The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Bishop of Oxford

Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford

A carte-de-visite portrait of Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873), Bishop of Oxford from 1845 to 1869, and Bishop of Winchester from 1869 to 1873.

The third son of the leading British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1782-1833), Samuel was consecrated Bishop of Oxford on 30 November 1845, when he was still only forty years old. Nowadays, he most remembered as the foe of Darwin and the denouncer of the theory of evolution, which, he maintained, contradicted the story of Creation as told in Genesis. In 1860 he took part in a fierce debate at Oxford with Thomas Huxley, who was a friend of Darwin's and a champion of his theories. He was in sympathy with the Oxford Movement's scholarship and shared its views of the historical nature of the episcopacy. As early as his student days, his slipperiness in theological arguments earned him the nickname Soapy Sam.

He died on 19 July 1873, as a result of a fall from his horse near Dorking in Surrey.

Photographed by Hills and Saunders of Oxford [and branches].


Code: 123431
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