Robert Gray (bishop of Cape Town)
|Bishop of Cape Town|
|Born||3 October 1809|
|Died||1 September 1872(aged 62)|
|Spouse||Sophy Gray (architect)|
Gray was born in Bishopwearmouth, north east England, the 12th child and son of Robert Gray, Bishop of Bristol, who made him deacon in Wells Cathedral on 11 January 1834. His first parish was at Whitworth. In 1845 he became the vicar of Stockton-on-Tees. As a priest he was interested in mission, and was local secretary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
In 1847, he was consecrated Bishop of Cape Town in Westminster Abbey, along with three bishops for Australia, and arrived in his diocese, the boundaries of which were undefined, in February the following year.
Soon after arriving he set out on a journey to explore his diocese, accompanied by James Green, who was to be rector of Pietermaritzburg in the Colony of Natal. On reaching Grahamstown he ordained William Long, with whom he was to come into conflict later.
In 1849, he visited St Helena, and in 1850 set out on another tour of the mainland, reaching as far as Pietermaritzburg. This journey convinced him that the division of the diocese was necessary. He returned to England to arrange for this, and in 1853 he resigned his diocese and received fresh letters patent for a smaller Anglican Diocese of Cape Town, while two new bishops were consecrated: John William Colenso as Bishop of Natal and John Armstrong as Bishop of Grahamstown.
Robert Gray was married on 6 September 1836 to Sophy Myddleton, the daughter of county squire Richard Wharton Myddleton of Durham and Yorkshire, and founded St George's Grammar School, in 1848 in the shadow of the St. George's Cathedral and Diocesan College, or Bishops as it is commonly known, in Rondebosch, Cape Town, in 1849. A notable part of his life concerned his feud with Colenso about Colenso's alleged heretical opinions.  Gray and his wife looked after the children of Mgolombane Sandile, including his daughter Emma, aiming to provide influence over the Gaika people.
Robert Gray's son, Rev. Charles Gray, M.A., edited the book 'Life of Robert Gray'.
Notes and references
- Draper, Jonathan A. (2003). "The Trial of Bishop John William Colenso". In Jonathan A. Draper (ed.). The Eye of the Storm: Bishop John William Colenso and the Crisis of Biblical Inspiration. A&C Black. ISBN 978-0-567-40158-8.
- Hinchliff, Peter Bingham (1968). The Church in South Africa. S.P.C.K. for the Church Historical Society. ISBN 9780281022779.
- Page, Brian Tindall (1947). The harvest of Good Hope: an account of the expansion of the Church of the Province of South Africa. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. .
- Gray, Robert (1849). A Journal of the Bishop's Visitation Tour Through the Cape Colony in 1848: With an Account of His Visit to the Island of St. Helena in 1849 and a Map. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
- Gray, Robert (1851). A Journal of the Bishop's Visitation Tour Through the Cape Colony in 1850.
- Day, E. Hermitage (1930). Robert Gray: First Bishop of Cape Town. London: S.P.C.K.