TENISON, Thomas (1636-1715)

TENISON, Thomas (1636–1715)

cons. 10 Jan. 1692 bp. of LINCOLN; transl. 16 Jan. 1695 abp. of CANTERBURY

First sat 1 Feb. 1692; last sat 5 Aug. 1714

b. 29 Sept. 1636, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Tenison (1599-1671), rect. Topcroft, Norf.,1 and Mercy, da. of Thomas Dowsing of Cottenham. educ. Norwich Free Sch.; Corpus Christi, Camb. matric. 1653, BA 1657, MA 1660, ord. 1660,2 fell. 1662, BD 1667, DD 1680; incorp. Oxf. 1664. m. Dec. 1667, Anne (d.1714), da. of Richard Love DD, master of Corpus Christi, Camb. and chap. to Charles I. d.s.p. d. 14 Dec. 1715; will 11 Apr. 1715-2 Dec. 1715, pr. 23 Jan. 1716.3

Chap. to Charles II 1676-85, to James II 1685-88, to William and Mary 1688-91.

Chap. to Edward Montagu, 2nd earl of Manchester, c.1660; rect. Bracon Ash, Norf. 1660-2, Holywell, Hunts. 1667-81, St Martin-in-the-Fields, London 1680-92, St James Piccadilly 1686-92; cur. St Andrew-the-Great, Cambridge 1662-7;4 minister St Peter Mancroft, Norwich 1671-8; adn. London 1689-91.

PC 1695-1715; lord justice 1695-1702, 1714.

Commr. Irish Church 1690,5 ecclesiastical preferments 1695, 1699,6 Greenwich Hospital 1695, 1703,7 completion of St Paul’s 1702,8 Anglo-Scottish union 1702,9 50 new churches 1711-d.;10 founder mbr. and pres. SPG 1701;11 gov. Charterhouse 1695.12

Likenesses: engraving by P. Vanderbanck, after M. Beale, 1695, NPG D20240.

Early career up to the Revolution

Tenison was born in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, where his father was curate from 1624 to 1640. His father, a royalist, was ejected from his rectory of Mundesley but seems to have remained as rector of Topcroft from 1641 continuously until 1670, and was not mentioned by John Walker in his Sufferings of the Clergy. After obtaining a BA at Cambridge, Tenison himself was ordained in secret by Brian Duppa, bishop of Winchester, during the Interregnum, although he had initially studied medicine. At around the time of the Restoration, he became a chaplain of the Presbyterian earl of Manchester. As curate of a large Cambridge parish, Tenison earned popularity by continuing his ministry throughout the plague; he was later noted as paying assiduous attention to the pastoral needs of his London flock.13 In 1667 Manchester secured for him the rectory of a Huntingdonshire parish, but it was his growing reputation (and perhaps a family connection to the prominent Sir Thomas Browne) that earned him the busy and influential parish of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich. Publishing Anglican apologetics and anti-Catholic polemic throughout the 1670s, he enhanced his reputation further with Of Idolatry (1678). He had already become a royal chaplain and preached at court in 1676.14

During the Exclusion Crisis, Tenison was recommended to the lord chancellor, Heneage Finch, Baron Finch by John Tillotson, dean of Canterbury and future archbishop of Canterbury, as a ‘strong bodied man’ for the demanding parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields.15 Tenison became one of the group of London clergymen, including John Sharp, the future archbishop of York, Robert Grove, the future bishop of Chichester, and Edward Stillingfleet, the future bishop of Worcester, associated with the patronage and ecclesiastical policy of the Finch family. A scourge of catholicism, he used a sermon on 6 Apr. 1681 on almsgiving to attack Catholic charitable institutions.16 Indeed, so effective was Tenison that Simon Patrick, the future bishop of Ely, claimed that the Catholics would harm them both, if granted a suitable opportunity.17 Tenison ministered to the pastoral needs of the conspirator Sir Thomas Armstrong in Newgate and attended him at his execution on 20 June 1684.18 Theophilus Hastings, 7th earl of Huntingdon, experienced the force of his minister’s strict discipline when he had to defend the wording of a family memorial inscription in St Martin’s.19 At the forefront of the voluntary philanthropic societies, Tenison augmented his pastoral and propaganda role with public projects. In 1684, he built the first public library in London, designed primarily to keep the burgeoning populace (and especially the clergy) out of London’s coffee houses; it also served as a school and was endowed by Tenison in 1697. An act was passed in June 1685 to divide the parish, creating a new one of St James’s Piccadilly. Tenison acted as rector of both until elevated to Lincoln.20 In 1687 Thomas Ken, bishop of Bath and Wells, wrote that Tenison ‘gives the age so great an example of a good parish priest that I cannot but have a particular reverence for him.’21

On 15 July 1685 Tenison attended James Scott, duke of Monmouth, before his execution and agreed to pray with Monmouth without the use of the prayer book.22 Nevertheless, he followed his fellow clerics, Bishop Ken, Francis Turner, bishop of Ely, and George Hooper, the future bishop of Bath and Wells, in refusing Monmouth the sacrament.23 Tenison’s two Westminster parishes of St Martin’s and St James’s became a focus for opposition to the king’s religious policies. Closely allied with Stillingfleet, Tillotson and Patrick. Tenison was listed by Roger Morrice in November 1685 as one of a group of leading London clergy having ‘a very good understanding one with another’ in orchestrating the ideological struggle against Rome.24 Among other efforts, Tenison opened a school to counteract the Jesuit establishment at the Savoy, and entered into a public debate with the Jesuit, Andrew Pulton, in September 1687, an exchange which continued in print.25

Tenison pursued discussions with leading nonconformists about strategies to counter Catholicism, using his new library to host a conference in June 1687 with the Dutch envoy Dijkvelt and Dr William Bates, a leading Presbyterian minister.26 In January 1688, when William Sancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, was informed that Princess Mary would welcome a letter from him, it was suggested that Tenison would be able to find ‘a private hand’ to facilitate the communication.27 Tenison was instrumental in the moves to ensure that most of the London clergy did not read the second Declaration of Indulgence, and he was present at Lambeth on 11 May when Sancroft and four bishops composed their petition to the king against reading it. On the 13th Tenison and Patrick undertook a survey of ministers to determine their response. He was again at Lambeth on 17 May, and signed his agreement to the petition which was presented to the king on the 18th.28 After the first hearing of the trial of the Seven Bishops in king’s bench on 15 June, Tenison dined with Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, William Lloyd, bishop of St Asaph, and Sir Thomas Clarges.29 Long afterwards it was remembered by Tories that Tenison had preached on the birth of the prince of Wales that ‘the line of Stuart might last during sun and moon’ (although he was reported by William Nicolson, the later bishop of Carlisle, as insisting that Queen Mary had miscarried her baby on Easter Monday 1688).30 In early August Tenison dropped hints to both Simon Patrick and John Evelyn that William of Orange intended to intervene in English affairs.31

After the invasion in December 1688 and James II’s flight, Tenison accompanied Clarendon on at least one occasion in an attempt to persuade Sancroft to wait upon the prince, but to no avail; they had little success either in urging him to begin planning concessions to dissenters.32 On 11 Jan. Tenison was due to attend a meeting at Ely House, where the fate of James II was discussed, and Gilbert Burnet, soon to be bishop of Salisbury, was ‘to sustain his notion of the forfeiture’.33 On 17 Jan. 1689 Clarges criticized Tenison for allegedly persuading Henry Compton, bishop of London, to alter the prayer for the king: the liturgy, he wrote, could only be altered by act of Parliament, which such a ‘wise, pious and honest man’ as Tenison should not sanction.34 On 14 Jan. Tenison had met Dean Stillingfleet and others at St Paul’s to consider a comprehension bill, and it was agreed that a draft bill should be prepared.35 Clarendon, walking with Tenison in the Apothecaries’ Garden on 25 Apr. 1689, wondered how ‘so good a man should be fond of’ the ‘designed comprehension’.36 It is likely that Tenison and Stillingfleet were involved in a number of discussions with Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, in preparation for the earl’s proposed introduction of legislation on comprehension and toleration.37 While he retained a close connection with the Finch family, even before the Revolution he had become an adviser to the family of Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland; when Sunderland’s wife went abroad in August 1689, she took with her a chaplain selected by Tenison, Charles Trimnell, the future bishop of Norwich.38 Tenison and Sunderland seemed to have remained close during the 1690s.39

Tenison was marked out for preferment after the Revolution. Shortly after the invasion, Burnet had written to William promoting the virtues of 10 London clergymen, including Tenison, ‘a rare man, and despises wealth, and has done more against popery than any man whatever’.40 Tenison was included in another list in Burnet’s hand as a man to be promoted to a bishopric as vacancies occurred and in May 1689 it was rumoured that he would be elevated to the see of Chester.41 On 5 June Tenison preached the fast sermon before the Commons in St Margaret’s Church and in October he was advanced to the archdeaconry of London.42 Tenison was nominated to the ecclesiastical commission to revise the liturgy, which met between 10 Oct. and 18 Nov. 1689, and attended all but one of the commission’s meetings.43 In response to its high Church detractors, Tenison defended in print in a pamphlet licensed at the end of October both its legitimacy and its usefulness to Convocation.44 His proposed alterations to the liturgy and the planned comprehension were bitterly opposed in the Convocation that assembled on 21 Nov. 1689.45 On 15 Nov. Tenison and Tillotson were examined before a select committee of the Lords as to their knowledge of the suspicious death in the Tower in 1681 of Arthur Capell, earl of Essex (though Tenison’s appearance is not noted in the committee’s minutes).46 On 7 Jan. 1690, at dinner with Clarendon, Tenison admitted that there had been ‘irregularities in our settlement’, and ‘it was to be wished things had been otherwise’, but he defended the impending deprivation of the non-juring bishops and the Revolution settlement in general, suggesting that, as Clarendon reported his words, ‘we were now to make the best of it and to join in the support of this government, as it was, for fear of worse’.47 In February 1690 his name was linked with the bishopric of Ely, but this went to Patrick.48 During the parliamentary election campaign of March 1690, Tenison supported from the pulpit the candidatures in Westminster of Sir Walter Clarges and Sir William Pulteney.49 In November, Tenison, whose kinsman, Richard Tenison, was an Irish bishop, was named to the commission to oversee the Irish church. He continued to minister in London and towards the end of March 1691 was permitted to visit Clarendon, incarcerated in the Tower.50 It was after dining with Clarendon in the Tower on 23 Apr. that Tenison and Lloyd of St Asaph visited Lambeth to inform Sancroft of the ‘promotions’ which displaced the non-juring bishops.51 Two days later Nottingham informed Christopher Hatton, Viscount Hatton, that Tenison was designed for Lincoln when the see became vacant.52

Bishop of Lincoln

Shortly after the death of Thomas Barlow, bishop of Lincoln, in October 1691, Tenison was elevated to the see, a congé d’elire being sent on 27 Oct. to the dean and chapter.53 His only rival seems to have been Dr John Scott, rector of St Giles-in-the-Fields, who was backed by Edward Villiers, Viscount Villiers. Tenison was consecrated at Lambeth by Tillotson, attended by Stillingfleet, Patrick and Compton.54 Tenison took his seat in the House of Lords on 1 Feb. 1692. He attended 11 of the next 12 days, before being granted leave of absence on the 13th. On 11 Apr. Tenison was one of eight bishops in attendance on Tillotson at Lambeth, where a circular letter was discussed ‘very calmly and without the least clashing’.55 He then left London to undertake his primary visitation.56 He attended the prorogation on 22 Aug., and was present on 4 Nov. 1692, the first day of the new session. He attended on 81 days, 79 per cent of the total and was named to 41 committees. At the beginning of 1693 he was forecast as a likely supporter of the divorce bill for Henry Howard, 7th duke of Norfolk, and he was probably the ‘Bp. L’ listed on 2 Jan. 1693 as voting for its first reading. A loyal supporter of the court, on 3 Jan. he voted against the place bill. He was present when Parliament was prorogued on 14 Mar. and remained in London, preaching at court at Easter.57 He attended the prorogations on 2 May and 26 Oct. 1693.

