Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Meyrick, Frederick

MEYRICK, FREDERICK (1827–1906), divine, born at Ramsbury vicarage, Wiltshire, on 28 Jan. 1827, was the youngest son of Edward Graves Meyrick, vicar of Ramsbury, by his wife Myra Howard. He claimed descent from the ancient family of Meyricks of Bodorgan, Anglesey, through Rowland Merrick or Meyrick, bishop of Bangor, 1559-66 [q. v.]. Educated first at Ramsbury school, he won a scholarship at Trinity College, Oxford, and matriculated on 12 June 1843. He graduated B.A., with a second class in final classical school, in 1847, and proceeded M.A. in 1850. Elected fellow of Trinity in 1847, he travelled on the Continent with pupils, closely observing ecclesiastical affairs. One result was the establishment in 1853 of the Anglo-Continental Society, of which Meyrick for forty-six years acted as secretary. The results of his observations in Spain he published as 'The Practical Working of the Church of Spain (1851).'

Returning to Oxford, Meyrick was ordained deacon in 1850 and priest in 1852; became tutor of Trinity; took an active part in the discussion of university reform; crossed swords with H. E. Manning [q. v.] over Roman catholic ethics as represented by Liguori's works; was select preacher at Oxford (1855-6 and 1875-6), and Whitehall preacher (1856-7). In 1859 he was appointed an inspector of schools, and resigned his fellowship in the following year. In 1868 Meyrick was instituted to the rectory of Blickling with Erpingham, Norfolk, where he spent the remainder of his life. From 1868 to 1885 he served the bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Wordsworth [q. v.], as examining chaplain, and in 1869 became a non-residentiary canon of Lincoln.

The Vatican Council of 1870 gave new life to Meyrick's interest in continental affairs. He visited Dollinger at the time of his excommunication, and attended the Bonn conferences on reunion (1874 and 1875), which he helped to organise. During 1886 he was principal of Codrington College, Barbadoes, a theological training institution. In 1892 he accompanied the archbishop of Dublin, Lord Plunket [q. v. Suppl. I], on a journey in Spain for the aid of the reformed church; and on the archbishop's consecration in 1894 of Bishop Cabrera he drew up an address, largely signed, in support of Lord Plunket's action. In 1898 he resigned the secretaryship of the Anglo-Continental Church Society, and in 1899 ended the publication of the 'Foreign Church Chronicle,' which he had edited for twenty years. In 1904 he took part in the ritual controversy, identifying himself more intimately with the moderate evangelicals. He died at Blickling on 3 Jan. 1906, and is commemorated in the church by a window. A wide traveller, an accomplished linguist, and a clever disputant, he hindered his ecclesiastical advancement by his controversial zeal. He married in 1859 Marion E. Danvers, who with two sons and five daughters survived him.

Meyrick contributed to periodical literature; to Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible' (1860, 1863), to the 'Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Antiquities' (1875), and to 'A Protestant Dictionary' (1904); to the 'Speaker's Commentary' (Joel and Obadiah, 1876; Ephesians, 1880); to the 'Pulpit Commentary' (Leviticus, 1882); and to the 'One Volume Commentary' (1905). His 'Memories' (1905) is especially useful for its account of his contemporaries at Oxford and for its view of Anglican interest in the Old Catholic and other reform movements on the Continent. In connection with these movements he translated into Latin and other languages standard works of English divines, and was the author of several anti-Roman pamphlets. He also published:

  1. 'Moral Theology of the Church of Rome,' 1856.
  2. 'The Outcast and the Poor of London,' 1858.
  3. 'University and Whitehall Sermons,' 1859.
  4. 'Is Dogma a Necessity?' 1883.
  5. 'The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion restated,' 1885; 4th edit. 1899.
  6. 'The Church in Spain,' 1892.
  7. 'Scriptural and Catholic Truth and Worship,' 1901; 2nd edit. 1908.

[F. Meyrick, Memories of Life at Oxford, &c., 1905; The Times, 4 and 17 Jan. 1906; Guardian, 10 Jan. 1906; J. H. Overton and E. Wordsworth, Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln, 1888, p. 379; G. W. Kitchin, Edward Harold Browne, D.D., 1895, pp. 229-231; D. C. Lathbury, Correspondence on Church and Religion of W. E. Gladstone, 1910, i. 135, 215; A. F. Hort, Life and Letters of F. J. A. Hort, 1896, i. 348; private information.]

A. R. B.