Renn Dickson Hampden (1793 - April 23, 1868), English divine, was born in Barbados, where his father was colonel of militia, in 1793, and was educated at Oriel College, Oxford.
Having taken his B.A. degree with first-class honours in both classics and mathematics in 1813, he next year obtained the chancellor's prize for a Latin essay, and shortly afterwards was elected to a fellowship in his college, Keble, Newman and Arnold being among his contemporaries. Having left the university in 1816 he held successively a number of curacies, and in 1827 he published Essays on the Philosophical Evidence of Christianity, followed by a volume of Parochial Sermons illustrative of the Importance of the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ (1828).
In 1829 he returned to Oxford and was Bampton lecturer in 1832. Notwithstanding a charge of Arianism now brought against him by the Tractarian party, he in 1833 passed from a tutorship at Oriel to the principalship of St Mary's Hall. In 1834 he was appointed professor of moral philosophy, and despite much university opposition, Regius professor of divinity in 1836. There resulted a widespread and violent though ephemeral controversy, after the subsidence of which he published a Lecture on Tradition, which passed through several editions, and a volume on The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England.
His nomination by Lord John Russell to the vacant see of Hereford in December 1847 was again the signal for a violent and organized opposition; and his consecration in March 1848 took place in spite of a remonstrance by many of the bishops and the resistance of Dr John Merewether, the dean of Hereford, who went so far as to vote against the election.
As bishop of Hereford Dr Hampden made no change in his long-formed habits of studious seclusion, and though he showed no special ecclesiastical activity or zeal, the diocese certainly prospered in his charge. Among the more important of his later writings were the articles on Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, contributed to the eighth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and afterwards reprinted with additions under the title of The Fathers of Greek Philosophy (Edinburgh, 1862). In 1866 he had a paralytic seizure, and died in London on the 23rd of April 1868.
His daughter, Henrietta Hampden, published Some Memorials of R. D. Hampden in 1871.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.