Thomas Sprat

Last updated


Thomas Sprat

FRS
Bishop of Rochester
Thomas Sprat by Michael Dahl.jpg
Sprat by Michael Dahl
ProvinceCanterbury
DioceseRochester
Installed1684
Predecessor Francis Turner
Successor Francis Atterbury
Other post(s) Dean of Westminster
Orders
Ordination1660 or earlier
Consecration1685
Personal details
Born1635
Beaminster, Dorset
Died20 May 1713(1713-05-20) (aged 77–78)
Bromley, Kent
BuriedSt Nicholas' Chapel
NationalityEnglish
Denomination Church of England
ResidenceBishop's Palace, Bromley
SpouseHelen Wolseley
Children Thomas Sprat FRS, Archdeacon of Rochester
ProfessionClergyman
Alma mater Wadham College, Oxford

Thomas Sprat, FRS (1635 20 May 1713) was an English churchman and writer, Bishop of Rochester from 1684.

Contents

Life

Sprat was born at Beaminster, Dorset, and educated at Wadham College, Oxford, where he held a fellowship from 1657 to 1670. Having taken orders he became a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral in 1660. In the preceding year he had gained a reputation by his poem To the Happie Memory of the most Renowned Prince Oliver, Lord Protector (London, 1659), and he was afterwards well known as a wit, preacher and man of letters. [1]

In 1669 Sprat became canon of Westminster Abbey, and in 1670 rector of Uffington, Lincolnshire. He was chaplain to Charles II in 1676, curate and lecturer at St. Margaret's, Westminster, in 1679, canon of Chapel Royal, Windsor in 1681, Dean of Westminster in 1683 and Bishop of Rochester in 1684. [1] He was appointed Dean of the Chapel Royal in 1685 and was Clerk of the Closet from 1685 to 1687.[ citation needed ]

Sprat was a member of James II's ecclesiastical commission, and in 1688 he read the Declaration of Indulgence to empty benches in Westminster Abbey. The suggestion was that he was playing at being Vicar of Bray. Although he opposed the motion of 1689 declaring the throne vacant, he assisted at the coronation of William and Mary. As Dean of Westminster he directed Christopher Wren's restoration of the abbey. [1]

In 1692 a bizarre attempt was made to implicate Sprat in a plot to restore the deposed king James II. This became known as the "flowerpot plot" because it involved a conspirator—a man named Robert Young—forging Sprat's signature on a document, smuggling it into the Bishop's manor and hiding the paper under a flowerpot. The authorities were contacted about the document, which led to the Bishop's arrest for high treason and the searching of his house—the forged document was eventually found where Young had said it would be. However, Sprat was soon freed when it became clear that there was no case to answer. [2] [3] [4]

He died of apoplexy in 1713 at the Bishop's Palace in Bromley, Kent and was buried on the south side of St Nicholas' Chapel [5] in Westminster Abbey. [6] The monument is by Francis Bird. [7]

Works

Frontispiece to A History of the Royal Society, showing the crowning of King Charles II. Sir Francis Bacon is shown on the right; William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker, the president of the Society, is on the left. A History of the Royal Society, by Thomas Sprat (frontispiece).jpg
Frontispiece to A History of the Royal Society, showing the crowning of King Charles II. Sir Francis Bacon is shown on the right; William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker, the president of the Society, is on the left.

Sprat's major prose works are the Observations upon Monsieur de Sorbier's Voyage into England (London, 1665), a satirical reply to the strictures on Englishmen in Samuel de Sorbière's book Relation d'un voyage en Angleterre (Paris, 1664), and a History of the Royal Society of London (London, 1667), which Sprat had helped to found. The History of the Royal Society elaborates the scientific purposes of the academy and outlines some of the strictures of scientific writing that set the modern standards for clarity and conciseness.

A collection of ten of his sermons was published in 1710.

For his work on the history of science he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1663. [6]

Family

He married Helen, the daughter of Devereux Wolseley of Ravenstone, Staffordshire and was the father of Thomas Sprat, Archdeacon of Rochester and Fellow of the Royal Society. Shortly after the elder Sprat's death, his son was made a canon of Westminster Abbey. [8]

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 Chisholm 1911.
  2. Johnson, p36 ff.
  3. Clinch, p15 ff.
  4. Lee, 419 ff.
  5. 'The Abbey Scientists' Hall, A. R. p12: London; Roger & Robert Nicholson; 1966
  6. 1 2 "Fellow's details". Royal Society. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  7. Dictionary of British sculptors 1660-1851 by Rupert Gunnis
  8. Westminster Abbey – Thomas Sprat (Accessed 16 April 2013)

Related Research Articles

Robert South

Robert South was an English churchman who was known for his combative preaching and his Latin poetry.

