John Potter (bishop)

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John Potter
Archbishop of Canterbury
AbpJohnPotter2.jpg
Installed 1737
Term ended 1747
Predecessor William Wake
Successor Thomas Herring
Personal details
Born c. 1674
Wakefield, Yorkshire
Died 10 October 1747

John Potter (c. 1674 – 10 October 1747) was Archbishop of Canterbury (1737-1747).

Life[edit]

He was the son of a linen-draper at Wakefield, Yorkshire. At the age of fourteen he entered University College, Oxford, and in 1693 he published notes on Plutarch's De audiendis poetis and Basil's Oratio ad juvenes. In 1694 he was elected fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford and in 1697 his edition of Lycophron appeared. It was followed by his Archaeologia graeca (2 vols. 8vo, 1697–1698), the popularity of which endured till the advent of Dr William Smith's dictionaries. In it he defended the usefulness of prostitution. A reprint of his Lycophron in 1702 was dedicated to Graevius, and the Antiquities was afterwards published in Latin in the Thesaurus of Gronovius.

Besides holding several livings he became, in 1704, chaplain to Archbishop Tenison, and shortly afterwards was made chaplain-in-ordinary to Queen Anne. From 1708 he was Regius Professor of Divinity and canon of Christ Church, Oxford; and from 1715 he was Bishop of Oxford. In the latter year appeared his edition of Clement of Alexandria. In 1707 he published a Discourse on Church Government, and he took a prominent part in the controversy with Benjamin Hoadly, Bishop of Bangor. Even though Potter was a notable Whig, he was a High Churchman and had opposed Hoadly.

In January 1737 Potter was unexpectedly appointed to succeed William Wake in the see of Canterbury. While in that seat, he continued to represent a High Church position, but he was also ineffective at restoring the Convocation. Alexander Pope attacked him in the 1743 version of his The Dunciad (book II, 323).

He married Elizabeth Venner, a granddaughter of Thomas Venner, a Fifth Monarchy man hanged as a traitor. He died on 10 October 1747. His Theological Works, consisting of sermons, charges, divinity lectures and the Discourse on Church Government, were published in three volumes.

Published in 1753, Potter's A System of Practical Mathematics is a comprehensive reference work which amongst other topics, addressed aspects of astronomy, and the recently adopted Gregorian calendrical system.

References[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
William Jane
Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford
1707—1737
Succeeded by
George Rye
Church of England titles
Preceded by
William Talbot
Bishop of Oxford
1715–1737
Succeeded by
Thomas Secker
Preceded by
William Wake
Archbishop of Canterbury
1737–1747
Succeeded by
Thomas Herring