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The life of Thomas Ken, D. D. : Bishop of Bath and Wells (Volume 2) online

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to whom it had been sent by Robert Nelson. BuU, like Hooper, had taken the
oaths; but Ken, as in Hooper's case, never thought less well of the man, because,
in that matter, be had taken another course than he had felt himself constrained
to take. Bull at this time was rector of Avening. He had been made Arch-
deacon of Llandaff by Bancroft, and held a prebend at Gloucester. His "new
friends " (William's Government), as Ken remarks, the Government of the day,


had not done much for him. It was not till 1705 that he wa.s promoted, at the
a,2:e of seventy-one, to the see of St. David's, on Bishop Watson's deprivation.
He died in 1709. It is. I think, worth noting that Bull was a native of Wells,
aud had been educated at the Grammar or Blue School there, and that this maj
have made another link between the two men. The letter is the last extant
addressed to Lloyd, and it is a pleasant ending to the correspondence. The
bitterness had pa>sed away. The friendship of earlier days returned, and
for both there was light at eventide. The letter is given by Round as in the
series of letters of 1702, but Anderdon (p. 732) says that it is endorsed by Lloyd
with the date given above. See Letter xlviii., p. 126.]

And, as to Hooper, all went as he could wish. Learning, tact,
kindness, soundness in the faith endeared him to the diocese as
they had endeared him to Ken, The following letter has no
public interest, but I print it as throwing light on the relations
between the two men. Ken feels that he can write freely to
his friend about a sick man's troubles, in the full faith that he
will sympathise and help (see I. p. 256).

" To Bishop Hooper.

" All Glory be to God.

" My very good Lord,
" I have sent my servant to begge of your Lordshippe two or
three bottles of canary for o"" sick friend, w"*" y* Doctour comends to
him. Your Lordshippe gave y^ whole family so seasonable and
sensible a consolation, y* it revived y^ whole family, and it gave me
a very great satisfaction to see my friend doe an act of so great, so
free, and so well-timed charity. Y^ good man is full of resignation
to y® divine will, and has an humble confidence of a blessed immor-
tality. He has slepped this night as well as could be expected, and
is asleepe now, and his pulse, w"'' for some days was unperceivable,
is now become tolerable. He has strength to turne in his bed, as
weak as he is, and to expectorate, and is sensibly mended ; and I
hope God will i*estore him, w'^'^ will be a blessing next to miraculous.
He has his understanding perfectly. My best respects to your good
lady, and to y'^ three young gentlewomen, aud to Mr. Guilford. I
beseech God to make us wise for eternity.
" My good Lord,
"Your Lordshipp's most affectionate Friend and B^

"THO. KEN, L. B. & W

♦'OcC. 6M" (1701).


[I am unable to identify the " si k f i( nd," on behalf of whom Ken wrote,
or Mr. Guilford, to whom he sends greeting. The signature, L. B. & W.
(late Bath and Wells), is significant as a practical confirmation of his cession.
The "three young gentlewomen" -were probably Hooper's daughters, one of
■whom, Abigail, afterwards Iklrs. Prowse, wrote the MS, memoir of her father
which has been often referred to.]

The separation from the Non-jurors who were bent on per-
petuating the schism was now complete. There was a lull
after the storm, and even they ceased from troubling, and the
weary soul of the devout Bishop could at last find rest.
During the reign of Anne the policy of the party was one of
expectation. They hoped that something might be done before
her death that would undo the Act of Settlement. They and
the statesmen and others, Bolingbroke and Atterbury and
their associates who acted with them, worked upon the Queen's
affection for her brother, and but for her death on August 1st,
1714, which defeated their plans, he, and not George I., might
have been proclaimed as King of England. In the mean-
time the air was calmer. There were few conspiracies. The
excitement of Sacheverell's sermon (1709) and the trial that
followed turned the passions of men into another channel.
It was not till near the close of Ken's life that he ouce
more decided on a course by which he separated himself
more completely than ever from the Non -jurors, and re-
turned into full communion with the Church from which he
had been self-excluded. The history of that step will come
before us more fully in a later chapter.



** The Saint's is not the Hero's praise ;
This I have found, and learn
Not to malign Heaven's humblest ways,
Nor its least hoon to spurn."

