Philip Stubbs (priest)

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Philip Stubbs (1665–1738) was an English churchman, archdeacon of St Albans and Fellow of the Royal Society.

1708 mezzotint of Stubbs by John Faber the elder


He was son of Philip Stubbs, citizen and vintner of London, and was born on 2 October 1665, during the Great Plague of London, in the parish of St Andrew Undershaft. He was educated from 1678 to 1682 at Merchant Taylors' School,[1] and went as a commoner to Wadham College, Oxford, on 23 March 1683. In the following year he was elected scholar of the college, graduated B.A. in 1686, M.A. in 1689, became fellow in 1691, and proceeded B.D. in 1722.

On taking holy orders he was appointed curate in the united parishes of St Benet Gracechurch and St Leonard Eastcheap. He was then chaplain successively to Robert Grove, bishop of Chichester, and to George Hastings, 8th Earl of Huntingdon. From 1694 to 1699 he was rector of St Mary Magdalene Woolwich in Kent (now London), and was chosen first chaplain of Greenwich Hospital, an office which he held until his death. On leaving Woolwich he was presented by the bishop of London to the rectory of St Alphage London Wall, to which was added in 1705 the parish of St James Garlickhithe.

Stubbs was elected F.R.S. on 30 November 1703, and was interested in literature and archæology. Richard Steele, present one Sunday in St James Garlickhithe when Stubbs was officiating, eulogised him in The Spectator. In 1715 Stubbs was preferred to the archdeaconry of St Albans, and four years later the bishop of London collated him to the rectory of Launton, Oxfordshire. He interested himself in the education of poorer children, and he was instrumental in founding day schools in the parishes of St Alphage and St James, as well as in Bicester, near Launton. He died there on 13 September 1738, and was buried in the old burial-ground of the hospital, his tombstone being preserved in the mausoleum.


He published separate sermons and addresses, as well as a collected volume of sermons in 1704 (8vo). His sermon, ‘God's Dominion over the Seas and the Seaman's Duty,’ preached at Longreach on board the Royal Sovereign, reached a third edition, and was translated into French and distributed among the French seamen who were prisoners at the time. He was one of the earliest promoters of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and drew up the first report of its proceedings in 1703; and was selected to preach the sermon in St Paul's Cathedral on Trinity Sunday 1711, the day appointed by the queen for a collection in the city for the society, later published as ‘The Divine Mission of Gospel Ministers.’ He also took an active part in the development of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.


Stubbs married, in 1696, Mary, daughter of John Willis, rector of West Horndon, Essex. She survived her husband for twenty-one years, during which she lived in the Bromley College for clergymen's widows, and died in 1759, aged 95. By her he had two surviving sons and one daughter. The archdeacon's only sister, Elizabeth, married Ambrose Bonwicke, the elder, the nonjuror and headmaster of Merchant Taylors' School.[2]



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Stubbs, Philip (1665-1738)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.