Biography of Thomas Sprat Bishop 1635-1713
John Evelyn's Diary 1666 July. 04 Jul 1666. The solemn Fast-day. Dr. Meggot preached an excellent discourse before the King (36) on the terrors of God's judgments. After sermon, I waited on my Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (49) and Bishop of Winchester (47), where the Dean of Westminster (31) spoke to me about putting into my hands the disposal of fifty pounds, which the charitable people of Oxford had sent to be distributed among the sick and wounded seamen since the battle. Hence, I went to the Lord Chancellor's (57) to joy him of his Royal Highness's (32) second son, now born at St. James's; and to desire the use of the Star-chamber for our Commissioners to meet in, Painters' Hall, Queenhithe not being so convenient.
John Evelyn's Diary 1669 July. 10 Jul 1669. The next day began the more solemn lectures in all the faculties, which were performed in the several schools, where all the Inceptor-Doctors did their exercises, the Professors having first ended their reading. The assembly now returned to the Theater, where the Terræ filius (the University Buffoon) entertained the auditory with a tedious, abusive, sarcastical rhapsody, most unbecoming the gravity of the University, and that so grossly, that unless it be suppressed, it will be of ill consequence, as I afterward plainly expressed my sense of it both to the Vice-Chancellor and several Heads of Houses, who were perfectly ashamed of it, and resolved to take care of it in future. The old facetious way of rallying upon the questions was left off, falling wholly upon persons, so that it was rather licentious lying and railing than genuine and noble wit. In my life, I was never witness of so shameful an entertainment.
After this ribaldry, the Proctors made their speeches. Then began the music art, vocal and instrumental, above in the balustrade corridor opposite to the Vice-Chancellor's seat. Then Dr. Wallis, the mathematical Professor, made his oration, and created one Doctor of music according to the usual ceremonies of gown (which was of white damask), cap, ring, kiss, etc. Next followed the disputations of the Inceptor-Doctors in Medicine, the speech of their Professor, Dr. Hyde, and so in course their respective creations. Then disputed the Inceptors of Law, the speech of their Professor, and creation. Lastly, Inceptors of Theology: Dr. Compton (37) (brother of the Earl of Northampton) being junior, began with great modesty and applause; so the rest. After which, Dr. Tillotson (38), Dr. Sprat (34), etc., and then Dr. Allestree's (47) speech, the King (39)'s Professor, and their respective creations. Last of all, the Vice-Chancellor, shutting up the whole in a panegyrical oration, celebrating their benefactor and the rest, apposite to the occasion.
Thus was the Theater dedicated by the scholastic exercises in all the Faculties with great solemnity; and the night, as the former, entertaining the new Doctor's friends in feasting and music. I was invited by Dr. Barlow (61), the worthy and learned Professor of Queen's College.
John Evelyn's Diary 1675 August. 09 Aug 1675. Dr. Sprat (40), prebend of Westminster, and Chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham (47), preached on the 3d Epistle of Jude, showing what the primitive faith was, how near it and how excellent that of the Church of England, also the danger of departing from it.
In 1676 Thomas Sprat Bishop 1635-1713 (41) was appointed Chaplain to Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 (45).
John Evelyn's Diary 1679 November. 23d November, 1679. Dr. Allestree (57) preached before the household on St. Luke xi. 2; Dr. Lloyd (42) on Matt. xxiii. 20, before the King (49), showing with how little reason the Papists applied those words of our blessed Savior to maintain the pretended infallibility they boast of. I never heard a more Christian and excellent discourse; yet were some offended that he seemed to say the Church of Rome was a true church; but it was a captious mistake; for he never affirmed anything that could be more to their reproach, and that such was the present Church of Rome, showing how much it had erred. There was not in this sermon so much as a shadow for censure, no person of all the clergy having testified greater zeal against the errors of the Papists than this pious and most learned person. I dined at the Bishop of Rochester's (54), and then went to St. Paul's to hear that great wit, Dr. Sprat (44), now newly succeeding Dr. Outram, in the cure of St. Margaret's. His talent was a great memory, never making use of notes, a readiness of expression in a most pure and plain style of words, full of matter, easily delivered.