Following the death of Francis Marsh, archbishop of Dublin in November 1693, Tenison was offered the chance to succeed him. His wife’s reluctance to travel by sea and the government’s failure to deal with the Irish forfeited estates, which had had a detrimental effect on the Irish Church establishment were obstacles to his acceptance. He made his agreement conditional on the success of a parliamentary bill on forfeited estates in the 1693-4 session, but the king’s wish to grant land to favourites ensured that the legislation failed.58 As Tenison put in a memorial of 15 Mar. 1694, he had regarded the ‘clause in the bill for restoring the forfeited impropriations to the Church as the main spring of his removal to Ireland, nothing of less force being strong enough to resist the prejudices which would otherwise obstruct all his endeavours there, and render them less useful then they might be here.’59 The matter continued to exercise Tenison after he became archbishop.60

Tenison was in the House on 7 Nov. 1693 for the start of the 1693-4 session and thereafter attended on 97 days, 75 per cent of the total, being named to 27 committees. Tenison was already involved in parliamentary management, reassuring Lloyd, now bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, that Stillingfleet would respect Lloyd’s wishes in the use of his proxy.61 On 23 Nov. Tenison protested against the resolution that the House would not receive any petition for granting protections to crown servants (six out of the ten protestors being bishops). On 17 Feb. 1694 he voted against the reversal of chancery’s dismission in the cause Montagu v. Bath. On 6 Mar. he was named as a manager of the conference on the mutiny bill. He examined the Journal on 10 Apr. and was present on the last day of the session on 25 April.

Archbishop of Canterbury under William III, 1695-1702

Although he attended the prorogation on 6 Nov. 1694, Tenison was not present when the new session began on 12 Nov., nor the second sitting on 20 November. He first attended on the 26th, but was only present until 5 December. Archbishop Tillotson was taken ill on 18 and died on 22 November. On 6 Dec. a warrant was issued for a congé d’élire, which was dispatched on 11 Dec. to the dean and chapter of Canterbury for Tenison’s election as archbishop.62 Sunderland and Charles Talbot, duke of Shrewsbury, supported his candidature against the claims of Stillingfleet (whom the queen preferred) and John Hall, bishop of Bristol, who had some support among Whigs.63 Two days later, the appointment was reported in newsletters.64 Edmund Gibson, the future bishop of London, welcomed the promotion and noted that Tenison cared little for money, ‘so there’s none more industrious and hearty in any honourable design.’65 His own sub-dean at Lincoln, James Gardiner, replaced him as bishop, apparently as a favour to Tenison.66 The new archbishop was duly elected on 20 Dec., while he was in attendance upon the queen during her fatal illness. Following her death on 28 Dec., he remained at Kensington and two days later he preached a sermon of condolence.67 On 30 Dec. Tenison was sent by the king to Princess Anne in an attempt to reconcile their differences, and returned with a letter from the princess in response to one from William; he continued in this mediatory role during January 1695.68 He returned to the House (now as archbishop) on 25 Jan. 1695. In all he was present on 64 days, 53 per cent of the total, and was named to six committees. At the end of January, he was appointed by the Privy Council to preach the funeral sermon for the queen, delivered on 5 Mar. in front of a congregation including both Houses.69 The sermon was published at the request of the Lords made on 7 March.70 That month Tenison created four doctors of divinity, Richard Willis, the future bishop of Gloucester, Thomas Green, the future bishop of Ely, John Knighton, and Edward Gee, a useful corpus of lieutenants.71

On 18 Apr. 1695 a conference between the Lords and Commons on the bill for continuing expiring laws discussed the authority of the archbishop in the lapsed printing act. On 20 Apr. Bishop Lloyd wrote that Tenison had been so ill ‘that he has been to wait on his majesty but once this fortnight and then had his whole time of audience filled with such matters as his majesty had then to communicate to him’.72 He attended for the prorogation on 3 May. That day he was appointed one of the lords justices to govern the country during the king’s absence overseas.73 He left London on 15 May to be installed in person in Canterbury Cathedral (the first since the Reformation) on the following day; elaborate civic pageantry surrounded his arrival in the city and subsequent enthronement, followed by a ‘noble dinner’ in the deanery.74

During February 1695 Tenison had been named to a commission to dispose of ecclesiastical preferments.75 Tenison also used his authority as a lord justice to intervene in ecclesiastical appointments in Ireland, having to be persuaded not to block the appointment in July of Edward Walkington to the see of Down and Connor, and to bolster episcopal authority, complaining in July that the patent secured by a Dr Pain for the visitation of peculiars had increased the incidence of the abuse of marriage licences, while lessening the bishop of London’s jurisdiction.76 As one of the lords justices Tenison was closely involved in combating subversion. In the summer of 1695 he summoned a Drury Lane barber to testify against Sir Henry Belasyse, on a charge of corresponding with the French, although the information received was rejected as ‘improbable’.77 Shrewsbury remarked to Hans Willem Bentinck, earl of Portland, in 1696 the archbishop appeared to have many of the ‘tools for that business’, including setting up ‘the engine for imitating hands’.78

At the general election of 1695, Tenison was delighted with the return of Sir William Trumbull for Oxford University, although he disclaimed any intention to ‘meddle’ in it.79 He was one of the lords of council who met regarding the king’s speech, to be delivered on the first day of the new Parliament, 22 Nov. 1695.80 Subsequently he attended on 92 days, 74 per cent of the total and was named to seven committees. When on 23 Nov. the diarist John Evelyn dined at Lambeth, the company included Bishop Lloyd, John Moore, bishop of Norwich, and William Wake, the future bishop of Lincoln, perhaps a typical occurrence during a parliamentary session.81 Tenison seems to have been keenly concerned to protect the Church’s interests in attempts to regulate the press in the wake of the failure to renew the licensing act. Several drafts of the bill for the better regulating of printing and printing presses are to be found in his papers, and John Freke and Edward Clarke informed John Locke (another keen observer) on 14 Dec. that the proposal had alarmed the bishops, who by means of Tenison had ‘treated with’ Clarke ‘that more care might be taken of the Church’, describing the archbishop as ‘so reasonable and fair a man that he proposes little but what will I believe be granted him’, although the rest of the clergy would not be contented even after his amendments had been accepted. 82 On 24 Feb. 1696, he was one of a large number named to manage the conference on the king’s speech regarding the assassination plot; three days later he signed the Association. Meanwhile, on 25 Feb., in response to a Lords’ address for a day of thanksgiving, the king informed the House that he would consult with Tenison over the timing. On 4 Apr. 1696 Tenison received Bishop Burnet’s proxy.

One of the matters that Tenison had inherited from his predecessor was the disciplinary case against Thomas Watson, bishop of St Davids. On 9 Feb. 1695 he had received Watson’s submission and removed the suspension placed on him.83 This did not prevent further conflict between Bishop Watson and his chancellor: soon the latter was charging the bishop with simony. In a hearing at Lambeth before the archbishop in October 1695, Watson insisted on his privilege of peerage.84 On 20 Mar. 1696 the House considered a report from the committee for privileges and a compromise was affected which allowed him his privilege, which he subsequently waived, ‘to have a fair trial’.85 However, after a hearing at Lambeth in September 1696, Watson complained that he had been ‘denied the assistance all criminals have by law’.86

After the prorogation on 27 Apr., Tenison remained at Lambeth and Whitehall on government business. He continued to take part in the routine business of the Privy Council and, during the king’s absence, of the lords justices.87 Particularly concerned with ecclesiastical matters, he took a leading role when clerical suspects were questioned and in inquiries into the activities of the non-jurors. On 22 Apr. 1696 he examined Robert Frampton, the non-juring bishop of Gloucester, regarding the collection of money that he suspected would be used to support Jacobite activity, and he was present on 28 Apr. when the council interrogated Thomas Ken, the deprived bishop of Bath and Wells on the same matter.88 He took action against the three non-juring clergymen (Jeremy Collier, William Snatt and Shadrach Cook), who gave public absolution to Sir William Parkyns and Sir John Freind at their execution on 3 April. On 7 Apr. Snatt and Cooke were committed to Newgate, and on 10 Apr. a declaration signed by both archbishops and what was variously reported as 10 or 12 bishops was issued condemning their actions. On 2 July they were convicted of high crimes and misdemeanours, but released on bail in August, probably following an intervention by Tenison, now that the official position of the Church had been vindicated.89

In preparation for the new, 1696-7, session of Parliament, on 17 Oct. Bishop Lloyd sent Tenison ‘my instrument of proxy, which is the same that I sent in 1693 only giving your grace the preference which is due to your place,’ although it does not seem to have been registered until the following March, and then in favour of Bishop Moore.90 Tenison was present on the first day of the new session on 20 Oct.; he attended on 87 days, 76 per cent of the total, and was named to seven committees. On 23 Dec. Tenison was the only lord justice present to vote for the third reading of the bill to attaint Sir John Fenwick, speaking ‘with the eloquence and courage of St Paul’, in answer to opponents who criticized those bishops who supported the bill, and he justified ‘their opinions from scripture, reason, and whatever else was proper to support it’.91 To leave Fenwick unpunished, he claimed, would send a signal to ‘the secret enemies of the government he has concealed’.92 On 12 Jan. 1697 Tenison was one of the members of the cabinet who confirmed what James Vernon said, that Shrewsbury had given the king an account of Matthew Smith’s revelations.93 On 20 Jan., Tenison heard from Fenwick that he had been refused a prison visit from Thomas White, the non-juring bishop of Peterborough; Fenwick claimed that his choice of White was intended not to offend the government but was made on merely spiritual grounds.94 The appeal to Tenison’s compassion was successful; he informed Trumbull that after speaking to Portland, he had agreed to the visit.95 When Lady Mary Fenwick petitioned the Lords on 22 Jan. for a few days’ reprieve for her husband on the grounds that the bishop had only just been allowed access to him, Tenison informed the House that the king had refused a reprieve the night before, claiming that it was not in his power; Nottingham refuted this, whereupon the archbishop ‘brought it off with a distinction of what might be done by prerogative and what in prudence was fit’. In early February, Charles Mordaunt, earl of Monmouth, who had been imprisoned on 16 Jan. as a result of his attempts to encourage Fenwick to incriminate others, was seeking the help of Tenison and John Somers, Baron Somers, to move the king for his release from the Tower; Vernon noted that Tenison was keen that the Fenwick’s paper detailing his contacts with William Cavendish, duke of Devonshire, should be better answered than it had been hitherto.96 On 19 Feb. Tenison received the proxies of Humphrey Humphreys, bishop of Bangor (who did not attend after 10 Feb.), and Bishop Gardiner (who did not attend after 20 February). On 5 Mar. he was named to manage the conference on the prohibition of India silks, and on 10 Apr. to manage the conference on the bill to prevent the buying and selling of offices. He was present for the prorogation on the 16th. 

In the recess, Tenison again played a central role in frequent meetings of the lords justices. On 6 May 1697, he objected that the lords justices of Ireland had sent a representation on the vacant bishopric of Meath directly to the king in Holland, contrary to their instructions; on the 18th, one of the Irish justices, Charles Powlett, marquess of Winchester, the future 2nd duke of Bolton, submitted via the archbishop information on the likely repercussions of the translation.97 The bishop who was translated to Meath was Tenison’s distant cousin Richard Tenison, of Clogher.98 On 20 May Tenison had a difficult meeting with Nottingham’s brother, Henry Finch (who aspired to be dean of York), in which he had to inform him that the king would not approve of Tenison’s recommendation made in Sharp’s name because Finch and his brother Edward Finch had defended some of those arrested over the Lancashire Plot.99 It may have been this incident which led to a cooling of Tenison’s friendship with Nottingham, who referred to a patronage matter in 1699 as probably being influenced by the archbishop ‘whom I will not ask’.100 Libels being distributed through the post office also caught Tenison’s attention.101 The security of the post for personal letters seems also to have worried Tenison: in the following year Archbishop Narcissus Marsh of Dublin sent letters to him enclosed in letters to the under-secretary, John Ellis, to avoid the possibility of them being opened.102

Tenison attended the Lords for the new session of Parliament on 3 Dec. 1697. He attended on 81 days, 62 per cent of the total, and was named to 11 committees. On 24 Feb. 1698 the Lords read a bill brought in by Tenison ‘for the more effectual suppressing of atheism, blasphemy, and profaneness’, to which one newspaper added ‘and to punish the printing of scandalous books and pamphlets against the protestant religion’.103 The reference was probably to the order made on the same day to Sir John Powell, then a judge of common pleas, to prepare a bill to restrain the licentiousness of the press (which was presented in the next session). Subsequently the Commons ignored Tenison’s bill and produced one of their own under the management of Sir John Philipps. The Oxford Tory Thomas Rowney wrote that the bill left ‘the fundamentals of Christian religion to be tried by a jury of 12 men; so we shall lay aside that bill and send them one of our own to show we have a greater respect for religion than the bishops’.104 On 15 Mar. Tenison voted to commit the bill punishing the Tory financier Charles Duncombe. His absence between 5 May and 9 June may be explained by ill health, a letter from Somers at the end of May indicating that Tenison was suffering his first fit of the gout.105 Having returned to the House, he received the proxy of Bishop Hall on 11 June and that of Bishop Patrick on the 18th and attended the prorogation on 5 July 1698.

