he spoke of ‘those noxious errors, Tractarian and Neological.’ His principal work was his commentary on the Bible, which occupied him for several years. The New Testament was first published in 2 vols. 8vo, 1832–5, which was sufficiently well received to induce him to publish the Old Testament in 4 vols., 1842. It is intended for family reading, and is an excellent specimen of an explanatory and practical commentary written in the early period of modern biblical criticism and addressed especially to the moderate evangelical school. In later life he employed himself in thoroughly revising it on more distinctly protestant principles, and a new edition, in 6 vols. large 8vo, was published in 1873. He published also eleven small volumes of sermons and several single ones; these were once very popular. On one occasion Girdlestone heard one of them read from the pulpit by a preacher who was quite unconscious of the author's presence. Among numerous other works may be mentioned:
- Two volumes of ‘Devotions for Family Use and for Private Use,’ 1835.
- Two volumes of ‘Select Hymns for Public Use and for Private Use,’ 1835.
- Twenty-eight numbers of ‘Sedgley Church Tracts,’ 1831–6.
- ‘Concordance to the Prayer Book Version of the Psalms,’ 1834.
- The Bible version and the prayer-book version of the Psalms, in parallel columns, 1836.
- ‘Questions of the Day, by the Creature of an Hour,’ 1857 (anonymous).
- ‘Christendom, sketched from History in the Light of Holy Scripture,’ 1870.
- ‘Number, a Link between Divine Intelligence and Human,’ 1875.
- ‘Thoughts on Dying Daily,’ 1878.
- An expurgated edition of ‘Horace with English notes of a Christian tendency, for the Use of Schools,’ in conjunction with the Rev. W. A. Osborne, 1848.
[Personal knowledge and recollections; information from the family; a short memoir, with a photographic portrait, in the Church of England Photographic Portrait Gallery, London.]
GIRDLESTONE, EDWARD (1805–1884), canon of Bristol, youngest son of Samuel Rainbow Girdlestone, a chancery barrister, was born in London 6 Sept. 1805. An elder brother, Charles, is noticed above. He matriculated from Balliol College, Oxford, 10 June 1822, and in 1823 was admitted a scholar of his college, became B.A. in 1826, M.A. in 1829, and was ordained to the curacy of Deane, Lancashire, in 1828. Having taken priest's orders he became vicar of Deane in 1830. Lord-chancellor Cranworth, to whom he was personally unknown, conferred on him in 1854 the place of canon residentiary of Bristol Cathedral, in right of which he succeeded to the vicarage of St. Nicholas with St. Leonard, Bristol, in 1855, which he resigned in 1858 for the vicarage of Wapley with Codrington, Gloucestershire. In 1862 he became vicar of Halberton, Devonshire, and ultimately in March 1872 vicar of Olveston, near Almondsbury, Bristol. He was well known under the title of ‘The Agricultural Labourers' Friend,’ an appellation of which he was very proud. It was in 1867 that his first public efforts on behalf of the labourers were made, and at a meeting of the British Association at Norwich in the following year he suggested an agricultural labourers' union. He wrote, spoke, travelled, and organised in behalf of this object, and his name became associated with the meetings of various learned and philanthropic bodies. He was the means of removing upwards of six hundred families from the districts of the west of England, where work was scarce and poorly paid, to the more active and prosperous north. He caught cold while on a journey to visit the Prince of Wales, at Sandringham, and died of its effects in the canon's house, Bristol, 4 Dec. 1884. He was buried in the graveyard of Bristol Cathedral, 9 Dec. He married in 1832 Mary, eldest daughter of Thomas Ridgway of Wallsuches, in Deane parish. He was the author of:
- ‘Sermons,’ 1843, &c., eight pamphlets.
- ‘The Committee of Council on Education, an imaginary Enemy, a real Friend,’ 1850.
- ‘G. Marsh, the Martyr of Deane,’ 1851.
- ‘Sermons on Romanism and Tractarianism,’ 1851.
- ‘The Education Question,’ 1852.
- ‘Apostolical Succession neither proved matter of fact nor revealed in the Bible nor the Doctrine of the Church of England,’ 1857.
- ‘Reflected Truth, or the Image of God lost in Adam restored in Jesus Christ,’ 1859.
- ‘Remarks on “Essays and Reviews,”’ 1861.
- ‘Revelation and Reason,’ a lecture, 1883.
[Church of England Photographic Portrait Gallery, 1859, pt. vi., with portrait; Church Portrait Journal, August 1884, pp. 57–60, with portrait; Times, 5 Dec. 1884, p. 10, and 10 Dec. p. 6.]
GIRDLESTONE, JOHN LANG (1763–1825), classical translator, born in 1763, was fellow of Caius College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. 1785, M.A. 1789. He took orders, was rector of Swainsthorpe (1788), vicar of Sheringham, Norfolk (1803), and master of the classical school at Beccles. He died in 1825. Girdlestone wrote ‘All the Odes of Pindar translated from the original Greek’ (Norwich, 1810).