Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Burton, Charles (1793-1866)

BURTON, CHARLES (1793–1866), theologian, was born in 1793 at Rhodes Hall, Middleton, Lancashire, the seat of his father, Mr. Daniel Burton, a cotton manufacturer, of whom he was the youngest son. He was educated at the university of Glasgow and St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated LL.B. in 1822. In 1829 he was incorporated B.C.L. at Magdalen College, Oxford, on 14 Oct., and received the degree of D.C.L. on the following day.

His family were Wesleyans, and he was for a time a minister of that denomination, but was ordained in 1816, and the church of All Saints, Manchester, was built by him at a cost of 18,000l., and consecrated in 1820, when he became rector, after serving for a short time as curate of St. James's in the same town. The greater part of the church was destroyed by fire on 6 Feb. 1850. He had considerable reputation as a preacher. His writings are : 1. 'Horæ Poeticæ,' 1815. 2. 'Middleton, an elegiac poem,' Glasgow, 1820 (printed for private circulation). 3. 'A Selection of Psalms and Hymns, including original compositions,' Manchester, 1820. 4. 'The Bardiad, a poem in two cantos,' London (Manchester), 1823. This came to a second edition in the same year. 5. 'A Sermon on the Parable of the Barren Figtree,' London (Manchester), 1823. 6. 'Three Discourses adapted to the opening of the Nineteenth Century; exhibiting the portentous and auspicious signs and cardinal duties of the times,' Manchester, 1825. 7. 'The Day of Judgment, a Sermon on the death of Ann, wife of Rev. John Morton,' Manchester, 1826. 8. 'The Servant's Monitor' (? Manchester, 1829). This was originally published at the expense of the Manchester Society for the Encouragement of Faithful Female Servants. 9. 'Sentiments appropriate to the present Crisis of unexampled Distress; a Sermon,' Manchester, 1826. 10. 'Discourses suited to these Eventful and Critical Times,' London, 1832 (preached at the Episcopal Chapel, Broad Court, Drury Lane, London, of which Burton is said, on the title-page, to be minister). 11. 'A Discourse on Protestantism, delivered on the occasion of admitting two Roman Catholics to the Protestant Communion' (? Manchester, 1840). 12. 'The Church and Dissent: an appeal to Independents, Presbyterians, Methodists, and other Sects, &c.,' Manchester, 1840. 13. 'The Watchman's Cry, or Protestant England roused from her Slumber; a Discourse,' Manchester, 1840. 14. 'Lectures on the Millennium,' London, 1841. The millennium is to begin in 1868. 15. 'Lectures on the World before the Flood,' London (Manchester), 1844. An attempt to harmonise the literal narrative of Genesis with the discoveries of science. 16. 'Lectures on the Deluge and the World after the Flood,' London (Manchester), 1845. 17. 'Lectures on Popery,' Manchester, 1851. 18. 'A Demonstration of Catholic Truth by a plain and final Argument against the Socinian Heresy, a discourse,' Manchester, 1853. 19. 'The Comet,' 'The World on Fire,' The World after the Fire,' 'The New Heaven and the New Earth,' are titles of single sermons issued in 1858. 20. 'The Antiquity of the British Church, a lecture,' Manchester, 1861. This is a pamphlet on the Liberation Society controversy.

In addition to his theological studies Burton had a great fondness for botanical pursuits, and his discovery in Anglesea of a plant new to science led to his election as fellow of the Linnean Society. While on a visit at Western Lodge, Durham, he was attacked by typhus fever of a virulent nature, and died after three weeks' illness on 6 Sept. 1866.

[Manchester Courier, 8 Sept. 1866; British Museum General Catalogue; Illustrated London News, 16 Feb. 1850; private information.]

W. E. A. A.