Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Villiers, Henry Montagu

VILLIERS, HENRY MONTAGU (1813–1861), bishop of Durham, fifth son of George Villiers (1759–1827), and younger brother of George William Frederick Villiers, fourth earl of Clarendon [q. v.], was born in London on 4 Jan. 1813. He matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 29 April 1830, held a studentship at his college from 1830 to 1838, graduated B.A. in 1834, M.A. in 1837, and became D.D. by diploma on 28 Feb. 1856. In 1836 he was ordained to the curacy of Deane, Lancashire, and on 25 Jan. 1837 was removed to the vicarage of Kenilworth, Warwickshire. The lord chancellor (Lord Lyndhurst) gave him the wealthy rectory of St. George's, Bloomsbury, London, in 1841, and it was as rector of St. George's that he made his reputation, displaying great ability and untiring zeal in the management of his large parish. He was an extreme low churchman, and especially appealed as a preacher to the poor. The dissenters in his vestry eagerly supported him, and with men of every sect and stamp who belonged to the evangelical order he avowed the fullest sympathy. He introduced an admirable system of management into his parochial schools. From 26 March 1847 to 1856 he was a canon of St. Paul's Cathedral. No minister in London was more popular than Villiers when in 1856 he was appointed by Palmerston to the bishopric of Carlisle. He was consecrated at Whitehall on 13 April, and proved himself not less energetic in a diocese than he had been in a parish. In June 1860 he was translated to the see of Durham. Great things were expected from his energy and tact in Durham, where the spiritual provisions were very deficient; but he died at the Castle, Bishop Auckland, on 9 Aug. 1861, and was buried in the chapel of the Castle on 16 Aug.

He had been raised to the rank of an earl's son by a royal warrant in 1839. He married, on 30 Jan. 1837, Amelia Maria, eldest daughter of William Hulton of Hulton Park, Lancashire. She died on 5 Feb. 1871, leaving, besides four daughters, Henry Montagu, born in 1837, vicar of St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, since 1881; and Frederick Ernest, born in 1841, captain in the Royal Herts yeomanry.

Villiers published numerous charges, lectures, sermons, and prefaces to books.

[Times, 10 and 19 Aug. 1861; Illustrated London News, 1854, xxiv. 400; Illustrated News of the World, 1859, vol. iii.; Gent. Mag. 1861, ii. 324; Drawing-room Portrait Gallery, 1859, 2nd ser. portrait iii.; Church of England Photographic Portrait Gallery, 1859, portrait viii.]

G. C. B.