William Wake (1657-1737), English archbishop, was born at Blandford, Dorset, on January 26 1657, and educated at Christ Church, Oxford.
He took orders, and in 1682 went to Paris as chaplain to the ambassador Richard Graham, Viscount Preston (1648-1695). Here he became acquainted with many of the savants of the capital, and was much interested in French clerical affairs. He also collated some Paris manuscripts of the Greek Testament for John Fell, bishop of Oxford.
He returned to England in 1685; in 1688 he became preacher at Gray's Inn, and in 1689 he received a canonry of Christ Church, Oxford. In 1693 he was appointed rector of St James's, Westminster. Ten years later he became dean of Exeter, and in 1705 he was consecrated bishop of Lincoln. He was translated to the see of Canterbury in 1716 on the death of Thomas Tenison.
During 1718 he negotiated with leading French churchmen about a projected union of the Galilean and English churches to resist the claims of Rome (see JH Lupton, Archbishop Wake and the Project of Union, 1896). In dealing with nonconformity he was tolerant, and even advocated a revision of the Prayer Book if that would allay the scruples of dissenters.
His writings are numerous, the chief being his State of the Church and Clergy of England ... historically deduced (London, 1703). He died at Lambeth on January 24 1736/7.