Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gurney, John Hampden

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GURNEY, JOHN HAMPDEN (1802–1862), miscellaneous writer, eldest son of Sir John Gurney [q. v.], and brother of Russell Gurney [q. v.], was born at 12 Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, London, 15 Aug. 1802, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. in 1824 and M.A. in 1827. He studied law for some time, but altering his intention was ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1827, and appointed assistant curate of Lutterworth, Leicestershire; in October 1841 he also became chaplain of the poor law union at that place, where he remained for seventeen years. On 6 Dec. 1847 he was presented by the crown to the rectory of St. Mary's, Bryanston Square, London, and continued there till his death. On the death of the Rev. Thomas Bowdler, prebendary of St. Pancras in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, 12 Nov. 1857, Gurney was instituted to the vacant stall. He was a most earnest and popular preacher, and published many of his sermons, as well as the lectures which he composed for the Young Men's Christian Association. He also paid considerable attention to psalmody. He died at his rectory house, 63 Gloucester Place, Portman Square, London, 8 March 1862. He married at Edinburgh, 24 Oct. 1839, Mary, eldest daughter of the Rev. Henry Grey, minister of St. Mary's, Edinburgh, who had married his first cousin Margaretta, sister of John Grey of Dilston [q. v.] Gurney's third son, Edmund, is noticed separately.

He was the author of the following works:

  1. ‘A Collection of Hymns for Public Worship,’ 1838; 4th edition, 1850.
  2. ‘The Christian waking up in God's Likeness,’ two sermons on the death of F. W. Ware, 1840.
  3. ‘Psalms and Hymns for Public Worship selected for some of the churches in Marylebone,’ 1852; numerous editions.
  4. ‘Addresses to the Inhabitants of St. Mary's District, from the Rector,’ 1852, 1862, 2 vols.
  5. ‘The Lost Chief and the Mourning People. A Sermon on the Death of the Duke of Wellington,’ 1852.
  6. ‘Historical Sketches illustrating some important Events and Epochs from A.D. 1400 to A.D. 1546,’ 1852.
  7. ‘Church Psalmody. Hints for Improvement of a Collection of Hymns compiled by T. V. Fosbery,’ 1853.
  8. ‘The Grand Romish Fallacy, and Dangers and Duties of Protestants,’ 1854.
  9. ‘Grave Thoughts for the New Year,’ 1855.
  10. ‘St. Louis and Henry IV, a Second Series of Historical Sketches,’ 1855; another edition, 1861.
  11. ‘Better Times and Worse, or Hints for Improving the Church's hold on the People,’ 1856.
  12. ‘Sermons chiefly on Old Testament Histories,’ 1856.
  13. ‘The Moral of a Sad Story. Four Sermons on the Indian Mutiny,’ 1857.
  14. ‘Sermons on Texts from the Gospels and Epistles for particular Sundays,’ 1857.
  15. ‘God's Heroes and the World's Heroes. Third Series of Historical Sketches,’ 1858.
  16. ‘Sermons preached in St. Mary's Church, Marylebone,’ 1860.
  17. ‘The Lord Reigneth. A Sermon on the Death of the Prince Consort,’ 1862.
  18. ‘The Pastor's Last Words, being the four last sermons preached by J. H. Gurney,’ 1862.
  19. ‘Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles, edited by Henry Alford,’ 1862.
  20. ‘Four Ecclesiastical Biographies, Hildebrand, Bernard, Innocent III, Wiclif,’ 1864.
  21. ‘Four Letters to the Bishop of Exeter on Scripture Readers.’ Besides many single sermons and lectures.

[Church of England Photographic Portrait Gallery, 1859, pt. xl., with portrait; Gent. Mag. June 1862, pp. 783–4.]

G. C. B.