HEBER, Reginald

HEBER, Reginald. Malpas, Cheshire 21.4.1783 — Trichinopoly (Tiruchirappalli) 3.4.1826. Right Rev. British Bishop and Traveller in India. Son of Rev. Reginald Heber (d. 1804) and Mary Allanson. Educated at Whitchurch and Bristow’s, from 1800 studies at Brasenose College, Oxford (M.A.). As student he was noted of his poetry. Fellow of All Souls’ College in 1805. After a tour of nearly two years in Sweden, Norway and Russia, he was ordained in 1807, held the living of Hodnet in Shropshire from that year (succeeding his father). “Prebendary of St. Asaph, 1812, was appointed Bishop of Calcutta, 1822, which he accepted with much hesitation,” confirmed in office 1823. In his episcopacy he “completed Bishop’s College, Calcutta, travelled continually, performing his episcopal duties, through the whole India, and in Ceylon… Died in a swimming-bath… A kneeling statue of Heber is in St. Paul’s Cathedral in Calcutta.” D.D. 1823 Oxford. Married 1809 Amelia Shipley, three daughters.

Heber worked eagerly for propagation of faith, but in the age, when British prejudice and animosity towards Indians was rapidly increasing, he showed remarkable understanding.

Publications: Narrative of a journey through the upper provinces of India from Calcutta to Bombay, 1824–1825, with notes upon Ceylon, and a Journey to Madras and the Southern Provines. 1-2. L. 1827, new ed. 1-3. L. 1849.

Amelia Heber: The Life of Reginald Heber, D.D., Lord Bishop of Calcutta, by his Widow. With Selections from his Correspondence, unpublished Poems and private Papers. 1-2. L. 1830.

57 hymns, poetry, lectures, sermons; edited the works of Jeremy Tailor in 15 vols., 1820-22.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; *C. Della Casa, “R.H., vescovo anglicano di Calcutta”, Oriente e Occidente1:1, 1978, 1-4 (again in his Scritti Scelti. Palermo 1998, 233-236); C.P. Havely, Literature of Travel and Explor. 2, 2003, 549f.; *M. Laird, Oxford D.N.B.; *A. Montefiore, R.H. Bishop of Calcutta. 1902; J.H. O[verton], D.N.B. 25, 1891, 355-357; *Wikipedia, long article with portrait and further references.

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