Stopford Brooke (chaplain)

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Stopford Brooke, c. 1890

Stopford Augustus Brooke (14 November 1832 – 18 March 1916) was an Irish churchman, royal chaplain and writer.[1]

He was born in the rectory of Glendoen, near Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland, of which parish his maternal grandfather, Joseph Stopford, was then rector. He was the eldest son of the Rev. Richard Sinclair Brooke, later incumbent of the Mariners' church, Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin.[2] He was ordained in the Church of England in 1857, and held various charges in London. From 1863 to 1865 he was chaplain to the Empress Frederick in Berlin. In 1869 with his brother Edward he made long tours of Donegal and Sligo, and spent much time at Kells studying Irish antiquities.[2] In 1875 he became chaplain in ordinary to Queen Victoria. But in 1880 he seceded from the Church, being no longer able to accept its leading dogmas, and officiated as a Unitarian minister for some years at Bedford chapel, Bloomsbury.

Bedford chapel was pulled down about 1894, and from that time he had no church of his own, but his eloquence and powerful religious personality continued to make themselves felt among a wide circle. A man of independent means, he was always keenly interested in literature and art, and a fine critic of both.

Brooke published in 1865 his Life and Letters of FW Robertson (of Brighton), and in 1876 wrote an admirable primer of English Literature (new and revised ed., 1900—but see below), followed in 1892 by The History of Early English Literature (2 vols, 1892) down to the accession of Alfred the Great, and English Literature from the Beginnings to the Norman Conquest (1898).[3]

He gave the inaugural lecture to the Irish Literary Society, London, on "The Need and Use of Getting Irish Literature into the English Tongue" (Bloomsbury House, 11 March 1893).[4]

His other works include:

Brooke was married to Emma Wentworth-Beaumont, and had two sons, including Stopford Brooke, a Member of Parliament from 1906 to 1910.[5] Brooke's published letters record that his work brought him into touch with most of his famous contemporaries - including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Burne-Jones, William Morris, Viscount Bryce, James Martineau and Matthew Arnold.[6]




  1. ^ "Brooke, Rev. Stopford Augustus". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 223. 
  2. ^ a b Jacks, Lawrence Pearsall (1917). Life and Letters of Stopford Brooke - Vol I. New York: Scribner's. 
  3. ^ From the Contents page of the 1910 reprint of "English Literature": Third Edition 1896.
  4. ^ W. P. Ryan: The Irish Literary Revival (1894)
  5. ^ "Children of Stopford Augustus Brooke". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  6. ^ Queenslander, The (11 May 1918). "Stopford Brooke". The Queenslander. Life and Letters of Stopford Brooke, Page 3. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 

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