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§tx '^iam 'gUcmoxxam

Episcopi Eliensis Noni Quinquagesimi


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gn ^iam ISiccmoriam


Episcopi Eliensis Noni Quinquagesimi


►i< E.equie!3cat in pace. >h




The following Notices, Records, and Sermons have been
reprinted from the Guardian.

One and all of them seemed so truly appreciative of our
dear Bishop's real character and life and work that I have felt
anxious without delay to gather them together and place
them in a more convenient form in the hands of all the
Clergy of the Diocese, as well as of the Members of the
College which he founded and loved in life, and for
whose permanence he munificently provided at his death.

Such is the accumulated debt of gratitude which I owe
to him as a Father in God, as an instructor in dogmatic
truth, as a guide and counsellor iu the resolution of
manifold perplexities, and as a personal friend of the
teuderest sympatliy and aifectiou, that I hasten to do
something to give expression to the feeling that is ui^pcr-
most in my mind.

H. M. L.

College, Ely, November 5, 1885.


«it fWcmonam, t\\t Btsho^) of (B\v,

The late Bishop of Ely was born at Henley-ou-Thamcs, April 30,
1820. His father was a ho2i-merchant in the Borough, of an
Isle of Wight family. He was nnsuccessfnl in business, and
died at a comparatively early age, leaving a widow and an
only son. The future Bishop received his early education at
homo. In his tenth year he went to Merchant Taylors'
School, then under the erticiont headship of the Rev. J. W.
Bellamy (father of the present President of St. John's), a
sound scholar, a high-toned Christian, and an excellent
discip'inarian. Here he remained till 1838, when, being
superannuated, he was elected to a Parkin Exhibition at
Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he commenced residence
in the October term of that year. A timely legacy from a relation
gave him the means of jiroceeding to the University, which
had long been an object of almost hopeless attainment. The
late Bishop of London (Jackson) was fond of telling how, during
his early connection with Henley, he had been consulted by two
ladies of straitened means, mothers of boys of no ordinary
promise, how to obtain University education for their sons.
" One of those boys," he would conclude, " is now Sir Henry
Maine, of the Council for India, the other the Bishop of Ely."
There was nothing remarkable about the Bishop's school
career. He was naturally inert, not to say indolent, and
suffered (as to some extent he did through life) from an unduly
low estimate of his own powers. At that early age he had not
learnt to believe in himself, and he allowed other boys, far his
inferiors in intellectual power, to outstrip him in the race. But
the real genius that was in him from time to time manifested
itself in a happy translation, an original rendering of a passage,
or some answer to a question demanding thought, which
surprised his teachers as well as his schoolfellows, and
evidenced native power far above the average. Though
not remarkably diligent in school work, he was at all times
a devourer of books ; few lads of his age were more inti-
mately acquainted with English literature of the best type, both
in prose and poetry, including a large amount of fiction. He
very early attempted poetical composition himself, and it was
no small surprise to his companions to discover that their quiet
and somewhat lethargic schoolfellow was actually an author, and
had published a volume of poems. The little book, entitled
The Pilgrim, Memory, and other Poems, was printed by sub-
scription, and was at least equal to the common run of

