Samuel Butcher (classicist)

Samuel Henry Butcher DCL LLD FRSE FBA[1] (/ˈbʊər/; 16 April 1850 – 29 December 1910) was an Anglo-Irish classical scholar and politician.


Samuel Henry Butcher was born in Dublin to Samuel Butcher, Bishop of Meath and Mary Leahy.

He was educated at Marlborough College in Wiltshire[2] and then received a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, attending between 1869 and 1873 where he was Senior Classics and Chancellor's medalist.[3] Elected fellow of Trinity in 1874, he left the college on his marriage, in 1876, to the daughter of Archbishop Trench. From 1876 to 1882 he was a fellow of University College, Oxford, and tutored there[2] From 1882 to 1903 he was Professor of Greek at the University of Edinburgh succeeding Prof John Stuart Blackie. During this period he lived at 27 Palmerston Place in Edinburgh's West End.[4] He was succeeded at the University of Edinburgh by Prof Alexander William Mair.[5]

He was one of the two Members of Parliament for Cambridge University, between 1906 and his death, representing the Unionist Party.

He was President of the British Academy, 1909-1910.

He died in London on 29 December 1910, and hisbody was returned to Scotland and interred at the Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh[1] with his wife, Rose Julia Butcher (1840-1902). His grave has a pale granite Celtic cross and is located near the northern path of the north section in the original cemetery.


John Butcher, 1st Baron Danesfort was his younger brother.

He married Rose Julia Trench (1840-1902) in 1876. They had no children.


His many publications included, in collaboration with Andrew Lang, a prose translation of Homer's Odyssey which appeared in 1879 and the OCT edition of Demosthenes, Orationes, vol. I (Or. 1-19, Oxford, 1903), II.i (Or. 20-26, Oxford, 1907).


  1. Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  3. "Butcher, Samuel Henry (BTCR869SH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1900
  5. "Greek - Our History". Retrieved 28 May 2019.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Richard Claverhouse Jebb
Sir John Eldon Gorst
Member of Parliament for Cambridge University
With: John Rawlinson
Succeeded by
Sir Joseph Larmor
John Rawlinson
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