Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Broughton, William Grant

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BROUGHTON, WILLIAM GRANT, D.D. (1788–1853), metropolitan of Australasia, was the eldest son of Grant Broughton, by His wife Phoebe Ann, daughter of John Rumball of Barnet, Hertfordshire. He was born in Bridge Street, Westminster, on 22 May 1788, and educated at Barnet grammar school, but was removed in January 1797 to the King's School, Canterbury, where in the following December he was admitted to a King's scholarship. From 1807 to 1812 he was clerk in the East India House. At last being able to follow the bent of his own inclinations, he became a resident member of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, in October 1814, was sixth wrangler and B. A. in January 1818, proceeded M.A. in 1823, and B.D. and D.D. per saltum in 1836. He was ordained deacon in 1818 and admitted to priest's orders during the same year. The curacy to which he was ordained was that of Hartley Wespall, Hampshire, where he remained from 1818 to 1827. While here he published in 1823 'An Examination of the Hypothesis advanced in a Recent Publication entitled "Palæoromaica," by J. Black, that the text of the Elzevir Greek Testament is not a Translation from the Latin.' This work was dedicated by Broughton to his diocesan, Bishop Tomline, who in 1827 removed him to the curacy of Farnham. The vicinity of his first curacy to Strathfieldsaye led to his introduction to the Duke of Wellington, by whom he was appointed to the chaplaincy of the Tower of London on 6 Oct. 1828.

Subsequently, on 7 Dec. 1828, at the express desire of his grace, he was induced to accept the arduous office of archdeacon of New South Wales. He arrived in Sydney on 13 Sept. 1829. His jurisdiction extended over the whole of Australia, Van Diemen's Land, and the adjoining islands. He visited all the settlements in these latitudes connected with his archdeaconry, and endeavoured to excite the settlers and the government to the erection of churches and schools; but by 1834 he had come to the conclusion that the only way to succeed was to appeal to the mother country for the urgently needed assistance. In answer to his application to the Societies for Promoting Christian Knowledge and for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and to private individuals, a sum of about 13,000l. was placed at his disposal, and the number of clergy was forthwith doubled. Arrangements were also made for establishing a bishopric, and on 14 Feb. 1836 Archdeacon Broughton was consecrated bishop of Australia in the chapel of Lambeth Palace. On his return to Australia on 2 June he found himself involved in controversy respecting the education of the people, and his efforts were to a great extent successful in insuring a church education for the children belonging to the church establishment. It was not long before he visited, for the purposes of confirmation and ordination, New Zealand, Van Diemen's Land, Norfolk Island, and Port Phillip (since known as Victoria), as well as the settlements in New South Wales. Interesting accounts of his missionary tours are to be found in the second and third volumes of 'The Church in the Colonies' published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. On 16 March 1837 the corner-stone of St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, was laid by Sir Richard Bourke, K.C.B., the governor. The subdivision of the immense diocese of Australia took place in 1847. At the same time Sydney was made a metropolitical see, and the Bishop of Australia thenceforth bore the title of Bishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of Australasia. On 9 March 1843 the Rev. John Bede Polding arrived in Sydney bearing an appointment from the pope with the title of Archbishop of Sydney. Broughton thought it his duty to make a public and solemn protest against the assumption of this title. Desiring once more to confer with the church at home on the state of the churches in the colonies, he, after a most trying voyage in a fever ship, arrived in England on 20 Nov. 1852. The fatigues and anxieties of that voyage, however, weakened his constitution, and he succumbed to an attack of bronchitis while staying at 11 Chester Street, Belgrave Square, London, the residence of Lady Gipps, the relict of his old friend and schoolfellow and a late governor of New South Wales, on 20 Feb. 1853, and was buried in the south aisle of Canterbury Cathedral on 26 Feb. He had married in the same cathedral, on 13 July 1818, Sarah, eldest daughter of the Rev. John Francis, rector of St. Mildred's, Canterbury; she died at Sydney on 16 Sept. 1849. Broughton was warmly attached to the principles of the English reformation and to the doctrines contained in the liturgy and articles of the church of England. A residence of twenty-five years in the Antipodes had withdrawn him from observation at home; but from time to time came tidings of his noble labours and exemplary fulfilment of the lofty functions of a Christian bishop. Some of his publications were:

  1. 'A Letter to a Friend touching the question, who was the Author of "Εἰκὼν Βασιλική" ascribing it to J. Gauden, Bishop of Worcester,' 1826.
  2. 'Additional Reasons in Confirmation of the Opinion that Dr. Gauden was the Author,' 1829.
  3. 'A Letter to H. Osborn on the Propriety and Necessity of Collecting at the Offertory,' 1848.
  4. 'A Letter to N. Wiseman by the Bishop of Sydney, together with the Bishop's Protest, 25 March 1843, against the assumptions of the Church of Rome,' 1852. Other works comprised printed charges, sermons, and speeches.

[Sermons by the Right Rev. W. G. Broughton, ed. with a Prefatory Memoir by Benjamin Harrison (1857), pp. ix-xliv; Gent. Mag. xxxix. 431-6 (1853); Beaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates (1879), p. 26, and part ii. p. 56.]

G. C. B.