Samuel Wilberforce, bishop, 19th July

He held the Diocese together during difficult times…

Samuel Wilberforce

Born in 1805, the son of William Wilberforce who fought for the abolition of slavery, Samuel was educated at Oriel College, Oxford and after a brief spell as Dean of Westminster was appointed Bishop of Oxford in 1845. Although at first treated with great suspicion by both Evangelicals and Tractarians, he gained the confidence of the clergy by the reforms he introduced in the Diocese but throughout his episcopate encountered much criticism for being a compromiser for which he earned the nickname of ‘Soapy Sam’. Nevertheless, he held the Diocese together during difficult times and he encouraged the building of churches and the establishment of convents and in 1854, founded Cuddesdon Theological College. He introduced a system of Lenten missions and initiated the revision of the Authorised Version of the Bible. In 1869 he was appointed Bishop of Winchester.

Picture reproduced by kind permission of Ripon College Cuddesdon