Thomas Tenison

1636-1715. Archbishop of Canterbury from 1695. Ordained privately by Bishop Duppa in 1659, he became a fellow of his own Cambridge College (Corpus Christi) in 1662. As a don he attacked the views of Thomas Hobbes,* and as vicar of St. Andrew-the-Great won respect by his example during the plague. He became rector of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, in 1680. He preached the funeral sermon of Nell Gwynne (1687), attended Monmouth at his execution (1685), published An Argument for Union with the Dissenters (1683), and joined the seven bishops in their stand against James II. In favor after the Revolution for his Latitudinarian views and Whig sympathies, he became archdeacon of London in 1689, was consecrated bishop of Lincoln in 1692, and promoted to Canterbury three years later. As a member of the 1689 commission working on a comprehensive scheme, he compiled a list of all the Dissenters' scruples over the liturgy. The Tories greatly reduced his influence in Anne's reign, but he took active steps to secure the Hanoverian succession. He is also remembered for establishing the first public library in London (1684) and for his vigorous support for the foundation and early growth of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. John Evelyn approved of Tenison's stand for Christian morality in the loose-living days of Charles II.

See E. Carpenter, Thomas Tenison (1948).