John Evelyn's Diary 1680 October. 31st October, 1680. I spent this whole day in exercises. A stranger preached at Whitehall on Luke xvi. 30, 31. I then went to St. Martin's, where the Bishop of St. Asaph (53) [Note. The next post refers to William Lloyd Bishop 1617-1717 (53) being made Bishop St Asaph. The previous incumbent Isaac Barrow had died 24 Jun 1680] preached on 1 Peter iii. 15; the Holy Communion followed, at which I participated, humbly imploring God's assistance in the great work I was entering into. In the afternoon, I heard Dr. Sprat (45), at St. Margaret's, on Acts xvii. 11.
I began and spent the whole week in examining my life, begging pardon for my faults, assistance and blessing for the future, that I might, in some sort, be prepared for the time that now drew near, and not have the great work to begin, when one can work no longer. The Lord Jesus help and assist me! I therefore stirred little abroad till the 5th of November, when I heard Dr. Tenison (44), the now vicar of St. Martin's; Dr. Lloyd (53), the former incumbent, being made Bishop of St. Asaph.
In 1681 Thomas Sprat Bishop 1635-1713 (46) was appointed Canon Chapel Royal.
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 April. 06 Apr 1683. Good Friday. There was in the afternoon, according to custom, a sermon before the King (52), at Whitehall; Dr. Sprat (48) preached for the Bishop Rochester (58).
John Evelyn's Diary 1683 December. 30 Dec 1683. Dr. Sprat (48), now made Deane of Westminster, preached to the King (53) at Whitehall, on 6 Matt. 24. Recollecting the passages of the past yeare, I gave God thanks for his mercies, praying his blessing for the future.
From 1685 Thomas Sprat Bishop 1635-1713 (50) was appointed Clerk of the Closet which post he held until 1687.
John Evelyn's Diary 1685 February. 19 Feb 1685. The Lord Treasurer and yc other new Officers were sworne at the Chancery Barr and the Exchequer. The late King having the revenue of Excise, Costoms, and other late duties granted for his life only, they were now farmed and lett to severall persons, upon an opinion that the late King might lett them for three yeares after his decease; some of the old Commissioners refus'd to act. The lease was made but the day before the King died; the major part of the Judges (but as some think not the best Lawyers) pronounc'd it legal, but four dissented. The Clerk of the Closet (50) had shut up the late King's private Oratorie next the Privy-chamber above, but the King caus'd it to be open'd againe, and that prayers should be said as formerly.
John Evelyn's Diary 1685 April. 08 Apr 1685. Being now somewhat compos'd after my greate affliction, I went to London to hear Dr. Tenison (48) (it being on a Wednesday in Lent) at Whitehall. I observ'd that tho' the King (51) was not in his seate above in the chapell, the Doctor made his three congees, which they were not us'd to do when the late King was absent, making then one bowing onely. I ask'd the reason; it was sayd he had a special order so to do. The Princesse of Denmark (34) was in the King's Closet, but sat on the left hand of the chaire, the Clearke of the Closet (50) standing by His Ma*s chaire, as If he had ben present. I met the Queene Dowager (46) going now first from Whitehall to dwell at Somerset-house. This day my brother of Wotton and Mr. Onslow (30) were candidates for Surrey against Sr Adam Brown and my cousin Sr Edwd Evelyn, and were circumvented in their election by a trick of the Sheriff's* taking advantage of my brother's party going out of the small village of Leatherhead to seek shelter and lodging, the afternoone being tempestuous, proceeding to the Election when they were gon; they expecting the next morning; whereas before and then they exceeded the other party by many hundreds, as I am assur'd. The Duke of Norfolk (30) led Sr Edw. Evelyn's and Sr Adam Brown's party. For this Parliament, very meane and slight persons (some of them gentlemen's servants, clearkes, and persons neither of reputation nor interest) were set up, but the country would choose my brother whether he would or no, and he miss'd it by the trick above mentioned. Sr Adam Brown was so deafe that he could not heare one word. S1 Edw. Evelyn was an honest gent much in favour with his Majesty.
