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Henry Phillpotts

Henry Phillpotts (1778-1869), English bishop, was born at Bridgwater on May 6 1778, and was educated at Gloucester College school and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

He became a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1795, took orders in 1802, and was select university preacher in 1804. In 1805 he received the living of Stainton-le-Street, Durham, and in addition was appointed to Bishop Middleham, Durham, in the succeeding year. For twenty years he was chaplain to Shute Barrington, bishop of Durham. He was appoined vicar of Gateshead in 1808, prebendary of Durham in 1809, and vicar of St Margaret, Durham, in 1810. After holding the rich living of Stanhope, Durham from 1820, and the deanery of Chester from 1828, he was consecrated bishop of Exeter in 1831, holding with the see a residentiary canonry at Durham.

His published works include numerous speeches and pamphlets, including those connected with his well-known Roman Catholic controversy with Charles Butler[?] (1750-1832). He was an energetic supporter of the Tory party, even when it acted contrary to his views in passing the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. He died on September 8 1869.

"Henry of Exeter," as he was commonly called, was one of the most striking figures in the English Church of the 18th century. His intellect was strong rather than broad, his position being that of the traditional High Churchman, with little sympathy either with the Evangelicals or with the Tractarians. On the one hand the famous Gorham judgment was the outcome of his refusal to institute to the living of Brampford Speke a clergyman George Cornelius Gorham (17871857), who had openly disavowed his belief in baptismal regeneration; on the other he denounced the equally famous Tract XC. in his episcopal charge of 1843. As bishop he was a strict disciplinarian, and did much to restore order in a diocese of which the clergy had become extraordinarily demoralized. Though accused of avarice and pluralism, Phillpotts was generous in his gifts to the church, founding the theological college at Exeter and spending large sums on the restoration of the cathedral.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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