Thomas Sprat

Infobox Bishop
honorific-prefix =
name = Thomas Sprat
honorific-suffix =
bishop_of = Rochester



caption =
province =
diocese =
see =
enthroned = 1684
ended = 1713
predecessor = Francis Turner
successor = Francis Atterbury
ordination =
consecration =
other_post = Dean of Westminster
birth_name =
birth_date = 1635
birthplace =
death_date = 20 May 1713
deathplace =
buried =
nationality = English
religion =
residence =
parents =
spouse =
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alma_mater = Wadham College, Oxford

Thomas Sprat (1635 – 20 May 1713), English divine, was born at Beaminster, Dorset, and educated at Wadham College, Oxford, where he held a fellowship from 1657 to 1670.

Having taken orders he became a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral in 1660. In the preceding year he had gained a reputation by his poem "To the Happie Memory of the most Renowned Prince Oliver, Lord Protector" (London, 1659), and he was afterwards well known as a wit, preacher and man of letters.

His chief prose works are the "Observations upon Monsieur de Sorbier's Voyage into England" (London, 1665), a satirical reply to the strictures on Englishmen in Samuel de Sorbière's book of that name, and a "History of the Royal Society of London" (London, 1667), which Sprat had helped to found. The "History of the Royal Society" elaborates the scientific purposes of the academy and outlines some of the strictures of scientific writing that set the modern standards for clarity and conciseness.

In 1669 he became canon of Westminster Abbey, and in 1670 rector of Uffington, Lincolnshire. He was chaplain to Charles II in 1676, curate and lecturer at St. Margaret's, Westminster, in 1679, canon of Windsor in 1681, dean of Westminster in 1683 and Bishop of Rochester in 1684.

He was a member of James II's ecclesiastical commission, and in 1688 he read the "Declaration of Indulgence" to empty benches in Westminster Abbey. The suggestion was that he was playing at being Vicar of Bray. Although he opposed the motion of 1689 declaring the throne vacant, he assisted at the coronation of William and Mary. As dean of Westminster he directed Christopher Wren's restoration of the abbey.

References

*1911


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