SANCROFT, William (1617-93)

SANCROFT, William (1617–93)

cons. 27 Jan. 1678 archbp. of CANTERBURY; susp. 1 Aug. 1689 ; depr. 1 Feb. 1690

First sat 28 Jan. 1678; last sat 22 Nov. 1686

b. 30 Jan. 1617, 2nd s. of Francis Sancroft (d.1649) of Fressingfield, Suff, yeoman farmer and Margaret, da. of Thomas Boucher (Butcher) of Wilby. educ. Bury St Edmunds Sch. bef. 1634; Emmanuel, Camb., matric. 1634, BA 1638, MA 1641, fell. 1642-51, BD 1648, DD 1662; Padua Univ. matric 1660.1 unm. d. 23 Nov. 1693; admon. to gt.-nephew, William Sancroft of Suff. 1699.2

Chap. to Charles II 1661-77; PC 1678-89.

Chap. to John Cosin, bp. of Durham, 1660; delegate to Savoy Conference 1660; rect. Houghton-le-Spring Durham 1661-4; preb. Durham 1662-5, St Paul’s 1664-78; dean York 1664-5, St Paul’s 1664-78; adn. Canterbury 1668-70; prolocutor, lower house of Convocation of Canterbury 1670; ecclesiastical commr. 1681-4.3

Bursar, Emmanuel Camb. 1644, master, 1662-5.

Likenesses: oils on canvas after B. Lens, Lambeth Palace; line engraving by D. Loggan, 1680 NPG 636; chalk drawing by E. Lutterel, c.1688, NPG 301.

Early career

William Sancroft was born into a family of Suffolk yeomanry with long connections to Fressingfield. Attending Emmanuel Cambridge, a puritan establishment under the mastership of his uncle and namesake, Sancroft showed an early determination to enter the Church. The date of his ordination is not known, but it seems likely that it was in or about 1641. During the 1640s he avoided taking the covenant but managed to retain his fellowship until he was ejected in 1651 for refusing the engagement. In 1649 he had inherited part of his father’s estate and financially was sufficiently comfortable to be able to provide financial support for both Robert Creighton, the future bishop of Bath and Wells, and John Cosin, later bishop of Durham, during the Interregnum, as well as able to mobilize gifts from his former pupils, the brothers John and Robert Gayer.4 After 1651 he retired to Fressingfield until 1657 when he made an extended visit to the continent. Throughout the Interregnum he maintained a close correspondence with senior royalist clergy both at home and in exile, gaining a reputation for being ‘firm and unmoved … in the midst of these great and violent storms that are now raised against the Church of England’.5 He made no public attempt to exercise his ministry and refused offers of private chaplaincies. At the Restoration he was in Italy; when he returned to England in late 1660 he took up a chaplaincy with Cosin followed swiftly by a Durham cathedral prebend. Cosin also secured him the valuable living at Houghton le Spring.6 Despite Cosin’s encouragement to marry, Sancroft was determined to remain celibate and set up household with his sister.7

Sancroft was asked (albeit as second choice) to deliver the sermon at the first Restoration consecrations in December 1660 when he preached on the beauty of the Church hierarchy.8 Within months, Gilbert Sheldon, then bishop of London, brought him to court as a royal chaplain; involved, though informally, in the revision of the Book of Common Prayer at the behest of Convocation in 1661, he was appointed as master of Emmanuel in 1662 at the behest of Sheldon, replacing William Dillingham, who did not conform, his appointment clearly intended to put an end to the college’s reputation as a hotbed of puritanism.9 He stayed there only a short time, however, being nominated dean of York in early 1664, and not long after that, dean of St Paul’s. There he overhauled the chapter accounts and became closely involved in the post- fire rebuilding programme, working with Sir Christopher Wren and his fellow commissioners to design a cathedral that would marry baroque magnificence and liturgical practicality.10 Sancroft had become critical to ecclesiastical government in London, involved in a number of legislative projects including the creation of a new parish at Shadwell by Act of Parliament, and a private act for rebuilding the residence of the dean at St Paul’s, both in 1670.11 Although he had retained his prebend in Durham, he had long been prevented from residence there; the king had dispensed him from residence in 1662 but in 1670 the chapter there decided to withhold the income from his prebend and the king had to intervene on his behalf.12 He was tipped for a bishopric as early as 1665, although the see in question (Ely) was not vacant, Matthew Wren, the incumbent bishop, being merely sick, not dead.13 He declined the sees of Chester in 1668, and Chichester in 1669.14 He did accept the king’s gift of the archdeaconry of Canterbury in 1668, no doubt because it allowed him to remain in close contact with events in London.

Archbishop of Canterbury 1677-9

Within days of Sheldon’s death on 9 Nov. 1677, it was ‘common discourse’ that Sancroft was in the running to replace him despite his lack of previous episcopal (or even pastoral) experience.15 Some sources suggested that the Irish archbishop Michael Boyle was being considered, others that the contest was between Sancroft and Henry Compton, bishop of London. Nathaniel Crew, bishop of Durham, may also have been in the running. Even so, when the announcement was made in December, Edward Lake reported that it was not only ‘contrary to the expectations of all the court’ but also ‘to the dissatisfaction of many bishops who resented his leap from the deanery of Paul’s over their heads unto the primacy’. Sancroft appears to have had influential backing at court. He was liked and respected by the king, who perhaps also saw him as an efficient and capable government servant, and his candidacy was backed not only by the lord chancellor, Heneage Finch, Baron Finch (later earl of Nottingham) but also by the lord treasurer, Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby. Danby outwardly favoured Compton and assured him that he would be archbishop but, according to Lake, this was a strategy designed to prevent Compton from throwing his weight behind yet another candidate, John Fell, bishop of Oxford. James Stuart, duke of York, ‘gladly submitted’ to Sancroft’s appointment since in his eyes any candidate was better than the anti-Catholic Compton. Sancroft’s detractors could now claim that he secured the post with Catholic support.16

Sancroft was almost immediately deluged with requests for patronage. As his nephew explained in January 1678, ‘in this change nothing troubles him more than that he is forced to refuse so many petitions made to him both by word and letter, both here in London and from all parts, from Durham and Yorkshire, and especially from Suffolk from so many good friends there’. The king was anxious that he attend Parliament as soon as possible, so his writ of summons was speedily issued in order to allow him to take his seat in Parliament the day after his consecration.17 In his first parliamentary session, Sancroft attended 36 per cent of sittings, was named to the sessional committees for privileges and petitions and to ten select committees. On 29 Jan. 1678, he registered his dissent against the resolution to address the king for the release of Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, who had been imprisoned on a charge of blasphemy. His support was also sought in the promotion of parliamentary legislation to assist the Church, though the extent of his involvement in such measures is difficult to assess. In April 1678 William Starkey, whose bill for the recovery of small tithes had been rejected by the Lords on 9 Mar. approached Sancroft in an attempt to rally episcopal support. Objectors to the bill had argued that it tended ‘to injure ecclesiastical authority and jurisdiction and to discourage the study of the civil law’.18 Just how Sancroft reacted to the request is unknown, but it is perhaps significant that he had not been present when the bill was lost and it is tempting to wonder if his absence was a deliberate attempt to avoid controversy. He was similarly absent on 8 Mar. when the bill to augment livings in St Asaph passed its third reading. It received the royal assent on 13 May but just one month later Isaac Barrow, bishop of St Asaph, sought Sancroft’s assistance to promote further legislation, openly admitting that the additional provisions he now requested had not been included in the earlier act because Sheldon had objected to them.19 No such legislation was introduced. Among the many other reports that Sancroft received from the bishops of his province were accounts from Guy Carleton, bishop of Bristol, about his battles with ‘that bawling alderman’ Sir John Knight and the corporation of Bristol: Carleton appealed for his support and assistance.20

Sancroft was present for the prorogation in July 1678 and spent the summer months corresponding with his fellow bishops on the disposal of livings, on jurisdictional disputes between cathedrals and corporations and on recent parliamentary affairs. In October 1678 he and Compton together managed the episcopal nominations for Chichester, Chester and Bristol.21 A regular attender at meetings of the Privy Council, he was present throughout the council’s investigations of the Popish Plot during September and October 1678.22

Present in the House for the first day of the session commencing in October 1678, Sancroft subsequently attended nearly 68 per cent of sittings. He was named to two select committees: to examine the witnesses in the Popish Plot and the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, and to examine constables with a view to uncovering Catholics. On 13 Nov. 1678 Sancroft preached before the Lords, counselling quiet obedience to the king.23 On 15 Nov., when the bill that would become the second Test Act was under consideration, he voted against placing the declaration against transubstantiation under the same penalty as the oaths. One report identified him as an opponent of the bill, and suggested that he put private interest above the public good. It was also noted that his sermon to the Lords on the fast day had omitted all reference to the Plot or Catholics, and that the Lords, contrary to custom, did not vote him thanks.24 He was reported to have voted against the Test though Sir Robert Southwell thought that he opposed the wording of the clause on ‘idolatry’ in the mass rather than the bill itself.25 On 30 Nov. 1678 the House learned that Sancroft had issued an arrest warrant for a Catholic priest. In December the Privy Council ordered that spies should observe Catholic masses in various ambassadorial residences and report back to Sancroft and Compton.26 On 18 Dec. 1678 Sancroft brought to the House documents relating to the arrested Catholic, Robert Pugh. Eight days later, in the divisions on the supply bill (disbanding the army), he voted to insist on the Lords’ amendment relating to the payment of money into the exchequer. In January 1679 the government ordered the seizure of all unlicensed books which were to be delivered to Sancroft and Compton.27 In response to ‘a private intimation from my superior’ – a clear reference to the king – Sancroft undertook an attempt ‘to recover the duke of York out of that foul apostasy into which the busy traitors from Rome have seduced him’, asking for the assistance of George Morley, bishop of Winchester in the project on 11 Feb. 1679. Ten days later, in York’s closet, he made a long, and fruitless, speech to the duke.28

Exclusion 1679-80

During elections to the first Exclusion Parliament, Sancroft and Francis Turner, master of St John’s College, Cambridge, and future bishop of Ely, both hoped that sitting Members of the Commons would be re-elected in the election for Cambridge University. The two men worked closely to secure electoral deals for their favoured candidates, with Turner suggesting burning incriminating evidence of their intervention.29 Sancroft also encouraged Anthony Sparrow, bishop of Norwich, in his intervention in Norfolk elections and was kept fully informed of the campaign and results.30 If Sancroft had indeed voted against the Test Act it might explain why, in February 1679, a piece of anti-Catholic propaganda identified him as one of York’s ‘12 disciples, as he calls them, [who] sit at the helm to steer [the king] as they please’. Some of the 12, such as Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough, were genuinely allied to York, but the credibility of the list is undermined by its inclusion of the committed Anglican, Lord Chancellor Finch.31

On 6 Mar. 1679 Sancroft attended the House for the first day of the new Parliament. He attended four sittings in the first week's abortive session and was named only to the sessional committees for privileges and petitions. He was present for the first day of business in the session proper on 15 Mar., where he attended nearly 90 per cent of sittings and was named to two select committees, one on the habeas corpus legislation. On 5 Apr. Peter Gunning, bishop of Ely, complained to the House that John Sidway or Sedway had libelled the bishops by alleging that he and Sancroft were two of four Anglican bishops who were about to convert to Catholicism. On 7 Apr. the Lords voted to commit Sidway to the Gatehouse prison but the division was carried by only four votes and nine prominent Whig peers made their distrust of the bishops explicit by entering a dissent.

