4th November 1885 - Enthronement of Bishop Wordsworth

Bishop Wordsworth

On this day in 1885 Bishop Wordsworth was enthroned.

John Wordsworth is perhaps best remembered in Salisbury as the founder of Bishop Wordsworth School.

He was the son of another Bishop-Headmaster[1].

Christopher Wordsworth was headmaster of Harrow School, where John Wordsworth was born, from 1836 to 1844, and then Bishop of Lincoln from 1869 to 1885[2]. Christopher Wordsworth was a nephew of William Wordsworth, the poet. It’s perhaps possible that the Grasmere Hotel is named in reference to the Wordsworth family’s association with the village of Grasmere - John Wordsworth owned land in this part of Harnham.

John Wordsworth was a professor at Oxford and a canon at Rochester. He was consecrated[3] Bishop of Salisbury on 28 October 1885 and then enthroned on the 4th November[4].

He founded ‘the Bishop’s School’ in 1890. It became ‘Bishop Wordsworth’s School’ after his death.

Bishop Wordsworth’s gifted Harnham Slope and the Harnham Bishop’s Walk to the people of Salisbury[5]. He had bought the land in 1898. He wrote to the Mayor saying that he wanted the people of Salisbury to ‘freely enjoy it, with its unequalled view over the city and Cathedral, so long as good order were observed.’[6].

There is now a monument on Harnham Slope acknowledging Wordsworth’s gift of the area:

Monument for Bishop Wordsworth on Harnham Slope


Painting is from Wikimedia Commons

Photo of the Harnham Slope monument is by Graham Horn [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Footnotes and references

[1] E. W. Watson, ‘Wordsworth, John (1843–1911)’, rev. Sinéad Agnew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2012 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/37025, accessed 23 Oct 2013]

[2] Margaret Pawley, ‘Wordsworth, Christopher (1807–1885)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2010 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29971, accessed 23 Oct 2013]

[3] There are a few steps involved in making a Bishop. The first I presume is the selection of the man or woman. The second would be some sort of announcement. The third is consecration and ordainment. After that the Bishop pays homage to the monarch at Buckingham Palace. The final step is enthronement - there’s a bit more detail on this at Salisbury Diocese notice on the enthronement Bishop Holtam.

[4] Full text of “Life of Bishop John Wordsworth”

[5] Somewhat confusingly there is another ‘Bishops Walk’ in the Close. Wordsworth had referred to his ‘Walk’ as ‘Bishops Path’, matching the nearby ‘Deans Path’ but it seems to now be referred to as Bishops Walk - see for example Salisbury City Council’s Asset Portfolio

[6] Life of Bishop John Wordsworth : Watson, Edward William, 1859-1936 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive