Berry, Charles (DNB00)

BERRY, CHARLES (1783–1877), unitarian minister, was born 10 Nov. 1783 at Romsey, Hants; a direct descendant of James Berry [q. v.], colonel of a regiment of horse, and afterwards one of Cromwell's major-generals; whose son John, a London West India merchant, married Anne, daughter of Sir Charles Wolseley, and was father of Rev. Charles Berry, of Shrewsbury (d. 1741, æt. 41). This presbyterian minister's son John was a jeweller at Birmingham, and father of Rev. John Berry (d. about 1821), independent minister successively at Shaftesbury, Romsey, and West Bromwich, classical tutor at Homerton College, and finally minister at Camberwell till his retirement from ill-health (so Clephan; Waddington, in Surrey Cong. Hist. 1866, p. 171, gives William Berry of Warminster as the pastor who resigned Camberwell Green, from ill-health, in 1812). Rev. John Berry left four sons, John (d. 8 Nov. 1867, æt. 88); Joseph, an independent minister (d. 2 Aug. 1864, æt. 82); Charles; and Cornelius, for fifty-three years independent minister at Hatfield Heath, Essex (d. 8 Sept. 1864, æt. 76). Charles was educated for the independent ministry at Homerton, entering in 1799, at the time when Dr. Pye Smith succeeded John Berry as classical tutor. He acted as assistant to Pye Smith in a course of chemical experiments. In 1802 some of the students, including Charles Berry, developed heretical views. Berry left Homerton, and in 1803, at the age of twenty, became minister of the Great Meeting, Leicester, in succession to Robert Jacomb. Here he ministered till 1869, having Rev. Charles Clement Coe, F.R.G.S., as colleague from 1865. In 1808 he opened a school which he maintained for over thirty years. To him Dr. Parr addressed, 19 Dec. 1819, his famous letter on the methods of classical training (Parr's Works, ed. Johnston, 1828, viii. 481–6). His pupils included many who afterwards distinguished themselves in public life. In 1810 he married Ann (d. 24 May 1870, æt. 90), daughter of Thomas Paget. He was one of the founders of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, and of the Leicester Town Museum. A ripe scholar and mathematician, as a preacher he dealt with topics of common life in language pithy but studiously simple. His Christology was humanitarian; early in his ministry he had a pulpit controversy on the subject with Robert Hall, then baptist minister at Haney Lane, Leicester, with whom he maintained an unbroken friendship. He died 4 May 1877 in the house of his son-in-law, near Liverpool. He published several sermons, including: 1. 'The Duty of National Thanksgiving,' 1812. 2. 'Funeral Sermon for Queen Caroline,' 1821. 3. 'Remarks on Popery and the present Anti-papal Agitation,' 1851.

[Chn. Reformer, 1817, p. 323; Chn. Life, 1877, p. 230; Remembrance of Rev. C. B., 1877, by J. C. (James Clephan).]

A. G.