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Stamer, Lovelace Tomlinson (DNB12)

STAMER, Sir LOVELACE TOMLINSON, third baronet (1829–1908), bishop-suffragan of Shrewsbury, born at Ingram's Lodgings in the city of York on 18 Oct. 1829, was elder son of Sir Lovelace Stamer, second baronet, a captain in the 4th dragoon guards, by his wife Caroline, only daughter of John Tomlinson, solicitor, of Cliffville, Stoke-upon-Trent. His grandfather Sir William Stamer, sheriff, alderman, and twice lord mayor of Dublin, commanded a regiment of Dublin yeomanry during the rebellion of 1798, and was created a baronet, while lord mayor of the city, on 15 Dec. 1809, the year of King George III's jubilee.

After attending Mr. Fleming's school at Sea View, Bootle, and H. Lovell's English institution at Mannheim, Stamer was at Rugby, under Dr. Tait, from August 1843 to December 1848, his contemporaries including Lord Goschen, Sir Godfrey Lushington, and Edward Parry, suffragan-bishop of Dover. In 1849 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. He rowed in the first Trinity boat. In 1853 he graduated B.A. with a second class in the classical tripos; he proceeded M.A. in 1856, and D.D. in 1888.

Ordained deacon by the bishop of Lichfield in 1853, he served the curacies of Clay Cross in Derbyshire (1853–4) and of Turvey in Bedfordshire (1854–5). After his ordination as priest by the bishop of Ely in 1855, he was curate-in-charge of Long Melford, Suffolk (1855–7). He succeeded his uncle, John Wickes Tomlinson, as rector of Stoke-upon-Trent in January 1858 on the nomination of his grandfather's trustees, who were patrons. The living was of great value, and Stamer held it for thirty-four years. He became third baronet on the death of his father on 5 March 1860.

Stamer's work at Stoke-upon-Trent showed untiring zeal and an extraordinary capacity for work, coupled with great administrative powers and common-sense views on social questions. He found at Stoke a population of 8000, with one church and one block of schools. When he left Stoke in 1892, there were four churches and five school or mission churches manned by a staff of nine clergy, and five schools with twelve separate departments. Stoke owed an immense debt to him in regard to education. Long before the conscience clause was incorporated in any education acts, he laid it down as a rule in his church schools that any parents might withdraw their children from religious instruction. In 1863 he started night schools, and used his utmost endeavours to induce lads and young men to continue their education after leaving school. He was chairman of the Stoke school board from its formation in 1871 until 1888, and took an active interest in schemes for building groups of new schools to meet the rapid increase of population. He also took keen interest in the training of young men and women for the teaching profession, and freely admitted nonconformists as pupil teachers in his schools. He heartily aided, too, in all philanthropic movements. By the joint exertions of himself and Sir Smith Child nearly 17,000l. was raised for the relief of the widows and orphans of the colliers killed in the terrible explosion which occurred on 13 Dec. 1866 at the Talk o' the Hill colliery in North Staffordshire. With a view to future contingencies of the kind, Stamer originated in 1870 the North Staffordshire Coal and Ironstone Workers' Permanent Relief Society, a contributory society of which Stamer was chairman of the committee for thirty-eight years. Its membership in 1897 exceeded 9500—nearly two-thirds of the miners in the district—and by its agency more than 103,000l. has been paid to disabled miners and their families. In 1872 he founded the Staffordshire Institution for Nurses, an organisation which employs 130 trained nurses, and through his instrumentality the nurses' home was erected at Stoke in 1876. He was a warm supporter of the North Staffordshire Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society, and on his initiative there was founded in 1879 an industrial home for discharged female prisoners and friendless women, of which he acted many years as chairman of the management committee. In 1867 he served the office of chief bailiff of Stoke.

Stamer was appointed rural dean of Stoke in 1858, prebendary of Longdon in Lichfield Cathedral in 1875, and archdeacon of Stoke-upon-Trent in 1877. As archdeacon he was an unfailing helper and adviser of the clergy. In 1877 he supported the government's burial bill, which enabled nonconformists to have their own funeral services in the churchyards of parishes where there was no nonconformist burial-ground. In 1888 he was appointed suffragan-bishop of Shrewsbury, and was consecrated at St. Paul's Cathedral on 24 Feb. 1888. At the same time he resigned his offices of rural dean and archdeacon, retaining his prebendal stall and his rectory.

In 1889, through Stamer's instrumentality and with a noble disregard of his private family interests, the Stoke Rectory Act was passed, which conveyed the patronage and endowment of the rectory of Stoke-upon-Trent from the trustees who represented Stamer's mother's family to the bishops of Lichfield, and provided for the material increase of the incomes of six neighbouring parishes.

Stamer resigned the rectory of Stoke in 1892, and from that year to 1896 he was vicar of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury. At Shrewsbury he set the schools on a sound basis, starting a club-house for boys, and obtaining a new scheme for the parochial charities. He was for a time a member of the Shrewsbury school board. As chaplain to the corporation of Shrewsbury, he denounced the bribery and corruption which were prevalent in the town, and the insanitary condition of the slums. In 1896 Stamer became rector of Edgmond, the patron of which had conveyed it to trustees as an endowment for the assistant or suffragan bishop for the time being. Here he built new schools, obtained a water supply at his own expense, and provided a working men's club and reading-room. Owing to illness he resigned the rectory of Edgmond and his suffragan bishopric in September 1905, and removed to Halingdene, a house at Penkridge, Staffordshire, where he died on 29 Oct. 1908. He was buried at Hartshill cemetery, Stoke-upon-Trent. He was married at Hunsingore, Yorkshire, on 16 April 1857 to Ellen Isabel, only daughter of Joseph Dent of Ribston Hall, Yorkshire. His wife, five sons, and three daughters survived him. A portrait of the bishop in his robes, painted by the Hon. John Collier, was presented to him in April 1893 by North Staffordshire friends.

Besides several single sermons and articles in the ‘Church Sunday School Institute Magazine,’ Stamer published: 1. ‘Charges to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Stoke-upon-Trent,’ 1887–8. 2. ‘The Holy Communion considered as generally necessary to Salvation,’ 1858.

[F. D. How's Memoir of Bishop Sir Lovelace Tomlinson Stamer, Baronet, D.D., 1910; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage; Foster's Baronetage; Cambridge Book of Matriculations and Degrees, 1851–1900; Plarr's Men and Women of the Time, 1899, p. 1024; The Times, 31 Oct. 1908; The Guardian, 4 Nov. 1908; Shrewsbury Chronicle, 6 Nov. 1908; Staffordshire Advertiser, 31 Oct. and 7 Nov. 1908; Birmingham Daily Post, 31 Oct. 1908; Stoke-upon-Trent Parish Magazine, Dec. 1908; The Evangelist Monthly, March 1906, pp. 52–6; Rupert Simms' Bibliotheca Staffordiensis, p. 433; Lichfield Diocesan Magazine, Dec. 1908; two volumes of newspaper cuttings, belonging to Lady Stamer, 1866–1908; and private information.]

W. G. D. F.