Henry Compton (Bishop)

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Henry Compton

Henry Compton (* 1632 in Compton Wynyates , Warwickshire , † July 7, 1713 in Fulham , London ) was an English bishop and trusted advisor to King William III.


Henry Compton was the sixth and youngest son of Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton , who died as General Charles I in the English Civil War in 1643 . Compton studied 1649–52 at Queen's College (Oxford) , then traveled to the continent and returned in 1660 after the Restoration of Charles II . He initially turned to the military for a short time and became a cornet in a royal equestrian regiment, but then embarked on a spiritual career. After a further period of study in Cambridge and again Oxford he became a doctor of theology in 1669 and received several benefices.

Due to its noble descent overcame Compton soon the lower offices and was in 1674 the Bishop of Oxford , 1675 by London and soon after, a member of the Privy Council ( Privy Council ). He had great personal influence at the court of Charles II and directed the religious education of the later queens Maria and Anna . Moderate supporter of the Anglican Church , he strove for a reconciliation with the Dissenters . He held several conferences on this subject with the clergy in his diocese; and in the hope of influencing open clerics by the views of impartial foreigners, he had letters on the matter sent to him by Le Moyne, professor of theology at Leiden , and the noted French Protestant theologian Jean Claude . However, Compton appeared in 1685 in the House of Lords with resolute against the Catholic reaction efforts of Jacob II . As a result, he lost his position on the Privy Council and was horrified in his diocese in September 1686 for his refusal to suspend a preacher hostile to the Pope, John Sharp .

Compton was the only bishop to be among the seven signatories of the letter in which William of Orange was invited to land in England in June 1688 to bring about the overthrow of Jacob II. Compton also led Princess Anna to apostate from her father, fled with her to the enemy camp and, after Wilhelm's victory in the Convention Parliament, voted for the establishment of a new king. On April 11, 1689, he crowned Wilhelm and Maria. Now he became one of the new ruler's most trusted advisers and followed him to the Hague Congress in 1690 as a member of the Privy Council. This favor was also obtained under Queen Anna, who installed him, among other things, on the Commission for the Union of Scotland with England . He supported the Tories and sponsored Francis Atterbury , Bishop of Rochester. But he did not achieve the highest goal of his ambition, the title of Archbishop of Canterbury , probably because he was revealing too strongly pronounced Latitudinarian tendencies, especially in his last years. He died on July 7, 1713 at the age of 80 in Fulham and was buried in the All Saints Church there.

Compton was a successful botanist . In addition to several theological treatises, he published A Translation from the Italian of the Life of Donna Olympia Maladichini , who governed the Church during the time of Pope Innocent X , which was from the year 1644 to 1655 (1667) and A Translation from the French of the Jesuits' Intrigues (1669).


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predecessor Office successor
Nathaniel crew Bishop of Oxford
John Fell
Humphrey Henchman Bishop of London
John Robinson