Throughout April, Sancroft voted consistently against the attainder of Danby and he was present for the debate on 14 Apr. 1679 when Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, moved that bishops were not entitled to sit in capital cases. When the king reconstituted the Privy Council that month, Sancroft and Compton retained their seats there as representatives of the Church interest.32 On 10 May he voted in the House against the appointment of a joint committee of both Houses to consider the method to proceed against the impeached lords. He attended for the prorogation on 27 May before attending to preparations for parliamentary elections. The role of the bishops in the quarrel between the Houses over Danby’s impeachment explains why, on 14 June 1679, Thomas Lamplugh, bishop of Exeter, wrote to inform him that Members of the Commons returning to Exeter had ‘endeavoured to abuse the people with a belief that the bishops were the cause of the late prorogation of this Parliament’ and that Sancroft should publish a ‘vindication’. He also suggested that Sancroft’s ‘excellent’ conversion speech to the duke of York should be circulated to demonstrate the means used to restore him to the Church of England.33 For Sancroft and other supporters of the royal brothers the focus of the propaganda campaign against the Whigs was the need to emphasize the divine right by which the monarch held office. Sancroft, who collected a number of Filmer manuscripts, may have been involved in the decision to resurrect the writings of Sir Robert Filmer in 1679-80; he was certainly involved in promoting the publication of a new and corrected edition of Patriarcha in 1685. Edmund Bohun recorded that the basis of his edition was Filmer’s original manuscript which Sancroft had obtained from Filmer’s son.34

During the summer Sancroft continued to forge political alliances: Oliver St John, 2nd earl of Bolingbroke, became ‘a true servant’.35 The archbishop corresponded with Guy Carleton, now translated to Chichester, on the attempt to prevent the election of John Braman there, and with Sir William Temple about the Cambridge University elections.36 As in the previous election, Sancroft and Turner tried to manipulate college votes: Turner assured Sancroft that he would reveal only those parts of Sancroft’s letter ‘as might be safely indulged’ about the king’s recommendation of Temple.37 Sancroft’s political activities over the summer included vetting the apology (written by Laurence Womock, later bishop of St Davids) for the parliamentary voting rights of bishops.38

Sancroft attended the House repeatedly to hear the formal prorogations, whilst keeping his bishops in expectation of a ‘sudden journey’ to Parliament.39 During the Privy Council debates of October 1679 on the exile of the duke of York, Sancroft was one of 11 who voted for his remaining in England. On the 20th Sancroft received word from the exiled duke that he regarded the archbishop ‘with a most particular esteem and made the most vehement protestations ... of his equity and compassion for the Church of England, without which he declared it impossible for the monarchy to subsist one hour without declining’.40 Firmly identified with the anti-exclusionists, Sancroft continued to collect intelligence on the government’s religious and political opponents, and in June 1680 Sancroft gave testimony in chancery as to the king’s formal declaration about the legitimacy of James Scott, duke of Monmouth.41

Anticipation of the forthcoming Parliament was mixed: on 16 June 1680 Lamplugh informed Sancroft that ‘if you be ready for a new Parliament ... we are in a condition to send you good Members both in this county and Cornwall’.42 Sparrow, in contrast, seems to have feared an unwelcome parliamentary initiative on clerical taxation, declaring that the clergy could expect ‘but little kindness till we fall into a better temper’.43 Even the seemingly innocent matter of the epitaph for Isaac Barrow, the recently deceased bishop of St Asaph, was occasioning ‘a great noise … both by papists and presbyterians’ and required Sancroft’s approval.44 All the while Sancroft remained convinced of York’s good intentions towards the Church especially as York’s demeanour from his temporary exile in Scotland towards the Scottish Church served to enhance his credentials as a defender of the established Church despite his Catholicism.45

Some of Sancroft’s bishops demanded particular attention: William Gulston, bishop of Bristol, wanted to rid himself of oversight by the lord chancellor on clerical appointments; and Carleton had become so obstreperous in a dispute with his chancellor, Dr Thomas Briggs, that Sancroft’s ‘authority as metropolitan’ was ‘not so effectual as it might have been’.46 Even the loyal Sparrow started to criticize the king for being too soft on the ‘godly party’.47 In October 1680, in advance of Parliament, Sancroft was forewarned that a petition was about to be presented to the House about pluralism among the Irish bishops; the archbishop of Armagh wanted Sancroft to investigate while Ormond counselled a ‘watchful’ approach in case the petitioner was acting out of self-interest.48

On 21 Oct. 1680 Sancroft was present on the first day of the second Exclusion Parliament and subsequently attended 36 per cent of sittings. On 15 Nov. Sancroft voted to reject the Exclusion bill on its first reading. From Edinburgh the duke of York expressed his thanks to ‘all those in our House, that spake and voted for me’ and asking that Sancroft and the bishops be informed that ‘I never expected other from them than that they would be firm to the crown and put them in mind I have ever stuck to them, whatever my own opinion, and shall continue to do so’.49 On 24 Nov., together with William Lloyd, bishop of Peterborough and John Pearson, bishop of Chester, Sancroft was added to one select committee, on Protestant Dissenters. From this point a number of potentially significant absences started to appear in Sancroft’s attendance record. On 23 Nov. he missed the division on whether to appoint a joint committee with the Commons to consider the state of the kingdom. He also absented himself on 7 Dec. for the vote on the attainder of William Howard, Viscount Stafford, and on 7 Jan. 1681 for the vote on the committal of lord chief justice, Sir William Scroggs.

In February 1681 the prospect of a general election again provoked reams of correspondence between Lambeth and the provinces. With the new Parliament scheduled to assemble in Oxford Sancroft had to defuse academic irritation at Lincoln College that access to the university libraries would be hampered by the king’s presence.50 He was present in Oxford on 21 Mar. for the start of the Parliament and attended each of the sittings in the week long session. On 8 Apr., the Privy Council recorded the text of the king’s declaration on the dissolution explaining why he had dismissed the two last Parliaments which was to be read from all pulpits.51 Alongside the king’s insistence that he was determined to call frequent Parliaments was a promise ‘to use our utmost endeavours to extirpate popery.’ Sancroft was delighted, and perhaps also relieved. He told Compton that

to the great satisfaction and joy of us all … [the king had declared] … that all Papists and Popish Recusants throughout the realm be forthwith vigorously prosecuted and the laws of the land made against them effectually put in execution, to the end that by such wholesome severity (so seasonable and necessary at this time) they may by God’s blessing upon his Majesty’s pious intentions ... be either reduced into the bosom of the Church or driven out of the kingdom.52

He added an instruction that Compton forward a copy of this letter to every bishop of the province.

Tory reaction

In February 1681 Sancroft and Compton were appointed to the new commission for ecclesiastical promotions, which has been described by one historian as ‘the clerical counterpart of the quo warranto campaign and the revising of the peace commissions in the realm of secular government’.53 All ecclesiastical preferments were, in theory at least, to be subject to the ‘opinion and attestation’ of Sancroft and/or Compton.54 Theory and practice did not always match, as was demonstrated in the dispute over the appointment of a new dean of Norwich. Rebecca, countess of Yarmouth, urged Sancroft to press the king for a candidate who would not oppose her husband, Robert Paston, earl of Yarmouth. She insisted that all the contenders, including John Sharp, the future archbishop of York, were ‘not lovers of my Lord Yarmouth, nor the Bishop of Norwich, and it will not be for the King’s service nor the Church’s to prefer those that are engaged in parties that’s against both.’55 Compton and Sancroft also opposed Sharp’s appointment. Sharp was a reliable Tory and was favoured by the lord chancellor, Heneage Finch (now earl of Nottingham) but he was also supported by Yarmouth’s local enemy Sir John Hobart.56 Local politics apart, Sancroft also objected to Sharp because of his unwillingness to give up his living at St Giles.57 The appointment turned into something of a power struggle, pitting Sancroft and Compton against Nottingham and other powerful courtiers, including Laurence Hyde, Viscount Hyde (later earl of Rochester). Nottingham refused to compromise, with the result that Sharp was appointed in June. That same month York’s reliance on Sancroft as his ally at court was indicated by Turner who reported that the duke of York now

places his hopes altogether upon that interest we call the Church of England … the episcopal party ... your grace especially, wishing and desiring that your grace will take all opportunities of encouraging the king … to be steady in well-chosen resolutions, and ... how fatal at thing it would be now to trace back again the ground he has gained and how mighty safe to stick to his old friends.58

On 2 July 1681 Sancroft was one of the privy councillors who signed the arrest warrant for Shaftesbury.59 In August Sancroft, Charles North, 5th Baron North, and George Savile, marquess of Halifax, met at Whitehall to consider the laws in force against Dissenters.60 Over the summer Sancroft received reports from across his province. Lloyd of Peterborough reported to Sancroft that the dissolution had been a good influence on those ‘lately intoxicated with fear and fancies so that now they begin to return to their wits and their duties’. In contrast, Lamplugh complained that conventiclers were encouraged by the example of London Dissenters.61 Later that summer the king reiterated the importance of Sancroft and Compton’s role in the commission for ecclesiastical preferments but, perhaps in recognition of the recent dispute over Sharp’s appointment, added ‘referees’: Halifax, Viscount Hyde, Edward Seymour and John Robartes, earl of Radnor.

