The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Thornton, Right Rev. Samuel
Thornton, Right Rev. Samuel, D.D. first bishop of Ballarat, is the third son of the late Thomas Thornton, F.R.A.S., who was for many years connected with the literary department of the London Times. Bishop Thornton was born on April 16th, 1835, and educated at the Merchant Taylors' School; in 1852 he won an open exhibition at Queen's College, Oxford, where he gained a first-class in moderations, and graduated B.A. in 1856 as a double second in classics and natural science. Dr. Thornton took the M.A. degree in 1858, and was sometime Michel Fellow at Queen's, receiving the honorary D.D. degree in 1874. He was ordained by Bishop Wilberforce in 1858, and performed missionary duty in the East End of London. In 1860 he was appointed perpetual curate of St. Jude's, Whitechapel, and four years later rector of St. George's, Birmingham, where he remained till 1875, when he was selected for the bishopric of Ballarat by the Bishop (Perry) of Melbourne and Chief Justice (Stawell) of Victoria, in consultation with the two English archbishops, and was consecrated by royal mandate at Westminster Abbey on May 1st, 1875, the new diocese of Ballarat thereby coming into existence. The Bishop married in 1866 Emily, daughter of H. T. Thornton, of Ilfracombe, Devon.