Edward Stanley.

Addresses and charges of Edward Stanley ... With a memoir online

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P R E F A C E.

THE contents of this volume will best explain them-
selves. The Addresses have been selected as memorials
of the pastoral and Episcopal life which they serve to
illustrate. The short biographical sketch which is
prefixed was necessary to connect and elucidate them.
If a faithful image is thus recalled and preserved of one,
whose memory is dear to many, and who in his lifetime
was often misapprehended, the object of the ensuing
pages will have been sufficiently attained.



Early Life . . 3

Life as Rector of Alderley Parish. .... 7
Appointment to the Bishopric of Norwich . . .23

I.- The Diocese 29

II. The City of Norwich . . . . .44

III. General Views . . . . . .51

IV. General Character 66

Conclusion and Death ...... 83

Funeral 99


I. A Country Rector's Address to his Parishioners,

1832 1

II. Farewell Address, 1837 25

III. Sermon on Return to Alderley, 1838 . . .35

First Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese, 1838 '. . .47

Speech on Subscription, with Notes, 1840 . . . .79

Second Charge to the Clergy of Norwich, 1845 . . . 123

Sermon on the Death of Joseph John Gurney, 1847 . . 153

Notes of a Confirmation Address, 1841 . . . .167

Notes of an Ordination Address, 1837 179

Notes of an Address on board PI. M. S. Rattlesnake, 1846 . 191


I. Address to the Parishioners of Alderley . . 203
II. Address to the School Children of Alderley Parish 205


P. 43, line 9 from the bottom,/or " Waddingfield" read Waldringfield."



EDWARD STANLEY, Bishop of Norwich, was the second
son of Sir John Thomas Stanley, Bart., of Alderley
Park, Cheshire, and Margaret, the heiress of Hugh
Owen, Esq., of Penrhos, Anglesea. His father was the
representative of an ancient branch of the Stanley family,
and was succeeded in his title and property by his eldest
son, created, in 1839, Baron Stanley of Alderley.
Edward, the youngest of seven children, was born on
the 1st of January, 1779, at his father's residence in

In early years he had acquired a passion for the
sea, which he cherished up to the time of his entrance
at college, and which never left him through life. It
first originated, as he believed, in the delight which
he experienced, between three and four years of age,
in a visit to the seaport of Weymouth ; and long after-
wards he retained a vivid recollection of the point
where he caught the first sight of a ship and shed tears
because he was not allowed to go on board. So strongly
was he possessed by the feeling thus acquired, that as a
child he used to leave his bed, and sleep on the shelf of
a wardrobe, for the pleasure of imagining himself in a
berth on board a man-of-war. Nor was this a mere


boyish fancy which a few years' experience of the
hardships of sea-life might have dispelled. His whole
character eminently qualified him for the naval pro-
fession. A cheerful and sanguine temper readiness of
decision fertility of resource activity and quickness
of mind and body and a spirit of enterprise that knew
no danger, no impossibility, no difficulty could hardly
have failed to ensure success in the sphere to which his
tastes had been thus early turned. The passion was
overruled by circumstances beyond his control, but it
gave a colour to his whole after life. He never ceased
to retain a keen interest in everything relating to the
navy. His memory, though on other points not re-
markably good, rarely failed in the minute particulars
of this. He seemed instinctively to know the history,
character, and state of every ship and every officer in
the service. Old naval captains were often astonished
at finding in him a more accurate knowledge than their
own of when, where, how, and under whom, such and
such vessels had been employed. The stories of
begging impostors professing to be shipwrecked seamen
were detected at once by his cross-examinations. The
sight of a ship, the society of sailors, the embarkation
on a voyage, were always sufficient to inspirit and de-
light him wherever he might be.

