Corrie, George Elwes (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 12
Corrie, George Elwes

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CORRIE, GEORGE ELWES (1793–1885), master of Jesus College, Cambridge, was born at Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, 28 April 1793. His father, John Corrie, then curate of Colsterworth and afterwards vicar of Morcott, Rutlandshire, was a direct descendant of Cluny MacPherson [q. v.], the name having been changed. His mother, Anne MacNab, was allied to the MacNabs of that ilk. He was the youngest of three sons, the eldest being Daniel Corrie, bishop of Madras [q. v.], and the second Richard Corrie, M.D., who after studying medicine took orders and became rector of Kettering, Northamptonshire. They were all educated by their father, under whom George Elwes Corrie acquired hardy habits of life and a keen interest in country pursuits. In October 1813 he entered Catharine Hall, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1817, and took orders. In 1817 he became assistant tutor of his college, and on the resignation of Thomas Turton, afterwards bishop of Ely, succeeded to the tutorship, which he held till 1849.

In 1838 he was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity. He was a diligent student of theology, displayed great research in the history of the church of England and Ireland, and showed peculiar power of sympathy with young men, to whom he was always ready to open his own stores of knowledge. In 1854 he had, in conformity with the rules then in force, to resign his professorship on attaining the age of sixty. While a professor he continued to be a learner; he took lessons in languages, especially Danish and Irish; and he found time for his duties by taking his regular walking exercise before morning chapel.

In 1845 Turton, on becoming bishop of Ely, made Corrie his examining chaplain (an office which he held till 1864), and in 1849 presented him to the mastership of Jesus College. He was vice-chancellor of the university in 1850. In 1851 Turton presented him to the rectory of Newton in the Isle of Ely, where he resided when not engaged in university work. He was an active parish priest, and for many years rural dean. As master of Jesus College, Corrie showed unvarying tact, firmness combined with undeviating courtesy, and lively interest in the younger members of the society. The college rose greatly in reputation during his mastership, and he took a large share in the management of the estates. He had been imbued with patriotic principles in the great wars during his youth, and he was a leader of the conservative party at Cambridge.

Corrie edited the ‘Homilies,’ ‘Wheatley on the Book of Common Prayer,’ and Twysden's ‘Historical Vindication of the Church of England’ for the University Press; and Nowell's ‘Catechism’ and Latimer's ‘Sermons and Remains’ for the Parker Society. He published an abridgment of Burnet's ‘History of the Reformation,’ and, with H. J. Rose, wrote ‘Outlines of Theology’ for the ‘Encyclopædia Metropolitana.’ He also wrote ‘Historical Notices of the Interference of the Crown with the English Universities,’ ‘A Concise History of the Church and State of England in conflict with the Papacy’ (1874); and a series of five letters in the ‘British Magazine’ criticising Thomas Moore's ‘History of Ireland,’ dealing chiefly with the doctrines of the Irish church upon Pelagianism. With his brother Richard he edited the ‘Life and Letters’ of Bishop Corrie. He was one of the founders and for several years president of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. He died 20 Sept. 1885.

[Information from Miss Holroyd, Rev. Prof. Lumby, and the present Master of Jesus College.]