schoolboy verse. He had no very intimate friends at school.
Always a pleasant companion, with something above the
average to say, and an excellent story-teller and therefore
generally liked, he lived a life very much apart. School
games there were none at Merchant Taylors' at that time, for
there was no playground. The intercourse of the boys Avas
thus limited to the time passed together in school hours, and the
opportunities of forming school friendships were but scanty.
Woodford left school, therefore, a lonely spirit, and went up to
the University with school companions, it is true, by whom he was
deservedly liked, but without any very intimate friend. But these
companionships, in the closer intercourse of college life, ripened
into friendships of the deepest and truest kind, lasting through
life. But even at college he was not a mt.u of many friends. Ilis
circle was a limited and select one, but when he loved, he loved
with all his heart. His University career narrowly missed being
a failure. He did but little during his freshman's year. He
depreciated himself so thoroughly that he took it for granted
that an ordinary " pcU" degree was all that he could aspire to.
But the examination at the end of that year awoke higher aspira-
tions. Dr. Guillemard, the present vicar of Little St. Mary's,
Cambridge, was then Fellow and Classical Lecturer of his
college, and took p&vt in the freshmen's examination. He
was so much struck with the power shown in some parts of
Woodford's papers that he sent for him, and finding that he was
aspiring only to a " pass," told him plainly that he would be
doing injustice to himself if he did not read for Honours. This
may be said to have been the turning-point in his life. He began
to feel his powers ; to believe in himself, and to resolve to be
true to himself. His line was Classical, and he chose his private
tutors wisely. He read with Dr. 'Woodham, of Jesus, the first
Latin scholar of his day at Cambridge, and the brilliant Charles
Kann Kennedy, brother of Dr. Kennedy, of Shrewsburj'^, then
Fellow of Trinity. Both were men of discernment, who saw
that with all his deficiencies in scholarship and scantiness of read-
ing their pupil was no ordinary man, and they directed his studies
in the way best suited to develop his intellectual powers, as well
as to improve his scholarship. His old schoolfellow, the Rev. J.
Power, afterwards Master of their common college, gave him
mathematical tuition. It was never anticipated that he would
obtain a high degree. His previous inadequate preparation,
joined to the virtual loss of his first year at college, and a some-
what slow rate in reading his subjects, forbad such a hope. His
place in the class-lists, however, was more than respectable. He
obtained a good Double-Second, being a Senior Optime, and a
Second Class Classic in 1812, the brilliant year when Professor
Cayley was Senior Wrangler and Justice Denman and the late
Professor Munro headed the Classical Tripos. It was during
Woodford's freshman's year that the " Cambridge Camden
Society " — better known in later years as " the Ecclesiological

Society" — sprang into being at the call of the late Jolm Masm
Neale and Prebendary Webb, of St. Andrew's, Wells-street, and
speedily began to exercise a powerful influence not only over the
architecture of our churches, to improve which was its original
object, but over their ritual arrangement, their ornaments, and
the services celebrated in them. Up to that time the Oxford
movement had scarcely stirred the decorous orthodoxy of the
sister University. No leading men had adopted its tenets, and
its voice was not heard from any pulpit, either that of the
University church or any of the parish clinrches. The earnest
Evangelicalism awakened by Charles Simeon was still in the
ascendant where any warm religious life existed, having as its
chief exponents the late Professor Scholefield, at St. Michael's,
and Canon Cams, Mr. Simeon's curate and successor at Trinity
Church, who still survives. But though disregarded by the
seniors, the Oxford Tracts were eagerly read by younger members
of the University, and, together with Newman's sermons and Dr.
Pusey's devotional works, were beginning to make their influence
felt. The new architectural society, starting on the principle
that a church was not a mere building to be criticised
according to certain rules of art, and discussed archieologically,
but a house of God erected for His praise and glory ; not a mere
preaching house, but a place for the worship of His people, and
for the administration of His Sacraments with every becoming
adjunct of dignity and beauty, all its ritual leading up to
the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist — became a gathering place
for the young High Churchmen of the University, where con-
genial spirits could meet and be sure of sympathy. Of these the
future Bishop of Ely was one. His own religious training, chiefly
domestic, had been of the sound old Anglican sort, and from this,
though he grew sensibly and his views developed with time and
experience, he never swerved. His mind was thus ripe for receiving
the higher development of the Oxford school. All his inherited
convictions, as well as his natural tastes, found scope among his
new associates, and his connection with the Camden Society had no
small influence in shaping his after-course. The president of the
society from its beginning was the late Archdeacon Thorp, of
Bristol, then Fellow and Tutor of Trinity. Woodford became
known to the Archdeacon as a member of the society. Farther
intercourse gave Thorp a high opinion of his powers, and on the
occurrence of a vacancy in the teaching staff of the then " Bishop's
College " at Bristol — a Church of England proprietary school,
started nnder the auspices of Bishop Monk, to impart a true
Church education, of which the Rev. Henry Dale, now rector of
Wilby, Northants, was the head master, occupying the collegiate-
looking building at the head of Park-street, adjacent to the Blind
Asylum — on the filling of which Thorp was consulted, he at once
recommended Woodford. The recommendation was accepted,
and he received the appointment, which he held for three years —
from 1842 to 18-45. As soon as he was of suiEcient age he was


