Warner, Richard (1763-1857) (DNB00)

WARNER, RICHARD (1763–1857), divine and antiquary, born in Marylebone, London, on 18 Oct. 1763, was the son of Richard Warner, ‘a respectable London tradesman.’ Early in his sixth year he was sent to a boarding-school near London, and remained there until his father removed, with his family, to Lymington in Hampshire. The social life of that little town in 1776 was many years afterwards described by him in his ‘Literary Recollections.’ For four years he was at the grammar school in the adjoining borough of Christchurch, when a great disappointment fell on the youth. A friend had promised him a nomination on the foundation for Winchester College, but when the time arrived for the fulfilment of the promise the nomination was given to another to oblige a patron in the peerage. Warner's dreams of a fellowship at New College and of ordination in the English church were thus dissipated. He returned to Christchurch school, and passed the next seven years of his life in ‘severe and reiterated disappointments.’ His first thought was of the navy, but he went into an attorney's office. On 19 Oct. 1787 he matriculated from St. Mary Hall, Oxford, and kept eight terms at the university, but left without taking a degree.

About 1790 Warner, through the mediation of Warren Hastings, was ordained by William Markham, archbishop of York, his title being the curacy of Wales, near Rotherham, where he stayed for three months. He had been promised by William Gilpin [q. v.] the curacy of his vicarage of Boldre, near Lymington, and for nearly four years he served in that parish. The influence of Gilpin's tastes was afterwards perceptible in the topographical writings of Warner. The more lucrative curacy of Fawley, on the banks of Southampton Water, then tempted him to remove, and he stayed at Fawley for over two years; but the situation did not agree with his family. The chapel of All Saints, Bath, in the parish of Walcot, was opened for divine service on 26 Oct. 1794, and Warner was placed in charge of it as curate to John Sibley, rector of the mother parish. In April 1795 he accepted the curacy of the populous parish of St. James's, Bath, and he continued in that position for about twenty-two years, preaching his farewell sermon on 23 March 1817.

For many years after his settlement at Bath, Warner was the best known man of letters in that city, and he knew all the literary men who frequented it. His volumes of ‘Literary Recollections’ are full of anecdotes about them. His own writings were numerous, and his sermons were ‘models of pulpit eloquence.’ He was, moreover, a man of independent thought and character. Apart from catholic emancipation, he was a rigorous whig. He dedicated his two chief sermons (the ‘fast sermon,’ preached on 25 May 1804, and that on ‘National Blessings,’ published in 1806) in eulogistic terms to Fox, and appended to the latter a severe character of Pitt. With Dr. Parr he lived on terms of close intimacy, and, like Parr, suffered in preferment for his opinions. His religious views were antagonistic to Calvinism, and he was a zealous opponent of the evangelicals. In 1828 he published a tract on ‘Evangelical Preaching: its Character, Errors, and Tendency.’

Warner was appointed on 13 May 1809, by his old schoolfellow and friend Sir Harry Burrard Neale [q. v.], to the rectory of Great Chalfield in Wiltshire, which he enjoyed until his death. For a short time in 1817–18 he was vicar of Norton St. Philip with Hinton Charterhouse in Somerset. He was presented on 3 Oct. 1825 to the vicarage of Timberscombe, and on 29 March 1826 to the rectory of Croscombe, both in Somerset, but did not keep them long. In 1827 he was appointed to the rectory of Chelwood, also in Somerset and a few miles from Bristol, and he retained it, with Great Chalfield, for the rest of his life. In the 1826 list of fellows of the Society of Antiquaries his name appears as elected, but he was never admitted. He died on 27 July 1857, when nearly ninety-four years of age, and was buried on 11 Aug. 1857 in the chancel of Chelwood church, a monument being erected to his memory. The widow, Anne [‘Pearson’], died at Widcombe Cottage, Bath, on 23 March 1865, aged 85, and was buried at Chelwood. One daughter, Ellen Rebecca Warner, was buried there on 18 Sept. 1833, and in the following year a schoolhouse was erected to her memory by the parents.