St Margarets, Westminster 12th century church in London, England

The Church of St Margaret, Westminster, is in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square, London, England. It is dedicated to Margaret of Antioch, and forms part of a single World Heritage Site with the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey.

Henry Compton (bishop)

Henry Compton was the Bishop of London from 1675 to 1713.

The Dean of the Chapel Royal, in any kingdom, can be the title of an official charged with oversight of that kingdom's chapel royal, the ecclesiastical establishment which is part of the royal household and ministers to it.

Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew

Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew was Bishop of Oxford from 1671 to 1674, then Bishop of Durham from 1674 to 1721. As such he was one of the longest serving bishops of the Church of England.

The Royal Almonry is a small office within the Royal Households of the United Kingdom, headed by the Lord High Almoner, an office dating from 1103. The almoner is responsible for distributing alms to the poor.

The College of Chaplains of the Ecclesiastical Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom is under the Clerk of the Closet, an office dating from 1437. It is normally held by a diocesan bishop, who may, however, remain in office after leaving his see. The current Clerk is James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle.

Dean of Westminster Head of the chapter at Westminster Abbey

The Dean of Westminster is the head of the chapter at Westminster Abbey. Due to the Abbey's status as a Royal Peculiar, the dean answers directly to the British monarch. Initially, the office was a successor to that of Abbot of Westminster, and was for the first 10 years cathedral dean for the Diocese of Westminster. The current dean is David Hoyle.

Francis Bird English sculptor (1667-1731)

Francis Bird (1667–1731) was one of the leading English sculptors of his time. He is mainly remembered for sculptures in Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral. He carved a tomb for the dramatist William Congreve in Westminster Abbey and sculptures of the apostles and evangelists on the exterior of St Paul's, a memorial to William Hewer in the interior of St Paul's Church, Clapham as well as the statue of Henry VI in School Yard, Eton College. Despite his success, later in life Bird did little sculpting. He had inherited money from his father-in-law and set up a marble import business.

Caroline Divines Influential theologians and writers in the 17th-century Anglican Church

The Caroline Divines were influential theologians and writers in the Church of England who lived during the reigns of King Charles I and, after the Restoration, King Charles II. There is no official list of Caroline-era divines; they are defined by the era in which they lived, and Caroline Divines hailed from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. However, of these four nations, it is Caroline England which is most commonly considered to have fostered a golden age of Anglican scholarship and devotional writing, despite the socio-cultural upset of civil war, regicide, and military rule under Oliver Cromwell. Importantly, the term divine is restricted neither to canonised saints nor to Anglican figures, but is used of many writers and thinkers in the wider Christian church.

Charles Hickman, an Anglican divine in the Church of Ireland, was Bishop of Derry from 1703 to 1713.

Zachary Pearce

Zachary Pearce, sometimes known as Zachariah, was an English Bishop of Bangor and Bishop of Rochester. He was a controversialist and a notable early critical writer defending John Milton, attacking Richard Bentley's 1732 edition of Paradise Lost the following year.

Bromley Palace Historic site

Bromley Palace is a manor house in Bromley, London Borough of Bromley; and was the residence of the Bishops of Rochester from the 12th century to 1845. The building, which is now part of Bromley Civic centre, is a Grade II listed building.

William Jane (1645–1707) was an English academic and clergyman, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford from 1680.

Dean of Bristol

The Dean of Bristol is the head of the Chapter of the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Bristol, England. The Dean is Mandy Ford, since her installation on 3 October 2020.

Simon Lowth (1636–1720) was an English nonjuring clergyman, nominated by James II as Dean of Rochester, and later a controversialist on the position of bishops.

Nathaniel Hardy (1618–1670) was an English churchman, Dean of Rochester from 1660.

Gregory Hascard DD was a Canon of Windsor from 1671 to 1684 and then Dean of Windsor from 1684 until 1708, but he was also a noted pluralist. He wrote three books on religious subjects.

William Bird (sculptor) English sculptor

William Bird or Byrd (1624–c.1691) was a 17th century English sculptor. He seems to have served Oxford University for many decades as their official mason. His most notable work is the covered arch linking the two sections of New College, Oxford, raised over the centre of the carriageway to allow laden haycarts to pass.

References

Church of England titles
Preceded by Dean of Westminster
1683–1713
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Rochester
1684–1713