Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Atterbury, Francis, was born in 1662, and after receiving his education at Winchester and Oxford was ordained in due course. He wrote a treatise in support of Luther against papistical detractors. His ability and eloquence were soon remarked, and in 1691, coming to London, he was chosen by William III. as one of his chaplains. He acted as tutor to Charles Boyle, afterwards Lord Orrery, and is believed to have written his pupil's reply to Bentley on the Phalaris question. But though dexterous and showy, Atterbury was no match for Bentley in scholarship. He next engaged in a controversy with Dr. Wake, who maintained stoutly the royal supremacy in the Church. In 1700 he became archdeacon of Totnes and Canon of Exeter. On her accession Anne appointed him one of her chaplains, and in 1704 he was made Dean of Carlisle. A sermon, in which he depreciated morality as distinct from religion, brought him into collision with Hoadley. Being translated to the deanery of Christchurch he created much disturbance in the University, and just before Anne's death received the bishopric of Rochester with the deanery of Westminster. Casting in his lot with the more violent Tories, he offered at Anne's decease to proclaim King James, and he refused to sign the bishops' declaration in favour of George I. He was not unnaturally suspected of having a finger in the Jacobite plots, and was arrested and consigned to the Tower in 1722. The House of Lords next year sentenced him to banishment, and he lived until 1731 in Brussels and Paris, mixing in good society, and hatching schemes for the restoration of the Stuarts. His body was privately buried in Westminster Abbey. Atterbury's character has been the subject of much dispute. He possessed brilliant abilities, but lacked depth. He appears to have been induced to sacrifice religious and political principle to personal ambition. His temper was overbearing and tyrannical under opposition, but a polished courtly manner veiled this defect from ordinary observers.