Thomas Tenison

Last updated


Thomas Tenison
Archbishop of Canterbury
Thomas Tenison by Robert White.jpg
Church Church of England
Diocese Canterbury
In office1695–1715
Predecessor John Tillotson
Successor William Wake
Orders
Consecration10 January 1692
by  John Tillotson
Personal details
Born(1636-09-29)29 September 1636
Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, England
Died14 December 1715(1715-12-14) (aged 79)
London, England
Nationality English
Denomination Anglican
SpouseAnne Love
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Arms of Tenison: Gules, three leopard's faces or jessant de lys azure overall a bend engrailed argent. A difference of these arms was borne by Tennyson, the family of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) (Baron Tennyson), the poet TenisonArms.png
Arms of Tenison: Gules, three leopard's faces or jessant de lys azure overall a bend engrailed argent. A difference of these arms was borne by Tennyson, the family of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) (Baron Tennyson), the poet
Arms of Thomas Tenison showing arms of the See of Canterbury impaling arms of Tenison (Three leopard's faces jessant-de-lys overall a bend engrailed), imprint on front cover of a Book of Common Prayer, 1686, collection of University of Toronto ThomasTenison ArchbishopOfCanterbury Arms.jpg
Arms of Thomas Tenison showing arms of the See of Canterbury impaling arms of Tenison (Three leopard's faces jessant-de-lys overall a bend engrailed), imprint on front cover of a Book of Common Prayer, 1686, collection of University of Toronto

Thomas Tenison (29 September 1636 14 December 1715) was an English church leader, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1694 until his death. During his primacy, he crowned two British monarchs.

Contents

Life

He was born at Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, the son and grandson of Anglican clergymen, who were both named John Tenison; his mother was Mercy Dowsing. He was educated at Norwich School, going on to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, as a scholar on Archbishop Matthew Parker's foundation. He graduated in 1657, and was chosen fellow in 1659. [2] For a short time he studied medicine, but in 1659 was privately ordained. As curate of St Andrew the Great, Cambridge from 1662, he set an example by his devoted attention to the sufferers from the plague. In 1667 he was presented to the living of Holywell-cum-Needingworth, Huntingdonshire, by the Earl of Manchester, to whose son he had been tutor, and in 1670 to that of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich. [3]

In 1680 he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and was presented by King Charles II to the important London church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Tenison, according to Gilbert Burnet, "endowed schools including Archbishop Tenison's School, Lambeth, founded in 1685 and Archbishop Tenison's School, Croydon, founded in 1714, set up a public library, and kept many curates to assist him in his indefatigable labours". Being a strenuous opponent of the Church of Rome, and "Whitehall lying within that parish, he stood as in the front of the battle all King James's reign". In 1678, in a Discourse of Idolatry, he had condemned the heathenish idolatry practised in the Church of Rome, and in a sermon which he published in 1681 on Discretion in Giving Alms was attacked by Andrew Poulton, head of the Jesuits in the Savoy. Tenison's reputation as an enemy of Romanism led the Duke of Monmouth to send for him before his execution in 1685, when Bishops Thomas Ken and Francis Turner refused to administer holy communion; but, although Tenison spoke to him in "a softer and less peremptory manner" than the two bishops, he was, like them, not satisfied with the sufficiency of Monmouth's penitence. [3]

Under King William III, Tenison was in 1689 named a member of the ecclesiastical commission appointed to prepare matters towards a reconciliation of the Dissenters, the revision of the liturgy being specially entrusted to him. A sermon he preached on the commission was published the same year. [3]

He strongly supported, at least in public, the Glorious Revolution, though not without some private misgivings, especially concerning the ejection of Archbishop William Sancroft and the other "non-juring" bishops. Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon in his diary records some frank remarks made by Tenison on this subject at a dinner party in 1691:

That there had been irregularities in our settlement; that it was wished that things had been otherwise, but that we were now to make the best of it, and support this government as it was, for fear of a worse.

He preached a funeral sermon for Nell Gwyn in 1687, in which he represented her as truly penitent a charitable judgment that did not meet with universal approval. The general liberality of Tenison's religious views won him royal favour, and, after being made Bishop of Lincoln in 1691, he was promoted to Archbishop of Canterbury in December 1694. [3]

Archbishop Tenison was one of seven Lord Justices whom King William appointed to administer the kingdom whilst he was on campaign in Europe. Lord Justices of England.jpg
Archbishop Tenison was one of seven Lord Justices whom King William appointed to administer the kingdom whilst he was on campaign in Europe.

Archbishop of Canterbury

He attended Queen Mary during her last illness and preached her funeral sermon in Westminster Abbey. When William in 1695 went to take command of the army in the Netherlands, Tenison was appointed one of the seven lords justices to whom his authority was delegated. [3] After Mary's death, Tenison was one of those who persuaded the King that his long and bitter quarrel with her sister Anne must be ended, as it had weakened the authority of the Crown. [4] He was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council of England in 1695 upon his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury. This gave him the Honorific Title "The Right Honourable" for Life.