For the remainder of Charles II’s reign Sancroft maintained constant correspondence with his allies both in the Church and the laity, monitoring preferments, corporation disputes and the state of Dissent. In 1681 he sought information from the bishops of Exeter and Norwich on unsuccessful attempts to unite small parishes in their dioceses, possibly in the hope of achieving success elsewhere.62 In 1682 he sought information from Bishop Lloyd of Peterborough about the contents of the 1677 Act for better observation of the Lord’s day, and whether it required to be read in Church on Sunday.63 Such discussions were not always amicable. In 1682 he was involved in a tetchy exchange with Humphrey Lloyd, bishop of Bangor, over legislation to improve the revenue of the diocese.64 Lloyd was not the only recalcitrant bishop that he had to deal with; he was also involved in increasingly hostile recriminations against Thomas Wood, the absentee bishop of Lichfield.65

Sancroft’s position at court may still have been a difficult one. In December 1681 he found himself in another dispute with Nottingham, who had asked Sancroft in the king’s presence to bestow a fellowship at All Souls on a relative. Sancroft was deeply upset by the manner of the request and accused Nottingham of lacking ‘either affection or esteem’ for his person and position. For his part Nottingham apologized, but professed an inability to understand Sancroft’s complaint:

your grace for the most allowable reasons in the world refused it. Hath the king ever been moved in it again? Have any inconveniencies happened to your grace by this refusal? Do not all men acquiesce under it, for my part I do so much that if the place were in my donation I would not give it to him. Where then is the disrespect? My lord there is no living at court if we may not be allowed to be importunate for a relation even … when upon better reasons given we are content to be denied.66

Sancroft was prepared to take advantage of unscrupulous, even criminal, elements in the fight against whiggery, including the notorious London Hilton gang. According to the Quaker, George Whitehead, who visited Sancroft at Lambeth Palace to complain against perjured testimonies against Friends, the archbishop insisted that ‘there must be some crooked timber used in building a ship’.67

By 1682 purges of the provincial commissions of the peace were starting to bite and reports from the provinces indicated that Sancroft’s wishes over the persecution of Dissenters were at last being fulfilled.68 Sancroft was rewarded in March 1682 with a letter from the duke of York commending the Church’s tough actions and assuring him that if he outlived his brother, he would ratify and confirm the established religion.69 Actions against Dissenters went hand in hand with the quo warranto campaign. In October 1682 Sparrow informed Sancroft with delight that Norwich had been persuaded to surrender its charter to the king.70 The following month Sancroft ordered Compton to have all clergy return the names of non-attenders and continued to challenge what the Tories perceived as ‘a deep infection of Whiggism’ in the provinces.71 On 26 July 1683, after the discovery of the Rye House Plot, Sancroft was summoned to council half an hour before the meeting ‘to adjust the conclusion of the declaration’ about the plot so that it would be ready for the king on his arrival.72 Such was Sancroft’s perceived ‘interest in the king and duke’ at this time that Womock assumed that Sancroft could ‘easily procure a fiat’ for candidates of his own choice.73 The reality was rather different for in September, in the course of a discussion over filling a vacant deaconry in Norwich, Sancroft wrote that ‘how the votes [in the ecclesiastical commission] will go I know not’ and in any case the commission was disbanded later that month.74

By 1684 the need for disciplinary action against Wood of Lichfield became increasingly urgent. Since Wood had obtained his bishopric through the influence of the king’s mistress, Barbara, duchess of Cleveland, Sancroft was wary of acting without royal backing. He used Turner as an intermediary with York to discuss the situation who then followed York’s advice and presented the case to the king who spoke of Wood ‘with the utmost contempt’. Only when he was confident that Wood had been abandoned by the king did Sancroft suspend Wood in July 1684.75

Meanwhile the activities of Danby – released from the Tower in February 1684 – and his ambitions for a return to power preoccupied John Dolben, archbishop of York, who feared the consequences of an alliance between Danby and his Yorkshire neighbour, Halifax, and hoped that Sancroft ‘will have interest enough in him to keep him from falling into any design to the prejudice of the Church’. Sancroft supported the elevation of Turner, who had long been his eyes and ears at court, as bishop of Rochester in November 1683 and then of Ely in July 1684.76 It was Turner who summoned Sancroft to Charles II’s deathbed on 6 Feb. 1685.77

The reign of James II

Only a week before Charles II’s death the duke of York had written to William Douglas, 3rd marquess (later duke) of Queensberry [S], denying rumours that there were plans for a fresh indulgence to Dissenters, but confirming the intention to bestow ‘favours’ on loyal Catholics.78 By April, just two months after his accession as James II, rumours of an indulgence circulated again: ‘the Dissenters’ observed Lloyd of Peterborough ‘are very brisk and active presuming (as I conceive) upon his majesty’s gracious pardon and the hope they have of an indulgence at the next Parliament, some of them not sticking to say that the bishops’ domineering time is over .’ Matters were made still worse by the king’s insistence that excommunicates be bailed (contrary, Lloyd thought, to the relevant statute) and that there should be no process against recusants for fines, a policy that ‘will (at one blow) dash in pieces all that hath been done towards their reformation and amendment for these four years last past’. Lloyd urged Sancroft to move the king that pardons for those ‘that are under the censure of the Church’ be limited to those prepared to submit to the orders of the Church and pay their fees.79

The coronation, at which the king refused to take the Anglican communion, was accompanied by Tory successes in the general election.80 Senior bishops discussed tactics prior to the forthcoming Parliament. Compton initially suggested that the bishops should convene for a briefing from Sancroft. Lloyd of Peterborough persuaded him otherwise and instead both recommended that

your grace should let the bishops of your province (as they come occasionally to wait on you) know singularly as much of your mind in the point as your grace shall think meet to impart unto them … any kind of hint from your grace would make the bishops of your province entirely unanimous.81

Sancroft had already, on 12 Feb. 1685, been summoned to king’s bench in advance of the trial of Titus Oates on charges of perjury.82 Sancroft’s correspondence now reflected the disquiet felt by clergy and laity alike. Womock sought Sancroft’s advice about a cleric who, while praying for the king as defender of the faith, added a provocative ‘as yet’.83 Sancroft found himself under attack from within the Church. Samuel Parker, then archdeacon of Canterbury but shortly to be bishop of Oxford, implied that Sancroft was responsible for rumours of Parker’s conversion to Catholicism.84 He also accused Sancroft of having favoured Dissenters and the ‘Whiggish faction’ and went on to make a personal attack on Sancroft’s character:

beside all this, his grace has one unhappy quality, that when once he has taken disgust against any man, he is jealous of whatever he does, and takes all things by the wrong hand, so that it is ever after impossible to fasten any civility upon him. And though I have with all the acts of address and humility courted his favour, I could never receive any thing in requital but frowns and affronts. And then if I forbear unacceptable visits, that is turned into an accusation of neglect.85

On 19 May 1685 Sancroft attended the House of the first day of the new Parliament. He attended every sitting, was named to three select committees and to the sessional committees for privileges and for petitions. After the adjournment of 2 July 1685, William Lloyd, now bishop of Norwich, complained to Sancroft ‘how heavy and awkward everything moved in the last session, which related to the Church’.86 Five bills relating to the Church had been under discussion that session, and all had been successful except the perennially unsuccessful attempt to legislate for the easier collection of small tithes and other Church duties, had been successful, but Lloyd’s complaint perhaps referred to the fact that consideration of the bills had been pushed to the end of the session in late June.

After the collapse of the Monmouth rebellion, Sancroft was asked to produce a form of thanksgiving.87 Dolben proffered advice on the best course to be taken with the king, writing that ‘I see plainly that on all occasions your grace must do your business with the king privately. He will hear reason when he is not disturbed, and judge of it best alone.’88 Sancroft’s influence was still perceived to be useful and he was recommended by Christopher Monck, 2nd duke of Albemarle, as an appropriate ‘noble patron at court’ to act on behalf of the university of Cambridge during Albemarle’s absence.89

In August 1685 Samuel Parker attempted to resign his Canterbury prebend without first informing Sancroft of his intentions. The lord privy seal, Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, was appalled by such rudeness and refused to pass the warrant. Turner passed the news on to Sancroft, remarking on ‘how basely’ Sancroft was being treated by such ‘a worthless fellow’ and pointed out that

Your Grace has gained ground justly of late ... do not lose it all at once by enduring this insult. ’Tis worth your going on purpose to Windsor or Hampton Court. ... If the resignation were to the secretary of state (as I hear it was) I hope ’tis invalid. Or let it be valid and propose some worthy man for it … You are sure enough of the king who hates these insolent treatments of superior, much more of the supreme, who naturally hates a trick ... It will be of excellent use to turn this upon the trickers. Nay with your grace’s dextrous management you may take this opportunity to show your archdeacon in his colours and for ever perhaps spoil his aspiring projects. This would be mightily to our ease.90

Another cleric unpopular with the bishops was Thomas Cartwright, dean of Ripon, who was boasting that he was a candidate for the see of Chester. Dolben seems to have doubted Sancroft’s ability to block Cartwright’s promotion altogether but hoped that he would not be appointed to Chester for ‘surely (if he must be a bishop) it were better to place him where he may do less harm’.91

In September 1685 Sancroft lost an important political ally when Clarendon was moved to Ireland. By that time, divisions at court and consequent political uncertainties were more and more obvious. An increasingly prickly Sancroft, under attack from Parker, irritated with Jonathan Trelawny, newly appointed to the see of Bristol, for his delayed thanks for the bishopric, and fielding excuses from bishops who wished to absent themselves from the autumn assembly of Parliament, could not be unaware of the low morale amongst his clergy and the pressure he was under to sustain the Church.92 Dolben expressed gratitude for Sancroft’s ‘efforts’ with the king and agreed grudgingly to attend Parliament. Lloyd of Norwich also acceded ‘to that which I cannot avoid’ while William Thomas, bishop of Worcester, commended Church affairs in Parliament to Sancroft’s ‘sage and pious conduct’. John Lake, bishop of Chichester, another of Sancroft’s allies, declared he would not hurry to Westminster, assuming (mistakenly in the event) that ‘usually little [was] done in the first two or three days of the session’ and promising double diligence thereafter.93 On 7 Nov., just before Parliament met, Roger Morrice reported a rumour that had swept the town to the effect that Sancroft and Compton had been removed from the Council. The rumour was inaccurate but was nevertheless a telling indicator of Sancroft’s perceived standing at court. The king was already canvassing opinion amongst the bishops on the prospect of securing a repeal of the Test and had been disappointed at the scale of opposition. Even Dolben (who had opposed the 1678 Test Act) was not prepared to agree to repeal.94

Parliament assembled on 9 Nov. 1685 when the king’s speech demanded supply and confirmed his intention to retain Catholic officers in the army. The Lords returned its customary thanks, but the Commons postponed consideration of the speech and then entered into heated debates on its content. On 19 Nov. William Cavendish, 4th earl (later duke) of Devonshire, brought the heat into the Lords when he moved the House to consider the speech. Dolben tried unsuccessfully to oppose the motion on the grounds that it was not the order of business for the day.95 Sancroft was present but the various accounts of the subsequent debate make it clear that Compton was the only bishop to speak, ‘long, calmly and with great respect and deference to his majesty, yet very full and home’. Compton concluded by saying that he ‘spake the sense of the whole bench, at which they all rose up’.96 The king, who had been present during the debate, prorogued Parliament the following day. Sancroft’s Tory allies at court lost ground as did he. Perhaps as a result of the bishops’ opposition, the king began to treat Sancroft with greater hostility.

