A Victorian Curate
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Greatly to be welcomed. This meticulously researched and richly documented account provides fresh insights into theological controversy and social prejudice and should be read by all serious students of the Victorian Church.Greatly to be welcomed.

Richard Sharp

The Rev. Dr John Hunt (1827-1907) was not a typical clergyman in the Victorian Church of England. He was Scottish, of lowly birth, and lacking both social connections and private means. He was also a witty and fluent intellectual, whose publications stood alongside the most eminent of his peers during a period when theology was being redefined in the light of Darwin’s Origin of Species and other radical scientific advances.

Hunt attracted notoriety and conflict as well as admiration and respect: he was the subject of articles in Punch and in the wider press concerning his clandestine dissection of a foetus in the crypt of a City church, while his Essay on Pantheism was proscribed by the Roman Catholic Church. He had many skirmishes with incumbents, both evangelical and catholic, and was dismissed from several of his curacies.

This book analyses his career in London and St Ives (Cambs.) through the lens of his autobiographical narrative, Clergymen Made Scarce (1867). David Yeandle has examined a little-known copy of the text that includes manuscript annotations by Eliza Hunt, the wife of the author, which offer unique insight into the many anonymous and pseudonymous references in the text.

A Victorian Curate: A Study of the Life and Career of the Rev. Dr John Hunt is an absorbing personal account of the corruption and turmoil in the Church of England at this time. It will appeal to anyone interested in this history, the relationship between science and religion in the nineteenth century, or the role of the curate in Victorian England.



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Date de parution 03 mai 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781800641556
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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A Victorian Curate

A Victorian Curate
A Study of the Life and Career of the Rev. Dr John Hunt
David Yeandle

© 2021 David Yeandle

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0). This license allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the text; to adapt the text and to make commercial use of the text providing attribution is made to the authors (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). Attribution should include the following information:
David Yeandle, A Victorian Curate: A Study of the Life and Career of the Rev. Dr John Hunt . Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2021, https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0248
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ISBN Paperback: 9781800641525
ISBN Hardback: 9781800641532
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781800641549
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781800641556
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ISBN XML: 9781800641570
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0248
Cover image: St Ives Vicarage, c. 1880. Courtesy of the Norris Museum, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Cover design: Anna Gatti.

Fig. 1 John Hunt in middle age, c. 1878, courtesy of Mr John Hunt.

Preface xi
Introduction 1
1. John Hunt 5
1.1 Family and Upbringing 7
1.2 Education 9
1.3 Hunt’s Scholarship 11
1.4 Hunt’s Marriages 13
2. Clergymen Made Scarce 15
3. Town Life 19
3.1 Ordination and First Curacy 19
3.2 First Metropolitan Curacy 20
3.3 Search for a New Curacy 25
4. Essays and Reviews Controversy 35
5. Unemployment and Applications 41
5.1 Theological Differences and ‘Evangelical’ Credentials 41
5.2 The Curates’ Registry 43
5.3 The Guardian 44
5.4 English Graduates Only 44
5.5 Privilege and Parsimony 45
6. Final Metropolitan Applications 47
6.1 Mistaken Identity 47
6.2 Hoxton 48
7. The Anatomist Curate 51
8. Country Life 57
8.1 Swallow, Lincolnshire 58
9. St Ives, Hunts. 61
9.1 Advowson for Sale 68
9.2 Ritualism 74
9.3 Beyond St Ives 86
10. Conclusions 87
11. Postscript: John Hunt in Otford 93
11.1 Transcription of Hunt’s Epitaph in Otford Church 101
12. Chronological Table of John Hunt’s Life 103
Appendix: Documents and Press Quotations 107
Text of Clergymen Made Scarce 108
[3] LETTER, &c. 110
P O S T S C R I P T. 141
Appendix II 181
The Anatomist Curate 181
An Inquest on an Inquest ( Punch ) 185
Clergymen Made Scarce ( Punch ) 186
Extraordinary Charge against a City Clergyman 188
Singular Freak of a Clergyman 192
Presentation of a Testimonial to the Rev. John Hunt 192
Lecture on St Augustine 196
Review of Religious Thought in England I 197
Review of Religious Thought in England II 198
Review of Religious Thought in England in the Nineteenth Century 202
Review of Religious Thought in England in the Nineteenth Century 203
Dr. Hunt’s Travels. 204
John Hunt, the Poor Man’s Friend 216
His Services to Literature 217
His Views on Sunday Observance 218
His Views on the Church 219
His View on Temperance 220
His Views on Politics 220
His Journeys Abroad 221
John Hunt’s Obituary 228
Death of the Vicar of Otford 228
Dr. Hunt’s Sudden Demise. 228
The Funeral. 230
Bibliography 233
Select Works by John Hunt 233
Other Works Cited 234
Index 249