Under Queen Anne

Along with Gilbert Burnet he attended the King on his deathbed. He crowned William's successor, Queen Anne, but during her reign was in very little favour at court : [5] the Queen thought that he inclined too much to the Low Church, and clashed repeatedly with him over her sole right to appoint bishops. She entirely ignored his wishes when she appointed Sir Jonathan Trelawny, 3rd Baronet, as Bishop of Winchester: when he tried to remonstrate, the Queen cut him short with the cold remark that "the matter was decided." Only with great difficulty did he persuade her to appoint his nominee William Wake, as Bishop of Lincoln. [6]

Increasingly he lost influence to John Sharp, Archbishop of York, whom the Queen found far more congenial. [7] He was a commissioner for the Union with Scotland in 1706; but in the last years of the Queen's reign he was very much a secondary political figure, and from September 1710, though he was still nominally a member of the Cabinet, ceased to attend its meetings. [8] A strong supporter of the Hanoverian succession, who shocked many by referring to Anne's death as a blessing, [9] he was one of three officers of state to whom, on the death of Anne, was entrusted the duty of appointing a regent till the arrival of George I, whom he crowned on 20 October 1714. [3] For the last time at the coronation of an English monarch, the Archbishop asked if the people accepted their new King: the witty Catherine Sedley, former mistress of James II, remarked "Does the old fool think we will say no?" Tenison died in London a year later. He was instrumental in the last years of his life in the literary executorship of Sir Thomas Browne's manuscript writings known as Christian Morals .

Other works

Besides the sermons and tracts above mentioned, and various others on the "Popish" controversy, Tenison was the author of The Creed of Mr Hobbes Examined (1670) and Baconia, or Certain Genuine Remains of Lord Bacon (1679). He was one of the founders of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. [10]

Family

He married Anne, daughter of Richard Love; but died without issue. [11] Edward Tenison (1673–1735) LL.B (Cantab.), his cousin, became Bishop of Ossory (Ireland) (1730/1731-1735). [12] [13] Another relative, Richard Tennison (1642–1705), became Bishop of Meath. Thomas is said to have advanced Richard in his career: in his will he left legacies to all of Richard's five sons.

In appearance he was described as a large, brawny, "hulking" figure, very strong when young but afflicted with gout in later life. [14]

Armorials

The personal coat of arms of Archbishop Tenison consist of the arms of the see of Canterbury impaled with the Tenison family arms. The former, placed on the dexter side of honour, are blazoned as: Azure, an archiepiscopal cross in pale or surmounted by a pall proper charged with four crosses patee fitchee sable . The arms of Tenison, placed on the sinister side of the escutcheon are blazoned as: Gules, a bend engrailed argent voided azure, between three leopard's faces or jessant-de-lys azure. In standard English: a red field bearing a white (or silver) diagonal band with scalloped edges, and a narrower blue band running down its centre. This lies between three gold heraldic lion's faces, each of which is pierced by a fleur-de-lys entering through the mouth.

Origin

Arms of Denys of Gloucestershire, late 13th century ArmsOfDenysOfSiston.jpg
Arms of Denys of Gloucestershire, late 13th century

These arms are a difference, or variant, of the mediaeval arms of the family of Denys of Siston, Gloucestershire, and may have been adopted by the Tenison family because its name signifies "Denys's or Denis's son". The arms were originally those of the Norman de Cantilupe family, whose feudal tenants the Denys family probably were in connection with Candleston Castle in Glamorgan. St Thomas Cantilupe (died 1282), bishop of Hereford, gave a reversed (i.e. upside down) version of the Cantilupe arms to the see of Hereford, which uses them to this day. A version of the Denys arms was also adopted by the family of the poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, not known to have been a descendant of Archbishop Thomas Tenison.

Suspected discovery of his coffin

In 2016, during the refurbishment of the Garden Museum, [15] which is housed at the medieval church of St Mary-at-Lambeth, [16] 30 lead coffins were found; one with an archbishop's red and gold mitre on top of it. [17] Two archbishops were identified from nameplates on their coffins; with church records revealing that a further three archbishops, including Tenison, were likely to be buried in the vault. [18]

See also

Notes

  1. Burkes General Armory, 1884
  2. "Tenison, Thomas (TNY653T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chisholm 1911, p. 617.
  4. Gregg, Edward Queen Anne Yale University Press 1980 p.102
  5. Gregg p.206
  6. Somerset, Anne Queen Anne Harper Press 2102 p.224
  7. Gregg p.146
  8. Gregg p.141
  9. Somerset p.540
  10. Chisholm 1911, pp. 617–618.
  11. "Tenison, Thomas"  . Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  12. "Tenison, Edward"  . Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  13. George Stanhope, A Letter from the Prolocutor to the Reverend Dr. Edward Tenison, Archdeacon of Carmarthen, 1718
  14. Somerset p.224
  15. Museum web-site
  16. Church of St Mary, Lambeth British History on-line
  17. Times on-line
  18. "Remains of five 'lost' Archbishops of Canterbury found". BBC. 16 April 2017.

