Charles Sumner (bishop)

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Charles Sumner

Charles Richard Sumner (22 November 1790–15 August 1874) was a Church of England bishop.


Charles Sumner was a brother of John Sumner, Archbishop of Canterbury. Their father was Robert Sumner and their mother was Hannah Bird, a first cousin of William Wilberforce.[1]

Sumner was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge and graduated BA in 1814 and MA in 1817.[2] After ordination he ministered for the two winters of 1814–1816 to the English congregation in Geneva. From 1816 to 1821 he was curate of Highclere, Hampshire. In 1820, George IV wished to appoint him as a canon of Windsor, but the prime minister, Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, objected; Sumner received instead a royal chaplaincy and librarianship. Other preferments quickly followed; in 1826 he was consecrated Bishop of Llandaff and in 1827 Bishop of Winchester.[3] In 1869 he resigned his seat, but continued to live at the official residence in Farnham until his death on 15 August 1874.[3]

Though Evangelical in his views he did not confine his patronage to that school.

He and his brother were members of the Canterbury Association from 27 March 1848.[4]


Sumner published a number of charges and sermons and The Ministerial Character of Christ Practically Considered (London, 1824). He also edited and translated John Milton's De doctrina christiana, which was found in the State Paper office in 1823, and formed the text of Macaulay's famous essay on Milton.


Sumner married Jennie Fanny Barnabine Maunoir (23 February 1794 – 3 September 1849); they had four sons and three daughters.[5] His son, George Sumner, also a bishop, was the husband of Mary Sumner, founder of the Mothers' Union. His daughter, Emily Sarah Frances, married Robert Newman Milford (1829–1913), Rector of East Knoyle, Wiltshire (1865–1912) and a canon of Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire (1896–1912); their son, Humphrey Sumner Milford, was highly influential in early 20th century music and literature as Publisher to the University of Oxford. His second daughter, Sophia Albertina, married William Henry Ridley.[6] His eldest daughter, Louisanna (1817–1899), married William Gibson, a priest in Chester, in 1837[7] and of their eleven children Arthur Gibson became a rugby union international for England, playing in the first international in 1871; Herbert William Sumner Gibson became a vice admiral in the Royal Navy; Edgar Gibson became Bishop of Gloucester; Walter Sumner Gibson became an academic reader at the Oxford University Press from 1914 and his nephew through his wife's youngest brother was the actor Laurence Olivier; and Alan George Sumner Gibson became a coadjutor bishop of Cape Town.[7]


  1. ^ Edward J. Davies, "Some Connections of the Birds of Warwickshire", The Genealogist, 26 (2012):58–76.
  2. ^ "Sumner, Charles Richard (SMNR810CR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  4. ^ Blain, Michael (2007). The Canterbury Association (1848–1852): A Study of Its Members' Connections (PDF). Christchurch: Project Canterbury. pp. 77–78. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Courtney 1898, p. 167-168.
  6. ^  "Ridley, William Henry". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  7. ^ a b – the genealogy associated with William Gibson 1804–1862


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sumner, Charles Richard". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCourtney, William Prideaux (1898). "Sumner, Charles Richard". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 55. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 165–168. ; Endnotes:
    • A Life of Sumner was published by his son, George Henry Sumner, in 1876
    • cf. Le Neve's Fasti, i. 49, ii. 257, 317, 429, iii. 21, 81
    • Stapylton's Eton Lists, p. 42
    • Lady Granville's Letters, i. 255
    • Burke's Landed Gentry
    • Foster's Alumni Oxon.
    • Gent. Mag. 1802 ii. 1066, 1847 i. 108
    • Times, 17 and 18 Aug 1874
    • Guardian, 19 and 26 Aug 1874
    • Pennington's Recollections, pp. 149–65
    • Ashwell and Wilberforce's Bishop Wilberforce, i. 65–82, 103–4, 150, 160, 263–4, 317, 401, ii. 248, iii. 61–2
    • Lucas's Bernard Barton, pp. 108–9, 161
    • information from Mr. W. Aldis Wright
Church of England titles
Preceded by
William Van Mildert
Bishop of Llandaff
Succeeded by
Edward Copleston
Preceded by
George Pretyman-Tomline
Bishop of Winchester
Succeeded by
Samuel Wilberforce