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The Reverend Charles Wordsworth, M.A. (22 August 1806 – 5 December 1892)[1] was bishop of Saint Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane in Scotland. He was a brilliant classical scholar, and a cricketer and athlete who was also responsible for instigating the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.


Early life and education

Wordsworth was born in London, the son of the Rev. Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, Master of Trinity and a nephew of the poet William Wordsworth. He was educated at Harrow where his friends included Charles Merivale and Richard Chenevix Trench. He was in the Harrow cricket eleven for the first regular matches with Eton (1822) and Winchester (1825),[2] He then went to Christ Church, Oxford where he won the Chancellor's Latin verse at Oxford in 1827, and the Latin essay in 1831, and took a first-class in classics. Through his continued contact with Merivale at Cambridge University, he is credited with bringing about the first Oxford and Cambridge match in 1827, and the first university boat race in 1829,[3] both of which he took part in.

Teaching career

From 1830 to 1833 he had as pupils a number of men (including William Gladstone and Cardinal Manning) who afterwards became famous. He then travelled abroad during 1833–1834, and after a year's work as tutor at Christ Church (1834–1835) was appointed second master at Winchester. He had previously taken holy orders, though he only became priest in 1840, and he had a strong religious influence with the boys.

In 1839 he brought out his Greek Grammar, which had a great success. In 1846, however, he resigned; and then accepted the wardenship of Trinity College, Glenalmond, the new Scottish Episcopal public school and divinity college, where he remained from 1847 to 1854, having great educational success in all respects; though his views on Scottish Church questions brought him into opposition at some important points to WE Gladstone.

Ecclesiatic career

In 1852 he was elected Bishop of Saint Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane,[4] and was consecrated in Aberdeen early next year. He was a strong supporter of the establishment, but conciliatory towards the Free churches, and this brought him into a good deal of controversy. He was a voluminous writer, and was one of the company of revisers of the New Testament (1870–1881), among whom he displayed a conservative tendency.

Personal life

Wordsworth was twice married, first in 1835 to Charlotte Day (d. 1839), and secondly in 1846 to Katherine Mary Barter (d. 1897). He had thirteen children altogether. He was the older brother of Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln.

See his Annals of my Early Life (1891), and Annals of My Life, edited by W Earl Hodgson (1893); also The Episcopate of Charles Wordsworth, by his nephew John Wordsworth, Bishop of Salisbury (1899).

See also


  1. ^ NPG details
  2. ^ The Wisden Archive of Cricketers' Lives 2008. Alton, Hants: John Wisden & Co. Ltd.. Retrieved November 04, 2008, from
  3. ^ of Boat race
  4. ^ ”Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689-2000” Bertie, D.M: Edinburgh T & T Clark ISBN 0567087468
Religious titles
Preceded by
Patrick Torry
Saint Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane
1853 – 1892
Succeeded by
George Howard Wilkinson

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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