George Henry Law

Last updated

George Henry Law

Bishop of Bath and Wells
George Henry Law by William Beechey.jpg
Bishop Law by William Beechey
Church Church of England
Diocese Bath and Wells
Term ended1845 (death)
Predecessor Richard Beadon
Successor Richard Bagot
Other post(s) Bishop of Chester (1812–1824)
Personal details
Born(1761-09-12)12 September 1761
Died22 September 1845(1845-09-22) (aged 84)
Banwell Caves, Somerset, England
Buried Wells Cathedral
Nationality English
Denomination Anglican
Parents Edmund Law (Bishop of Carlisle)
Jane Adeane
(m. 1784)
Education Charterhouse School
Alma mater Queens' College, Cambridge
Arms of George Law, Bishop: Argent, on a bend between two cocks gules three mullets of the field Arms EdmundLaw (1703-1787) BishopOfCarlisle.svg
Arms of George Law, Bishop: Argent, on a bend between two cocks gules three mullets of the field

George Henry Law FRS FSA (12 September 1761 – 22 September 1845) [2] was the Bishop of Chester (1812) and then, from 1824, Bishop of Bath and Wells.


Born at the lodge of Peterhouse, Cambridge, of which his father Edmund Law (who later became Bishop of Carlisle) was Master, Law was educated at Charterhouse School and at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he was second wrangler. [2] His main claim to fame was the way in which he introduced a systematic and rigorous training system for parish priests.

He founded a theological college at St Bees in Cumbria. There had been once been a monastery at St Bees, but since the dissolution in 1539 many of the monastic buildings had disappeared and chancel stood roofless when Bishop Law visited Whitehaven in 1816. He was short of good clergy for the diocese, which included Lancashire, and was at that time the powerhouse of the industrial revolution. The consequent growth in population increased the demand for clergymen. Up until Bishop Law's college, training for clergy was haphazard. Most were ordained on the strength of a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, whilst some were ordained after individual instruction from a member of the clergy. Resulting clergy were variable and did not meet a reliable standard. Law was determined to improve the supply situation so when Law visited Whitehaven and met the influential Lowther family and they agreed to pay for restoration of the chancel for a new theogical college he accepted the offer. The agreement allowed Law to appoint the new vicar for St Bees and Principal of the College, contrary to the practice of patronage at the time, and so the St Bees Theological College was born. It was the first theological training institution of the Anglican Church outside Oxford or Cambridge.

The Lowthers did not act out of pure generosity. They were keen to improve their public image having been accused of acquiring the mineral rights to Whitehaven for a pittance from St Bees School, and were also suspected of having tried to keep the matter quiet by arranging the sacking of the headmaster.


Law was the younger brother of Bishop John Law (1745–1810), Ewan Law MP (1747–1829), Lord Chief Justice Lord Ellenborough (1750–1818), and Thomas Law (1756–1834), a property investor in Washington, D.C.

On 13 July 1784, Law married Jane Adeane, daughter of General James Whorwood Adeane MP . They had the following children: [3]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Bird Sumner</span> Archbishop of Canterbury; Bishop of Chester; British Anglican bishop

John Bird Sumner was a bishop in the Church of England and Archbishop of Canterbury.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whitehaven</span> Town in Cumbria, England

Whitehaven is a town and port on the English north west coast and near to the Lake District National Park in Cumberland, Cumbria, England. It lies by road 38 miles (61 km) south-west of Carlisle and 45 miles (72 km) to the north of Barrow-in-Furness. It was the administrative seat of the former Borough of Copeland, and has a town council for the parish of Whitehaven. The population of the town was 23,986 at the 2011 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward Law, 1st Baron Ellenborough</span> Lord Chief Justice of England

Edward Law, 1st Baron Ellenborough,, was an English judge. After serving as a member of parliament and Attorney General, he became Lord Chief Justice.

