John Bampton

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John Bampton (1690 – 2 June 1751) was an English churchman, for some time canon of Salisbury.


Bampton was a member of Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in 1712. He became rector of Stratford Tony in Wiltshire.[1]

Will establishing lectures[edit]

He is now remembered chiefly because of the contents of his will, which directs that eight lectures shall be delivered annually at Oxford in the University Church on as many Sunday mornings in full term, "between the commencement of the last month in Lent term and the end of the third week in Act term, upon either of the following subjects: to confirm and establish the Christian faith, and to confute all heretics and schismatics; upon the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures; upon the authority of the writings of the primitive fathers, as to the faith and practice of the primitive Church; upon the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; upon the divinity of the Holy Ghost; upon the articles of the Christian faith as comprehended in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds."

The lecturer, who must be at least a Master of Arts of Oxford or Cambridge, was formerly chosen yearly by the heads of colleges, on the fourth Tuesday in Easter term, and no one can be chosen a second time. The Bampton Lectures, as they are known, began in 1780, and are still held, but have been biennial since 1901. The lectures have to be published within two months of their delivery.[2]

Background to the benefaction[edit]

Bampton owned Nunton Farm, in southern Wiltshire near his parish, comprising land in Nunton, Downton, and Britford. Jacob Bouverie, 1st Viscount Folkestone wished to purchase it, for his estate at Longford Castle which is just north-east of Nunton. Bampton was unwilling to sell, a dispute arose, and to put the land beyond Folkestone's reach, Bampton left it to the University of Oxford; which took possession around 1778 after his wife had died. Eventually Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, 2nd Earl of Radnor, Folkestone's grandson, made an exchange in 1805 with the University of Nunton Farm for the Tinkersole estate at Wing, Buckinghamshire, backed by a private Act of Parliament.[1]

Sarum lectures[edit]

A second series of lectures, not restricted to Anglican theologians, was established with the Bampton fund in 1952.[3] The first Sarum lecturer was appointed for 1954; the lectureship was discontinued in 1995.[4] The subsequent annual series of Sarum Theological Lectures are unconnected, being organised by Sarum College and taking place in Salisbury Cathedral.[5]

Sarum Lecturers at Oxford


  1. ^ a b Sidney Leslie Ollard (editor) (1912), Dictionary of English Church History, article Bampton, John, p. 36.
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bampton, John". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 305. 
  3. ^ Carter, Philip. "Bampton, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1264.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ Bodleian Library
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  7. ^ Meredith, Anthony. "Yarnold, Edward John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/77190.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. ^ Obituary
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  10. ^ Review