Thomas Wagstaffe

(1645—1712) bishop of the nonjuring Church of England

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George Hickes (1642—1715) bishop of the nonjuring Church of England and antiquary

Jeremy Collier (1650—1726) anti-theatrical polemicist and bishop of the nonjuring Church of England

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John Milton (1608—1674) poet and polemicist

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Thomas Wagstaffe was born in Binley, Warwickshire on 13 February 1645 and died there on 17 October 1712. He was educated at Charterhouse and New Inn Hall, Oxford, where he obtained a BA in 1664 and an MA in 1667. In 1669 Wagstaffe was ordained deacon, then priest in the Church of England. From 1634 to 1697 he was chaplain to Sir Richard Temple. He rose rapidly in the Church hierarchy through the patronage of James II, becoming chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral, prebend of Alderwas and rector of St Gabriel Fenchurch and St Margaret Pattens. But he was deprived of his appointments after the 1688 Revolution for refusing to take the new oaths of allegiance. With no formal qualifications, he made his living for a while practising as a physician. Archbishop Sancroft and Bishop Francis Turner, both deprived nonjurors, were among his patients. In 1693 the exiled James II appointed Wagstaffe Bishop of Ipswich. He was secretly consecrated, together with George Hickes, in 1694, but he did not perform any specifically episcopal duties. He spent much of the rest of his life in Warwickshire supporting the hard-line nonjurors such as George Hickes, Jeremy Collier and Thomas Brett in their hostility towards Henry Dodwell's and Thomas Ken's moves towards reconciliation with the official Anglican establishment. He also seems to have become extremely xenophobic, with special hostility towards the French and the Dutch.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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