Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Atterbury, Lewis (1656-1731)
ATTERBURY, LEWIS, LL.D., the younger (1656–1731), the eldest son of Lewis Atterbury the elder, and brother of Bishop Atterbury, was born at Caldecot, in the parish of Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, on 2 May 1656. After being educated at Westminster School, under Dr. Busby, he proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated on 10 April 1674. He was ordained deacon by Dr. John Fell, bishop of Oxford, on 21 Sept. 1679, when he had already taken his bachelor's degree; and on 5 July 1680 he proceeded M.A., taking priest's orders on 25 Sept. of the following year. In 1683 he became chaplain to Sir William Pritchard, then lord mayor of London: and in February 1684 he was appointed rector of Sywell, Northamptonshire. On 8 July 1687 he took by accumulation the degrees of bachelor and doctor of civil law. He was appointed, in 1691, lecturer of St. Mary Hill, London, and on 16 June 1695 he became preacher of Highgate Chapel, where he had been officiating for some time previously, during the illness of his predecessor. Before this date he had been appointed one of the six chaplains to Princess Anne of Denmark at Whitehall and St. James's, a position which he continued to hold after she came to the throne, and during part of the reign of George I. On coming to reside at Highgate, struck with the difficulties against which the neighbouring poor had to contend in obtaining good medical advice, he applied himself to the study of medicine, and used his knowledge gratuitously for the benefit of his parishioners. In 1707 he was presented by the queen to the rectory of Shepperton, in Middlesex, the incumbent having been deprived for neglecting to take the oaths within the time required by law; and in 1719 he was collated by the Bishop of London to the rectory of Hornsey, continuing at the same time to hold the office of preacher at Highgate. The archdeaconry of Rochester becoming vacant by the death of Dr. Sprat in 1720, Atterbury wrote to his younger brother, the bishop, applying for the post. Archdeacon Yardley printed (in the preface to Atterbury's 'Sermons,' 1743) the correspondence that passed on the subject. The bishop thought that such an appointment would be 'the most unseemly, indecent thing in the world;' to which the elder brother replied that he could not see where the 'indecency' lay, and that, though there might be 'some show of reason for the non-acceptance,' there was 'none for the not giving it.' At the age of seventy, up to which time he had enjoyed good health, he was compelled by the
ininfirmities of age and an attack of the palsy to pay frequent visits to Bath. Here he died 20 Oct. 1731, in his seventy-sixth year. He was buried in Highgate Chapel. He left a collection of pamphlets, in some two hundred volumes, to the library of Christ Church, Oxford, and a few books to the libraries at Bedford and Newport-Pagnell. To his brother, the bishop, 'in token of his true esteem and affection,' he left one hundred pounds; and the remainder of his property, first to his granddaughter (who survived him but a short time), and afterwards to his nephew Osborn, the bishop's son. He also left ten pounds a year for the support of a schoolmistress for girls at Newport-Pagnell. In 1688 he had married Penelope, sister of Sir Robert Bedingfield, lord mayor of London in 1707. Two of his sons died in infancy; a third, Bedingfield Atterbury, who was educated at Oxford, died in 1718: a married daughter died in 1725; and his wife in 1723.
A list of Atterbury's works is given in Yardley's preface to the 'Sermons,' 1743. Among them may be mentioned:—
- 'The Penitent Lady, or Reflections on the Mercy of God, from the French of Madame de la Vallière,' 12mo, 1684.
- 'Ten Sermons preached before her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark, at the chapel of St. James's,' 8vo, 1699.
- 'Twelve Sermons preached at St. James's and Whitehall: dedicated to the Queen,' 8vo, 1703.
- 'Some Letters relating to the History of the Council of Trent,' 4to, 1705.
- 'An Answer to a Popish Book intitled "A True and Modest Account of the Chief Points of Controversy between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants," &c.,' 8vo, 1709.
- 'The Reunion of Christians; translated from the French,' 8vo, 1708.
- 'Sermons on Select Subjects; now published from the originals,' two vols., 8vo, 1743. A portrait, engraved by Yertue, is prefixed to vol. i.
[Archdeacon Yardley's Brief Account of the Author, prefixed to Sermons on Select Subjects, 1743; Atterbury's Correspondence, ed. Nichols, i, 484, ii. 99.]