Biographical Notes on Chaplains at the
Anglican Church in Hamburg

John Wing (1612-1618)

When the Merchant  Adventurers returned to Hamburg in 1611 they stipulated that they should be granted the privilege of setting up their own English Church. John Wing was the first English chaplain in Hamburg. He compiled the first list of communicants, marriages and baptisms. The entries begin on the 22nd June, 1616. He is mentioned in the Dictionary of National Biography

William Loe, DD (1619-1620)

He converted the above list into a church register. Loe was a learned theologian. Graduated at Oxford in 1600; appointed to Gloucester Cathedral; royal chaplain in 1618; published four of his sermons in 1614; gave up his chaplaincy owing to dislike of Archbishop Laud. Appointed to Hamburg in 1618, his appointment being approved by the King, the University and the Cathedral. In 1619 he published “The Mysterie of Mankind”, in which he praises the King for his care of “your seminaries of merchants beyond the seas at Harnborough”. He arrived in Hamburg late in the year, having left his family behind in England. He preached well. Whilst in Hamburg (1620) he published fifteen sermons relating to the merchants’ profession under the title “The reall merchant”. The only extant copy of this book, which was printed in Hamburg, is in the Hamburger Stadtbibliothek. He was very popular with the Court. After his return to England he became a High Churchman and had an important career. He died in 1645 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. He was the only English pastor in Hamburg to receive that honour. (Mentioned in the Dictionary of National Biography.)

Thomas Young (1620-1627)

Presbyterian. Born in Luncarty, Perthshire, in 1587. Graduated at St. Andrew’s University. He may also have studied at a Dutch or North German university. From 1618 to 1620 he was Milton’s tutor. Young’s wife, Rebecca, bore him three children in Hamburg. During his ministry the city was constantly exposed to the threats of war, a fact which seems to have impressed Milton who, in an elegy (The Fourth), dedicated to Young, describes the advance of Wallenstein’s army on Hamburg. Young was responsible for the propagation of Puritan ideas among the English community, in particular reverence for the Sabbath. In 1627 he returned to England. In 1641 he fought for Presbyterian reform of the church. The Scots wished to secure services in Edinburgh but Parliament employed him on “an assembly for the regulation of religion” which had been sitting at Westminster since 1643 and his ideas regarding the “Directory of Worship” (a book to replace the Book of Common Prayer) were adopted and enforced. In 1644 he was made Master of Jesus College in Cambridge, resigning in 1650 because he refused to give his oath of engagement to the Independent and Republican Council of state. He died in 1655 at the age of 68. His best literary work “Dies dominica” was published in Latin in 1639 and was intended to strengthen his old Hamburg parishioners in their observance of the Sabbath. It is preserved in the Stadtbibliothek. (Mentioned in the Dictionary of National Biography.)

Thomas Rutt (1627)

Jeremias Elborough DD (1630-1634, 1640-1665)

Presbyterian. Appointed to Hamburg in 1630, he was removed by the influence of Laud in 1634 and succeeded by the Beaumont, a High churchman. But Elborough remained in Hamburg, accommodated, himself to current views and was reinstated in 1640. Upon the fall of Laud in 1641, Elborough again reverted to Presbyterianism. Elborough was so violently Republican ‘that on Easter Monday 1649 he was assaulted by three ruffians who had been hired by the Royalist faction in Hamburg, but escaped unhurt. In the following year the Parliamentary envoy” Richard Bradshaw” arrived. He ordered Elborough to take the oath of engagement but Elborough refused on the grounds that he had received no instructions from England. Meanwhile the Royalist members of the community attended divine service held by a chaplain who had accompanied Sir John Cochran, Charles II’s agent, to Hamburg. Despite Bradshaw’s effort to have Elborough removed from Hamburg the latter returned, so Bradshaw and Guntry had to leave in 1656 and 1657. At the Restoration Elborough would at first not recognize the Act of Uniformity and the new Book of Common Prayer but he compromised in a manner which offended the Puritan members of his congregation and drove them to break away and form a new congregation under the Puritan preacher Hammon.

Eventually Elborough was compelled to make greater concessions to the Act of Uniformity but he marked his displeasure by reading the services very irreverently. With the arrival of a new envoy, Sir William Swan, Elborough was compelled to sign the “engagement” (1663) and to conform strictly to the established religion. Under these altered conditions he was able to retain his position for yet another two years, but in 1665 he was accused of nonconformity and dismissed. He had been chaplain at Hamburg for 35 years, including the break of six years from 1634 to 1640.

Beaumont (1634-1640)

High Churchman. Appointed through Laud’s interference. Elborough, whom he had displaced, remained in Hamburg and eventually regained the chaplaincy which Beaumont had usurped.

Thomas Griffin (1665 -1682)

High Church, and therefore unpopular with the majority of his congregation. Recommended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary of State, the Earl of Arlington. Endeavoured to carry out the King’s wishes in respect of creed and ritual. The Court refused to allow him to live in the “English House” and although he went to London in 1676 to make a formal protest, in which he was supported by Sir William Swan, the Court remained firm. It is uncertain whether he returned to Hamburg but presumably he continued to officiate here till 1682. In 1672 a daughter was born to him. It was Griffin who, in 1668, altered the beginning of the year from March 25th to January 1st. This innovation together with the Gregorian calendar was not introduced in England until 1752. The State of Hamburg adopted the new calendar in 1700 so that in both these respects the English community in Hamburg was in advance of the motherland.

