Robinson, John

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Robinson, John (1650–1723). Diplomat and bishop of London. A Yorkshireman of humble origins, educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, he became chaplain to the English embassy to Sweden (c.1680) while still an Oxford don (1675–86), and, remaining abroad until c.1709, won a reputation as a competent envoy to Sweden; he accompanied Charles XII to Narva. Later he was successively dean of Windsor (1709), bishop of Bristol (1710) and of London. As lord privy seal under Harley (1711) and joint plenipotentiary, he represented Britain at the peace negotiations at Utrecht (1712–13). Partly responsible for Britain's advantageous terms, he was made bishop of London in 1713. A Tory, but opposed to Bolingbroke, he backed Harley and the Hanoverian succession. More of a professional diplomat than a cleric, Robinson was the last ecclesiastic to hold high political office.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall