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William Boyd-Carpenter

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William Boyd-Carpenter

William Boyd Carpenter
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
Parents Rev. Henry Carpenter, Hester Boyd
Relatives Archibald Boyd (uncle)
Sir Archibald Boyd-Carpenter MP (son)
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 license 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.[2] Their eldest son was Archibald Boyd.

William Boyd Carpenter eventually fathered a total of 5 sons and 6 daughters. He married his first wife, Harriet Charlotte Peers, in 1864; she bore him 8 children. He married a second wife, Annie Maude Gardner, in 1883, who bore him three further children.[3] The eldest Grandson, Francis was the father of Sir Henry Boyd-Carpenter KCVO (11 October 1939) Senior Partner of Farrer & Co,the Royal Solicitors. His second son William became Professor of Oriental Languages at Georgetown University, Washington DC. His grandson Michael (19 February 1932) was Senior Partner of Joseph Sebag & Co Stockbrokers. 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).His children are Viscountess Hailsham.[4] & Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter .

Education and career

Carpenter was educated at the Royal Institution, Liverpool, and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and was appointed Hulsean lecturer at Cambridge in 1878.[5] 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.[6]

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.[4]


His publications include.:[4]

  • 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)

"God in all things"

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…"[7]


"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.[8]

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?"[8]

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 …"[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

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 (theologian) 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.[11]


External links

  • Project Canterbury
  • David Morris, "Bishop Boyd Carpenter: Sheep or Shepherd in the Eugenics Movement?", [1]
Religious titles
Preceded by
Robert Bickersteth
Bishop of Ripon
Succeeded by
Thomas Wortley Drury

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