William Boyd Carpenter

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In this name, the family name is Boyd Carpenter, not Carpenter.
William Boyd Carpenter
William Boyd Carpenter Vanity Fair 8 March 1906.jpg
"A man Right Reverend and Well-Beloved"
Bishop Boyd Carpenter as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, March 1906
Born (1841-03-26)26 March 1841
Liverpool, England
Died 26 October 1918(1918-10-26) (aged 77)
Westminster, England
Residence London, England
Nationality English
Years active 1878–1918
Known for English clergyman and minister
Spouse(s) Harriet Charlotte Peers
Annie Maude Gardner
Parent(s) Rev. Henry Carpenter, Hester Boyd
Relatives Archibald Boyd (uncle)
Sir Archibald Boyd-Carpenter MP (son)
Francis Wentworth-Sheilds (son-in-law)
The Lord Boyd-Carpenter (grandson)
Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter (great-grandson)
The Viscountess Hailsham (great-granddaughter)
Prof William Boyd-Carpenter (son)
Sir Henry Boyd-Carpenter (great-grandson)

William Boyd Carpenter KCVO (26 March 1841, Liverpool – 26 October 1918, Westminster) was a Church of England clergyman who became Bishop of Ripon and court chaplain to Queen Victoria.


William Boyd Carpenter was the second son of the Rev. Henry Carpenter of Liverpool, perpetual curate of St Michael's Church, Aigburth, who married (marriage licence 1837 in Derry) Hester Boyd of Derry, sister of Archibald Boyd, Dean of Exeter.[1] Her father was Archibald Boyd (born about 1764 of Saint Leonards, Shoreditch, London, England), who married Sarah Bodden there on 13 July 1789.[citation needed] Their eldest son was Archibald Boyd.

Carpenter was the uncle of Mrs Henry Williams of Moor Park House, Beckwithshaw, North Yorkshire. In 1897 he consecrated St Michaels and All Angels Church at Beckwithshaw, after she and her husband had funded its construction.[2][3][4]

William Boyd Carpenter eventually fathered a total of five sons and six daughters. He married his first wife, Harriet Charlotte Peers, in 1864; she bore him eight children. In 1883, he married a second wife, Annie Maude Gardner, who bore him three further children.[5] The eldest grandson, Francis was the father of Sir Henry Boyd-Carpenter KCVO (born 11 October 1939), Senior Partner of Farrer & Co, the Royal Solicitors.[citation needed] His second son William became Professor of Oriental Languages at Georgetown University, Washington DC.[citation needed] His grandson Michael (19 February 1932) was Senior Partner of Joseph Sebag & Co Stockbrokers.[citation needed] His fourth son, Archibald (26 March 1873 – 27 May 1937), was a Conservative MP and minister, as was Archibald's son the Lord Boyd-Carpenter (2 June 1908 – 11 July 1998). Among his children are Viscountess Hailsham[6] and Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter.

His great-grandson was composer Stephen Oliver, and his great-great-grandson is television personality John Oliver.[7]

Education and career[edit]

Carpenter was educated at the Royal Institution, Liverpool, and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and was appointed Hulsean lecturer at Cambridge in 1878.[8] He held several curacies, was vicar of Christ Church, Lancaster Gate, from 1879 to 1884, canon of Windsor in 1882–84, and after 1884 Bishop of Ripon. In 1887 he was appointed Bampton lecturer at Oxford, and in 1895 pastoral lecturer on theology at Cambridge. In June 1901, he received an honorary doctorate of Divinity from the University of Glasgow.[9]

In 1904 and 1913 he visited the United States and delivered the Noble lectures at Harvard. He was chaplain in ordinary to Queen Victoria, Edward VII, and George V. He resigned his see in 1911 on the grounds of ill-health and became a canon and sub-dean of Westminster. He was interested in eugenic issues and served as President of the Society for Psychical Research in 1912.[6]


William Boyd Carpenter, 1889

His publications include:[6]

  • Commentary on Revelation (1879)
  • Permanent Elements of Religion (Bampton lectures, 1889)
  • Popular History of the Church of England (1900)
  • Witness to the Influence of Christ (1905)
  • Some Pages of my Life (1911)
  • Life's Tangled Thread (1912)
  • The Apology of Experience (1913)

Correspondence with Alexandra Feodorovna[edit]

William Boyd-Carpenter corresponded with the last empress of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse). "In early 1895 she wrote to William Boyd-Carpenter, who as Bishop of Ripon was also court chaplain to her grandmother Queen Victoria, that she was trying hard to come to terms with external trappings of her new faith. ‘Now that I am more used to hear the Russian language I can understand the service so much better, and many things have become clear to me and comprehensible which at first rather startled me. The singing is most beautiful and edifying, only I miss the sermons, which are never preached in the Imperial chapels..."[10][extended quote]


Sample of a medieval knight with an early Carpenter Coat of Arms on shield.

