Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hare, Augustus William

HARE, AUGUSTUS WILLIAM (1792–1834), divine, second son of Francis Hare-Naylor [q. v.] of Hurstmonceaux, Sussex, by his first wife, was born at Rome 17 Nov. 1792. He received his names from his godfathers, Prince Augustus Frederick and Sir William Jones. At five years old he was adopted by Sir William's widow, his mother's eldest sister, and his parents took him to England to place him in her care. Henceforward his home was entirely with his aunt at Worting House, near Basingstoke, whence he only paid occasional visits to his parents.

Lady Jones sent Hare to Winchester as a commoner in 1804, and he went into college at election 1806. Weak health prevented his especially distinguishing himself, but in 1810 he was elected to a vacancy at New College. With his school-friends he established one of the first Oxford debating clubs, 'The Attic Society,' which supplied his chief interest at college. Lady Jones wished him to qualify himself for the rich family living of Hurstmonceaux by taking orders, and he incurred her extreme displeasure by the repugnance he felt to such a step. In the last years of his undergraduate life he offended the college authorities by an attempt to extinguish the privileges of founder's kin at Winchester and New College, and he printed an attack, in the form of a letter to his friend George Martin, on the exceptional privilege which permitted New College men to graduate without public examinations.

After a long absence in Italy Hare returned to New College as a tutor in 1818. In June 1824 he published a defence of the Gospel narrative of the Resurrection, entitled ' A Layman's Letters to the Authors of the "Trial of the Witnesses."' In 1825 he was ordained in Winchester College Chapel. In 1827 with his brother Julius [q. v.] he published 'Guesses at Truth, by two Brothers.' On 2 June 1829, having been recently appointed to the small college living of Alton-Barnes, Hare married Maria Leycester, daughter of the rector of Stoke-upon-Terne. In his tiny parish, isolated in the corn-plains at the foot of the Wiltshire downs, he spent the next four years as the loving father and friend of his people. He was absolutely unselfish and devoted to his duties. It seemed part of his nature to consider others before himself. To his people he spoke in the familiar language of ordinary life, making use of apt illustrations drawn from their simple surroundings. Since his death many of his sermons have been widely read, through the two volumes known as 'The Alton Sermons, or Sermons to a Country Congregation,' London, 1837, 8vo. On the death of an uncle in 1831 the family living of Hurstmonceaux fell vacant, and was offered to him by his eldest brother, but he could not bear to leave his quiet home at Alton. He continued to lead with his devoted wife an ideally happy existence till his failing health obliged them to go for the winter to Italy, where he died at Rome, 18 Feb. 1834. He was buried at the foot of the pyramid of Caius Cestius, in the old protestant cemetery. His widow, who survived till 13 Nov. 1870, went to live in the parish of her brother-in-law Julius, and is buried in Hurstmonceaux churchyard.

[Augustus J. C. Hare's Memorials of a Quiet Life, 1872; manuscript letters of Mrs. Hare-Naylor to Lady Jones; letters of Lady Jones to Augustus Hare; letters of Augustus Hare to Lady Jones.]

A. J. C. H.