Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dealtry, Thomas

DEALTRY, THOMAS, D.D. (1796–1861), third bishop of Madras, was born in 1796 of poor parents at Knottingley in Yorkshire. He was in a great measure self-taught. At an early age he became an usher in a school at Doncaster, and subsequently was employed as a private tutor in several families. He was twice married before he went to Cambridge, where in 1825 he was matriculated pensioner of St. Catharine Hall, supporting himself while working for his degree by private tuition. He took the degree of LL.B. in 1829, his name appearing in the first class of the ‘Law Class List’ for 1827–8. He was ordained in 1828, and held for a time a curacy in St. Peter's Church, Cambridge. He there attracted by his preaching the attention of Charles Simeon, at whose Friday evening meetings he made the acquaintance of the Rev. Thomas Thomason, then recently returned from India. At his instance and through the intervention of Simeon, Dealtry was offered and accepted a chaplaincy in Bengal, to which he was appointed early in 1829. Immediately on his arrival at Calcutta he was attached to the old or mission church, of which he retained charge during the whole of his service as a chaplain. In 1835 he was appointed by Bishop Wilson archdeacon of Calcutta. In 1848 he left India on furlough, and shortly after reaching England succeeded Baptist Noel [q. v.] in the incumbency of St. John's Church, Bedford Row. In the following year he was consecrated bishop of Madras, and was installed at Madras on 2 Feb. 1850, holding that see until his death, which took place on 4 March 1861.

Like his eminent predecessors on the roll of Bengal chaplains, Brown, Martyn, Buchanan, Thomason, and Corrie, Dealtry combined with his work as a government chaplain, and in after years with his duties as bishop of Madras, an active and practical interest in missions, filling for some years the post of honorary secretary to the Church Missionary Society at Calcutta, and contributing liberally throughout his Indian life to the various mission funds. By the missionaries, both of the church of England and of the protestant dissenting bodies, he was regarded as a staunch and cordial friend. He was an earnest and effective preacher, leaning in his doctrine to the teaching of the evangelical school, but actuated by a catholic sympathy with christian work of every denomination. The late Archdeacon Dealtry, for some years archdeacon of Madras, and latterly vicar of Maidstone, was his only son.

[Men whom India has known, Madras, 1871; Madras Church Missionary Record, July, 1861; India Office Records; personal information.]

A. J. A.