Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Luscombe, Michael Henry Thornhill

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1451460Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 34 — Luscombe, Michael Henry Thornhill1893John Goldworth Alger

LUSCOMBE, MICHAEL HENRY THORNHILL (1776–1846), bishop, born in 1776, was son of Samuel Luscombe, physician at Exeter, his mother being a collateral descendant of Sir James Thornhill [q. v.] He was educated at Exeter grammar school and at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. 1798 and M.A. 1805. He was curate at Clewer, Windsor, and from 1806 to 1819 was master of the East India Company's school at Hertford, holding also the curacy of St. Andrew's in that town. Walter Farquhar Hook [q. v.] was one of his pupils at Hertford, and became an intimate friend. On 20 Jan. 1810 he was incorporated M.A. of Oxford, joining Exeter College, and proceeding B.C.L. 1 Feb. 1810, and D.C.L. two days later. In 1819 he removed to Caen, and subsequently to Paris. In 1824 Canning determined to appoint Luscombe embassy chaplain at Paris, and general superintendent at the same time of the scattered English congregations on the continent. But he soon afterwards assented to a proposal made originally by Luscombe's old pupil Hook, that the bishops of the Scottish episcopal church should consecrate Luscombe to a continental bishopric, and accordingly on 20 March 1825 Luscombe was consecrated at Stirling. In the course of the same year he assumed the office of chaplain at Paris. This post he retained till his death, and in lieu of the room at the embassy or the French protestant Oratoire in which the services had been held, he erected in 1834, in great part at his own cost, a church in the Rue d'Aguesseau (Moniteur, 29 April 1834). He officiated at Thackeray's marriage in Paris in 1836 (Athenæum, 18 Oct. 1890).

Luscombe held high church principles. He was one of the founders in 1841 of the ‘Christian Remembrancer.’ He died suddenly of heart disease at Lausanne, 24 Aug. 1846, and was buried at La Sallaz cemetery. He married the daughter of Henry Harmood, commissioner of the navy, by whom he had a son (who predeceased him) and two daughters. He left a bequest for divinity scholarships at Glenalmond College, Perthshire (Gent. Mag. 1847, i. 66).

He published: 1. ‘Sermon on Adultery,’ Lond. 1801. 2. ‘Sermons from the French’ (translations), 1825. 3. ‘The Church of Rome compared with the Bible, the Fathers of the Church, and the Church of England,’ 1839. This was translated into French, in which language also a reply appeared in 1842 by A. Zeloni. 4. ‘Pleasures of Society,’ a poem (anon.)

[Gent. Mag. 1846, ii. 440; Galignani's Messenger, 1 Sept. 1846; Lausanne registers; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Stephens's Life of Dean Hook, 1878.]

J. G. A.