Monday, March 5, 2012

Frederick Cornwallis

Today a Latitudinarian Archbishop of Canterbury; tomorrow a High Church Tory Bishop of Rochester!

Frederick Cornwallis was born on March 5, 1713 (so was his twin brother, Edward, founder of Halifax, Nova Scotia and Governor of Gilbralter). Frederick was educated at Eton and took degrees at Christ's Church at Cambridge; ordained in the C of E in 1742; Doctor of Divinity in 1748. As he was the seventh son of Charles Cornwallis, the 4th Baron Cornwallis, his progress in the Church was assured. (His eldest brother was Charles Cornwallis, father of the General Charles Cornwallis who would surrender to George Washington in 1781.) In 1746 he became a chaplain to King George II and a Canon at Windsor Castle; then in 1750 he became Canon at St. Paul's in London and Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry.

When Thomas Secker died in 1768 he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. He was known for his good adminstration of his office, but he was a typical latitudinarian of the 18th century. Therefore he contributed to that lack of enthusiasm for Christian doctrine and worship that lead to the evangelical and High Church reforming movements of the nineteenth century, especially the Oxford Movement. He died on the 19th of March in 1783, 70 years old, and was succeeded in his office by John Moore.

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