Monro, Edward (DNB00)

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MONRO, EDWARD (1815–1866), divine and author, eldest son of Edward Thomas Monro, M.D. (1790–1856), physician to Bethlehem Hospital, grandson of Dr. Thomas Monro [q. v.], and brother of Henry Monro (1817–1891) [q. v.], was born at London in 1815. Educated at Harrow, he graduated at Oriel College, Oxford, with third-class honours in 1836, and was ordained shortly afterwards. From 1842 to 1860 he was perpetual curate of Harrow Weald, and from 1860 till his death vicar of St. John's, Leeds. Monro quickly attained a wide reputation as a preacher, and was select preacher at Oxford in 1862. Originally trained in the evangelical school, he was much influenced by the tractarian movement, which during his college life was in full tide, but the fervour of his religious zeal and his singular affection for the poor neutralised all party bias. Devoted to the welfare of boys in humble life, he established a college for them, called the 'College of St. Andrews,' at Harrow Weald, by the help of friends, such as Lords Selborne and Nelson, Bishop Blomfield, and others. The boys were boarded and received the education of gentlemen free of charge, and did credit to their training in after life, but the great expense of the college led the enthusiastic founder into pecuniary embarrassments, from which he was extricated with difficulty by friends and admirers. Monro had the rare talent of the Italian improvisatore, and most of the stories and allegories for which he became famous were delivered impromptu to village lads. The institution was without endowment, and the handsome and commodious buildings disappeared after Monro left Harrow Weald. At Leeds Monro put into effect on a larger scale the noble ideal of parochial work described in his books. The candidates for confirmation and communicants in his parish reached exceptional numbers. But his incessant labours affected his health, and he died at Leeds 13 Dec. 1866, after two years of illness. He was buried at Harrow Weald.

Monro's remarkable influence was extended by his writings far beyond the scene of his personal labours. Several of his stories and allegories passed through many editions, and are still in request. His chief publications are:

  1. 'The Combatants,' 1848.
  2. 'The Revellers,' 1850.
  3. 'The Dark River,' 1850.
  4. 'True Stories of Cottagers,' 1850.
  5. 'Sermons on the Responsibility of the Ministerial Office.
  6. 'View of Parochial Life,' 1851.
  7. 'The Parish,' a poem, 1853.
  8. 'Walter the Schoolmaster,' 1854.
  9. 'The Journey Home,' 1855.
  10. 'Daily Studies during Lent,' 1856.
  11. 'Leonard and Dennis,' 1856.
  12. 'The Dark Mountains,' 1858.
  13. 'Characters of the Old Testament,' 1858.
  14. 'Parochial Papers,' 1858.
  15. 'Parochial Lectures on English Poetry,' 1860.
  16. 'Pastoral Life,' 1862.
  17. 'Harry and Archie,' 1862.

Monro married in 1838 Emma, daughter of Dr. Hay of Madras. He had no children.

[Personal knowledge; John Bull and Churchman newspapers.]

M. B.