unusually small committee and it seems likely that the nominees, who included Morley, had been active in proposing the need for such a clause.48 Morley continued to attend the House that session until 17 May, two days before the prorogation; for the last few weeks of the session (probably from 19 Apr.) he held the proxy of William Nicholson, of Gloucester.

Bishop of Winchester 1662-6

Morley was translated to Winchester, a far more prestigious see, following the death in March 1662 of Brian Duppa, the previous incumbent. The proximity of the diocese to London ensured that Morley remained closely in touch with the activities of the court. Reminiscing in 1684, Humphrey Prideaux (later dean of Norwich) wrote that Morley was visited at Farnham Castle so frequently by the royal brothers that he, or perhaps his relatives, complained that they used his residence as a coaching inn, after which the king was so offended that he never visited again.49 Morley’s principal circle at court, however, continued to be built around Anglican royalists, particularly those with whom he had spent time on the contact, such as the duke of Ormond, to whom he wrote on 24 July, describing him ‘as one so qualified by the eminency of his birth, and the excellency of his abilities both morral and intellectual, as I dare say there is no one person in any of the 3 kingdoms as able to do God and the king, and the Church, and the state more service than your grace is able to do’.50

On 26 Aug., two days after the Act of Uniformity came into force, Morley began his primary visitation of Winchester, making a last ditch attempt to persuade non-conforming clergy to adhere to the terms of the act. He reported to Clarendon that he had found most clergy of an acceptable standard, with the exception of one minister who lacked episcopal ordination and whom he considered to be guilty of fomenting political disloyalty in his parish.51 Very much aware of ongoing discussions about the possibility of some sort of dispensation to prevent the ejection of Presbyterian ministers, on 28 Aug. 1662, Morley told Clarendon that there needed no royal dispensation in his own diocese. He argued that the case of ‘country obscure nonconformists’ was very different to that of the London ‘grandees’ who could claim to have been so ‘instrumental to the restoring of the king, as that the silencing of them would very much disaffect any considerable persons either for their number or for their quality, and therefore... I do not see any reason to dispense with them here’.52

A week later, Morley wrote again to chide the chancellor for his ‘sad apprehensions’ about the possibility of unrest as a result of the Act of Uniformity. He was convinced that public opinion, as expressed by the officers of the militia in the City and in his own area, was firmly against any indulgence. He dismissed the likelihood that the Presbyterians would involve themselves in civil disorder:

I do not think that they are such zealots that for anything done, especially done by law, to their ministers, they will hazard their great wealth and their lives to boot by forfeiting the Act of Indemnity, as they must do, if they mingle with or abet any that shall openly oppose or secretly undermine the present government. Neither have they now the advantages they had formerly, when they had a Parliament, the navy, all the magazines of arms, and the strongest garrisons in the kingdom, together with the unanimous assistance of all Scotland, and the militia of London wholly for them – so that they cannot begin a war with a great assurance that they shall prevail in it; but are sure (if they do not prevail) to be undone by it; and I think they have not showed themselves to be men of that courage as to hazard all upon such uncertainties.53

Morley maintained that fewer than 20 clergy in his diocese would fail to conform. It was nearer 50.54

On Christmas Day 1662 Morley preached at Whitehall about immorality at court; Samuel Pepys approved of neither the sermon nor of its contemptuous reception by the more hedonistic courtiers.55 Before the spring 1663 parliamentary session opened, Morley received the proxies of Nicholson of Gloucester (vacated with Nicholson’s return to the House on 3 Mar.) and William Piers, bishop of Bath and Wells (vacated 1 July 1663). He attended the House on 18 Feb. for the start of the new session; thereafter he attended more than 90 per cent of sittings and was named to 32 select committees and to all three sessional committees. On 23 Mar. Morley (with Sheldon) was named to the committee to draft an address to the king on the expulsion from England of Jesuits and priests and on three occasions (26, 28 and 30 Mar. 1663) managed conferences on the address. On 4 May he moved the House for its direction on fees payable to the officers of the House by bishops on translation and by lords temporal on promotion to a higher honour. The House ordered that consideration of the matter be referred the committee for privileges. During the session, Morley sought a private act of Parliament to raise funds to purchase a new palace in London and to repair the ruined bishop’s palace at Farnham. On 15 May 1663, it received its first reading in the Lords and was committed three days later (Morley was not named to the committee despite being in attendance). It was reported on 21 May and passed the Lords the following day. In the Commons, the bill was reported from committee by the lawyer Robert Milward, and Sir Thomas Meres and William Sandys acted as teller for it at the third reading (Sandys also supported Morley’s private bill in 1665).56 The act permitted Morley to lease tenements built on the site of the former ‘mansion house’ in St Saviour’s parish, Southwark, but obliged him to spend £7,000 to benefit the diocese, £4,000 of which was to purchase a house within three miles of London to be named Winchester House for the purpose of episcopal residence during parliamentary sessions. The remaining £3,000 was earmarked to repair Farnham Castle.57

On 18 June he was named as one of the referees to mediate in the case of George Nevill, 11th Baron Abergavenny, and the Dowager Lady Abergavenny. On 2 July he was at a meeting of the select committee concerning a private bill for John Paulet, 5th marquess of Winchester, where he was named as co-mediator in the settlement.58 He attended the House on 13 July 1663 when the judges delivered their opinion that the charges brought by Bristol, against Clarendon did not amount to high treason. Morley was then said to have been named to a committee to discuss satisfaction for the chancellor, but there is no record of this in the Journal.59

On 24 July 1663 Morley was named to the committee on the bill to mitigate the effects of the Act of Uniformity for those who had been unable to subscribe at the time ‘by sickness or other impediment’. Some of those named to the committee, including Anthony Ashley Cooper, Baron Ashley (later earl of Shaftesbury) were known to be sympathetic to indulgence; others, like Sheldon, were not. During the committee proceedings a clause was added to the bill to explain the ‘assent and consent’ requirement in the original act. The House accepted the clause on 25 July, but its opponents (who somewhat conspicuously did not include any of the bishops) protested against it as ‘destructive to the Church of England’. The clause was thrown out of the bill on the same day by the Commons.60 Also on 25 July Morley examined the Journal and he was present for the prorogation on the 27th.