Related Research Articles

John Morton (cardinal) 15th-century Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor of England, and cardinal

John Morton was an English prelate who served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1486 until his death and also Lord Chancellor of England from 1487. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1493.

Boniface of Savoy (bishop) 13th-century Archbishop of Canterbury and saint

Boniface of Savoy was a medieval Bishop of Belley in Savoy and Archbishop of Canterbury in England. He was the son of Thomas, Count of Savoy, and owed his initial ecclesiastical posts to his father. Other members of his family were also clergymen, and a brother succeeded his father as count. One niece was married to King Henry III of England and another was married to King Louis IX of France. It was Henry who secured Boniface's election as Archbishop, and throughout his tenure of that office he spent much time on the continent. He clashed with his bishops, with his nephew-by-marriage, and with the papacy, but managed to eliminate the archiepiscopal debt which he had inherited on taking office. During Simon de Montfort's struggle with King Henry, Boniface initially helped Montfort's cause, but later supported the king. After his death in Savoy, his tomb became the object of a cult, and he was eventually beatified in 1839.

John Peckham 13th-century Archbishop of Canterbury and writer

John Peckham was Archbishop of Canterbury in the years 1279–1292. He was a native of Sussex who was educated at Lewes Priory and became a Friar Minor about 1250. He studied at the University of Paris under Bonaventure, where he would later teach theology. From his teaching, he came into conflict with Thomas Aquinas, with whom he debated on two occasions. Known as a conservative theologian, he opposed Aquinas' views on the nature of the soul. Peckham also studied optics and astronomy, and his studies in those subjects were particularly influenced by Roger Bacon and Alhazen.

Richard Bancroft British Archbishop of Canterbury

Richard Bancroft was an English churchman, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1604 to 1610 and "chief overseer" of the King James Bible.

Matthew Parker Archbishop of Canterbury

Matthew Parker was an English bishop. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England from 1559 until his death in 1575. He was also an influential theologian and arguably the co-founder of a distinctive tradition of Anglican theological thought.

Thomas Bourchier (cardinal) 15th-century Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor of England, and cardinal

Thomas Bourchier was a medieval English cardinal, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor of England.

John Potter (bishop) Archbishop of Canterbury

John Potter was Archbishop of Canterbury (1737–1747).

William Wake Archbishop of Canterbury

William Wake was a priest in the Church of England and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1716 until his death in 1737.

Frederick Temple Archbishop of Canterbury

Frederick Temple was an English academic, teacher and churchman, who served as Bishop of Exeter (1869-1885), Bishop of London (1885-1896) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1896-1902).

Thomas Thirlby, was the first and only bishop of Westminster (1540–50), and afterwards successively bishop of Norwich (1550–54) and bishop of Ely (1554–59). While he acquiesced in the Henrician schism, with its rejection in principle of the Roman papacy, he remained otherwise loyal to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church during the English Reformation.

Edmund Gibson British bishop

Edmund Gibson was a British divine who served as Bishop of Lincoln and Bishop of London, jurist, and antiquary.

John Overall (bishop) Bishop of Norwich

John Overall (1559–1619) was the 38th bishop of the see of Norwich from 1618 until his death one year later. He had previously served as Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, as Dean of St Paul's Cathedral from 1601, as Master of Catharine Hall from 1598, and as Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University from 1596. He also served on the Court of High Commission and as a Translator of the King James Version of the Bible.

Archbishop Tenison's Church of England High School, commonly known as Tenison's, is a co-educational 11-18, voluntary aided, school in the London Borough of Croydon, England, part of the educational provision of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark and Croydon Council. It is a specialist Mathematics and Computing College.

Archbishop Tenison's C of E School, commonly known as Tenison's, is a Church of England mixed secondary School located in the London Borough of Lambeth.

John Sharp (bishop) Archbishop of York

John Sharp, English divine who served as Archbishop of York.

George Stanhope was a clergyman of the Church of England, rising to be Dean of Canterbury and a Royal Chaplain. He was also amongst the commissioners responsible for the building of fifty new churches in London, and a leading figure in church politics of the early 18th century. Stanhope also founded the Stanhope School in 1715.

George Hooper Bishop of St Asaph, Bishop of Bath and Wells

George Hooper was a learned and influential English High church cleric of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He served as bishop of the Welsh diocese, St Asaph, and later for the diocese of Bath and Wells, as well as chaplain to members of the royal family.

John Johnson, of Cranbrook (1662–1725) was an English clergyman, known as a theologian in the Laudian tradition.

Edward Crome was an English reformer and courtier.

Edward Tenison Irish bishop

Edward Tenison (1673–1735) was an English bishop of Ossory. An example of the workings of the system of patronage in the Church of England, Tenison also was a significant Whig and controversialist.

References

Further reading

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Thomas Barlow
Bishop of Lincoln
16911695
Succeeded by
James Gardiner
Preceded by
John Tillotson
Archbishop of Canterbury
16951715
Succeeded by
William Wake