Christopher Wordsworth (divine)

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Christopher Wordsworth
Christopher Wordsworth by GF Robson.jpg
Born(1774-06-09)9 June 1774
Died2 February 1846(1846-02-02) (aged 71)
OccupationDivine and scholar
ChildrenJohn Wordsworth
Charles Wordsworth
Christopher Wordsworth

Christopher Wordsworth (9 June 1774 – 2 February 1846), was an English divine and scholar.


Born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, he was the youngest brother of the poet William Wordsworth, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1798.[1]

Twelve years later he received the degree of DD. He took holy orders, and obtained successive preferments through the patronage of Charles Manners-Sutton, Bishop of Norwich, afterwards (1805) Archbishop of Canterbury, to whose son Charles (afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons, and Viscount Canterbury) he had been tutor. He had in 1802 attracted attention by his defence of Granville Sharp's then novel canon "on the uses of the definitive article" in New Testament textual criticism.

In 1810 he published an Ecclesiastical Biography in 6 volumes. On the death of Bishop Mansel, in 1820, he was elected Master of Trinity, and retained that position till 1841, when he resigned. He is regarded as the father of the modern "classical tripos," since he had, as vice-chancellor, originated in 1821 a proposal for a public examination in classics and divinity, which, though then rejected, bore fruit in 1822. Otherwise his mastership was undistinguished, and he was not a popular head with the college. He died on 2 February 1846, at Buxted, Sussex.[2]

In his Who wrote Ikon Basilike? (1824), and in other writings, he advocated the claims of Charles I to its authorship; and in 1836 he published, in 4 volumes, a work of Christian Institutes, selected from English divines. In 1804 he married Priscilla Lloyd (d. 1815), a sister of Charles Lamb's friend Charles Lloyd; and they had three sons: John, Charles, and Christopher.


  1. ^ "Wordsworth, Christopher (WRDT791C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: MAR 1846 VII 313 UCKFIELD - Christopher Wordsworth


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
William Lort Mansel
Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
William Whewell