Beard, Charles (DNB01)

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BEARD, CHARLES (1827–1888), unitarian divine and author, eldest son of John Relly Beard [q. v.] by his wife Mary (Barnes), was born at Higher Broughton, Manchester, on 27 July, 1827. After passing through his father's school, he studied at Manchester New College (then at Manchester, now Manchester College, Oxford) from 1843 to 1848, graduating B.A. at London University in 1847. He aided his father in compiling the Latin dictionary issued by Messrs. Cassell. In 1818-9 he continued his studies at Berlin. On 17 Feb. 1850 he became assistant to James Brooks (1806-1854) at Hyde chapel, Gee Cross, Cheshire, succeeding in 1854 as sole pastor, and remaining till the end of 1866. He had accepted a call to succeed John Hamilton Thom [q. v.] at Renshaw Street chapel, Liverpool, and entered on this charge on 3 March 1867, retaining it till his death. In his denomination he took first rank as a preacher, and was equally successful in satisfying a cultured class by his written discourses, and in holding a popular audience by his spoken word. He was one of the secretaries (1857-79) and one of the visitors (1883-8) of Manchester New College; and a founder (1859) and the first secretary of the East Cheshire Missionary Association. In addition to denominational activities, he combined in an unusual degree the pursuits of a scholar with journalistic writing and public work. During the cotton famine of 1862-4 he was the special correspondent of the 'Daily News.' For many years he was a leader writer on the 'Liverpool Daily Post.' His want of sympathy with home rule led him to sever his connection with political journalism. In the management of University College, Liverpool, he took a leading part as vice-president. He was Hibbert lecturer in 1883, taking for his subject the Reformation. In February 1888 he received the degree of LL.D. from St. Andrews. His numerous avocations heavily taxed a robust constitution; in 1886 he spent six months in Italy; in 1887 his health was more seriously broken, and his congregation made provision for his taking a year's rest. He died at 13 Southhill Road, Liverpool, on 9 April 1888, and was buried on 12 April in the graveyard of the Ancient Chapel, Toxteth Park. A mural tablet to his memory was placed in Renshaw Street chapel. He married (4 June 1850) Mary Ellen, daughter of Michael Shipman, who survived him with a son, Lewis Beard, town clerk of Coventry, and six daughters.

Besides many separate sermons and lectures, he published:

  1. 'Outlines of Christian Doctrine,' 1859, 8vo.
  2. 'Port Royal: a Contribution to the History of Religion and Literature in France,' 1861, 2 vols. 8vo.
  3. 'Christianity in Common Life,' 1872, 12mo (addresses to working people).
  4. 'The Soul's Way to God,' 1875, 8vo (sermons).
  5. 'The Reformation … in its Relation to Modern Thought,' 1883, 8vo (Hibbert lecture).

Posthumous were:

  1. 'The Universal Christ,' 1888, 8vo (sermons).
  2. 'Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany until … the Diet of Worms,' 1879, 8vo (edited by John Frederick Smith).

He contributed to the 'Christian Reformer,' a monthly edited by Robert Brook Aspland [q. v.]; on its cessation he projected and edited the 'Theological Review' (1864-79). He translated into English Renan's Hibbert lecture (1880).

[Liverpool Daily Post, 10 April 1888; Christian Life, 14 April 1888; Evans's Record of the Provincial Assembly of Lancashire and Cheshire, 1896, pp. 72, 103; personal knowledge.]

A. G.