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 Thomas Tenison

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Thomas Tenison

  • Birth 29 Sep 1636 Cottenham, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England
  • Death 14 Dec 1715 London, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Burial Lambeth, London Borough of Lambeth, Greater London, England
  • Plot Buried in the church, unmarked tomb
  • Memorial ID 12418

Archbishop of Canterbury. He served in this position from December 1694 until his death. Born at Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, England, he received his education at Norwich School in Norwich, England and attended Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, England as a scholar on Archbishop Matthew Parker's foundation. After graduating in 1657, he was chosen as a fellow of the college two years later. For a short time he studied medicine, but in 1659 he was privately ordained. As vicar of St Andrew-the-Great, Cambridge, 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, England by Edward Montagu, the 2nd Earl of Manchester, to whose son he had been tutor, and in 1670 he became rector of Saint Peter Mancroft in Norwich. In 1680 he received his Doctor of Divinity, and was presented by English King Charles II to the important London church of St Martin's-in-the-Fields. In 1689, under King William III, he was 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. The general liberality of his religious views won him royal favor, and, after being made Bishop of Lincoln in 1691, he was promoted to Archbishop of Canterbury in December 1694, following the death of Archbishop John Tillotson the previous month. He attended Queen Mary II during her last illness and preached her funeral sermon in Westminster Abbey. In 1695, when William III took command of the English army in the Netherlands, he appointed one of the seven lords justices to whom his authority was delegated. After Queen Mary's death, he was one of those who persuaded William III that his long and bitter quarrel with her sister Anne must be ended. He attended William III on his deathbed and crowned his successor, Queen Anne, but during her reign he was in less favor at court. She thought that he favored the Low Church, and clashed with him over her sole right to appoint bishops. Only with great difficulty did he persuade her to appoint his nominee William Wake, as Bishop of Lincoln. Increasingly he lost influence to John Sharp, Archbishop of York, whom the Anne found far more congenial. He was a commissioner for the Union with Scotland in 1706, but in the last years of Anne's reign was very much a secondary political figure, and from September 1710, though still nominally a member of the Cabinet, ceased to attend its meetings. A strong supporter of the Hanoverian succession, and who shocked many by referring to Anne's death in August 1714 as a blessing, he was one of three officers of state to whom, on Anne's death, was entrusted the duty of appointing a regent till the arrival of George I, whom he crowned in October 1714. Affected with gout in his final years, he died in London, England at the age of 79. He founded the Archbishop Tenison's Church of England School in Lambeth, Greater London in 1685 and the Archbishop Tenison's Church of England School in Croydon, Greater London in 1714.

Bio by: William Bjornstad





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Sep 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12418
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Tenison (29 Sep 1636–14 Dec 1715), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12418, citing St Mary Churchyard, Lambeth, London Borough of Lambeth, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .