Elrington, Charles Richard (DNB00)

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ELRINGTON, CHARLES RICHARD (1787–1850), regius professor of divinity in the university of Dublin, elder son of Thomas Elrington D.D., bishop of Leighlin and Ferns [q. v.] was born in Dublin on 25 March 1787, and was educated at home by a private tutor. Having entered Trinity College, Dublin, 3 Nov. 1800, under the tutorship of the Rev. Dr. Davenport, and having gained all the honours of his class, he was awarded the gold medal in 1806 for distinguished answering at every term examination. In the same year he gained Bishop Law's mathematical premium, and in 1806 the primate's Hebrew prize. He graduated B.A. in 1805, M.A. 1811, B.D. 1816, and D.D. 1820. In 1810 he was elected a fellow of his college, having obtained the Madden premium in the three preceding years. He was ordained a deacon on 28 Oct. 1810, and on 23 Feb. 1812 was admitted to priest's orders. In December 1814 he married Letitia, daughter of David Babington, esq., of Rutland Square, Dublin, by whom, who died in 1827, he had two sons and other issue. In 1819 be was elected Donnellan lecturer in the university, but his lectures have not been published. In 1825 he was appointed by the Irish lord chancellor and other joint-patrons to the vicarage of St. Mark's, Dublin, and held that benefice until 1831. On 31 Jan. 1832 he was collated to the rectory and prebend of Edermine in the diocese of Ferns, which three months later he exchanged for the chancellorship. In 1829 he had resigned his fellowship, and was elected regius professor of divinity. In 1840 he resigned the chancellorship of Ferns upon his collation by the lord primate, on l4 Dec., to the rectory of Loughgilly, in the diocese of Armagh; and on 22 Sept. in the following year, at the earnest desire of the same patron, he removed to the rectory of the union of Armagh. He effected vast improvements in the divinity school, over which he presided for twenty years. He died at Armagh on 18 Jan. 1850, and was buried in St. Mark's churchyard in that city, where there is a brief Latin inscription to his memory.

Elrington took a very active and prominent part in the formation and management of the Church Education Society for Ireland, founded to provide funds to support the parochial schools connected with the church on the withdrawal of the parliamentary grant. Modifications were afterwards introduced into the management of the national schools, which removed, in Elrington's judgment, many of the difficulties which had induced the clergy to stand aloof from the system. In 1847 he retired from his official position in the Church Education Society, and publicly declared that the clergy ought to accept the amended terms offered by the board of national education.

In 1847 Elrington commenced the publication of a collected edition of the works of Archbishop Ussher, to which he prefixed a full biography; but he did not live to complete his undertaking. The last two volumes have been since published, one of them containing a valuable index to the seventeen volumes, by William Reeves, D.D., now lord bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore. With Elrington has perished a great mass of the ecclesiastical history of Ireland during the last and present centuries. It is to be regretted that the design he formed, in conjunction with Archdeacon Cotton and the Rev. Dr. Todd, of bringing out an enlarged and improved edition of Sir James Ware's 'History of the Irish Bishops,' was not carried into effect before his death. Besides theological contributions to periodicals, he published several sermons and a few pamphlets upon the education question.

[Dublin University Calendars; Todd's Catalogue of Dublin Graduates; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ, ii.357, 371, v. 180; Gent. Mag. (1850), new ser. xxxiii. pt. i. 678; Irish Ecclesiastical Journal(l Feb. 1850), vi. 17; Stephens's Introduction to vol. iii. of the Book of Common Prayer for Ireland, printed for the Ecclesiastical History Society, 1850.]

B. H. B.