Jonathan Shipley (1714 – 6 December 1788) was the son of a London stationer; his mother's family were owners of Twyford House, a large manor in Winchester, England. He was ordained a minister in the Church of England and became both Bishop of Llandaff and Bishop of St Asaph.
Jonathan grew up at Walbrook in the City of London. He was educated at Reading School in Berkshire. He received his college training at St John's College, Oxford, from where he received a BA degree in 1735, an MA degree in 1738, and a DD degree in 1748. He was ordained about 1738, and acted as tutor in the household of the 3rd Earl of Peterborough. In 1743, he became rector of Silchester and Sherborne St John in Hampshire, and prebendary of Winchester. He was appointed to a canonry of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1748, and in 1760 to the deanery of Winchester and the living of Chilbolton, also in Hampshire, which he held in addition to his earlier preferments.
In 1769, he was consecrated successively Bishop of Llandaff and of St Asaph. He was much concerned with politics, and joined the Whig party in strong opposition to the policy of George III towards the American colonies.
He maintained a strong friendship with the Philadelphia printer Benjamin Franklin, who stayed with Shipley in Winchester, and while there wrote much of his autobiography. In 1784, in a letter to Henry Laurens, Franklin called Shipley "America's constant friend, the good Bishop of Asaph."
In 1774, when the British Parliament were discussing punitive measures against the town of Boston after the Tea Party incident, Shipley was apparently the only Church of England Bishop (who were legally constituted members of Parliament) who raised his voice in opposition. He prepared a speech in protest of the proposed measures, but was not given the opportunity to present it. Therefore, he had it published, but due to the general feeling in England against the rebellious colonies, the speech had no effect. In the speech he pointed out that in the year 1772, the Crown had collected only 85 pounds from the American colonies. He stated: "Money that is earned so dearly as this ought to be expended with great wisdom and economy." For these views, St. Asaph Street in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States, is named in Shipley's honor.
In 1779, Shipley was the only bishop to advocate the abolition of all laws against Protestant dissenters.
Jonathan Shipley married Anna Maria Mordaunt, daughter of Rev George Mordaunt and Elizabeth Doyley, and left descendants.
- A sermon of Rev Dr Jonathan Shipley. Wmcarey.edu. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
- Jeptha R. Simms (1845). History of Schoharie County. Rootsweb.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
- National Portrait Gallery Index website. Npg.org.uk. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
- Emily Georgiana S. Reilly (1839). Historical anecdotes of the families of the Boleynes, Careys, Mordaunts, Hamiltons, and Jocelyns, arranged as an elucidation of the genealogical chart at Tollymore Park. Revised. p. 69.
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