William Howley

Last updated

William Howley
Archbishop of Canterbury
William Howley by William Owen.jpg
Portrait by William Owen
Term ended1848
Predecessor Charles Manners-Sutton
Successor John Bird Sumner
Consecration10 October 1813
by  Charles Manners-Sutton
Personal details
Born12 February 1766
Ropley, Hampshire, England
Died11 February 1848 (aged 81)
Lambeth, Surrey, England
Buried St Mary the Blessed Virgin Church, Addington, London

William Howley (12 February 1766 – 11 February 1848) was a clergyman in the Church of England. He served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1828 to 1848.


Early life, education, and interests

Howley was born in 1766 at Ropley, Hampshire, where his father was vicar. He was educated at Winchester College and in 1783 went to New College, Oxford. He became Chaplain to the Marquess of Abercorn in 1792, whose influence was critical in advancing his early career. [1] :3 In 1809 he was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University [1] :6 (as well as previously becoming a Fellow of Winchester and a Canon of Christ Church, Oxford in 1804).

He was an active English Freemason, having joined the 'Royal York Lodge' in Bristol on 21 December 1791, [2] aged 25, and served the lodge regularly until around the turn of the century, including serving as Master of the Lodge. [3] [4]

In October 1813, at Lambeth Palace, he was consecrated Bishop of London, a post he was to occupy until 1828, when he became Archbishop of Canterbury.

Life as Archbishop of Canterbury

Marble bust of Howley by Francis Chantrey, 1821. Yale Center for British Art William Howley, Bishop of London (1766-1848) by Francis Leggatt Chantrey.jpg
Marble bust of Howley by Francis Chantrey, 1821. Yale Center for British Art

Howley was Archbishop during the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts (1828), the Emancipation of the Catholics (1829) and the passing of the Great Reform Act (1832). The bench of bishops was generally opposed to all three measures. As archbishop, Howley was their spokesman, and his heart-felt opposition to the Great Reform Act led to his carriage being attacked in the streets of Canterbury. [5]

Like very many other bishops at that time, Howley was an "old-High Churchman." These inherited a tradition of high views of the sacraments from the Caroline Divines and their successors. They held Catholic beliefs but were consistently anti-Roman. In this they differed from the more extreme Tractarians and their beliefs were often obscured,[ how? ] for example, in Richard William Church's classic account of the Oxford Movement.

Archbishop Howley presided over the coronation of William IV and Queen Adelaide in 1831. He supported William IV in blocking the appointment of Connop Thirwall.

At 5.00 a.m. on 20 June 1837, accompanied by the Lord Chamberlain, the Marquess Conyngham, the Archbishop went to Kensington Palace to inform Princess Victoria that she was now Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He presided at her coronation on 28 June 1838. [6]

Architecture was of particular interest to him. During his career, he initiated the renovation and rebuilding of: his official house at Oxford, his town residence while Bishop of London (32 St James's Square), Fulham Palace (also while he was Bishop of London), and finally, extensive renovations to Lambeth Palace. This last project was a virtual reconstruction of the Palace carried out by Edward Blore, the work beginning after 1828 and done mainly in the Gothic Revival style. It took several years and cost upwards of £60,000.

Queen Victoria receiving the news of her accession to the throne. The archbishop is on the right. Victoriatothrone.jpg
Queen Victoria receiving the news of her accession to the throne. The archbishop is on the right.

Family life

The memorial to Howley in the chancel of the Church of Saint Mary the Blessed Virgin, Addington William Howley Memorial in the Chancel of the Church of Saint Mary the Blessed Virgin, Addington (01).jpg
The memorial to Howley in the chancel of the Church of Saint Mary the Blessed Virgin, Addington

William Howley was married on 29 August 1805 to Mary Frances Belli, a daughter of John Belli, EICS, (1740–1805) of Southampton who had been Private Secretary to Warren Hastings. The Howleys had two sons and three daughters; neither son reached adulthood. One of his daughters married Sir George Howland Willoughby Beaumont, a nephew of Sir George Beaumont, 7th Baronet. William Howley died in 1848 and was interred at Addington after an elaborate funeral.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Archbishop of Canterbury</span> Senior bishop of the Church of England

The archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and a principal leader of the Church of England, the ceremonial head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Addington Palace</span> Mansion in Addington in Greater London, England

Addington Palace is an 18th-century mansion in Addington located within the London Borough of Croydon. It was built on the site of a 16th-century manor house. It is particularly known for having been, between 1807 and 1897, the summer residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Since the 1930s most of the grounds have been occupied by Addington Palace Golf Club. Between 1953 and 1996 the mansion was occupied by the Royal School of Church Music. It is currently used as a wedding and events venue.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Juxon</span> Churchman, Bishop of London, Archbishop of Canterbury

William Juxon was an English churchman, Bishop of London from 1633 to 1646 and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1660 until his death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Longley</span> 19th-century Archbishop of Canterbury

Charles Thomas Longley was a bishop in the Church of England. He served as Bishop of Ripon, Bishop of Durham, Archbishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1862 until his death.

<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">Charles Manners-Sutton</span> 19th-century Archbishop of Canterbury

Charles Manners-Sutton was a bishop in the Church of England who served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1805 to 1828.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Secker</span> 18th-century archbishop

Thomas Secker was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cosmo Gordon Lang</span> British archbishop

William Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lambeth, was a Scottish Anglican prelate who served as Archbishop of York (1908–1928) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1928–1942). His elevation to Archbishop of York, within 18 years of his ordination, was the most rapid in modern Church of England history. As Archbishop of Canterbury during the abdication crisis of 1936, he took a strong moral stance, his comments in a subsequent broadcast being widely condemned as uncharitable towards the departed king.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Randall Davidson</span> Archbishop of Canterbury from 1903 to 1928

Randall Thomas Davidson, 1st Baron Davidson of Lambeth, was an Anglican priest who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1903 to 1928. He was the longest-serving holder of the office since the Reformation, and the first to retire from it.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Broughton (bishop)</span> Australian bishop

William Grant Broughton was an Anglican bishop. He was the first Bishop of Australia of the Church of England. The then Diocese of Australia, has become the Anglican Church of Australia and is divided into twenty three dioceses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort</span> British politician

Henry Charles Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort, KG, styled Marquess of Worcester until 1803, was a British politician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aubrey Spencer</span>

Aubrey George Spencer was the first bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Newfoundland and Bermuda (1839–1843). He was also bishop of Jamaica. His brother George Spencer became Bishop of Madras. He is from the Spencer family.

Events from the year 1828 in the United Kingdom.

Events from the year 1832 in the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frederick Cornwallis</span> 18th-century Archbishop of Canterbury

Frederick Cornwallis served as Archbishop of Canterbury, after an illustrious career in the Anglican Church. He was born the seventh son of an aristocratic family.

James Hamilton, Viscount Hamilton was a British nobleman and politician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Medley</span>

John Medley,, was a Church of England clergyman who became the first bishop of Fredericton in 1845. In 1879 he succeeded Ashton Oxenden as Metropolitan of Canada.

Events from the year 1766 in Great Britain.

Frederick Stephen "Freddy" Temple was the Suffragan Bishop of Malmesbury in the Diocese of Bristol from 1973 until 1983.


  1. 1 2 Garrard (The Rev'd Canon), James (2016). Archbishop Howley, 1828–1848 ((Prev. published Ashgate, 2015) ed.). London: Routledge. ISBN   9781472451330.
  2. Powell, Arthur Cecil; Littleton, Joseph (1910). A History of Freemasonry in Bristol (First ed.). Bristol: Bennett Brothers.
  3. "Presentation to Dr George Oliver". The Freemasons' Quarterly Review. June 1844(Referencing Howley's Mastership){{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  4. "From the Herald". The Freemasons' Quarterly Review. June 1835(An account of the initiation){{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  5. "Assault on His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury". The Times . No. 14927. London. 10 August 1832. p. 3.
  6. "Charles Robert Leslie (1794-1859) - Queen Victoria Receiving the Sacrament at her Coronation, 28 June 1838". www.rct.uk.

Further reading

Academic offices
Preceded by Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford
Succeeded by
Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of London
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Canterbury
Succeeded by