Momerie, Alfred Williams (DNB01)

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MOMERIE, ALFRED WILLIAMS (1848–1900), divine, born in London on 22 March 1848, was the only child of Isaac Vale Mummery (1812–1892), a well-known congregational minister, by his wife, a daughter of Thomas George Williams of Hackney. He was descended from a French family of Huguenot refugees, and early in life resumed the original form of its surname—Momerie. He was educated at the City of London School and at Edinburgh University, where he won the Horsliehill and Miller scholarship with the medal and Bruce prize for metaphysics, and graduated M.A. in 1875 and D.Sc. in 1876. From Edinburgh he proceeded to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted on 17 March 1875 and was senior in the moral science tripos in 1877, graduating B.A. in 1878 and M.A. in 1881. He was ordained deacon in 1878, and priest in 1879, as curate of Leigh in Lancashire. On 5 Nov. 1879 he was elected fellow of St. John's College, and in 1880 he was appointed professor of logic and mental philosophy at King's College, London. In 1883 he was chosen morning preacher at the Foundling Hospital.

Between 1881 and 1890 he published numerous books and collections of sermons on the philosophy of Christianity, which attained considerable vogue. Their style was brilliant, their views latitudinarian. Like his predecessor, Frederick Denison Maurice, Momerie found himself obliged to sever his connection with King's College in 1891, and in the same year he resigned the Foundling preachership also. With the permission of the bishop of London he subsequently preached on Sundays at the Portman rooms. He died in London on 6 Dec. 1900, at 14 Chilworth Street. In 1896 he married Ada Louisa, the widow of Charles E. Herne. In 1887 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Edinburgh University.

Momerie's chief works are:

  1. 'Personality the Beginning and End of Metaphysics,' London, 1879, 8vo; 4th edit. 1889.
  2. 'The Origin of Evil, and other Sermons,' London, 1881, 8vo; 6th edit. Edinburgh, 1890, 8vo.
  3. 'Defects of Modern Christianity, and other Sermons,' Edinburgh, 1882, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1885.
  4. The Basis of Religion.' Edinburgh, 1883, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1886. This work was a criticism of (Sir) John Robert Seeley's 'Natural Religion.'
  5. 'Agnosticism and other Sermons,' Edinburgh, 1884, 8vo; 2nd edit, 1887.
  6. 'Preaching and Hearing, and other Sermons,' Edinburgh, 1886, 8vo; 3rd edit. 1890.
  7. 'Inspiration and other Sermons,' Edinburgh, 1889, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1890.
  8. 'Church and Creed: Sermons preached in the Chapel of the Foundling Hospital,' London, 1890, 8vo.
  9. 'The Religion of the Future, and other Essays,' Edinburgh, 1893, 8vo.
  10. 'The English Church and the Romish Schism,' 2nd edit. Edinburgh, 1896, 8vo.

[Times, 8 Dec. 1900; Who's Who, 1901; The Eagle, xxii. 244-6; Crockford's Clerical Directory; Allibone's Dict. of English Lit.]

E. I. C.