On 2 Oct. Morley was appointed dean of the chapel royal.61 He attended the House on 16 Mar. 1664 for the start of the new session and thereafter attended nearly 87 per cent of sittings. He was named to 10 select committees (including the bill on transporting felons and the measures against gaming). On 20 Mar. he received the proxy of William Paul, bishop of Oxford (vacated 21 April). Together with other government supporters, on 22 Apr. he managed the critical conference on foreign trade. He was present on 17 May and on 20 Aug. for prorogations.

During the summer months, Morley was absorbed with diocesan business in cooperation with Sheldon. Christopher Hatton, Baron Hatton, was instructed by Clarendon to write up a report on the church in Guernsey and to send copies to Morley (diocesan for the Channel Islands) and to the archbishop.62 Morley was also concerned with securing the future of the Church in the London area and assisted Sheldon’s campaign to create select vestries; select vestries for St Olave, Southwark and Wandsworth, both then in the diocese of Winchester, were authorized by Morley.63

On 24 Nov. 1664, Morley was present, as was now his customary pattern, for the start of the new parliamentary session and attended for 85 per cent of sittings. He was named to 12 select committees. On 28 Jan. 1665 the House gave a first reading to another bill which would allow Morley to convey 100 acres of land in the ‘great disparked park of Bishop’s Waltham’ to the rector of the parish church there in lieu of tithes due from Waltham Parks. This bill was committed on the 31 Nov. (again without Morley named to the committee despite his attendance that day), and reported on 3 Feb. by Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough,. When it was sent to the Commons the committee on it included several Anglican loyalists including Sir John Berkenhead, Sir William Lowther and Morley’s own relation, Sir John Denham.64 The Commons returned the bill with amendments on 24 Feb. 1665 and it passed the Lords the following day. Over the summer Morley’s care for the prospects of his ‘friend and kinsman’ William Fuller, then bishop of Limerick, later bishop of Lincoln, meant that Sheldon and Clarendon were both ‘sheltering’ from his importunities.65 He travelled to Oxford for the parliamentary session of 1665, attending on 9 Oct. for the start of business. He attended the brief session for 70 per cent of sittings, was named to eight select committees, including those on the five mile bill, on the imports of foreign cattle and the additional bill against the spread of the plague. On 17 Oct. he received the proxy of Robert Skinner, bishop of Worcester (vacated at the end of the session).

Morley spoke ‘vigorously and with passion’ in favour of the five mile bill in the debate on 30 October.66 He insisted that

There are no persons dangerous if those persons are not dangerous. They trouble great cities and corporations, and undermine the work of our incumbents in private parishes… This law doth but remove them from their habitation and from corporations and doth but send them where they shall do no hurt to themselves nor others… I have asked them can you read the Book of Common Prayer? Yes. Can you use the ceremonies? Yes. Why do you not then subscribe to the assent and consent since it is only to the use of it? I can. Can you subscribe that which concerns the Covenant? No. Here they stick. They will not say they will renounce the last war, and they will forestall another.67

Morley was named to the committee on 27 Oct. and the bill passed the House three days later. After the prorogation at the end of the Oxford session on 31 Oct., Morley appears to have returned to Farnham.68 On 23 Apr. 1666, Morley attended for the prorogation and it is probable that he then spent the summer months again on diocesan business.

The fall of Clarendon and rise of Danby 1666-75

On 17 Sept. 1666, a day before the start of the autumn parliamentary session, he received the proxy of Henry King, bishop of Chichester (vacated at the end of the session). He attended the House for the first day of business on 18 Sept. and thereafter attended for 97 per cent of sittings. He was named to 37 select committees, including the bills against atheism and the plague. On 11 Oct. 1666, Sheldon instructed Gilbert Ironside, of Bristol, to send his proxy to Morley on account of imminent ‘earnest occasions’ in Parliament.69 On 30 Oct. Morley, Sheldon and Humphrey Henchman, bishop of London, were ordered by the House to attend the king on the matter of French commodities.70 On 5 Nov., Morley preached at Whitehall on the gunpowder plot, using the occasion to attack Catholics by dissecting their behaviour in 1605 and demonstrating that they retained exactly ‘the same principles’.71 On 23 Jan. 1667 he supported York in the defence of Dr Isaac Basire (archdeacon of Northumberland, ardent Anglican and former chaplain to Charles I) when an unnamed peer demanded that Basire’s name be razed from a naturalization act because he failed to pray for the king in his role as king of France. The accusation was probably made by Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton, since it appears to have originated in a dispute between one of his kinsmen and Basire over the payment of tithes.72 Morley attended the House until two days before the prorogation of 8 February. He also attended the prorogation on 29 July.

As the autumn session approached, Morley received the proxy of William Piers on 26 Sept. 1667 (vacated at the end of the session). The major issue that autumn was the dismissal of Clarendon and Burnet identified Morley together with Richard Boyle, earl of Burlington and 2nd earl of Cork [I], as one of the friends who talked with Clarendon about his defence before the session.73 As usual, Morley attended the House on the first day of the session, 10 October. Thereafter he attended nearly 86 per cent of sittings and was named to 25 select committees in the course of the session. He again preached the anniversary sermon for 5 Nov. this time using the sermon to promote the political theology of non-resistance; it was ‘the peculiar glory of the Church of England’ that she had declared ‘without ifs or ands, or any other clause, or words of exception or reservation’ that subjects could not lawfully take up arms against the crown.74 On 27 Nov., Morley managed the conference with the Commons on the impeachment of Clarendon. On 29 Nov. York sent him to tell Clarendon that the king had sent word that ‘it was absolutely necessary for him speedily to be gone’.75 With Clarendon in exile, Morley, like Sheldon, fell under a cloud. It soon became common knowledge that Morley would be replaced by Herbert Croft, bishop of Hereford, as dean of the chapel royal. In February 1668 he was forbidden to preach at court and formally replaced at the chapel royal, ‘a mortifying way of removal’ according to John Maitland, duke of Lauderdale [S] (later also earl of Guilford).76 Morley’s downfall was not merely the result of Clarendon’s fall from grace but also due to his continuing relationship with the duke and duchess of York.77 Morley arranged for Walter Blandford, bishop of Oxford, to succeed him as spiritual advisor to the duchess, but he remained her ‘spiritual director in things pertaining to religion’ for nearly six months after Clarendon’s exile.78 Two years later (when her conversion to catholicism became likely), Morley described how he had continued to attend the Yorks and Henry Hyde, then styled Viscount Cornbury (later 2nd earl of Clarendon), at St James until complaints to the king were made of his ‘caballing together in order to some ill end or other’.79 Burlington’s diary shows that Burlington and Morley regularly met and dined together over the course of 1668; Morley was instrumental in reconciling Burlington to Ormond and at various points all three men discussed Clarendon and were on good terms with York.80 Though out of favour Morley nevertheless continued to be involved in Parliament. He became involved in the by-election for Appleby in spring 1668. The redoubtable dowager countess of Pembroke (Lady Anne Clifford), ‘as absolute in that borough as... any other’, wanted Morley and James Compton, 3rd earl of Northampton, as ‘relations of hers’ to oppose Joseph Williamson. Her candidate was her grandson, Thomas Tufton, later 6th earl of Thanet, who was duly returned.81 On 9 May Morley attended the House for the last time that session and returned to his diocese to conduct his summer visitation.82