© 2021 David Yeandle, CC BY 4.0 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0248.15
My interest in John Hunt began during the time when I was Organist and Choirmaster of All Saints’ Church, St Ives, Cambridgeshire (2001–2011). In the course of my enquiry into previous clergy at the church, my attention was drawn by Mr Bob Burn-Murdoch, former Curator of the Norris Museum, St Ives, to the rare copy in that museum’s library of the booklet by the Rev. Dr John Hunt, entitled Clergymen Made Scarce, which contains manuscript annotations by Mrs Eliza Hunt. Mr Burn-Murdoch, who deserves my special thanks, kindly provided me with a copy of the text. I am further indebted to the staff of the Norris Museum for help with locating material and permission to reproduce images from the Museum.
My thanks are due to all those who have provided me with information and materials for this book: Mr John Hunt, the great-great-nephew of the Rev. Dr John Hunt, for answering my questions and for providing me with a photograph of his ancestor, as well as a family tree and other relevant documents and photographs; Mr Clive Southgate of St Bartholomew’s Church, Otford, for providing me with information about John Hunt’s time as Vicar of Otford; Mr Edwin Thompson of the Otford and District Historical Society, who has been very accommodating in supplying me with several items of importance from the Otford and District Historical Society archive, including the text of Harold Hart’s pamphlet and several photographs of interest.
This book has been published with the generous support of the Goodliff Fund of the Huntingdonshire Local History Society, to which I am deeply indebted.
Finally, I should like to thank friends and others who have helped me with suggestions and information or read and commented on parts of the manuscript, in particular Dr Charles Beresford, Professor Nicholas Boyle, Mr Ian Dobson, Mrs Bridget Flanagan, Professor John Flood, Mr Peter Glazebrook, Mr Rolf Lunsmann, Dr Carol Regulski, and Mr James Warren.


© 2021 David Yeandle, CC BY 4.0 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0248.16
The present work is based on a little-known booklet, published by the Rev. Dr John Hunt (born Bridgend, Perth, 1827, died Otford, Kent, 1907). 1 The original copy that I have used is in the possession of the Norris Museum, St Ives, Cambridgeshire (formerly Huntingdonshire) and contains manuscript annotations by Mrs Eliza Hunt, 2 the first wife of the author. These provide a key to the many anonymous and pseudonymous references in the text.
The first edition of the booklet (1865) appears to be extremely rare. Reference is made to its availability by post from the freethinking publisher of liberal tracts, Thomas Scott, of Ramsgate. 3 The second edition (1867) is still to be encountered in a number of libraries, including the British Library, but it is nonetheless rare, although it is now available online. The author of Clergymen Made Scarce remained anonymous, referring to himself as ‘A Presbyter’. 4 The booklet was issued ostensibly as an open letter to the Bishop of London. The second edition was augmented by a postscript, containing ‘two years’ further experience in the country’.
The booklet deals with John Hunt’s experiences as a curate in the Church of England. 5 The first part, which appeared also in the first edition, concerns the numerous curacies that Hunt held in London; the postscript relates directly to his time at All Saints’, St Ives, in Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire), where he served as curate from 1865 to 1866, when he was aged 38–39. Both parts provide a significant insight at parish level into the corruption and turmoil in the Church of England in Victorian times.
Hunt is not unique in writing about the lot of the struggling curate who is trying to make his way in the Victorian Church of England, but he offers a unique personal perspective. In his person, we encounter, a singular conjunction of factors: he is a Scotsman of lowly birth, educated at a Scottish university. He thus brings a distinctive, atypical viewpoint from which to observe the largely middle- and upper-class Church of England in the nineteenth century. He has no social connections, no influential patronage. He is intelligent and witty. He has only his natural intelligence on which to rely for preferment. He does not suffer fools gladly and is not prepared to submit to those in higher authority who are intellectually his inferiors. He is not dogmatic but is flexible and rational in all that he does. His industry is phenomenal. His published output is immense. He is adaptable in his ability to minister alongside Low-Church and more catholically minded incumbents in both town and country.
In many of these facets, he reflects the state of typical aspects of the Victorian Church but from a distinctive personal point of view and often in sharper focus.
Hunt’s book traces the insecurities of a curate’s existence and also the difficulties he had in establishing himself and gaining a permanent living, including the obstacles of class, origins, and education. The conflict between theologies in response to an age of s

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