Hayter, Thomas (DNB00)


HAYTER, THOMAS (1702–1762), bishop successively of Norwich and London, baptised at Chagford, Devonshire, 17 Nov. 1702, was eldest son (of ten children) of George Hayter, rector of Chagford, who was buried there on 9 Oct. 1728, by his wife Grace, who died on 22 March 1760. The Hayter family purchased the advowson of Chagford in 1637, and the living has been held by descendants in unbroken succession for more than two centuries. Thomas was educated at Blundell's school, Tiverton. With the aid of a temporary exhibition, awarded to him by the feoffees in 1720, he matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 30 May 1720, and graduated B.A. on 21 Jan. 1724. He subsequently became a member of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he took the degrees of M.A. (1727) and D.D. (1744). Some time in 1724 he quitted Oxford to become private chaplain to Archbishop Lancelot Blackburne [q. v.] of York. His friend John Burton (1696–1771) [q. v.] sent him a long valedictory epistle in Latin (Burton, Opuscula Miscell. 1771, pp. 309–12). The archbishop secured for Hayter much preferment. He held the prebendal stall of Riccall in York Cathedral from 31 Dec. 1728 to 1736, when he was advanced to the stall of Strensall. In the same year (1728) he was appointed to the prebend of North Muskham in Southwell minster, became subdean of York on 26 Nov. 1730, and was installed prebendary of Westminster on 12 Feb. 1739. The last four preferments he retained until his elevation to the episcopal bench. He was archdeacon of York or West Riding from 26 Nov. 1730 to 1751. When the archbishop died in 1743 Hayter was one of his executors and one of the three residuary legatees to the estate. Scandal asserted that Hayter was Blackburne's natural son, and as late as 1780 Walpole spoke of their physical resemblance, but there is no truth in the assertion. Hayter was nominated to the see of Norwich on 13 Oct. 1749 and consecrated on 3 Dec. On the rearrangement after his death of the household of Frederick, prince of Wales (1751), the post of preceptor to the young princes was conferred on the Bishop of Norwich, ‘a sensible, well-bred man,’ who was held to be attached to the Duke of Newcastle. All authorities agree in praising his earnestness in the discharge of his duty, but Coxe reports that he disgusted the young princes by his dry and pedantic manners, and offended the princess by persevering in a system of discipline which she did not approve; while even the king thought his behaviour indiscreet. Walpole remarks that the bishop resented the tendency of the princess to treat her children with excessive indulgence to the injury of their studies. The household was divided into two parties, of which one was suspected of leaning towards Jacobitism; the other consisted of the bishop and Lord Harcourt, the governor, who were both zealous whigs. Hayter's distrust of his opponents was increased when he found that one of them had induced the young Prince of Wales to read the ‘Révolutions d'Angleterre,’ a book written to justify the measures of James II. Open war ensued, and the bishop and his ally tendered their resignations. The court was willing for Hayter to retire, but desired Harcourt to remain. In the end both resigned. The bishop's resignation was accepted through the archbishop, an audience of the king being denied him. Prince George (afterwards George III), however, sufficiently appreciated Hayter's tuition to present him with his portrait wrought in ivory. Some lines for Hayter's picture in praise of his conduct in resigning are printed in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ 1752, p. 577. Hayter supported the Jews' Naturalisation Bill (1753), and was on that account grossly insulted when making a visitation of his diocese in the ensuing summer. The bishop's general health was not good, and he walked with difficulty. In the summer of 1755 a fever seized him, and in 1761 he was at Malvern taking the waters. By the influence of Lord Talbot he was translated to the bishopric of London on 5 Oct. 1761, and was confirmed at Bow Church on 24 Oct. As bishop of London he held the subsidiary post of dean of the Chapel Royal, and on 7 Nov. 1761 he was created a privy councillor. He died of dropsy a few months later, on 9 Jan. 1762, and was buried on 16 Jan. in Fulham churchyard, near the east end of the chancel and under an altar-tomb of stone covered with a white marble slab, the epitaph on which was written by his first cousin, Dr. Thomas Sandford, rector of Hatherop, Gloucestershire. Dr. Moss, in a charge to the clergy of Colchester archdeaconry, praised his scholarly accomplishments, his business talents, and his hospitality (London Mag. August 1764, pp. 424–5). Hayter left his fortune of 25,000l. between his four surviving sisters and his two brothers, George, a banker resident at Highgate, who died in 1804, and Joshua, a clergyman of the English church. This money ultimately passed to his niece Grace, daughter of George Hayter. She married John Hames of Croydon, and from her is descended the present family of Hayter-Hames of Chagford.

