Hannah, John (1818-1888) (DNB00)

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HANNAH, JOHN, the younger (1818–1888), archdeacon of Lewes and vicar of Brighton, was born at Lincoln 16 July 1818. His father, also John Hannah, the elder [q. v.], was a Wesleyan minister, who was twice president of the Wesleyan conference. John was the eldest of eight children, the rest of whom died in infancy or early youth. He received his early education from his father until the latter was appointed theological tutor at the Wesleyan Institution at Hoxton, when he was sent to St. Saviour's School, Southwark, under the Rev. Lancelot Sharpe. In March 1837 he matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford, and in May of the same year was elected to a Lincolnshire scholarship at Corpus Christi College. In 1840 he graduated in first-class classical honours, and in the same year was elected to a Lincolnshire fellowship at Lincoln College. In 1841 he was ordained and took private pupils at Oxford. In 1843 he married Anne Sophia Gregory, sister of his college friend, now Canon Gregory of St. Paul's. He was chaplain of Combe Longa, near Woodstock, from 1843 to 1845, dividing his time between parochial work and private tuition. In 1845 he returned to Oxford, and for the next two years was the leading private tutor in logic and moral science. He became rector of the Edinburgh Academy in 1847, and held that post with marked success for 'seven years. In 1852 he was a candidate for the professorship of Greek at Edinburgh. In 1853 he took the degree of D.C.L. at Oxford. He did so because he was too young to take that of D.D., and the academy directors wished him to be dignified with the title of doctor. In 1854 he accepted the wardenship of Trinity College, Glenalmond, Perthshire, which he rescued by his business capacity from financial embarrassments. In 1870 he was presented to the important vicarage of Brighton. He divided the parish of Brighton into ecclesiastical districts, making each district church free and unappropriated forever, and transferred the parochial rights of the parish of Brighton from the old church of St. Nicholas to that of St. Peter's. He was appointed to the archdeaconry of Lewes in 1876. In 1887 he resigned the living of Brighton, but retained the archdeaconry until his death on 1 June 1888.

Hannah was not only conspicuously successful as tutor, schoolmaster, and parish priest, but achieved considerable reputation as a man of letters. In his early years he showed much literary promise, and although the incessant strain of practical work never allowed him sufficient leisure for writing, his literary work is admirable of its kind. His early anonymous pieces include an amusing brochure on 'Old Mother Hubbard,' written while he was a schoolboy, and a long and thoughtful article on 'Elizabethan Sacred Poetry,' published in 'The British Critic' for April 1842. The first work in his own name was an edition of 'Poems and Psalms by Henry King, D.D., sometime Lord Bishop of Chichester,' 1843; his next, 'Poems by Sir Henry Wotton, Sir Walter Raleigh, and others,' 1845. On this work Hannah bestowed very great pains, recovering many poems from manuscript sources. A second edition appeared in 1875. In 1857 he published a volume of sermons, entitled 'Discourses on the Fall and its Results;' in 1862 he was appointed Bampton lecturer, and in 1863 published the lectures under the title of 'The Relation between the Divine and Human Elements in Holy Scripture;' in 1870 he published 'Courtly Poets from Raleigh to Montrose,' and at various times a vast number of single sermons, archidiaconal charges, and popular lectures on subjects of literary, historical, antiquarian, and practical interest. Hannah's only son, John Julius Hannah, is vicar of Brighton.

[Dr. Hannah's printed works, passim; John Hannah, a Clerical Study, by J. H. Overton, 1890.1]

J. H. O.