Articles from the Thoroton Society Newsletter

Archbishop Herring and the Carlton-in-Lindrick connection

By Ann Reddish

While researching the Herring Family History I came upon this collection of letters deposited at the Nottingham University Manuscripts and Special Collections Ref. PWV 120 / PWV 121 containing 76 & 51 letters in total.

In Thomas Herring's will his instructions are for all his papers to be destroyed. His friend Mr William Dun-combe published his own letters in 1777 and apart from Sermons printed at the time and these letters to Chancellor William Herring they are the only works that survive. As a volunteer I have had the privilege and the opportunity to appraise these letters for the University.

Thomas Herring the Archbishop of Canterbury (1747-1757) was the cousin of William Herring Rector of Carlton in Lindrick (1743 -1762). They had a long standing correspondence throughout their lives, in one letter he says he regards William a friend more than a relation. From the letters which were written to William you get an insight to Thomas Herring's character and way of thinking. He was foremost a modest but generous man both to his family, friends and servants, His will confirms this. In the year 1749 he made a reversionary grant to provide for members of his family.

Thomas was interested in all of his cousins. Through out the letters Samuel the brother of William is discussed often. The children of William seem to be closest and very special to him. The boys were taken under his care at an early age taking them to school and looking after them when they were ill. Young William when having the Pox was staying with Thomas and the letters give a good account as to his treatment and recovery. When the boys grew up they introduced him to books some of them a bit risque at which he had a good laugh. Voltaire, whom he may have known, comes up quite often. Religious books came under scrutiny and criticism.

When the boys graduated they were found preferment's in the Church, young William becoming Dean of St Asaph 1751

Through the letters one is informed about William's family life. He and his wife lose one son then his wife dies just before the post at Carlton in Lindrick is secured. Thomas points out that the new post is a new beginning. William's daughter Molly is a great comfort to him and later when she marries William Beardmore and they have a daughter he becomes a grandfather.

The period that the letters cover is of interest. The Austrian Succession and George ll's War in Europe 1740-1748. He writes about Lord Vernon's campaigns. In letter 120/64 The Archbishop writes at length about a successful action against the Spaniards near Havana.

On the affairs in England he discusses many of the Acts to be passed In the Lords. Lord Harvey's Gin Act he chooses to abstain from believing it absurd. The House of Lords and life at Court plus all the intrigues of the times are hinted at. The Lisbon Earthquake disaster and violent weather are described. Most major news items of the time are mentioned and commented on.

Thomas Herrings promotions are discussed from his doubt on accepting the Bishopric of Bangor where he was never happy and therefore so pleased to leave to take the position of Archbishop of York then finally

Archbishop of Canterbury. Both in Wales and York he gives a good account of his visitations. Thomas's delight in later years was his Palace at Croydon. He spent a great deal of his wealth on improvements at Croydon and Lambeth Palace. In one letter he gives fine descriptions of Croydon Palace when he first came upon it and further letters describe the Gardens.

His conduct upon various occasions was most beneficial to his Country but never more so than when the Scottish Rebellion broke out in 1745: The rebels had defeated the King's troops at Prestonpans; this event spread panic throughout the country which had hitherto appeared sunk into lethargy. The good Archbishop immediately called a meeting of the Great County of York, over which he presided. On the Sept 24th 1745 he addressed the assembled nobility, gentry and clergy in an energetic speech to raise money and troops to quell the rebellion. The result being a subscription of £40,000; and similar subscriptions were made in various parts of the kingdom. On the Duke of Cumberland's return to York after the Victory of Culloden, the Archbishop at the head of the Clergy, met the Royal Duke on the 23rd of July 1746 and addressed him in congratulatory speech

On the Archbishops journeys around the Country, Chatsworth, Nottingham and Lincoln are mentioned. Surely Carlton in Lindrick and William would have been given a visit.

From these letters we are provided with an insight into the way of life of Thomas Herring Archbishop and William Herring Rector who lived in such times of turmoil.