Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Venn, Richard

VENN, RICHARD (1691–1740), divine, born at Holbeton, Devonshire, on 7 Jan. 1690–1, was eldest and only surviving son of Dennis Venn, vicar of Holbeton, himself the third in a direct line of clerical ancestors who graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, and held livings in Devonshire. He entered at Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge, 1709, with a scholarship from Blundell's school, Tiverton, and graduated B.A. in 1712–13, and M.A. in 1716. He soon went to London, where he was probably curate to Thomas Bennet (1673–1728) [q. v.] He became rector of St. Antholin's in 1725, and was also weekday preacher there, preacher at Paul's Cross, and clerk of St. Giles's, Cripplegate. He acquired the reputation of a learned divine of strong high-church views, and formed close friendships with Francis Hare [q. v.], bishop of Chichester, Edmund Gibson [q. v.], bishop of London, and many of the leading London clergy. He is best known by his opposition to the appointment of Thomas Rundle [q. v.] to the bishopric of Gloucester in 1734, from the belief that Rundle held deistical opinions. The affair caused much public ferment, and government finally appointed Rundle to the bishopric of Derry in Ireland (Whiston, Memoirs, p. 229; Letters by several Eminent Persons deceased, London, 1782, ii. 35). During the controversy Venn was vigorously attacked by Arthur Ashley Sykes [q. v.], who wrote under the title of ‘A Gentleman of the Temple.’

Venn died on 16 Feb. 1739–40, and was buried at St. Antholin's. He married (license dated 2 Nov. 1716) Mary Anna Isabella Margaretta Beatrix (d. 1762), only surviving child of John Ashton [q. v.], and god-daughter of James II's queen. Her father was executed in 1691 for complicity in a Jacobite plot. By her Venn had three sons and a daughter. Of his sons, Edward graduated at St. John's, Cambridge, and became a physician at Ipswich; Richard was in business in London; and Henry [q. v.] is separately noticed. The daughter, Mary, married William James Gambier of Camberwell. A volume of Venn's miscellaneous writings was published by his widow in 1740, under the title ‘Tracts and Sermons.’

[Principally from manuscript Parentalia, communicated by his son Henry, and written by his grandson, John.]

J. V.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.270
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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210 ii 27-28 Venn, Richard: omit usually known as the Bangorian controversy,