Edward Bickersteth (priest)

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Edward Bickersteth
Watton-at-Stone church and graveyard.jpg
Watton-at-Stone church where Bickersteth worked with Thomas Birks
Born 19 March 1786 (1786-03-19)
Kirkby Lonsdale
Died 28 February 1850 (1850-03-01)
Occupation evangelical clergyman

Edward Bickersteth (1786–1850) was an English evangelical clergyman.


He was born in born at Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland, fourth son of Henry Bickersteth a surgeon. Bickersteth attended Kirby Longsdale Grammar School and practised as a solicitor at Norwich from 1812 to 1815.

Within space of only 11 days in December 1815 he was ordained both as a deacon and priest.[1] In January 1816 travelled to Africa to inspect and report on the work of the Church Missionary Society. On his return to London he was made one of the secretaries of the Church Missionary Society, and continued to travel overseas in connection with mission work throughout his life.

On receiving the living of Watton, Hertfordshire, in 1830, he resigned his secretaryship, but continued to lecture and preach, both for the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the Conversion of the Jews. He was instrumental in the merger of the Anglican Central Committee and the Continental society in 1840 to form the Foreign Aid Society which supported evangelical Protestant ministry on the continent of Europe.[2]

He was active in promoting the Evangelical Alliance of 1845, strongly opposed the Tractarian Movement, and was one of the founders of the Irish Church Missions, and Parker, Societies.[2]


His works include A Scripture Help (London, 1816), which has been translated into many European languages, and Christian Psalmody (London, 1833), a collection of over 700 hymns, which forms the basis of the Hymnal Companion (London, 1870), compiled by his son, Edward Henry Bickersteth, bishop of Exeter (1885–1890).[2]


Bickersteth was brother of Henry, Baron Langdale, Master of the Rolls (1836–1851), and uncle of Robert Bickersteth, Bishop of Ripon (1857–1884).

His wife Sarah, who Bickersteth married in 1812, was the eldest daughter of Thomas Bignold of Norwich, together they had six children. Edward Henry Bickersteth (1825-1906) Bishop of Exeter was his only son and Edward Bickersteth, founder of the Cambridge Mission to Delhi and later bishop of South Tokyo, his grandson.[2]

Edward Bickersteth (Dean of Lichfield), was his nephew,


  1. ^ Wolffe, John (2004). "Bickersteth, Edward (1786–1850)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2345.  (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.

Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bickersteth, Edward". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.