George Walls, B.J. (1682-1689)

Having taken the formal oath of obedience to the Act of Uniformity he soon became unpopular with the majority  of his Presbyterian communicants and he was only re-elected at Midsummer 1689 (the Court elected its chaplains annually) on condition that he resigned at Christmas. Although he had many friends here and despite the powerful protection of the English envoys at Hamburg, Copenhagen and CelIe, the Court remained obdurate and Walls had to go. There were also temperamental differences between himself and his congregation, he being opposed to the loose Restoration morals which were then popular. He had welcomed the accession of William III, thereby winning the friendship of Sir Paul Rycaut, the envoy.

Francis Thompson, DD (1683)

Rector of St Matthew’s, Friday Street and of St Peter’s Cheapside in London. Officiated for four months during the summer of 1683. He protested against the alteration of New Year’s Day, insisted upon baptism in the Church itself and introduced a more accurate method of making entries in the register, an innovation which succeeding chaplains observed.

Lionel Gatford (1690-1702)

Gatford was Rycaut’s chaplain. High Church. Elected to be Court Chaplain in place of Walls. His duties were so onerous that he applied for an assistant and eventually a “reader of the lessons” was attached to him at a salary of £20 per annum with free board and lodgings. The high church element now prevailed. Rycaut, who was very pious, combined with Gatford to raise the religious tone of the community. The third Wednesday in every month was set aside as a day of prayer and repentance. Numerous special services were held on national occasions. Gatford was married. He left Hamburg in 1702.

Ralph Emmerson (1703 -1718).

Married. Two children were born to him in Hamburg.

John Thomas, DD (1719-1737)

Brother-in-law of Sir Cyril Wich, the envoy, whose sister he married. He was noted for his politeness and efficiency and was very popular. He spoke German, became a member of the Patriotische Gesellschaft in 1792, and had many German friends. He was appointed Bishop of Salisbury in 1761. The “Patriotische Gesellschaft” was founded in 1765.

Charles Lake, M.A. (1738)

His appointment does not appear to have been confirmed by the Court. He officiated for one year. A portrait of him was made in the year 1738. The old church register was discontinued after his ministry.

William Murray” D. D. (1738-1760)

He is mentioned by Lessing and was the friend of the German poet Hagedorn, who was also secretary to the Court. He lost his wife in childbirth, 1740. He began the new church register.

Edward Vaughan (1760-1779)

A worthy, conscientious, elderly man, whose firmness of character made him unpopular with the Court. In 1779 he was discarded in favour of Trevor.

John Trevor, DD (1779-1780)

Formerly Rector of Otterhampton in Somerset. Brilliant, apparently well-connected, he appealed to the Court by quality of his preaching and the charm of his manner. Although the Courtmaster disapproved of him his salary was raised and Vaughan was pensioned off in order that Trevor might occupy the chaplain’s official dwelling. In 1780 he obtained his doctor’s degree at a Scottish university and a few months later he deserted his congregation, leaving considerable debts behind him. He had a large family. Two sons were born to him in Hamburg.

Allan Bracken. (1730-1794)

The church remained closed for five months. Vaughan’s offer to carry on in the meanwhile was declined. Nothing appears to be known of Bracken except that in 1789 he held a thanksgiving service in the Cathedral upon the recovery of George III from his long illness.

John Knipe (1794-1806)

This young bachelor continued to sow his wild oats after he was appointed to Hamburg. Upon the entry of the French into Hamburg on the 19th November, 1806, he fled into Holstein. On the same day he baptized a child privately and until the 9th August, 1807, though not resident in Hamburg, he occasionally ministered to some of the English families there. No services were held. He drew his stipend on the 27th June, 1807 for the last time. In August of that year he fled to England in order to escape arrest by the Danes, who had declared war on England. He apparently returned in 1815, as he officiated at several baptisms (according to the Church Register) in December of that year and in January 1816, and also  married several couples in 1817, after which there is no further word of him in Hamburg.

Richard Baker. July 14, 1820 (date of first baptism by the chaplain) 1839

The old church had been broken up in 1821 and services were now held provisionally in a concert hall. Baker was actively concerned in the building of the new church. In 1833 he was appointed with Richard Parish to represent the congregation in its negotiations with the Senate. Work upon the new church began in 1834, with the foundation stone being laid in 1836, and the building was dedicated on the 11th November, 1838. Some of Baker’s letters are in the consular archives.

G.A. Cockburn, M.A. (1840 -temporary)

Edward H. Dewar (1840-1846)

Charles James Sterling (1846-1852)

Charles Frederick Weidemann (1853-1893)

Charles E. Treadwell (1894-1896)

Robert Jackson (1897 – temporary)

Thomas Robinson (1897-98 – temporary)

T. E. Woodhouse (1898-1902) .

H.M. de Ste. Croix (1903-1908)

The Missions to Seamen:

Charles Grant (1908-1911)

Oliver (1912-1914)

C. A. J. Nibbs (1922-1932 )

F. Molyneux (1932)

G.A. Oakshott (1933)

L. G. Forrest (1934)

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