In an outspoken private letter written in January 1686, Gilbert Dolben (son of Dolben of York) railed against Sancroft’s leadership of the Church. Sancroft, he wrote ‘keeps so close within doors and spends so much time in counting his books and cutting his nails that we of this side of the water scarce think him to be alive, such an insignificant fool certainly never emptied that chair.’97 It was symptomatic of the declining influence of the leading bishops that in January 1686 William Penn reported that there was talk of quo warranto writs being issued not only against the universities but also against Compton, Dolben, Turner and Sancroft, even though he gave no credence to the rumours.98 That month Sancroft authorized a metropolitical visitation of Lincoln. Thomas Barlow, the elderly and infirm bishop of Lincoln, had been warned about his neglect of the diocese the previous year. On that occasion he had responded that the allegations against him had been made ‘not because I am a favourer of non-conformists, but because I am not … a favourer of papists’. When Barlow learned of the metropolitical visitation in March, he was appalled that he had been given no opportunity to defend himself and was being subjected to a measure that could only lead ‘to the scandal of our Church, and gratification of our adversaries’.99

Whether or not Barlow was correct in suggesting he had been singled out for political reasons, there was clearly a general unease amongst the clergy about the king’s intentions. Thomas White, bishop of Peterborough, who was to conduct the visitation, carefully asked ‘what enquiry should be made about [Roman] Catholics and whether his majesty will suffer them to be presented though the censures of the Church do not pass upon them’.100 Lloyd of Norwich quickly informed Sancroft (for fear it might be ‘oddly represented above’) of a sermon delivered locally that encouraged the congregation to distrust the king and suggested that England was ‘sailing to Rome’.101 On 5 Mar. as part of his propaganda offensive in favour of Catholicism the king ordered Sancroft and Dolben to direct their clergy and preachers not to meddle with matters of state but instead, amongst other matters, to ‘faithfully instruct the people in their bounden duty of subjection and obedience to their governors’. Where they found it necessary to assert the doctrine and discipline of the Church against ‘the cavils and objections’ of its opponents, they were to do so ‘without bitterness, railing or jeering or other unnecessary or unseemly provocation’.102 Robert Frampton, bishop of Gloucester, cannot have been the only bishop to ask just who was to pay for the distribution of the king’s instructions. His letter on the subject also reveals that Sancroft had been summoned by the king concerning a sermon delivered by Frampton at Whitehall. Frampton claimed to be at a loss to know what offence he had committed but admitted ‘That I spoke much to the honour of my dear mother, the Church of England, is very true and I shall never repent of it’. Further disquiet was caused by attempts to reinvestigate and discredit the Popish Plot.103 It also became clear that the king intended to create obstacles to the reception and settlement of French Protestant refugees. Sancroft’s letter to the clergy on the refugee crisis was carefully edited by the king and by lord chancellor George Jeffreys, shortly to be created Baron Jeffreys. The archbishop was castigated for varying from their draft and contributing to certain negative ‘reflections’.104 In May Compton railed at Sancroft about the king’s ‘insolent demand’ that he require Anglican conformity from refugees, expecting Sancroft to relay his complaints to the court.105

On 17 July 1686 the king declared in council that his exhortations for the prevention of indiscreet preaching having proved ineffectual, he had decided to create a commission for inspecting ecclesiastical affairs. That same day four prominent Catholic peers were added to the council.106 Historians have disagreed about the legality of the commission but a number of contemporary observers clearly had severe reservations.107 Roger Morrice noted that the commissioners had similar powers to those given by Henry VIII to Thomas Cromwell, earl of Essex and Evelyn thought ‘it was the whole power of vicar general’.108 Although named to the commission, Sancroft distanced himself from it, without actually refusing to serve. He petitioned the king to be excused from attending on the grounds of his great age, infirmities and the pressure of his archiepiscopal duties. Referring to the involvement of ‘so many great and able persons’ in the business of the commission, he asked that he be left to ‘better mind those things which belong to his single care, and have the more leisure, without distraction, as to bless God for this your royal indulgence, so also to pray continually for all the blessings of heaven to be showered down upon your royal person, family, and government.’109

When the commission met for the first time on 3 Aug. Sancroft was absent. He claimed to be indisposed but Cary Gardiner indicated that his absence was more likely to be strategic; ‘’tis believed’ she wrote, ‘he will not act because it infringes on his and the Church’s authority too much’. Roger Morrice also speculated whether his absence was due to ‘deliberate, or accidental reasons’.110 Sir Ralph Verney considered that his absence from the proceedings later that month against Compton for his refusal to suspend John Sharp, the dean of Norwich, gained Sancroft ‘immortal fame’, though he also feared that ‘it may be ill taken’.111 As Roger Morrice pointed out, Sancroft’s absence may have had unfortunate consequences since, had he appeared, those who scrupled at convicting Compton might have been a majority, though it was possible that at least two of the ‘scruplers’ were more concerned about what sentence should be given rather than about the conviction itself.112 In September Sancroft was appointed to the commission to officiate in London during Compton’s suspension. By that time he had been further marginalized by the king, who had announced the elevation of Parker to Oxford and Cartwright to Chester despite Sancroft’s opposition to both appointments.

Permitted a private audience with the king in early October 1686, Sancroft again pleaded for relief from attendance at the ecclesiastical commission ‘by reason of his great age and want of health’.113 His prevarication was scarcely convincing. It was rumoured that he would be dismissed from the Privy Council and although he was never formally expelled, it was generally believed that Sancroft had received a royal message informing him that he should stay away from court until summoned. Forced to consecrate Cartwright on 17 Oct. 1686, for fear of a praemunire if he failed to do so, Sancroft was so distracted that he tripped and fell during the ceremony, spilling the communion wine.114 In November he was ordered to release stocks of the Catholic publication, Devotions, which had been seized by the Stationers’ company.115

On 22 Nov. 1686 he had attended the House to hear of a further prorogation, giving the lie to his inability to leave Lambeth on health grounds. In mid-November he was replaced on the ecclesiastical commission by John Sheffield, 3rd earl of Mulgrave.116 Jeffreys explained to the assembled commissioners that the king had excused Sancroft ‘by reason of his age, infirmities, and other business’.117 Further opposition to the court’s catholicizing tendencies was evident in the disputed Charterhouse election of January 1687 over the nomination of a Catholic unable to take the requisite oaths. Opposition to the nomination was led by James Butler, duke of Ormond, and despite pressure from Jeffreys, the governors voted to reject the king’s candidate. The role of Sancroft, who was also a governor, is unclear. He was certainly present at the meeting and was anxious to procure a letter from the governors to the king explaining their actions, but Jeffreys and several other governors left immediately after the vote, leaving the assembly inquorate and unable to act.118

Sancroft’s credit with the clergy had risen considerably as a result of his actions relating to the ecclesiastical commission, mealy-mouthed though they were: ‘he lay very low in the opinion of his clergy – before as a very yielding, complying man but this has raised him very high in their esteem’.119 In what was presumably an attempt to curry favour, Sancroft started to bow to the altar in the king’s chapel, something he had not done during the previous reign.120 Nevertheless, his opposition to the repeal of the Test and the king’s religious policies remained firm, as all the parliamentary lists of this period confirm.

By early 1687 the political situation meant that it was becoming difficult to contemplate enforcing normal clerical discipline. Trelawny of Bristol warned Sancroft that he could not eject a clergyman from a living since it was in the gift of the corporation and the town clerk would take advantage of the situation to appoint a nominee of Father Petre ‘to gain popery an interest here’, adding that ‘this is not a time to make gaps for a busy enemy, who is too forward to force breaches where he has no invitation’. 121 The first Declaration of Indulgence of 4 Apr. caused consternation amongst the bishops. Lloyd of Norwich who ‘would not be singular’ cannot have been the only bishop who sought Sancroft’s advice for ‘what shall a country bishop do … who hath no lawyer to consult, the law requires the oaths, the toleration sets them aside’. He similarly sought advice about moves for an address of thanks to the king. Trelawny, too, was upset by the pressure for an address.122 In May, in accordance with the king’s earlier instructions concerning French refugees, Sancroft submitted to the king a draft parliamentary bill to license the worship in Aldersgate of French Protestants according to the Church of England liturgy, including what to the king might have been a provocative concession that allowed them to continue using their current form of service until a better translation of the Anglican book of common prayer had been approved by the archbishop of Canterbury.123 Rumours that had first appeared in January to the effect that Sancroft was himself about to be summoned to the ecclesiastical commission surfaced again in June 1687. He told Turner that in this eventuality he would send a proctor with a ready-drawn saving as to his rights as archbishop and peer. Turner, who also feared a summons, informed Sancroft that Nottingham insisted that appearance by a proctor was not possible; the commissioners were all privy councillors so had the right to insist on personal attendance.124 Sancroft seems still to have been trying to pursue a conciliatory path. In July he was in discussion with Barlow about the latter’s latest publication (probably A few plain reasons why a Protestant of the Church of England should not turn Roman Catholic) as a result of which Barlow offered to remove an argument about idolatry from the text in order to avoid giving offence.125

By September 1687, amidst continuing rumours of an impending alliance between England and France designed to defeat the Dutch, the Spanish reported that there was now ‘more tenacity’ than ever against the Catholic religion and that it came ‘from those who display most fidelity and submission to the king’.126 Perhaps sensing the moment, on 1 Oct. 1687 Princess Mary wrote an introductory letter to Sancroft, offering ‘any occasion to show the esteem and veneration’ she had for the archbishop.127 Sancroft drafted a reply the following month, claiming that she had ‘put new life into a dying old man’, but in autumn 1688 he apparently told her chaplain that he had never sent the letter: ‘for if I had written to her, they would have said that I had sent to invite them over’.128 That the chaplain informed him in January 1688 that the prince and princess had received Sancroft’s ‘humblest service’ suggests otherwise.129 Further communications to Sancroft told of Catholics ‘drinking confusion to all that will not consent to take off the penal laws … publicly and without any remorse’, the intrusion of Dissenters into urban corporations and alterations in commissions of the peace.130

The case of the Seven Bishops

On 4 May 1688 the king ordered the second Declaration of Indulgence to be read during divine service on 20 and 27 May in the London area and on 3 and 10 June in the provinces, and instructed the bishops to distribute copies of the declaration accordingly.131 The declaration and the order to read it upset clergy and laymen alike. Clarendon, who was on close terms with several of the bishops, particularly William Lloyd, of St Asaph (later of Lichfield and Coventry and of Worcester), compiled an extensive series of notes on the legality of the dispensing power.132 Within days of the king’s order, leading members of the London clergy, ‘in great perplexity’ about being forced to read the declaration, were meeting to discuss an address to the king. They were not being led by Sancroft; the only bishop known to have been involved in shaping their discussions was Turner of Ely, who hosted two of the meetings at his London house. On 11 May they resolved ‘that the bishops should be desired to address to the king, but not upon any address of ours to them. For we judged it best that they should lead the way, and we follow them’. Thomas Tenison, the high-profile vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields and future archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Patrick, rector of St Paul’s, Covent Garden, and later successively bishop of Chichester and Ely, and others canvassed all the ministers in London; on 17 May when the clergy met at a house in St Paul’s churchyard it became apparent that some 70 clergymen would refuse to read the declaration.133