It is possible that this ardent enthusiasm for a pro-
fession from which he was shut out might have been
abated, had his education been suited to the profession
for which he was actually destined. The reverse was
the fact. Instead of the careful training in classics
which most boys receive at public schools, the whole of


his childhood and early youth was spent in a succession
of removals from one private school or tutor to another,
till, on his entrance at St. John's College, Cambridge, in
1798, he found that he had to begin his course of study
almost from the very foundations. Of Greek he was
entirely, of Latin almost entirely, ignorant ; and of
mathematics he knew only what he had acquired at one
of the private schools where he had been placed when
quite a child. This deficiency, now that he was for the
first time become his own master, he remedied to a great
extent by unremitting exertions. He acquainted him-
self with the classical languages sufficiently for common
purposes, and in mathematics he made such proficiency
as to appear as a wrangler in the mathematical tripos of
1802. To Cambridge, in this respect, he always looked
back with gratitude as the source to which he owed all
the real education that he had enjoyed ; and many
years afterwards he sent a brief but spirited statement
of his own experience of its benefits to a provincial
journal, in reply to the well-known attack on that
University by Mr. Beverley in 1834.

" I can never," he said on that occasion, " be sufficiently
grateful for the benefits I received within those college walls ;
and to the last hour of my life I shall feel a deep sense of
thankfulness to those tutors and authorities for the effects of
that discipline and invaluable course of study which rescued
me from ignorance, and infused an abiding thirst for know-
ledge, the means of intellectual enjoyment, and those habits
and principles which have not only been an enduring source of
personal gratification, but tended much to qualify me from the
period of my taking orders to the present day for performing
the duties of an extensive parish."


The success which crowned his perseverance at college
was the first instance of that power of zealous application
by which he was subsequently enabled to* contend, in
more important spheres, against greater difficulties. But,
however earnest his efforts may have been, it will be
conceived that they could not easily counteract the
effects of the almost entire neglect of eighteen years,
backed by the strong indisposition of his natural cha-
racter to the systematic studies which to most clergy-
men are at once so useful, so congenial, and, by reason
of their previous course of education, so familiar.

Such were the disadvantages under which he entered
on the profession in which he was destined henceforth
to labour. In other respects it had for him the attrac-
tion which it always must possess for a young man of
blameless life, simple tastes, and kindly disposition,
most especially when those qualifications are combined,
as they were in his case, with a strong religious feeling
which would in all probability have characterised his
career as a Christian sailor no less than as a Christian
minister. But it is obvious that, under ordinary cir-
cumstances, the clerical calling would not have been
deemed his natural vocation ; so that the interest which
attaches to his course differs from that of most careers
which deserve to be recorded. It consists, not, as is
usually the case, in the gradual developement of the
fitness of the individual for his post, but rather in the
gradual surmounting of the obstacles which nature or
education had thrown in his way, and the adaptation of
gifts to a condition of life for which they would not
seem to have been originally designed. We have often


heard from poets and philosophers the truth, sufficiently
confirmed by experience, of the misery produced, and
the happiness lost, to the world, in the fate of those
who have been transplanted from congenial to uncon-
genial spheres. It may be instructive to dwell on a
life which seems an exception to this general rule, to
trace how far the struggle was successfully maintained,
and how far, out of the seeming discordance of cha-
racter and situation, good was educed by a resolute will
rising above the force of outward circumstances. Nor
will the value of the lesson be diminished, if it should
appear that the sacred office, in which this struggle was
carried on, gained more than it lost from the infusion
of elements unlike those which it ordinarily includes.

It was in 1805 that, after three years spent as curate
of Windlesham, in Surrey, he was presented by his
father to the family living of Alderley; and in 1810
he married Catherine, daughter of the Rev. Oswald
Leycester, Rector of Stoke-upon-Tern, by whom he had
five children. Alderley was a spot which, as well by
its natural beauty as by its hereditary associations,
offered great attractions to its new Rector. His own
youth indeed had been for the most part spent else-
where, but he had been taught to look forward to it as
his future home.

