The Times/1908/Obituary/Samuel Cheetham
We regret to announce that the long illness from which the Archdeacon of Rochester had been suffering terminated fatally early yesterday morning in his 82nd year, the immediate cause of death being pneumonia. It will be remembered that he had to undergo a serious operation in London last autumn, and that he was able to return to the Precincts in Rochester at Christmas. Reference was made to his death in the sermons at the Cathedral yesterday, and muffled peals were rung on the Cathedral bells.
The Venerable Samuel Cheetham, D.D., was a son of the late Mr. S,. Cheetham, of Hambleton, Rutland, where he was born on March 3, 1827. He was educated at the neighbouring grammar school at Oakham. He passed to Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1850 as sixth senior optime in the Mathematical Tripos and eighth classic, those above him in the latter tripos including the later Master of Corpus and Dr. Hort. Cheetham was at once elected to a Fellowship at Christ's. and at the time of his death was the senior ex-Fellow and senior honorary Fellow at his college. In 1851 he was ordained deacon and in 1852 priest by Dr. Graham, Bishop of Chester, having left Cambridge to take up the vice-principalship of the Collegiate Institute in Liverpool, with which he combined the curacy of St. Mary, Edge-hill; but he returned to Christ's College as assistant tutor in 1853, and in 1858 he became curate of Hitchin, under the late Canon Hensley,. who had been Senior Wrangler in 1846. In 1851 Mr. Cheetham went to Chichester as vice-principal of the Theological College.
In 1863 he was appointed to the office which occupied the best years of is life, the Professorship of Pastoral Theology at King's College, London, where he did excellent work for 19 years. It was during this time that he edited, along with Sir William Smith, the well-known Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, about the same time that his colleague, Professor Wace, was also collaborating with Sir William in the Dictionary of Christian Biography. Along with his professorship he held from 1866 the chaplaincy of Dulwich College, and that led to a connexion with the South London diocese which was to be of long duration. Bishop Thorold, soon after his consecration, made him an honorary canon and examining chaplain in1878 and Archdeacon of Southwark in 1879, transferring him to the Archdeaconry of Rochester in 1882. In the following year he became canon residentiary. He continued to act as examining chaplain to the Bishops of Rochester up to 1897, and it is commonly reported that one of the present Divinity Professors at Cambridge, who took a brilliant theological degree, has reason to remember that the Archdeacon regarded his responsibilities as an examiner very seriously.
Dr. Cheetham, who deservedly enjoyed great popularity in Rochester, was an untiring student, to whom we are indebted for some text-books of high value. His Hulsean lectures of 1896 were upon "The Mysteries, Pagan and Christian," but he will be best and most permanently remembered for two volumes on Church history. Archdeacon Hardwick, the Christian Advocate, had compiled volumes on the Middle Ages and the Reformation, and soon after Hardwick's sudden death through a fall in the Pyrenees in 1859, Dr. Cheetham formed the plan for making Hardwick's story complete by prefixing a volume on the early Church and adding one on the Church in modern times. The former he published in 1894, the latter he finished amid much suffering and difficulty last autumn. It is not, perhaps, without its slight inaccuracies in detail or in proof-correcting, but it is remarkable for its soundness of judgment and its sense of proportion, two qualities which in other respects marked a very useful life.
The Archdeacon was twice married; in 1866 to Hannah, daughter of Mr. Frederick Hawkins, M.D., who died in 1876, and in 1896 to the eldest daughter of the late Mr. S. Barker Booth, of Bickley.The funeral service will be held in Rochester Cathedral on Wednesday, at 2.45 p.m.