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Atterbury, Francis

Atterbury, Francis (1663–1732). Anglican priest and high-church Tory. A King's Scholar at Westminster school, Atterbury was then educated in the fiercely royalist and high Anglican Christ Church, Oxford, where he became a don. When James II tried to catholicize Oxford University, the leading seminary of the Church of England, Atterbury was prominent in opposition. By 1710 Atterbury was the leading Tory spokesman for the high-church vision of a revitalized Anglican church–state and a strong defender of the rights of convocation. By the time he became bishop of Rochester and dean of Westminster in 1713, he was of the radical Tory school epitomized by Henry St John (Bolingbroke). The destruction of the Tory Party after 1715 appalled him. No Jacobite before 1716, he was driven to Jacobite intrigue by one-party tyranny and Whig Erastianism. Detected and exiled by a bill of pains and penalties forced through by Walpole in 1723, he was a minister of the exiled court until 1728, but long before his death had become totally disillusioned by its incompetence and incorrigible proselytizing.

Bruce Philip Lenman

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