The Regius Professorships of Divinity are amongst the oldest professorships at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. A third chair existed for a period at Trinity College Dublin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Sumner (bishop)</span> Church of England bishop (1790–1874)

Charles Richard Sumner was a Church of England bishop.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edmund Law</span> British bishop (1703–1787)

Edmund Law was a churchman in the Church of England. He served as Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, as Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy in the University of Cambridge from 1764 to 1769, and as bishop of Carlisle from 1768 to 1787.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Bees</span> Human settlement in England

St Bees is a coastal village, civil parish and electoral ward in the Copeland district of Cumbria, England, on the Irish Sea.

Sir James Lowther, 4th Baronet, FRS was an English landowner, industrialist and Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons for 54 years between 1694 and 1755. His ownership and development of coal mines around Whitehaven in Cumberland gave him substantial revenues, and he was reputed the richest commoner in England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sir John Lowther, 2nd Baronet, of Whitehaven</span> English politician and landowner

Sir John Lowther, 2nd Baronet FRS was an English politician and landowner. Lowther was born at Whitehaven, in the parish of St Bees, Cumberland, the son of Sir Christopher Lowther, 1st Baronet, and his wife, Frances Lancaster, daughter of Christopher Lancaster of Stockbridge, Westmoreland. He was educated at Ilkley, Yorkshire and Balliol College, Oxford. He served as Member of Parliament for Cumberland from 1665 to 1701, and as a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty from 1689 to 1696.

Sir Christopher Lowther, 3rd Baronet was an English baronet, the eldest son of Sir John Lowther, 2nd Baronet and Jane Leigh. His alcoholism and irresponsibility caused his father to disinherit him in 1701, leaving his brother James to become master of the Lowther estates at Whitehaven.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Boyd Carpenter</span> English Anglican bishop (1841–1918)

William Boyd Carpenter was a Church of England cleric who became Bishop of Ripon and Royal Chaplain to Queen Victoria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Diggle</span> English Anglican bishop (1847–1920)

John William Diggle was an English Anglican bishop. He was Archdeacon of Westmorland from 1896 to 1901, Archdeacon of Birmingham from 1903 to 1904, and Bishop of Carlisle from 1905 to his death in 1920.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Bees Priory</span>

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hugh Percy (bishop)</span> 19th-century English Anglican bishop

Hon. Hugh Percy was an Anglican bishop who served as Bishop of Rochester (1827) and Bishop of Carlisle (1827–56).

John Law (1745–1810) was an English mathematician and clergyman who began his career as a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, and went on to become chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Church of Ireland bishop of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh (1782–1787), Killala and Achonry (1787–1795), and finally of Elphin (1795–1810).

Thomas Graves Law (1836–1904) was an English Oratorian priest, and later in life a historian and bibliographer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Bees Theological College</span>

St Bees Theological College, close to the coast of Cumberland, was the first independent theological college to be established for the training of Church of England ordinands. It was founded in 1816 by George Henry Law, Bishop of Chester, in what was during those years the northern extremity of his diocese. For many subsequent years the vicar of St Bees was effectively both the principal of the college and also its proprietor.

John Davison (1777–1834) was an English clergyman and academic, known as a theological writer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ewan Law</span> British politician

Ewan Law was a British politician, MP for Westbury (1795–1800) and Newtown (1802).


  1. Burke's General Armory, 1884, p.589, for his father; George's brother the 1st Baron Ellenborough bore a differenced version; arms of George Law, Bishop of Carlisle, visible in 1816 stained glass east window of Whalley Church, Lancashire, see File:Whalley parish church- east window (geograph 4756667).jpg
  2. 1 2 "Law, George Henry (LW776GH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. "Rt. Rev. George Henry Law". Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  4. Farrell, Stephen. "POWELL, Alexander (1782-1847), of Hurdcott House, Baverstock, Wilts. and 63 Montagu Square, Mdx". The History of Parliament. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of Chester
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Bath and Wells
Succeeded by