ordained to the curacy of St. John the Baptist's, Bristol,
of which church the late Canon Barrow, chaplain to Bishop
Monk, was the incumbent. Here he speedily made his mark.
Almost from the first day of his curacy he began to exhibit
those great powers as a preacher by which his name became so
widely and so favourably known. We believe that his first sermon
was preached in St. John's Church — which was speedily restored
under his auspices— on the text, a rather bold one for so young
a man, Job i. 7, " And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest
thou?" &c. It made a great effect on his hearers. There are
those who can remember the marvellous sermons delivered by
him, before he became generally known, to a scanty morning
congregation of shopkeepers and decent poor, evidencing
as much careful preparation and concentrated thought
clothed in magnificent language, as if he had been called to
address a congregation of the highest intellectual power and
critical judgment. One such sermon on the text, " The
kingdom of heaven is at hand," developing the truth of the
nearness to us of the spiritual world, after many years dwells in
the memory of those who heard it. Notwithstanding Woodford's
shyness and unobtrusive modesty, he began to find himself
called to take a position which he had little anticipated. He
became a power almost from the first. His sermons attracted
the attention of the intelligent citizens of Bristol, and drew
large congregations wherever he went. His opinion was
asked, his co-operation solicited, his advice taken in a way
which would have been very detrimental to any young man of
less self-distrust and simplicity of character. He speedily became
a leading power on the High Church side, as opposed to the
feeble, woi-n-out Evangelicalism then prevalent in Bristol.
When the Bristol Chiu-ch Union was formed he became an
influential member, especially in committee. He was not a
frequent speaker, but always an inflneutial one. One who knew
hiin well at this time says, " His real j)Ower with us lay in that
gift of throwing himself into the feeling of his opponents, which
was innate in him, and which through life made him so valuable
in council. He grasped eveiy side of a question and gave every
opinion its due weight. He then gave his own views modestly, but
decidedly." Through Canon Barrow he was introduced to Bishop
Monk, who soon grasped his real greatness, and, while his life
lasted, never ceased conferring on him marks of his regard and
esteem. On the erection of a new church for the colliers at
Coalpit-heath, near Bristol, he was appointed its first incumbent.
Here he remained three years, 1845-1818, labouring earnestly
among the rude and ignorant population, elevating the character
of their worship, and planting the seeds of true Churchman-
ship where it had been previously entirely unknow_n. Always
fond of the work of education, and eminently successful in it,
he here continued to take private pupils, an occupation he
had begun at Bristol, and which he carried on until his removal

to Leeds in 1868. No one was ever more snccessf nl in secnring
the love and reverence of his pupils, most of whom havo
continued his attached friends through life. With all his
great kindness he was a strict disciplinarian, and on one occasion
on a wilful repetition of an act of insubordination, he sent the
whole of his pupils to their homes, only receiving them back
again on the assurance that the rules of his household would bo
strictly adhered to. It may surprise some to learn that
Swinburne, the poet, was one of Woodford's pupils at
Bristol, and that after leaving him he had as his tutor the
present Bishop of Chester, then working in his country parish
at Navestock. After three years' work among the colliers —
who, he used to say, were good churchgoers in summer, but
deserted him in the winter, finding " Bethel a deal warmer "
than the draughty new church — he himself being obliged to
get licence of non-residence and remove to Frenchay, through
the incurable inconveniences of his media3val parsonage, where
he used humorously to say " the chimneys were constructed for
driving all the smoke into the rooms and letting none go up " —
Woodford was removed by Bishop Monk to St. Mark's,
Lower Easton, a suburb of Bristol. Here he gathered a
large congregation, and his church became known as the
centre of sound Church teaching for the whole neighbour-
hood. The service also, though little would be thought
of it now, was of a more ornate character, and the choral
music was of a higher type, than was then customary.
A surpliced choir, embroidered altar-cloths, and other acces-
sories now customary raised the cry of " Popery." This he soon
lived and worked down, while his bold and vigorous preaching,
displaying more fire and animation in delivery than in later
years, obtained for him the sobriquet of " the Lion of
St. Mark's." The St. Mark's dedication anniversaries
gathered round him all the well-known Churchmen of the
day, among whom he was an ever-growing power. At
Easton Woodford remained with ever-increasing influence for
seven years. In 1855 the country living of Kempsford, near
Cirencester, fell vacant. It was at once offered by Bishop Monk to
Woodford, and as readily accepted by him. The siispicion with
which he was at first received by the farmers and other leading
inhabitants, who had been told that he was a "Tractarian"
and a " Romaniser," soon disappeared under the influence of
his genial wisdom and consummate tact, and opponents wore
converted into hearty supporters. They all helped forward the
restoration of their grand old parish church, wliich raised it to
the position of one of the finest village churches of the county,
of which and of their vicar they were deservedly proud. From
the day of its reopening — a day never to be forgotten by those
who were present — his farmers, and all his parishioners,
were heart and soul with him. Harvest festivals were still
things of the future, but he made a point of taking part in the