Warner's voluminous writings comprised:
  1. ‘Companion in a Tour round Lymington,’ 1789. When altered and revised it formed the basis of a ‘Handbook to Lymington,’ 1847.
  2. ‘Hampshire extracted from Domesday, with Translation, Preface, Glossary,’ 1789.
  3. ‘Southampton Guide,’ 1790.
  4. ‘Antiquitates Culinariæ: Tracts on Culinary Affairs of the Old English,’ 1791. John Carter (1748–1817) [q. v.] prosecuted him for pirating in this work his print of the ‘Peacock Feast,’ and got a verdict for 20l. The print was therefore torn from all the copies then unsold. This action cost Warner 70l. in all. Grose had told him that Carter had given permission for the reproduction.
  5. ‘Attempt to ascertain the Situation of the Ancient Clausentum,’ 1792. He fixed it at Bitterne Farm, two and a half miles from Southampton.
  6. ‘Topographical Remarks on the South-western Parts of Hampshire,’ 1793, 2 vols. A fire at the copperplate printer's consumed the whole of the plates and impressions for this work. In the previous year he had issued proposals for a complete history of Hampshire, but, after much labour, abandoned the enterprise (Gent. Mag. 1793, ii. 724). Warner's volume on ‘Domesday’ was included in vol. ii. of the ‘Collections for Hampshire, by D. Y., 1795,’ five volumes in six, but he disowned the publication of that miserable compilation (Literary Recollections, i. 268–72; Gent. Mag. 1793 ii. 742–4, 1797 i. 44–6).
  7. ‘General View of Agriculture of Isle of Wight;’ in ‘View of Agriculture in Hampshire by A. and W. Driver,’ 1794, pp. 45–66.
  8. ‘History of the Isle of Wight, with View of Agriculture,’ 1795.
  9. ‘Netley Abbey: a Gothic Story,’ circa 1795, 2 vols.
  10. ‘Illustrations of the Roman Antiquities at Bath,’ 1797; published by order of its mayor and corporation, but disfigured by numerous errata. Warner had obtained from the borough funds the means of cleansing and arranging these remains, which were many years later deposited in the Bath Literary and Scientific Institution.
  11. ‘Walk through Wales,’ 1798; 3rd edit. 1799; a very popular volume.
  12. ‘Second Walk through Wales,’ 1799; 2nd edit. 1800.
  13. ‘Walk through some of the Western Counties of England’ [from Bath to Launceston and back], 1800; reissued in 1809 as ‘A Walk through Somerset, Devon, and Part of Cornwall.’
  14. ‘Excursions from Bath, 1801.
  15. ‘History of Bath,’ 1801. Captain Rowland Mainwaring published his ‘Annals of Bath’ as a continuation to 1834 of Warner's history. Warner's work was criticised at much length in the ‘Anti-Jacobin Review’ (x. 113–31, 225–42, 335–56), but it has not been superseded.
  16. ‘Tour through Northern Counties of England and Borders of Scotland,’ 1802, 2 vols.; translated into German by C. G. Kültner in 1803.
  17. ‘Chronological History of our Lord and Saviour: the English Diatessaron,’ 1803; new edit. 1819.
  18. ‘Practical Discourses,’ 1803–4, 2 vols.
  19. ‘Companion to the Holy Communion,’ circa 1803.
  20. ‘Book of Common Prayer and Psalter; with Introduction, Notes,’ 1806.
  21. ‘Bath Characters: Sketches from Life by Peter Paul Pallet,’ 1807; 3rd edit. 1808. A skit on the chief residents at Bath, which provoked much controversy. It was followed, also under the pseudonym of Peter Paul Pallet, by
  22. ‘Rebellion in Bath’ [1st canto], 1808.
  23. ‘The Restoration’ [2nd canto of ‘Rebellion in Bath’], 1809 (cf. Halkett's and Laing's Anon. Lit. iii. 2096, 2187).
  24. ‘Six Occasional Sermons,’ 1808.
  25. ‘Series of Practical Sermons on Scripture Characters,’ 1810–11, 2 vols.
  26. ‘New Guide through Bath and its Environs,’ 1811.
  27. ‘Sermons, Tracts, and Notes on the New Testament,’ 1813, 3 vols.
  28. ‘Omnium Gatherum; or Bath, Bristol, and Cheltenham Literary Repository. By us two; 7 Nos. from October 1814.’ Conducted and nearly all written by Warner.
  29. ‘[57] Sermons on the Epistles or Gospels for Sundays,’ 1816, 2 vols.; 5th edit. 1826.
  30. ‘Old Church of England Principles,’ 1817–18, 3 vols.; 3rd edit. 1823.
  31. ‘Letter to Bishop Ryder on Ordination of Young Men holding Evangelical Principles,’ 1818; 2nd edit. with biography of Archibald Maclaine [q. v.], 1818 (cf. Gent. Mag. 1818, ii. 109, 143, 212, 310).
  32. ‘Miscellanies,’ 1819, 2 vols; some copies are dated 1820.
  33. ‘Illustrations, Historical, Biographical, and Miscellaneous, of Waverley Novels,’ 1823–4, 3 vols.
  34. ‘History of Abbey of Glaston and Town of Glastonbury,’ 1826; 250 copies at six guineas each.
  35. ‘The Psalter, with Notes,’ 1828.
  36. ‘Sunday Evening Discourses,’ 1828, 2 vols.
  37. ‘Literary Recollections,’ 1830, 2 vols. The Rev. Thomas Jervis printed a tract of twenty-one pages (varying title-pages dated 1831 or 1832) in correction of some errors in them.
  38. ‘The Anti-Materialist: a Manual for Youth,’ 1831.
  39. ‘Great Britain's Crisis: Reform, Retrenchment, and Economy’ [1st ed. anon.], 1831; 2nd edit. enlarged by the Rev. R. Warner, 1831.
  40. ‘Practical Religion: 12 Sermons to Keene's “Bath Journal.” By Presbuteros,’ 1837.
  41. ‘Simplicity of Christianity: four Sermons to the “Bath Journal.” By Presbuteros,’ 1839.
  42. ‘Thoughts on Duelling: four Letters to the “Bath Journal.” By Gabriel Sticking Plaister,’ 1840.
  43. ‘Sermon on the Mount: five Discourses in Chelwood Church,’ 1840.
  44. ‘For Family Worship: Specimens of Biblical Exposition on Book of Genesis,’ 1842.

