Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Pope, William Burt

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POPE, WILLIAM BURT (1822–1903), Wesleyan divine, born at Horton, Nova Scotia, on 19 Feb. 1822, was younger son of John Pope, and younger brother of George Uglow Pope [q. v. Suppl. II for full parentage]. After education at a village school at Hooe and at a secondary school at Saltash, near Plymouth, William spent a year in boyhood (1837-8) at Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, assisting an uncle, a shipbuilder and general merchant. Devoting his leisure to the study of Latin, Greek, French and German, he was accepted, in 1840, by the methodist synod of Cornwall as a candidate for the ministry, and entered the Methodist Theological Institution at Hoxton. There he added Hebrew and Arabic to his stock of languages. In 1842 he began his active ministry at Kingsbridge, Devonshire, and served for short periods at Liskeard, Jersey, Sandhurst, Dover and Halifax. and for longer periods at City Road, London, Hull, Manchester, Leeds, and Southport. In 1867 he succeeded Dr. John Hannah the elder [q. v.] as tutor of systematic theology at Didsbury. He received the degree of D.D. from the Wesleyan University, U.S.A., in 1865 and from the University of Edinburgh in 1877. In 1876 he visited America with Dr. Rigg as delegate to the general conference of the methodist episcopal church at Baltimore. In 1877 he was president of the Wesleyan conference at Bristol. He resigned his position at Didsbury in 1886. He died, after much suffering from mental depression, on 5 July 1903, and was buried in Abney Park cemetery, London.

Pope's industry was unflagging. He began his day at 4 a.m., and made notable contributions to theological literature which were deemed authoritative by his own church, while he was actively engaged in the ministry and in teaching. His chief work was the 'Compendium of Christian Theology,' in three volumes (1875; 2nd edit. 1880). In the same year appeared his Fernley lecture on 'The Person of Christ,' which was translated into German. His published collections of sermons included 'The Prayers of St. Paul' (2nd edit. 1896), and his characteristic 'Sermons, Addresses and Charges,' delivered during the year of his presidency (1878). In 1860 he became editor, having as his co-editor (1883-6) James Harrison Rigg [q. v. Suppl. II], of the 'London Quarterly Review,' to which he was already a contributor. Pope translated from the German, in whole or part, three important books for Messrs. T. and T. Clark's 'Theological Library,' Stier on 'The Words of the Lord Jesus' (1855); Ebrard on the 'Epistles of St. John' (1860); and Haupt on the 'First Epistle of St. John' (1879), and he contributed to 'Schaff's Popular Commentary' expositions of Ezra, Nehemiah (1882) and the Epistles of St. John (1883).

A portrait, painted by Mr. A. T. Nowell, was presented to Didsbury College by old students and friends in 1892.

Pope married, in 1845, Ann Eliza Lethbridge, daughter of a yeoman farmer of Modbury, near Plymouth. By her he had six sons, two of whom died in early life, and four daughters.

[William Burt Pope: Theologian and Saint, by R. W. Moss, D.D., 1909; Telford's Life of Dr. J. H. Rigg, 1909.]

C. H. I.