Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lowder, Charles Fuge

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LOWDER, CHARLES FUGE (1820–1880), vicar of St. Peter's, London Docks, the eldest son of Charles Lowder by Susan, daughter of Robert Fuge, was born at 2 West Wing, Lansdowne Crescent, Bath, on 22 June 1820. He was educated from 1835 to 1839 at King's College School, London, and on 21 Feb. 1840 he matriculated from Exeter College, Oxford; soon afterwards the failure of the Old Bath Bank ruined his father, but a friend assisted him, and he graduated B.A. in 1843, taking a second class in classics; he was defeated in the examination for a college fellowship by the present Lord Coleridge. He proceeded M.A. in 1845. After serving a curacy at Walton, near Glastonbury, and the chaplaincy to the Axbridge workhouse, he was from 1846 to September 1851 curate of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. From 1851 to 1856 he worked as one of the curates under Mr. Liddell at St. Barnabas's Church, Pimlico. On 22 Aug. 1856 he left St. Barnabas's and joined the mission at St. George's-in-the-East, living in the mission-house in Calvert Street, Ratcliff Highway. Lowder soon enlarged the sphere of the mission's work. He gave up the Calvert Street house to a sisterhood formed by a sister of Dr. Neale, rented the Danish church at Wellclose Square, and in 1858 hired a house at Sutton, Surrey, for penitents. He became widely known, and his work was respected by those who differed with him on ecclesiastical questions; Dean Stanley preached the sermon at the opening of the Wellclose Square Chapel.

There were now four clergy living by rule on the mission; they were all of what were then thought very high church views, and gave practical expression to their opinions in the ritual which they adopted in the parish church of St. George's-in-the-East. In May 1859 difficulties began, and in November 1858, after A. H. Mackonochie [q. v.] had joined the mission, a part of the congregation manifested their displeasure at the ritualistic practices by riotous behaviour during the services in the church. In May 1859 the opposition managed to elect Hugh Allen, a low churchman, as the ‘reader.’ In an action at law he upheld his right to occupy the pulpit, and ‘the church and congregation were’ thereupon ‘given over to the pleasure of a howling and blaspheming mob.’ On 25 Sept. the church was closed by order of the bishop, but was reopened a month or two later, when order was kept by the police. On 26 Feb. 1860, however, another disgraceful riot occurred. On Lowder mainly fell the brunt of the war. In 1860 he secured the site of St. Peter's, London Docks, and slowly raised the necessary funds for the completion of the new church. It was consecrated 30 June 1866, and Lowder became curate in charge. In 1862 he was one of the founders of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and his work among his parishioners during the cholera finally rendered his position secure. He was always known as ‘Father Lowder,’ and though on one occasion the Church Association tried to interfere with his proceedings at St. Peter's, their emissaries were glad to get away without broken heads. Lowder died 9 Sept. 1880, at Zell-am-See, Salzburg, Austria, whither he had gone for a holiday, and was buried in Chislehurst churchyard. In person he was tall and strong; he was somewhat reserved in manner, but had great powers of organisation and of exciting enthusiasm. He wrote besides one or two pamphlets: 1. ‘Ten Years in the St. George's Mission,’ 1867. 2. ‘Twenty-one Years in the St. George's Mission,’ 1877.

[Charles Lowder, a biography; A. H. Mackonochie, ed. by E. F. Russell; Times, 13 Sept. 1880; Church Times, 17 and 24 Sept. 1880; Guardian, 15 and 22 Sept. 1880; Rock, 24 Sept. 1880.]

W. A. J. A.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.186
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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187 ii 24-25 Lowder. Charles F.: for Zellam See in the Austrian Tyrol, read Zell-am-See, Salzburg, Austria,