Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hort, Josiah

HORT, JOSIAH (1674?–1751), archbishop of Tuam, born about 1674, was the son of John Hort of Marshfield, South Gloucestershire. He was educated in London from 1690 to 1695 at the academy for nonconformist ministers kept by Thomas Rowe, apparently in Little Britain, London. It appears from Jeremy's ‘Presbyterian Fund,’ p. xi, that Hort's education was assisted by an exhibition from that fund. (Exhibitions were granted to students at Rowe's academy between 1690 and 1693.) Dr. Isaac Watts, one of Hort's fellow-students and lifelong friend and correspondent, described him as ‘the first genius in the academy,’ and dedicated to him his paraphrase from Martial in 1694. On the completion of his studies, Hort is said to have spent some time as pastor of a dissenting congregation at Newbury, but the records of the two nonconformist congregations there fail to support this. Cole mentions a report that Hort was a presbyterian teacher at Soham, Cambridgeshire. According to Murch's ‘Presbyterian and General Baptist Churches of the West,’ pp. 41 sq., Hort was assistant minister at Marshfield. But he soon conformed to the church of England, and entered Clare Hall, Cambridge, in April 1704. He left Cambridge without a degree in 1705. Being in the same year ordained deacon by Bishop More of Norwich, and priest by Bishop Simon Patrick of Ely, he was for sometime chaplain to John Hampden, M.P. for Buckinghamshire, and held in succession three benefices in Buckinghamshire. In 1709 he went to Ireland as chaplain to Earl Wharton, lord-lieutenant. He was nominated in 1710 by the crown to the parish of Kilskyre, diocese of Meath, but protracted litigation ensued as to the right of patronage (Erck, Ecclesiastical Register, Dublin, 1830, App. p. 275). When in 1717 the case was decided in the crown and Hort's favour, on appeal to the British House of Lords, Hort resigned his English benefice. In 1718 he became dean of Cloyne and rector of Louth, in 1720 dean of Ardagh, and early in 1721 bishop of Ferns and Leighlin (Mant, Hist. of the Church of Ireland, ii. 375–9, London, 1840). Archbishop King of Dublin refused to take part in Hort's consecration as bishop, because Hort, in his letters patent, was erroneously styled D.D. He, however, issued a commission for the purpose. Archbishop King's action gave rise to the rumour that Hort had never received holy orders in the church of England. According to Bishop Henry Downes, it was rumoured at the time that the Archbishops of Armagh, Dublin, and Tuam petitioned the king to recall Hort's nomination, probably on account of his early connection with nonconformists (Archbishop Nicolson, Correspondence, ed. John Nichols, London, 1809). Hort was translated to the united sees of Kilmore and Ardagh in 1727, and, retaining Ardagh in commendam, to the archiepiscopal see of Tuam in 1742. About 1738 his voice failed from over-exertion, and he was disabled from preaching (pref. to Sermons, 1738). Contemptuous reference is made to him in Swift's ‘Great Storm of Christmas 1722.’ He is said to have been the last magnate who ate his dinner from a wooden trencher. The archbishop died on 14 Dec. 1751, and was interred in St. George's Chapel, Dublin. He married in 1725 Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon. William Fitzmaurice, brother of the twentieth Lord Kerry, and uncle of the twenty-first Lord and first Earl of Kerry. Hort had two sons and four daughters. John Hort, his second son, was appointed English consul-general at Lisbon in 1767, was created a baronet in the same year, and died on 23 Oct. 1807, being succeeded by his son, Josiah William, whose grandson, Fenton Josiah, is the present baronet.

In 1738 Hort published at Dublin a volume consisting of sixteen sermons, which reached a second edition. His ‘Charge to the Clergy of Kilmore’ was published in 1729. Another ‘Charge,’ delivered at his primary visitation of the diocese of Tuam, first issued in 1742, was republished in the ‘Clergyman's Instructor,’ Oxford, 1807. Many of Hort's sermons were also printed separately.

[Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hib. passim; Memoir in the Clergyman's Instructor, 6th edit. pp. 333 seq., Oxford, 1855; Monthly Mag. (1803), xv. 144, where Hort's christian name is wrongly given as John; Ware's Bishops, ed. Harris, ii. 451; notes kindly supplied by the Rev. Alexander Gordon.]

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