Bethell, Christopher (DNB00)

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BETHELL, CHRISTOPHER (1773–1859), bishop of Bangor, was the second son of the Rev. Richard Bethell, of Wadham College, Oxford, B.A. 1755, M.A. 1759, rector of St. Peter's, Wallingford, who died 12 Jan. 1806, having married in 1771 Ann, daughter of James Clitherow, of Boston House, Middlesex. He was born at Isleworth, Surrey, 21 April 1773, and educated at King's College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. 1796, M.A. 1799, and D.D. 1817; obtained a fellowship, and was second member's prizeman 1797. He was rector of Kirby Wiske, Yorkshire, from 1808 to 1830; dean of Chichester from 5 April 1814 until he became a bishop, and prebendary of Exeter 22 June 1830. Lord Liverpool nominated him bishop of Gloucester 11 March 1824. The Duke of Wellington transferred him to the more lucrative see of Exeter 8 April 1830, and again on 28 Oct. in the same year to the still more lucrative see of Bangor, which he held up to the time of his death.

Dr. Bethell was during the whole of his life identified with the high-church party. He was the author of several theological works, the principal of which is ‘A General View of the Doctrine of Regeneration in Baptism,’ 1821, of which a fourth edition was published in 1845. His other works are chiefly charges and sermons. His ignorance of the Welsh language was a very great hindrance to his usefulness in the diocese of Bangor, where 195,000 out of 200,000 people understood little more than their native tongue. He died at the palace, Bangor, 19 April 1859, and was buried in Llandegai churchyard on 27 April. At the time of his death he was the oldest prelate on the episcopal bench.

[Guardian, 27 April 1859, p. 375; Record, 23 April 1859, p. 3.]

G. C. B.