Spencer, George Trevor (DNB00)


SPENCER, GEORGE TREVOR (1799–1866), second bishop of Madras, born 11 Dec. 1799 in Curzon Street, Mayfair, was third son of William Robert Spencer [q. v.] He gained prizes for Latin alcaics and an English essay at Charterhouse, whence he proceeded to University College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1822, and was created D.D. on 16 June 1847. Ordained deacon in 1823 and priest in 1824, he held the perpetual curacy of Buxton from the latter year till 1829. From 1829 till 1837 he was rector of Leaden-Roding in Essex. In 1837 he was consecrated bishop of Madras, and remained in India for twelve years. In 1842 he published a ‘Journal of a Visitation to the Provinces of Travancore and Tinnevelly in 1840–41.’ In 1845 he also published ‘Journal of a Visitation Tour, in 1843–4, through Part of the Western Portion of the Diocese of Madras.’ Besides places in his own diocese, he visited during this tour Poona, Ahmednaggar, and Bombay. In the autumn of 1845 Spencer visited the missions of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Church Missionary Society, and published his ‘Journal’ in the following year, accompanied with charges delivered at St. George's Cathedral, Madras, and at Palamcotta, and appendices containing statistical tables. In 1846 he also published ‘A Brief Account of the C.M.S.'s Mission in the District of Kishnagur, in the Diocese of Calcutta.’ In the diocese of Madras he established three training colleges for native converts.

In 1849 he returned to England invalided. On 4 Oct. 1852 he was appointed commissary or assistant to Richard Bagot [q. v.], bishop of Bath and Wells. On 10 May 1853 he resigned on account of the views on the real presence held by Archdeacon Denison, examining chaplain to Bagot, and of Denison's refusal ‘to allow him in any way to examine the candidates for holy orders.’ An angry correspondence between Spencer and Denison followed, which ended in the latter's declining ‘any further communication by word or writing.’

In 1860 Spencer was appointed chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral, and next year became rector of Walton-in-the-Wolds. He died on 16 July 1866 at Edge Moor, near Buxton.

Spencer married, in 1823, Harriet Theodora, daughter of Sir Benjamin Hobhouse and sister of John Cam Hobhouse, baron Broughton [q. v.], by whom he had issue two sons and three daughters.

[Gent. Mag. 1866, ii. 281; Foster's Alumni Oxon. and Peerage, 1882; Crockford's Clerical Directory; Letter to Hon. and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1853; Archdeacon Denison's Notes of My Life, pp. 225–31.]

G. Le G. N.