Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tenison, Edward

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TENISON, EDWARD (1673–1735), bishop of Ossory, baptised at Norwich on 3 April 1673, was the only surviving child of Joseph Tenison of Norwich by his wife Margaret, daughter of Edward Mileham of Burlingham in Norfolk. Philip Tenison archdeacon of Norfolk, was his grandfather and Thomas Tenison [q. v.], archbishop of Canterbury, his first cousin. After being educated at St. Paul's school under Dr. Gale he was admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, on 19 Feb. 1690-1. He graduated B.A. in 1694, and proceeded LL.B. in 1697 and D.D. in 1731, the last two at Lambeth. He was at first intended for the law, and was bound apprentice to his uncle, Charles Mileham, an attorney at Great Yarmouth. Abandoning the law for the church, he was ordained deacon and priest in 1697, and presented the same year to the rectory of Wittersham, Kent. This he resigned in 1698 on being presented to the rectory of Sundridge in the diocese of Rochester, which he held conjointly with the adjacent rectory of Chiddingstone. On 24 March 1704-5 he was made a prebendary of Lichfield, resigning in 1708 on being appointed archdeacon of Caermarthen. On 9 March 1708-9 he became a prebendary of Canterbury. In 1714 he inherited considerable estates from his uncle, Edward Tenison of Lambeth, but lost the greater part of his wealth in 1720 by investing it in the South Sea Company. In 1715 he acted as executor to his cousin the archbishop, and was in consequence involved in litigation on the question of dilapidations.

A curious correspondence on the subject was published by him in 1716. In 1730 he became chaplain to the Duke of Dorset, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, who in 1731 nominated him to the bishopric of Ossory.

He died in Dublin on 29 Nov. 1735, and was buried in St. Mary's Church in that city, where a monument was erected to his memory by his wife. His will contained many charitable bequests, especially for the education of the poor and the promotion of agriculture in Ireland. It was published in 'Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica' (3rd ser. vol. ii.) in an article entitled 'Tenisoniana,' by C. M. Tenison of Hobart, Tasmania. In a codicil, dated 23 Jan. 1735, he left a bequest of 200l. to his old college, Corpus Christi at Cambridge. By his wife, Ann Searle (d. 1750), who was related to Archbishop Tenison, he had one son and five daughters. His son Thomas (1702-1742) became a prebendary of Canterbury in 1739.

Besides an edition of two books of Columella's 'De Re Rustica' (Dublin, 1732, 8vo) and a paper on 'The Husbandry of Canary Seed,' published in 1713 in 'Philosophical Transactions,' Tenison's published writings are limited to occasional sermons and to pamphlets connected with the Bangorian controversy. His portrait was painted by Kneller and engraved in 1720 by Vertue.

[Information kindly given by Mr. C. M. Tenison of Hobart, Tasmania; Masters's History of the College of Corpus Christi, 1831, p. 231; Gardiner's Admission Registers of St. Paul's School, p. 60; Gent. Mag. 1735, p. 737; Nichols's Literary Illustrations, iii. 667; Ware's History and Antiquities of Ireland, ed. Harris, i. 432; Biographia Britannica, 1763.]

J. H. L.