William Boyd Carpenter

"A man Right Reverend and Well-Beloved"
Bishop Boyd Carpenter as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, March 1906
Born(1841-03-26)26 March 1841
Died26 October 1918(1918-10-26) (aged 77)
OccupationAnglican cleric
Years active1878–1918
  • Harriet Charlotte Peers
  • Annie Maude Gardner
  • Henry Carpenter
  • Hester Boyd

Dr William Boyd Carpenter KCVO (26 March 1841, Liverpool – 26 October 1918, Westminster) was a Church of England cleric who became Bishop of Ripon and Royal Chaplain to Queen Victoria.


William Boyd Carpenter was the second son of the Revd Henry Carpenter, perpetual curate of St Michael's Church, Aigburth, Liverpool, who married (marriage licence 1837 in Derry) Hester Boyd, of Derry, sister of Dr Archibald Boyd, Dean of Exeter.[1]

Carpenter was the uncle of Mrs Henry Williams of Moor Park House, Beckwithshaw, North Yorkshire. In 1897 he consecrated St Michaels and All Angels Church at Beckwithshaw, after she and her husband had funded its construction.[2][3][4]

Education and career

Educated at the Liverpool Institute, before going up to St Catharine's College, Cambridge, Boyd Carpenter was appointed Hulsean Lecturer at Cambridge in 1878.[5] He held several curacies, was Vicar of Christ Church, Lancaster Gate, from 1879 to 1884, Canon of Windsor in 1882–84, and after 1884 Bishop of Ripon. In 1887 he was appointed Bampton Lecturer at Oxford, and in 1895 Pastoral Lecturer on Theology at Cambridge. In June 1901, he received an honorary doctorate of Divinity from the University of Glasgow.[6] During his time in Ripon, he moved from his original evangelical leanings to a broad church outlook.[7]

In 1904 and 1913 he visited the United States and delivered the Noble lectures at Harvard. He was Chaplain-in-Ordinary to Queen Victoria, Edward VII, and George V. He resigned his see in 1911 on the grounds of ill-health and became a Canon and Sub-Dean of Westminster. He was interested in eugenic issues and served as President of the Society for Psychical Research in 1912.[8]

Boyd Carpenter served as Clerk of the Closet from 1903 to 1918.


William Boyd Carpenter, 1889
William Boyd Carpenter, 1889

His publications include:[8]


In 1864 Carpenter married his first wife, Harriet Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. J. W. Peers, of Chislehampton. They had four sons- including the Conservative MP Sir Archibald Boyd Boyd-Carpenter (1873–1937), father of John Archibald Boyd-Carpenter, Baron Boyd-Carpenter (1908–1998), also a Conservative MP- and four daughters, one of whom, Annie (1870-1927) married the Rt. Rev. Francis Wentworth-Sheilds, Bishop of Armidale. Harriet died in 1887 and in 1883 Carpenter married secondly, Annie Maude, daughter of publisher[9] W. W. Gardner, with whom he had a son and three daughters.[10][11]

The composer Stephen Oliver (1950–1992) and his nephew, the comedian John Oliver (b. 1977), are descendants.[12]

A medieval knight sporting an early example of the Carpenter arms.
A medieval knight sporting an early example of the Carpenter arms.


  1. ^ David Morris, 'Bishop Boyd Carpenter: Sheep or Shepherd in the Eugenics Movement?' Archived 6 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Galton Institute Newsletter, 55, June 2005
  2. ^ Yorkshire Gazette, 2 October 1886: "Ecclesiastical news"
  3. ^ Cottingley Connect: St Michael and All Angels church Retrieved 17 January 2014
  4. ^ Leeds Times, Saturday 2 October 1886
  5. ^ "Carpenter, William Boyd (CRPR860WB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ "Glasgow University jubilee". The Times (36481). London. 14 June 1901. p. 10.
  7. ^ Stephenson, A. M. G.; Brodie, Marc. "Major, Henry Dewsbury Alves (1871–1961)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34839. William Boyd Carpenter, bishop of Ripon, an eloquent evangelical who had developed broad-church leanings. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. ^ a b H. D. A. Major, ‘Carpenter, William Boyd (1841–1918)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 14 April 2009
  9. ^ Constructing Girlhood through the Periodical Press, Kristine Moruzi, Taylor & Francis, 2016, footnote 15
  10. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 344. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.
  11. ^ Armorial Families, A. C. Fox-Davies, T. C. & E. C. Jack (Edinburgh), 1895, p. 837
  12. ^ "Oxford Index". Oxford Academic. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/51267.


wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Carpenter, William Boyd". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.

Religious titles Preceded byRobert Bickersteth Bishop of Ripon1884–1912 Succeeded byThomas Wortley Drury