John Evelyn's Diary 1685 April. 17 Apr 1685. Good Friday. Dr. Tenison (48) preached at the new church at St. James's, on 1 Cor. 16, 22, upon the infinite love of God to us, which he illustrated in many instances. The holy Sacrament followed, at which I participated. The Lord make me thankfull. In tbe after noone Dr. Sprat, Bp. of Rochester (50), preached in Whitehall Chapell, the auditory very full of Lords, the two Archbishops, and many others, now drawne to towne upon the occasion of the Coronation and ensuing Parliament. I supp'd with the Countesse of Sunderland (39) and Lord Godolphin (39), and return'd home.
John Evelyn's Diary 1686 January. 01 Jan 1686. Imploring ye continuance of God's providential care for the yeare now entered, I went to the public devotions. The Deane of the Chapell and Cleark of the Closset put out, viz. Bp. of London (54) and . . . , and Rochester (51) and Durham (52) put in their places; the former had oppos'd the toleration intended, and shewn a worthy zeale for the Reform'd Religion as establish'd.
John Evelyn's Diary 1686 July. 14 Jul 1686 . Was sealed at our office the constitution of certain commissioners to take upon them full power of all Ecclesiastical affairs, in as unlimited a manner, or rather greater, than the late High Commission-Court, abrogated by Parliament; for it had not only faculty to inspect and visit all Bishops' dioceses, but to change what laws and statutes they should think fit to alter among the colleges, though founded by private men; to punish, suspend, fine, etc., give oaths and call witnesses. The main drift was to suppress zealous preachers. In sum, it was the whole power of a Vicar-General—note the consequence! Of the clergy the commissioners were the Archbishop of Canterbury [Sancroft] (69), Bishop of Durham [Crewe] (53), and Rochester [Sprat] (51); of the Temporals, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Chancellor [Jefferies] (41) (who alone was ever to be of the quorum), the Chief justice [Herbert] (38), and Lord President [Earl of Sunderland] (44).
John Evelyn's Diary 1686 September. 08 Sep 1686. Dr. Compton, Bishop of London (54), was on Monday suspended, on pretense of not silencing Dr. Sharp (41) [NOTE. Assumed to be the subsequent Archbishop?] at St. Giles's, for something of a sermon in which he zealously reproved the doctrine of the Roman Catholics. The Bishop having consulted the civilians, they told him he could not by any law proceed against Dr. Sharp without producing witnesses, and impleaded according to form; but it was overruled by my Lord Chancellor (41), and the Bishop sentenced without so much as being heard to any purpose. This was thought a very extraordinary way of proceeding, and was universally resented, and so much the rather for that two Bishops, Durham (53) and Rochester (51), sitting in the commission and giving their suffrages the Archbishop of Canterbury (69) refused to sit among them. He was only suspended ab officio, and that was soon after taken off. He was brother to the Earl of Northampton, had once been a soldier, had traveled in Italy, but became a sober, grave, and excellent prelate.
John Evelyn's Diary 1688 August. 23 Aug 1688. I left this noble place and conversation, my lady having provided carriages to convey us back in the same manner as we went, and a dinner being prepared at Dunstable against our arrival. Northampton, having been lately burned and re-edified, is now become a town that for the beauty of the buildings, especially the church and townhouse, may compare with the neatest in Italy itself.
Dr. Sprat (53), Bishop Rochester, wrote a very honest and handsome letter to the Commissioners Ecclesiastical, excusing himself from sitting any longer among them, he by no means approving of their prosecuting the Clergy who refused to read the Declaration for liberty of conscience, in prejudice of the Church of England.
The Dutch make extraordinary preparations both at sea and land, which with no small progress Popery makes among us, puts us to many difficulties. The Popish Irish soldiers commit many murders and insults; the whole nation disaffected, and in apprehensions.
After long trials of the doctors to bring up the little Prince of Wales by hand (so many of her Majesty's children having died infants) not succeeding, a country nurse, the wife of a tile maker, is taken to give it suck.