At a meeting at Lambeth Palace on 18 May 1688, Sancroft and six other bishops (Turner, White, Trelawny, Lloyd, Lake and Thomas Ken, bishop of Bath and Wells) signed a petition to the king refusing to obey the order because the dispensing power ‘has been oft declared illegal in Parliament … and is a matter of so great moment and consequence to the whole nation both in Church and state that the petitioners cannot in prudence, honour and conscience so far make themselves parties to it’. Sancroft, who had so long tried to avoid any controversial political action, was effectively forced to sign the petition. The anger of the clergy whom he was supposed to lead left him with no choice but to take a course of action that was bound to enrage the king. The king was indeed incensed. He called the petitioners (bar Sancroft who not been at court for two years) before him, insisting that their actions tended to rebellion and that ‘God hath given me this dispensing power, and I will maintain it’.134 Presumably Sancroft hoped that peaceful opposition of this kind would force James II to re-evaluate his policies; it seems unlikely that he expected the king to carry matters to greater heights. Sancroft’s decision to sign the petition earned him considerable admiration. News of his action soon reached William and Mary and on 31 May William Stanley (Princess Mary’s chaplain, later dean of St Asaph) wrote that this had earned Sancroft their ‘hearty thanks’ for ‘so steadily maintaining the Church’. He was assured that, ‘your refusing to comply with the king is by no means looked on by them as tending to disparage or depress the monarchy; for they reckon the monarchy to be really undervalued and injured by all unreasonable and illegal actions’.135

In June 1688 Sancroft and his six colleagues were summoned to the Privy Council to answer a charge of misdemeanour.136 Compton had forewarned Sancroft that the ‘best intelligence’ suggested that all clerks to the Privy Council were to be made justices of the peace so that they could take the bishops’ recognisances. Preparations for the bishops’ appearance and research into the legal strategy that should be adopted seem to have been led by Turner of Ely, who reported that at a conference between the bishops and legal advisers ‘more instruction than from all the rest’ had been received from the former attorney general, Sir Roger Sawyer. Sancroft’s own notes of his speech followed Turner’s lead. If the king required it, they would restrict themselves to matters of fact. He was to insist that,

Whatever we did, we did it not out of any factious or seditious design, but out of a sense of our duty, both as prelates of the Church and peers of the realm, to lay before your majesty the obligation that lies upon us to preserve the laws of the land, and our religion according to the Reformation. And we should not have interposed herein, had not your majesty’s order for publishing the declaration in our churches made it necessary for us to apply to your majesty.137

On 8 June 1688, after prayers at Lambeth and a trip across the river in Sancroft’s barge, the bishops appeared before the Privy Council. As planned, Sancroft refused to incriminate himself, was accused by James of ‘chicanery’ and declined to enter a recognisance since it would ‘betray the privilege of the peerage’.138 The seven were committed to the Tower on a charge of seditious libel; only one of the privy councillors present, George Berkeley, earl of Berkeley, refused to sign the warrant for their custody.139 Even as stalwart a supporter of the king as Jeffreys was appalled at the decision. Jeffreys claimed that the king had decided to let the matter drop but had then changed his mind; he added that ‘some men would hurry the king to his destruction’.140

Compton worked to secure bail for each of the seven. Those who would stand for Sancroft were William Russell, 5th earl of Bedford, Danby and Thomas Belasyse, 2nd Viscount Fauconberg.141 On 15 June 1688 all seven bishops were brought to King’s Bench by means of a writ of habeas corpus where they pleaded privilege of peerage. Their plea was rejected, but they were bailed until their trial on 29 June; Sancroft’s surety was set at £200. The bishops’ defence team was led by Sawyer, but Sancroft’s own defence notes were prepared by Charles Hanses.142 The trial was (by the standards of the day) a lengthy one, lasting some nine hours, and the verdict was by no means a foregone conclusion. The jury deliberated all night and delivered their verdict for acquittal at 6 a.m. on the following day. The victorious bishops were advised that it would be appropriate to share some 150 to 200 guineas amongst the jury panel. It was apparently also customary to offer the jury a dinner but the bishops were advised against this, ‘lest our watchful enemies interpret our entertainment of the jury for a public exultation and a seditious meeting’.143 After the Revolution, the attorney general, Sir Thomas Powys, who led the prosecution, tried to excuse his actions to Sancroft, telling him that ‘acting in that unhappy prosecution was the most uneasy thing to me that ever in my life I was concerned in’.144

Revolution and its aftermath, 1688-91

In the aftermath of the trial, wary of court spies and the possibility of interceptions of his letters, Sancroft compiled lists of those who could be used as intermediaries in order to keep the correspondence between himself and the bishops of his province from the prying eyes of the government. Sancroft also instructed Compton and White to seek advice from the common lawyers as to methods ‘to obviate the invasion of our jurisdiction by the four vicars apostolical’ (the Catholic bishops of Adramite, Madaura, Aureliople and Callipoli, recently appointed to officiate in England).145 In advance of taking up their new duties they had advised the Catholic laity not only of the importance of passive obedience to the king ‘but also of an active and cheerful concurrence with him’.146 Sancroft assisted in drafting a response which amounted to a plea for Protestant unity in the face of the common Catholic enemy.147 In an attempt to entice Dissenters back into the Anglican Church he also constructed articles ‘to be more fully insisted upon by his bishops in their addresses to the clergy and people’. These exhorted the clergy to godly lives and diligence in caring for the spiritual health of their congregations whilst pleading with the gentry to maintain Anglican doctrine and practice, and take heed of all Catholic emissaries ‘lest those evening wolves devour them’. These articles may relate to wider proposals for a very limited comprehension that were under discussion in July 1688.148 When the articles were distributed Sancroft’s covering letter insisted that ‘the storm in which he is, does not frighten him ... but rather awakens him to do it with so much the more vigour ... both against the corruptions of the church of Rome ... and the unhappy differences that are among protestants on the other’.149 Promoting Protestant unity did not mean making anything other than the most minor of concessions to nonconformists. As he later informed his fellow nonjuror, William Lloyd (bishop of Norwich), he despised ‘Fifth Monarchy men, Romish priests and Jesuits, and Independent sectaries … three sorts of dangerous crafty knaves’.150

Both the clergy and laity began to rally round Sancroft. Even the hitherto politically quiescent Thomas Sprat, bishop of Rochester now refused to act in the ecclesiastical commission whilst Herbert Croft, bishop of Hereford was reduced to abject apologies for his decision to permit the reading of the Declaration and to insist ‘that I had not the least intention of any unkindness to my brethren in what I did’.151 With the threat of an invasion by William of Orange on the political horizon, on 22 Sept. 1688 Clarendon learned that James II intended to return to ‘his old friends’ including Sancroft and the bishops, Clarendon and Rochester and ‘to discourse with us upon the whole state of his affairs’.152 The king summoned the seven bishops and others to attend him on 28 Sept. when he made a speech about burying events in the past ‘in perpetual oblivion’ and promised to take off Compton’s suspension, but Sancroft was not there to hear it, claiming to be too ill to attend.153 On 3 Oct. (the day after he had had a private audience with the king) Sancroft and his bishops presented the king with a set of ten demands. They included wide-ranging reversals of all James’ religious and civil policies.154

On 10 Oct. 1688, John Evelyn warned Sancroft that the Jesuits at court had a secret agenda to divide the lords spiritual and temporal, and would attempt to persuade the archbishop to issue prayers terming the prince of Orange an ‘invader’, and were trying to exploit what they saw as an ambiguity in referring to the Church of England ‘as by law established’: Evelyn suggested he should ensure that he referred to the Church as the ‘Protestant’ or ‘Reformed’ Church of England.155 On 16 Oct. James indeed summoned Sancroft. He began their meeting by telling him of his decision to backtrack on his controversial policies and then demanded that the bishops meet and issue an ‘abhorrence’ of the prince of Orange’s intention to invade. Sancroft parried the request by insisting that the bishops had left town, making a meeting impossible; he was also convinced (or so he said) that no invasion was intended. The bishops had left town; according to one of Sancroft’s correspondents they had done so ‘to study their own security by a private recess’.156 At audiences with the king on 2 and (after the Dutch landing) on 6 Nov. 1688, Sancroft and several of his colleagues refused to sign a declaration denying that they had invited Orange to invade and insisted that the correct course was for the king to call a Parliament.157 In mid-November he subscribed the petition for a free Parliament and, in company with Lamplugh, archbishop elect of York, Turner of Ely and Sprat of Rochester, presented it to the king with a personal appeal to the king ‘to call a Parliament for the settling of the nation and preventing the effusion of blood’.158

In the confused situation that resulted from the Orange invasion Sancroft refused to attend the prince as long as James II was under restraint.159 On 11 Dec., after the king’s first flight, he attended the meeting of members of the Lords at Guildhall and signed the declaration calling on William to establish a free Parliament, but he did not reappear until 14 Dec. when news of the king’s capture and return raised hopes of substantive negotiations and the calling of Parliament.

Sancroft now effectively excluded himself from the political process. On 18 Dec. Lloyd of St Asaph (who had personal connections to the Dutch court) conveyed an invitation to the bishops to wait on the prince; several attended to offer thanks for ‘his great enterprise, for the redeeming of religion, liberty, laws’ but Sancroft was absent, preferring (according to Roger Morrice) to be ‘politically sick’.160 The same sickness prevented him from attending the Convention. Instead, with Turner’s assistance, he drafted a letter to the prince promising to serve him in attaining the ends of his declaration but beseeching him ‘still to adhere to the rule you have set yourself in it, to maintain our religion and our laws that we may be able to go along with you without any breach upon our oaths of allegiance’.161 Although the letter is undated, it probably resulted from one written by Turner to Sancroft on 11 Jan. 1689. In that letter Turner acted as the leader of those who would become known as nonjurors. Turner approached Sancroft about

proceeding in the designs of drawing up propositions of our doctrine against deposing, electing, or breaking the succession. And this scheme we humbly and earnestly beg of your grace to form and put into order for us. Without compliment, you grace is better versed than all of us together, in those repertories of canons and statutes whence these propositions should be taken. If you please, my lord, to cast your eye upon the enclosed paper of little hints from our oaths … The common law papers will furnish your grace with arguments of that kind. Could you grace finish this so as we might meet and settle it tomorrow and perfect something of a preface before it, or inferences upon it from my Lord of Bath and Wells’s draft; then we might communicate all this to some few of our ablest advisers, and have it ready if occasion require.162

Despite Turner’s approach, it was by no means clear that Sancroft was going to hold out against the new regime. Individuals still looked to him for patronage and Sir Robert Sawyer even looked to him for support in securing election to the Convention for Cambridge University.163 Later that January Robert Harley, the future earl of Oxford, learned that Sancroft had used Compton to assure William that he really was ill ‘and that he did and would in all things concur with what his brethren the bishops acted’ and had given his proxy to Compton.164 The proxy books do not indicate that such a proxy was ever registered. On 3 Jan. 1689 Clarendon and Tenison dined with Sancroft at Lambeth. Their motives were twofold: firstly, to persuade Sancroft to meet or at least send a message to the prince of Orange of whom Sancroft had ‘yet taken no notice at all’ and secondly to encourage him to take the initiative in preparing ‘something … in behalf of the Dissenters’ for the forthcoming Convention. Tenison made it clear that there was an expectation of such an offering since in their petition against publicizing the Declaration of Indulgence the seven bishops had nevertheless indicated a willingness to accept whatever was decided in Parliament and Convocation. Sancroft responded that

he knew well what was in their petition; and he believed every bishop in England intended to make it good, when there was an opportunity of debating those matters in convocation; but till then, or without a commission from the king, it was highly penal to enter upon church matters; but however he would have it in his mind, and would be willing to discourse any of the bishops or other clergy thereupon, if they came to him; though he believed the Dissenters would never agree among themselves with what concessions they would be satisfied.165

