George Horne (bishop)

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George Horne
Bishop of Norwich
Dr George Horne by Thomas Olive.jpg
Diocese Diocese of Norwich
In office1790–1792
Predecessor Lewis Bagot
Successor Charles Manners-Sutton
Other posts Dean of Canterbury (1781–1790)
Personal details
Born(1730-11-01)1 November 1730
Otham, Kent
Died17 January 1792(1792-01-17) (aged 61)
Bath, Somerset
Buried Eltham Church
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Education Maidstone Grammar School
Alma mater University College, Oxford

George Horne (1 November 1730 – 17 January 1792) was an English churchman, academic, writer, and university administrator.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.


Early years

Horne was born at Otham near Maidstone, in Kent, the eldest surviving son of the Reverend Samuel Horne (1693-1768), rector of the parish, and his wife Anne (1697-1787), youngest daughter of Bowyer Hendley. He attended Maidstone Grammar School alongside his cousin and lifelong friend William Stevens, son of his father's sister Margaret, and from there went in 1746 to University College, Oxford (BA 1749; MA 1752; DD 1764). Three contemporaries at the college were also friends for life: Charles Jenkinson later first Earl of Liverpool, William Jones of Nayland. [1] and John Moore, later Archbishop of Canterbury. His two younger brothers were also Oxford graduates and clergymen, Samuel Horne (1733 – about 1772) becoming an Oxford academic while William Horne (1740 – 1821) succeeded their father as rector of Otham.

Otham village in Kent

Otham is a village and civil parish in the Maidstone district of Kent, England. The population of the civil parish as of the 2011 census is 523, with 204 dwellings.

Maidstone the county town of Kent, England

Maidstone is a town in Kent, England, of which it is the county town. Maidstone is historically important and lies 32 miles (51 km) east-south-east of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river carried much of the town's trade as the centre of the agricultural county of Kent, known as the Garden of England. There is evidence of settlement in the area dating back before the Stone Age. The town, part of the borough of Maidstone, had a population of 113,137 in 2011. There has been a shift in the town's economy since the Second World War away from heavy industry towards light industry and services.

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

Academic career

In 1749 Horne became a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, of which college he was elected President on 27 January 1768. [2] As an influential college head, he served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1776 until 1780. [3] [4] At the university, he fought against any relaxation of the law that required entrants to subscribe to the beliefs of the Church of England. [1]

Magdalen College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford in England

Magdalen College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete. Today, it is one of the wealthiest colleges, with a financial endowment of £273.2 million as of 2018, and one of the strongest academically, setting the record for the highest Norrington Score in 2010 and topping the table twice since then.

University of Oxford university in Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Ecclesiastical career

Ordained priest in 1753, from 1760 to 1764 he was curate of the Oxfordshire village of Horspath. [5] Thereafter his religious duties were performed at Magdalen until 1771, when the prime minister Lord North appointed him to the Royal Household as chaplain in ordinary to King George III, a position he held until 1781. [1] In that year, he was appointed Dean of Canterbury, combining the post with the presidency of Magdalen. An energetic dean, he promoted Sunday schools to inform the young and delivered influential sermons against Unitarianism. He was also an active supporter of the Naval and Military Bible Society, now the Naval Military & Air Force Bible Society, founded in 1779 to supply Christian literature to the armed services and seafarers.

Ordination religious process by which individuals are consecrated as clergy

Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorized to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination vary by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordination.

Curate person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish

A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.

Prime minister most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system

A prime minister is the head of a cabinet and the leader of the ministers in the executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system. A prime minister is not a head of state or chief executive officer of their respective nation, rather they are a head of government, serving typically under a monarch in a hybrid of aristocratic and democratic government forms or a president in a republican form of government.

In 1790, by then in ill health from which he never recovered, with some reluctance he accepted the bishopric of Norwich, resigning from Canterbury and, the next year, from Magdalen. Unable to accomplish much in his diocese or in the House of Lords, one achievement was to support the bishops of the Episcopalian Church of Scotland who in 1789 came to London to petition Parliament for relief from their legal disadvantages. In what became his final circular to his diocesan clergy, as the French Revolution challenged most of the values for which he stood, he remained adamant that 'true religion and true learning were never yet at variance'. [1]

Bishop of Norwich Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Norwich is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Norwich in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers most of the county of Norfolk and part of Suffolk. The Bishop of Norwich is Graham Usher.

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers and domestically usually referred to simply as the Lords, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Intellectual influences

Through his preaching, journalism, correspondence and authorship of numerous works (some at the time anonymous), Horne actively defended the high church tendency in Anglicanism against Calvinism, the Church of England against other denominations, and Trinitarian Christianity against other beliefs. He had a reputation as a preacher, and his sermons were frequently reprinted. In his polemical pieces, some appearing in newspapers under the name of Nathaniel Freebody (a cousin who had died), he was influenced by the work of Charles Leslie [1] Having early adopted some of the views of John Hutchinson, he wrote in his defence, though disagreeing with Hutchinson's fanciful interpretations of Hebrew etymology. He also fell under the imputation of Methodism, but protested from the university pulpit against those who took their theology from George Whitefield and John Wesley rather than major Anglican divines. Nevertheless, he disapproved of the expulsion of six Methodist students from St Edmund Hall, Oxford, a high-profile event of 1768 in Oxford; [6] and later, when bishop, thought Wesley should not be forbidden to preach in his diocese.

