John Selwyn (bishop)

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John Richardson Selwyn (20 May 1844 – 12 February 1898)[1] was an Anglican priest who became the second Bishop of Melanesia and then the second Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge.


Selwyn was born in Waimate North, New Zealand, the youngest son of George Augustus Selwyn and his wife Sarah Richardson the only daughter of Sir John Richardson. His father was the first Bishop of New Zealand in whose memory Selwyn College, Cambridge was named. Selwyn was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1866. Like his father, Selwyn rowed for Cambridge and took part in the Boat Races of 1864 and 1866, both of which were won by Oxford.[2] In 1864 he won the Silver Goblets at Henley Royal Regatta partnering Robert Kinglake and beating Edwin Brickwood and his brother in the final.[3]

Selwyn was ordained deacon by his father at Lichfield in 1869 and became a priest the following year. He served as curate of All Saints Church, Alrewas, Staffordshire from 1869 to 1870, then curate of St George's Church, Wolverhampton from 1870 to 1871, before promotion to Vicar of St George's. In 1873 Selwyn travelled to Melanesia as a missionary, and four years later was consecrated Bishop of Melanesia.

He made significant financial contributions to the construction of the Southern Cross No. 4 ship, serving the Melanesian Mission.

Illness forced him to return to England in 1892. Selwyn was appointed the second Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge in 1893, a position he held until his death in 1898 aged 53. From 1892–1895 he also served as honorary chaplain to Queen Victoria.[1]

Selwyn married Clara Long-Innes and, after her death in 1877, Annie Catherine, eldest daughter of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, the Australian industrialist.[1]

The south east window of the chapel of Selwyn College was dedicated to the memory of John Selwyn in 1900.[4]

His son George Augustus Selwyn is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge; he died in 1912, aged 16.

Selwyn is listed in the calendar of saints of the Church of the Province of Melanesia.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Selwyn, John Richardson (SLWN862JR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Walter Bradford Woodgate Boating 1888
  3. Henley Royal Regatta Results of Final Races 1839-1939
  4. Selwyn College 1882–1973: A Brief History

External links

Anglican Communion titles
Preceded by
John Patteson
Bishop of Melanesia
Succeeded by
Cecil Wilson
Academic offices
Preceded by
Arthur Lyttelton
Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Alexander Francis Kirkpatrick