The Info List - Thomas Tenison

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


1 Life 2 Archbishop of Canterbury 3 Under Queen Anne 4 Family 5 Armorials

5.1 Origin

6 Suspected discovery of his coffin 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links

Life[edit] 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
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
William Sancroft
and the other "non-juring" bishops. Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon
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
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
Archbishop of Canterbury
in December 1694.

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[edit] He attended Queen Mary during her last illness and preached her funeral sermon in Westminster Abbey. [3] 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. 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] Under Queen Anne[edit] Along with Gilbert Burnet
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
Union with Scotland
in 1706; but in the last years of the Queen's reign was he 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. 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. Family[edit] He married Anne, daughter of Richard Love; but died without issue.[10] Edward Tenison
Edward Tenison
(1673–1735) LL.B (Cantab.), his cousin, became Bishop of Ossory (Ireland) (1730/1731-1735).[11][12] 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.[13] Armorials[edit] 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[edit]

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
Candleston Castle
in Glamorgan. St Thomas Cantilupe (d.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[edit] In 2016, during the refurbishment of the Garden Museum,[14] which is housed at the medieval church of St Mary-at-Lambeth,[15] 30 lead coffins were found; one with an archbishop's red and gold mitre on top of it.[16] 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.[17] See also[edit]

Archbishop Tenison's School, Croydon Archbishop Tenison's School, Lambeth List of Archbishops of Canterbury


^ Burkes General Armory, 1884 ^ "Tenison, Thomas (TNY653T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911. ^ Gregg, Edward Queen Anne Yale University Press 1980 p.102 ^ Gregg p.206 ^ Somerset, Anne Queen Anne Harper Press 2102 p.224 ^ Gregg p.146 ^ Gregg p.141 ^ Somerset p.540 ^  "Tenison, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.  ^  "Tenison, Edward". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.  ^ George Stanhope, A Letter from the Prolocutor to the Reverend Dr. Edward Tenison, Archdeacon of Carmarthen, 1718 ^ Somerset p.224 ^ Museum web-site ^ Church of St Mary, Lambeth British History on-line ^ Times on-line ^ "Remains of five 'lost' Archbishops of Canterbury found". BBC. 16 April 2017. 


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tenison, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.   Hutton, William Holden (1898). "Tenison, Thomas". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 56. London: Smith, Elder & Co.  Marshall, William. "Tenison, Thomas (1636–1715)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27130.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links[edit]

Archbishop Tenison's papers at Lambeth Palace Library

Church of England
Church of England

Preceded by Thomas Barlow Bishop of Lincoln 1691–1695 Succeeded by James Gardiner

Preceded by John Tillotson Archbishop of Canterbury 1695–1715 Succeeded by William Wake

v t e

Archbishops of Canterbury


Augustine Laurence Mellitus Justus Honorius Deusdedit Wighard Theodore of Tarsus Berhtwald Tatwine Nothhelm Cuthbert Bregowine Jænberht Æthelhard Wulfred Feologild Ceolnoth Æthelred Plegmund Athelm Wulfhelm Oda Ælfsige Byrhthelm Dunstan Æthelgar Sigeric the Serious Ælfric of Abingdon Ælfheah Lyfing Æthelnoth Eadsige Robert of Jumièges Stigand


Lanfranc Anselm Ralph d'Escures William de Corbeil Theobald of Bec Thomas Becket Roger de Bailleul Richard of Dover Baldwin of Forde Reginald Fitz Jocelin Hubert Walter Reginald John de Gray Stephen Langton Walter d'Eynsham Richard le Grant Ralph Neville John of Sittingbourne John Blund Edmund of Abingdon Boniface William Chillenden Robert Kilwardby Robert Burnell John Peckham Robert Winchelsey Thomas Cobham Walter Reynolds Simon Mepeham John de Stratford John de Ufford Thomas Bradwardine Simon Islip William Edington Simon Langham William Whittlesey Simon Sudbury William Courtenay Thomas Arundel Roger Walden Thomas Arundel Henry Chichele John Stafford John Kemp Thomas Bourchier John Morton Thomas Langton Henry Deane William Warham Thomas Cranmer Reginald Pole


Matthew Parker Edmund Grindal John Whitgift Richard Bancroft George Abbot William Laud William Juxon Gilbert Sheldon William Sancroft John Tillotson Thomas Tenison William Wake John Potter Thomas Herring Matthew Hutton Thomas Secker Frederick Cornwallis John Moore Charles Manners-Sutton William Howley John Bird Sumner Charles Longley Archibald Campbell Tait Edward White Benson Frederick Temple Randall Davidson Cosmo Lang William Temple Geoffrey Fisher Michael Ramsey Donald Coggan Robert Runcie George Carey Rowan Williams Justin Welby

Italics indicate a person who was elected but not confirmed.

v t e

Chancellors of the College of William & Mary

Henry Compton (1693–1700) Thomas Tenison
Thomas Tenison
(1700–1707) Henry Compton (1707–1713) John Robinson (1714–1721) William Wake
William Wake
(1721–1729) Edmund Gibson
Edmund Gibson
(1729–1736) William Wake
William Wake
(1736–1737) Edmund Gibson
Edmund Gibson
(1737–1748) Thomas Sherlock
Thomas Sherlock
(1749–1761) Thomas Hayter (1762) Charles Wyndham (1762–1763) Philip Yorke (1764) Richard Terrick
Richard Terrick
(1764–1776) George Washington
George Washington
(1788–1799) Vacant (1800–1858) John Tyler
John Tyler
(1859–1862) Vacant (1863–1870) Hugh Blair Grigsby
Hugh Blair Grigsby
(1871–1881) Vacant (1882–1941) John Stewart Bryan
John Stewart Bryan
(1942–1944) Vacant (1945) Colgate Darden
Colgate Darden
(1946–1947) Vacant (1948–1961) Alvin Duke Chandler
Alvin Duke Chandler
(1962–1974) Vacant (1975–1985) Warren E. Burger
Warren E. Burger
(1986–1993) Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
(1993–2000) Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
(2000–2005) Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
(2005–2012) Robert Gates
Robert Gates

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 69084741 LCCN: n82143194 ISNI: 0000 0000 8391 5855 GND: 129746436 SUDOC: 068525761 BNF: cb13493228s (data) SN