By the end of 1668 Morley was poised to return to royal favour, signalling yet another change of political direction at the centre. On 25 Aug. 1669, it was reported that Morley had kissed the king’s hand and returned to court.83 On 19 Oct. he attended the opening of the short 1669 sesion. He already held William Nicholson’s proxy, registered on 4 Oct. 1669, and now received that of Robert Skinner (both vacated at the end of the session). He sat for 92 per cent of sittings and was named to four committees. Morley was in London again by February 1670 for the start of the new parliamentary session. He attended for 73 per cent of sittings and was named to 46 select committees. On 15 Mar. he again received the proxy of Robert Skinner (vacated by Skinner’s death in June). On 17 Mar. he registered his dissent against the second reading of the bill to allow John Manners, styled Lord Roos, later 9th earl of Rutland, to divorce, joining Sheldon and Seth Ward, bishop of Salisbury, in their opposition to the measure. On 28 Mar. Morley spoke in the Lords’ debate on the third reading of the bill, challenging an argument from scripture put forward by the veteran Presbyterian leader, Denzil Holles, Baron Holles. He explained that ‘obscure’ rules in scripture must not only be placed in their historical context but interpreted by other scriptural prescriptions that were unequivocal. Marriage, he went on, was sacrosanct: ‘the essence of marriage does not lie in the condition nor are the words of the liturgy always necessary: I, John, take thee, Joan, is enough’.84 When the bill passed he registered another dissent against it. On 6 Apr. he helped to manage a conference on the highways bill, not long before Parliament was adjourned. During 1670, he began the process of seeking a private bill to unite a number of small parishes in his diocese, petitioning the king for permission to remit his arrears of tenths from the churches in question.85 He responded to Sheldon on 8 Oct. concerning the commission on union with Scotland. Morley opposed the ‘unintelligible union’, telling Sheldon that it was ‘designed to pick a quarrel rather than to make us more friends than we are, which can never be by making one kingdom in appearance only, and not so indeed’.86

On 15 Oct., shortly before Parliament met again, he again received the ailing William Nicholson’s proxy (vacated at the end of the session). His regular attendance in Parliament was noted as allowing those desirous of his patronage to seek him out at the House.87 He was also involved in the by-election on 15 Dec. for Downton (a Wiltshire manor owned by Morley in his capacity as bishop) where Sir Joseph Ashe beat John Man, a candidate fielded by Lord Ashley; Morley had started to make an interest for his nephew and heir Francis Morley, but at this point was unable to secure trustworthy support from the prominent Eyre family.88

During the autumn, winter and early spring of 1670-1, rumours emerged of the conversion of the duchess of York to Catholicism. Morley’s close relationship with the duke and duchess placed him in a particularly difficult position. By late October 1670 Cornbury had told York that rumours of her conversion were ‘spread all the world over’ and had even reached his father in exile.89 Morley may previously have been involved in the attempts to persuade the duchess to remain within the Church of England: she was said to have discussed religious matters with two of the most learned Anglican bishops, who were identified in the version of her narrative published in English in 1686 as Sheldon and Walter Blandford though it has been suggested that Morley, rather than Sheldon, was more likely to have been the person concerned.90 Morley wrote in 1671, however, that after Clarendon’s departure he had been a constant visitor to the duke and duchess and Viscount Cornbury at St James’s, and when he found it politic to leave off his visits, he had arranged for Blandford to stand in for him as spiritual director for the duchess. In January 1671 Morley remonstrated in writing with the duchess, pointing out that false rumours of the conversion of Charles I had caused the civil wars and that Catholics would never enjoy the trust of the English people. It was possible, he pointed out, to be Catholic and remain within the Church of England by submitting to the gospel, but not to the Pope and particularly not to the dictates of the Council of Trent. Following the duchess of York’s death on 1 Apr. 1671, Morley found it necessary to defend himself from suspicions that he had done nothing in his pastoral capacity to halt her conversion to Rome. He informed his dean that his attempts to minister to her had been thwarted by the duke.91

Rumours of the Yorks’ conversion helped to fuel increasing political concern about catholicism. On 1 Mar. 1671 Morley was named to a committee to prepare heads for a conference on the growth of catholicism; on 3 Mar. he managed the subsequent conference on the petition to the king. York later claimed that Morley, Ward and John Wilkins, bishop of Chester, had been involved in a ‘design... to introduce comprehension under another name and pretence, and with so much cunning’ that it might pass the Commons.92 In July 1672, more than a year after the debates in March 1671, and several months after the issue of the Declaration of Indulgence, Morley wrote to Anglesey about how he had indeed seen the threat of catholicism as a reason to promote the assimilation of English presbyterians into the Church:

you know what I was for in the late sessions of parliament (I mean not a comprehension but a coalition or incorporation of the presbyterian party into the church as it is by law established), and I am still of the opinion that it is the only effectual expedient, to hinder the growth of popery, and to secure both parties; and I am very confident that there are no presbyterians in the world (the Scotch only excepted) that would not conform to all that is required by our Church, especially in such a juncture of time as this is.93

Richard Baxter confirmed that the bishops had increased their propaganda against catholicism and that Morley, Ward and John Dolben, bishop of Rochester, had talked of strengthening the protestant interest by encouraging moderate Presbyterians to join the Church of England by means of ‘some abatement of the new oaths and subscriptions’. Baxter was far from convinced of their sincerity, for ‘after long talk there is nothing done’.94 There was some return to the discussion about how to enable catholics to prove their loyalty. On 13 Apr. 1671 Morley was named to a sub-committee of the Lords’ committee on popery that was instructed to draw up ‘such a test or oath according to the debate of the committee this day which being taken, may obtain a mitigation of the penalties of the law following conviction to such recusants’. The sub-committee were to report on 17 Apr. but seem never to have done so, and there was no progress on comprehension.95 A bill passed late in the session seems to have been intended to resolve a controversy in which he had become embroiled with the parishioners of St Saviour’s, Southwark, over the right to elect churchwardens, A private bill to make Paris Garden manor into a parish and to enable the parishioners to raise money for maintenance of a minister was reported from committee on 17 Mar. by Morley’s associate Seth Ward. It received the royal assent at the end of the session on 22 Apr., when Morley was present.96

In August Morley began his visitation of Winchester, determined to carry out a number of reforms both in his own ecclesiastical courts and in the elections of Winchester College students to university places, although in the event he refrained from meddling.97 An extremely important and influential local figure, he was described as always ‘courted like a prince and... extremely civil to all that visit him’. In September he was said to be dissatisfied that the meeting of Parliament had been put off.98 On 8 July 1672 he informed Sheldon that he had sought Ormond’s help in stopping Charles Powlett, styled Lord St John, the future 6th marquess of Winchester and duke of Bolton, from breaking a charter on rights in the New Forest – concerned that St John’s royal warrant would prove a precedent to break all charters given to bishops and thus ‘open a gap for the making void of all other charters by the same means’.99 Later that month, he congratulated Arthur Capell, earl of Essex, on his appointment as lord lieutenant of Ireland, delighted (in the circumstances) that the king had chosen a loyal Anglican for the post.100 By the autumn he was becoming increasingly suspicious of royal policy. He and Sheldon were both concerned about the purpose of the newly raised army,

because it seems too late in the year for any employment abroad for them. And if they... be made use of at home, I confess the whole fabric of my scheme is ruined, but so the fabric of the church and state will be also. What will afterwards be formed out of that chaos he that made all out of the first only knows. Yet the darkness which at present covers all that is in design cannot continue much longer.101

Sheldon invited Morley to stay at Lambeth but Morley, convinced that he was now ‘an outcast’ at court feared that such a visit would prejudice his old friend. Further, his attempts to negotiate with the presbyterians had done nothing to improve his reputation. In September 1672 he told Sheldon that he would ‘quickly make it appear that I am no more a presbyterian than I am a popish bishop, though I have been said to be both the one and the other, and indeed as much one as the other’.102 The following month he was encouraged by what turned out to be false rumours that Dolben would be translated to Durham, an event that would give hope that Sheldon was about to be restored to favour. In an undated letter that probably belongs to early 1673, he again referred to the way events had ruined his ‘scheme’ and to being ‘wholly in the dark, till I see whether the Parliament will hold and what will be done if it do hold’.103 His scheme appears to have been no more than a revival of his earlier proposals, to dispense with the assent and dissent declaration and to renounce the covenant. His hopes were dashed at the end of October when Parliament was prorogued and Nathaniel Crew, bishop of Oxford, was given the strategically important northern see.

In mid January 1673 Morley was very ill and rumoured to be at death’s door. During that month he presented a family member to the parsonage of Cheriton: Sir Ralph Verney waspishly remarked that ‘some call this smock simony, but you may call it as you please’.104 By the start of the new session of Parliament on 4 Feb. 1673, Morley was still too frail to attend.105 On 5 Feb. he registered his proxy in Sheldon’s favour; it was cancelled on 20 Oct. 1673 when Morley made his sole appearance that session. Morley expressed pleasure at the failure at the end of the session of the government’s bill for the relief of Protestant Dissenters that had been introduced into the Commons on 27 Feb., and was designed to replace the prerogative indulgence. Although the bill included Morley’s own proposal to dispense with the ‘assent and consent’ declaration in the Act of Uniformity, it had gone much further in allowing an effective toleration. He told Sheldon on 7 Apr. 1673 that it would have created a

schism by a law and that would have been much worse than any connivance nay than a toleration can be by the king’s dispensation or declaration… I never would have consented nor ever will consent to that which they call a comprehension, that is to their being admitted in to the Church or to any employment or preferment in the Church without an express and exact conformity and subscription to all the articles and canons of the Church without any dispensation either in point of judgment or in point of practice in relation either to the one or to the other. And that this hath been always my opinion, your Grace may be pleased to remember that several years ago when the bishop of Hereford out of his zeal to unity in the Church said in the House of Lords that to so good an end as that was he should not only be content to part with any of the ceremonies and much more to leave them all as indifferent in their use as they were in their nature but even to dispense with the belief of some things in the Creed itself. I did presently reply (without reflecting upon what he said last, as being but a passionate transport of his zeal for peace in the Church) that I was so far from being of this opinion that all the ceremonies ought to be left indifferent in the use of them, to bring in any of our dissenting brethren that I had rather give my vote to the altering or abolishing of them all, than to the leaving of any one of them arbitrary or indifferent as to the using or not using of it. For this as I then said would be evidently to set up and establish a schism by law, and consequently an everlasting bar to peace … a perpetual faction in the state and a schism in the Church. This I said then and of the same opinion I am still.106

According to Roger Morrice, Morley’s aspirations were rather more sinister. His opposition to the bill was based in it ‘not answering his end which was a toleration for all mainly for the papists’.107 On 20 Oct. 1673, Morley attended the House for the prorogation, dining that day with Sheldon and Humphrey Henchman. It was rumoured, falsely, that Morley and Herbert Croft had ‘done great matters’ with York to make him disavow his Catholic faith.108 Morley remained in London and attended every sitting of the week-long session from 27 Oct. 1673. He was named to only one select committee (on English manufactures). On 7 Jan. 1674, he attended for the first day of the session and thereafter attended nearly 93 per cent of sittings. He was named to seven select committees. He commanded his chaplain, Francis Turner, the future bishop of Ely, to obtain a copy of the speech made by William Sancroft, later archbishop of Canterbury, at his admission as prolocutor of the lower house of Convocation, clearly approving Sancroft’s hints about what needed to be done ‘in order to the restoring our discipline and maintaining our doctrine’ to counter ‘the insupportable clamour of the people against the bishops’.109 The Lords addressed the king to send all Catholics (except for peers and their households) out of town and named a committee of six, including Morley, to inspect the treaty with France.110

