Gurney, Archer Thompson (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 23
Gurney, Archer Thompson

by George Clement Boase
Contains subarticle: Archer's father, Richard Gurney (1790-1843).

GURNEY, ARCHER THOMPSON (1820–1887), divine and author, was born at Tregony in Cornwall on 15 July 1820. His father, Richard Gurney, born in 1790, was vice-warden of the stannaries of Devon. In 1830 he claimed to be elected member of parliament for Tregony in Cornwall, but did not succeed in obtaining the seat. He was the author of:

  1. ‘Fables on Men and Manners,’ 1809.
  2. ‘Romeo and Juliet Travesty,’ 1812.
  3. ‘The Battle of Salamanca, a Poem,’ 1820.
  4. ‘The Maid of Prague,’ 1841.

He died at Bonn, Germany, in 1843. His wife, Catherine Harriet, died in 1876 (Bibliotheca Cornubiensis, pp. 200, 1213). Archer Thompson Gurney became a student of the Middle Temple 29 April 1842, and was called to the bar 8 May 1846. His connection with the bar was of short duration, as in 1849 he was ordained to the curacy of Holy Trinity, Exeter. In 1851 he took charge of St. Mary's, Crown Street, Soho, London, where he remained until 1854, when he obtained the senior curacy of Buckingham. He was appointed chaplain to the Court Chapel, Paris, in 1858, and resided in that city till 1871. After his return to England he served as evening lecturer of Holy Trinity Church, Westminster, from 1872 to 1874, as curate of Holy Trinity Chapel, Brighton, 1874–5, as curate in charge of St. Andrew's, Hastings, 1877–8, assisted at St. Katharine's Hospital, Regent's Park, London, 1879–80, was curate in charge of Rhayader, Radnorshire, 1880–1, and was curate in charge of Llangunider, Brecon, 1882–3. He afterwards resided at 7 Keble Terrace, Oxford, and died of disease of the kidneys at the Castle hotel, 4 Northgate Street, Bath, 21 March 1887. He was known as a poet and a theologian, and his work entitled ‘Words of Faith and Cheer,’ 1874, obtained a well-deserved popularity. He was the author or translator of the following:

  1. ‘Turandot, Princess of China,’ a drama from the German of Schiller, with alterations, 1836.
  2. ‘Faust, a Tragedy. Part the Second,’ 1842.
  3. ‘King Charles the First,’ a dramatic poem, 1846.
  4. ‘Love's Legends,’ poems, 1845.
  5. ‘Poems, Spring,’ 1853.
  6. ‘March and April Ditties,’ 1853.
  7. ‘A Satire for the Age, The Transcendentalists,’ 1853; 2nd ed. 1855.
  8. ‘Songs of the Present,’ 1854; 3rd ed. 1856.
  9. ‘Iphigenia at Delphi,’ a tragedy, 1855; new ed. 1860.
  10. ‘The Ode of Peace,’ 1855.
  11. ‘Songs of Early Summer,’ 1856.
  12. ‘Absolution, its Use and Abuse, and Excommunication,’ 1858.
  13. ‘Poems,’ 1860.
  14. ‘Sermons Anglicans prononcés à Paris,’ 1860.
  15. ‘Restoration, or the Completion of the Reformation,’ 1861; 2nd ed. 1862.
  16. ‘A Letter of Entreaty to the Rev. Dr. Pusey,’ 1864.
  17. ‘Faith against Freethinkers,’ 1864.
  18. ‘On Recent Propositions and the Prospect of Reunion,’ a letter to the Bishop of Oxford, 1866.
  19. . ‘Letter to a Friend on Obedience to Law, and to the Bishop,’ 1873.
  20. ‘Words of Faith and Cheer, a Mission of Instruction and Suggestion,’ 1874.
  21. ‘Parables and Meditations for Sundays and Holy-days,’ 1874.
  22. ‘First Principles in Church and State,’ 1875.

He also wrote the words for Horsley's ‘Gideon, an oratorio,’ 1859, several songs which were set to music, many hymns in Shipley's ‘Lyra Eucharistica,’ 1864, and the hymn commencing ‘Come ye lofty, come ye lowly’ in Schaff's ‘Christ in Song,’ 1870. He wrote in the ‘Theologian,’ ‘English Review,’ ‘Fortnightly Review,’ ‘Churchman's Family Magazine,’ ‘Macmillan's Magazine,’ and the ‘Spectator.’

[Imperial Mag. January 1886, pp. 113–14; Times, 29 March 1887, p. 8; Guardian, 23 March 1887, p. 457; Men of the Time, 1879, p. 473; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. iii. 1210–12; Boase's Collect. Cornub. p. 305.]

G. C. B.