Randolph, John (1749-1813) (DNB00)

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RANDOLPH, JOHN (1749–1813), bishop of London, third son of Thomas Randolph [q. v.], president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was born on 6 July 1749. He was sent to Westminster school, and matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 17 June 1767, graduating B.A. 1771, M.A. 1774, B.D. 1782, and D.D. by diploma 30 Oct. 1783. From 1779 to 1783 he was tutor and censor of Christ Church, and in 1781 he was proctor. His chief pupil afterwards became Lord Grenville. Polwhele speaks of Randolph as ‘entrenched behind forms and ceremonies;’ but Polwhele came to Oxford with a letter of introduction from a graduate who was mistaken in supposing that Randolph was an old friend, and even he was obliged to confess that, although the tutor's demeanour was ungracious, he was warmly interested in the welfare of his pupils (Traditions and Recollections, i. 82–9).

Randolph held many prominent positions at the university. From 1776 to 1783 he was professor of poetry, and as his tenure of the post was broken, he left unfinished the Latin lectures which he was delivering on Homer. They were published in 1870 by his son, Thomas Randolph, rector of Much Hadham in Hertfordshire. He was regius professor of Greek from 16 March 1782 to 1783, professor of moral philosophy from 1782 to 1786, and on 30 Aug. 1783 he was promoted to the regius professorship of divinity, with a canonry in Christ Church Cathedral and the rectory of Ewelme. His divinity lectures were delivered by candle-light, and notes were supposed to be taken, though there was no inspection of notebooks. Most of the undergraduates slept, and the only things carried away were the syllabus given to each student at the beginning, and the formidable list of authors for future reading which was supplied at the close. He was also from October 1782 to October 1783 prebendary of Chute and Chisenbury in Salisbury Cathedral, and from 1797 to 1800 sinecure rector of Darowen in Montgomeryshire.

Through his influence at the university, Randolph was appointed to the see of Oxford, being consecrated on 1 Sept. 1799. He vacated it on his confirmation in the bishopric of Bangor on 6 Jan. 1807. Two years later he was translated to the bishopric of London, to which he was confirmed on 9 Aug. 1809. The note of Randolph's episcopate was the active part which he took in furthering the work of the National Society. He was also Busby trustee (1804), governor of the Charterhouse, privy councillor (27 Sept. 1809), and F.R.S. (1811). He did not long survive his promotion to the see of London, for while on horseback during a visit to his son at Much Hadham, he was seized with apoplexy, and died on 28 July 1813. He was buried in Fulham churchyard, by the side of Bishop Gibson, on 5 Aug., and an altar-tomb of Portland stone was placed to his memory (cf. Gent. Mag. 1814, i. 211). He married, in September 1785, Jane (d. 1836), daughter of Thomas Lambard of Sevenoaks, Kent, and had several children. The bishop's arms, impaled with those of the sees of Oxford, Bangor, and London, are in the first window of the chapel at Fulham Palace, and his portrait by Owen is in the library. An engraving of it by H. Meyer was privately circulated. Another portrait of him by Hoppner was engraved by C. Turner in 1811.

Randolph was the author of numerous charges, sermons on episcopal consecrations and on public occasions, a Latin address to Canterbury convocation, 26 Nov. 1790, and a Greek lecture given at Oxford in December 1782. The ‘heads’ of his divinity lectures were printed in 1784, and again in 1790, and the whole ‘course of lectures to candidates for holy orders,’ together with three ‘Lectures on the Book of Common Prayer’ (which were also issued separately in 1869), were published by his son Thomas in three volumes, 1869–70. A selection from the course, consisting of ten lectures with the ‘heads,’ was published in 1869, and an enlarged selection of fourteen lectures came out in 1870. He edited: 1. ‘Sylloge confessionum sub tempus reformandæ ecclesiæ editarum,’ published at Oxford in 1804, and again, in an enlarged form, in 1827. 2. ‘The Clergyman's Instructor: a Collection of Tracts on the Ministerial Duties,’ 1807; 3rd ed. 1824. 3. ‘Enchiridion Theologicum: a Manual for the Use of Divinity Students,’ 1792, 5 vols., and 1812, 2 vols. His anonymous pamphlet—‘Remarks on Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament,’ vols. iii. and iv., translated by the Rev. Herbert Marsh—‘led to an animated controversy with that divine’ (cf. Baker, St. John's College, Cambridge, ii. 762–72, ed. Mayor).

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Gent. Mag. 1813 ii. 187–8, 1836 i. 332; Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, ix. 570–2; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 109, ii. 306, 509, 526, 677, iii. 501, 510, 517, 524, 529; Cox's Oxford Recollections, pp. 139–41; Faulkner's Fulham (which is dedicated to Randolph), pp. 181–6.]

W. P. C.