/. H. Neivman,

In the course of the inquiries, the result of which is embodied
in the present volume, I have come across some incidents in
Ken's life which seem to me to have a special interest, as
throwing light both on his own character, and on the relations
in which he stood to the more devout section of the Non -jurors.
It was natural that they should turn to him, as their spiritual
guide, for comfort and counsel. It was natural that he, as a
lover of souls, should sympathise with their sorrows, should
find in his intercourse with them a satisfaction which he could
not find in his intercourse with the more irreconcilable section
of the same party, the writers of scurrilous pamphlets, the
plotters and conspirators against the de facto Government, the
men who were bent on perpetuating the schism which he
sought the first opportunity of bringing to an end. To these
episodes of his private life, accordingly, I devote the present

I. "The Student- Penitent of 1695.'*

A small volume bearing this title was published in 1875, by
the late Pev. F. E. Paget, Rector of Elford. It purported
to give letters and other documents of that date, which were
in the possession of the descendants of a Non-juring family.
The Editor stated in his Preface that he had altered names

156 EPIHODEH IX PRIVATE LIFE. [chap. xxiv.

throughout so as to prevent identification. The narrative thug
introduced had for its hero a Robert, or Robin, the third son
of a Cavalier father, Theobald Verdun, of Verdun Court (no
county named), who had suffered much, in person and property,
in the time of the Rebellion. Mr. Verdun had also a house in
Leicester Fields, London, in which Robin was born in 1678.
His mother was of the house of Delamayne, and her brother
was a canon of Westminster. Robin, as a boy, had been
brought up devoutly, was frank, open, and affectionate. At
the age of sixteen or seventeen, when the death of his two
elder brothers had centred the hopes of his family on him,
after being under Busby, or Busby's successor, Knipe, at "West-
minster, he went to Oxford. The name of the College is given
as All Saints, on the principle of guarding against identifica-
tion, and in like manner, his chief Oxford friend is the Rev.
Nathaniel Dod, Tutor of St. Peter's. He finds his way into a
somewhat "fast" set, runs up bills for other than necessary
expenses, and buys books which include, mingled with classics
and divinity, the literature represented by St. Evremond's Essays,
Ovid's Epistles, and Love Letters in three volumes. He makes
an attempt to join some comrades in escaping from College, for
a cock-fight, by getting out of window on a ladder. The
ladder falls and brings him down with it, and his ribs are
fractured. He has to bear many months of suffering, and at
last dies in July, 1696. The better thoughts of early years
come back to him, and he becomes the " Student Penitent " of
the title of the book. He writes affectionate letters to his
mother and sisters, and to a college friend who had sought to
keep him from evil. The President of his College and others
report that his patience is exemplary and edifying. He is led
to keep a diary, in which he enters his meditations and prayers,
and passages from the devotional books of Kettlewell and other
writers. His family, it is said, were intimately connected with
the Non-juring clergy. Among the correspondence which the
book reproduces there is a letter, purporting to come from
Ken, which is so entirely after his manner that any one
familiar with his style would either receive it as genuine, or
recognise it as an admirable imitation. When the book ap-
peared, it attracted a fair measure of attention, but some of the

A.B. ir,9o— 1710.] THE STUDEXT-PEXITEXT. Vol

reviewers, as e.g. in the Guardian, hinted a suspicion that it
belonged to the category of fiction rather than of fact. The
modernised spelling throughout, and a touch of modernism of
style as well as spelling here and there in the Dianj, gave some
colour to the suspicion.

I was able, through the kindness of the surviving members
of Mr. Paget's family, to ascertain that the book rested on a
solid foundation of fact, and ultimately to get at the name of
the student. By permission of the late Sir Frederick Graham,
Bart., of Netherby, the representative of the family, I am
enabled to give the story with more fulness than it has been
given before, and to trace the connexion between the " Student
Penitent's " family and Bishop Ken.

The father of the Penitent was a Colonel James Graham,
or, as the family spelt it, Grahme, whom we meet with, once
and again, in Evelyn's Diary. On July 8th, 1675, he records
the fact that " Mr. James Graham, since Privy Purse to
the Duke of York," was " exceedingly in love with Dorothy,
daughter of Mrs. Howard, of Berkeley House, one of the
Maids of Honour to the Queen, and grand- daughter of
the first Earl of Berkshire;" that the mother "not much
favouring it," Evelyn's advice was asked, and he " spoke to
the advantage of the young gentleman." The marriage
took place a few months afterwards. A sister of the lady
whom Colonel Graham thus won as a bride was married,
on November 11th, 1677, to Sir Gabriel Sylvius, who has
met us an English Envoy at the Hague (i. 142), "and the
supper," Evelyn adds, "was provided at Mr. Graham's."
Evelyn dedicates to her his Life of Mrs. Godolphin. In Sep-
tember, 1685, Evelyn, on bis way with Pepys to meet the
King at Portsmouth, visits the Grahams at their house near
Bagshot, and pays another visit to her, in company with
Lady Clarendon, on October 22. When the Revolution came.
Colonel Graham remained faithful to the fallen house. The
family had probably known Ken in earlier days (some such
intimacy is implied in the letter to Mr. Graham, given in
i. 173), and it was natural that, when the great sorrow of
which the narrative tells us fell on them, they should look
to him for comfort. The man who had told the tale of Hvm-