On 14 Jan. Simon Patrick met with a group of senior clergymen (all of whom would soon find preferment under the new regime) ‘to consult about such concessions as might bring in Dissenters to our communion’. Lloyd of St Asaph assured the gathering that he had Sancroft’s leave for such a meeting. The result was an agreement to prepare a bill ‘to be offered by the bishops’.166 Sometime during the same week Roger Morrice recorded that Sancroft and the bishops would not agree to altering the prayers (presumably those for the king and royal family) in the Book of Common Prayer. Compton had already directed his clergy to do so. Sancroft had refused the change because ‘there must be unity maintained’, yet when those London clergymen who had already made the change requested guidance, he told them not to ‘relent and recant’. The London clergy were left puzzled and confused, since the only way to maintain unity was either for them to recant or for the archbishop to sanction change.167

That Sancroft really had been reluctant to put pen to paper in the politically sensitive period leading up to the Revolution was evident when he received a visit from John Evelyn on 15 Jan. 1689. Only in person did Sancroft thank Evelyn for his warning letter of the previous October: ‘it came very seasonable’ and its warnings had been heeded. Evelyn and Sancroft discussed plans for a regency and the current state of public opinion with Clarendon, Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, John Paterson, archbishop of Glasgow, Sir George MacKenzie (who wanted Sancroft’s assistance to persuade William to maintain the episcopal settlement in Scotland) and a number of English bishops. Evelyn wrote that, ‘there was a Tory part ... who were for inviting his majesty again upon conditions, and there were republicarians, who would make the prince of Orange like a state-holder’. Sancroft and his fellow bishops were all for a regency ‘thereby to salve their oaths, and so all public matters to proceed in his majesty’s name, thereby to facilitate the calling of a Parliament according to the laws in being’.168 Yet Sancroft refused to enter any public discussion and made no attempt to attend the Convention, even after receiving a copy of the decision of the House of 25 Jan. that all absent members be required to attend.169 He was thus absent and unheard throughout the contentious debates over the use of the word ‘abdicated’ and the decision to declare William and Mary joint monarchs. His lack of support for the new regime did not equate to clandestine support for the old. When the exiled king sent a commission to Sancroft, Philip Stanhope, 2nd earl of Chesterfield, Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, and Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth, empowering them to be regents of the kingdom with instructions on how to deal with the City and provinces, all four of them agreed to burn it.170


On 1 Feb. 1689, the Commons resolved unanimously to thank those clergymen who had preached and written against Catholicism and who had opposed the dispensing power. Sancroft’s response (jointly with Lamplugh) reiterated the actions of the previous year as being consistent with duty ‘to God and our country’ as ‘true Englishmen, and true Protestants’.171 Sprat, now anxious to reinvent himself, contacted Sancroft with a request to return a number of his personal papers, claiming ignorance that Sancroft had judged the 1686 ecclesiastical commission to be illegal.172 The new king, determined to win Sancroft over, appointed him to the Privy Council; Sancroft did not attend.173 Instead he began to contemplate the mechanisms by which he might resign. On 26 Feb. 1689, the ecclesiastical lawyer, George Oxenden, provided a draft resignation letter with the caution that ‘if your Grace is resolved to proceed in this way, it should be first to make a resignation of the exercise of the power and jurisdiction … reserving to yourself the title, and in the same resignation to pray that it may be put into commissioners’ hands. And if that will not satisfy then your Grace may pursue the other way’.174

In an undated letter that must have been written in January or February 1689, Compton informed Sancroft of proposals for bills for comprehension and toleration, ‘two great works in which the being of our Church is concerned and I hope you will send to the House for copies’.175 The toleration bill was introduced to the House on 28 Feb.; the comprehension bill, which had been under discussion amongst the clergy since 11 Jan., was not introduced until 11 March.176 Sancroft still did not bestir himself to attend the House. On 2 Mar., Sancroft and the other absent lords were again summoned. According to Roger Morrice, Sancroft replied via Lamplugh that he was indisposed and ‘took no notice at all of the assembly as a Parliament, nor of the Speaker’.177

Edward Stillingfleet, the future bishop of Worcester, had hosted the initial meeting to discuss the comprehension bill. He told Nottingham that the bill (which, according to a speech made in 1710 by William Wake, successively bishop of Lincoln and archbishop of Canterbury, was based on Sancroft’s own proposals from 1688) should be remitted to another Parliament so that it could receive prior sanction by a Convocation ‘without which our clergy will hardly come into it’. In the meantime he advised the creation of a commission to include the two archbishops, several bishops, other senior clergy and some civilian lawyers, which should start work on a new book of canons and reforming the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts.178 Sancroft was named to the ensuing commission but refused to serve. According to Theophilus Hastings, 7th earl of Huntingdon, he declined because the court was ‘an umbrage to his jurisdiction’ since he was not made one of the quorum.179

As primate it was Sancroft’s duty to crown the new monarchs; accordingly on 21 Mar. 1689 a summons issued for his attendance at the coronation.180 Sancroft’s continuing absence from the House probably led to increasing fears that he would refuse to perform the ceremony and may explain why on 22 Mar. 1689 the Lords issued a further demand for his immediate attendance. He excused his absence explaining that ‘my great age and the many infirmities attending it, my having been so long confined home, and the more-than-usual inconveniencies which the late winter brought upon me have not left me in a condition to pass the river &c to attend the House’. There was no explicit refusal to acknowledge the authority of the Convention, but it was nevertheless implicit in his failure to fulfil the customary requirement for two witnesses to testify on oath to his illness, ‘indeed I cannot think fit to ask any one’.181 The Lords reserved consideration of his letter to the following sitting (25 March). The intention appears to have been to censure him, for the manuscript minutes include a note that has been struck through: ‘Let him know that his letter is not satisfactory’. William III then intervened; he told John Lovelace, 3rd Baron Lovelace, ‘not to be so severe upon the archbishop’ and no further action was taken.182

In the spring of 1689, despite cajoling by his fellow bishops and by Nottingham, Sancroft refused to consecrate Gilbert Burnet, as bishop of Salisbury, and was threatened with a praemunire. Further embarrassment was avoided when Dr George Oxenden wrote the citation, carefully wording it to use Sancroft’s name as little as possible and substituting his own name in the decretal.183 The actual consecration on 31 Mar. was then performed by Compton assisted by others under a commission, although as Burnet later pointed out the effect of the commission made it ‘as much his own act as if he himself had consecrated me’. When Sancroft learned that his actions in issuing the commission had displeased his nonjuring allies, he withdrew the commission and concealed it, leaving Burnet to face allegations that his consecration was uncanonical. After Sancroft’s death, he took legal action to recover it.184

Although summoned to attend the coronation on 11 Apr. 1689, Sancroft did not appear.185 His absence from the Convention meant that he took no part in the debates over the necessity of formulating new oaths of allegiance though his reluctance to renege on oaths already taken to James II was well known. Throughout the debates it seems that extra-parliamentary discussions were taking place between those sympathetic to the new regime and those, like Sancroft, who would become known as nonjurors. Burnet described one of the solutions proffered by the court and which he promoted: that the bishops who failed to take the oaths could effectively remain in office and delegate their authority to diocesan chancellors.186 The act as passed required the bishops and all those over the rank of baron to swear allegiance to the new monarchs by 1 Aug. 1689.187

Over the coming months Sancroft continued to entertain his fellow bishops, but before 9 May he had ‘left off dining publicly’, resolving to see his ‘sons’ privately.188 Perhaps this encouraged suspicions of clandestine activity; by June Carmarthen (as Danby had become) seems to have been avoiding Sancroft, though he excused himself on grounds of ‘such multiplicity of business as does scarce give me leisure to get my meals, or rest as I ought to do’.189 That month Sancroft’s diminishing authority was recognized by George Hickes, dean of Worcester, who lamented that it would not be within Sancroft’s power to appoint a successor to the recently deceased bishop of Worcester.190

On 1 Aug. 1689, in accordance with the act of Parliament, Sancroft should have been deprived; instead, like his fellow nonjurors, he was formally suspended and his diocesan authority transferred to the dean and chapter of Canterbury. On 22 Aug. the king sought Sancroft’s dispensation to enable Nicholas Stratford, bishop of Chester, to hold a commendam; that same month the king, presumably still hopeful of winning Sancroft over, told Halifax that he believed the archbishop to be ‘an honest man at the bottom’.191 During the month (the registered copy is dated 29 Aug.), a mandate empowering them to consecrate bishops during the vacancy was issued to William III’s allies within the Church, Compton and Lloyd of St Asaph, by the dean (John Tillotson, who would ultimately succeed Sancroft as archbishop) and chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.192 John Lake was undoubtedly at one with Sancroft when he counselled him to take care and not risk upsetting the authorities.193

Throughout the autumn of 1689, the nonjurors benefitted from a general reluctance to risk the negative political consequences of creating a schism in the Anglican Church by enforcing deprivation. John Ince, who had been involved in the defence of the seven bishops, was involved in attempting to broker a compromise. The nonjurors were to give a recognizance for good behaviour and in return would be allowed a portion of their revenues. Lloyd of Norwich was deeply suspicious of the proposal and its possible ‘luring and consequential snares’. He advised Sancroft that the nonjurors should stand apart from the proposal leaving its management to their friends until they knew ‘what temper the gent[lemen] are that meet at St Stephen’s Chapel’. Even if Parliament were to be sympathetic he feared that the definition of just what constituted good and peaceable behaviour depended too much on the mercy of the judges (and by implication, on the goodwill of the king).194

Compton now replaced Sancroft as president of Convocation.195 Pressure on the nonjurors was intensified in October 1689 when Lloyd of St Asaph told Sancroft that it was generally reckoned that deprivation would take place in mid-January 1690.196 In what seems to have become an elaborate game of bluff and counter bluff, Roger Morrice observed that the nonjurors now intended to hold their temporalities ‘and begin to read prayers and preach again, and not be outed but by trials at law, and conclude they cannot be outed but by an ecclesiastical deprivation, which they think none dare pronounce against them’.197 Concern about the negative impact of deprivation seems to have been behind Burnet’s involvement in proposals for a fresh act of Parliament that would allow the bishops to be excused from taking the oaths, ‘But they would give no answer; only they said they would live quietly, that is, keep themselves close, till a proper time should encourage them to act more openly’.198 Early in 1690 Compton, William Lloyd of St Asaph and Nottingham opened fruitless negotiations with the suspended bishops.199 Sancroft was finally deprived at the start of February 1690.

