Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mendham, Joseph

MENDHAM, JOSEPH (1769–1856), controversialist, born in 1769, was the eldest son of Robert Mendham, formerly a merchant in Walbrook, London, who died at Highgate, Middlesex, 7 April 1810, aged 77, leaving a widow, who died there on 11 Oct. 1812, at the age of seventy-eight. He matriculated at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, on 27 Jan. 1789, and graduated B.A. 1792, M.A. 1795. In 1793 he was ordained a deacon in the English church, and in 1794 priest. Early in 1795 he accepted the curacy of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. On 15 Dec. in the same year he married Maria, second daughter of the Rev. John Riland, rector of Sutton Coldfield (d. 1822), by his wife Ann, daughter of Thomas Hudson of Huddersfield. His sole preferment seems to have been the incumbency of Hill Chapel in Arden, Warwickshire, to which he was licensed on 22 Aug. 1836 (Foster, Index Ecclesiasticus). In this district of Warwickshire his whole life was spent, and he died at Sutton Coldfield on 1 Nov. 1856, aged 87. His wife, who was born in 1772, died in 1841. Their only son, the Rev. Robert Riland Mendham, matriculated at Wadham College, Oxford, 12 Nov. 1816, aged 18, took the degrees of B.A. 1820, M.A. 1824, and died at Sutton Coldfield 15 June 1857. Their daughter, Ann Maria Mendham, died 1872. Both were unmarried.

Mendham was well acquainted with ancient and modern languages, especially with Spanish and Italian. He studied the points of controversy between the church of Rome and its protestant opponents, and collected a valuable library of controversial theology. This came to his nephew, the Rev. John Mendham, on whose death his widow placed the books at the disposal of Charles Hastings Collette, solicitor in Lincoln's Inn Fields, by whom a selection was made and presented to the Incorporated Law Society in Chancery Lane, London. These are described in a printed catalogue dated 1871, and in a supplement which was issued in 1874. Mendham wrote: 1. ‘An Exposition of the Lord's Prayer,’ 1803. 2. ‘Clavis Apostolica, or a Key to the Apostolic Writings,’ 1821. This originally appeared in the ‘Christian Observer’ for 1807. 3. ‘Episcopal Oath of Allegiance to the Pope.’ By Catholicus [1822]. 4. ‘Taxatio Papalis, being an Account of the Tax-books of Rome.’ By Emancipatus, 1825; 2nd edit., as ‘Spiritual Venality of Rome,’ 1836. Preface signed Joseph Mendham. 5. ‘Account of Indexes, Prohibitory and Expurgatory, of the Church of Rome,’ 1826; 2nd edit., as ‘Literary Policy of the Church of Rome exhibited,’ 1830; Supplement, 1836; Additional Supplement, 1843; whole work, 1844. 6. ‘Some Account of Discussion on Infallibility at Cherry Street Chapel, Birmingham, 30 Sept. and 1 Oct. 1830.’ By a Plain Man, 1830. 7. Watson's ‘Important Considerations,’ 1601; edited, with preface and notes, by Rev. J. Mendham, 1831. 8. ‘Life and Pontificate of Saint Pius the Fifth,’ 1832; 2nd edit., with Supplement, 1844. 9. ‘On the Proposed Papal Cathedral in Birmingham; three Letters between Catholicus Protestans [Mendham] and a Birmingham Catholic,’ 1834. 10. ‘Address to Inhabitants of Sutton Coldfield on Introduction of Popery into that Parish,’ 1834. 11. ‘Memoirs of Council of Trent,’ 1834; Supplement thereto, 1836. 12. ‘Index Librorum Prohibitorum a Sixto V Papa,’ 1835. 13. ‘Venal Indulgences and Pardons of the Church of Rome,’ 1839 (a correction of an error in this volume is given in Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. ix. p. 165). 14. ‘Index of Prohibited Books by command of the present Pope Gregory XVI,’ 1840. 15. ‘Remarks on some parts of the Rev. T. L. Green's Second Letter to Archdeacon Hodson,’ 1840. 16. ‘Modern Evasions of Christianity,’ 1840. 17. ‘Services of Church of England vindicated against certain Popular Objections,’ 1841. 18. ‘Cardinal Allen's Admonition,’ 1588; reprinted, with a preface, by Eupator, 1812. 19. ‘Acta Concilii Tridentini … a Gabriele Cardinale Paleotto descripta,’ edited by J. Mendham, 1842. 20. ‘Additions to three Minor Works: I. “Spiritual Venality;” II. “Venal Indulgences;” III. “Index by Pope Gregory,”’ 1848. 21. ‘Declaration of the Fathers of the Councell of Trent’ [on attendance at heretical services], edited by Eupator, 1850. His library at the Incorporated Law Society contains many sermons and pamphlets by him, as well as many copies of the works enumerated above, which have been annotated and prepared for further editions. He contributed to ‘Notes and Queries,’ the ‘Protestant Journal,’ and ‘Christian Observer.’ Many articles by him in the ‘Church of England Quarterly Review’ have been printed separately.

[Gent. Mag. 1795 pt. ii. p. 1054, 1810 pt. i. p. 397, 1812 pt. ii. p. 495, 1856 pt. ii. p. 780, 1857 pt. i. pp. 218–19; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 379, 385, 3rd ser. iii. 469; W. K. R. Bedford's Three Hundred Years of a Family Living, 1889, pp. 123–30, 166; Record, 5 Nov. 1856, p. 3; Halkett and Laing's Anon. Literature, i. 778, ii. 1513, iii. 2037–8, 2077, 2417, 2547.]

W. P. C.