Henry Bristow Wilson

Vicar of Great Stoughton


January 1, 1803
January 1, 1888
Related topics
Theology, Christian union, Communion of saints, Church of England, Wilson, Henry Bristow,--1803-1888,


Wilson was born on June 10, 1803 and entered Merchant Taylor's school in 1809 and was elected to St. John's College, Oxford, in 1821. He graduated B.A. in 1825, M.A. in in 1829, and B.D. in 1834. He received a fellowship in 1825, which he retained until 1850. In 1850 he was presented to the vicarage of Great Staughton in Huntingdonshire, which he retained until his death.

Wilson identified himself in theology with the school of which Benjamin Jowett and Frederick Temple (afterwards archbishop of Canterbury) became the best-known members. The widening of theological opinion and of Christian communion was thenceforward the main interest of his life. In 1857 he contributed Schemes of Christian Comprehension to Oxford Essays, and in 1861 he published a dissertation on The National Church in Essays and Reviews. Passages in the latter were regarded as inculcating erroneous doctrine, particularly in regard to the inspiration of scripture and the future state of the dead. John William Burgon was especially dissatisfied with his views, and in 1862 proceedings for heresy were instituted against Wilson in the Court of Arches. Wilson, whose case was tried with that of Rowland Williams, was found guilty on three of eight of the articles brought against him, and was sentenced to suspension for a year.

Wilson's appeal of this decision was successful and in 1864 the judicial committee reversed the decision. Wilson's health, however, was broken by the anxieties of his position, and he never completely recovered from the strain. He died, unmarried, on August 10, 1888.

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