Excellent Dr Stanley: The Life of Dean Stanley of Westminster by John Witheridge - review by Stephen Bates

Stephen Bates

Arnold’s Boy

Excellent Dr Stanley: The Life of Dean Stanley of Westminster

By

Michael Russell Publishing 400pp £24 order from our bookshop
 

Who remembers Dean Stanley now? He is a rather wan figure among the noisy, disputatious, pugnacious clerics who bustle forward whenever 19th-century English Christianity is mentioned: men like his contemporaries Newman, Keble and Pusey, Soapy Sam Wilberforce and George Cornelius Gorham, whose views on baptism so outraged the Bishop of Exeter when he was appointed to the living of Brampford Speke in 1847 that he was subjected to 52 hours of interrogation.

Arthur Stanley was not like that. This latest – and perhaps last ever – biography, by the headmaster of Charterhouse, shows a man who could have fitted right in with the modern Church of England: broad in sympathies, if not particularly progressive, and, for the period, unusually tolerant of those

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