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Ken, Thomas

Ken, Thomas (1637–1711). Bishop of Bath and Wells. Educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, Ken was chaplain to Morley, bishop of Winchester (1665), and to Princess Mary (later Mary II) at The Hague (1679–80). He became bishop of Bath and Wells (1684) and attended Monmouth on the scaffold (1685). As one of the seven bishops petitioning James II to withdraw the Declaration of Indulgence he was imprisoned in the Tower (1688), but acquitted. Nevertheless, a man of conscience, he refused to recognize James's abdication or William's accession, was deprived of his see (April 1691), and lived at Longleat until his death. Refusing to acknowledge Richard Kidder as his successor, he retained his episcopal signature until his friend George Hooper succeeded (1703). A man of great sanctity, caring for the poor in his diocese, he was a notable poet and hymn-writer.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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Ken, Thomas

Thomas Ken, 1637–1711, English prelate and hymn writer, prominent among the nonjuring bishops. He became chaplain to Charles II in 1680 and was nominated by that monarch to the bishopric of Bath and Wells in 1684. Under James II, Ken refused to publish the Declaration of Indulgence in accordance with the king's order; for this he was sent to the Tower with six other bishops in 1688. On the accession of William of Orange (William III) Bishop Ken would not take the oath of allegiance to him after having given it to the Stuarts, and in 1691 his see was taken from him as a nonjuror. Most noted of his hymns is the doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

See biographies by E. H. Plumptre (1888), F. A. Clarke (1896), and H. A. L. Rice (1958).

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