KEBLE, JOHN, 1792-1866.
MANUSCRIPT NUMBER 096
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CITATION: John Keble Papers, MSS 096, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
John Keble was a prominent Anglican theologian and poet. He was born on April 25, 1792 in Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. He was the son of John and Sarah (Maule) Keble and had one brother and two sisters. Keble and his younger brother, Thomas, were educated at home by their father, a former scholar and fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In 1806, Keble earned a scholarship to Corpus Christi College. Then, in 1811, after earning double first-class honors in Classics and Mathematics, he was elected to a fellowship at Oriel College, Oxford. In 1812 Keble won both the Latin and English essay prizes. He was ordained by the Bishop of Oxford as a Deacon in 1815 and as a priest in 1816. Between 1813 and 1823 he held a series of positions at Oxford including: examiner, public examiner responsions and college tutor at Oriel. In May 1823, on the death of his mother, he resigned his position to live with his family in Fairford.
Keble served as curate at Southrop from 1823 to 1825. While in that post Richard Hurrell Froude, Robert Wilberforce and Isaac Williams were his students. In 1825, he accepted the curacy at Hursley. Following the death in 1826 of his younger sister, Mary Anne, he resigned his position and returned to Fairford to care for his father and invalid sister Elizabeth. In 1827, he published The Christian Year, a collection of hymns and poetry, written between 1819 and 1827. Proceeds from the sales of The Christian Year were used to finance the renovation of the church at Hursley. From 1830 to 1831 he held a post as civil service examiner at Oxford. Then he was elected professor of poetry at Oxford, a position he would hold until 1841. Other poetical works published by Keble included: Lyra Apostolica, 1836; Psalter in English Verse, 1839; Lyra Innocentium, 1846; and Miscellaneous Poems, 1869 (published three years after his death). His series of Oxford lectures on poetry (in Latin) was published in 1841 as Di Poeticae Vi Medic.
Keble's July 14, 1833 sermon on the "National Apostasy" is considered the beginning of the Oxford Movement. In 1835, following the death of his father, Keble married Charlotte Clarke. The following year, he again accepted the curacy at Hursley. In 1838 Keble, Edward Bouverie Pusey (Mss. 64), John Henry Newman (Mss. 100) and Charles Marriott began work as joint editors on The Library of the Fathers. Keble's contribution to the work included the translation of the works of St. Irenaeus and revisions of several other translations. From 1833 to 1841 Keble, together with Pusey, Newman and others issued Tracts for the Times. Of the 90 tracts issued, Keble wrote seven himself and assisted in the writing of others.
Following the uproar over Tract 90, Keble left Oxford to serve out the remainder of his years at Hursley. While he made few trips back to Oxford after leaving, he did remain active in church affairs. In 1844, he wrote a pamphlet defending William George Ward against those who sought to revoke his degrees. In 1846, to help raise funds to restore the church at Hursley, he published Lyra Innocentium. In 1847 he published a collection of his sermons. He wrote a series of articles and several sonnets for the British Magazine. He published pastoral tracts on the Gorham case in 1850. In 1857 he published two pamphlets in opposition to the Divorce Act. In that year, he also published his treatise on Eucharistical Adoration. In 1863 he published The Life of Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, a project he had begun in 1846. Finally, in 1864, he published A Litany of Our Lord's Warnings.
John Keble died on April 29, 1866 at Bournemouth and was buried at his
church in Hursley. Six weeks later, his wife Sarah died and was buried
at his side. Keble College, Oxford opened in 1869, and serves as
a lasting monument to John Keble.
This small collection consists of signed letters from John Keble. The letters were written in Hursley, Penzance, and Bournemouth. The 1863 letter identifies contributors to the Lyra Apostolica, the verse section in the British Magazine which John Henry Newman and Hurrell Froude had conceived of a year before the Oxford Movement proper began, hoping to advance their religious views through what Newman called the "rhetoric" and "persuasion" of poetry. A letter from 1854, addressed to Mr. Heathcote, contains a discussion of parish accounts, and an 1861 letter to Dr. Lowe concerns a tailor's bill. Two of the letters are to Keble's godson, John Davison.
Also included is a scrapbook page containing a letter signed by Keble and an undated letter signed by E. B. Pusey.