Stebbing, Henry (1687-1763) (DNB00)
STEBBING, HENRY (1687–1763), divine, baptised at Walton in Suffolk on 19 Aug. 1687, was the fourth son of John Stebbing, (1647–1728), a grocer of Walton by his wife Mary (d. 1721), daughter and coheiress of Richard Kenington. Henry entered St. Catharine Hall, Cambridge, as a sizar on 24 Feb. 1704–5, graduating B.A. in 1708, M.A. in 1712, and D.D. in 1730. On 19 Oct. 1710 he was elected a fellow, and on 27 June 1738 was incorporated at Oxford. On Lady-day 1713 he resigned his fellowship on being presented to the parish of Lower Rickinghall in Suffolk, and on 31 May 1726 he was instituted rector of Garboldisham in Norfolk. On 14 July 1731 he was elected preacher to the Society of Gray's Inn, and in the following year was appointed chaplain in ordinary to the king. On 19 July 1735 he was installed archdeacon of Wiltshire, and in 1739 became chancellor of Sarum. In 1748 he became rector of Redenhall in Norfolk, and retained the charge for the rest of his life. He died at Gray's Inn on 2 Jan. 1763, and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral, where a monument was erected to his memory. His portrait, painted in 1757 by Joseph Highmore, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London. An engraving by James Roberts is prefixed to the edition of his ‘Tracts’ published in 1766.
Stebbing was well known among his contemporaries as a controversial champion of Church of England orthodoxy. Among others he wrote against George Whitefield [q. v.] and Benjamin Hoadly [q. v.], bishop of Bangor. His chief antagonist, however, was Warburton, with whom he carried on a voluminous warfare for many years. Its origin was Stebbing's attack on Warburton's ‘Divine Legation of Moses.’ Stebbing's most important works were: 1. ‘A Rational Enquiry into the proper methods of supporting Christianity, so far as it concerns the Governors of the Church,’ London, 1720, 8vo. 2. ‘An Essay concerning Civil Government, considered as it stands related to Religion,’ London, 1724, 8vo; reprinted in ‘The Churchman armed against the Errors of the Times,’ vol. iii., London, 1814, 8vo. 3. ‘An Apology for the Clergy of the Church of England,’ London, 1734, 8vo. 4. ‘A Brief Account of Prayer and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and other religious duties appertaining to Christian Worship,’ London, 1739, 8vo; 4th edit. 1771, 12mo. 5. ‘A Caution against Religious Delusion,’ London, 1739, 8vo; this work, directed against the methodists, ran through six editions within a year. 6. ‘Christianity justified upon the Scripture Foundation,’ London, 1750, 8vo. 7. ‘Sermons on Practical Christianity,’ London, 1759–60, 8vo. A collected edition of his earlier writings appeared in 1737, entitled ‘The Works of Henry Stebbing,’ London, fol. He has also been credited with an anonymous satire entitled ‘The Fragment,’ published at Cambridge in 1751, which assailed several leading statesmen and ecclesiastics of the time.
By his wife, a daughter of Robert Camel of Eye, Suffolk, Stebbing had a son, Henry Stebbing (1716–1787), a fellow of St. Catharine Hall, who became in 1749 rector of Gimingham and Trunch in Norfolk, and, on the resignation of his father in 1750, was appointed preacher to the Society of Gray's Inn. He died at Gray's Inn on 13 Nov. 1787. He was the author of a collection of ‘Sermons on Practical Subjects,’ London, 1788–90, 8vo, published by his son, Henry Stebbing, a barrister, with a memoir (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 19170, f. 196; Gent. Mag. 1787, ii. 1032).[Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 5880 ff. 144, 167, 19150 f. 100, 19166 ff. 283–93, 19169 f. 17, 19174 f. 659; Foster's Register of Gray's Inn; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. passim; Gent. Mag. 1731 p. 309, 1735, 1737, and 1739 passim, 1748 p. 240, 1763 p. 46, 1802 ii. 631; Notes and Queries, 9th ser. ii. 123; information kindly given by the master of St. Catharine College, Cambridge.]