In the British Museum, London, is a "Life of Lord George Carpenter," published in 1736, five years before his death. It is therein stated of him that he was a son of Warncomb Carpenter, the sixth son of Thomas Carpenter, esq., of the Holme in the parish of Dilwyn, Herefordshire, England where the family have been possessed of considerable estate for over 400 years. So we have another proof of the family being there by 1300.[11]

The family bore Arms, which in heraldic parlance reads as follows: "Paly of six, argent and gules, on a chevron azure, 3 cross crosslets or." Motto "Per acuta belli" (through the asperities of war). The 3 cross crosslets denote an ancestor had been in the Crusades or who was a Crusader. What more distinguished one could they have than William de Melun?"[11]

In a letter dated 7 August 1907, from Rev. William Boyd Carpenter, Bishop of Ripon, Yorkshire, afterwards a Canon of Westminster and chaplain to the reigning sovereign of England, the writer was informed that he, the Bishop, bore the Hereford Arms, and that Sir Noel Paton (See: Joseph Noel Paton) explained to him that originally the crest was a round-handled sword, which in drawing became shortened, until nothing but the cross and globe are left beneath it. These arms were used by John Carpenter, town clerk of London, who died in 1442 ..."[11] This John Carpenter was also known as John Carpenter, the younger (abt. 1372 – 1442) and was the noted Town Clerk of London during the reigns of King Henry V & King Henry VI.[12]

There is no direct male to male Carpenter descent connecting Lord George Carpenter & Sir William Boyd Carpenter. The family connection is by marriage through the females in the family.[13]

The Hereford Coat of Arms should not be confused with the Arms of Bishop Richard Carpenter (c1450s?-1503) presented in the "Visitations of the County of Oxford taken in 1566, 1574, and 1634", published in 1871, which describe the arms displayed in the buildings at the University in Oxford - "In the Lyberarye of Baliall College." - as recorded by the officials performing the visitations in those years. The Visitations describe the arms of Richard Carpenter as: "Paly of nine Gu. and Az. on a chevron Arg. surmounted by a mitre Or, three cross crosslets of—nine pales alternating red and blue, with a silver chevron bearing three gold cross-crosslets.[14]


  1. ^ David Morris, 'Bishop Boyd Carpenter: Sheep or Shepherd in the Eugenics Movement?', The Galton Institute Newsletter, 55, June 2005
  2. ^ Yorkshire Gazette, 2 October 1886: "Ecclesiastical news"
  3. ^ Cottingley Connect: St Michael and All Angels church Retrieved 17 January 2014
  4. ^ Leeds Times, Saturday 2 October 1886
  5. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 344. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.
  6. ^ a b c H. D. A. Major, ‘Carpenter, William Boyd (1841–1918)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 14 April 2009
  7. ^ http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/51267
  8. ^ "Carpenter, William Boyd (CRPR860WB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  9. ^ "Glasgow University jubilee" The Times (London). Friday, 14 June 1901. (36481), p. 10.
  10. ^ Janet Ashton, "God in all things": the religious beliefs of Russia’s last empress and their personal and political context
  11. ^ a b c Carpenter, J. Hatton (April 1925). "The Carpenter Family of England and the United States". Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 16 (2): 60–70. Archived from the original on 16 April 1925. 
  12. ^ Historical Manuscripts Commission, UK National Register of Archives, George Carpenter (1657-1732) 1st Baron Carpenter Lieutenant General, HMC.gov.uk
  13. ^ Carpenter, John R. Carpenters' Encyclopedia of Carpenters 2009 (DVD format). Lord George is RIN 11685.
  14. ^ Visitations of the County of Oxford taken in 1566, 1574, and 1634, published in 1871.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Robert Bickersteth
Bishop of Ripon
Succeeded by
Thomas Wortley Drury