Robert Payne Smith
|The Very Reverend
Robert Payne Smith
|Dean of Canterbury|
|Church||Church of England|
|Diocese||Diocese of Canterbury|
|In office||1871 to 1895|
|Other posts||Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford University (1865–1871)|
7 November 1818|
Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, England
|Died||31 March 1895
Canterbury, Kent, England
|Parents||Robert Smith and Esther Argles Payne|
|Profession||Clergyman and theologian|
Robert Payne Smith (7 November 1818 – 31 March 1895) was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford and Canon of Christ Church from 1865 until 1870, when he was appointed Dean of Canterbury by Queen Victoria on the advice of William Ewart Gladstone.
Early life and education
Payne Smith was born in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, on 7 November 1818, the only son and second of four children of Robert Smith, a land agent, and his wife, Esther Argles Payne, of Leggsheath, Surrey. He attended Chipping Campden Grammar School and was taught Hebrew by his eldest sister, Esther. In 1837 he obtained an exhibition at Pembroke College, Oxford to study classics. In 1841 he graduated with second-class honours. Payne Smith won the Boden Sanskrit scholarship in 1840 and the Pusey and Ellerton Hebrew scholarship in 1843.
He provided the chapter on Genesis in Charles Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers and published the Thesaurus Syriacus (1868–1901, supplement added 1927), later abridged and translated into English by his daughter Jessie Margoliouth as A Compendious Syriac Dictionary (1903).
Payne Smith was reticent towards the Oxford Movement and Tractarian and Ritualist developments.
He died at his deanery on 31 March 1895 and was buried on 3 April in St Martin's churchyard, Canterbury.
- Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers: A Bible Commentary for English Readers by Various Writers, edited by Charles John Ellicott, 1906 edition, accessed 15 July 2017]
- Simpson, R. S. 'Payne Smith, Robert (1818–1895)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
|Church of England titles|
|Dean of Canterbury
|Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford
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