Phillpotts Before Gorham: The Bishop of Exeter and his clergy, 1831-51

A new book by Andrew Jones, author of Victorian North Devon: a social history, and formerly priest-in-charge of the Oakmoor parishes published on 17 May 2021.

Henry Phillpotts was bishop of Exeter for approaching thirty nine years, 1831 to 1869. In his pomp, he was the best-known bishop in the Church of England, and the most controversial. He had a formidable intellect and presence, which meant he had a profound impact upon his diocese (which then included Cornwall as well as Devon). He was determined to impose a discipline upon his clergy – obedience to him as bishop and to the rubrics of The Book of Common Prayer. Those who transgressed or were considered ‘suspect’ (Phillpotts had a particular dislike of evangelical clergy) were brought to book, if necessary in the church courts. The defining moment of his episcopacy was his famous clash, 1847-50 with George Cornelius Gorham, vicar of St Just-in-Penwith (Cornwall) and would-be vicar of Brampford Speke. This culminated in the famous Exeter Synod of 1851.

This is the first in depth study of Phillpotts since the 1950s. Successive chapters examine Phillpotts as bishop, the diocese, the parish churches, the clergy, and the Gorham controversy.

To order copies, price £12.50 (£12.00 if ordered pre-publication), please contact Andrew Jones,

13 Kingdon Avenue

South Molton

EX36 4GJ

or e-mail

Delivery free in post-codes beginning EX31, EX32, EX36, EX37. Beyond, please add £3.00 per copy for post and packing.

BACS payments: 09 01 29 acc 20328478
quoting ref Phillpotts (acc name Rev Dr A C Jones Mrs J M Jones).

Enquiries to 01769 579604.