Warner circulated among his friends many private impressions of sportive and serious pieces in prose and verse. One of them, ‘Nugæ Poeticæ: Solitary Musings on Serious Subjects. By an Aged Man,’ was dated ‘Chelwood, near Bath, Dec. 1847;’ and his ‘Diary of a Retired Country Parson, in Verse,’ was printed in 1848 (cf. Halkett and Laing, i. 626). Poems by him are in Peach's ‘Bath Houses, 2nd series’ (pp. 27–8), and in the appendix to his ‘Literary Recollections.’ He printed three series of sermons in manuscript-type for the use of the younger clergy, and a host of single sermons. That entitled ‘War inconsistent with tianity,’ preached on the day of the general fast, 25 May 1804, before a corps of Bath volunteers who happened to attend at his church on that day, passed through many editions and provoked much comment.

A portrait, by S. Williams, was engraved by S. Harding; that by Bell was engraved by J. Hibbert; a third, by S. C. Smith, was lithographed by L. Haghe; and a miniature by Engleheart was engraved by Condé. Warner's sister, Rebecca Warner, who lived at Beech Cottage, Bath, published two useful volumes, ‘Original Letters,’ 1817, illustrative of eighteenth-century worthies, and ‘Epistolary Curiosities, 2 parts,’ 1818, illustrative of the Herbert family. Several of the letters in the first of these collections, from Gilpin, were clearly addressed to Warner.

[Gent. Mag. 1804, ii. 1132, 1818 ii. 310, 1830 i. 612, 1857 ii. 345, 1858 i. 101–4, 1865 i. 663; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Murch's Bath Celebrities, pp. 247–51; Monkland's Literature of Bath, pp. 50–2; Peach's Historic Houses at Bath, 2nd ser. pp. 56–71, 102–3.]

W. P. C.