Richard Chenevix Trench

(1807 - 1886 / Ireland)

Biography of Richard Chenevix Trench

Richard Chenevix Trench poet

Richard Chenevix Trench was born on September 9, 1807, North Frederick Street, Dublin, Ireland. His father was Richard Trench, his mother Melesina, only grandchild and heiress of Richard Chenevix, Bishop of Waterford, and widow of Colonel St. George. Trench’s home in childhood was Elm Lodge, close to the village of Bursledon, not far from Southampton. In February, 1816 he attended Twyford School, and in 1819 Harrow, where he won great distinction. In October 1825 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. His mother’s correspondence is full of references to a little periodical called "The Translator", begun in 1825, or immediately on his becoming an undergraduate. She was his ardent co-worker both as contributor and critic.

In 1826 he learned Spanish, and in that year applied himself to preparing and publishing a volume of Miscellanies, of which the “profits were to be sent to the committee formed for the relief of the exiled Spaniards.” On May 27th, 1827, his mother died at Malvern. The Letters and Memorials give vivid and exciting details of his continuous interest and daring personal service and sacrifices on behalf of Spain.

Until early manhood he was undecided as to his calling, Law rather than Divinity colouring his thoughts and plans. He left Cambridge on February 1st, 1829, and rejoined his widowed father at Elm Lodge, near Southampton. He married, at the Abbey Church, Bath, on May 31st, 1832, his own cousin, Frances Mary Trench, daughter of his uncle, Francis Trench. He was ordained priest early in July, 1835, by Bishop Sumner, of Winchester. In 1846 he was appointed Professor of Divinity at King’s College, London, later changed into “Professor of the Exegesis of the New Testament,” which he held until 1858. In 1856 he was appointed Dean of Westminster. On New Year’s Day, 1864, he was consecrated Archbishop of Dublin in Christ Church Cathedral. His final confirmation was in St. Bartholomew’s Church on May 16th, 1884. On November 28th, 1884, he resigned his Archbishopric. Few have left behind them a more stainless, a more loveable, a more enviable memory. He has been referred to as "sweetness and light embodied".

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Now the third and fatal conflict for the Persian throne was done,
And the Moslem's fiery valor had the crowning victory won.

Harmosan, the last and boldest the invader to defy,
Captive overborne by numbers, they were bringing forth to die.

Then exclaimed the noble captive: "Lo! I perish in my thirst;
Give me but one drink of water, and let then arrive the worst!"

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