In the interval between his college life and ordi-
nation he travelled for a year in Switzerland, Italy,
Spain, and Portugal, from whence he returned at his


brother's request to command the "Alderley Volun-
teers," raised by him on the family property at the
time of the expected French invasion.

This had been his first public introduction to the
parish, and the people were ready to welcome him as
their pastor, not only from attachment to a name im-
memorially connected with the place, but from fresh
ties recently formed with the family. His brother
(soon after his marriage in 1796 to the eldest daughter
of Lord Sheffield) had taken up his permanent resi-
dence there, and had made it his constant object to
carry out the relations of landlord and tenant, in the
best sense, by associating his people with his domestic
interests and country pleasures, making the birthdays
of his children festivals for the poor. The state of
a country cure, however, at the time of his entrance
into Holy Orders, offered a field for pastoral exertion
of more difficulty than would be the case at present
in any similar post, and Alderley was no exception
to the general rule. The parish, which consisted of
an agricultural population of about 1300 souls, had
from the long apathy or non-residence of the previous
incumbent, been greatly neglected. ' The clerk used
' to go to the churchyard-stile to see whether there
4 were any more coming to church, for there were seldom
' enough to make a congregation.' ' The rector used to
' boast that he had never set foot in a sick person's cottage.'
And although this was probably a more than usually un-
favourable specimen of ministerial neglect, the average
standard of the neighbouring clergy was not likely to
present a high model of excellence to a new-comer. All


who could afford it hunted ; few, if any, rose above the
ordinary routine of the stated services of the Church.
An ardent and generous nature would, under any cir-
cumstances, have been excited to energy by the very
neglect and indifference which surrounded, or which had
preceded him; and in his case was superadded that
strong sense of duty which acted powerfully not merely
as a motive, but as an incentive, in enabling him to
master the difficulties of the situation he was to occupy,
whether from his own choice or the choice of others.
Unlike some instances of highly-gifted minds, of whom
it has been said that they seemed to be paralyzed the
moment that any action presented itself to them in the
light of a duty, to him the call of duty was not merely
a command, but an encouragement the voice of a
trumpet which cheered and inspirited him at the same
time that it compelled him to act. Harassed or per-
plexed as he often was whilst uncertain what that call
required, he was all on fire to perform it the moment
that it became clear to him. The strong sense, too, of
professional, as distinct from general, claims of duty,
which he seemed to have drunk in with his early passion
for naval life, showed itself no less clearly in the more
spiritual sphere in which he was now called to act.
His parish was his ship. The same sense of the im-
portance of strict obedience to orders, the same strict
requirement of obedience from others, that would have
regulated his conduct as captain of a man-of-war, per-
vaded his view of the sacred trust committed to him
in his parochial cure. Negligence of its duties was, in
his eyes, not merely wrong, but ' disgraceful ;' concern


for all its interests, great and small, a necessary and
inevitable consequence of his position.

Accordingly, from the first moment of his entrance
on his work, he devoted himself to it with an energy
and exactitude which drew upon him at that time the
reproach of singularity, and even of " Methodism," for
the discharge of duties which would now be deemed too
common to deserve notice : yet for this very reason it
is necessary to glance at his performance of them ; and
it may be of interest to observe the connection of these
early parochial pursuits with his general character and
subsequent career.

Like every man who is in earnest at his work, it was
his aim to do it thoroughly. He took the parish as a
whole, and laboured to make himself acquainted with it
in all its relations, and to minister to all its wants both
temporal and spiritual. In the schools he took an
interest at that time shared by comparatively few of his