In June 1698 Vernon was being asked by Shrewsbury to lobby Tenison in favour of William Talbot, the future bishop of Oxford, then dean of Worcester, in case the bishopric of Worcester should become vacant; on 28 June he reported back that Tenison would ‘consider the case when it happens’.106 Tenison was however conscious that the ecclesiastical commissioners were perceived to be ‘giving the king’s preferments to one another’ and that some people were in favour of ‘breaking the commission’.107 In March 1699 Tenison told Somers that he thought Talbot ‘very young’ and Worcester ‘too good a bishopric to begin with’. Somers deduced that Tenison favoured Bishop Lloyd, who would be replaced by John Hough, of Oxford, who in turn would be replaced by Wake. Shrewsbury agreed that the archbishop ‘was resolved upon another scheme’, and that ‘without his favour, it is to no purpose to pretend to this preferment, nor any other’.108 In the event Wake refused Oxford and Talbot was named in his stead. 

Tenison attended the House on 6 Dec. 1698 for the opening of the new Parliament. He was present on 64 days, 79 per cent of the total and was named to five committees. On 6 Mar. 1699, the attorney general Thomas Trevor, the future Baron Trevor, was instructed by Vernon to prepare a proclamation for a fast-day, the reasons for which would be explained by Tenison ‘whom you will see in the House of Lords’.109 Tenison was present on 4 May, when the House was prorogued and accompanied Bishops Humphreys and Moore back to the home of the latter.110 He also attended the further prorogation of 1 June. Tenison was suspicious of the emerging societies for the reformation of manners, regarding them in July 1698 as designed to ‘undermine the Church’.111 In April 1699 he used the traditional Easter dinner for bishops (to which Edward Fowler, bishop of Gloucester, was not invited) to promulgate a cautious letter to every diocese in favour of the newly formed societies, rather than the more zealous campaign favoured by Fowler.112

As early as the end of July that year, Trimnell reported that Tenison ‘begins to look for[ward], with some kind of impatience he seems to expect the king sooner than usually, and to wish to have h[is], best brethren about him before business begins’.113 The House of Lords, though, did not sit until 16 Nov., when Tenison attended for the first day of the session. He was present on 70 days, 89 per cent of the total and was named to two committees. Meanwhile, the Watson case had dragged on. The long drawn-out proceedings were ascribed to Tenison’s determination to leave Watson ‘no ground of complaint, by hearing all that can possibly be alleged’ on his behalf.114 Watson, who was deprived on 3 Aug. 1699, always maintained that he had ‘suffered from the archbishop’s assumed power, warranted neither by law nor precedent’. Many years later, in 1730, Hearne was informed that Hooper, then dean of Canterbury, had drawn up ‘a discourse, to prove the archbishops had never exercised that authority in any one instance’.115 Several tracts were published discussing the question of the archbishop’s authority.116 The case came before the Lords on 29 Nov. 1699 when the House was informed that Watson had resumed his privilege against his chancellor, and the Lords ordered that counsel be heard, adding that Tenison’s counsel could also be heard, if he thought fit. The archbishop’s counsel was indeed heard on 4 Dec., with a further hearing on 6 Dec. for the attorney-general. The Lords found against Watson that ‘the bishop had no privilege against the archbishop’s judicature’.117

On 23 Feb. 1700 Tenison voted against an adjournment of the House during debates on the bill to continue the East India Company as a corporation. On 9 Apr. he was named to manage the conference on amendments to the land tax bill, which included provision for the forfeited estates in Ireland. A letter to Shrewsbury suggested that John Lowther, Viscount Lonsdale, and Thomas Wharton, 5th baron Wharton, had been ‘stirring up the lords’ to amend the bill and that Tenison and Thomas Herbert, 8th earl of Pembroke, ‘came blindly in it, as supposing the king had some scheme in reserve for carrying on the public business’. On the 10th, Tenison was named to manage the two subsequent conferences on the bill, and may have been instrumental in breaking the log-jam which saw the bill pass unamended: Jersey (the former Villiers) told Vernon that he had the king’s permission to ‘speak to the archbishop and some of the other Lords to desist from the amendments’, and in the event, it was ‘some of the bishops going away’, which secured a majority for those wishing to retreat from insisting upon their amendments.118

Tenison’s political position had become more difficult following the collapse of the Junto ministry in the 1699-1700 session. Under pressure from his more Tory-inclined ministers, William had started to undermine the decisions of the ecclesiastical commission, most notably on 22 May 1700, when Secretary Jersey informed Tenison that William III had filled a vacant prebend at Worcester.119 It was appointments such as these which may have prompted a letter from Bishop Moore of 27 May about the emasculation of the commission.120 Further concern was expressed when the bishops realized that the king would allow Convocation to sit with the next Parliament. The persistent activism of Francis Atterbury, the future bishop of Rochester, in arguing for the sitting of Convocation, had resulted in strident exchanges in the press. Atterbury’s aim was to use the lower house of Convocation to promote a high Church programme of reform of the Church, which Tenison knew would lead it into confrontation with the upper house. As Gibson wrote in February 1716, ‘the Convocation controversy was raised on purpose to render the archbishop, and that part of the bench which has distinguished itself in favour of the Protestant Succession, odious to the nation, as if they were destroying the constitution of the Church and the liberties of the inferior clergy’.121

Tenison attended the prorogations of 23 May and 24 Oct. 1700. Although he was reported to be ill in mid-December 1700, he had recovered in time to attend the first day of the new Parliament on 10 Feb. 1701.122 He was present on 87 days, 82 per cent of the total, being named to five committees. As he feared, Convocation opened along with the new session; Tenison’s attempts to prorogue it on 25 Feb. 1701 met with a revolt by its lower house, orchestrated by Atterbury.123 Tenison was caught in the political battle between the new ministry and the Whigs. On 15 May, the ministry carried two questions about the dissolution of the previous Parliament ‘by the help of some unusual friends’, such as Tenison, Richard Cumberland, bishop of Peterborough, Arnold van Keppel, earl of Albemarle, and Jersey, with Bishops Burnet, Patrick, Gardiner and Hough on the other side.124 However, this did not presage a betrayal of the previous ministry, and on 17 and 23 June Tenison voted for the acquittal of Somers and Edward Russell, earl of Orford. He was present for the prorogation on 24 June. At the end of the month he was again named a lord justice.125 Tenison attended the prorogation of 6 Nov. 1701.

On 17 Dec. 1701 Tenison wrote to Princess Sophia acknowledging receipt of hers and emphasizing the ‘weak’, but ‘honest and hearty’ role he and his ‘brethren’ played in securing the Act of Succession.126 He attended the House on 30 Dec. for the first day of the Parliament and thereafter attended the session on 56 days, 56 per cent of the total, and was named to 21 committees. On 8 Jan. 1702 Robert Harley, the future earl of Oxford, wrote to Tenison about a new law regulating the press:

the draft of a bill which I herewith return to you, contains very good methods to have a printer or author answerable for everything which is published. But there must be some severer course taken afterwards with the libellers, which present laws are sufficient for. If your grace will please to have it begun in the House of Lords and if either House are inclined to make it stronger, it is easy for them to make additions.127

On 22 Jan. Tenison introduced a bill for the better regulating of printers and printing presses, but it was rejected on the 24th after the motion to commit it was lost.128

The reign of Anne 1702-6

Tenison attended William III in his final hours.129 The implications for Tenison of the change of monarch were not lost on that perceptive political operator, Sunderland, who on 11 Mar. 1702 told Trimnell that he could not think of ‘our poor Archb[ishop], without an increase of sorrow for his [affliction]. But he has so much reason and so good a temper that I hope he will continue his usual care’. Sunderland asked him to pass on his own assurance ‘from good hands, and such as I give credit to, that the business abroad shall be carried on with vigour, and that at home with moderation’.130 Nevertheless, Tenison’s influence was certain to be reduced as the new queen had long used Sharp as a confidant, and the churchmen Nottingham and Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, were appointed to office.131 However, Tenison continued to exercise leadership over at least some of the episcopal bench, confirming to Bishop Lloyd on 24 Mar. that the queen was willing to excuse his absence from Parliament.132 Tenison last attended the session on 13 May, nearly two weeks before it ended. He was named as commissioner to negotiate union with Scotland on 25 Aug., attending 20 out of 29 meetings.133 On 15 Dec., when he dined with Bishop Humphreys he was optimistic about the prospects for union but only a week later, he confided in William Nicolson, bishop of Carlisle, that the negotiations had run into difficulties over the question of English imports into Scotland.134

On the eve of the next session Tenison attempted to bolster his position by persuading Sidney Godolphin, Baron Godolphin, ‘how little inclination the Convocation were like to have towards an accommodation’, and asking him to help ‘pacify and allay these differences’. Godolphin felt himself unqualified to the task, although he was receptive to Tenison’s pleas for peace and unity in the Church.135 Tenison was still organizing the bishops, for with Parliament originally prorogued to 8 Oct., Burnet wrote to him in August hoping to be excused an early attendance, adding that he would ‘follow your directions’, but ‘hope you will not call me up unless you see the service of the queen or of the Church requires it.’136 Tenison was present in the House on 20 Oct. for the first day of the Parliament and attended the session on 63 days, 73 per cent of the total, being regularly named to committees, as was by then usual, whenever he was in the House. In the division on the bill against occasional conformity on 3 Dec., Tenison and 10 of his episcopal allies supported Somers’ amendment to restrict the remit of the bill to those covered only by the Test Act. The following day, Tenison and 11 bishops opposed a further amendment which provided for more regularly receiving the sacrament and attending Church. On the 7th, Tenison and seven bishops voted in favour of the wrecking amendment to remove the financial penalties. Two days later, he signed the resolution stating that the use of a tack was unparliamentary.137 Unsurprisingly, in or about January 1703, Nottingham forecast that Tenison would oppose the occasional conformity bill, and on 16 Jan. Tenison voted to retain the Lords’ wrecking amendment to it.

On 12 Jan. 1703, Sharp revealed that the queen had hinted to Tenison that he should promote the bill for Prince George. However, on the 19th Tenison protested against the rejection by the House of an amendment omitting a clause in the bill relating to grants. On 13 Jan. Tenison supported a bill for the Derwent navigation against ‘Devonshire and other great Lords’, dividing against putting off the second reading for two weeks. On 9 Feb., when a bill for the more easy recovery of monies for repairing churches was sent up from the Commons, Tenison judged it to be ‘a very faulty one in every branch of it; and incapable of being amended’, whereupon a motion for its second reading was lost nem. con. Tenison promised a better one for the next session.138 He was present when Parliament was prorogued on 27 Feb. 1703.

Tenison’s determination to maintain the rights of the bishops and the royal supremacy against the claims of the lower house of Convocation had been vindicated on 6 Jan. 1703 when Archbishop Sharp revealed that the queen had admitted that she could not act in the matter of ‘the late petition of the lower house of Convocation’ and that Tenison ‘was in the right’.139 This related to the demands made by the lower chamber’s firebrands, led by Atterbury, for the right to sit between formal sessions. They had been outmanoeuvred by Tenison and the court, led by Harley.140 One of the tactics employed by Harley was to wean Hooper, the prolocutor of the lower house, away from the more extreme elements led by Atterbury, with the offer of the bishopric of St Asaph. On 22 June Atterbury reported that the new bishop had been graciously received by Tenison at Canterbury. Hooper’s consecration was then delayed over a dispute over commendams, which Atterbury thought might ‘keep him, perhaps, from appearing one way or the other in some trying bills’ at the beginning of the session.141

Tenison attended the House for the prorogations on 22 Apr., 22 June, 3 Aug., 14 Oct. and 4 Nov. 1703. On 9 Nov., he attended for the first day of the 1703-4 session and was present on 41 days, 44 per cent of the total. Twice forecast by Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, as an opponent of a new attempt to secure an occasional conformity act, Tenison and 13 bishops voted against the second reading of the bill on 14 December. Gibson reported on 11 Jan. 1704 that despite the ‘gloom’ brewing between the two Houses, ‘I never knew his grace better’.142

On 15 Dec. 1703 Tenison replied in Convocation to a paper of the lower house on ‘impious and heretical books’, which would have been taken into consideration by the bishops but for the ‘new order’ of the Lords for beginning business at 10 o’clock. Such books could not be ‘rooted’ out ‘without restraint of the press’, to which end he had ‘offered several bills in which I have been so unfortunate as to be disappointed in one place or another, not because they were faulty in matter, form or temper, but because they were bills of restraint, for the forming of them I had the advice of one of the judges’. He had another bill ready, which ‘I do not think to offer it, till I see whether there be a disposition to receive it, for I am loath to have it miscarry again.143 He had given a copy of a draft act ‘for restraining the press’ to William Cowper, the future Baron Cowper and lord chancellor.144 This was probably not the bill ordered to be brought in to the Commons on 15 Dec. ‘to restrain the licentiousness of the press’, which was considered and amended in a committee of the whole but never reported. 

Tenison may have been behind an attack in the House by Charles Montagu, Baron Halifax, on Bishop Hooper, shortly after he had taken his seat, over a sermon with alleged Catholic sympathies.145 After the incident, while by the fire in the Lords’ chamber, Tenison was asked about the matter by Robert Shirley, 8th Baron Ferrers. He responded that ‘he thought plain sermons best for he did not like wit in ’em’.146 In February 1704 Tenison intervened before a bill ‘to preserve libraries that have or shall be erected by charitable contributions in small parishes’ was introduced into the Commons, writing to its sponsor, Spencer Compton, the future earl of Wilmington, that he was concerned about the jurisdictional implications as the bill stood and wished to secure significant changes. The bill seems not to have been introduced, although a similar bill succeeded in 1709.147 Tenison last attended 30 Mar., a few days before the prorogation of 3 April.

On 4 July he attended the prorogation and also spent an hour with Vichet Convenent discussing Orangeist refugees.148 On 20 Sept. he promised Secretary Harley that he would recommend a treasurer for Queen Anne’s Bounty and expected to be able to speak with him at Hampton Court the following day when he waited on the queen.149 He attended the prorogation of 19 Oct., and the first day of the parliamentary session on 24 October. He attended on 62 days, 63 per cent of the total. On the fast day, 5 Nov., Tenison and Bishops Cumberland and Nicolson were the only members present: after prayers they accompanied Lord Keeper Wright to the Abbey to hear the sermon preached by William Beveridge, bishop of St Asaph, Tenison moving the thanks of the House for it on the 7th.150 On 27 Nov. Tenison received the proxies of John Evans, bishop of Bangor, and Bishop Humphreys. The renewed attempt to pass a bill against occasional conformity was again the most divisive issue of the session. When on 24 Nov. 1704 Bishop Nicolson dined with some of the bill’s proponents, he heard about their mischievous plans to help Tenison’s ‘memory against the bill comes up to the Lords’ by reprinting a pamphlet of his from 1683, An Argument for Union (1683), which had compared an occasional communicant ‘to a wooden leg; which is no sound or essential part of the body, but is taken off and put on occasionally and to serve a turn’. In 1705 there did indeed appear The Occasional Conformist exhorted to Constant Communion with the Church of England: or, an Abstract of his Grace the Arch-bishop of Canterbury’s Treatise entitled an Argument of Union.151 When the occasional conformity bill was brought up from the Commons on 15 Dec., the motion to give the bill a second reading was defeated and the bill rejected, with Tenison making a speech in which he defended the practice of occasional conformity and commended all those defending ‘our religion and government’ against ‘a party in her bowels, ready upon all occasions to bring in a Popish Pretender’.152 On the 26th, political hostilities were shelved temporarily when Tenison hosted the traditional St Stephen’s dinner and both Sharp and Burnet proposed remedies for Tenison’s latest attack of gout. Any medication prescribed was unsuccessful and by 4 Jan. 1705, he was confined to bed.153 He continued to work from his chamber and returned to the House on 2 Feb. On 27 Feb. he was named to the committee to prepare heads for a conference on the Aylesbury men.

At a Lambeth dinner on 2 Dec. 1704, Tenison had informed Nicolson that he had denied Atterbury permission to wait on him and had received yet another ‘remonstrance’ from the lower house of Convocation about their grievances.154 On 15 Mar. 1705 Tenison prorogued Convocation with a speech in which he referred to the ‘many complaints’ of the lower house,

which were answered before, and so many motions to proceed to business which we had often told you could neither be legally attempted nor, during the disputes about the methods of acting, be pursued with any measure of success, that we hoped to hear no more of these very improper ways of proceeding.155

Atterbury interpreted the speech as confrontational, complaining that Tenison had ‘told us, that… if we should… still proceed to take the same irregular steps, he must then and would exert the power which the constitution had lodged in him, and proceed upon us’. This was ‘new language, which during the very heat of dispute, was never before made use of for us’.156 To Burnet it was ‘a wise, well composed speech’, containing ‘a severe, but grave reprimand, with much good advice’.157

Shortly after the death of Bishop Gardiner of Lincoln on 1 Mar. 1705, Godolphin reported that Tenison was ‘very desirous to have the dean of Lincoln’ (Richard Willis), succeed him as the diocese was ‘so large and so dispersed that nobody but a young and a laborious man is capable of performing the duty of it’.158 However, he may have been using Willis as a back-up in case Wake again refused to be raised to the episcopate; he wrote to Wake on 14 Mar. that ‘your friends hope that you will let them know by me with plainness and without loss of time, whether you would accept of the bishopric of Lincoln’. Tenison was being ‘pressed by them’ and hoped he would not refuse. He did not, and on 29 Mar. Tenison reported to Wake that he expected to hear news shortly about Wake’s promotion.159 Throughout the summer, Tenison was involved in a variety of government business, attending meetings of the Privy Council and the occasional meeting with Harley at the Cockpit.160

The Parliament of 1705 was preceded by the beginning of term pageantry of 23 Oct. when Tenison ‘complimented’ the new lord keeper, William Cowper, at the Temple before a cavalcade of 60 coaches set off for Westminster.161 Tenison hoped for a close relationship with Cowper, through whose hands much ecclesiastical patronage passed. Cowper recorded in his diary that, before the cabinet meeting on 25 Nov., he told the archbishop that he had promised the queen ‘to present as she directed, in all the valuable ones’. In reply Tenison had revealed his fears that ‘it would be under a worse management than when under the late keeper’s servants, by the importunity of the women and hangers-on at court’. He promised to ‘endeavour with me to get that matter into a proper method’.162

Tenison attended the House for the opening day of business on 25 Oct. 1705 and thereafter attended on 46 days, 48 per cent of the total, being named to 18 committees. On 12 Nov. he was excused attendance at a call of the House, but he returned three days later when, in a speech to the Lords on the state of the nation, John Thompson, Baron Haversham, proposed a motion to invite Sophia to England.163 The idea of an invitation to the heir to the throne had been under discussion for some time, with the electress not ruling out the idea. In a Vindication of his speech, published in December, Haversham cited a letter from Sophia to Tenison of 3 Nov. 1705 N.S. in which she pronounced herself ready to comply with whatever the Parliament thought best.164 Sir Rowland Gwynne wrote to Tenison from Hanover on 6 Nov. N.S. to the effect that Princess Sophia wanted Tenison to discuss their correspondence with Haversham, Thomas Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford, and Sir Richard Onslow, the future Baron Onslow.165 Tenison’s reply to Sophia disclaimed responsibility for Haversham’s initiative and sought to play down the proposal:

the experiment which some may have offered at this time to your electoral highness out of their abundant zeal, or which others may have insinuated out of ill design, carries with it a great deal of danger. Neither my letter by Dr [John] Hutton (of which I have a copy) nor my discourse with him (full of respect as it was, and was fit to be) did lead to it. Nor has it yet to me appeared that her majesty has, in this juncture, been consulted about it. And each step… by the most well-meaning of your servants without knowing her mind, is sent in a wrong way.166

The ministry’s response was defuse the issue by proposing a regency to take effect on Anne’s death. On 20 Nov. the archbishop of Canterbury was nominated by Somers as the first of seven ex officio lords justices in the bill; the archbishop was to be one of three designated holders of a document containing the names of the lord justices nominated by Hanover.167

Meanwhile, on 7 Nov. 1705 Tenison had once more prorogued Convocation, after being present to hear the speech of the newly elected prolocutor, Dr William Binkes, and replying ‘with a fatherly admonition to beware suggestions of danger, to serve undutiful purposes’, a prescient warning in view of future events as it foreshadowed the bitter ‘Church in danger’ debate in the Lords on 6 December. Three days before the debate, Tenison was at dinner with Bishops Burnet, Humphreys and Nicolson, where it was decided that ‘every bishop say something of the state of his own diocese on Thursday’.168 The result was a comprehensive victory, by 61 votes to 30, for the archbishop’s side and their resolution that the Church was in a flourishing condition and that to assert otherwise was to be an enemy to the queen, the Church and the kingdom.169 Four days later, Tenison received the proxy of Bishop Hall. By Christmas Tenison was again stricken with gout, but was able to host social gatherings at Lambeth; 15 bishops attended the St Stephen’s dinner. Another social engagement on 5 Jan. 1706 included Bishops Nicolson and Evans, and the Whig Members, Sir Francis Masham and Peter King, the future Baron King.170

On 8 Jan. 1706, the House heard the case of Wilson et al v. Townley (an appeal by the parishioners of St Bride’s against an exchequer decree in favour of the dean and chapter of Westminster). The report was ordered for the 22nd to allow the matter to be composed by Somers and Halifax with Tenison as ‘umpire’.171 A compromise must have been achieved for on 31 Jan. the dean and chapter, Townley and the churchwardens of St Bride’s petitioned the Commons for a bill to sanction the agreement and on 21 Feb. Nicolson noted that ‘by instructions’ from Tenison he had attended the Lords’ committee on the bill, which was then reported and passed later that day.172 Tenison’s influence in ecclesiastical legislation was also called for on 25 Feb. when Archbishop King of Dublin wrote to him about his bill for the restoration of lands, which had passed a committee of the whole on the 23rd ‘with great difficulty’. King asked for Tenison’s assistance at its third reading, as he was sure that Tenison’s ‘presence and countenance to it’ would help, reminding him that ‘I am not concerned for myself whose profit will be little or none in it, but for my see’, and calling up ‘the memory of King William whose grant this was to give me your grace’s assistance to preserve it’. Although Tenison was not then present, the bill passed on the 25th.173

By mid-January 1706, Tenison thought that Atterbury’s holding both a prebend of Exeter and the deanery of Carlisle might facilitate his removal from the latter, thereby freeing Nicolson from much trouble. Tenison used Nicolson for a variety of tasks; while the Lords were debating the amendments of the Commons to the Hanover bill, he was ‘employed (by the archbishop) in reading over’ the inflammatory pamphlet Proceedings in the present Convocation Relating to the Dangers of the Church (1706).174 In late January 1706 the expected death of William Beaw, bishop of Llandaff, saw the Whigs allow Tenison a free hand in nominating his successor, John Tyler, the dean of Hereford.175 When the regency bill was debated on 31 Jan. 1706, Tenison and 10 bishops supported Somers’ motion to repeal the place clause in the Act of Settlement.176 According to Wake’s diary for 18 Feb. when the bill to enable Mr Williams to renew the rectory of Buckden was brought up to the Lords, he and Tenison ‘took the opportunity to try whether we could not get some augmentation made to the vicarage of that place’.177 This was probably related to an amendment in committee relating to the annexation of the prebend of Buckden to the bishopric, which was added to the bill on 11 March. The archbishop was ill and absent (indeed, he last attended that session on 21 Feb.), but his consent to the clause was signified by Wake and Charles Montagu, 4th earl of Manchester.178 Convocation continued to be a vexation. On 25 Feb. 1706, the queen had sent a letter to Tenison, in which she stated her intention ‘to maintain our supremacy and the due subordination of presbyters to bishops as fundamental parts thereof’, and instructed him to prorogue Convocation when it met on 1 Mar., ‘to such further time as shall appear to be convenient’.179 Tenison was too ill with the gout to do so himself, but on that day Trimnell carried the news to Lambeth of the ‘proceedings in Convocation, in great contempt of the queen’s letter’.180

In October 1705, Gwynne had informed Tenison of rumours of an influx of missionary Catholic priests into England.181 An address from the Lords to the queen on 14 Mar. 1706 resulted in a Privy Council order of 4 Apr., which commanded Tenison to commission a nationwide census of Catholics.182 Tenison was well enough to attend the prorogation of 17 Sept. 1706, but not that of 21 Nov. being ‘in the gout’.183

