Henry Soames (historian)

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Henry Soames (1785–1860) was an English clergyman and ecclesiastical historian.


The son of Nathaniel Soames, shoemaker of Ludgate Street, London,[1] he was educated at St. Paul's School and went to Wadham College, Oxford, matriculating on 21 February 1803. He graduated B.A. in 1807, M.A. in 1810. He held the post of assistant to the high master of St. Paul's School from 1809 to 1814, and took holy orders. In 1812 he was made rector of Shelley, Essex, and at this time, or later, rector of the neighbouring parish of Little Laver. From 1831 to 1839 he was vicar of Brent with Furneaux Pelham, Hertfordshire. In 1839 he became rector of Stapleford Tawney with Theydon Mount, Essex, where he remained till his death. He was Bampton lecturer in 1830, and was appointed chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral by Bishop Charles Blomfield in 1842. He died on 21 October 1860.


Soames's major work in English church history addressed the Anglo-Saxon times and the sixteenth century. His works include:

  • The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, 4 vols. 1826–8.
  • An Inquiry into the Doctrines of the Anglo-Saxon Church, Bampton Lectures Oxford, 1830.
  • The Anglo-Saxon Church: its History, Revenues, and General Character, London, 1835; 4th edit., revised, augmented, and corrected, 1856.
  • Elizabethan Religious History, London, 1839.
  • Mosheim's Institutes of Ecclesiastical History. … Edited, with additions, by James Murdock and H. Soames, 1841. This edition of the work of the Lutheran Johann Lorenz von Mosheim was re-edited in 1845, 1850, and finally by Bishop William Stubbs in 3 vols. in 1863.
  • The Latin Church during Anglo-Saxon Times, London, 1848. This work was criticised by John David Chambers in Anglo-Saxonica; or Animadversions on some positions … maintained, &c. by H. Soames, London, 1849.
  • The Romish Decalogue, London, 1852.


  1. ^ Woodward, B. B. Dictionary of National Biography.