Charles James Blomfield

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Charles James Blomfield
Bishop of London
Charles James Blomfield by Lawrence (follower).jpg
Church Church of England
Diocese London
Term ended1856 (ill health)
Predecessor William Howley
Successor Archibald Campbell Tait
Other posts Bishop of Chester
Consecrationc. 1824
Personal details
Born(1786-05-29)29 May 1786
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Great Britain
Died5 August 1857(1857-08-05) (aged 71)
Buried All Saints Church, Fulham
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Residence Fulham Palace, London
Children6 daughters & 11 sons including:
Arthur & Alfred
Education King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Charles James Blomfield (29 May 1786 – 5 August 1857) was a British divine and classicist, and a Church of England bishop for 32 years.

British people citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies, and their descendants

The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies. British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons, the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany, whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people, Cornish people, and Bretons. It may also refer to citizens of the former British Empire.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.


Early life

Blomfield was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and educated at the grammar school at Bury St Edmunds, declining a scholarship to Eton College after a brief stay there. [1]

Bury St Edmunds market town and civil parish in the county of Suffolk, England

Bury St Edmunds, commonly referred to locally as Bury, is a historic market town and civil parish in Suffolk, England. Bury St Edmunds Abbey is near the town centre. Bury is the seat of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich of the Church of England, with the episcopal see at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Suffolk County of England

Suffolk is an East Anglian county of historic origin in England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; other important towns include Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, and Felixstowe, one of the largest container ports in Europe.

King Edward VI School is a co-educational comprehensive secondary school in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England. The school in its present form was created in 1972 by the merging of King Edward VI Grammar School, with the Silver Jubilee Girls School and the Silver Jubilee Boys School. The school occupies the site of the former Silver Jubilee schools in Grove Road Bury St Edmunds.

Blomfield matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1804. At Cambridge, he was tutored by John Hudson, mathematician and clergyman. Blomfield won the Browne medals for Latin and Greek odes, and the Craven scholarship. [2] [3] He graduated B.A. (3rd wrangler and 1st Chancellor's medal in classics) in 1808, M.A. in 1811, B.D. in 1818, D.D. ( per lit. reg. ) in 1820. [3]

Trinity College, Cambridge Constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England

Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. With around 600 undergraduates, 300 graduates, and over 180 fellows, it is the largest college in either of the Oxbridge universities by number of undergraduates. In terms of total student numbers, it is second only to Homerton College, Cambridge.

John Hudson was an English mathematician and clergyman. He was notable for being a senior wrangler as well as the tutor of George Peacock.

The Browne Medals are gold medals which since 1774 have been awarded for annual competitions in Latin and Greek poetry at Cambridge University.


Blomfield was elected to a fellowship at Trinity College in 1809. [2] [4] The first-fruits of his scholarship was an edition of the Prometheus of Aeschylus in 1810; this was followed by editions of the Septem contra Thebas , Persae , Choephori , and Agamemnon , of Callimachus, and of the fragments of Sappho, Sophron and Alcaeus. [2]

The Prometheia is a trilogy of plays about the titan Prometheus. It was attributed in Antiquity to the 5th-century BC Greek tragedian Aeschylus. Though an Alexandrian catalogue of Aeschylean play titles designates the trilogy Hoi Prometheis, in modern scholarship the trilogy has been designated the Prometheia to mirror the title of Aeschylus' only extant trilogy, the Oresteia. Unlike the Oresteia, only one play from this trilogy—Prometheus Bound—survives. Inasmuch as the authorship of Prometheus Bound continues to be debated, the very existence of a Prometheus trilogy is uncertain. To the extent that modern scholars postulate the existence of such a trilogy by a single author, the consensus holds that it comprised Prometheus Bound, Prometheus Unbound, and Prometheus the Fire-Bringer, in that order.

Aeschylus ancient Athenian tragic playwright

Aeschylus was an ancient Greek tragedian. He is often described as the father of tragedy. Academics' knowledge of the genre begins with his work, and understanding of earlier tragedies is largely based on inferences from his surviving plays. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in the theatre and allowed conflict among them; characters previously had interacted only with the chorus.

Agamemnon figure from Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was a king of Mycenae, the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra and the father of Iphigenia, Electra or Laodike (Λαοδίκη), Orestes and Chrysothemis. Legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area. When Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was taken to Troy by Paris, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War.

Blomfield, however, soon ceased to devote himself entirely to scholarship. Ordained deacon in March 1810 and priest in June 1810, [3] he held a curacy at Chesterford, then the following livings: [3] [5]

Great Chesterford village in the United Kingdom

Great Chesterford is a village and civil parish in the Uttlesford district of Essex, England. The village is 13 miles (20 km) north from Bishop's Stortford, 10 miles (16 km) south from Cambridge and about 25 miles (40 km) northwest from the city and Essex county town of Chelmsford.

