Reverend Stopford Augustus Brooke 14,15,19,329,418
- Born: 14 November 1832, Glendoen, Letterkenny, Donegal
- Marriage: Emma Diana Wentworth-Beaumont on 23 March 1858
- Died: 18 March 1916, Four Winds, Cranleigh, Surrey aged 83
W. L Brooke is listed as staying at the hotel with Stopford Brooke, b c 1835 in Ireland and was a barrister. Possible brother?
From The Times, March 20, 1916
We regret to announce that the Rev. Stopford Brooke, the noted
preacher and literary and art critic, died on Saturday at his
residence at Ewhurst, Surrey.
Stopford Augustus Brooke was a member of a well-known Irish family,
General Brooke being his brother and Lord Courtown his cousin. He was
the eldest son of Richard Sinclair Brooke and of his wife, Anna
Stopford; was born at Letterkenny, county Donegal, in 1832; went to
school at Kidderminster and Kingstown; and graduated at Trinity
College, Dublin, where he obtained the Downe prize and the
Vice-Chancellor's prize for English verse. He was soon afterwards
ordained, becoming curate of St. Matthew, Marylebone, in 1857. From
this time his life was passed in London. He married a sister of Mr.
Wentworth Beaumont (afterwards Lord Allendale), and, after he became
in 1860 curate to Mr. Maclagan (subsequently Archbishop of York) at
St. Mary Abbot's Kensington, he quickly became known for the eloqence
of his sermons, and for his interest in matters literary and artistic.
In 1866 he became minister of St. James's Chapel, York-street, St.
James's-square, where he remained till the chapel was demolished in
1875; and before long his Sunday services were crowded by
distinguished congregations, who listened eagerly to the sermons of a
man who had already become one of the leaders of the Liberal movement
in the Church of England. Before this, in 1865, Mr. Brooke had
published what still remains, in the opinion of many, his most
important book, the "Life and Letters of Frederick W. Robertson". To
a certain number of friends and persons interested in religious
movement "Robertson of Brighton" was even then an inspiring name, and
a beloved memory; but it remained for Mr. Stopford Brooke to make him
known all over England and America.
A Follower of Ruskin
If Mr. Brooke in his own doctrines followed any leader, it was not
Maurice, nor Kingsley, nor Jowett, but Frederick Robinson; though he
was perhaps influenced even more, if we regard the whole body of his
opinions, by Mr. Ruskin. Captivated by the beauty of that great
writer's style, and taught by him to find perfection in Florentino and
Venetian art, Mr. Brooke may be said to have enrolled himself almost
without reservation, at least for a time, among the band of Mr.
Ruskin's followers. His own natural exuberance of fancy and of
diction, which he shared with so many other Irishmen, led him to feel
a close affinity with the most eloquent, the most pictorial, of
English writers, while in later years, when he had ceased to agree
with some of Mr. Ruskin's aesthetic dogmas, his passionate interest in
social questions made him adopt, with the Socialists, a good many of
the Coniston prophet's social theories.
The death of his wife, about 1872, was a terrible blow to Mr. Brooke,
but it did not break up the home in Manchester-square or interrupt the
course of his clerical work. He flung himself more and more upon the
consoling influences of friendship; and few men had warmer friends
that J. R. Green, F. T. Palgrave, and some others were to him in those
days. He was appointed Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen in 1872, and
after losing St. James's Chapel he became lessee and minister of
Bedford Chapel, Bloomsbury. Several volumes of sermons appeared from
time to time, growing gradually less and less dogmatic in tone, so
that no great surprise was caused when, in 1880, Mr. Brooke announced
that he had seceded from the Established Church of England. From this
time he acted with the Unitarians, though his relation to that body
was hardly one of complete adoption. He used, for example, his own
liturgy, freely adapted from the Church of England Prayer-book; and in
all matters of ritual he continued to conform pretty closely to the
Of course a certain number of his congregation left him, but their
places were filled by others, and during all the years of his
occupancy of Bedford Chapel he continued to preach to large audiences
twice on every Sunday in the year, except during the two months of his
autumn holiday, which he generally spent in his beloved Italy. Often
the evening sermons were avowedly lectures on literary subjects,
especially on the lives and works of English poets. Of these Mr.
