Thomas Ken 1637-1711

From Book Owners Online

Thomas KEN 1637-1711

Biographical Note

Born at Little Berkhamsted, son pf Thomas Ken, attorney. BA New College, Oxford 1661, MA 1664, BD 1678, DD 1679, lector in logic. Rector of Little Easton, Essex 1663, chaplain to George Morley 1665, and held a series of ecclesiastical livings before moving to The Hague in 1679 as chaplain to Princess Mary (later Mary II). He returned to London in 1680, was senior chaplain to the Fleet on a voyage to Tangier in 1683, and was appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1685. After some difficult years involved in politics and opposition to the Catholicism of James II, he refused the oaths to William and Mary and was deprived as Bishop in 1691; he therefore became one of the senior nonjurors through the succeeding decades, though regularly distancing himself from some of their more polemical positions. He was given a home and an annuity by Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth, and lived largely at Longleat. He was widely admired, throughout his life, for his sincere piety and his readiness to speak truth to power, as he saw it.


In his will, Ken bequeathed all his books "of which my Lordship has not the duplicates" to Viscount Weymouth, with next choice to go to Wells Cathedral; any books not selected by either were to be divided between his nephews Isaac Walton and John Beacham. All his French, Italian and Spanish books were bequeathed to Bath Abbey Library. Around 450 volumes were selected for Wells Cathedral.