Blew, William John (DNB01)

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BLEW, WILLIAM JOHN (1808–1894), liturgiologist, only son of William Blew of St. James's, Westminster, was born in that parish on 13 April 1808, and educated with John Henry (afterwards Cardinal) Newman [q. v.] at St. Nicholas's school, Ealing, and at Oxford, where he matriculated from Wadham College in October 1825. He was elected Goodridge exhibitioner of Wadham in 1826, graduated B.A. on 13 May 1830, and M.A. on 13 June 1832. He was curate of Nuthurst, Sussex, from 1832 to 1840, being ordained deacon in 1832 and priest by the bishop of Chichester in 1834. From 1840 to 1842 he was curate of St. Anne's, Soho, and in 1842 became incumbent of St. John's, Milton-next-Gravesend, where he was free to give a high church tone to the services. In 1850, owing to a difference with his bishop, he retired from active clerical work and devoted himself mainly to liturgical and theological studies. He had married after his father's death in 1845, and resided at his father's house, 6 Warwick Street, Pall Mall East, where he died, aged 86, on 28 Dec. 1894.

Blew was a scholar of some repute. He published translations of the 'Iliad' in 1831, Æschylus's 'Agamemnon' in 1855, and Euripides's 'Medea' in English verse in 1887. He also edited, under the title 'Queen Mary,' two plays by Dekker and Webster and by Thomas Heywood, viz.: 'The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyat' and 'If you know not me, you know nobody; or, the Troubles of Queen Elizabeth' (London, 1876, 8vo). But his chief interest lay in ecclesiology, and probably his most solid work was his edition of the 'Aberdeen Breviary' for the Bannatyne Club in 1854. In 1852 he published, with his friend Henry John Gauntlett [q. v.], 'The Church Hymn and Tune Book,' which reached a second edition in 1855. The hymns, which are chiefly translations from the Latin by Blew, 'are terse, vigorous, musical, and of great merit' (Julian). The volume also contains several original hymns by Blew. This was followed by 'Hymns and Hymn Books,' 1858, 8vo, and in 1877 by an edition of the 1548 'Altar Service of the Church of England.'

[Guardian, 9 Jan. 1895; Church Times, 4 Jan. 1895; Times, 29 Dec. 1894; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1894; Julian's Dict. of Hymnology; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886; R. B. Gardiner's Register of Wadham; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vii. 6.]

A. F. P.