Thorp, Charles (DNB00)

THORP, CHARLES (1783–1862), first warden of Durham University, born at Gateshead rectory in Durham on 13 Oct. 1783, was the fifth son of Robert Thorp, by his wife Grace (d. 1814), daughter of William Alder of Horncliffe.

Robert Thorp (1736–1812), archdeacon of Durham, baptised in Chillingham church on 25 Jan. 1736–7, was the second son of Thomas Thorp (1699–1767), vicar of Chillingham. He was educated at Durham school, and Peterhouse, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1758 as senior wrangler and M.A. in 1761. In 1768 he succeeded his father as rector of Chillingham; in 1775 he was appointed perpetual curate of Doddington, in 1781 he became rector of Gateshead, and in 1792 was created archdeacon of Northumberland. In 1795 he was presented to the rectory of Ryton, and, dying at Durham on 20 April 1812, was buried in the vault of Ryton church. Besides several published sermons and charges, he was author of ‘Excerpta quædam e Newtoni Principiis Philosophiæ Naturalis,’ Cambridge, 1765, 4to, and of a translation of Newton's ‘Principia,’ entitled ‘Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,’ London, 1777, 4to; 2nd edit. 1802, 4to (Gent. Mag. 1812, ii. 595; Grad. Cantabr. 1659–1823; Hodgson, Hist. of Northumberland, II. iii. 337).

His son Charles was educated at the royal grammar school, Newcastle, and at the cathedral school, Durham. He matriculated from University College, Oxford, on 10 Dec. 1799, graduating B.A. in 1803, M.A. in 1806, B.D. in 1822, and D.D. in 1835. In 1803 he was elected a fellow and tutor, and in 1807, on the resignation of his father, was presented by Shute Barrington [q. v.], bishop of Durham, to the rectory of Ryton. At that place he helped to establish the first savings bank in the north of England, and at Gateshead he delivered a sermon to the friendly society of that place which led to the establishment of the larger savings bank at Newcastle. The discourse, entitled ‘Economy a Duty of Natural and Revealed Religion,’ was published in 1818 (Newcastle, 8vo), and contains useful statistical information. In 1829 Thorp was presented to the second prebendal stall in the cathedral of Durham, and on 6 Dec. 1831 he was appointed archdeacon of Durham. Two years later, on the foundation of Durham University, he became the first warden. In this position he showed an indefatigable zeal, and made considerable pecuniary sacrifices in support of the university. Towards the close of his life disagreements concerning alterations in university arrangements led to his resignation. He died at Ryton rectory on 10 Oct. 1862.

Thorp was a man of singular disinterestedness and liberality, declining several valuable preferments on account of his attachment to his parish of Ryton. In 1807 he built at his own charge a church at Greenside in the western portion of his parish, in commemoration of his father. He was the author of many published sermons and charges, some of which enjoyed wide popularity. A portrait by J. R. Swinton was engraved by G. R. Ward, 1846.

Thorp was twice married. His first wife, Frances Wilkie, was only child of Henry Collingwood Selby of Swansfield. She died without issue on 20 April 1811; and on 7 Oct. 1817 he married Mary, daughter of Edmund Robinson of Thorp Green, Yorkshire, by whom he had a son Charles and seven daughters.

[Information kindly given by Mr. R. J. W. Davison; In Memoriam: a short Sketch of the Life of Charles Thorp, 1862; Gent. Mag. 1863, i. 115; Foster's Alumni Oxon.]

E. I. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.264265
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
314 ii 39 Thorpe, Charles: for Thorpe read Thorp
18f.e. for at Peterhouse read at Durham School and at Peterhouse
17f.e. after 1758 insert as senior wrangler
315 i 44 after popularity, insert A portrait by J. R. Swinton was engraved by G. R. Ward in 1846.
53-54 for Mr. R. J. N. Davison read Mr. R. J. W. Davison