old-fasliioned harvest homes, when possible after a service hold
in church, and he was instrumental in putting these festivals
under proper restraint and raising their whole tone. The parish
was admirably worked and organised, with daily service and
weekly Celebrations. He built a small church in a hamlet of
Kempsfoi-d, where his extempore sermons to the rustic congrega-
tion were no less stirring than those to a more educated
audience, yet completely on a level with their capacities. But
the iiarish, much as he learnt to love it, was not congenial to
Woodford. The loneliness of the country was oppressive to
him. He shrank from the solitary walks across the fields,
regarding horses and cows as things to be feared, and having
no knowledge of or pleasure in rur&l sights and sounds. He
had, however, a great love for flowers, and his garden at Kemps-
ford was a source of continual delight to him, as his fernery at
Ely was in later years. He had great influence over the boys
and young men of the village, that most difficult class, from
whom he had a goodly roll of communicants, who would always
come to their vicar for counsel in any difficulty, whether in
things temporal or spiritual. It was remarked of him through
life that he was never too busy to give time to those who came
to him for counsel or sympathy. He was conspicuous for what
has been happily termed " dignified leisurcliness ; never in a
hurry ; always glad to be interrupted," and for his " unselfish
peacemaking patience." His unwearied kindness in respect of
individuals was very mai'ked and productive of very beneficial

• The removal to a rural parish, though in some respects
unfavourable to the exercise of his great powers as a leader
of men, and otherwise not to his taste, proved to have a
most important bearing upon his future career. Kempsford
lay not far from the borders of Gloucestershire, within a short
distance of the south-western portion of the diocese of Oxford.
The advent of so distinguished a jjreacher was a most welcome
event to all neighbouring parsons. His services were in constant
requisition for great Church occasions, when a sermon of more
than ordinaiy attractiveness was desii'cd. In this way a con-
nection was formed between him and the late Bishop Wilberforce,
which, it cannot be doubted, led step by stejD to his subse-
quent advancement. We believe that Sir George Prevost was
the link that brouglit the two together, and that it was at the
little church of Filkins, in Bradwell parish, that Bishop
Wilberforce first became acquainted with his future chaplain and
trusted friend, and that the first of many journeys to be taken
together was a drive to the Swindon station. As the readers
of his biography will have noticed, there was probably no preacher
of whom the Bishop had so high an estimate, and there were
very few for whom he had a warmer regard or in whom he
confided more entir-ely. He was appointed by him to deliver
lectures at Cuddesdon as Preelector of Theology, and he became

