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James Atlay (3 July 1817, Wakerley, Northamptonshire – 24 December 1894) was the 98th Anglican Bishop of Hereford, from 1868 to 1894.

James Atlay was the son of Rev Henry Atlay and Elizabeth Rayner Hovell. Educated at Oakham School, he entered St John's College, Cambridge, where he held a fellowship from 1846 to 1859.[1] He was vicar of Madingley, near Cambridge, from 1847 to 1852, and Queen's preacher at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall, 1857. He occupied the position of a senior tutor in his college at the time he was elected in 1859 to the vicarage of Leeds. Dr Atlay was appointed a canon of Ripon Cathedral in 1861.

In 1867, he refused the bishopric of Calcutta, but in the following year accepted the bishopric of Hereford, in succession to Dr Hampden.

He married in 1859 Frances Turner, younger daughter of Major William Martin of the Bengal Army. The Rt Rev James Atlay DD died on 24 December 1894 aged 77 and is buried in Hereford Cathedral where he has a magnificent memorial in the north transept.

He possessed great organising ability and an attractive personality and was described by Archbishop Benson as 'the most beautiful combination of enthusiasm, manliness and modesty.'

Among his children was Rev.d George William Atlay who was murdered by a party of Ngoni people while attached to the Universities' Mission to Central Africa at Likoma, Lake Nyasa.


  1. ^ Atlay, James in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Renn Dickson Hampden
Bishop of Hereford
1868 – 1894
Succeeded by
John Percival


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