Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sargent, John (1780-1833)

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SARGENT, JOHN (1780–1833), divine, was the eldest son of John Sargent, M.P. for Seaford in 1790. The latter, who died in 1831, published in 1784 ‘The Mine’ and other poems; he married at Woollavington, Sussex, on 21 Dec. 1778, Charlotte (d. 1841), only daughter and heiress of Richard Bettsworth of Petworth, Sussex. The son John, born on 8 Oct. 1780, was educated at Eton, where he was a king's scholar, and in 1799 in the sixth form (Stapylton, Eton Lists, pp. 7–29). In 1799 he proceeded to King's College, Cambridge, where he was elected to a fellowship and graduated B.A. 1804, M.A. 1807. At Cambridge he fell under the influence of Charles Simeon [q. v.], and this friendship with Simeon shaped his career. He had been intended for the bar, but he was ordained deacon in 1805, and priest in 1806. On the presentation of his father he was instituted on 11 Sept. 1805 to the family living of Graffham in Sussex, and from 5 June 1813 he held with it a second family rectory, that of Woollavington. At Graffham he rebuilt the rectory-house, and on these benefices he resided for the rest of his days, becoming on his father's death the squire of the district. He died at Woollavington on 3 May 1833, and was buried there.

Sargent married at Carlton Hall, Nottinghamshire, on 29 Nov. 1804, Mary, only daughter of Abel Smith, niece to Lord Carrington, and a first cousin of William Wilberforce. She died on 6 July 1861, aged 82, having for many years presided over the house of her son-in-law, Bishop Wilberforce, and was buried at Woollavington. Their issue was two sons (who died early) and five daughters, of whom the second, Emily (d. 1841), married, on 11 June 1828, Samuel Wilberforce [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Oxford and Winchester; Mary married in 1834 the Rev. Henry William Wilberforce and died in 1878; Caroline married, on 7 Nov. 1833, Henry Edward Manning (later in life Cardinal Manning), and died on 24 July 1837; and Sophia Lucy married, 5 June 1834, George Dudley Ryder, second son of the bishop of Lichfield, and died in March 1850.

Sargent was the author of a ‘Memoir of the Rev. Henry Martyn’ [anon.], 1819. It passed into a second edition in the same year, when the authorship was acknowledged; it was often reprinted (Boase and Courtney, Bibl. Cornub. i. 339). In 1833 he brought out ‘The Life of the Rev. T. T. Thomason, late Chaplain to the Hon. E.I.C.,’ dedicated to Simeon, by whom both these memoirs were prompted. Sargent's account of the last days of Hayley is printed in Hayley's ‘Memoirs’ (ii. 212–14).

[Gent. Mag. 1833, i. 636–7; Burke's Commoners, iv. 723–4; Elwes and Robinson's Castles of Western Sussex, p. 272; Dallaway's Sussex, i. 208–9, vol. ii. pt. pp. i. 275–7; Journals of H. Martyn, introduction, pp. 1–24 (containing several of Sargent's letters); Hayley's Memoirs, i. 175–9; Life of Bishop Wilberforce, i. 6–177, ii. 52–4, iii. 17–19; Purcell's Manning, i. 100–25; Mozley's Reminiscences, i. 131; Carus's Simeon, pp. xxii–xxiii, 93, 696–9.]

W. P. C.