Torry, Patrick (DNB01)

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TORRY, PATRICK (1763–1852), bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane, born on 27 Dec. 1763, in the parish of King Edward, Aberdeenshire, was son of Thomas Torry, a woollen cloth manufacturer at Garneston, and his wife, Jane Watson, daughter of a farmer in the same parish. He was educated as a member of the established presbyterian church of Scotland, but his uncle James Watson, a Jacobite, who had been out in 1745, impressed episcopalian views upon him, and after mastering Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and mathematics, Torry at the age of eighteen began teaching, first in Selkirk parish school, under his uncle, and then at Lonmay, Aberdeenshire. In June 1782 he went to live with John Skinner (1721–1807) [q. v.], who completed his conversion to episcopalianism, and in the following September he was ordained deacon of the Scottish episcopal church by Bishop Robert Kilgour of Aberdeen. Though only nineteen years old, he was at once put in charge of a congregation at Arradoul, in Rathven parish, Banffshire, and in 1783 he was ordained priest. In 1787 he married Kilgour's daughter, Christian, who died without issue in 1789; in that year Torry became Kilgour's assistant in his charge at Peterhead, and on Kilgour's death in 1791 Torry succeeded to his charge, which he held until 1837. In 1807 he was made treasurer of the Scottish Episcopal Friendly Society, and on 6 Oct. 1808 he was elected bishop of Dunkeld, in succession to Jonathan Watson; he retained his pastoral charge at Peterhead, where he resided. George Gleig [q. v.] was originally chosen bishop, but the hostility of Bishop John Skinner (1744–1816) [q. v.] kept Gleig out of the see.

Torry retained his bishopric for forty-four years; in 1837 he resigned his charge of the congregation at Peterhead, though he continued to reside there, and in September 1841, by the death of Bishop James Walker [q. v.],he became pro-primus of the episcopal church of Scotland. In a synod held at Edinburgh in September 1844, it was decided to revive the episcopal title of St. Andrews, and Torry was henceforth known as bishop of the united dioceses of St. Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane. The most important incident of his episcopate was the publication in April 1850 of his 'Prayerbook,' which claimed to be the embodiment of the usages of the episcopal church of Scotland. Torry had throughout his life been a staunch champion of the Scottish communion office, which was derived, through Laud's prayer-book of 1637, from the first prayer-book of Edward VI, and was used by the Scottish non-jurors until the death of Prince Charles in 1788, when they took the oath to George III, and were joined by the English episcopalian congregations in Scotland. The latter, while becoming members of the Scottish episcopalian church, retained the use of the English prayer-book, which did not inculcate such avowedly high-church doctrines as that used by the Scottish non-jurors. In 1847 a petition was presented to Torry from some of his clergy that he would supervise the compilation of a service-book comprising the ancient usages of the Scottish episcopalian church; and this book, which was known as Torry's 'Prayerbook,' was recommended by him and published in April 1850, as though it claimed to be the authorised service-book of the Scottish episcopal church. A storm of opposition led by Charles Wordsworth [q. v.] at once arose; only two out of seven bishops and one out of seven deans were in the habit of using the Scottish communion office recommended by Torry; and it contained usages not sanctioned by any canon. The publication was at once censured by the Scottish episcopal synod, by St. Andrews diocesan synod, on 19 June 1850, and again, after Torry had published a protest, by the episcopal synod on 5 Sept. The suppression of this prayer-book made it a rare work, and there does not appear to be a copy in the British Museum; the distinctive passages in it are printed in the appendix to J. M. Xeale's 'Life and Times of Bishop Torry' (cf. Wordsworth, Episcopate of Charles Wordsworth, pp. 345-9).

Other questions on which Torry came into conflict with his episcopal colleagues were the support he gave to Bishop Michael Luscombe [q. v.], and his favourable reception of the appeal of William Palmer (1811–1879) [q. v.] He welcomed the foundation of Glenalmond College within his diocese, and assisted towards the building of St. Ninian's Cathedral, Perth, the statutes of which he formally approved on 6 Jan. 1851. Torry died at Peterhead on 3 Oct. 1852, and was buried in St. Ninian's Cathedral on the 13th. He married in September 1791 his second wife Jane, daughter of Dr. William Young of Fawsyde, Kincardineshire, and by her had issue three sons and four daughters, of whom the eldest son John became dean of St. Andrews.

[John Mason Neale's Life and Times of Patrick Torry, 1856; Scottish Mag. new ser. ii. 355–9; Scottish Eccl. Journal, ii. 225, 231; Scottish Guardian, 20 Nov. 1891; Annual Reg. 1852, p. 317; Grub's Eccl. Hist. of Scotland, vol. iv. passim; Skinner's Annals of Scottish Episcopacy, 1818, pp. 472, sqq.; Blatch's Memoir of Bishop Low, 1855; W. Walker's Life of George Gleig, 1878, pp. 216, 251–7, 261, 297, 309–14, 343–57, and Life and Times of Bishop John Skinner, 1887, p. 116; C. Wordsworth's Early Life, 1893, and J. Wordsworth's Episcopate of Charles Wordsworth, 1899, passim; cf. also arts. Gleig, George; Low, David; Sandford, Daniel; Skinner, John; Terrot, Charles Hughes; Walker, James; and Wordsworth, Charles.]

A. F. P.