158 UFISODJi'S IN PRIVATE LIFE. [chap. xxiv.

notheo's temptations, who had guided the scholars of Win-
chester in the paths of peace, was not slow to answer the call.

So it is that in tlie story of the Student Penitent Mr. Dod,
the Oxford tutor, writes to Theobald Verdun, i.e. to Colonel
Graham, suggesting that " my Lord Bishop " should discover
the truth to Mrs. Graham, " and at the same time comfort and
advise her" (p. 88), and asks him to show the letter to "my
Lord," i.e. to Ken. On March 14th, 1696, Robin's sister, Lucy,
writes to him, and sends (p. 101) a copy of the letter which
"my Lord Bishop of B. and W." has written to her mother.
It will be admitted, I think, tbat there is good reason for
reproducing it. It is followed by a letter from Kettlewell : —

*• To Mes. Graham.

"All Glory be to God.

" My worthy dear Friend,
"I have heard from L** 'W(eymouth) of your great trouble, and
so hasten to assure you of my continual and hearty prayers. God
of His infinite goodness multiply His blessings on you and yours,
and enable us aU to do and sulfer His holy will, and fit us for aU
He designs us to undergo. Tell your Eobin,^ that I think much of
him, and pray God to make all his bed in bis sickness. And read
to him what follows. ' Be sure, my good youth, that He Who
in His wisdom knoweth what is best for thee, hath laid this dis-
temper on thee for thy good, to humble and reform thee. Pray
Him, if He will, to divert this sickness from thee, when it has
done its sanctifying work : but in this, and all else, pray, that His
will, not thine, be done. And therefore, if the sickness grow on
thee, try to submit willingly to His afflicting Hand, Who chastisetb
those whom He loveth, yet lays no more on them than they are
able to bear. It may be that He will yet raise thee up ; but
prepare thyself lest He should not. And to that end, pray above
all things, that He would wean thy affections from earth, and fill
thee with ardent desires after heaven ; that He would fit thee
for Himself, and then, when He pleaseth, call thee to jo^^s un-
speakable, and full of glory, for His Son Jesus' sake. I send you
my benediction.'

' The ' penitent's ' real name was Richard.

A.D. 1695—1710.] THE STUDENT-PENITENT. 159

" Dear Madam, my best respects to your husband and dear miss.
God keep us in His reverential love, and mindful of eternity.
" My good Lady,
** Your Ladyship's affectionate friend and brother,

♦' THOS. B & W.
"From Longleate."

[The " dear miss " is, of course, Robin's sister, who was afterwards Oountess of
Suffolk and Berkshire. It is undated, but fits in to March, 1696.]

Mr. Dod reports that Lucy's letter and " the messages from
my Lord Bishop and good Mr. Kettlewell were a continual
feast " to his pupil. And Robin sends, in a letter to his parents,
that was not to be opened till after his death, " his humble
duty and great gratitude to them." Kettlewell, it would seem,
had often been in personal intercourse with the family, and
had spoken in Robin's presence of the " heathenishness " of
the times. In a letter written shortly before his death Robin
speaks of " that day when our dear Lord Bishop (it is
obvious that he speaks of Ken) took that long ride over the
Downs," on purpose to see his brother, who was then dying
from a fall from his horse. He died between July 11th and
16th, 1696. I can scarcely doubt that Ken must have thought
over some of the parallelisms which his life presented to that
of his own Hyrri'notheo. That " ride over the Downs " (Bag-
shot Heath ?) may have had a far-off parallel in the Apostle's
ride over the passes of the Taurus.^

