Lamplugh, Thomas (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search


LAMPLUGH, THOMAS (1616–1691), successively bishop of Exeter and archbishop of York, the son of Thomas Lamplugh, a member of an old Cumberland family seated at Dovenby in the parish of Bridekirk, was born in 1615 at Octon in the parish of Thwing in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He was educated at St. Bees School, whence he passed in 1634 to Queen's College, Oxford, where he was first servitor, then tabarder, and ultimately fellow. He graduated B.A. 4 July 1639, M.A. 1 Nov. 1642, B.D. 23 July 1657, D.D., by royal mandate, 9 Nov. 1660. In 1648, when the parliamentary visitors reorganised the university, he took the covenant and retained his fellowship. But Hearne speaks of him as ‘a man of good character for his loyalty and integrity in those bad times;’ his sermons at Carfax, at which he was appointed lecturer, were attended by ‘all the honest loyal men in Oxford’ (Collections, Oxf. Hist. Soc., ii. 48). Fell also records to his praise that he was ‘the only parochial minister of Oxford who discountenanced schismatical and rebel teaching, and had the courage and loyalty to own the doctrines of the church of England in the worst of times’ (Life of Allestree, p. 14). He assisted Skinner, bishop of Oxford, at the numerous ordinations held by him privately during the protectorate, and is said to have made not less than three hundred journeys for that purpose from Oxford to Launton, where the bishop resided (Plumptre, Life of Ken, i. 54 n.). On the Restoration he was able to throw off all disguise and declare himself an ardent loyalist. He was appointed on the royal commission of 1660 for reinstating the members of the university who had been ejected by the parliamentary visitors, in which he exhibited a rather immoderate zeal. Wood says that as he had been ‘a great cringer to Presbyterians and Independents,’ he now followed the same course to ‘the prelates and those in authority,’ and ‘that he might prove himself a true royalist got himself made royal commissioner, and showed himself more zealous than any of them, until by flatteries and rewards (bribes) he shuffled himself into considerable note’ (Life and Times, Oxf. Hist. Soc., i. 365). Wood adds that he was ‘a northern man, and therefore not without great dissimulation, a forward man, always sneaking’ (ib.) The rewards for this well-timed zeal were not slow in coming. He received the livings of Binfield, Berkshire, and Charlton-on-Otmoor (which latter he held in commendam after his elevation to the episcopate), and was elected proctor in convocation for the clergy of Oxfordshire in 1661 (Kennett, Register, p. 481). In 1663 he was appointed by the king (sede vacante) to the archdeaconry of Oxford, but his title to the office was successfully disputed by Dr. Thomas Barlow [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Lincoln, at the assizes of that year (Wood, Athenæ, iv. 334). His disappointment was not of long duration. On 27 May 1664 he was appointed to succeed Dr. Dolben as archdeacon of London; in August of the same year he received the principalship of St. Alban Hall. Wood says that he ‘had a wife; looked after preferment; neglected the hall’ (Life and Times, ii. 19). In May 1669 he was made prebendary of Worcester, and in July 1670 was collated to the vicarage of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. In March 1672–3 he was promoted to the deanery of Rochester, and in 1676, on the translation of Sparrow from Exeter to Norwich, he was appointed, by the influence of Sir Joseph Williamson, to the vacant see.