his examining chaplain, which office he held till the Bishojj's
death. He was also mado by him an honorary Canon of
Christ Church Cathedral. At Cnddesdon he learned to know
and love the present Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. King, who, it is
interesting to record, was his guest in Dover-street at tlio tinio
of his consecration as Bishop WordsvTorth[s successor last Sfc.
I\Iark's Day. As a counsellor he was found by Bishop
Wilberforce, as by all who have consulted him, one of tlio
soundest advisers. For he had that true Church instinct by
which he at once intuitively saw the right course, from which
no considerations of expediency could divert him. While resident
in Gloucestershire the vicai'uge of Kempsford was the con-
stant place of resort for all Churchmen when any ecclesiastical
difficulties arose, and, as one of the leading laymen of tho
county has said, however perplexed they came, they went away
with every doubt cleared up, and their line of action made
plain. It was only natural that when a proctorshijj in Con-
vocation for the diocese became vacant Woodford was chosen to
fill it. This he necessarily vacated on becoming vicar of Leeds,
but he soon became a member of the Northern Convocation, and
remained such with ever-growing influence till his elevation to
the Episcopate. When the elevation of Dr. Atlay to the sec of
Hereford in 1868 placed the vicarage of Leeds at the dis-
posal of the Crown, the late Lord Beaconsfield, then Mr.
Disraeli, as Premier advised her Majesty to offer it to tho vicar of
Kempsford. The oifer had been previously made to Mr. Disi-aeli's
neighbour in Buckinghamshire, Woodford's fellow-chaplain, the
late Canon Lloyd, of Chalfont St. Giles (who had previously
declined the see of Grahamstown on its first establishment),
who, having refused it as not being young enough for the jDOSt,
at Bishop Wilberforce's snggestion named Woodford to the
Premier. It is needless to say that his mode of administra-
tion of that large and important parish fully justified the

On his appointment to this important charge the new incum-
bent, finding that the parishioners of Leeds had been accus-
tomed to the title in their vicars, though utterly careless of any
such distinction himself, obtained the degree of Doctor of
Divinity from the Archbishop of Canterburv, the only practicable
mode of obtaining it except after a very considerable delay. The
five years spent by Dr. Woodford at Leeds, he often said, were
the happiest of his life. Though entirely imknown at Leeds
when first appointed, exceiDt as Bishop Wilberforce's chaplain
and an eloquent preacher, it was not long before he mado a deep
and lasting impression upon the laity — at first, by the wonderful
simplicity of his character, his unostentatious mode of life, the
exquisite charm of his manner and conversation, and afterwards,
when he became known as a worker, by his power of organisa-
tion and the pi'actical wisdom of his methods. His tact in deal-
ing with men of different views from himself was wonderful.


Never seeming to oppose, he would insensibly lead them to his
own way of thinking, and would thus eventually often bring
them to propose, almost as their own suggestions, the very things
he desired. This exquisite tact in dealing with those differing
from him was one of the late Bishop's leading characteristics.
It is remembered how at Kempsford by his judgment and
winning manner he speedily got the farmers over to his side,
and so managed matters that the proposal for a surpliced
choir, then a very new thing, actually came from one who
was at first inclined to oppose him strenuously. High as
the standard of the services in Leeds parish church had long
been, he sensibly raised it, and by the depth and earnestness
of his preaching, characterised by sound Churchmanship with
all that is most vital and true in Evangelical religion, he
gathered immense congregations, numbering 3,000 at least,
not only from his own district, but from every part of the
town, including a large number of men, mechanics, factory
hands, as well as of the upper classes residing in the
suburbs, who, attending their own district churches in the
morning, flocked to the old mother church in the evening, Sunday
after Siinday. He soon became Rural Dean, in Avhich ofiBce he
exercised a most wholesome influence over the clergy of the
deanery, especially in harmonising differences and helping
adherents of oppjosiug schools of thought to understand and
symj^athise with each other. While firm and unmovable in his
own Church j^rinciples, he was ever ready to enter into the
feelings and opinions of others, his great object being to
promote real unity of spirit, and to help all to realise that
they formed one body under one Head. With this view he
organised schemes of Lenten sermons in the churches of
the deanery, thus bringing men of different schools of thought
together, and set on foot ruridecanal conferences of clergy and
laity, in addition to the regular Chapter meetings. Wise,
prudent, and cautious in action, he never displayed any timidity
or yielded in any way to popular clamour. He always went to
the root of everything on which he had to decide, and when he
had once made up his mind nothing would move him. The

Online LibraryRowland Edmund Prothero ErnlePamphlets IV, 1865-1892 → online text (page 1 of 59)