Morley continued to oppose legislation that would bring Dissenters into the Church of England by amending its doctrine or liturgy. On 13 Feb. 1674, Morley introduced to the House his own bill ‘for composing differences in religion and inviting sober and peaceably-minded Dissenters into the service of the Church’. As before, all he sought was the repeal of the ‘unfeigned assent and consent’ clauses in the Act of Uniformity, and the formal renunciation of the Covenant.111 Morley was supported from the episcopal benches by John Pearson, of Chester, Seth Ward and John Dolben.112 The motion to commit the bill was carried on 19 Feb. by a majority of nearly 20 votes. The bill died with the prorogation on 24 Feb. 1674, but at least one contemporary assumed that this modest bill was merely the prelude to a renewed attempt at comprehension—and that Morley and his allies in the House would support it.113

From the Test Act to Exclusion, 1675-80

When Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby, began to woo churchmen into a new political alliance with the court he sought Morley’s support. In late October 1674, he visited Morley at Farnham with a message from the king to the effect that the ‘Fathers of the Church’ should consult with members of the Privy Council ‘in order to concert measures which may tend to pacify the minds of the people before the next Parliament’.114 On 1 Jan. 1675 Morley was appointed by the king as one of a group of bishops to discuss the security of the protestant religion and advise on the suppression of catholicism.115 On 25 Jan. Sheldon hosted a conference at Lambeth Palace that brought leading Privy Councillors together with five bishops, including Morley and Ward, to discuss religious policy. As the Venetian ambassador pointed out, those bishops who ‘were mildly inclined’ were excluded and the dialogue was dominated by Morley and the ‘turbulent’ Ward. The subsequent recommendation for the strict enforcement of the penal laws against Catholics and Dissenters, though watered-down by Danby and at the behest of York, formed the basis of a new policy designed to attract Anglican royalist support in Parliament.116

Despite these discussions with Danby, Morley and Ward nevertheless appear to have kept open negotiations with Baxter over the winter, using John Tillotson, who would become archbishop of Canterbury after the Revolution, and Edward Stillingfleet, who would become bishop of Worcester, to mediate and to draft another bill to be introduced into the spring 1675 session of Parliament. Roger Boyle, earl of Orrery [I], who was involved in the negotiations, assured the nonconformists that Morley ‘vehemently professed his desires of it’. Baxter was so far from convinced that Morley ‘had done so much to the contrary, and never anything this way since his professions of that sort, that till his real endeavours convinced men, it would not be believed that he was serious’.117 The Venetian ambassador agreed. The previous November, he wrote that neither Morley or Ward had any intention of accommodating the Presbyterians,

because they know that once the Presbyterians are admitted they will, by their wealth and intelligence obtain the distribution of Church preferment, to the exclusion of the Protestants [and] therefore preach to the effect that they cannot understand how the king should wish to encourage the union of the nonconformists, as it would be more politic to divide and confound them.118

In his memoir, Richard Baxter described Morley’s outspoken attacks on the dangers of catholicism and how in previous Parliaments he had gained a reputation as a leading supporter of comprehension by talking ‘much for abatements and taking in the nonconformists or else we are like all to fall in to the papists’ hands’. As far as Baxter was concerned (and he was scarcely the most impartial of witnesses), Morley’s actions did not match his rhetoric; they confirmed that he was playing a double game and that ‘all his professions for abatement and concord were deceitful snares’. The attempts to pave the way for a bill along the lines Morley proposed were indeed doomed: on 11 Apr. 1675 Tillotson informed Baxter that there was ‘no hope of the bill passing either House without the countenance of a considerable part of the bishops... which is unlikely’.119

Just before the beginning of the new session, on 12 Apr. 1675 Morley received the proxy of William Fuller, now translated to Lincoln. It was vacated by Fuller’s death later that year. On 13 Apr., Morley attended for the start of the session and thereafter attended for 92 per cent of sittings. He was named to 11 select committees, including measures on Catholic recusancy, blasphemy and the augmentations of clerical livings, all matters that came within the scope of the court’s new strategy. The central plank of this policy, which Morley helped to draft, was the bill to enact Danby’s non-resisting test. It was recommended to the House by Morley with support from Heneage Finch, Baron Finch and Ward, but attracted heated opposition from Shaftesbury, Holles and Buckingham. Morley attacked those who opposed the imposition of an oath (on the grounds that it would undermine the Lords’ privileges) and the bishops’ votes carried the division.120 The bill was nevertheless lost. During the recess, on 27 June, when Sheldon refused to perform the ceremony, he officiated at the consecration of Thomas Barlow, Fuller’s replacement at Lincoln. Morley also spoke to the king on Barlow’s behalf to ask for commendams.121 Morley was present in the House on 13 Oct. 1675 for the first day of the autumn parliamentary session. He attended 90 per cent of sittings and was named to 10 select committees, including, on 8 Nov. 1675, the committee to investigate responsibility for the publication of A Letter from a Person of Quality to his Friend in the Country describing the debates on the test bill. Two days later he managed the conference on the address to the king to recall the army.

