Benjamin Hoadly

Benjamin Hoadly (14 November 1676 – 17 April 1761) was an English clergyman, who was successively Bishop of Bangor, of Hereford, of Salisbury, and finally of Winchester. He is best known as the initiator of the Bangorian Controversy.

Benjamin Hoadly
Bishop of Winchester
Benjamin Hoadly by Sarah Hoadly.jpg
Benjamin Hoadly, painted by Sarah Hoadly
DioceseDiocese of Winchester
In office1734–1761 (died)
PredecessorRichard Willis
SuccessorJohn Thomas
Other postsBishop of Bangor (1715–1721)
Bishop of Hereford (6 October 1721 {elected} [1]–1723)
Bishop of Salisbury (9 December 1723 {translation}–1734)
Prelate of the Garter (c. 1734–1761)
Personal details
Born(1676-11-14)14 November 1676
Westerham, Kent, England[2]
Died17 April 1761(1761-04-17) (aged 84)
Chelsea, Middlesex, Great Britain[2]
BuriedWinchester Cathedral[3]
NationalityBritish (formerly English)
ResidenceWinchester House, Chelsea (official; at death)[3]
ParentsSamuel Hoadly & Martha Hoadly (née Pickering)[2]
Spouse1. Sarah Hoadly (née Curtis; 30 May 1701 {married}–11 January 1743 {she died})
2. Mary Hoadly (née Newey; 23 July 1745 {married}–17 April 1761 (he died))[2]
ChildrenJohn Hoadly, four other sons (plus two stillborn; all with Sarah)[2]
Alma materSt Catharine's College, Cambridge
Ordination history of
Benjamin Hoadly
Diaconal ordination
Ordained byHenry Compton, Bishop of London
Date18 December 1698
PlaceSt Paul's Cathedral
Priestly ordination
Ordained byCompton
Date22 December 1700
PlaceSt Paul's
Episcopal consecration
Datec. 1716
Source(s): [2][3][4][5]


He was educated at St Catharine's College, Cambridge and ordained a priest in 1700.[3] He was rector of St Peter-le-Poor, London, from 1704 to 1724, and of St Leonard's, Streatham, from 1710 to 1723.[6] His participation in controversy began at the beginning of his career, when he advocated conformity of the religious rites from the Scottish and English churches for the sake of union. He became a leader of the low church and found favour with the Whig party.

He battled with Francis Atterbury, who was the spokesman for the high church group and Tory leader on the subject of passive obedience and non-resistance (i.e. obedience of divines that would not involve swearing allegiance or changing their eucharistic rites but would also not involve denunciation of the Established Church practices). The House of Commons, dominated by Whigs, recommended him to Queen Anne, and he became rector of Streatham in 1710. When George I succeeded to the throne, he became chaplain to the King and made bishop of Bangor in 1716.

In 1717, his sermon on "The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ" provoked the Bangorian controversy.[2] He was then translated three more times, taking up different bishoprics. He maintained that the eucharist was purely a commemorative act without any divine intervention. During his time as bishop, he rarely visited his dioceses and lived, instead, in London, where he was very active in politics.

From later summer 1722 to January 1725 Hoadly published letters on contemporary topics, articulating his Whig principles and defending the Glorious Revolution of 1688.[7] The Revolution had created "that Limited Form of Government which is our only Security" and such a government secured freedom of expression, without which Britons would suffer "all the Mischiefs, of Darkness in the Intellectual World, of Baseness in the Moral World, and of Slavery in the Political World".[8] Hoadly also criticised the Pretender, who issued a declaration that he would extinguish opposition. Hoadly wrote that he would impose uniformity on all if he ruled: "Not only that he must destroy your Civil and Religious Rights, but that he plainly before-hand has here told You, to your Face, He will do so".[9]

William Hogarth (1697–1764) painted his portrait as Bishop of Winchester and "Prelate of the Most Noble Order of the Garter" about 1743, etched by Bernard Baron (1696–1762). Hoadly's son Benjamin aided Hogarth with his The Analysis of Beauty.[10]

Selected worksEdit

  • A Defence of the Reasonableness of Conformity (1707)
  • A Plain Account of the Nature and End of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper (1735)
  • The Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts (1736)


  • Guglielmo Sanna, Religione e vita publica nell' Inghilterra del '700: Le avventure di Benjamin Hoadly, Milan, FrancoAngeli Storia, 2012


  1. ^ Appointment Record: Hoadly, Benjamin (at Hereford) in "CCEd, the Clergy of the Church of England database" (Accessed online, 19 September 2014)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Hoadly, Benjamin". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13375. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b c d "Hoadly, Benjamin (HDLY691B)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ Ordination Record: Hoadly, Benjamin in "CCEd, the Clergy of the Church of England database" (Accessed online, 19 September 2014)
  5. ^ Ordination Record: Hoadly, Benjamin in "CCEd, the Clergy of the Church of England database" (Accessed online, 19 September 2014)
  6. ^ List of Rectors of St Leonard's:
  7. ^ Reed Browning, ‘Benjamin Hoadly, the Court Whig as Controversialist’, Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs (Louisiana State University Press, 1982) p. 69.
  8. ^ Browning, pp. 69-70.
  9. ^ Browning, pp. 71-72.
  10. ^ John Nichols (1785). Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth: With a Catalogue of His Works Chronologically Arranged; and Occasional Remarks. John Nichols. p. 51. Retrieved 2 July 2013.

Further readingEdit

  • William Gibson: Enlightenment Prelate: Benjamin Hoadly, 1676–1761. Cambridge 2004, ISBN 978-0-227-67978-4.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
John Evans
Bishop of Bangor
Succeeded by
Richard Reynolds
Preceded by
Philip Bisse
Bishop of Hereford
Succeeded by
Henry Egerton
Preceded by
Richard Willis
Bishop of Salisbury
Succeeded by
Thomas Sherlock
Bishop of Winchester
Succeeded by
John Thomas