Lowther Clarke

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The Most Revd
Henry Lowther Clarke
Archbishop of Melbourne
Church Anglican
Province Australia
Personal details
Born (1850-11-23)November 23, 1850
Died June 23, 1926(1926-06-23) (aged 75)

Henry Lowther Clarke (23 November 1850 – 23 June 1926) was the fourth Anglican bishop and first archbishop of Melbourne, Australia.

Early life[edit]

Clarke was born at Firbank Vicarage, Westmorland, England, the son of the Revd William Clarke and his wife Sarah, née Lowther. He was educated at home and at Sedbergh School, winning a scholarship which took him to St John's College, Cambridge, graduated BA in 1874 as seventh wrangler and MA in 1877.[1]

Clarke was ordained deacon in 1874 and priest in 1875 by William Thomson, the Archbishop of York. He was curate of St John's Kingston-on-Hull from 1874 to 1876 before various positions in the north of England during the next 26 years, including vicar of Dewsbury, Huddersfield. He was proctor for the clergy of the Wakefield diocese in the Convocation of York in 1902.


Clarke was consecrated as Bishop of Melbourne in St Paul's Cathedral, London, on 1 November 1902. He arrived in Melbourne in February 1903. Since the resignation of Bishop Goe the area of the Diocese of Melbourne had been greatly reduced by the formation of new dioceses based in Bendigo, Wangaratta and Gippsland. When Clarke began his ministry he appointed a commission to document the present position and future needs of the diocese and later came to the conclusion that certain parishes had become too large and needed subdividing, that means must be found for a more complete training of the clergy, and that there must be an extension of secondary education by means of church schools. In 1905 Clarke became first Archbishop of Melbourne and Metropolitan of Victoria. He ruled his diocese firmly and refused to allow himself to be allied to any party. Recognising that what may be called the puritanical and the aesthetic types of mind are permanent in human nature, he felt that the safest approach would be found in a middle course, and that no good would be done by straining for uniformity in minor issues. The question of the reunion of the churches was given some consideration, but little progress was made. There was, however, much expansion in the social work of the church, and several successful secondary schools were established, including the Melbourne Church of England Girls' Grammar School and Trinity Grammar School in Kew. In 1910 Clarke persuaded the Parliament of Victoria to establish the Melbourne College of Divinity to examine for and grant degrees. He married Alice Lovell in 1876. The daughter of the Revd Canon Kemp, she died suddenly in 1918. In March 1920 Clarke went to London to attend the Lambeth Conference and in November resigned as Archbishop of Melbourne.

Later life[edit]

Clarke lived in retirement in Lymington, Hampshire, and kept himself busy with literary work. His published writings include History of the Parish of Dewsbury (1899), Addresses delivered in England and Australia (1904), The Last Things (1910), Studies in the English Reformation (1912), Addresses delivered to the Synod of the Diocese of Melbourne (1914), The Constitutions of the General Provincial and Diocesan Synods of the Church of England in Australia (1918), Constitutional Church Government in the Dominions Beyond the Seas (1924), an authoritative and comprehensive work; Death and the Hereafter (1926) and, with W. N. Weech, History of Sedbergh School (1925). Clarke died on 23 June 1926. He was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity (DD) by both Cambridge and Oxford universities. Two sons and a daughter survived him.


  1. ^ "Clarke, Henry Lowther (CLRK870HL)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 


External links[edit]

Anglican Communion titles
Preceded by
Field Flowers Goe
Bishop of Melbourne
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Archbishop of Melbourne
Succeeded by
Harrington Lees