Thomas Thellusson Carter

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Thomas Thellusson Carter

Rector of Clewer
Thomas Thellusson Carter (H Hering NPG Ax9611).jpg
Church Church of England
Diocese Oxford
In office1844 to 1880
Other posts Superior General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (1862–1897)
Ordination21 October 1832 (deacon)
by Thomas Burgess
22 December 1833 (priest)
by John Kaye
Personal details
Born(1808-03-19)19 March 1808
Eton, Buckinghamshire, England
Died28 October 1901(1901-10-28) (aged 93)
Clewer, Berkshire, England
Denomination Anglicanism
SpouseMary Ann Gould
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Thomas Thellusson Carter SSC (19 March 1808 – 28 October 1901 [1] ), often known as T. T. Carter, was a significant figure in the Victorian Church of England. He was responsible for reintroducing some Catholic practices to the church and being the founder of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. He also founded several charitable organisations. He was a prolific writer on church matters and a project exists to collect and collate all his writings. He was for 36 years the Rector of Clewer and an honorary canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. [2] [3] [4]

Society of the Holy Cross

The Society of the Holy Cross is an international Anglo-Catholic society of male priests with members in the Anglican Communion and the Continuing Anglican movement, who live under a common rule of life that informs their priestly ministry and charism.

Church of England Anglican church in England, by law established

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.

Anglo-Catholicism refers to people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism which emphasise the Catholic heritage

Anglo-Catholicism, Anglican Catholicism, or Catholic Anglicanism comprises people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that emphasise the Catholic heritage and identity of the various Anglican churches.


Early life

Carter was the son of Thomas Carter (then under master and later vice-provost of Eton College) and his wife Mary (née Proctor). Carter was educated at Eton from the age of six and, when he left, was captain of oppidans. He then entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1825. Amongst those he met there were Edward Bouverie Pusey who had been a pupil of his father's. He graduated with first class honours in classics in 1831 and attempted to gain a fellowship at Oriel College but was unsuccessful. [5]

Eton College British independent boarding school located in Eton

Eton College is an English 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.

Christ Church, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford in England

Christ Church is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Christ Church is a joint foundation of the college and the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, which serves as the college chapel and whose dean is ex officio the college head.

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. 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.

Carter's middle name probably derives from the time his father spent as domestic chaplain to John Thellusson, 2nd Baron Rendlesham.


Carter was ordained a deacon on 21 October 1832 by Thomas Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury. He served his first curacy at St Mary, Reading, where Henry Hart Milman was then vicar. Carter was ordained a priest by John Kaye, Bishop of Lincoln, on 22 December 1833 and went to serve as his father's curate, who was now vicar of Burnham, Buckinghamshire. [5]

Deacon ministry in the Christian Church

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Some Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state; in others, the deacon remains a layperson.

Thomas Burgess (bishop) English author, philosopher, Bishop of Saint Davids and Bishop of Salisbury

Thomas Burgess was an English author, philosopher, Bishop of St David's and Bishop of Salisbury.

The Bishop of Salisbury is the ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Salisbury in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers much of the counties of Wiltshire and Dorset. The see is in the City of Salisbury where the bishop's seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The current bishop is Nick Holtam, the 78th Bishop of Salisbury, who was consecrated at St Paul's Cathedral on 22 July 2011 and enthroned in Salisbury Cathedral on 15 October 2011.

Carter was married in 1835. Through his wife, he first came into contact with the Tractarian movement, since Richard Hurrell Froude was a family friend. In 1838 he was appointed rector of Piddlehinton (near Dorchester). [6] This proved to be an unhappy appointment and his health suffered. From 1842, he took a period of leave back at Burnham to recover and in 1844 was appointed rector of Clewer (near Windsor). [5]

Piddlehinton village in United Kingdom

Piddlehinton is a village and civil parish in west Dorset, England, situated in the Piddle valley 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Dorchester. In the 2011 census the parish had a population of 403. Piddlehinton formerly constituted a liberty containing only the parish itself.

Dorchester, Dorset County town of Dorset, England

Dorchester is the county town of Dorset, England. It is situated between Poole and Bridport on the A35 trunk route. A historic market town, Dorchester is on the banks of the River Frome to the south of the Dorset Downs and north of the South Dorset Ridgeway that separates the area from Weymouth, 7 miles (11 km) to the south. The civil parish includes the small town of Poundbury and the suburb of Fordington.

Clewer village in United Kingdom

Clewer is an ecclesiastical parish and an area of Windsor in the county of Berkshire, England. Clewer makes up three wards of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, namely Clewer North, Clewer South and Clewer East.