High church Christian denominations which emphasize ritual and form

"High church" Christian denominations are those who emphasize formality in beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy, and theology, and often resist "modernisation". Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term originated in and has been principally associated with the Anglican/Episcopal tradition, where it describes Anglican churches using a number of ritual practices associated in the popular mind with Roman Catholicism. The opposite is low church. Contemporary media discussing Anglican churches tend to prefer evangelical to "low church", and Anglo-Catholic to "high church", though the terms do not exactly correspond. Other contemporary denominations that contain high church wings include some Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches.

Anglicanism The practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.

Calvinism Protestant branch of Christianity

Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.

Though impressed by the earlier writings of William Law, he later complained that he saw him ‘falling from the heaven of Christianity into the sink and complication of Paganism, Quakerism, and Socinianism, mixed up with chemistry and astrology by a possessed cobbler.’ In this 'sink', he included the views of Emanuel Swedenborg and Jacob Boehme. Despite criticising the plan of Benjamin Kennicott and some of his colleagues to collate a new text of the Hebrew Bible from manuscripts, in order to prepare for a new translation into English, the two became friends. He was also friendly with Samuel Johnson who with James Boswell came to tea at Magdalen, where they discussed producing a new edition of the Lives by Izaak Walton, and Boswell later wrote warmly of Horne's character and abilities. Though he enjoyed reading Edward Gibbon and admired his scholarship, he recorded his distaste for Gibbon's continual belittling of the Jewish and Christian tradition. [1]

His lifelong emphasis on revealed religion rather than natural religion and his acceptance of what would become high church beliefs formed an important link between the nonjurors of the seventeenth century and the Oxford Movement of the nineteenth. [1]


Among his publications were:

He intended writing a ‘'Defence of the Divinity of Christ'’ against Joseph Priestley, but did not live to do that. Horne's collected Works were published with a Memoir by William Jones in 1799.


On 22 June 1768, he married Felicia Elizabetha (1741–1821), only child of lawyer and legal author Philip Burton and his wife Felicia, daughter of Ralph Whitfield. [8] They had three daughters: Felicia Elizabetha (1770–1829) [9] who in 1791 married the Reverend Robert Hele Selby Hele; Maria (1773–1852) unmarried; [10] and Sarah (1775–1853), a pupil of Hannah More, [1] who in 1796 married the Reverend Humphrey Aram Hole. [11]

Aged 62, he died at Bath, Somerset on 17 January 1792 [1] and was buried in his father-in-law's vault at Eltham. [12]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Aston, Nigel (2004). "Horne, George (1730–1792)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press . Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  2. Salter, Herbert E; Lobel, Mary D, eds. (1954). "Magdalen College". A History of the County of Oxford. Victoria County History. 3: The University of Oxford. Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research. pp. 193–207. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  3. "Previous Vice-Chancellors". University of Oxford . Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  4. "Vice-Chancellors from the year 1660". The Oxford University Calendar. University of Oxford. 1817. pp. 27–28. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  5. Lobel, Mary D, ed. (1957). "Horspath". A History of the County of Oxford. Victoria County History. 5: Bullingdon Hundred. London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research. pp. 177–189.
  6. "A Brief History". St Edmund Hall, Oxford.
  7. "Horne, George"  . Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  8. St Andrew Holborn, Register of marriages by licence, 1768 – 1774, Guildhall Library Ref: P69/AND2/A/01/Ms 6671/4
  9. Felicia Elizabetha Horne, 22 Jun 1770, Saint Andrew, Holborn, London, England England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 FHL microfilm 374,354 , retrieved 18 March 2016
  10. PROB 11/2149/262 Will of Maria Horne, Spinster of York House Hotel, Bath, Somerset, proved 23 March 1852 Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury , retrieved 18 March 2016
  11. Humphrey Aram Hole and Sarah Horne, 19 Nov 1796, Saint David, Exeter, Devon, England England Marriages, 1538–1973 FHL microfilm 917,097 , retrieved 18 March 2016
  12. Lysons, Daniel (1796), "Eltham", The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent, London, pp. 394–421, retrieved 18 March 2016


Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Horne, George". Encyclopædia Britannica . 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 708–709. Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Horne, George". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Academic offices
Preceded by
Thomas Jenner
President of Magdalen College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Martin Joseph Routh
Preceded by
Thomas Fothergill
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Succeeded by
Samuel Dennis
Church of England titles
Preceded by
James Cornwallis
Dean of Canterbury
Succeeded by
William Buller
Preceded by
Lewis Bagot
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
Charles Manners-Sutton