In the long recess that followed the prorogation of 22 Nov. 1675, Morley continued to deal with routine diocesan business, including making clerical appointments (with Hatton) to the garrison of Guernsey.122 He supported the 1676 census of nonconformist conventicles, an exercise designed to prove to the king that Dissenters made up a relatively insignificant proportion of the population and could be suppressed with ease: writing to Danby on 10 June 1676, Morley maintained that the census was ‘absolutely necessary for the securing of the legally established government of the Church, and consequently as absolutely necessary for the securing of the legally established government in the state also’.123 In November 1676, for some reason seemingly doubtful of his standing with his ‘old friend’ Sheldon, he expressed the hope that he retained ‘the same place in [the archbishop’s] favour as I have had above these fifty years together’. Sheldon promptly affirmed their friendship.124

Despite failing sight, Morley attended the House on 15 Feb. 1677 for the new session that lasted until May 1678. He was present for only two-fifths of all sittings. He was named to 36 select committees including, on 16 Feb., the committee to enquire into the publisher of the pamphlet on the prorogation. On 26 Mar. he reported from the bill on Ledbury vicarage and on 1 Mar. and 23 May 1677 and 15 Jan. 1678 examined the Journal. After the House rose in April 1677 he began a five week long visitation of his diocese.125 He was nevertheless beginning to feel his age and the continuing press of ‘so many engagements’.126 When Sheldon died in November, Morley was said to be hopeful of seeing him succeeded by either Compton or Ward, a wish that he had expressed even before Sheldon’s death.127 On 27 Jan. 1678 he claimed to be too indisposed to venture out to Sancroft’s consecration.128 On 16 Feb. he was registered as excused at a call of the House. He attended the House for the final time that session on 11 April. On 24 May 1678 his auditor Edward Dallow petitioned the House against a breach of the bishop’s parliamentary privilege committed by William Grove and the attorney John Stannard who had pursued Dallow to outlawry and seized his possessions. On 1 June, Grove and Stannard were discharged.

Parliament was prorogued on 15 July 1678. Clearly delighted with the marriage of Princess Mary to the protestant William of Orange, but aware of pro-French and pro-Catholic tendencies at court, Morley warned against a delay of the next session of Parliament. The king had certainly benefitted from the public popularity of the royal marriage, but should avoid squandering that goodwill: ‘the warmth newly kindled in the people’s affections should not be suffered to cool by deferring our next meeting so long’.129 When the next session assembled on 21 Oct. 1678, Morley was unable to attend, registering his proxy in favour of Seth Ward; it was vacated at the end of the session. Morley was by now living in virtual retirement at Farnham Castle, having obtained the king’s permission ‘to quit my attendance upon all public business’ so that he could prepare himself for death.130 He was nevertheless unable to escape the consequences of the unfolding revelations about the Popish Plot. He was himself in danger of being implicated when arms were found in the roof space of his Chelsea house. A bricklayer named George Osborne confessed to having secreted them there. The House ordered discharged Osborne from custody on 17 Dec. 1678, but ordered that investigations continue. Then, on 11 Feb. 1679, Morley received a lengthy request for help from William Sancroft, to whom the king had made an appeal for

some further attempt… to recover the duke of York out of that foul apostacy into which the busy traitors of Rome have seduced him. And he names your Lordship, if not the only person proper for such a negotiation, at least as most fit to appear in the head of it... your particular friends here will be careful to provide you so fair accommodations as may abate as much as possible of the danger... though we cannot expect you should immediately on the receipt hereof come towards us; yet we hope you will immediately resolve and let us know it; for the matter is pressing, and I am urged to hasten it to an issue.131

On 21 Feb. 1679, Morley and Sancroft were granted an audience with the duke at St James’s at which Sancroft read a prepared speech in support of the Church of England and their hope that York would not desert her. Morley’s presence and especially his willingness to rouse himself from retirement ‘gave hopes that the duke had good inclinations’ but the attempt failed and Morley once again retired from court.132

There is no evidence that the aged Morley involved himself in parliamentary elections to the first Exclusion Parliament. He attended the House for the final time on 6 Mar. 1679 to take the oaths and enable him to register his proxy in favour of Seth Ward. From Farnham he reflected on the momentum of opinion against the bishops: ‘with what an evil eye those of our order and all their actions (especially such as are of public concernment) are now looked upon’.133 Parliament was dissolved on 12 July 1679, and at the end of that month Morley, not expecting to live much longer, wrote in pessimistic tones to Sancroft about the elections in his diocese in which he feared an undermining of the present government through ‘the zeal of the ill affected’.134 The ill-affected had their uses for Morley who was rumoured to have been a witness to Charles II’s marriage to Lucy Walter, and hence that their son, James Scott, duke of Monmouth, was the legitimate heir to the throne.135

1680 to 1684

Despite his retirement to Winchester, Morley continued to worry about catholicism at court. The appointment of Francis Turner to the deanery of Windsor would, he hoped, increase Anglican influences around the duke of York.136 He also worried about his own reputation. Morley placed his Anglican loyalties above those of reformed protestantism at large. His lack of sympathy for European Protestants and proximity to the Yorks made him vulnerable to attack from both Dissenters and Catholics. In 1682 York’s former chaplain, Thomas Jones, published a claim that Morley was a ‘Protestant in masquerade’ who had hounded him out of York’s service and that Morley and members of York’s household were implicated in the Popish Plot. Morley’s defence to the charges was published the following year and included a vindication of his role in challenging the conversion to Rome of Anne Hyde, duchess of York, making public a letter that he had written to her in 1670 on her failure to communicate.137 This was not the only pamphlet in which Morley exerted himself to publicize his Anglican credentials. He also revisited his disputes with Richard Baxter.138 In 1684 he appealed to Sancroft to appoint a new chaplain to the duke of York who would defend core Anglican doctrines.139

As he reached the end of his life, Morley’s judgment was increasingly suspect. In the summer of 1683 his candidate for a Nottinghamshire archdeaconry was said to be regarded as ‘the maygame [laughing stock] of the whole county, everybody having some story or other of him’.140 By 1684, he was clearly approaching the end of his life. After being pestered for at least three weeks by nephews who wanted the bishop to transfer diocesan leases on favourable terms while there was still time, Morley died in the small hours of 29 Oct. 1684.141

Morley had been a lavish benefactor of public, educational and ecclesiastical projects. He had endowed a hospital modelled on that established by John Warner, bishop of Rochester, subscribed to the refurbishment of Lichfield Cathedral and supported protestant students abroad.142 He also planned major refurbishments to the bishop of Worcester’s residence at Hartlebury (although this payment became increasingly complicated since it was assigned out of funds lent to Sir John Pakington).143 Morley’s own will, itself a testament to his formidable attention to fine detail, directed that he be buried without ‘attendance of heralds or any secular pomp or solemnity’ and with no ‘stately tomb’. Bequests included the foundation of a public library with a salaried librarian and prescribed opening times. With numerous cash legacies to his nieces and nephews, the residue of his estate went to his nephew Francis Morley, who was also appointed his sole executor.