Hayter was the author of two anonymous tracts: 1. ‘Examination of a Book printed by the Quakers, entitled “An Account of the Prosecutions of the People called Quakers in the Exchequer, Ecclesiastical, and other Courts,” in Defence of the Clergy of the Diocese of York,’ 1741. 2. ‘An Essay on the Liberty of the Press, chiefly as it respects Personal Slander,’ n. d.; second edition 1755. He also published separately several sermons, preached on state occasions or for charitable purposes. One, delivered before the House of Lords on King Charles's day 1750, was reprinted, with two sermons by Dr. Taylor and one by Bishop Lowth, by John Nichols in 1822. It dealt with the rights and duties of sovereigns and subjects, and justified the preacher's reputation as a whig. The substance of his charge delivered to the clergy of his archdeaconry in 1732 was published in the same year under the title of ‘A Short View of some of the General Arts of Controversy made use of by the Advocates for Infidelity.’ The epitaph in Bristol Cathedral on Dr. Nathaniel Forster was written by Hayter; it is reprinted in the ‘Vicars of Rochdale’ (Chetham Soc. pt. i. p. 176), with the remark of T. D. Whitaker that it savoured ‘too much of Plato and too little of Christ.’ Two letters by him to Dr. Birch (in Sloane MS. No. 4309, British Museum) are printed in Nichols's ‘Literary Illustrations’ (i. 823–4). A plan of instruction drawn by the bishop for the royal princes and approved by George II on 25 Sept. 1751 is in Harding's ‘Tiverton’ (vol. ii. bk. iv. pp. 114–15). The sermon preached by Philip Barton, canon of Christ Church, at his consecration in Lambeth Chapel was printed in 1750, and a funeral sermon, addressed to the congregation of St. Clement Danes, London, on 17 Jan. 1762, by the Rev. Richard Stainsby, appeared in the same year. There is in the possession of H. A. Pottinger, librarian of Worcester College, Oxford, a volume of Jortin's ‘Lusus Poetici,’ 1748, in which are inserted four leaves of Latin verses from Jortin to Hayter while at Norwich. He was a good judge of Latin poetry. He is frequently mentioned in the ‘Newcastle Correspondence’ at the British Museum. His library was sold in 1762. There are portraits of him at Fulham and Lambeth Palaces. A brass to his memory was recently placed in the chancel of Chagford Church.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 617, viii. 227, ix. 295, 300–1, 505–6; Walpole's George II, i. 74, 247–8, 253, 284; Walpole's George III, i. 73–4; Walpole's Letters, ii. 250, 293, 316–17, vii. 472; Coxe's Pelham, ii. 167, 236–9, 290, 440; Harris's Life of Lord Hardwicke, iii. 484; Quarterly Review, 1822, xxvii. 187; Burke's Landed Gentry, ed. 1886, i. 819; Le Neve's Fasti, ii. 305, 474, iii. 130, 135, 210, 216, 431; [Incledon's] Donations of P. Blundell, App. p. 52; Halkett and Laing's Anon. Literature, i. 807, 844; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Faulkner's Fulham, p. 106; Lysons's Environs, ii. 390.]

W. P. C.