Quarrington, Lincolnshire human settlement in United Kingdom

Quarrington is a village and former civil parish, now part of the civil parish of Sleaford, in the North Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, a non-metropolitan county in the East Midlands of England. The old village and its church lie approximately 1.2 miles (2 km) south-west from the centre of Sleaford, the nearest market town, but suburban housing developments at New Quarrington and Quarrington Hill effectively link the two settlements. Bypassed by the A15, it is connected to Lincoln and Peterborough, as well as Newark and King's Lynn. At the 2011 Census, Quarrington and Mareham ward, which incorporates most of the settlement, had an estimated population of 7,046.

Dunton, Buckinghamshire a village located in Aylesbury Vale, United Kingdom

Dunton is a village and civil parish in the Aylesbury Vale district of Buckinghamshire, England. The village is situated approximately 8 miles (13 km) north from Aylesbury and 4 miles (6.4 km) south-east from Winslow.

Tuddenham village in United Kingdom

Tuddenham is a village and civil parish in the West Suffolk district of Suffolk in eastern England. In 2005 it had a population of 450. falling to 423 at the 2011 Census.

Whilst at Dunton he educated George Spencer (later Ignatius Spencer), and they corresponded for several years after. In 1817 he was appointed private chaplain to William Howley, Bishop of London. In 1819 he was nominated to the rich living of St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate, and in 1822 he became Archdeacon of Colchester. Two years later he was raised to the bishopric as Bishop of Chester where he carried through many much-needed reforms. [4] [2]

In 1828, he was appointed a Privy Counsellor [3] and translated becoming Bishop of London, a post which he held for twenty-eight years. During this period, his energy and zeal did much to extend the influence of the church. He was one of the best debaters in the House of Lords (members of the Upper House of the Canterbury Convocation confessed to trimming their quill pens before his arrival!), took a leading position in the action for church reform which culminated in the ecclesiastical commission, and did much for the extension of the colonial episcopate; and his genial and kindly nature made him an invaluable mediator in the controversies arising out of the tractarian movement. [4]

Funerary monument, All Saints, Fulham, London. CharlesJamesBlomfieldMonument01.jpg
Funerary monument, All Saints, Fulham, London.

Later life

His health at last gave way, and in 1856 he was permitted to resign his bishopric, retaining Fulham Palace as his residence, with a pension of £6000 per annum.

Blomfield is buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Fulham, London and a memorial to him, by G. Richmond, can be seen at Saint Paul's Cathedral along the south wall of the ambulatory.

Published works

His published works, exclusive of those above mentioned, consist of charges, sermons, lectures and pamphlets, and of a Manual of Private and Family Prayers. He was a frequent contributor to the quarterly reviews, chiefly on classical subjects.

Personal life

Charles James Blomfield was the eldest son of the ten children of Charles Blomfield (1763–1831), a schoolmaster (as was Charles James's grandfather, James Blomfield), a JP and chief alderman of Bury St Edmunds, and his wife, Hester (1765–1844), daughter of Edward Pawsey, a Bury grocer. His brother was Edward Valentine Blomfield a classical scholar.

He married Anna Maria Heath on 6 November 1810 at Hemblington, Norfolk and they had six children:

Anna Maria died on 16 February 1818 at Hildersham, Cambridgeshire.

Blomfield then married Dorothy (née Cox, widow of Thomas Kent of Hildersham, Cambridgeshire) on 17 December 1819 at St George, Hanover Square, London, and they had eleven children:

He was grandfather of the poet and hymn writer Dorothy Gurney (née Blomfield) (1858–1932), the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield (1856–1942) and the palaeontologist, geologist and malacologist Francis Arthur Bather (1863–1934).

Dorothy also had one son from her first marriage, Thomas Fassett Kent, who was born in 1817 in Ellough, Suffolk.

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  1. Johnson, Malcolm (2001). Bustling Intermeddler? The Life and Work of Charles James Blomfield. Gracewing Publishing. p. 16. ISBN   0852445466.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Blomfield, Alfred (1863). Memoirs of Charles James Blomfield, D. D., Bishop of London, with Selections from his Correspondence. John Murray.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Blomfield, Charles James (BLMT803CJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. 1 2 3 Wroth 1886.
  5. Persons: Blomfield, Charles James (–) in "CCEd, the Clergy of the Church of England database " (Accessed online , 5 June 2019)
  6. Wikisource-logo.svg Dictionary of National Biography has 1836 for Lucy's date of birth

Further reading

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Joseph Jefferson
Archdeacon of Colchester
Succeeded by
William Lyall
Preceded by
George Henry Law
Bishop of Chester
Succeeded by
John Bird Sumner
Preceded by
William Howley
Bishop of London
Succeeded by
Archibald Campbell Tait