PORTEUS, BEILBY: Church of England bishop; b. at York May 8, 1731; d. at Fulham (6 m. s.w. of St. Paul's, London) May 8, 1808. He received his preliminary education at York and at Ripon, and then entered Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A. and fellow, 1752; D.D., 1767); he was made deacon and priest, 1757, and in 1759 won the Seatonian prize for a poem on death; he became domestic chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury (Thomas Seeker, q.v.) in 1762, from whom in 1765 he received the livings of Rucking and Wittersham, Kent, soon after exchanging them for Hunton, of which he became rector; he received a prebend in Peterborough, 1767, in 1769 became chaplain to the king, and in 1776 bishop of Chester, being translated in 1787 to the see of London. As preacher he was noted for marked ability and directness; as bishop his excellencies were many. He encouraged
He was the author of many occasional sermons, as well as of volumes of sermons, e.g., Sermons on Several Subjects (London, 1784; 14th ed., 1813); also of Review of the Life and Character of Archbishop Seeker (1770; twelve editions); The Beneficial Effects of Christianity on the Temporal Concerns of Mankind Proved from History and Facts (1804; 9th ed., 1836); Summary of the Principal Evidences for the Truth and Divine Origin of the Christian Revelation (1800; 15th ed., 1835); and Lectures on the Gospel of St. Matthew (2 vols., 1802; 17th ed., 1823). His Complete Works were often published (best ed., 6 vols., 1816; really not "complete").
BIBILIOGRAPHY: His Life, by R. Hodgson, is prefixed to vol. i. of his Works. Consult: C. J. Abbey, The English Church and its Bishops, 2 vols., London, 1887; J. H. Overton English Church in the 18th Century, ib. 1894; J. H. Overton and F. Relton The English Church (1714-1800), ib. 1908; DNB, xlvi. 195-196.
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