Thomas Sparke

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Thomas Sparke (1548–1616) was an English clergyman, who represented the Puritan point of view both at the 1584 Lambeth Conference and the 1604 Hampton Court Conference.

The Hampton Court Conference was a meeting in January 1604, convened at Hampton Court Palace, for discussion between King James I of England and representatives of the Church of England, including leading English Puritans.



He was born at South Somercotes, Lincolnshire. He was elected to a demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1567, and was fellow there from 1569 to 1572. He graduated B.A. in October 1570, M.A. in June 1574, B.D. in July 1575, and D.D. on 1 July 1581. Having taken holy orders, he became chaplain to Thomas Cooper, Bishop of Lincoln, by whom he was made archdeacon of Stow on 1 March 1575. By the favour of Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton, he was presented also to the rectory of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, where he was instituted on 2 September 1578. The rectory and archdeaconry being at some distance from each other, Sparke resigned the latter "out of conscience" in 1582. On 26 September of the same year he was installed prebendary of Lincoln.

South Somercotes human settlement in United Kingdom

South Somercotes is a village and civil parish 8 miles (13 km) north-east from Louth and approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south from North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, England. The civil parish includes the hamlet of Scupholme.

Lincolnshire County of England

Lincolnshire is a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (19 m), England's shortest county boundary. The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council has its headquarters.

A demyship is a form of scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford. It is derived from demi-socii or half-fellows.

Together with Walter Travers, Sparke represented the Puritan positions in a conference held at Lambeth in December 1584 with Archbishop John Whitgift and Cooper as Bishop of Winchester, Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, and Francis Walsingham being present. They protested against the reading of the apocryphal scriptures in churches, against private and lay baptism, the use of the sign of the cross, the celebration of private communions, and the allowance of plurality and non-residence. Neither party was satisfied.

Walter Travers was an English Puritan theologian. He was at one time chaplain to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, and tutor to his son Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury.

Lambeth district in Central London, England

Lambeth is a district in South London, England, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Charing Cross. The population of the London Borough of Lambeth was 303,086 in 2011. The area experienced some slight growth in the medieval period as part of the manor of Lambeth Palace. By the Victorian era the area had seen significant development as London expanded, with dense industrial, commercial and residential buildings located adjacent to one another. The changes brought by World War II altered much of the fabric of Lambeth. Subsequent development in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has seen an increase in the number of high-rise buildings. The area is home to the International Maritime Organization.

John Whitgift Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583

John Whitgift was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to his death. Noted for his hospitality, he was somewhat ostentatious in his habits, sometimes visiting Canterbury and other towns attended by a retinue of 800 horses. Whitgift's theological views were often controversial.

On 14 September 1585 Sparke preached at Chenies, Buckinghamshire, a funeral sermon on Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford; he also preached at the funeral of his patron, Lord Grey de Wilton, on 22 November 1593, at Whaddon, Buckinghamshire. In 1591 he published an Answere to Mr. John de Albine's notable Discourse against Heresies, against Jean d'Albin de Valsergues; his opponent's complete text is inserted and answered chapter by chapter.

Chenies a village located in Chiltern, United Kingdom

Chenies is a village and civil parish in the Chiltern district, the easternmost part of south Buckinghamshire, England, on the border with Hertfordshire east of Chesham and Chalfont St Peter.

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford English politician

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, KG of Chenies in Buckinghamshire and of Bedford House in Exeter, Devon, was an English nobleman, soldier, and politician. He was a godfather to the Devon-born sailor Sir Francis Drake. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Devon (1584-5).

Whaddon, Buckinghamshire village in the United Kingdom

Whaddon is a village and also a civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district, in Buckinghamshire.

He was summoned by James I to the Hampton Court conference in 1603 as a nonconformist; Anthony à Wood says that he appeared there in 1604 unconventionally dressed, and he reportedly said little. The king, however, was gracious. Sparke, in later writing A Brotherly Persuasion to Unity and Uniformity in Judgment and Practice (1607), adopted an eirenic line. [1] He was attacked in An Antidote against the Pestiferous Writings of all English Sectaries ... in particular against Dr. Sparke, (1615) by Sylvester Norris.

Sylvester Norris was an English Roman Catholic controversial writer and missionary priest.

Sparke died at Bletchley on 8 October 1616. He was buried in the chancel of the parish church, where a monument with an epitaph was erected to him by his eldest son.

Sparke married Rose, youngest daughter of John Inkforbye, merchant, of Ipswich. Of their ten children, only five survived her death on 7 August 1615. Of the sons, William Sparke (1587–1641) became chaplain to George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, and succeeded his father as incumbent of Bletchley, but fell into debt and was forced to quit.

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham English politician

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, KG(; 28 August 1592 – 23 August 1628), was an English courtier, statesman, and patron of the arts. He was a favourite and possibly also a lover of King James I of England. Despite a patchy political and military record, Buckingham remained at the height of royal favour for the first three years of the reign of King Charles I, until a disgruntled army officer assassinated him.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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