Westminster under Busby, and obtained a king’s scholarship there. Busby said of him while at Westminster, ‘This boy is the least favoured in feature of any in the school, but he will become more extraordinary than any of them;’ and at a subsequent period, but before there was any thought of his being raised to the bench, 'He was the best scholar, the finest gentleman, and will make the completest bishop that ever was educated at Westminster School.’ Hooper as elected to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1657; he graduated B.A. 16 Jan. 1660, M.A. 1 Dec. 1663, B.D. 9 July 1673, and D.D. 3 July 1677. He remained at Oxford as college tutor until 1672, and made the acquaintance of Thomas Ken [q. v.] He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge of all sorts; he was a good classical scholar, a mathematician of quite the first rank of his day, and a proficient in philosophy and in Greek and Latin antiquities. Under Dr. (Edward) Pocock [q. v.] he became not only a good Hebrew and Syriac scholar, but also ‘a compleat master of the Arabic tongue, the knowledge of which he made great use of to expound several obscure passages of the Old Testament’ (Prowse). In 1672 Bishop Morley persuaded Hooper to come and reside with him as his chaplain at Winchester. Ken was the bishop’s chaplain at the same time. In the same year Morley presented Hooper to the living of Havant, where he seems to have gone into residence at once, and contracted an ague from the dampness of the place. Ken, then incumbent at East Woodhay in Hampshire, at once resigned that living to make way for his friend. Hooper was instituted at Woodhay in 1672. Isaac Milles, the model parish priest of the neighbouring village of High Clere, frequently mentioned Hooper as ‘the one of all clergymen whom he had ever known in whom the three characters of perfect gentleman, thorough scholar, and venerable divine met in the most complete accordance.’
Archbishop Sheldon heard of Hooper’s fame, and after much importunity induced Morley to permit Hooper to remove to Lambeth to become his own chaplain in 1673. In 1675 he was collated by Sheldon to the rectory of Lambeth, and soon afterwards to the precentorship of Exeter. Morley sent for Hooper to attend him in his last sickness in 1684. On the marriage of the Princess Mary with the Prince of Orange, Hooper went with her (1677) to Holland as her almoner at the Hague. Here he had a difficult post to fill. The prince inclined to a religion of the Dutch Presbyterian type, and strove to impress his views upon the princess. Her former chaplain, Dr. William Lloyd, had allowed her to leave the services of the church of England for those of the Dutch. Hooper, to the annoyance of the prince, persuaded her to read Hooker and Eusebius instead of the dissenting books which had been put in her hands. Hooper also ventured to argue with the prince himself on church matters in a way which led William to say to him, ‘Well, Dr. Hooper, you will never be a bishop.’ His daughter Mrs. Prowse, however, says that ‘in this station he was directed to regulate the Performance of Divine Chappel in Her Highness’s Chappel, according to the usage of the Church of England, which he did in so prudent and decent a manner as to give no offence.’ After about a year at the Hague, he obtained, with some difficulty, leave to go home to marry, in 1678, a lady, Abigail Guildford, to whom he had been engaged before he left England. According to his promise, he afterwards returned to the Hague for eight months, when he was succeeded by his old friend Ken. In 1680 he was made chaplain to Charles II, and in the same year the regius professorship of divinity at Oxford, vacant by the death of Dr. Allestree, was offered to but declined by him. In 1685 he was desired by James II to attend the Duke of Monmouth the evening before his execution, and on the following morning was on the scaffold in conjunction with the Bishops of Ely and Bath and Wells and Dr. Tenison. At the revolution he was one of the few decidedly high churchmen who took the oaths, and he all but persuaded his friend Ken (as the latter himself owns) to do the same. In 1691, on the promotion of Dean Sharp to the archbishopric of York, Queen Mary offered him the deanery of Canterbury, taking advantage of the king’s absence in Holland to promote her favourite. William, on his return, expressed displeasure at her conduct. In 1698 the Princess Anne and her husband Prince George of Denmark were anxious that Hooper should be appointed tutor to the young Duke of Gloucester, but the king succeeded in substituting Burnet. In 1701 Hooper was elected prolocutor to the lower house of the convocation of Canterbury. His extensive knowledge of law and history and his courteous demeanour qualified him for this post; and at a time when the relations between the upper and lower houses were strained it was important to have a strong man at the helm. Hooper was an able defender of the privileges of the lower house. Ken wrote that he ‘had more hopes now that Hooper was taking the lead in church affairs.’ About the same time Hooper declined an offer of the primacy of Ireland made by the Earl of Rochester, lord-lieutenant. Towards the close of 1702 he accepted the bishopric of St.