Henry Wace (priest)

Henry Wace (10 December 1836  9 January 1924) was Principal of King's College, London (1883–1897) and Dean of Canterbury (1903–1924). He is described in the Dictionary of National Biography as "an effective administrator, a Protestant churchman of deep scholarship, and a stout champion of the Reformation settlement".[1]

Henry Wace
Dean of Canterbury
Wace c.1919
ChurchChurch of England
In office1903 to 1924
PredecessorFrederic Farrar
SuccessorGeorge Bell
Personal details
Born(1836-12-10)10 December 1836
Died9 January 1924(1924-01-09) (aged 87)


Wace was educated at Marlborough College, Rugby School, King's College, London, and Brasenose College, Oxford (BA Literae Humaniores and Mathematics, Honorary Fellow 1911).


He took Holy Orders and served curacies at St Luke's, Berwick Street (1861–63), St James's, Piccadilly (1863–69), and Grosvenor Chapel (1870–72). He moved to Lincoln's Inn, where he served first as Chaplain (1872–80) and later as Preacher (1880–96). He was additionally Chaplain of the Inns of Court Rifle Volunteers (1880–1908) and the Warburton Lecturer for 1896.

In 1875, he became Professor of Ecclesiastical History at King's College, London, of which he served as Principal (1883–97). He was Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill 1896-1903 and Dean of Canterbury from 1903 until his death in 1924. He is buried in the courtyard of the great cloister of the cathedral.


He wrote, contributed to, and edited, many publications in Christian and ecclesiastical history. His best-known work, of widest application, is the Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies, written in collaboration with William Smith.

From 1902 to 1905 he was editor of The Churchman, an evangelical Anglican academic journal.[2]

Other accomplishments

He delivered the Boyle Lectures in 1874 and 1875 and the Bampton Lectures at the University of Oxford in 1879. He was Select Preacher at Oxford in 1880-81 and 1907 and at Cambridge in 1876, 1891, 1903, and 1910.

He was appointed Prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral in 1881 and received the honorary freedom of the City of Canterbury in 1921. In 1922 he played an important role in the foundation of the Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society and was its Vice-President from 1923 until his death on 9 January 1924, following a road traffic accident.[1]


  • Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies
  • The War and the Gospel: Sermons & Addresses During the Present War (1917)


  1. Gregory, Stephen; Harrison, B. (2004), "Wace, Henry (1836–1924)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36669
  2. "The First Century of The Churchman" (PDF). Retrieved 18 November 2013.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Alfred Barry
Principal of King's College, London
Succeeded by
Archibald Robertson
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