Here he soon restored the parish church, with the aid of his friend, an architect, Henry Woodyer. Carter also set up two mission churches within the parish, and set out to assist the poor of the parish, establishing a benefit society, a temperance society and converting part of the glebe to allotments. Within the large parish, a particularly poor area was the slum of Clewer Fields, which contained two army barracks and a swiftly changing population of railway navvies, which served to worsen the general problems of drink, prostitution and poverty. [5]

Henry Woodyer Gothic Revival architect

Henry Woodyer (1816–1896) was an English architect, a pupil of William Butterfield and a disciple of A. W. N. Pugin and the Ecclesiologists.

Benefit society an organizational or voluntary association, formed to provide mutual aid, benefit, or insurance for relief from sundry difficulties

A benefit society, fraternal benefit society or fraternal benefit order is a society, an organization or a voluntary association formed to provide mutual aid, benefit, for instance insurance for relief from sundry difficulties. Such organizations may be formally organized with charters and established customs, or may arise ad hoc to meet unique needs of a particular time and place. Many major financial institutions existing today, particularly some insurance companies, mutual savings banks, and credit unions, trace their origins back to benefit societies, as can many modern fraternal organizations and fraternal orders which are now viewed as being primarily social; the modern legal system essentially requires all such organizations of appreciable size to incorporate as one of these forms or another to continue to exist on an ongoing basis.

Glebe area of land within an ecclesiastical parish used to support a parish priest

Glebe is an area of land within an ecclesiastical parish used to support a parish priest. The land may be owned by the church, or its profits may be reserved to the church.

Beginning with just one young woman in December 1848, a parishioner, a widow named Mariquita Tennant, began to take in young women from Clewer Fields, and give them an alternative to life there. This became the Clewer House of Mercy, which Carter, influenced by the writings of John Armstrong strongly supported. Ill-health prompted Tennant's withdrawal from the project in 1851, and she was succeeded by another widow, 40-year-old Harriet Monsell, who became mother superior of the newly created Community of St John Baptist, Clewer on 30 November 1852. Soon there were over forty branch houses, and significant work was undertaken in the United States and India. Re-establishment of the religious life was still controversial in Anglicanism (all monasteries and other religious houses had been dissolved during the English Reformation), and the foundation of a sisterhood was viewed with alarm in some quarters, not least among them being the Bishop of Oxford (the diocesan), Samuel Wilberforce, despite his misgivings, he acted as Visitor to the community until his move to Winchester in 1869. [5]

John Armstrong (bishop of Grahamstown) 19th-century Bishop of Grahamstown

John Armstrong was a Church of England cleric who became the Bishop of Grahamstown in South Africa.

Harriet Monsell Founder of a community of Anglican Augustinian nuns

Harriet Monsell founded the Community of St John Baptist, an order of Augustinian nuns in the Church of England dedicated to social service, which by her death had expended to numerous houses, including in India and the Americas. She is now remembered in the calendar of saints in some parts of the Anglican Communion on 26 March.

Community of St John Baptist

The Community of St John Baptist (CSJB), also known as the Sisters of Mercy, or formerly Clewer Sisters, is an Anglican religious order of Augustinian nuns.

Carter was also one of the key figures in the founding of another order of religious sisters, the Community of Reparation to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (CRJBS). Following the success of the convent at Clewer and the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, the new order of nuns was to make reparation (by prayer) for any dishonour done to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The first members served the noviciate at Clewer before forming their own community based in Southwark.

Carter's involvement in the establishment of this community, and his general commitment to pastoral work drew him into the provision of spiritual direction, which became a new focus of activity and led to the book, The Treasury of Devotion which appeared in 1869. He also became a pioneer of retreats within the Church of England. This work also led him into the controversial area of auricular confession, and in 1865, the book, The Doctrine of Confession in the Church of England. When, in 1873, a controversial petition signed by 483 clergy requesting the provision of suitably qualified confessors was presented to the Convocation of Canterbury, he was one of those who drew up the Declaration on Confession and Absolution, as Set Forth by the Church of England in defence of private confession. [5]


Carter was married at Amberd, Taunton, Somerset on 26 November 1835 to Mary Ann Gould (1802 – 7 February 1869), with issue including:

  1. Jane Frances Mary Carter (1836–1935)
  2. Thomas John Proctor (John) Carter (1841–1899)
  3. Georgiana Elizabeth Carter (1843–1920)

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  1. GRO Register of Deaths DEC 1901 2c 269 Windsor, aged 93
  2. A History of Clewer
  3. Project Canterbury: T.T. Carter
  4. Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bonham, Valerie. "Carter, Thomas Thellusson (1808–1901)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32314.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. Buckland, Augustus Robert (1912). "Carter, Thomas Thellusson"  . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). Vol. I. London: Smith, Elder & Co.