Samuel Horsley

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Samuel Horsley
Bishop of St Asaph
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of St Asaph
Elected 1802
Term ended 1806 (death)
Predecessor Lewis Bagot
Successor William Cleaver
Other posts Bishop of Rochester
Dean of Westminster
Bishop of St David's
Personal details
Born (1733-09-15)15 September 1733
Died 4 October 1806(1806-10-04) (aged 73)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Profession Scholar
Alma mater Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Samuel Horsley (15 September 1733 – 4 October 1806) was a British churchman, bishop of Rochester from 1792.

Entering Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1751, he became LL.B. in 1758 without graduating in arts.[1] In the following year he succeeded his father in the living of Newington Butts in Surrey. Horsley was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1767; and secretary in 1773, but, in consequence of a difference with the president (Sir Joseph Banks) he withdrew in 1784. In 1768 he attended the son and heir of the 3rd Earl of Aylesford to Oxford as private tutor; and, after receiving through the earl and Bishop of London various minor preferments, which by dispensations he combined with his first living, he was installed in 1781 as archdeacon of St Albans.

Horsley now entered on his controversy with Joseph Priestley, who denied that the early Christians held the doctrine of the Trinity. In this fierce debate, Horsley's aim was to lessen the influence which Priestley's name gave to his views, by pointing to (what he claimed were) inaccuracies in his scholarship. Horsley was rewarded by Lord Chancellor Thurlow with a prebendal stall at Gloucester; and in 1788 Thurlow procured his promotion to the see of St David's.

As a bishop, Horsley was active both in his diocese, and in parliament. The effective support which he afforded the government was acknowledged by his successive translations to Rochester in 1793, and to St Asaph in 1802. With the see of Rochester he held the deanery of Westminster.


Besides the controversial Tracts, which appeared in 1783-1785, 1786, and were republished in 1789 and 1812, Horsley's more important works are:

  • Apollonii Pergaei inclinationum libri duo (1770)
  • Remarks on the Observations ... for determining the acceleration of the Pendulum in Lat. 7o 51' (1774)
  • Isaaci Newtoni Opera quae extant Omnia, with a commentary (5 vols 4to, 1779–1785)
  • On the Prosodies of tke Greek and Latin Languages (1796)
  • Disquisitions on Isaiah xviii. (1796)
  • Hosea, translated ... with Notes (1801)
  • Elementary Treatises on ... Mathematics (1801)
  • Euclidis elernentorum libri priores XII. (1802)
  • Euclidis datorum liber (1803)
  • Virgil's Two Seasons of Honey, &c. (1805)
  • papers in the Philosophical Transactions from 1767 to 1776

After his death there appeared:

  • Sermons (1810–1812)
  • Speeches in Parliament (1813)
  • Book of Psalms, translated with Notes (1815)
  • Biblical Criticism (1820)
  • Collected Theological Works (6 vols 8vo, 1845).


  1. ^ "Samuel Horsley (HRSY751S)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 

External links[edit]

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Edward Smallwell
Bishop of St David's
Succeeded by
William Stuart
Preceded by
John Thomas
Bishop of Rochester
Succeeded by
Thomas Dampier
Dean of Westminster
Succeeded by
William Vincent
Preceded by
Lewis Bagot
Bishop of St Asaph
Succeeded by
William Cleaver