William Fleetwood - Encyclopedia




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WILLIAM FLEETWOOD (1656-1723), English divine, was descended of an ancient Lancashire family, and was born in the Tower of London on New Year's Day 1656. He received his education at Eton and at King's College, Cambridge. About the time of the Revolution he took orders, and was shortly afterwards made rector of St Austin's, London, and lecturer of St Dunstan's in the West. He became a canon of Windsor in 1702, and in 1708 he was nominated to the see of St Asaph, from which he was translated in 1714 to that of Ely. He died at Tottenham, Middlesex, on the 4th of August 17 23. Fleetwood was regarded as the best preacher of his time. He was accurate in learning, and effective in delivery, and his character stood deservedly high in general estimation. In episcopal administration he far excelled most of his contemporaries. He was a zealous Hanoverian, and a favourite with Queen Anne in spite of his Whiggism. His opposition to the doctrine of non-resistance brought him into conflict with the tory ministry of 1712 and with Swift, but he never entered into personal controversy.

His principal writings are - An Essay on Miracles (1701); Chronicum preciosum (an account of the English coinage, 1707); and Free Sermons (1712), containing discourses on the death of Queen Mary, 1 He !had lost his first wife, Frances Smith; and later he had a third wife, Mary, daughter of Sir John Coke and widow of Sir Edward Hartopp.

the duke of Gloucester and King William. The preface to this last was condemned to public burning by parliament, but, as No. 384 of The Spectator, circulated more widely than ever. A collected edition of his works, with a biographical preface, was published in 1737.

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