1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wordsworth, Christopher (scholar)

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WORDSWORTH, CHRISTOPHER (1774-1846), English divine and scholar, youngest brother of the poet William Wordsworth, was born on the 9th of June 1774, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1798. Twelve years later he received the degree of D.D. He took holy orders, and obtained successive preferments through the patronage of Manners Sutton, bishop of Norwich, afterwards (1805) archbishop of Canterbury, to whose son Charles (afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons, and viscount Canterbury) he had been tutor. He had in 1802 attracted attention by his defence of Granville Sharp's then novel canon “on the uses of the definitive article” in New Testament textual criticism. In 1810 he published an Ecclesiastical Biography in 6 volumes. On the death of Bishop Mansel, in 1820, he was elected Master of Trinity, and retained that position till 1841, when he resigned. He is regarded as the father of the modern “classical tripos,” since he had, as vice-chancellor, originated in 1821 a proposal for a public examination in classics and divinity, which, though then rejected, bore fruit in 1822. Otherwise his mastership was undistinguished, and he was not a popular head with the college. He died on the 2nd of February 1846, at Buxted. In his Who wrote Ikon Basilike? (1824), and in other writings, he advocated the claims of Charles I. to its authorship; and in 1836 he published, in 4 volumes, a work of Christian Institutes, selected from English divines. He married in 1804 Miss Priscilla Lloyd (d. 1815), a sister of Charles Lamb's friend Charles Lloyd; and he had three sons, John W. (1805-1839), Charles (q.v.), and Christopher (q.v.); the two latter both became bishops, and John, who became a fellow and classical lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge, was an industrious and erudite scholar.