1 As these sheets are passing through the press I have been favoured by Mr.
Howard Paget, of Elford, near Tamworth, with permission to extract some
further particulars from a privately printed volume compiled by his father, the
Rev. F. E. Paget, and bearing the title of Ashstead and its Howard Possessors.
Ashstead is in Surrey, not far from Epsom. It appears that the mother of Mr.
Graham's (or Grahme as they spelt the name) wife was the widow of William
Howard, grandson of the Earl of Berkshire. Evelyn (June 30th, 1669), relates
that he accompanied her on a journey of pleasure with her daughter Dorothy,
and Mrs. (i.«. Miss), Margaret Blagg, the future Mrs. Godolphin. On June 10,
1673, he receives Dorothy at Sayes Com-t. In July, 1675, he accompanies them to
Oxford, at what would now be called the Commemoration time, and takes them to
see the colleges and " all the academic exercises." It is in this journey that James
Graham appears as above. The lady whom he loved was "not only a great beauty,
but a most virtuous and excellent creature, worthy to have been the wife of
the best of men." All Evelyn's sympathies were with the young lovers, and the
marriage was mainly brought about through his influenLC. James Graham was

160 EPISODES m PRIVATE LIFE. [chap. xxiv.

II. The Tragedy of Statfold.

The village of Statfold, in Staffordshire, is about three miles
from Drayton Manor, now the property of Sir Robert Peel,
but then belonging to Lord Weymouth, Ken's friend and host,
at which, as at Longleat, the Bishop was a welcome visitor.
A small church, now in ruins, with a stone altar and an
old worm-eaten oak pulpit, was practically the chapel of
the squire's house, and the squire of the last ten years of
the seventeenth century was a Francis Wolferstan. The
family had been settled there for some generations, and a
collateral descendant is in possession now. Francis Wolferstan
was a strong Jacobite, refused to take the oaths to William and
Mary, wrote of the former as " Mynheer with his stolen crown,"
and, though he kept clear of conspiracies, withdrew from the
commxmion of the Church, in consequence of the " usurpation
of the pseudo-Bishop," and the " immorall prayers " in which
lie could no longer join, was excluded from the bench of Ma-
gistrates, and suffered " from the doubling of his poll-tax by
the Commissioners," in consequence of his opinions. He dined

a son of Sir George Graham of Netherby. His elder brother, Richard, was
created Viscount Preston by James II., was Secretary of State, 1688, attainted
and condemned to death, 1690, and pardoned in 1691. James was educated at
Westminster, and then at Christ Church. He served in the army, in the
war in which Charles II. and Louis XIV. were allied against Holland, under
Monmouth and Turenne. In 1679 he and his wife had apartments in St. James's
Palace, and in 1685 they had also a country house at Bagshot, where Evelyn
(September loth, 1685), visited them. He was at that time Lieutenant of Windsor
Castle and Forest. In all the family troubles, notably in those of the illness
and death of their three sons, Ken was their never-failing adviser and consoler.
An elder brother, Henry, married the widow of the second Earl of Derwentwater,
whose mother was a daughter of Charles II. by Moll Davis the actress, within a
year after her husband's execution, and a younger brother, William, Chaplain
and Clerk of the Closet to Queen Anne, after holding a ' golden ' stall at Durham
with the Deanery of Carlisle, succeeded Ealph Bathurst as Dean of Wells in
1704. His gi-andson resumed the baronetcsy, which had been forfeited by Vis-
count Preston's attainder, in 1738, the Scotch title having expired on the death
of the Viscount's grandson in that year. When James II. left London for
Ivochester, in his flight from Whitehall, the auditor of the Exchequer, Sir. T.
Howard, refused to advance any money, and Colonel James Graham lent the^
king £6,000, which was repaid b}'' a transfer of stock which James had bought,
as Duke, in the East India and African Company. This he sold for £10,000, but
the Companies afterwards got a decree in the Exchequer, and compelled him to
refund. It may be noted as one of the small facts which sometimes refresh ua


often with Lord "Weymouth. He was, after the manner of his
class, a devout High Churchman, and noted in his Prayer-book
the coincidences with events in his own personal life, or in the
history of the nation, which had presented themselves in the
Psalms of the day.^ His temper seems to have been hasty;
his will strong and inflexible. His eldest son, then twentj^-five,
appears to have inherited something of his father's tempera-
ment. He fell in love with Sarah, the daughter of George
Antrobus, the master of the grammar school at Tamworth,
also about three miles from Statfold, The disparity of social
position would have been enough to rouse his father's opposi-

