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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Sumner, John Bird

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an English prelate, was the eldest; son of the Rev. R. Sumner, A.M., many years vicar of Kenilworth and Stoneley, in the County of Warwick, aid was born at his father's parsonage house at Kenilworth in 1780. He was sent at an early age to Eton, where he was nominated to a king's scholarship, and, having spent several years on that royal foundation, he passed in the usual course to King's College, Cambridge, of which he became successively scholar and fellow. Not long after having completed his academical course, Mr. Sumner was invited to return as assistant master to Eton, where he remained for several years. During this time he was ordained deacon and priest. He was preferred, about 1820, to the rectory of Maple-Durham, a pleasant and retired village on the banks of the Thames, a few miles above Reading. In 1820 Mr. Sumner was promoted by the ministry of the earl of Liverpool to a canonry in the Cathedral of Durham, which he held for many years, together with his rectory of Maple-Durham. In 1828 the see of Chester became vacant, and canon Sumner, having just received his D.D. from Cambridge, was consecrated bishop in due form. The bishopric being then but poorly endowed, he was allowed to retain the canonry of Durham, but his views would not allow him to retain the rectory of Maple-Durham. While Dr. Sumner held the bishopric of Chester, the Oxford movement commenced and came to ahead.

From the time that the war cry of Anglo- Catholicism was first sounded in 1833 down to his death, bishop Sumner has ever been among the first and the foremost to denounce the dishonesty of the Tractarian school of theology. In his charges, in addresses, in sermons, he ever and again denounced the Tractarian doctrines and ritual. In the early part of 1848 lord John Russell, who held the post of premier at the time, offered the archbishopric of Canterbury to Dr. Sumner. The offer was accepted, and, much to the satisfaction of the evangelical portion of the Established Church, he was translated from Chester to Canterbury. In 1850 occurred the memorable event called the "Papal Aggression." To that measure of the pope, by which England was portioned out into Roman Catholic dioceses with prelates set over each, archbishop Sumner offered that opposition which was to have been expected, and he denounced the measure in terms of more than usual energy. His grace, as we learn from the "Peerage," was "primate of all England and metropolitan, one of the lords of her majesty's privy council, a governor of the Charterhouse, and visitor of Merton and All-Souls' colleges at Oxford, as well as of King's College, London, of Dulwich College, and of St. Augustine's College, Canterbury," and he enjoyed the patronage of no less than one hundred and sixty-nine livings. He was also most discreet and blameless in the distribution of his clerical patronage, bestowing his best livings on the most exemplary and painstaking of his clergy. He died Sept. 6, 1862. His works are, Essay on the Prophecies, etc. (Lond. 1802, 8vo): Apostolical Preaching (1815, 8vo;. 9th ed. Lond. 1850, 8vo): Records of Creation, etc. (1816, i817,1818,'1825,.1833. 1838, 2 vols. 8vo; 7th ed. 1850, 8vo): Evidences of Christianity Derived from its Nature, etc. (Lond. 1824, 8vo; N.Y. 1825,12mo): Sermons and Lectures (1827-59).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Sumner, John Bird'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/s/sumner-john-bird.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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