Although he became increasingly detached from public affairs, in mid February 1690 it became known that he was again dining ‘publicly’.200 With the government still reluctant to confront the issue of the nonjuring bishops head on, the now vacant sees went unfilled for a further year, but in January 1691 the discovery of Turner’s involvement in the Preston Plot (named after Richard Grahme, Vicount Preston [S]) and his protestations to the exiled king of the continuing support of his fellow bishops stiffened government resolve to replace them, as well as providing a wave of political support to do so. Bishops Compton and Lloyd of St Asaph together with the Tory leaders Carmarthen and Nottingham ‘vehemently pressed the filling up the vacant bishoprics and other livings’. In February, as the propaganda war identifying the nonjurors with Jacobitism increased in intensity, Sancroft acted on the advice of Lloyd of Norwich and authorized the publication of a vindication of the bishops from accusations of treasonable activity.201 It was by then a losing battle; in April he learned that the episcopal vacancies were at last to be filled. It was, however, symptomatic of his continuing authority within the Church that one of those nominated, William Beveridge, who would eventually become bishop of St Asaph, came to him to discuss his proposed elevation and was dissuaded from accepting it.202 Yet even at this late stage the government was still making conciliatory overtures. This time it was Charles Bertie (son of Montague Bertie, 2nd earl of Lindsey) who tried to negotiate in or about the end of April 1691, bringing ‘feigned words’ from his ‘great brother-in-law [Carmarthen] who is so well versed and deeply engaged in the intrigues of the court’. White of Peterborough reported Carmarthen’s demands: ‘The sum was, that the great lord was of opinion, that we might have some part of our revenues allowed us, if we would declare etc. and that he wondered at our obstinacy that we had hitherto refused to do so necessary a thing’. Once again the nonjuring bishops were offered the possibility of receiving part of their revenues if only they would distance themselves from Turner and the Preston Plot. Once again Sancroft refused to respond,

I see no reason why we should declare anything concerning a surmise which is so far from affecting us, that ’tis not as yet legally proved upon the bishop of Ely so that should we fall a declaring, and purging ourselves, before we are charged in form, men and angels will hardly be able to pen anything, that will not be liable to a hundred cavils, and in time prove a snare to us and secondly as to the regaining any of our revenues, ’tis spes improba, to expect it can ever be; and to be sure, not without petitioning which will be another great snare; and at last be peremptorily denied (which nobody I think is in love with) or clogged with some cursed condition which will leave us in worse condition that we were in before we stirred in it; not to conceal, what the bishop told me (I think from the same gent) that our revenues are already issued out of the exchequer into the privy purse.203

He went on to express his contempt for Compton, who still visited Lambeth: ‘so kind, and debonair, and so obliging, that it would have pleased you to observe it’. In May 1691 he reiterated his belief that a strategy of inaction was the correct course to follow, for ‘in boisterous times moderate and prudent counsels (still keeping innocency, and within our duty) are best’. He continued to be obstructive. Thomas Tanner, bishop of St Asaph and one of Nottingham’s under clerks both asked him to vacate Lambeth Palace ‘in the name of the great woman’ (Queen Mary) in readiness for the consecration of John Tillotson as his replacement, but Sancroft insisted that it was too short notice and ‘that they might, if they thought good turn me into the street by force’.204 He was still in residence when Tillotson was consecrated at Bow church on 31 May, staging his own rhetorical flourish by celebrating communion at Lambeth Palace where 60 people crammed into the chapel to receive the sacrament.205 The attorney general was forced to prepare a legal suit to force him to leave. Sancroft did not defend it and vacated Lambeth voluntarily in June, but it was still thought expedient to enforce the judgment against him in order to deter other nonjurors from similar actions. Sancroft’s nephew who was left in possession, ultimately faced a fine of 300 marks for his action.206

By August 1691 Sancroft was safely ensconced in Suffolk, where ‘if there be any spies upon me, they shall find that I resolve to live as private, and retired, as they can desire or I contrive; that kind of life being more agreeable to my inclinations and designs, than it can be to theirs. There is nothing I regret the loss of, but Lambeth chapel, and the company of a few friends’. He did, however, resent any sign of compliance from fellow nonjurors. Frampton’s acceptance of a vicarage was interpreted as an example to ‘convince us who have not been so supple, that if we could have persuaded ourselves to have done 100 mean things ... we too might at last have had a feather of our own goose, restored, to stick in our caps’.207 Within his own household, he was so strict about the issue of the oaths that he would not even allow his chaplain to say grace.208

Suspicions of active Jacobitism naturally continued. In 1692 Sancroft was implicated in the fictitious Flowerpot Plot, because his signature appeared on one of the forged documents. According to Sprat, the signature was ‘so well counterfeited, that I believe it would have puzzled your chaplain to distinguish’209 Despite his long-standing refusal to give the government any assurances of his allegiance, Sancroft was incensed at his treatment,

we are daily oppressed in our consciences, in our property, and in our liberty, contrary to our old laws, and even their own too; while papists, Quakers, Arians and heretics of all sorts are free. When a bloody rabble were (in print) encouraged to tear us to pieces, there was no more notice taken of it than if the country-people had been getting together to despatch a wolf, or a mad dog … and now a new, and a baser project is taken up (and some think encouraged too) of destroying us by forgery, and perjury, and formality of mock-justice; these diabolical artificers … [the forgers] … are so far from being discouraged that ... they may be said to be protected rather than we.210

On 26 Aug. 1693 he fell ill. Determined never to communicate with the juring clergy, he received absolution and communion from one nonjuror and appointed another to perform his burial service. He died on 23 Nov.; in his final moments he prayed for the restoration of James II and the Stuart line.211

Although he had drafted a will earlier in the year, leaving his personal estate to his nephews, Francis and William Sancroft, Sancroft died intestate, apparently because even in death he did not wish to recognize the authority of his successor.212 His annual income as archbishop had amounted to more than £6,000 and he had clearly been able to amass considerable wealth.213 He had already donated his vast library (worth £3,000) to his old college, Emmanuel, and established a trust in 1672 for the maintenance of a vicar, schoolmaster and parish clerk for his native Fressingfield.214 The bulk of his manuscript collection, now in the Bodleian Library, was purchased by Thomas Tanner from Sancroft’s nephew. Sancroft was buried in the churchyard at Fressingfield; he composed his own monumental inscription which affirmed his ‘great zeal and affection’ for James II.215

Shortly after his death a hagiographical account of his life appeared in which he was described as one who had retained ‘integrity of conscience undefiled to the grave’, and elevated to virtual martyr status. An extensive early nineteenth century biography similarly cast him in a heroic mould. Both saw him as an effective leader of a church in crisis, despite leading it into schism.216 Recently, he has been cast by one biographer in a more political mould and by another as a retiring cleric, an observer and survivor of two political revolutions.217

The actions that led to the Seven Bishops’ case gave him a lasting reputation for bravely standing up to tyranny, yet it is clear that those actions were not his own free choice but were forced upon him by others. His motivation – other than to preserve the Church – and his strategies (if indeed he had any) remain opaque, especially as he was so reluctant to explain himself. In the process of rebutting an approach by a Jacobite agent in 1691, he insisted that he had ‘for many years a great aversion from writing of letters’, citing the interception of Turner’s letter to the exiled king as evidence that even the safest of conveyances could not be trusted. In August 1688 Croft of Hereford had described Sancroft as ‘a very close and wary person’. Sancroft had good reason to be close and wary, especially after the Revolution when he believed (almost certainly accurately) that he was dogged by ‘eyes and spies’. 218 It is clear that whilst Sancroft was an excellent administrator and could inspire great devotion from some (though not all) of his clergy, he was, even at the best of times, ill-equipped to deal with politics and politicians. Throughout his career he strove to avoid controversy and confrontation. The result was that he was unable to respond to the challenges that faced the Church and was totally unfitted for a leadership role, and especially for leadership of a beleaguered Church in troubled times.


