Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Richards, William Upton

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RICHARDS, WILLIAM UPTON (1811–1873), divine, only son of William Richards of Penryn, Cornwall, and his wife, Elizabeth Rose Thomas, was born at Penryn on 2 March 1811. He matriculated from Exeter College, Oxford, on 29 April 1829, graduating B.A. in 1833, and M.A. in 1839. In 1833 he became an assistant in the manuscript department of the British Museum, and in this capacity he compiled an index to the Egerton MSS., and the Additional MSS. acquired between 1783 and 1835; it was printed by order of the trustees in 1849. In that year he gave up his post at the British Museum on becoming vicar of All Saints, Margaret Street, Marylebone. Richards was a warm adherent of the tractarian movement, and formed a friendship with Pusey, who in 1850 addressed to him a published letter in which he formulated his opinion on the practice of private confession and absolution in the Church of England. In June 1851 Richards addressed a letter to C. J. Blomfield, bishop of London, denouncing the permission granted to Merle d'Aubigné and other foreign protestants to preach in English churches as ‘an outrage upon our church,’ and ‘apparently reducing our apostolic church to an equality with those modern sects’ (Browne, Annals of the Tractarian Movement, pp. 230–2). In the same year Richards founded an English sisterhood in his parish called the All Saints' Home. He died at his residence, 10 St. Andrew's Place, Regent's Park, on 16 June 1873. Two funeral sermons, preached by the Rev. George Body at All Saints, were published under the title, ‘The Parting of Elijah and Elisha,’ 1873, 8vo. Besides sermons, Richards wrote ‘Devotions for Children,’ 1857, 12mo; ‘The Life of Faith,’ 1860, 16mo, 3rd ed. 1867, 4th ed. 1872; ‘The Great Truths of the Christian Religion,’ in five parts, 1862, 8vo, 3rd ed. 1869, and translated from the French Courbon's ‘Familiar Instructions on Mental Prayer,’ 1848, 32mo (with additions, 1852 and 1856).

[Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Liddon's Life of Pusey, iii. 18, 266, 269; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.; Times, 20 June 1873; Guardian, 1873, pp. 841–843.]

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