This son of E.H. Plumptre was born in London. A scholar of University College, Oxford, he graduated with a double-first class degree in 1844 and was elected Fellow of Brasenose College. He was married in 1847 and died at Wells in 1891.
In 1863, he was given a prebendal stall at St Paul's. From 1869 to 1874 he was a member of the committee appointed by Convocation to revise the authorized version of the Old Testament. He was Boyle lecturer in 1866–1867 (Christ and Christendom), and Grinfield lecturer on the Septuagint at Oxford 1872–1874. After successively holding the livings of Rector of Pluckley, 1869, and Vicar of Brickley in Kent, 1873, he was installed in 1881 as dean of Wells.
According to Julian, other positions include: Assistant Preacher at Lincoln's Inn; Select Preacher in Oxford; Professor of Pastoral Theology and King's College, London; Dean of Queen's Oxford; Professor of Exegesis of the New Testament in King's College London; Examiner in the Theological schools at Oxford;
In verse, his main achievements were Lazarus (1864), and Master and Scholar (1866).
Among his many theological works, An Exposition of the Epistles to the Seven Churches (1877), The Spirits in Prison (1884), The Book of Proverbs (which he annotated in the Speaker's Commentary), the Synoptic Gospels, Acts, and II Corinthians, in Charles Ellicott's New Testament Commentary, and Life and Letters of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells (1888) are most notable.
Plumptre is also the author of the well-known hymn, "Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart" (1865), written for a choir festival held at majestic Peterborough Cathedral.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Julian, John (June, 1907). A Dictionary of Hymnology. London: John Murray. p. 897.
- Bailey, Albert Edward (1950). The Gospel in Hymns. New York: Charles Scribner's sons. pp. 368–370.
- Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin College. "The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge,". Retrieved 2007-02-06.