Though he never attained the highest office in the Church of England, Samuel Horsley was the ablest bishop on the bench in the late eighteenth century. He was a scientist, parliamentarian, and man of letters, as well as a leading theologian and diocesan administrator. While his forthright opposition to popular politics at the time of the French Revolution earned him the label 'Grand Mufti', his social outlook found a distinct place for the benevolence of the age.
F. C. Mather's scholarly and perceptive biography provides a portrait of Horsley and the Church of England in an age of intellectual, social, and political revolution. Professor Mather establishes Horsley as a high churchman, who bridged the gap between the Anglican Toryism of Atterbury and Sacheverell and the apostolic vision of the Tractarians. High Court Prophet challenges belief in the predominance of latitudinarianism in the eighteenth-century church, and throws new light on the workings of church-state relations.
'F. C. Mather's study of Horsley appeared shortly after the author's death this year and has left students of the eighteenth-century Church and the High Church tradition with a very valuable synthesis of many years detailed study. Mather's book is very impressive in its scope.'
James Garrard, Journal of Theological Studies
'This study of Bishop Horsley is based on a wide range of MS and printed sources ... in the sympathetic exposition of an enclosed world, Mather will not easily be bettered.'
W.R. Ward, Ecclesiastical History, Volume 44 No. 1 - 1993
'Professor Mather's book is extraordinarily detailed and meticulously researched. It is a social, political and ecclesiastical study of the era rather than simply a biography. The importance of this book is that it is able to advance our understanding of the High Church element in the eighteenth century. Frederick Mather has written a book which will become one of the seminal works in advancing our understanding of the Church era.'
Bill Gibson, Basingstoke College of Technology, The Journal of Welsh Religious History
'a wide-ranging examination of the survival and revival of this important strain of Caroline Anglicanism during the eighteenth century ... This is a very readable book, and an important contribution to Welsh ecclesiastical history at the turn of the nineteenth century.'
Matthew Cragoe, Welsh History Review, Vol. 17, No. 1, June 1994
'a major contribution to English church history and important additions to the list of a publisher which, more that any other, has produced a steady stream of authoritative publications in this field over the past twenty years or so ... an impressive piece of scholarship based on a most exhaustive examination of primary sources in nearly eighty different record repositories. ... much more wide-ranging that the title might imply, Mather's is a book to be
read and enjoyed and one which ought to encourage further detailed work at the local or regional level ... a much needed contribution to a major topic and therefore particularly welcome. This is an
important and meticulously reaserched book, much enriched by a comprehensive and extensive guide to further reading.'
Nigel Yates. Southern History Vol 15, '93
'one of the book's greatest strengths is the judiciousness of its judgments ... Professor Mather has clearly produced a book of great importance for ecclesiastical historians. But it also contains much of interest to those concerned with the parliamentary and political history of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. High Church Prophet is very much a study of the bishop's public life; the destruction of his personal papers makes a
fuller biography impossible. But from what has been preserved Professor Mather has constructed, wth impressive and meticulous scholarship, one of the most important books on the eighteenth-century Church to have
appeared in the last 30 years.'
Stephen Taylor, University of Reading, Parliamentary History, Volume 13, Part 2 1994
`this meticulously researched study sets Horsley firmly within the context of his times ... Professor Mather has bequeathed us a notable resource in the reassessment of Georgian High Churchmanship.'
Perry Butler, The Heythrop Journal, October 1994, Volume 35, Number 4