" He was the first who distinctly saw and boldly advocated
the advantages of general education for the lower classes.
Schools had been founded ; he had borne his part and a
most active part in the first movement, but I think that he
first set the example of the extent to which general knowledge
might be communicated and beneficially communicated in
a parochial school. I well remember the appearance of the
school at Alderley, where, in addition to the usual range of
desks and books, the apparatus for gymnastic exercises w r as
seen suspended from the roof. I remember the admiration
excited at a lecture which he delivered in Chester, when he
exhibited a * hortus siccus ' of the plants found in the parish,
made by one of the girls in the school ; and though few or


none did more than wonder at what was accomplished at
Alderley, an impression was created that a large amount of
useful secular knowledge might be added without any deduc-
tion from what would be considered the proper objects of a
parochial school."*

These additions to the common stock of the know-
ledge of parochial schools consisted chiefly of English
history and geography. Yet perhaps the benefit of his
improvements lay rather in the method than the matter
of the instruction. He instituted examinations twice
a year, formed on the model, so far as the case per-
mitted it, of the college examinations at Cambridge,
in which the children were required to bring up a
chapter from the New Testament learned by heart, and
one or more books of the Old or New Testament of
which the substance was to be acquired in answer to a
small volume written for the purpose, and published
under the title of ' Scriptural Questions;' and it is
believed that the amount of Scripture thus mastered or
committed to memory was in many cases turned to
great advantage in after life. Once a year, according
to proficiency in these examinations and to general good
conduct, medals or prize-books were given to the
children ; bibles and prayerbooks to those who did not
possess them ; to others, books of general or religious
instruction, and each with a lithograph of Alderley
Church or of the school as the frontispiece. " To these

* These, as well as similar quotations in this part of the Memoir, are
extracted from a letter kindly furnished by the Rev. H. Baikes, whose
familiarity with the diocese of Chester, of which he has so long been
Chancellor, well qualified him to form an opinion on the subject.


occasions the school-children eagerly looked forward.
' No task' (these are the words of one once amongst their
number) < seemed too difficult for them to learn ; and,
' if well learned, they knew that they were sure to be
' rewarded by the Rector's well-known smile and ex-

* pressions of approbation, and his gentle tap on the
' head of each ; and so anxious was he to encourage
' them, that on these examination days he regaled them
' at his own house with a good dinner and various
6 amusements. Sometimes, to their great delight, he
t allowed them to accompany him in his boat [on
' Alderley Mere], and spent the afternoon on the water

* with them himself/

His visits to the poor were made in weekly rounds,
according to a regular distribution of the parish, by
which every house was included in systematic order,
without waiting, as was probably at that time the usual
practice in the vicinity, for the calls of the sick or dying.
But it was not so much by the frequency as by the
manner of those visits that he made himself not only
the minister but the friend of his parishioners. Without
losing for a moment the advantage which birth and
station always give to an English gentleman in his
dealings with the poor, he yet descended to the level of
their tastes and pursuits he entered into their humour,
and tried to make them enter into his he caressed their
children, aud through them won the hearts of the
parents he accommodated his addresses in the pulpit
and his conversation in the cottages to their simple
apprehensions he spoke to them of their common pur-
suits and cares as if he were one of themselves ; and the


result was that they were cheered and animated by his
presence and his active interest in their welfare, as well
as warned and consoled by his instructions. When he
looked into the schools, it was not merely to glance
round the classes, or to ask a few formal questions, to
see that all was in order, but he had something to say
to each individual scholar, of encouragement or rebuke.
In his rides round the parish the children used to run
out of the houses to catch the wonted smile, or gesture,
or call, of the Rector as he passed, or to claim the
cakes and gingerbread that he brought with him for
those whose hands and faces were clean ; and the poor
cottagers long afterwards described how their hearts
beat with delight as they heard the short quick trampling
of his horse's feet as he went galloping up their lanes,
and the sound of his voice as he called out to them
before he reached the house to come out and speak to
him, or hold his pony as he went in. "When he
entered a sick chamber he never failed to express the
joy which neatness and order gave him, or to reprove
where he found it otherwise." Whatever was to be
done in the parish for their good, they were sure to
find in him an active supporter. " He took so much
trouble," they said, "in whatever he did never sparing
himself for whatever he took in hand." The Rectory
became the " home " of the parish. He sold daily at
his house, to the honest and industrious poor, blanketing,
clothing, &c., at a cheaper rate than the cost price (a
practice then much less frequent in country parishes
than at present). In the winter evenings he lent out
books to read; and generally for anything that was


wanted, whether in the way of advice or relief, his
house was the constant resort of all who were in
difficulty. He established weekly cottage-lectures at
different points in the parish for the old and infirm who
were unable to walk to church.

