- Thomas Lamplugh, the future Archbishop of York, had an extraordinary life brought on by his father's death in 1625 when Thomas was only 10. He had the good fortune to be adopted by his rich uncle Thomas Lamplugh who brought his nephew to Cumberland in 1630 when Thomas was 15. He was educated at St Bees grammar school (of which his uncle became a governor in 1642) and on to Oxford University. He graduated BA on 4 July 1639 and proceeded MA on 1 November 1642, the same year in which he became a fellow of his college.
From then on in a long life he rose and rose through the religious hierarchy. He was 74 years of age when he was elevated to the see of York, very much on the whim of the King. He died at Bishopthorpe, and was buried in York Cathedral.
- (Research):On 9 November 1663 Lamplugh was licensed to marry Katherine (1633-1671), daughter of Dr Edward Davenant of Gillingham, Dorset. They had five children, three of whom predeceased their mother; one son, also Thomas, survived his father. The king then presented him to the archdeaconry of London, Lamplugh being collated on 27 May 1664. He also became rector of St Anthony's, London. He was admitted principal of St Alban Hall in August 1664, prompting Wood to comment that he had a wife and 'looked after preferment; neglected the Hall' during his nine-year tenure. He was incorporated at Cambridge University in 1668. He was presented to a prebend of Worcester by the king on 23 May 1669. On 1 July 1670 he was collated vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, remaining there until his elevation to the episcopate. In November 1672 a warrant was issued by the king for Lamplugh to be made dean of Rochester, and he was installed on 6 March 1673, a successor being presented in 1676.
On 3 October 1676 Lamplugh was elected bishop of Exeter, being consecrated on 12 November at Lambeth Palace. Lamplugh was a diligent diocesan, attending services in his cathedral and seeking to win over moderate dissenters to the church. Moreover he promoted the repair of parochial churches. He received a writ of summons for a seat in the House of Lords on 10 February 1677, where he supported the court, holding two proxies at the beginning of the October 1678 session. He delivered the 5 November sermon to the House of Lords in 1678.
On 15 November he voted to add the test on transubstantiation to the oaths of allegiance and supremacy in the new Test Bill, thereby evincing his anti-Catholicism. He was also one of eleven peers on 29 November who supported an address from the Commons asking the king to remove the queen from Whitehall. Generally he supported the earl of Danby during this session of parliament. Lamplugh went on visitation in autumn 1679 and was very active in the tory reaction in his diocese, ordering the laws against dissenters, whether protestant or papist, to be put into execution. In April 1680 he reported to Archbishop Sancroft on the suppression of meeting-houses in his diocese. He voted in the Lords on 23 November 1680 against a joint committee with the Commons to consider the safety of the kingdoms.
Lamplugh was one of the few bishops to order James II's second declaration of indulgence to be read in his diocese in May 1688. However, on 28 May he added his signature to the seven bishops' petition for its withdrawal. Lamplugh left Exeter shortly before the prince of Orange arrived in November 1688, after exhorting his flock to remain loyal to King James. His return to London to wait on James resulted in his appointment to the archbishopric of York which had been vacant for over two years. He joined with Archbishop Sancroft and several other bishops on 17 November in petitioning James II for a free parliament. He was duly elected to the see of York on 28 November and was confirmed on 8 December 1688. Thus, following the king's initial flight from London, Lamplugh was a senior figure when the peers assembled on 11 December to oversee the government of the city. Indeed he was often the most senior peer present. On James II's return to London, Lamplugh was one of the bishops attending the king to negotiate concessions to the church. On the eve of the king's second departure Lamplugh said that 'if he saw His Majesty's face no more, he hoped that they should meet together in heaven' (Beddard, 60). However, he supported the request that Prince William take on the administration of the government until the Convention met.
Lamplugh voted for a regency on 29 January 1689 and opposed a motion on 31 January to declare William and Mary monarchs. He voted on both 4 and 6 February against King James having abdicated the throne but he took the oaths to William and Mary on 4 March. On 11 April 1689 he assisted Bishop Compton in crowning the new monarchs. In the Lords, Lamplugh voted against the rehabilitation of Titus Oates in May and July 1689.
Lamplugh died at the archiepiscopal residence, Bishopthorpe, on 5 May 1691, and was buried in York Minster. His will of 2 May prayed for the end to breaches in the unity of the church 'that they may no longer rend and tear out the bowels of their tender indulgent but now sadly afflicted mother' (Jabez-Smith, 'Joseph Williamson and Thomas Lamplugh', 156-7). He remembered Dr Christopher Potter and Dr Gerard Langbaine, both provosts of Queen's College, with bequests to their sons. His son Thomas was his executor.
"..he not only hated the dissenters but showed his zeal by persecuting them'
Wilsons Life of DE Foe quoted in History of Civlilization
Note: Daniel Defoe, the influential author of Robinson Crusoe, was a Presbyterian at a time that non-Anglican Protestants were known as "Dissenters." Defoe was active in Dessenter activities and wrote much that promoted Dissenter positions.
The arrival of Thomas Lamplugh as the new Bishop of Exeter in 1676 helped curb Anglican zealots. While Lamplugh insisted on firm ecclesiastical discipline, from experience he had become more permissive in theological matters. (
The same day that John Reynolds was hysterically denouncing Catholic conspiracies in the Exeter cathedral, Lamplugh outlined his position in a sermon before the House of Lords (5 November 1678). He presented a thinly veiled plea for toleration of all Protestants in the face of foreign, Catholic hostility.
Once, Lamplugh attempted to bring a nonconforming minister back into the fold by recommending choice selections from Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity. When the man attempted to refute the arguments, Lamplugh lost his temper, ejected him, and then refused to intervene when the authorities shortly afterwards incarcerated him. (21)
In April, Lamplugh reported a new move afoot between the justices and deputy lieutenants to enforce more rigorously the laws against the Nonconformists. The Bishop reported that at the July assizes the grand jury, admittedly consisting mainly of justices of the peace, demanded that the magistrates more stringently enforce laws against the Nonconformists. Lamplugh and Edward Seymour, Jr., who had become a recorder in September, implemented additional measures against Exeter Nonconformists,
The Devon justices also renewed their assault on Nonconformity during the January 1682 sessions. Apparently, at Bishop Lamplugh's urging, the bench reissued copies of their orders from the previous July. The grand jury concurred with the move. The fury of persecution spread.
The All Saint's Church is a 12th Century building retaining many of its original Norman features. The communal silver plate was presented to the church in 1689 by Thomas Lamplugh who was born in nearby Octon. He became Archbishop of York in 1688 and his name lives on in the area in the title of Lamplugh House which is situated nearby. It was opened in 1973 as a Christian Conference Centre for young people and attracts both clergy and laymen from home and abroad.