The bishoprics crisis, the Union and Convocation, 1706-8

Ill health caused Tenison to be absent when the 1706-7 session began on 3 Dec. 1706.184 On 2 Dec., Tenison had received the proxy of Bishop Humphreys, but he did not attend until 27 Jan. 1707. He was then present on 43 days, exactly half of the total. Meanwhile, a political crisis was brewing over appointments to the episcopate with the Whigs expecting to be rewarded for their support of the ministry. Unfortunately, the first see to fall vacant (in November 1706) was that of Winchester, which had long been promised by Godolphin to a Tory, his west-country ally, Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of Exeter.185 Upon hearing news of Trelawny’s impending promotion, the Whigs felt duped and left no time in telling Tenison of their displeasure. For his part Tenison was clearly embarrassed and displeased by the turn of events.186 Godolphin’s plan was to propitiate the Whigs by preferring their candidates to the vacancy at Exeter and then to Chester (Nicholas Straford, bishop of Chester, died on 12 Feb. 1707). Unfortunately, the queen had promised these bishoprics to two Tories: Offspring Blackall, a vigorous controversialist on behalf of non-resistance was destined for Exeter, and William Dawes, master of St Catherine’s, Cambridge, for Chester. Tenison would clearly have preferred Whig bishops and did his best to accomplish that end but on 23 Jan. 1707 he told Somers that the matter of Trelawny’s translation had been decided.187 An impasse followed because the queen was unwilling to break her word to Dawes and Trelawny. A way out of the conundrum was offered by the death of Bishop Patrick of Ely on 31 May, who was replaced immediately by the widely-respected Bishop Moore of Norwich. Somers congratulated Tenison on 3 June with ‘making one good bishop without importunity and tearing’, before adding ‘I hope your grace will allow me also to put you in mind that Norwich becomes void, and that, if time be lost, or if modesty prevails, it will (as in all other cases) be wrong disposed of and the Church and state will be undone’.188 On 12 June Tenison addressed the queen on this very matter, opining that the ‘good temper of the present bishops and their appearing for the true interest of their country’, could be endangered by such as ‘should come upon that bench as should make it warp (which may God avert) episcopacy itself would be in danger of falling.’189 The queen remained firm, and told John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, that ‘I think myself obliged to fill the bishops’ bench with those that will be a credit to it, and to the Church, and not always take the recommendations of 29 [?Tenison], who all the world knows is governed by 26 [?Junto]’.190 The controversy was still raging in December, when Gibson wrote to Bishop Humphreys, ‘I am sure my lord of Canterbury cannot think himself well used in this matter; either by the court; or indeed by his old friends’.191 Eventually, death created sufficient vacancies for all sides to accept a compromise; Blackall and Dawes got their bishoprics, Trimnell got Norwich and John Potter, a future archbishop of Canterbury, became regius professor of divinity.

In early 1707, Tenison’s concern for its implications for the Church shaped his approach to the coming parliamentary discussion of the Union. On 4 Jan. 1707, in response to the Scottish Parliament’s act to secure presbyterianism, Tenison had assured Nicolson and Gibson at Lambeth that ‘he would insist on an act of security for episcopacy, previous to the Union’.192 No doubt the importance of the measures to be discussed prompted Bishop Hall to forward his proxy to Tenison (via Somers) on 21 Jan., asking that Tenison register his proxy as he thought fit, and it was duly taken on by the archbishop.193 On 23 Jan. Tenison, Wake, and Dean Willis met Bishop Moore at his house ‘towards the drawing up of an Act of Security for the Ch[urch], of E[ngland], against Tuesday next, when the Scotch Act for Union will be proposed by the queen’.194 Tenison then wrote to Somers enclosing the draft, hoping to discuss it with him in the Lords on the following day.195 When Nicolson had dinner at Lambeth on the 25th, Tenison showed the assembled company, including Bishops Lloyd, Burnet, Talbot and Evans ‘his design for a bill of security for the Church’.196 On 27 Jan. Wake, Gibson and Moore joined Tenison at Lambeth, where ‘we settled the act for the security of the Ch[urch], of E[ngland]’.197 Nicolson then spent some time in the archbishop’s closet in the Lords, correcting the bill before Tenison sent it to Somers.198 On 28 Jan. after the queen had introduced the Union, and the articles had been read, Tenison was given leave to bring in his bill. In fact, neither Tenison nor Somers was in attendance at the meeting held at Sunderland’s house which finalized the legislation; Wake and Moore took care of the Church interest, with Godolphin, Marlborough, Wharton, Orford, Halifax and Charles Townshend* [1391, 2nd Viscount Townshend.199 On 31 Jan. Tenison introduced it to the House, after which Wharton noted that ‘perhaps it is fortunate enough that it should be’ in the Lords first, ‘where the bishops (who bring it in) are entirely well-wishers to the Union itself’.200 After the second reading on 3 Feb. there was a concerted attempt by Sharp and Nottingham to include the Test Act in its provisions. Nottingham also criticized Tenison for not having brought the bill before Convocation. Somers spoke in defence of the archbishop, opposing the Sharp-Nottingham motion on the grounds that the bill was already comprehensive in its wording, and Tenison rather acidly asked the question ‘who was chief minister when presbytery was set up in Scotland’, a dig at Nottingham, and perhaps Thomas Osborne, duke of Leeds. As Bishop Evans reported ‘the archbishop’s bill’ passed the committee without amendments. Despite the opposition of Dissenters ‘of all denominations’ and of the Tories in the Commons (who reflected negatively on Tenison’s motives for introducing the bill), it received the royal assent on 13th and was seen as a political triumph for Tenison, who was ‘mightily pleased’ with the outcome.201 Tenison attended the last day of the session on 8 April. 

Convocation was prorogued for three weeks on 12 Feb. 1707 in order to avoid a possible revival of the ‘Church in danger’ agitation during the deliberations in Parliament on the Union. When it reassembled in March, the lower house complained of what they alleged was the novelty of proroguing Convocation while Parliament remained sitting. Their vote was sent up to the upper house on 19 March.202 On 22 Mar. Nicolson found Prolocutor Binckes waiting on Tenison at Lambeth ‘bespeaking his grace’s favourable construction of that part which he had in the late remonstrance of the lower house of Convocation’.203 Tenison did not put a favourable gloss on it, but judged it to be a reflection upon the royal supremacy, which he resolved to lay before the queen. When Convocation met on 10 Apr. Tenison referred back to the letter from the queen that had been read to Convocation on 1 Mar. 1706, in which she had pledged to maintain the royal supremacy and the due subordination of presbyters to bishops, and then threatened to take legal action against his opponents, all of which he backed up in a circular letter. Binckes was absent that day, without securing Tenison’s leave, and he was cited by the archbishop for contumacy, with sentence reserved for the 30th, when Binckes ‘appeared and asked pardon acknowledging his offence by signing a paper sent to him by the archbishop’.204 This was a significant victory for Tenison; Convocation was not allowed meet again to do business during the remainder of the Parliament.

Despite a swelling in his foot, which suggested a fresh attack of the gout was imminent, Tenison was in the House on 14 Apr., the first day of the short session of April 1707, and attended three of the nine sittings. He also attended on the prorogation of 30 Apr. for the reading of the royal proclamation of the new Parliament of Great Britain. Shortly afterwards, however, he was laid up with the gout.205 In both June and August, Tenison had to miss meetings with Harley owing to a variety of ailments, which precluded him travelling across the river from Lambeth.206 His condition had improved by 29 Aug. when Gibson noted that Tenison was ‘much better within these 10 days than I have known him in many months before’.207

Preparing again for the next session, Tenison employed his chaplain, Gibson, an inveterate organizer, to ask Bishop Humphreys in mid-October 1707 whether his ‘indisposition is not such, as will hinder you from appearing and making your proxy’. In the event Humphreys was excused attendance. Tenison was present on the opening day, 23 Oct., and thereafter attended on 35 days, 33 per cent of the total. The traditional St Stephen’s dinner was attended by both archbishops and 14 bishops.208 On 12 Jan. 1708, the two archbishops, Bishop Compton and the lord chief justice, Sir John Holt, held joint discussions about a bill against libels. On 14 Jan. Tenison attended the House, but the next day Nicolson recorded visiting Lambeth, the archbishop being ‘in bed with yesterday’s cold’.209 The 14th was to be his last attendance that session, and he was indisposed when Dawes and Blackall were consecrated at Lambeth on 8 February.210 Although confined to bed with the gout, on 2 Feb. Tenison played host to Nicolson and Somers, when he approved a circular letter in favour of Nicolson’s cathedral bill and the bill itself was ‘read and approved’.211 In the circular letter, Tenison backed the bill unequivocally: ‘I take it to be a common cause, and of great concern to this Church, which will never be quiet so long as that evil generation of men, who make it their business to search into little flaws in ancient charters and statutes, meet with any success’.212 The bill ‘for the avoiding of doubts and questions touching the statutes of divers cathedral and collegiate churches’ was introduced on 3 February. On 12 Feb. Nicolson noted that Tenison was ‘cheerful on the removes at court’, of Harley and his friends, and on the 15th that he was ‘my hearty well-wisher’ in his bill, which passed the Lords on 24 February. After the bill’s committal in the Commons on 28 Feb., the lower House ordered copies of the charters of the cathedral and collegiate churches founded by Henry VIII to be laid before them. As a result, on 2 Mar. Tenison sent Mr Bradley to Nicolson with ‘his eight copies of cathedral-statutes’, which were examined by Somers and two of the Members involved in managing the bill, Spencer Cowper and the solicitor-general, Sir James Montagu, before being delivered to the Commons later that day by ‘a gentleman belonging to the archbishop’. Once the bill had been returned to the Lords and passed, Tenison thanked Nicolson on 18 Mar. for ‘services to the Church, in carrying forward the bill’, which he ‘would not have seen miscarried for £500’. No doubt the bond between Tenison and Nicolson was strengthened by the archbishop’s receipt of information that Harley’s secret service disbursements included payments for a messenger to Atterbury’s home in Chelsea.213

Whig ministry 1708-10

On 7 May 1708 Tenison presided over a meeting at the Cockpit of Bishops Wake, Moore and Trimnell, and Deans Willis and White Kennett, the future bishop of Peterborough, to discuss Convocation.214 At a meeting of the council on 17 June, Tenison was in a minority in favour of the immediate execution of the outlawed Edward Griffin, Baron Griffin, for his part in the abortive Jacobite invasion earlier in the year.215 Exasperated by the leniency promoted by some of his colleagues, Tenison commented on such ‘fine work’, which meant that ‘at this rate we shall have none hanged’.216 On 8 July he was the only bishop present in the House for the prorogation. In August, with the highfliers having ‘declared war again in a sharp book’, he informed Wake that `the spirit of the party begins to appear as hot as ever: and if we had not in view a good Parliament, they would create trouble enough’.217 He attended the prorogation on 9 Sept., and on 7 Oct. he was reported to be on a short visit to Croydon.218 On 15 Oct. he wrote to Sunderland having missed the previous council meeting at which the details for the sitting of Parliament were fixed, ‘by reason of a violent pain which had seized me’. As nothing had been decided about Convocation, he hoped it could be done at the next cabinet.219 In the event, Convocation was opened and was then prorogued continuously. On 25 Feb. 1709 Tenison prorogued Convocation in person, leaving Rev. Ralph Bridges to note that he had again done so ‘without permitting us to choose a prolocutor, so there is an end of Convocations.’220

Tenison missed the first four weeks of business of the new Parliament, attending the Lords for the first time on 14 Dec. 1708; he was present on 27 days of the session, 32 per cent of the total. On 28 Dec. he hosted a dinner for 12 of the episcopal bench.221 On 21 Jan. 1709 he voted against allowing Scots peers with British titles the right to vote in the election of Scottish representative peers. On 24 Feb. Gibson noted that Tenison ‘continues as well as ever I knew him, and goes over to Parliament as oft as there is any business that requires his presence; besides his frequent attendances at the meetings for the Queen’s bounty, and at other places on other occasions’.222 On 8 Mar. Tenison joined the bishops in attending the queen on her accession day.223 On 15 Mar. he voted in favour of the second reading of the general naturalization bill; and in committee he voted against an amendment which would have forced the beneficiaries of the act to take communion at an Anglican church.224 He last attended on 28 Mar., where he had a ‘good deal of discourse’ with Wake.225 By 6 Apr. he was ‘very lame in the gout’, but although he missed the last three weeks of business, he remained keenly alert across the river at Lambeth, where he received visitors like Nicolson on 12 Apr. with whom he discussed parliamentary matters.226

