Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Beamont, William John
BEAMONT, WILLIAM JOHN (1828–1868), clergyman and author, was born at Warrington, Lancashire, 16 Jan. 1828, being the only son of William Beamont, solicitor, of that town, and author of 'Annals of the Lords of Warrington,' and other works. After attending the Warrington grammar school for five years he was, in 1842, removed to Eton College, where he remained till 1846, bearing off Prince Albert's prize for modern languages, and the Newcastle medal and other prizes. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1846, took high honours, gained the chancellor's medal, and was awarded a fellowship in 1852. He graduated B.A. in 1850, and M.A. in 1853. After his election as fellow of Trinity he commenced a tour in Egypt and Palestine, and on being ordained in 1854 he spent some time at Jerusalem, where he engaged earnestly in the education of intending missionaries to Abyssinia, in Sunday school work, and in preaching not only to the English residents but to the Arabs in their own tongue. He afterwards acted as chaplain in the camp hospitals of the British army before Sebastopol. In 1855 Beamont returned home, and became curate of St. John's, Broad Street, Drury Lane, London, in which parish he worked with great zeal until 1858, when he accepted the vicarage of St. Michael's, Cambridge. He died at Cambridge, 6 Aug. 1868, at the age of forty, his death being hastened by a fever caught in the East. He was buried in Trinity College Chapel. Beamont's life was one of unremitting self-denying usefulness, and in addition to his successful parochial labours and his pioneer efforts for church extension in Barnwell and Chesterton, he was the main instrument of founding the Cambridge School of Art (1858) and the Church Defence Association (1859). He was also the originator of the Church Congress (1861), in the foundation of which he was aided by his friend, Mr. R. Reynolds Rowe, F.S.A. His published writings are:
- 'Catherine, the Egyptian Slave,' 1852.
- 'Concise Grammar of the Arabic Language,' 1861.
- 'Cairo to Sinai and Sinai to Cairo, in November and December 1860' (1861).
In conjunction with Canon W. M. Campion he wrote a learned yet popular exposition of the Book of Common Prayer, entitled 'The Prayer-Book Interleaved,' 1868. Among his pamphlets are the 'Catechumen's Manual,' 'Paper on Clergy Discipline,' and 'Fine Art as a Branch of Academic Study.'
[Information from Mr. W. Beamont and Mr. R. R. Rowe; Warrington Guardian; Cambridge Chronicle, 15 Aug. 1868; G. W. Weldon, in the Churchman, August 1883, p. 326.]