Morley remained a Calvinist: his hostility to Armininanism was evident in his hostility to the Harmonia Apostolica by George Bull, the future bishop of St Davids, a controversial work licensed on behalf of Sheldon in 1669: Morley forbade his clergy from even reading it.144 The Baptist John Tombes dedicated his published response of 1676 to Morley, and Bull’s other detractors included Thomas Barlow, bishop of Lincoln, and Arthur Annesley, earl of Anglesey.145 That Calvinism may have been the basis for Morley’s keenness to draw Presbyterians back into the Church; but his emphasis on uniformity meant that he would never be remembered with fondness by the nonconformist community. Three years after his death, Roger Morrice commented that

It is agreed that the hierarchists, though they are civil and give fair words now, would, had they the power, be more severe then ever, for it is well remembered that Bishop Morley gave as fair words and made as many promises, and sent as many civil and kind messages ... often acknowledging that they brought in the king which must never be forgot, and yet he took vengeance upon them when he had power, and turned them all out and was also false to them in all his negotiations with them....146


  • 1 TNA, PROB 11/377, sig. 134.
  • 2 CSP Dom. 1664-5, pp. 238-9.
  • 3 PROB 11/355.
  • 4 Clarendon, Life, i. 56.
  • 5 Eg. 2542, f.270.
  • 6 Green, Re-establishment of the Church of England, 108; Bosher, Restoration Settlement, 235.
  • 7 Marshall, George Hooper, 22-6; Rait, Episcopal Palaces, 149.
  • 8 LPL, ms 943, f. 805.
  • 9 Hirschberg, ‘Episcopal Incomes’, 216.
  • 10 Bodl. Carte 32, f. 42.
  • 11 Bodl. Tanner 140, f. 134.
  • 12 Capel, Certain letters Written to Several Persons (1654), 43-7.
  • 13 HP Commons 1660-90, iii. 104-5.
  • 14 Lister, Life of Clarendon, i. 16n.
  • 15 Turner, James II, 96.
  • 16 P. Barwick, Life of Barwick, 525.
  • 17 CCSP, iv. 581, 630, 666.
  • 18 HMC 7th Rep. 484.
  • 19 State Papers Collected by Clarendon, iii. 722.
  • 20 State Papers Collected by Clarendon, iii. 727-8.
  • 21 Carte 30, f. 566.
  • 22 Bodl. Clarendon, 71, ff. 305-6.
  • 23 Reliquiae Baxterianae, i, pt ii,218.
  • 24 State Papers Collected by Clarendon, iii. 736.
  • 25 State Papers Collected by Clarendon, iii. 738; Clarendon 72, ff. 197-200; CCSP, v. 13-14.
  • 26 Carte 214, f. 127.
  • 27 Clarendon 72, ff. 284, 316.
  • 28 Clarendon 72, ff. 316, 321, 357.
  • 29 Clarendon 73, f. 64.
  • 30 Green, Re-establishment of the Church of England, 53-6.
  • 31 Lister, Life of Clarendon, iii. 110-1; HR, lxx, 209-11.
  • 32 Burnet, i. 176-7.
  • 33 Clarendon 74, f. 8.
  • 34 Worcs. RO, Hampton (Pakington) mss, 705:349/4739/2 (xxiii)/3.
  • 35 Seaward, Cavalier Parliament, 65; Tanner 140, f. 134.
  • 36 G. Morley, A sermon preached at the magnificent coronation of… King Charles II (1661).
  • 37 Tanner 282, f. 35; Reliquiae Baxterianae, i. pt ii. 363.
  • 38 Diary of Henry Townshend ed. J.W. Willis Bund, i. 78.
  • 39 Richard Baxter his Account to… the Inhabitants of Kidderminster (1662), 1-2.
  • 40 E. Bagshaw, A Letter unto a Person of Honour and Quality (1662); S. Holden, D.E. Defeated, or a Reply to a Late Scurrilous Pamphlet (1662); R. L’Estrange, A Whipp for the Late Schismaticall Animadverter (1662).
  • 41 HMC Hastings, iv. 105; Bodl. Add. C 306, f. 172.
  • 42 Rawdon Pprs. 136-8.
  • 43 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/1, 27 Feb. 1662.
  • 44 TNA, PC 2/55, p. 554.
  • 45 Seaward, Cavalier Parliament, 174.
  • 46 Richard Baxter his Account … with the Bishop of Worcester’s Letter in Answer thereto, 10.
  • 47 Rawdon Pprs. 140-4; Seaward, Cavalier Parliament, 176; Add. 22919, f. 203; HMC Hastings, iv. 129-30.
  • 48 LJ, xi. 423-4.
  • 49 Prideaux Letters, 141.
  • 50 Carte 45, f. 109.
  • 51 Articles of visitation... within the Diocese of Winchester (1662); Clarendon 73, ff. 216-17; 77, f. 307.
  • 52 Clarendon. 77, f. 307.
  • 53 Clarendon 77, f. 340.
  • 54 Green, Re-establishment of the Church of England, 152.
  • 55 Pepys Diary, iii. 292-3.
  • 56 CJ, viii. 494, 520; HP Commons 1660-90, iii. 389-90.
  • 57 Lysons, Environs of London, ii. 168-9; VCH Hants. iii. 276-82.
  • 58 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/1, 409-10.
  • 59 Carte 32, f. 716; Carte 81, f. 233..
  • 60 CJ, viii. 533.
  • 61 CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 285.
  • 62 Clarendon 82, ff. 55-58.
  • 63 Pols. of Relig. ed. T Harris et al. 54.
  • 64 CJ, viii. 601-2.
  • 65 Carte 221, f. 219; Add C 303, f. 104.
  • 66 Verney, ms mic. M636/20, Sir N. Hobart to Sir R. Verney, 1 Nov. 1665.
  • 67 Carte 80, ff. 758-9.