Brooke had a great knowledge, which grew deeper and more comprehensive
to the end; and his judgments, if sometimes a little exuberantly
expressed, were always sympathetic and often profoundly true. His
well-known little "Primer of English Literature" was thought by
Matthew Arnold worthy of a most respectful and laudatory review; and
his various purblished discourses on the poets are not mere moral
essays - they are often brilliant pieces of criticism.
The Study of Poetry
How seriously he worked at his own subjects is shown by that
monumental fragment of a "History of Early English Literature" which
was all he lived to accomplish. The two large volumes - dealing with
poetry to the Accession of Alfred - only brought the history down to
what most of us would call the infancy of the language, so deeply had
the writer tried to sound and probe the origins of a literature which
he always maintained to be the greatest in the world. His singualr
gift for interpreting poetic movements was equally conspicuous during
the closing years of his life, when he specially divoted himself to
the study of 19th century poetry. The study of Tennyson which he
published in 1894 was followed in 1902 by a book on "The Poetry of
Robert Browning", perhaps the most illuminating criticism of the poet
which has a appeared. "Studies in Poetry" (1907) dealt with Blake,
Scott, Keats, and Shelley; while Clough, Arnold, Rossetti, and Morris
were studied in "Four Poets" (1908). Apart from these, and one or two
other published works, and from his successful advocacy to the
purchase of Dove Cottage as a memorial to Wordsworth, Mr. Brooke had
been for the last 10 or 12 years less prominently before the world.
His health was not good, and frequently caused great anxiety to his
friends. But some years ago a lectureship in literature was founded
for him, and he was able to deliver several courses of lectures as
well as to preach frequently, especially at Hampstead.
He retained considerable personal influence; he wrote eloquently and
talked well and he divided his interest pretty equally between liberal
religion, the social question, pure literature, and art. Of the last
he was at once a passionate appreciator and a good judge, though he
was out of sympathy with most of its modern developments. He admired
Tintoret, Turner, and the Italian landscape painter Giovanni Costa;
for he looked above all other elements in art to its power of giving
imaginative pleasure. He was thus as little likely to care for the
harsh realsim of Manet and his imitators as he was, in the social
field, to care for the ruthless commercialism which his friends Ruskin
and William Morris denounced so fiercely.
Mr. Brooke leaves a son, Stopford, who became a Unitarian minister,
with a thriving church in Boston, U.S.A.; returning to England he sate
as Liberal M.P. for Bow and Bromley from 1906 to 1910, and afterwards
unsuccessfully contested the Bassetlaw division. Of his daughers, one
is married to Mr. Jacks, Principal of Manchester College, at Oxford,
one to her cousin, Mr. Leslie Brooke, the artist, and one to Mr. T.W.
Rolleston, author and journalist.
Educated at Kidderminster grammar school and Trinity College, Dublin.
Ordained in London on 7 June 1857. Appointed Chaplain to the British
Embassy in Berlin in 1826.
Noted events in his life were:
1. Census UK 1871: 1871, 1 Manchester Square, Marylebone, London.
2. Census UK 1881: 1881, 1 Manchester Square, Marylebone, London.
3. Visitor: 1891, Rothay Hotel, Grasmere, Westmoreland.
4. He retired in 1895.
5. Boarder: 1901, 135 Hayley Road, Edgbaston, Warwickshire.
6. Census UK 1911: 1911, 1 Manchester Square, Marylebone, London. 8
7. He was cremated on 22 March 1916 in Woking Crematorium.
8. His funeral was held on 22 March 1916 in Four Winds, Cranleigh, Surrey.
9. Memorial Service: 22 March 1916, Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead.
Stopford married Emma Diana Wentworth-Beaumont, daughter of Thomas Wentworth-Beaumont and Unknown, on 23 March 1858. (Emma Diana Wentworth-Beaumont was born in 1831 in London and died in 1874.)