  • 1 Bodl. Tanner 114, f. 89.
  • 2 TNA, PROB 44/7.
  • 3 Tanner 282, f. 81.
  • 4 T. Wagstaffe, Letter out of Suffolk, 21; Harl. 3783, ff. 236, 238, 241.
  • 5 Harl. 3783, f. 149.
  • 6 Bodl. Rawl. Letters 23, f. 67; Tanner 114, f.89; Harl. 3784, f. 29.
  • 7 Harl. 3784, f. 34.
  • 8 Tanner 49, f. 36; W. Sancroft, Sermon Preached in St Peters Westminster, on the First Sunday in Advent (1660).
  • 9 Harl. 3784, ff. 71, 77; D’Oyly, Life of Sancroft (1840), 69-71.
  • 10 Cosin Corresp. ii. 25-26; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 461; CSP Dom. Add. 1660-85, p. 96; Tanner 150, f. 52; CSP Dom. Addenda 1660-70, pp. 522-3; Evelyn Diary, i. 371.
  • 11 D’Oyly, Sancroft, 90-1; LJ, xii. 351.
  • 12 CSP Dom. 1670, p. 522.
  • 13 Tanner 45, f. 6.
  • 14 Tanner 150, f. 119; Tanner 44, f. 161; HMC Le Fleming, 59.
  • 15 Tanner 40, f. 113.
  • 16 Ibid.; Diary of Dr Edward Lake (Cam. Misc. i) 18-19; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 38; Verney, ms mic. M636/30, W. Denton to R. Verney, 15, 21 Nov. and 27 Dec. 1677; HMC 12th Rep. v. 42.
  • 17 Tanner 40, ff. 130, 166.
  • 18 Ibid. 447, f. 24.
  • 19 Ibid. 146, f. 39.
  • 20 Ibid. 129, ff. 11, 135, 136, 140, 144.
  • 21 Tanner 39, ff. 93, 108; Tanner 129, f. 82; Tanner 314, f. 53.
  • 22 PC 2/66, 389-432.
  • 23 W. Sancroft, Sermon Preach’d to the House of Peers, Nov. 13th, 1678, (1678).
  • 24 Bodl. ms Eng. lett. c. 210, f. 243.
  • 25 Verney ms mic. M636/32, W. Denton to R. Verney, 18 Nov. 1678; HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 473; Evelyn Diary, iv. 159.
  • 26 CSP Dom. 1678, pp. 556-7.
  • 27 Ibid. 1679-80, p. 14.
  • 28 Tanner 39, ff. 178, 184; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 465-71.
  • 29 HP Commons 1660-90, i. 149; Tanner 39, f. 171.
  • 30 Tanner 38, f. 121; Tanner 39, ff. 174, 179.
  • 31 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 68.
  • 32 HMC Ormonde n.s. v. 55.
  • 33 Tanner 38, f. 45.
  • 34 The Library ser. 5 xxvi. 143; Bohun Diary ed. Wilton Rix, 67.
  • 35 Tanner 38, f. 54.
  • 36 Tanner 38, f. 57; Tanner 149, f. 139.
  • 37 Tanner 38, f. 64.
  • 38 Ibid. f. 82; L. Womock, Two Treatises (1680).
  • 39 Tanner 38, ff. 92, 111.
  • 40 Ibid. 38, f. 148.
  • 41 Ibid. 37, ff. 42, 44; CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 505.
  • 42 Tanner 37, f. 47.
  • 43 Ibid. 37, f. 48.
  • 44 Ibid. 146, f. 43.
  • 45 Ibid. 35, ff. 213-14.
  • 46 Tanner 37, f. 82; Tanner 148, ff. 50, 51, 53; Tanner 149, ff. 45-6.
  • 47 Tanner 37, f. 114.
  • 48 Ibid. ff. 155-6, 158-9.
  • 49 Bodl. Clarendon 87, f. 331.
  • 50 Tanner 37, f. 257.
  • 51 PC 2/69, ff. 260-3.
  • 52 Tanner 282, f. 80.
  • 53 HJ, x. 39.
  • 54 LPL, ms 943, f. 831; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 313.
  • 55 Tanner 134, f. 16.
  • 56 Ibid. 36, ff. 35, 39.
  • 57 Ibid. 36, f. 52.
  • 58 Ibid. 36, ff. 31-32.
  • 59 PC 2/69, p. 315.
  • 60 Verney, ms mic. M636/35, J. Verney to R. Verney, 25 Aug. 1681.
  • 61 Tanner 36, ff. 33, 62.
  • 62 Tanner 36, f. 100; Tanner 141, ff. 123, 133.
  • 63 Tanner 35, f. 72.
  • 64 Tanner 146, ff. 84, 89, 99, 106.
  • 65 Ibid. 36, ff. 76, 84, 190b; Tanner 131, ff. 60, 70.
  • 66 Tanner 36, f. 184.
  • 67 G. Whitehead, Christian Progress (1725), 500; Politics and the Political Imagination in Later Stuart Britain ed. H. Nenner, 43, 56, 68.
  • 68 Tanner 36, ff. 9, 214, 218, 223.
  • 69 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 311.
  • 70 Tanner 35, f. 107.
  • 71 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 335; Tanner 32, f. 15.
  • 72 Tanner 34, f. 95.
  • 73 Ibid. f. 93.
  • 74 Ibid. f. 144.
  • 75 Tanner 32, f. 97; Tanner 131, f. 116.
  • 76 BTanner 32, ff. 124, 203.
  • 77 Ibid. f. 212.
  • 78 HMC Buccleuch, i. 214-15.
  • 79 Tanner 31, f. 19.
  • 80 HP Commons 1660-1690, ii. 118-19.
  • 81 Tanner 31, f. 52.
  • 82 Ibid. 32, f. 220; Verney, ms mic. M636/41, J. to Sir R. Verney, 8 May 1685.
  • 83 Tanner 31, f. 123.
  • 84 Ibid. ff. 113.
  • 85 Ibid. ff. 166-74.
  • 86 Ibid. f. 129.
  • 87 Ibid. f. 144.
  • 88 Ibid. f. 150.
  • 89 Tanner 158, ff. 59, 79.
  • 90 Tanner 31, ff. 176-7.
  • 91 Ibid. f. 178.
  • 92 Ibid. ff. 207, 209, 217.
  • 93 Tanner 31, f. 223, 228, 232; Tanner 138, f. 36.
  • 94 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 51-52.
  • 95 Add. 70013, f. 290; Add. 19253, f. 146; Halifax Letters, i. 458-9.
  • 96 Bramston Autobiog. 216-17.
  • 97 Tanner 31, f. 123.
  • 98 HMC Downshire, i. 100.
  • 99 Barlow, Genuine Remains, 255-7; Tanner 30, ff. 29, 131; Tanner 31, ff. 265, 286.
  • 100 Tanner 31, f. 289.
  • 101 Ibid. ff. 246, 249.
  • 102 CSP Dom. 1686-7, pp. 55-57.
  • 103 Tanner 30, ff. 7, 24; Glos. Archives, D3549/2/2/1, no. 79.
  • 104 EHR, xcii. 820-33.
  • 105 Tanner 92, f. 120; TNA, SP/44/57, p. 125; Tanner 30, f. 53; Verney, ms mic. M636/41, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 11 Aug. 1686.
  • 106 PC 2/71, p. 300; CSP Dom. 1686-7, pp. 202; Tanner 460, f. 22; HMC Downshire, i. 197.
  • 107 Miller, James II, 155; HJ, xxxiv. 729; Ellis, Corresp. i. 147.
  • 108 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 180; Evelyn Diary, iv. 519.
  • 109 HMC Downshire, i. 203; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 477.
  • 110 Verney, ms mic. M636/41, Sir R. Verney to H. Paman, 15 Aug. 1686; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 214.
  • 111 Verney, ms mic. M636/41, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 11 Aug. 1686.
  • 112 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 247.
  • 113 Tanner 30, f. 123; CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 282.
  • 114 Cartwright Diary, 6; Burnet, ii. 398-9.
  • 115 CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 303.
  • 116 Ibid. 305.
  • 117 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 319.
  • 118 Relation of the Proceedings at Charter-House, (1689), 4, Morrice, iii. 346.
  • 119 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 301.
  • 120 Ibid. iv. 12.
  • 121 Tanner 29, f. 147.
  • 122 Ibid. ff. 8, 21, 42, 75.
  • 123 CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 434.
  • 124 Tanner 29, f. 34.
  • 125 Ibid. f. 47.
  • 126 Add. 34502, ff. 124-5.
  • 127 J. Gutch, Collectanea Curiosa, i. 299-306; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 484-5.
  • 128 Tanner 29, f. 111; Gutch, i. 300-2; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 485.
  • 129 Gutch, i. 302-6.
  • 130 Tanner 29, ff. 133, 135.
  • 131 PC 2/72, p. 661.
  • 132 Gutch, i. 309-25.
  • 133 S. Patrick, Works, ix. 509-11.
  • 134 Gutch, i. 329-40; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 172; LPL, ms 4696, f. 10.
  • 135 Gutch, i. 307-8.
  • 136 PC 2/72, p. 682.
  • 137 Gutch, i. 344-6.
  • 138 LPL, ms 3894, f. 45.
  • 139 PC 2/72, p. 682.
  • 140 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 177, 179.
  • 141 Gutch, i. 355-7.
  • 142 Tanner 28, f. 97; Gutch, i. 363-69; HP Commons 1660-1690, ii. 477.
  • 143 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 179; Gutch, i. 374-5.
  • 144 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 507.
  • 145 Gutch, i. 384-5.
  • 146 Pastoral Letter to the Lay Catholics of England (1688), 6.
  • 147 Gutch, i. 384-5, 397-403; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 180.
  • 148 Ellis Corresp. ii. 63; G. Every, High Church Party 1688-1718, pp. 22-24, 41-42.
  • 149 Gutch, i. 386-90.
  • 150 LPL, ms 3894, f. 51.
  • 151 Add. 28876, f. 146; NLW, Ottley Corresp. 1723.
  • 152 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 188.
  • 153 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 314-5.
  • 154 Gutch, i. 405-13.
  • 155 Gutch, i. 414-16.
  • 156 Gutch, i. 422-24; Tanner 28, f. 218.
  • 157 Tanner 28, f. 224; Gutch, i. 426-30; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 330-1.
  • 158 NLS, ms 7011, f. 126; HMC Hastings, ii. 192.
  • 159 Life of James II, ii. 268-9.
  • 160 Tanner 28, f. 287; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 421.
  • 161 Tanner 28, f. 319b.
  • 162 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 507.
  • 163 Tanner 28, f.316.
  • 164 HMC Portland, iii. 422.
  • 165 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 240.
  • 166 Patrick, ix. 516-17.
  • 167 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 477.
  • 168 Evelyn Diary, iv. 613-15.
  • 169 Tanner 28, f. 332, 365.
  • 170 Add. 19253, f. 191v.
  • 171 CJ, x. 16; Gutch, i. 446-8, ii. 510.
  • 172 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 510-11.
  • 173 NAS, GD 157/2681/40; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 531, v. 2.
  • 174 Tanner 28, f. 362.
  • 175 Ibid. 27, f. 50.
  • 176 Patrick, ix. 516-17.
  • 177 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 63, 65.
  • 178 State Trials, xv. 504-5; HMC Finch, ii. 194.
  • 179 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 175, 220; HMC Hastings, iv. 355.
  • 180 Tanner 28, f. 378.
  • 181 Ibid. f. 366.
  • 182 HMC Lords ii. 39; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 67.
  • 183 Tanner 27, f. 3.
  • 184 Burnet, Some Reflections upon … some discourses [1696], pp. 22-25.
  • 185 Tanner 28, f. 378.
  • 186 Burnet, Some Reflections, pp. 26-28.
  • 187 1 Will. & Mary c. 8.
  • 188 Tanner 27, ff. 24, 26, 32.
  • 189 Ibid. f. 36.
  • 190 Ibid. ff. 40, 61.
  • 191 CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 227; Chatsworth, Devonshire House Notebook, section A, f. 3.
  • 192 Canterbury Cathedral Archives: CCA-DCc-ChAnt/S/436-8.
  • 193 Tanner 27, f. 72.
  • 194 Tanner 27, f. 92.
  • 195 CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 332; HMC Downshire, i. 322.
  • 196 Tanner 27, f. 101.
  • 197 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 303.
  • 198 Burnet, iv. 128.
  • 199 Rawl. Letters 78, ff. 93-94.
  • 200 Tanner 27, f. 121.
  • 201 Modest Enquiry into the Causes of the Present Disasters (1690); Vindication of the Archbishop and Several other Bishops (1690); Tanner 27, ff. 239, 245-6.
  • 202 Tanner 26, f. 82; LPL, ms 3894, ff. 11, 13.
  • 203 Tanner 26, f. 81.
  • 204 LPL, ms 3894, ff. 17, 21.
  • 205 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 238.
  • 206 HMC Finch, iii. 64, 69, 99, 129; Ranke, History of England, vi. 171-2.
  • 207 Tanner 26, f. 57; LPL, ms 3894, f. 27.
  • 208 LPL, ms 3894, f. 35.
  • 209 HMC Finch, iv. 230-1; LPL, ms 4696, ff. 6-7v.
  • 210 LPL, ms 3894, f. 61.
  • 211 Wagstaffe, 29-30, 34-37.
  • 212 Tanner 25, f. 313.
  • 213 Gregory, Restoration, Reformation and Reform, 113.
  • 214 HMC Hastings, ii. 232; Suff. RO, Ipswich, FC 90/L2/1-2.
  • 215 Tanner 25, f. 105.
  • 216 Wagstaffe, passim; G. D’Oyly, Life of William Sancroft.
  • 217 ODNB; P. Collinson, From Cranmer to Sancroft.
  • 218 LPL, ms 4696, f. 4; NLW, Ottley corresp. 1723.