As bishop of Exeter, Lamplugh's conduct was exemplary. He promoted the repair of the parish churches in his diocese, which had suffered much during the puritan sway, and in his own cathedral caused the monuments of his predecessors to be restored to their original places. He regularly attended the cathedral services thrice daily, and was present at a fourth service in his own private chapel. He showed great moderation towards the nonconformist clergy of his diocese, stopping proceedings against them when it was in his power to do so, and dismissing them free of costs. Seeking to win them over by argument, he urged them to study Hooker Calamy, Account, pp, 29, 216 ; Continuation, pp. 128, 394, 453; Kennett, Register, pp. 814, 819, 917). He liberally entertained his clergy, to whom he showed a fatherly kindness. The statement that he and two other bishops — Pearson being said to be one — voted for the Exclusion Bill in 1680 has been satisfactorily disproved (Burnet, Life and Times ii. 246 n.) But the Revolution of 1688 made his weakness of moral fibre conspicuous. On the issue of 'the declaration for liberty of consciences,' when urged by Ken and Trelawney to resist the royal mandate, he replied, 'I will be safe,' and though affixing his name with 'approbo' to the rough draft of the petition of the seven bishops, he withheld his signature to the document and caused the declaration to be read through his diocese (Tanner MSS.; Perry, English Church History, ii. 533 n. ; Plumtre, Life of Ken, ii. 8 n; Echard, Hist. iii. 9, 11). He encouraged the clergy and laity of his diocese to remain firm in their allegiance to James II, and on receiving the intelligence of the landing of the Prince of Orange and of his march towards Exeter, posted off to London to apprise the king of the event and to declare his unshaken loyalty. James received him most graciously, 16 Nov., terming him 'a genuine old cavalier;' took him into his royal closet, and, in spite of his reluctance and protests that 'he nod simply done his duty without thought of reward,' at once conferred on him the archbishopric of York. The see had been kept vacant for more than two years and a half, with the view, it was believed, of its being occupied by a prelate of the king's own creed. He was elected by the chapter of York 28 Nov., and his official translation took place at Lambeth on 8 Dec., two days before James's flight (Luttrell, Hist. Relat. i. 484). He joined with Archbishop Sancroft and his brother bishops Turner of Ely and Spratt of Rochester, in an address to James, 17 Nov., earnestly requesting him to call a free parliament as the best means of preventing bloodshed, which received a sharp answer (Bohun, Hist. of the Desertion, p. 63 ; D'Oyley, Life of Sancroft, i. 385). He voted with the minority in the Convention parliament, 22 Jan., for a regency, but was one of the first to swear allegiance to William in the beginning of March, and received the temporalities of his see from his hands and assisted at the coronation 11 April 1689. The following year he was appointed a member of the royal commission to consider the 'Comprehension Bill' (Calamy, Abridgement, p. 447; Hunt, Religious Thought in England, ii. 293). His tenure of the northern primacy was short and uneventful. He died at Bishopthorpe, 5 May 1691, aged 76, and was buried in the south aisle of the choir of the minster. A monument was erected by his son. His epitaph confirms the statement of his reluctance to accept the primacy, 'dignitatem multam deprecatus' Lamplugh seems to have printed nothing except a single sermon preached before the House of Lords 5 Nov. 1678. The communion plate of his native parish of Thwing was his gift. He married Catherine (d. 1671), daughter of Edward Davenant, the brother of John Davenant, bishop of Salisbury. Of five children his son John Lamplugh, D.D., was the sole survivor at his death. The son is stigmatised by Hearne as 'a little, sneaking, stingy, self-interested fellow, who, 'tis said, hindered his father from many good works which he was naturally inclined to do' (Collections, ii. 48, Off. Hist. Soc.)

[Hearne's Collections (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), ii. 18; Wood's Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc,), i. 365, ii. passim; Athenæ, iv. 334. 669. 676; Fasti, i. 507, ii. 28, 201, 242; Kennett's Register passim; Calamy's Account pp. 20. 216; Continuation, pp. 120, 394, 452; Allestree's Life of Fell p 14; Biogr. Brit. vol. vi pt. i. p. 3737, n. 2; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 64, 692; Lansdowne MS 987, ff. 133, 149; Macaulay's Hist, of Engl. ii. 489, 503; Bohun's Hist. of the Desertion, pp. 59, 62; Boyer's William III, i. 240; D'Oyley's Life of Sancroft, i. 385, 420; Plumptre's Life of Ken. i. 54. ii. 8; Echard's History, iii, 9, 11; Oliver's Lives of the Bishops of Exeter, pp. 156, 158,]

E. V.