In the hope of producing an effect upon those who
were less likely to be impressed by the usual ministra-
tions of the Church, he used from time to time to issue
printed or lithographed addresses to his parishioners on
Observance of the Sabbath, on Prayer, on Sickness,
on Confirmation. In the public-houses, with the same
view, he caused large placards to be framed, containing
a few short and simple exhortations to a sober and
religious life, such as might arrest the attention of the
passer-by ; and on the walls and public places of the
parish he had similar papers posted up, denouncing in
strong language (what was a crying sin of the country
population of Cheshire) the vice of drunkenness. To
repress this great evil he spared no personal sacrifice.
"Whenever," such was the homely expression of the
people, " whenever there was a drunken fight down at
the village, and he knew of it, he would always come
out to stop it there was such a spirit in him." On
one of these occasions tidings were brought to him of
a riotous crowd which had assembled to witness a des-
perate prize-fight, adjourned to the outskirts of his parish,
and which the respectable inhabitants were unable to
disperse. "The whole field" (so one of the humbler
neighbours represented it) " was filled, and all the trees
" round about when in about a quarter of an hour I
" saw the Rector coming up the road on his little black


" horse as quick as lightning, and I trembled for fear
" they should harm him. He rode into the field and
" just looked quick round (as if he thought the same) to
" see who there was that would be on his side. But it was
" not needed he rode into the midst of the crowd, and
" in one moment it was all over; there was a great
" calm ; the blows stopped ; it was as if they would all
" have wished to cover themselves up in the earth all
" from the trees they dropped down directly no one
" said a word, and all went away humbled." The next
day he sent for the two men, not to scold them, but to
speak to them, and sent them each away with a Bible.
The effect on the neighbourhood was very great, and
put a stop to the practice, which had been for some time
past prevalent in the adjacent districts.

To analyze the actual effects of his ministrations on
the people would be difficult, the more so as there were
other influences for good, especially from the resident
family at Alderley Park, whose benevolent atten-
tion to the wants and interests of their dependents
powerfully contributed, in the parish, to produce a
more kindly feeling and sustain a better standard
of conduct than was usual at that time in agricultural
populations. The general result was what might have
been expected. Dissent was all but extinguished.
The church was filled, the communicants many. To
the better disposed of the parishioners he was, as they
expressed it, " their father and leader in everything that
was good." Even when they differed from him, they
would say, " As the Rector says it, we must not go
against him."


The parochial occupations which have been described
necessarily engaged him for a large portion of every
day ; but to an active mind, and with the advantage of
a methodical system, there was still much leisure left
for other employments. The want of a regular classical
education, as well as the peculiar turn of his own mind,
indisposed him to purely literary studies, of which the
nicer subtleties, whether in scholarship, metaphysics, or
theology, were on every account distasteful to him. In
Church history, indeed, and the kindred branches of
knowledge to which his calling directed him, his informa-
tion was for the most part varied and extensive. Of
the Scriptures he was at all times a careful student.
But the contrast of the elaborate systems of later divinity
with the simplicity and freedom of the Bible was a topic
to which he constantly recurred : and, though giving a
full practical assent to the creed and worship of the
Church of England, he never could endure minute con-
troversies relating to the details of its doctrines and
ceremonies. It was not till a later period of his life

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Online LibraryEdward StanleyAddresses and charges of Edward Stanley ... With a memoir → online text (page 1 of 22)