In May 1709 Tenison was one of those opposed to the election of Henry Sacheverell as a. chaplain of St Saviours, Southwark, an event that was thought likely to disturb ‘his grace’s repose’ at Lambeth.227 The question of the succession to John Williams, bishop of Chichester, who died in April 1709 was a further test of Tenison’s influence. On 17 May Gibson told Wake that Tenison doubted that the candidacy of Dr Lancaster would be successful because although the queen had hinted that she would not appoint Dean Willis, ‘she had said at the same time, he should be a person acceptable to our friends, and that could not possibly be said of one who has so near a relation to the bishop of London’.228 In the event Thomas Manningham, a moderate, was chosen. Gibson complained to Wake on 1 July 1709 about the pressure placed on Tenison by the Junto:

if the Lords think that my Lord of Canterbury can support an interest for the common cause when he is so ill supported in it within his proper sphere, they will find their mistake, and feel the effects of it, and wish, when it is too late and ill humours are grown high, that they had laid the concerns of the church a little more to heart, and not sacrificed my Lord of Canterbury and his dependants to their friends in the state.229

Tenison attended the prorogation of 23 June. On 16 Sept. one of Bishop Moore’s correspondents found Tenison in bed with the gout, although by the 22nd Kennett ‘found him able to walk well in his chamber, proposing to dine in public Monday next’, and hoping for Wake’s return ‘to consult about several affairs’, there being ‘no one bishop in town.’230 Tenison did not attend the parliamentary session that opened on 15 Nov. and was able to secure the continued prorogation of Convocation so that it did not meet to conduct business during the session.231 On 20 Feb. 1710, Arthur Maynwaring noted that Tenison had ‘written a very good letter to the queen upon the subject of the new bishops, which she seems not to dislike, yet has not said that she will make any of those men that he sends her a list of’, a reference to the delicate matter of filling vacancies during the Sacheverell trial, with Bishop Hall of Bristol and George Bull, bishop of St Davids, both having died in February.232 On 28 Feb. Tenison was forced to use another hand when writing owing to the gout, and on 2 Mar. a newsletter recorded that he had ‘been kept away from the House by indisposition’.233 As a result of his illness, he was completely absent from the Sacheverell trial.

The Tory ministry 1710-14

On 25 May 1710 Kennett waited on Tenison ‘whom I find in good heart and not ready to believe the common report of changes’. By 24 June Tenison was congratulating Wake on being ‘so quiet in your diocese’, and sanguine that elections ‘may not be so soon as some desire’, although he hoped that the Whig John Pocklington, ‘who I’m sure is for peace upon a good bottom’, would be returned again for Huntingdonshire.234 Unsurprisingly, in October 1710, Harley listed Tenison as a sure opponent of his new ministry. The archbishop observed the change of ministry from Lambeth, commenting on 10 Oct. to Wake that ‘we expect still some changes’ with Sir John Trevor, master of the rolls, ‘talked of for lord chancellor’. He urged Wake to hurry up to town as ‘we want persons to confer with in this critical juncture’, there being no bishops in town apart from Hough, Evans and Compton, while the trusted Dean Willis had also not yet arrived.235 On 6 Nov. Sunderland informed Somers that Tenison wished to see them both at Lambeth that week ‘having something to tell us which he can’t so well write and his lameness not suffering him to come over the water as yet.’236 A meeting was held at Lambeth on 11 Nov. with most of his key clerical allies, Wake, Hough, Moore, Evans and Burnet plus William Fleetwood, of St Asaph, Dean Willis and Gibson, in which their approach to Convocation was discussed.237 Instead of seeking advice from Tenison on the agenda for Convocation, however, the queen consulted Harley, Rochester, Hooper and Sharp, and on the first day it (and Parliament) met, 25 Nov., Atterbury was elected prolocutor despite Tenison’s orchestrated opposition.238 Tenison attended the Lords on the second day of the session, 27 Nov., but did not attend for the rest of the session, or indeed the Parliament. On 6 Dec. he formally opened Convocation, replying to speeches by Atterbury and George Smalridge, the future bishop of Bristol, either with ‘peevishness and bad Latin’, or ‘a grave and serious animadversion upon, and exhortation to the clergy’, depending on the observer’s point of view, before it adjourned for a week. Afterwards he met with Bishops Wake, Talbot and Moore.239 On 12 Dec. the queen instructed Tenison to ensure that Convocation was not marred by ‘unseasonable’ disputes between the two houses.240 Tenison read this message to Convocation on the 13th.241 On 14 Dec. Atterbury wrote to Harley that the archbishop had seemed ‘more moderate and in temper than any of the bishops, and seemed prepared to do anything that was fit and reasonable’, but that the bishops would no doubt apply pressure to Tenison to ‘approve the violent measures of his brethren’.242 Despite party enmities in Parliament and Convocation, the 1710 St Stephen’s dinner had ‘the greatest appearance that had been known’, with 19 in attendance and only two absent.243

On 8 Jan. 1711 it was reported by Bridges that ‘the ministry design to move her majesty to play her supremacy against the exorbitant power of the archbishop, I mean his legatine authority. This is to please the lower clergy.’244 On 22 Jan. Tenison received both Prolocutor Atterbury and Smalridge at Lambeth.245 When Convocation met two days later, with Tenison present, he was not named as president and had Bishops Compton and Hooper joined with him in the quorum. The intention was that the archbishop would no longer be able to appoint his own presiding officer in his absence, and thus lose control of proceedings. The upper house of Convocation ordered Bishops Wake, Moore and Trimnell to compile a report on royal licenses, and the three men met with Tenison on 26 January.246 On 19 Feb. Bridges felt that ‘the Whig bishops are so vexed at their not being made presidents of the Convocation in their order, that they have come to an underhand resolution not to suffer any business to be done without the presence of the archbishop, who is now ill and uncertain when he will be able to appear, and much more if he be willing.’247 With Tenison and Compton both ill and Hooper unwilling to act, on 21 Feb. a new licence was issued restoring Tenison to the presidency and adding other bishops to the quorum.248

Tenison was now generally unwilling to leave Lambeth; on 4 Jan. 1711 he entered his proxy in favour of Bishop Hough, and relied upon men such as Nicolson to provide him with accounts of events, such as the proceedings about miscarriages in Spain. With the Scottish Episcopalians emboldened by the new Tory ministry, on 9 Jan. Tenison granted an audience for the following day to James Greenshields, the Episcopalian under attack from the Scottish Presbyterian establishment. On 2 Feb. Tenison was reported to be ‘very lame, but cheerful’. When Nicolson reported to him the debate in the Lords on 5 Feb. on the bill to reverse the general naturalization, Tenison denied the allegation made by Nottingham that he had had ‘a correspondence with the king of Prussia, and letting it cool’, assuring Nicolson that ‘the Palatines were invited by William Penn’.249 Tenison had corresponded with Frederick of Prussia and with his chaplain Jablonski about the controversial proposal for closer links between the churches, but as Smalridge acknowledged, the archbishop was ‘very much upon the reserve always as to the Foreign-Reform’d [churches], and cares not for giving any opinion either for or against them’.250 On 7 Feb. nothing was done in Convocation because Tenison was absent.251 On 29 Mar. he was ‘still in hazard’, and a newsletter of 3 Apr. reported him ‘so dangerously ill from a mortification in the foot ’tis believed his life draws towards a period’, causing deep concern to his political allies for whom Tenison’s death would inevitably result in a Tory replacement.252 Tenison survived, though, and on 1 May registered his proxy in favour of Bishop Moore (vacated at the end of the session). 

With the summer, Tenison hoped to get about more, but on 25 June 1711 he had to abandon plans to wait on the queen, ‘the gout being got into one of my knees’.253 On 30 Aug. Nicolson wrote to Wake concerning Tenison’s ‘great indisposition’, and the probability that ‘the removes [their replacements in the event of their deaths] are all fixed’, whether Tenison or Compton ‘happens to make way (first) for the needy.’ Gibson, too, was not optimistic about Tenison’s health: ‘I doubt he is not in a condition to attend much business. His long confinement, and disuse of public days, made me almost despair of ever seeing him abroad again; and, I fear, the best we have to hope for, is, as long a remainder within doors as care and ease will give us’.254 Tenison did not attend the session of 1711-12 and on 6 Dec. 1711 registered his proxy in favour of Bishop Moore, almost certainly in anticipation of the crucial divisions on the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion expected on the following day. He was still indisposed early in February 1712, but, as usual, he was kept abreast of news by allies such as Nicolson, who, for example, on 16 Feb. collected a copy of the previous day’s address from the Parliament office and sent it over to Lambeth.255 Tenison was able to host the traditional bishops’ dinner on Easter Tuesday, where he was instrumental in embarrassing some of the Tory bishops over the controversy over lay baptism, which was then put to good use in Convocation.256 On 20 May Tenison registered his proxy in favour of Bishop Fleetwood. He continued to socialize with like-minded bishops: on 14 June Bishops Moore, Evans, and Fleetwood dined at Lambeth.257 He was nevertheless still frail and on 16 June Thomas Bateman noted that Tenison had ‘scarce been out of doors since the sessions began.’258

With the next session expected to consider the peace, on 30 Nov. 1712, Tenison, via Gibson, expressed the hope that Nicolson would be able to attend in person, stressing the ‘good deal of difference between his person and proxy’.259 Another St Stephen’s dinner at the close of 1712 was attended by nine bishops.260 Despite the state of his health Tenison remained closely involved with Church business. On 31 Jan. 1713 he wrote to the queen to remind her of her earlier stance on pluralities, which although necessary, would now lead to her being ‘perpetually troubled with unwelcome importunities and much prejudice will accrue to that good Church of which your majesty is the nursing mother and in which I am placed... as a watchman and shepherd’.261 He communicated regularly with allies such as Wake.262 In anticipation of the spring 1713 session, Jonathan Swift and Oxford (as Harley had now become) again listed Tenison as a certain opponent, and assumed that the archbishop would oppose confirmation of the eighth and ninth articles of the French commercial treaty. As the proxy books are not extant for 1713, there is no record of Tenison’s proxy. In March, he was again reported to be ‘dangerously ill’.263

Tenison was, however, still very much alive in the autumn, and after the protracted elections of August to October 1713, Gibson began to rally the bishops on his behalf for the session that would begin the following February.264 Following the queen’s illness in December, Tenison wrote a letter of thanks to Oxford for news of the queen’s health; had he been able he ‘should have, long before this time, and especially in this juncture, travelled to Windsor, in order to the paying my duty.’265 A flurry of activity preceded the opening of the Parliament, much of it concerning the parallel sitting of Convocation. Thus, on 8 Feb. 1714 Tenison was hopeful that ‘if the weather proves warm and God gives me a little strength, I will venture hard to come to Henry the 7th’s Chapel to confirm the prolocutor, if I fear not apparent hazard of relapse’.266 In the event, gout prevented his attendance.267

Though physically absent Tenison kept a careful eye on proceedings. On 8 Apr. 1714 Nicolson took the ‘woeful’ Lords Journal to Lambeth with its account of recent events relating to the Protestant Succession. On 31 May Nicolson received a message from Tenison ‘to attend the schism bill’, which was introduced into the Lords on 4 June. After the narrow vote on 11 June over extending the bill to Ireland (which Tenison opposed, although he had not registered a proxy, being unable to attend and qualify himself to do so) Nicolson again visited Tenison.268 Absence from Westminster did not mean inactivity, for on 11 June, Tenison claimed that ‘my house is full of petitioners, and my desk covered with letters’.269 Indeed, with an important debate expected on 30 June, it was rumoured that he ‘was to be brought into the house yesterday to leave his proxy to vote to-morrow’.270 On 10 July, the day after the end of the parliamentary session, Simon Harcourt, Baron Harcourt, was able to excuse himself from dining with the beleaguered Oxford, because he was engaged to attend Tenison with the Hanoverian envoy, Christoper Frederick Kreienberg, at four o’clock ‘on matters of great importance’.271

The death of the queen on 1 Aug. 1714 propelled Tenison back into politics as he was named ex officio as a lord justice, although he was now too frail to take on an active public role. When Parliament was recalled following the queen’s death, he attended on one day only (5 Aug.), one of the 14 lords justices to be present. Having attended at the Cockpit on 3 Sept. upon a summons from the committee concerning the coronation, Tenison felt ‘disordered’ on his return to Lambeth, and on the 5th he was seized with ‘frequent, sudden and very violent vomitings’. Instead of venturing over the river on the 6th to the lords justices’ meeting at St James’s he thought it necessary to send for his physician.272 On 11 Oct. Trimnell reported that Tenison was ‘pretty cheerful’, despite being so ill that Trimnell wanted Sir Hans Sloane to visit him weekly.273 Despite this, Tenison managed to crown George I on 20 Oct. with ‘peculiar joy’ in a ceremony that had more than a few bungled moments.274

By the end of August 1714, there were vacant bishoprics to fill at Ely and Gloucester. Tenison secured the translation of Bishop Fleetwood to Ely in November. Presumably a negotiated compromise with Nottingham and Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, saw Richard Willis take Gloucester and the Tory, John Wynne, replace Fleetwood at St Asaph. Tenison continued to make his recommendations for appointments to the Irish episcopate, but he disapproved of the ‘motley’ nature of the appointments to the bench made by new Hanoverian regime, which put Church matters ‘at sixes and sevens’.275 Tenison did not attend Parliament again and died on 14 Dec. 1715 at Lambeth. 

Immediately after Tenison’s death his nephew and heir, Edward Tenison, a canon of Canterbury and later bishop of Ossory, sent the archbishop’s seals to Townshend for their customary destruction in council, and began the extensive business attendant upon fulfilling his last wishes, and executing his complex will (which inevitably brought with it financial disputes).276 Tenison was buried in the chancel of Lambeth parish church in the same vault as his wife.277 Maurice Wheeler condemned the critics who had been ‘so perversely absurd as to imagine there was anything of penuriousness in the late archbishop’s humble funeral’, relaying reports that he left £14,000 to charitable uses.278 In addition to more than £7,500 in cash bequests, Tenison’s numerous legacies included the swannery near Buckden to the bishops of Lincoln and his fire engine and buckets to future archbishops.279 Despite (or perhaps in acknowledgement of) the tensions of their political relationship, he bequeathed to Somers his painting of the martyred St Sebastian. Among his benefactions during his lifetime were £3-4,000 on the King Street Chapel in St James’s, as well as £500 for supporting it; the foundation and endowment of what became Archbishop Tenison’s Grammar School; and a subscription of £800 to Greenwich Hospital.280

Assessments of Tenison’s contribution to the nation’s political and religious life naturally reflected the partisanship of the commentator. Shortly before Tenison’s death, Gibson referred to him as ‘the wisest and best man that I know in the world; many others have more state politics; but he had the true Christian policy; great goodness, and integrity improved by long experience and a natural sedateness and steadiness of temper, and a general knowledge of men and of things’. He argued that ‘had it not pleased God to raise up such an one to steer, in the stormy times that we have had (for these last 20 years) the Church in all human probability must have been shipwrecked over and over’.281 Tories like Clarendon had once see Tenison as ‘a perfect worthy man’ because of his opposition to James II and Catholicism.282 By the time of his promotion to Canterbury in 1695 he was perceived as a ‘tool’.283 Evelyn referred to his ‘learning, piety and prudence’, but Swift damned him as ‘the dullest, good for nothing man I ever knew’ and the Tory William Legge, earl of Dartmouth, considered him to be ‘dull and very covetous’, ‘a zealous party man’, ‘very hot and heavy’.284 Hearne thought him ‘a man of some learning, but of no principles of honest and conscience’, and moreover, one who ‘loves rascals and block-heads’.285 After 20 years as archbishop, one observer noted that he was ‘not of that compliant temper of mind which courtiers are apt to wish for in bishops’.286

Tenison had a difficult path to follow. For most of William’s reign, he was able to work alongside Whig politicians, such as Somers, and he played a full part in a range of governmental activities as a lord justice.287 The end of William’s reign and the return of Convocation made running the Church much more of a battle between contested visions of its future and created increasing disaffection from the proponents of a high Church alternative. Opposition to Tenison united around the Convocation controversy, which between 1697 and 1701 created clearly-defined parties in the Church.288 Tenison was able to defend his position through the use of his clerical allies, and used social gatherings of bishops at Lambeth to organize his supporters. He employed a system of ‘whipping’ to ensure the attendance of his allies and employed sympathetic bishops and clergy to run errands and keep up lines of communication around London.289 Despite the Tory campaign, which appeared close to success in 1711, Tenison never abandoned his constitutional right to preside over Convocation as a single entity. As he said of the Church in the first page of his will, he aimed at ‘constantly endeavouring to improve but never to injure its constitution’. 

Tenison’s activity tailed off during Anne’s reign as his health became increasingly delicate. During Sunderland’s tenure as secretary, he was recorded as attending the Cabinet on only 18 occasions between December 1706 and May 1710, the last on 21 Feb. 1709. His last attendance during the queen’s reign was on 8 Sept. 1710, although there was evidence that he continued to be summoned.290 His greatest political achievement may have been his dogged survival into the reign of George I, denying the Tories the prize of Canterbury. As one correspondent told his successor, ‘I think it a wonderful providence and mercy to us in preserving an aged infirm gentleman so long for a proper time to remove him’. Or as Philip Wharton, 2nd marquess of Wharton put it: ‘everyone knows how that see had been filled had not the late archbishop outlived the power of his enemies.’291

Tenison’s conduct of affairs influenced Gibson, who was later to suggest that he learnt from Tenison to have no truck with Tories beyond ‘common civility’, and that ‘tho’ he could do no [good], at court, yet he could hinder mischief; which he always [saw] as a reason for keeping fair with those who were not [exa]ctly in his way of thinking.’292 In 1724 Robert Clavering, the future bishop of Peterborough, referred to ‘that great prelate, ever wary and vigilant in all manner of business, [who] would not do anything till a thorough enquiry was made into the affair’.293 Nicolson later recalled Tenison as ‘a rock and the centre of unity in the English Church’.294 His legacy helped to shape the Church long after his death, for six of Tenison’s chaplains later became bishops: Potter, Gibson, Green, Clavering, Richard Smalbroke, who became bishop of Lichfield and Coventry and Elias Sydall, who would be bishop of Gloucester.