  • 68 Add. 75356, Morley to Burlington, 10 Jan. 1666.
  • 69 Bodl. Add. C 308, f. 73v.
  • 70 LJ, xii. 20-1.
  • 71 CSP Dom. 1666-7, p. 242.
  • 72 Corresp. of Isaac Basire D.D. ed. W.N. Darnell, 252-4.
  • 73 Burnet, History, i. 466.
  • 74 G. Morley, A Sermon [on 1 Cor. xiv. 33], preached before the King ... Nov. 5, 1667 (1683), 36-7.
  • 75 Clarendon, Life, 332.
  • 76 Verney, ms mic. M636/22, Sir R. to E. Verney, 26 Dec. 1667; Add. 36916, ff. 54-6; NLS, Yester pprs. ms 14406, ff. 46-47.
  • 77 CCSP, v. 635.
  • 78 CCSP, v. 635; Clarendon 87, ff. 84-5.
  • 79 Clarendon 87 ff. 84-85.
  • 80 Chatsworth, Cork mss misc box 2, Burlington diary, 1 Jan., 20 Feb., 23 Mar. 3 and 30 June, 1 and 2 July, 1 Aug., 8 Dec. 1668.
  • 81 CSP Dom. 1667-8, pp. 171, 209; HP Commons 1660-90, i. 435.
  • 82 Verney, ms mic. M636/22, M. Elmes to Sir R.Verney, 14 Sept. 1668; Sir R Verney to M. Elmes, 28 Sept. 1668; Articles of visitation and enquiry ... within the Diocese of Winchester (1668).
  • 83 Tanner 44, ff. 146-7; Eg. 2539, f. 292; HMC Le Fleming, 66; Verney, ms mic. M636/23, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 25 Aug. 1669; Add. 36916, f. 141.
  • 84 F. Harris, Sandwich, ii. 324-33.
  • 85 CSP Dom. 1670, pp. 193-248.
  • 86 Tanner 44, f. 226.
  • 87 CSP Dom. 1670, pp. 514.
  • 88 HP Commons 1660-90, i. 444.
  • 89 Clarendon 87, f. 66.
  • 90 Maimbourg, Histoire du Calvinisme (1682), 508-9; Copies of Two Papers written by the late King Charles II together with a copy of a Paper written by the late Duchess of York (1686); CCSP, v. 633.
  • 91 Clarendon 87, ff. 74-82, 84-85.
  • 92 Macpherson, Orig. Pprs. i. 57-58.
  • 93 State Trials, viii. 1016-17.
  • 94 Baxter, Reliquiae, iii. 84.
  • 95 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/ 2, 451.
  • 96 CSP Dom. Addenda 1660-1685, p. 343.
  • 97 Verney, ms mic. M636/24, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 27 Aug., 17 Sept.1671, R. Townshend to same, 16 Sept. 1671.
  • 98 Verney, ms mic. M636/24, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 24 Sept. 1671.
  • 99 Tanner 43, f. 17.
  • 100 Stowe 200, f. 80.
  • 101 Tanner 43, f. 31.
  • 102 Tanner 43, f. 33.
  • 103 Tanner 43, ff. 27, 31, 33.
  • 104 Harl. 7377, f. 40v; Verney, ms mic. M636/25, Sir R. to E. Verney, 16 Jan and 23 Jan. 1673.
  • 105 Carte 77, ff. 536-7.
  • 106 Tanner 42, f.7.
  • 107 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 354-5.
  • 108 Tanner 42, f. 44.
  • 109 Tanner 42, f. 75.
  • 110 Verney, ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney, 12 Jan. 1674; LJ, xii. 594-9.
  • 111 PA, HL/PO/JO/10/1/355, 170.
  • 112 Add. 23136, f. 98.
  • 113 Tanner 44, f. 249.
  • 114 Carte 72, f. 229.
  • 115 CSP Dom. 1673-5, pp. 390, 403, 548-51.
  • 116 CSP Ven. 1673-5, p. 353-7.
  • 117 Reliquiae Baxterianae, iii. 109.
  • 118 CSP Ven. 1673-5, p. 312.
  • 119 LPL, ms 1743, f. 145; Baxter, Reliquiae, iii. 109, 156-65; Morrice Ent’ring bk, ii. 354.
  • 120 Timberland, i. 140-58; Baxter, Reliquiae, iii. 167.
  • 121 Evelyn Diary, iv. 66; TNA, SP29/370, f. 364.
  • 122 CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 95.
  • 123 Eg. 3329, f. 119.
  • 124 Tanner 40, f. 41.
  • 125 Tanner 40, f. 104.
  • 126 CSP Dom. 1677-8, p. 288.
  • 127 Verney, ms mic. M636/30, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 21 Nov. 1677; Add. 17017, ff. 159-60.
  • 128 Tanner 40, f. 199.
  • 129 Add. 17017, f. 55, quoted in J. Spurr, England in the 1670s, 250.
  • 130 HMC Ormonde, i. 101.
  • 131 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 466.
  • 132 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 465-71; Chatsworth, Devonshire Coll. Group 1/G, Sir J. Gell to Devonshire, 6 Mar. 1679..
  • 133 Tanner 38, f. 20.
  • 134 Tanner 38, f. 72.
  • 135 Verney ms mic. M636/33, C. Gardiner to Sir Ralph Verney, 7 Dec. 1679.
  • 136 Tanner 34, f. 268.
  • 137 Elymas the Sorcerer (1682); G. Morley, Several Treatises written on several occasions (1683).
  • 138 [G. Morley], A letter of the now Lord Bishop of Winchester’s... of the means to keep out Popery (1682); The Bishop of Winchester’s Vindication of himself.(1683).
  • 139 Tanner 34, f. 268.
  • 140 Tanner 34, ff. 142-3, 268; 150, f. 125.
  • 141 Rait, Episcopal Palaces, 149.
  • 142 Add. 4224, f. 76; Tanner 131, f. 38; Add. 70120, P. Hartman to Sir Edward Harley, 22 Oct. 1686.
  • 143 Tanner 140, ff. 134, 135, 137, 140, 144, 145, 150.
  • 144 G. Bull, Harmonia Apostolica (1670; licensed April 1669); J. Tombes, Animadversiones in librum Georgii Bull, (1676).
  • 145 Spurr, Restoration Church, 311-16.
  • 146 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 134.