Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Slade, James

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SLADE, JAMES (1783–1860), divine and author, born at Daventry, Northamptonshire, on 2 May 1783, was eldest son of the Rev. James Slade, fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and Elizabeth Waterfield. He was educated by his father until he went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1804 as ninth wrangler. He became fellow and tutor of his college, and was ordained at Peterborough Cathedral deacon in 1806 and priest in 1807. He was curate of Willingham from 1806 till 1811, and in 1812 he married Augusta, daughter of the rector there, George Henry Law [q. v.], successively bishop of Chester and of Bath and Wells. In the same year he became vicar of Milton, near Cambridge, and in 1813 rector of Teversham. He was appointed examining chaplain by his father-in-law, Bishop Law, and prebendary of Chester in 1816. In 1817 he exchanged the rectory of Teversham for the vicarage of Bolton-le-Moors. During the nearly forty years that Slade was vicar of Bolton he was seldom absent from his church and parish, except for residence as prebendary at Chester. In the same year as he was inducted into Bolton he obtained a king's preachership for the county of Lancaster. From 1818 to 1826 he held (with Bolton) the living of Tattenhall; from 1826 to 1829 the rectorship of Northenden, and from 1829 till his death that of West Kirby.

As vicar of Bolton Slade attained a wide reputation. A stirring preacher and an able expositor of scripture, he was popular with all parties. He was select preacher at the primary visitation of John Bird Sumner [q. v.], bishop of Chester, in 1829, and at that of James Prince Lee [q. v.], first bishop of Manchester, in 1851. During his vicariate fourteen churches were built and consecrated. He was also rural dean of Bolton.

In advance of his time on many questions, he was eminently so on church reform and education. In a striking letter to the bishop of London (Blomfield) in 1830 he advocated church reform as to (1) the revenues of the church; (2) ecclesiastical laws; (3) discipline; (4) want of ministerial agency and places of worship; (5) revision of the liturgy; (6) disposal of church preferment by sale. In days when little attention was paid to the education of the working classes he threw himself heart and soul into their mental and spiritual improvement. The Bolton parish church Sunday schools became famous under his care. Over thirteen hundred scholars of all ages, from six to forty years, attended those schools, and there were one hundred teachers. In 1846 he founded the Church of England Educational Institution for boys and girls of the middle class and for evening students, which became an important factor in the education of the town, having in 1892 over one thousand day and evening pupils. He was also the founder of the Poor Protection Society, a wise organisation for assisting the deserving poor and preventing imposture.

Slade was elected proctor for the chapter of Chester in York convocation in 1852, and was re-elected in 1857 and 1859. He retired from the vicarage of Bolton at the close of 1856, and spent the remainder of his days between his living of West Kirby and Chester. He died while on a visit to Bolton on 15 May 1860, and was buried in the churchyard of Breightmet, Lancashire. By his first wife he left one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Christian, born in 1820, the wife of the Rev. Thomas ffoster Chamberlain, vicar of Limber-Magna and honorary canon of Manchester. Slade's portrait, life-size, one of several testimonials, was painted by G. Patten, A.R.A., and engraved by Thomas Lupton. The original now hangs in the Church of England Educational Institution at Bolton.

Slade's most learned work was ‘Annotations on the Epistles,’ 1816, which was a continuation of Elsley's ‘Annotations on the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles.’ It met a great want, and went through several editions. His most popular publications were ‘Lessons for Sunday Schools, selected from the Scriptures,’ 1823, and ‘An Explanation of the Psalms as read in the Liturgy of the Church’ (S.P.C.K. 1832). He was a good musician, and composed several chants and hymn-tunes.

His chief publications, apart from the works noticed, school-books, and separately issued sermons, were: 1. ‘Plain Remarks on the Four Gospels,’ 1818. 2. ‘Twenty-one Prayers from the Psalms for the Sick and Afflicted,’ 1828. 3. ‘A Letter on Church Reform to the Bishop of London,’ 1830. 4. ‘Plain Parochial Sermons,’ 7 vols. (from 1835 to 1847). 5. ‘A System of Family Prayer,’ 1837.

[Memoir of Canon Slade by Canon J. A. Atkinson; private information.]

J. A. A.