  • 1 E. Carpenter, Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, 3-5.
  • 2 CUL, EDR B/2/58: CCED.
  • 3 TNA, PROB 11/550.
  • 4 CUL, EDR B/2/58: CCEd.
  • 5 CSP Dom. 1690-1, p. 158.
  • 6 CSP Dom. 1695 p. 326; CSP Dom. 1699-1700, p. 276.
  • 7 CSP Dom. 1695, pp. 73, 346; CSP Dom. 1703-4, p. 462.
  • 8 CSP Dom. 1702-3, p. 313.
  • 9 CSP Dom. 1702-3, p. 489.
  • 10 Commissions for Building 50 New Churches ed. M.H. Port (London Rec. Soc. xxiii), pp. xxxiv-xxxv.
  • 11 CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 358; Bodl. Ballard 7, f. 100.
  • 12 G.S. Davies, Charterhouse in London, 355.
  • 13 Carpenter, Thomas Tenison, 3-4, 7-10; Evelyn Diary, iv. 307-8.
  • 14 Add. 18730, f. 19.
  • 15 Burnet, iv. 244n.
  • 16 Carpenter, Thomas Tenison, 40-41.
  • 17 S. Patrick, Works, ix. 564.
  • 18 HP Commons, 1660-90, i. 545; Add. 70013, f. 189.
  • 19 Bodl. Carte 79, ff. 433-4.
  • 20 Carpenter, 23-25; Survey of London, xx. 113, xxix. 33.
  • 21 Christ Church, Oxf., Wake mss 17, f. 21.
  • 22 Verney ms mic. M636/40, J. to Sir R. Verney, 16 July 1685; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 27.
  • 23 Burnet, iii. 49-51; An account of what passed at the execution of the late duke of Monmouth (1685).
  • 24 Burnet, iii. 105; H. Horwitz, Rev. Pols, 38; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 52.
  • 25 HMC Downshire, i. 269; Carpenter, 50-65.
  • 26 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 83.
  • 27 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 488.
  • 28 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 171, 174, 478; S. Patrick, Works, ix. 510-11; Bodl. Tanner 28, f. 38.
  • 29 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 177.
  • 30 Ballard 11, f. 56; Nicolson, London Diaries, 465.
  • 31 Evelyn Diary, iv. 592.
  • 32 S. Patrick, Works, ix. 515; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 240; Carpenter, 90-91.
  • 33 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 508.
  • 34 LPL, ms 930, f. 7.
  • 35 S. Patrick, Works, ix. 516-17.
  • 36 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 275.
  • 37 Horwitz, Rev. Pols, 87.
  • 38 J.P. Kenyon, Sunderland, 226, 228, 238-40.
  • 39 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 276; Add. 75368, Nottingham to Halifax, 4 Dec. 1697.
  • 40 Sidney Diary ed Blencowe, ii. 283.
  • 41 Add. 32681, ff. 317-18; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 107.
  • 42 T. Tenison, A Sermon against Self-love (1689); Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 131.
  • 43 Carpenter, 100-10; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 203-4, 226-7, 235-6.
  • 44 Tenison, Discourse concerning the Ecclesiastical Commission (1689).
  • 45 Carpenter, 115.
  • 46 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 260-1; HMC 12th Rep. VI. 287.
  • 47 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 300.
  • 48 Wood, Life and Times, iii. 354.
  • 49 HMC Portland, iii. 445.
  • 50 CSP Dom. 1690-1, pp. 158-60, 321.
  • 51 LPL, ms 3894, f. 11.
  • 52 Add. 29594, f. 216.
  • 53 CSP Dom. 1690-1, p. 554.
  • 54 Carpenter, 120-2.
  • 55 Add. 4236, f. 253.
  • 56 Carpenter, 123.
  • 57 Verney ms mic. M636/40, list of preachers for Easter 1692-3.
  • 58 Carpenter, 364-70.
  • 59 LPL, ms 930, no. 204.
  • 60 Add. 61653, ff. 59-65.
  • 61 Glos. Archives, Lloyd Baker mss D3549/2/2/1/161.
  • 62 Carpenter, 131-2; CSP Dom. 1694-5 pp. 350, 355.
  • 63 Essays in Mod, English Church Hist. ed. G.V. Bennett and J.D. Walsh, 122.
  • 64 Burnet, iv. 244; CSP Dom. 1695, p. 292.
  • 65 Tanner 25, f. 273.
  • 66 Kennett, History of England, iii. 681.
  • 67 HMC Hastings, ii. 243; T. Tenison, A Sermon concerning Holy Resolution (1695).
  • 68 CSP Dom. 1695, p. 304; Add. 17677, PP, ff. 110-125; LPL, ms 930, no. 198.
  • 69 CSP Dom. 1695, p. 308.
  • 70 Tenison, A Sermon Preached at the Funeral of her late Majesty Queen Mary (1695).
  • 71 Wood, Life and Times, iii. 482-3.
  • 72 Tanner, 24, f. 32.
  • 73 CSP Dom. 1695, p. 329.
  • 74 Wake mss 6, ff. 61-62; CSP Dom. 1695, p. 338.
  • 75 Add. 46527, f. 62.
  • 76 CSP Dom. 1695, pp. 2-3, 28, 32.
  • 77 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/33.
  • 78 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 386.
  • 79 Ballard 9, f. 26.
  • 80 HMC Downshire, i. 587.
  • 81 Evelyn Diary, v. 224.
  • 82 G. Kemp, ‘The ‘End of Censorship’ and the Politics of Toleration, from Locke to Sacheverell’, PH, xxxi. 53-54; Locke Corresp. v. 482.
  • 83 HMC Hastings, ii. 243.
  • 84 Carpenter, 211-12; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 541-2.
  • 85 HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 220-1.
  • 86 HMC Hastings, ii. 283.
  • 87 CSP Dom. 1696, pp. 187, 189, 196, 209, 218, 227.
  • 88 Add. 35107, f. 41; TN, PC 2/76, p. 406..
  • 89 State Trials, xiii. 413, 420-1; Add. 70081, newsletter, 18 Apr. 1696.
  • 90 LPL, ms 930/42, Lloyd to Tenison, 17 Oct. 1696.
  • 91 Lexington pprs. 237; Shrewsbury Corresp. 446, 452; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 140.
  • 92 Staffs. RO, Persehowse pprs, D260/M/F/1/6, f. 97.
  • 93 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 169.
  • 94 Add. 47608, f. 88.
  • 95 CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 15-16.
  • 96 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 178, 199.
  • 97 CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 145, 157.
  • 98 Carpenter, 375-6.
  • 99 Tanner 23, f. 13; Glos. Archives, Sharp pprs, box 78, 73, Finch to Sharp, 22 May 1697.
  • 100 Add. 75368, Nottingham to Halifax, 2 Sept. 1699.
  • 101 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 249.
  • 102 Add. 28927, ff. 91, 96.
  • 103 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 163, box 1, Biscoe-Maunsell newsletters, 26 Feb. 1697/8; Luttrell, iv. 347.
  • 104 Ballard 38, f. 186.
  • 105 LPL, ms 930/24.
  • 106 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 111, 117.
  • 107 Essays in Mod, English Church Hist., 127-8.
  • 108 Shrewsbury Corresp. 581-3.
  • 109 CSP Dom. 1699-1700, p. 84.
  • 110 Ballard 4, f. 52.
  • 111 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 129.
  • 112 Hart, Life of John Sharp, 255-6.
  • 113 Tanner 21, ff. 124-5.
  • 114 Add. 5831, ff. 215-16.
  • 115 HMC Cowper, iii. 19; Bodl. Rawl. Letters 7, f. 25.
  • 116 A Letter to a Person of Quality concerning the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Sentence of Deprivation against the Bishop of St Davids (1699); A Summary View of the Articles Exhibited against the late Bishop of St Davids (1701).
  • 117 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 376-7.
  • 118 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 9-10, 20.
  • 119 CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 43.
  • 120 Add. 4292, f. 35.
  • 121 Wake mss 6, ff. 92-93.
  • 122 Carte 228, ff. 337-8.
  • 123 Burnet, iv. 519-27; Bennett, Tory Crisis, 56-59.
  • 124 Ballard 36, f. 6.
  • 125 CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 77.
  • 126 LPL, ms 930, no. 197.
  • 127 LPL, ms 930/25.
  • 128 Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 22 Jan. 1702.
  • 129 Burnet, iv. 559-60.
  • 130 Add. 61126, f. 7.
  • 131 Essays in Mod. English Church Hist. 130-1.
  • 132 Glos. Archives, Lloyd Baker mss D3549/2/2/2.
  • 133 CSP Dom. 1702-3, p. 489; Nicolson, London Diaries, 191n.
  • 134 Nicolson, London Diaries, 145, 149.
  • 135 HMC Portland, iv. 48-49.
  • 136 LPL, ms 930, no. 31.
  • 137 Nicolson, London Diaries, 137, 139-40; Carpenter, 117.
  • 138 Nicolson, London Diaries, 167-9, 181, 201.
  • 139 Ibid. 159.
  • 140 Add. 29584, ff. 101-2, Bennett, Tory Crisis, 69.
  • 141 Atterbury, Epistolary Corresp. iv. 415, iii. 126.
  • 142 Ballard 6, f. 89.
  • 143 Recs. of Convocation ed. Bray, ix. 220-1.
  • 144 Herts ALS, DE/P/F136, draft act for the better regulating of printing and printing presses.
  • 145 LPL, ms 3016, ff. 14v-15r.
  • 146 Verney ms mic. M636/53, R. Palmer to R. Verney, n.d.
  • 147 Carpenter, 32-34.
  • 148 HMC Downshire, i. 833.
  • 149 Add. 70021, f. 273.
  • 150 Nicolson, London Diaries, 219-20.
  • 151 Ibid. 219-21, 235-6.
  • 152 Carpenter, 118-19.
  • 153 Nicolson, London Diaries, 260, 267.
  • 154 Ibid. 242-3; Recs. of Convocation, ix. 316-18.
  • 155 Recs. of Convocation, ix. 244-8.
  • 156 NLW, Ottley Corresp. 217.
  • 157 Burnet, History, v. 202-3.
  • 158 Longleat, Bath mss, Portland misc. ff. 214-15.
  • 159 Wake mss 1, ff. 1-2.
  • 160 Add. 70260, Tenison to Harley 18 July 1705.
  • 161 Add. 70075, newsletter, 23 Oct. 1705.
  • 162 Cowper, Diary, 19.
  • 163 Timberland, ii. 150-1; Nicolson, London Diaries, 304.
  • 164 Nicolson, London Diaries, 339; Cobbett, vi. 464.
  • 165 LPL, ms 930/223.
  • 166 LPL, ms 930/189.
  • 167 Nicolson, London Diaries, 307; HMC Lords, n.s. vi. 323.
  • 168 Nicolson, London Diaries, 299, 317.
  • 169 WSHC, 3790/1/1, p. 60.
  • 170 Nicolson, London Diaries, 334, 336, 348.
  • 171 Nicolson, London Diaries, 349; HMC Lords, n.s. vi. 308.
  • 172 Nicolson, London Diaries, 381.
  • 173 TCD, King letterbks. 750 (3), p. 13.
  • 174 Nicolson, London Diaries, 357, 362, 366.
  • 175 Lansd. 987, f. 175v.; Nicolson, London Diaries, 364.
  • 176 Nicolson, London Diaries, 368.
  • 177 LPL. ms 1770 (Wake diary), f. 11v.
  • 178 HMC Lords, n.s. vi. 428; Belvoir Castle, Rutland mss letters xxi, Tenison to Rutland, 21 Mar. 1705-6.
  • 179 Add. 61102, f. 92; Nicolson, London Diaries, 292-3, 386.
  • 180 LPL, ms 1770, f. 12r ; Nicolson, London Diaries, 386.
  • 181 LPL, ms 930, f. 222.
  • 182 Wake mss 1, f. 42; Carpenter, 72.
  • 183 Nicolson, London Diaries, 397.
  • 184 Ibid. 399.
  • 185 Godolphin-Marlborough Corresp. 733.
  • 186 Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers mss 371/14/D/15; Nicolson, London Diaries, 400.
  • 187 Nicolson, London Diaries, 403-4; Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers mss 371/14/D/11-12.
  • 188 Wake mss 7, ff. 346-7.
  • 189 LPL, ms 930, f. 195.
  • 190 Coxe, Marlborough, ii. 158-9.
  • 191 NLW, Plas-yn-Cefn, 2740.
  • 192 Nicolson, London Diaries, 407.
  • 193 Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers mss 371/14/D/10, D/12.
  • 194 LPL, ms 1770, ff. 34-35.
  • 195 Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers mss 371/14/D12.
  • 196 Nicolson, London Diaries, 411-12.
  • 197 LPL, ms 1770, f. 35.
  • 198 Nicolson, London Diaries, 412; Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers mss 371/14/D/13.
  • 199 LPL, ms 1770, f. 35.
  • 200 HMC 14th Rep. III, 158.
  • 201 Nicolson, London Diaries, 392, 414-15, 417; NLW, Ottley Corresp. 2779.
  • 202 Recs. of Convocation, ix. 377.
  • 203 Nicolson, London Diaries, 426.
  • 204 Recs. of Convocation, ix. 378-83; Tanner 282, f. 147, Ballard 10, f. 7; NLW, Plas-yn-Cefn, 2734; Add. 72494, ff. 21-22.
  • 205 NLW, Plas-yn-Cefn, 2734-5.
  • 206 Add. 70260, Tenison to Harley 20 June 1707, 16 Aug. 1707, 23 Aug. 1707.
  • 207 Wake mss 17, f. 174.
  • 208 LPL, ms 1770, f. 54v.; Nicolson, London Diaries, 436-7.
  • 209 Nicolson, London Diaries, 441-2.
  • 210 Carpenter, 183.
  • 211 Nicolson, London Diaries, 447.
  • 212 Wake mss 17, f. 185.
  • 213 Nicolson, London Diaries, 451-2, 458, 463, 468.
  • 214 LPL, ms 1770, f. 61.
  • 215 Ballard 21, f. 31.
  • 216 Hearne, Remarks and Collections, ii. 114.
  • 217 Wake mss 1, ff. 168, 172.
  • 218 Add. 72494, f. 83.
  • 219 Add. 61612, f. 151.
  • 220 Add. 72494, f. 101.
  • 221 LPL, ms 1770, f. 72.
  • 222 NLW, Plas-yn-Cefn, 2741.
  • 223 LPL, ms 1770, ff. 75-76.
  • 224 Nicolson, London Diaries, 485-6.
  • 225 LPL, ms 1770, f. 77.
  • 226 Nicolson, London Diaries, 494, 497.
  • 227 HMC Downshire, i. 872, 876; Holmes, Trial of Sacheverell, 56-59.
  • 228 Wake mss 17, f. 211.
  • 229 Wake mss 17, f. 218.
  • 230 Camb. RO, 17/C1, H. James to Moore, 16 Sept. 1709; Wake mss 17, f. 232.
  • 231 Burnet, v. 412.
  • 232 Add. 61460, ff. 183-4.
  • 233 Wake mss 4, f. 162; Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 46, f. 245.
  • 234 Wake mss 1, f. 234; 17, f. 253.
  • 235 Wake mss 17, f. 267.
  • 236 Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers mss 371/14/E32.
  • 237 LPL, ms 1770, f. 100.
  • 238 Nicolson, London Diaries, 509.
  • 239 Add. 72495, f. 35; LPL, ms 1770, f. 101v.
  • 240 Add. 61102, f. 117.
  • 241 LPL, ms 1770, f. 102.
  • 242 HMC Portland, v. 128-9; Add. 70028, f. 323.
  • 243 Nicolson, London Diaries, 525.
  • 244 Add. 72495, f. 40.
  • 245 Nicolson, London Diaries, 536.
  • 246 LPL, ms 1770, ff. 103-4.
  • 247 Add. 72495, ff. 44-45.
  • 248 Nicolson, London Diaries, 537; Sykes, William Wake, i. 125-30.
  • 249 Nicolson, London Diaries, 529, 531, 541-2.
  • 250 R.B. Levis, ‘Failure of the Anglo-Prussian Ecumenical Effort’, Church Hist. xlvii. 386.
  • 251 LPL, ms 1770, f. 104r.
  • 252 Nicolson, London Diaries, 556, 565; Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, ff. 193-4.
  • 253 LPL, ms 930/191.
  • 254 Wake mss 5, ff. 16-17; 17, ff. 279-80.
  • 255 Add. 4274, f. 79; Nicolson, London Diaries, 587.
  • 256 Wake mss 17, ff. 322-3; Bennett, Tory Crisis, 155-6.
  • 257 Wake mss 2, f. 139.
  • 258 Add. 72500, ff. 100-1.
  • 259 Nicolson, London Diaries, 599; Bodl. Add. A 269, f. 19.
  • 260 LPL, ms 1770, f. 128.
  • 261 Add. 35838, ff. 113-15.
  • 262 LPL, ms 1770, f. 130r.
  • 263 Add. 72496, ff. 54-55.
  • 264 Nicolson, London Diaries, 604.
  • 265 Add. 70260, Tenison to Oxford, 30 Dec. 1713.
  • 266 Wake mss 6, f. 167.
  • 267 Add. 70032, ff. 59-60; Wake mss 6, f. 170.
  • 268 Nicolson, London Diaries, 608, 611, 613; Add. 70070, newsletter 15 June 1714.
  • 269 Wake mss 4, f. 123.
  • 270 Wentworth Pprs. 395.
  • 271 Add. 70230, Harcourt to Oxford, 10 July 1714.
  • 272 LPL, ms 930/203.
  • 273 Sloane 4043, f. 304.
  • 274 LPL, ms 3016f. 17r.
  • 275 Sykes, William Wake, ii. 98-100; G. Every, High Church Party 1688-1718, 157; Carpenter, 188; Add. 61639, f. 46.
  • 276 Wake mss 6, ff. 45, 83.
  • 277 Lysons, The Environs of London, i. 282.
  • 278 Wake mss, 23/273.
  • 279 Wake mss 7, f. 438.
  • 280 HMC Egmont Diary, ii. 144; LMA, A/ATB/1-8; A/ATG/4-11; Eg. 3341, ff. 83-84.
  • 281 Bodl. Add. A.269, pp. 48-49.
  • 282 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 129.
  • 283 Ailesbury Mems. 300.
  • 284 Evelyn Diary, v. 198; Burnet, i. 346n; iv. 244n.
  • 285 Hearne, Remarks and Collections, v. 153, iv. 164.
  • 286 A. Cunningham, Hist. of Great Britain (1787), i. 150.
  • 287 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 38, 95, 344, 393, 420; CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 326-7, 338, 389.
  • 288 Holmes, Trial of Sacheverell, 29-30.
  • 289 Nicolson, London Diaries, 18, 50-51, 258.
  • 290 Add. 61498-61500; TRHS, ser. 5, vii. 144-5; Nicolson, London Diaries, 533.
  • 291 Wake mss 6, ff. 65, 68.
  • 292 Sykes, Gibson, 119; Wake mss 20, f. 437.
  • 293 Wake mss, 10/136.
  • 294 Nicolson, London Diaries, 26.