- 1838-1849 (Creation)
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William Grant Broughton was born at Westminster on the 22nd May 1788, the eldest son of Grant Broughton and Phoebe Ann Broughton (nee Rumball). He was to became the first Bishop of Australia and later Bishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of Australia. He was educated at Barnet Grammar School and Kings School Canterbury and in 1804 won an exhibition to Pembroke College, Cambridge but due to the death of his father and financial difficulties, he was unable to accept. Consequently, he spent two years in obscure employment until he gained a position with the East India Company. In 1814 a legacy enabled him to go to Pembroke College where he gained his Bachelor of Arts in 1818 and his Master of Arts in 1823. In 1818 Broughton was ordained deacon by Bishop Burgess of Salisbury for the Bishop of Winchester and was licensed in Hartley Westpall where he served Reverend Alfred Harris and Dr. Ilea to of Eton College. In the same year, on the 13th July, he married Sarah, daughter of Rev. John Francis, rector of St. Mildred's, Canterbury. He remained at Hartley Westpall until 1827 when Bishop Towline of Winchester licensed him as an assistant at Farnham. In March 1827 Broughton was granted a further licence as Master of the Farnham Free Grammar School and in January, 1828 he became chaplain to the Tower of London. In September, 1828 the Colonial Office received the resignation of Thomas Hobbes Scott as Archdeacon of New South Wales. The Duke of Wellington wrote to the Secretary of State for Colonies and recommended Broughton as T.H. Scott's successor. Broughton was offered the position and after some deliberation, during which he received favourable reports of the colony from his brother at the Admiralty and Henry Dumaresq, the governor's brother-in-law who was on leave in London, he accepted the position. However, Broughton hesitated when he learned that the appointment was for an indefinite period and did not provide a pension or compen-sation in the event of death or retirement. Broughton purchased some assurance policies as security, accepted the position and spent the next three months in and out of London dining with prelates, consulting at the Colonial Office and arranging passage and outfit. In mid-April Broughton and his family prepared to board the "Sovereign" but due to the illness of one of his children they were unable to do so but found an alternative passage on the "John" which sailed on 26th May, 1829, arriving in Australia on 13th September, 1829. Archdeacon Scott handed over his authority to Broughton on 16th September and Broughton delivered his Primary Visitation at St. James Church on the 3rd December, in which he outlined his policy as Archdeacon of the colony. In it Broughton charged the clergy regarding their public, private and pastoral functions and reminded them of the needs of the residents in the outlying districts where Christian piety was wavering for want of a minister. He further charged the clergy to support and encourage the parochial schools of the colony and to have a special concern for the convicts and aboriginals. The Primary Visitation revealed Broughton's concerns for the colony and reflected the areas where he would be most active for most of his life. Broughton hoped to maintain and strengthen the school system which Scott had established through the Church and School Corporation which had been established by Royal Charter in 1825. The Corporation was to possess one-seventh of the land in each county and to use the income derived from it for the maintenance of the schools and clergy of the Church of England. However, the Charter of the N. S. W. Church and School Corporation was suspended in 1829 and was finally revoked in 1833. In 1830 Broughton developed a plan for higher education of The Kings School Parramatta and Sydney. The object was to provide a classical education for the sons of the middle and upper classes. Although the Colonial Office approved the proposal Governor Bourke tried to limit its official support and in September 1833 proposed a scheme for the introduction of Stanley's Irish National System of popular education. Bourke also proposed that the churches of England, Scotland and Rome should receive funding for the supply of clergy and building of churches. The distribution of money for the former was to be made according to the proportion of population in each denomination and for the latter, according to private contributions. Broughton protested as he believed that the Church of England should be the only church to receive recognition and support from the government and returned to England in 1834 to consult with the Colonial Office. He wanted to enlist the services of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the British Government for the provision of clergy and money. The Society promised aid which resulted in its continued support. Broughton also wished to secure the erection of a Bishopric in Australia which Lord Glenelg agreed to in November 1835. Broughton was appointed to the new See and after returning to Australia on 14th February, 1836 was installed at St. James Church by Samuel Marsden. It was during his visit to England that Joshua Watson, Treasurer for the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, introduced Broughton to Rev. Edward Coleridge, a Master at Eton College, Windsor. This introduction started a correspondence between Coleridge and Broughton which continued throughout the rest of Broughton's life. Coleridge helped Broughton provide his Diocese with clergy and money and offered continued support and approval. The supply of clergy and money was one of Broughton's major concerns. During his visit to England in 1834 he was able to solicit the help of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to provide money and clergy.The Church Act of 1836 also helped to provide for prospective ministers and priests.r.However, Broughton realised that clergy needed to be trained in his own Diocese.On 24th December, 1840 Thomas Moore died and left his house and grounds at Liverpool for the purpose of training young men for the clergy and in 1845 St. James' College, the forerunner of Moore Theological College, was established. However, in 1849 the College was forced to close. During this year Broughton became seriously ill and in September his wife died suddenly. Broughton was shattered. Broughton attempted to superintend his Diocese in the outer districts. During 1840 to 1845 he made an extensive programme of visits to the country districts. He also made several trips to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip. By 1840 Broughton felt it was essential that his Diocese be subdivided and aided the promotion of the Colonial Bishopric's Fund in England. The Sees of New Zealand, Tasmania, Port Phillip, Melbourne and Newcastle were established with Broughton's assistance. Broughton understood "Church of England" to be synonymous with "Christianity" and objected to other denominations gaining a foothold in the colony. He particularly directed his protests towards the Roman Catholic Church.When the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney was created in 1843 Broughton saw it as a breach of civil and ecclesiastical order and made a formal and public protest in St. James Church. In 1850 Broughton summoned the five Bishops to a conference to discuss the future of the Church of England. Broughton resolved on another visit to England to clarify the whole question of the Colonial Church Constitution. He arrived there in 1852 after a difficult journey by way of South America, and after some months of illness died in London on 20th February, 1853 and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral.
Barrett, J. That Better Country. Melbourne University Press.1966.
Loane, M. A Centenary History of Moore Theological College. Angus & Robertson. Sydney. 1955.
Pike, B. (Ed.) Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. 1966.
Shaw, G.P. Patriarch and Patriot. Melbourne University Press.1978.
Whitington, F.T. William Grant Broughton. Angus & Robertson. Sydney. 1936.
[Biography written by Catherine Hobbs, 1984]
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Contains miscellaneous letters written to members of the Broughton family on personal and family matters. Due to the small number of the letters and the nature of their content they have been grouped together.
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This collection was inscribed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register in 2023.