Anthony Farmer

Anthony Farmer

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Anthony Farmer was an Englishman
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 nominated by King James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 to the office of President of Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2006 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £153 million. Magdalen is currently top of the Norrington Table after over half of its 2010 finalists received first-class degrees, a record...

 in 1687.


Farmer was admitted to St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college's alumni include nine Nobel Prize winners, six Prime Ministers, three archbishops, at least two princes, and three Saints....

 in 1672, and migrated to Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

 in 1675. After he volunteered for the king's cause in the Monmouth Rebellion
Monmouth Rebellion
The Monmouth Rebellion,The Revolt of the West or The West Country rebellion of 1685, was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was a Roman Catholic, and some...

, James II nominated him for the Magdalen Presidency in his mandate of 5 April 1687. As Farmer was not a member of the college, and was widely believed to be a secret Roman Catholic, his appointment was rejected by the Fellows of the College. Farmer's appointment and subsequent rejection escalated tension between the King and the Anglican establishment, and was one event among many that led to the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 in 1688. Farmer was also said to be a lascivious drunk and womaniser who preferred to be down at the local taverns along the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 near Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 than attending to academic duties. Quite apart from his political leanings, it was a bad character that most appalled the academics led by Dr Henry Fairfax
Henry Fairfax (dean)
Henry Fairfax was an English clergyman and academic, Dean of Norwich after the Glorious Revolution.-Life:He was a twin son of Charles Fairfax, and grandson of Thomas Fairfax, 1st Lord Fairfax of Cameron. He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, where he matriculated 21 July 1653. He graduated...

, who chose Dr John Hough
John Hough (bishop)
John Hough was an English bishop. He is best known for the confrontation over his election as President at Magdalen College, Oxford that took place at the end of the reign of James II of England.-Life:...

 as President of the College, during the row at the Fifth Commission of Ecclesial Causes in 1687. By contrast, Hough was a weighty academic, an Anglican, and popular with the Fellows, who traditionally chose the new appointees. Hough was, moreover, an opponent of Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 and absolutism
Enlightened absolutism
Enlightened absolutism is a form of absolute monarchy or despotism in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories...


One of those providing evidence against Farmer was William Levett
William Levett (dean)
The Very Rev. Dr. William Levett was the Oxford-educated personal chaplain to Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, whom he accompanied into exile in France, then became the rector of two parishes, and subsequently Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford and the Dean of Bristol.Levett was born in...

, Doctor of Divinity and Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford (and later Dean of Bristol). In his testimony against Farmer, Levett disparaged Farmer's character and temperament, which Levett said caused Farmer to withdraw from one college and be transferred to another. "Frequent complaints were brought to me by some of the masters," stated Levett, "that he raised quarrels and differences among them; that he often occasioned disturbances, and was of a troublesome and unpeaceable humour."