as we track the records of revolutions, that James, in his departure, did not forget
the domestics whom he left at Whitehall, and that a memorandum in the Levens
papers contains a list of gifts, from ten guineas to one, amounting to over a
hundred, that were made bj- James's orders. To Graham James wrote to give
the first news of his arrival at Boulogne. He also confided to him his ser-
vice of plate, the books of devotions and prayers, and the altar plate in his chapel
at Whitehall, all which Graham was to receive from the well-known Chifiinch,
and, at a later date, his pictures, the latter being received from William III.
The fate of the plate has not been traced. The pictures are now at Charlton,
near Malmesbury, a seat of the Earl of Berkshire, who married Graham's
daughter. Not long after the death of the ' Student Penitent ' his father seems
to have left Bagsbot, and to have lived at the family seat of Levens, in Westmore-
land. His wife, Doroth)% died in 1700. He married again in 1702, and his second
wife died in 1709. He himself survived till 1730. Following in the footsteps of
Ken, though a Non-juror, he kept clear of all plots, and was never molested with
any charge of treason. He was on terms of intimacy with Lord Weymouth, and
the letters of the latter to him always end with messages of warm affection and
inquiry from Ken. The "Student Penitent" was matriculated (Oct. 11, 1695),
at University College, of which Dr. Charlett, of whom we read much in Hearne,
WHS then Master. His tutor, "Mr. Dod," I identify with Hugh Todd, Fellow
of University College, who was Prebendary of Carlisle, and had the living of
Penrith given him by Viscount Preston, the * Student Penitent's ' uncle.
(Hearne ii., 72.) His name does not appear as tutor to any other undergraduate
besides Richard Grahme, who is matriculated as under his special care, and pro-
bably, therefore, he took charge of him as a friend of the family. Richard Ci raham,
the Penitent, was buried in the chapel of Universitj' College. The library at Levens
contains many gift books from Kettlewell to Col. Graham. It also contains most
of the books charged by the Oxford bookseller, to " Mr. Richard Grahme, Un.
Coll., Oxon," above referred to. The whole story, as told by Mr. Paget in the
volume from which I have taken this epitome, seems to me a singularly interest-
ing episode in the byways of history.

1 Some of these are, I think, worth quoting. (1) Ps. xxv : on the Easter
Sunday afier he was shut out Irom communion. (2) Ps. Iv. 12, 13 : " after the
doubling of his tax," the Commissioners, I presume, including some who had
been his personal friends, and (3) Ps. Ixxix., "when many loyal persons wore
committed to the Tower and other prisons (1692) for high treason."

162 EPISODES IX PRIVATE LIFE. [chap. xxn-.

tion. It was, as we may well imagine, not diminished by the
fact that Sarah Antrobus's father was a Williamite and a
Whig. Her sister Ruth married the well-known William
Whiston, who had been at Tamworth school. The lovers
carried on a clandestine correspondence, in which they poured
out their hearts to each other, and which still, as copied
into a book by the lover's sister Anne, afterwards Lady
Egerton, after all was over, through their discoloured paper
and faded ink, breathe words of wild love and passionate com-
plaint. There is, I believe, no reason for thinking that there
had been a private marriage, but the lover writes to his beloved
as "his own," "his wife," whom he will one day acknowledge.
Pie complains bitterly of his father's harshness. At last,
in September, 1698, the climax came. Hot, fierce words passed
between the father and the son.^ The son retired to his room,
but when morning came the room was empty. No written words
were found to indicate where he had gone, or what was the
motive of his departure. No line ever came either to his father
or his sister (his mother died in 1673, long before the tragic story
began), to tell them where he was, alive or dead. All that is
known afterwards is that Shawe's Siaffordshire records the fact
that he died of small pox in London, in 1698 or 99, and was
buried, as "unmarried," at St. Giles's in the Fields. The
shadow of a lost heir rested on the Statfold home, and his name
seldom passed the lips of either father or sister. What became
of Sarah I have been unable to trace. At last, when nearly
nine years had passed, in May, 1707, below the corner of a mat
under which it had been thrust, and which had never since been
touched, there was found a letter written to Sarah Antrobus,
in bitter heat of spirit, on the morning of the young man's
departure. He could bear his father's reproaches no longer.
" The horror of present circumstances is not to be conceived,
nor can be paralleled, except in Hell. What will be the issue,
Heaven onl}- knows, but death is better than damnation."

And across this scene of tragic horrors there flits for a mo-
ment the * calm ghost ' of Ken. The father sadly and sternly
copies the letter, as closing the whole history, and reviews,
at the end of the other letters in his daughter's volume, the

' He writes to Sarah on Aug. .0, 1(J9S, that "Hell had broken loose on him."


events which were bringing his grey hairs with sorrow to the

Online LibraryE. H. (Edward Hayes) PlumptreThe life of Thomas Ken, D. D. : Bishop of Bath and Wells (Volume 2) → online text (page 17 of 32)