Lancaster, Thomas William (DNB00)

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LANCASTER, THOMAS WILLIAM (1787–1859), Bampton lecturer, born at Fulham, Middlesex, on 24 Aug. 1787, was son of the Rev. Thomas Lancaster of Wimbledon, Surrey. He was matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, 26 Jan. 1804, and graduated B. A. (with a second class in lit. hum.) in 1807, and M.A. in 1810. In 1808 he was elected to a Michel scholarship at Queen's College, and in the following year to a fellowship on the same foundation. After being ordained deacon in 1810 and priest in 1812, he became in the latter year curate of Banbury in Oxfordshire, and vicar of Banbury in 1815. He resigned his fellowship at Queen's on his marriage in 1816. His relations with his parishioners were not happy, and although he retained the living of Banbury for upwards of thirty-three years, he resided in Oxford about half that time. In 1849 the new bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, induced him to exchange Banbury for the rectory of Over Worton, a small village near Woodstock. He did not find the new living more congenial than the old, and continued to reside in Oxford, where he frequented the Bodleian Library, and was respected for his learning. In 1831 he preached the Bampton lectures, taking for his subject ' The Popular Evidence of Christianity.' He was appointed a select preacher to the university in 1832, and a public examiner in 1832-3. From 1840 to 1849 he acted, with little success, as under-master (ostiarius, or usher) of Magdalen College school, and was for a time chaplain to the Dowager Countess of Guilford. He was found dead in his bed at his lodgings in High Street, 12 Dec. 1859, and was buried in the Holywell cemetery. His wife, Miss Anne Walford of Banbury, died 8 Feb. 1860, at the age of eighty-four. He had no family.

Lancaster was one of the old-fashioned 'high and dry' school, preaching in the university pulpit against Arnold of Rugby, and holding Roman catholics to be out of the pale of salvation. He took no active part in regard to the Oxford movement, but had no sympathy with the tractarians.

Besides his 'Bampton Lectures' Lancaster was the author of: 1. 'The Harmony of the Law and the Gospel with regard to the Doctrine of a Future State,' 8vo, Oxford, 1825. 2. 'The Alliance of Education and Civil Government, with Strictures on the University of London,' 4to, Lond. 1828. 3. 'A Treatise on Confirmation,with Pastoral Discourses applicable to Confirmed Persons,' 12mo, Lond. 1830. 4. 'The Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle,' edited and illustrated, 8vo, Oxford, 1834; a popular and useful edition at the time, but not of permanent value.; 5. 'Christian and Civil Liberty, an Assize Sermon,' 8vo, Oxford, 1835. 6. 'Strictures on a late Publication' (of Dr. Hampden), 8vo, Lond. 1836; 2nd edit. 1838. 7. 'An Earnest and Resolute Protestation against a certain inductive Method of Theologising, which has been recently propounded by the King's Professor of Divinity in Oxford,' 8vo, Lond. 1839. 8. 'Vindiciæ Symbolics, or a Treatise on Creeds, Articles of Faith, and Articles of Doctrine,' 8vo, Lond. 1848. 9. 'Sermons preached on Various Occasions,' 8vo, Oxford, 1860; partly prepared for the press by himself and published by subscription after his death.

[Bloxam's Magdalen College Register, iii. 270; Oxford Journal, 17 Dec. 1859; Gent. Mag. 1860, i. 188; personal acquaintance and recollections; private inquiries.]

W. A. G.