A Victorian Curate: A Study of the Life and Career of the Rev. Dr John Hunt  - cover image


David Yeandle

Published On





  • English

Print Length

264 pages (xii+252)


Paperback156 x 18 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.72" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 22 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.88" x 9.21")


Paperback1118g (39.44oz)
Hardback1506g (53.12oz)



OCLC Number





  • BG
  • BJ
  • HRLB
  • DS
  • HBLL


  • BIO007000
  • BIO006000
  • BIO018000
  • HIS010000
  • HIS015060


  • BX9225
  • H86


  • Rev. Dr John Hunt
  • clergyman
  • Scottish
  • intellectual
  • publications
  • theology
  • Punch
  • London
  • St Ives

A Victorian Curate

A Study of the Life and Career of the Rev. Dr John Hunt

  • David Yeandle (author)
The Rev. Dr John Hunt (1827-1907) was not a typical clergyman in the Victorian Church of England. He was Scottish, of lowly birth, and lacking both social connections and private means. He was also a witty and fluent intellectual, whose publications stood alongside the most eminent of his peers during a period when theology was being redefined in the light of Darwin’s Origin of Species and other radical scientific advances.

Hunt attracted notoriety and conflict as well as admiration and respect: he was the subject of articles in Punch and in the wider press concerning his clandestine dissection of a foetus in the crypt of a City church, while his Essay on Pantheism was proscribed by the Roman Catholic Church. He had many skirmishes with incumbents, both evangelical and catholic, and was dismissed from several of his curacies.

This book analyses his career in London and St Ives (Cambs.) through the lens of his autobiographical narrative, Clergymen Made Scarce (1867). David Yeandle has examined a little-known copy of the text that includes manuscript annotations by Eliza Hunt, the wife of the author, which offer unique insight into the many anonymous and pseudonymous references in the text.

'A Victorian Curate: A Study of the Life and Career of the Rev. Dr John Hunt' is an absorbing personal account of the corruption and turmoil in the Church of England at this time. It will appeal to anyone interested in this history, the relationship between science and religion in the nineteenth century, or the role of the curate in Victorian England.


Greatly to be welcomed. This meticulously researched and richly documented account provides fresh insights into theological controversy and social prejudice and should be read by all serious students of the Victorian Church.Greatly to be welcomed.

Richard Sharp


Yeandle is to be credited in several respects for this study. Most importantly, he has done us all a service in illustrating the plight of the lowest tier of the clergy, the curate. The whole apparatus of the Church of England takes on a different hue when we look at it from the ground up. But the way that Yeandle constructs his study is also notable … Readers interested in gaining a fresh perspective on Victorian religious life will be well rewarded by accepting its invitation to read freely.

Richard Gibson, Associate Professor of English, Wheaton College

"Biography of a Pamphlet: Rev. of A Victorian Curate: A Study of the Life and Career of the Rev. Dr John Hunt by David Yeandle". The Victorian Web, 2021.

Full Review


1. John Hunt

(pp. 5–14)
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3. Town Life

(pp. 19–34)
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8. Country Life

(pp. 57–60)
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9. St Ives, Hunts

(pp. 61–86)
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10. Conclusions

(pp. 87–92)
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Appendix II

(pp. 181–232)
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(pp. xi–xii)
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(pp. 1–4)
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David Yeandle

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages at University of Cambridge