McNeile, Hugh (DNB00)

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McNEILE, HUGH (1795–1879), dean of Ripon, son of Alexander McNeile, sheriff of Antrim, was born at Ballycastle, co. Antrim, 15 July 1795. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1810, graduated B.A. 1815, M.A. 1821, B.D. and D.D. 1847. At King's Inns, Dublin, and at Lincoln's Inn, London, he served his terms with a view of being called to the bar, but a severe illness which overtook him in Switzerland in 1816, when his life was saved by the prompt attention of Henry, afterwards Lord Brougham, turned his mind in another direction, and in 1820 he was ordained to the curacy of Stranorlar in Donegal. While preaching at Percy Chapel, Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, London, he attracted the attention of Henry Drummond, M.P. [q. v.], who presented him to the rectory of Albury in Surrey in 1822. McNeile was at first inclined to accept the doctrines of Edward Irving, which Drummond had adopted, but very soon changed his views, and published three sermons on 'Miracles,' 1831-2, in which the tenets of the Iryingites were severely handled. He also printed in 1834 a volume of 'Letters to a Friend [Mr. Spencer Perceval] who has felt it his duty to secede from the Church of England.' While at Albury he frequently preached in London, chiefly at St. Clement Danes Church in the Strand, and his eloquence in- variably attracted large congregations. In 1834 he was appointed perpetual curate of the district church of St. Jude, Liverpool, and in 1848 his congregation built for him St. Paul's Church, Prince's Park, Liverpool.

McNeile held strongly evangelical opinions, and strenuously opposed the church of Rome. His vigorous public utterances involved him in numerous Quarrels and much newspaper warfare. He defeated the town council of Liverpool in a dispute about the management of the corporation school, and when a handsome subscription was presented to him in honour of his victory, he founded four scholarships with the money in the Liverpool Collegiate Institution and an exhibition at one of the universities. In 1845 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred upon him a canonry in Chester Cathedral, and in July 1860 he became a canon residentiary. On 9 Sept. 1868 he was transferred to the deanery of Ripon. He resigned the deanery in October 1876, and retired to Bournemouth, where he died on 28 Jan. 1879.

In 1822 he married Anne, daughter of Archbishop Magee; she died 8 Oct. 1881, aged 79. Besides very numerous anniversary and funeral sermons, addresses, lectures, letters, and speeches, McNeile printed: 1. 'Seventeen Sermons,' 1825; 2nd edit. 1828. 2. 'Three Sermons before the Judges at the Assizes,' 1827. 3. 'England's Protest is England's Shield, for the Battle is the Lord's,' 1829. 4. 'Popery Theological. Another Challenge. Reply to !Rev. J. Bidden,' 1829. 5. 'Popular Lectures on the Prophecies relative to the Jewish Nation,' 1830. 6. 'Letters on National Education, addressed to the Town Council of Liverpool,' 1837. 7. 'Lectures on the Church of England,' 1840. 8. 'Lectures on the Sympathies, Sufferings, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ,' 1843; another edition, 1866. 9. 'The Church and the Churches, or the Church of God in Christ and the Churches of Christ Militant here on Earth,' 1846; 2nd edit. 1847; new edition, 2 vols. 1867. 10. 'Lectures on the Acquittal of the Seven Bishops,' 1847. 11. 'The Adoption and other Sermons preached in the Cathedral, Chester,' 1864. 12. 'Sermons on the Second Advent of Christ,' 1866. 13. 'Lectures on the Prophecies relative to the Jewish Nation,' 1866. 4. 'Letters on the Athanasian Creed,' 1878. 15. 'Scriptural Proportions, illustrated by the place which the Lord's Supper occupies in the New Testament,' 1873. Vol.i. of the 'Collected Works of Dean McNeile' appeared in 1877.

[Drawing Boom Portrait Gallery of Eminent Personages, 3rd ser. 1860, portrait xi.; Church of England Photograph Portrait Gallery, 1869, portrait 36; E. M. Roose's Ecclesiastica, 1842, pp. 420-4; Francis's Orators of the Age, 1847, pp. 406-15; Grant's Portraits of Public Characters, 1841, pp. 239-50; Evans's Lancashire Authors, 1850, pp. 182-9; Dix's Pulpit Portraits, 1854, pp. 228-55; Christian Cabinet Illustrated Almanac, 1860, p. 30; Illustr. London News, 1879, lxxiv. 105, with portrait; Graphic, 1879, xix. 241, with portrait; Times, 29,30 Jan. 1879; Men of the Time, 1879, pp. 670-1; H. McNeile and Reformation Truth, with Biographical Sketch by C. Bullock, 1882.]

G. C. B.